Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2001


Published in Great Plains Research 11:2 (Fall 2001). Copyright © 2001 Center for Great Plains Studies.


In her thorough analysis of six separate but interconnected historical episodes that signpost the "sexual revolution" in the university town of Lawrence, Kansas, from 1945 to 1975, Beth Bailey strives to identify the complicated factors that changed sex for good in America during the postwar period. Bailey argues that the sexual revolution has been erroneously characterized as a rapid transformation of sexual ideology that occurred first in large cities and then spread to smaller towns. Instead, the author claims that the "revolution" was actually a gradual re-evaluation of sexual mores influenced by government policies, the mass market, popular culture, technology, and national, state, and local institutions such as the University of Kansas, which, according to Bailey, emerges as the most significant locus of sexual culture change in the Sunflower State.