How Americans' Views On Sex Have Changed Over Time

by Kristine Fellizar
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It shouldn't come as a surprise to know that our attitudes towards sex have gone through great shifts over the years. For instance, things that used to be deemed "morally unacceptable" are now pretty much the norm. In fact, according to a newly released Gallup poll, Americans are more liberal on their attitudes towards sexual behaviors and relationships now than ever before. Let me just say, the numbers are much higher than you'd probably expect.

Gallup surveyed over 1,000 adults living in the United States to see how they felt about a range of moral issues for their annual Values and Beliefs poll. Essentially, every year since 2011, people have been asked to rate whether they believe certain social issues are "morally acceptable" or "morally wrong." The survey looks for opinions on highly debated topics such as the death penalty and human embryo stem cell research to other topics like gambling and wearing or buying animal fur.

Aside from that, a number of questions deal with people's attitudes towards sex and relationships. Typically, any hang-ups people may have about sex usually have to deal with their personal values and morals. But despite what the current administration may want you to believe, a record number of Americans today hold pretty liberal views on sex and with each year, they continue to keep shifting left. Here's what the Gallup poll found:


How Many People Are Cool With Birth Control

Back in 2011, when the first Values and Beliefs poll was conducted, the percentage of Americans who believed birth control was morally acceptable was already pretty high at 89 percent. This year, that number is up two points to 91 percent, which according to Gallup is a record high. Birth control is important for a number of reasons. So it's good to see that more people are on board with it.


More People Now Are A-OK With Divorce

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A relationship issue that hit a record high this year is divorce. Back in 2011, less than 60 percent of people said divorce was morally acceptable. Now, that number has jumped to 73 percent.


A Record Number Of People Are Cool With Sex Between Unmarried Men & Women

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Back in 2001, a little over 50 percent of people thought sex between two unmarried heterosexual people was morally acceptable. Today, that number has hit an all-time high at 69 percent.


The Amount Of People Who Are OK With Gay Or Lesbian Relations Saw The Highest Increase Out Of Everything Else

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There's still more work to be done, but Americans are more OK with gay or lesbian relationships then ever before. Back in 2001, only 40 percent of people could say gay or lesbian relations were morally acceptable. Today, that number jumped a record 23 percent up to 63 percent who believe it's totally fine.


Having A Baby Outside Of Marriage Is More OK Than Ever Before

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Having a baby outside of marriage saw the second highest jump since 2001. Back then only 45 percent believed it was morally acceptable, but now, 62 percent find it OK.

Other issues that have seen increases throughout the years include polygamy, pornography, and sex between teenagers. Things like extramarital affairs and abortion are still relatively low on the morally acceptable scale and they only saw slight increases (plus one or two points) since 2011.

So what do all these shifts in attitudes mean? According to Gallup, all these shifts signal change in the right direction. More and more people are becoming more tolerant, which can only mean good things for us as a society moving forward.