For those who blame the birth control pill for the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s, think again. In fact, new research from Emory University suggests that it was really the use of penicillin to treat syphilis that liberated lovers far earlier than most people think.
In fact, Emory economist Andrew Francis found that not only did teen pregnancies and extra marital births rise sharply during the 1950’s, so did cases of gonorrhea, despite the decade’s reputation for a “prudish” time in American history.
The reason for this, he states, may be because doctors began using penicillin to treat syphilis during World War II, which cut the infection rate by 95%.
“Prior to then, fear of the disease was as great as AIDs concerns during the 1990’s,” he noted. “But as soon as the danger was removed, there was a lot of extra marital sex among young adults going on in the backseat of those finned cars.”