We think of the Cold War era as a time when Americans were “cold” in the bedroom. A period with restrained sexual mores and a more tame sexuality. We do so in large measure because of the turbulent and explosive period that followed – what seems to be the ‘wild’ sexual freedom of the 1960s and beyond. But such myths are an illusion. For example, the birth control pill – one of the great “liberators” of modern sexuality – was invented at the height of the Cold War, tested in the late 1950s and introduced to the American public in 1960.
More significantly, movements for liberation and human rights based on the right to individual sexual practice among consenting adults can be traced to Cold War scientific research as well as attempts to suppress that work .The “mind control” efforts to restrict knowledge and thought - the censoring of sexual studies- proved instrumental in helping building the modern LGBTQ movement.
While there is no one starting point for this extraordinary change, one significant Trace can be seen when we look at Alfred Kinsey.