THE SEXUAL WILDERNESS by Vance Packard

THE SEXUAL WILDERNESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is one of Vance Packard's sociological safaris and between the subject and the author, undoubtedly the most successful book he has done. He drops crumbs (statistics, statements, opinions) like Hansel and Gretel all the way through the wilderness to try and find his way there (what changes have occurred) and back (where are they taking us), but the wilderness is to a degree something of a quagmire and definite findings are hard to procure. It won't be from lack of effort: Packard has spent four years on this study and it is data-tabulated, pollster-bolstered, factually supported where possible. While you will find copy from a Coly ad to a more thoughtful directive from Bruno Bettelheim, there is also a preponderance of proof from Kinsey, still the bellwether project. However, Mr. Packard made his own study (six countries; twenty-six college campuses) and this College Survey provides newer evidence on the changing egalitarian, younger lifestyles. What becomes apparent is an acceleration (not ""upheaval"" the subtitle) in the slackening of sexual restraints (i.e., coital experience for the college female which Kinsey recorded at 27% is now just over 40%). Packard goes into the liberating influences (stimuli of books/films; the pill; etc.) the current attitudes on premarital sex; male-female differences (we need males and females to be equal but complementary); the new woman and man's adaptation to her; along with a great many other aspects of sexual strictures versus laissez faire with a final attempt at establishing some normative ground rules. By no means a dressing down of the naked society, but an attempt to evaluate the scene for those who are bewildered, concerned or alarmed. Instant best sellership assured.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1968
Publisher: McKay