Helen Gurley Brown died Monday at the age of 90. Brown shocked society with her ideas about women and sex. Her 1962 book, Sex and the Single Girl, shook up early-1960s America with the news that unmarried women had sex and enjoyed it. As the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine for 30 years, Brown included real-life, no-holds-barred discussions about sex in the magazine, and offered ways for women to enjoy sex even more.
So what was Brown’s lasting effect on women today, and how they view sex? We asked Dr. Marianne Brandon, clinical psychologist, Diplomat in sex therapy through AASECT, and author of Monogamy: The Untold Story and co-author of Reclaiming Desire: 4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido. Here’s what she said…
“Helen Gurley Brown was undoubtedly one of the more courageous and pioneering women of our era. She played a pivotal role in giving women permission to take pleasure in sex, and to consider enjoyable sex as a birthright. While she remained controversial on a variety of levels, she clearly encouraged women to become more open and available sexually – a transformation that ultimately impacts so much more than sex in a woman’s life. Helen Gurley Brown started a revolution that assists women in developing the skills to give and receive love more fully. It is my hope that we can carry on this sexual revolution that she so bravely and profoundly contributed to.”
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Debby Herbenick, PhD, research scientist at Indiana University and author of Sex Made Easy, said Brown certainly was a key factor in the 1960s and forward.
“She was very vocal about challenging mainstream ideas about women’s sexualities, and also women’s capabilities in various sectors of life – including the workplace,” Herbenick told genConnect. “She championed issues related to sexual expression and access to contraception. And while our society has made significant leaps forward in this regard, we are still clearly dealing with similar issues even today.”
Others are also weighing in on Brown’s impact on women…
“Helen Gurley Brown pushed boundaries and often broke them, clearing the way for younger women to follow in her path. NYC will miss her,” Tweeted the New York City Mayor’s office.
“Don’t use men to get what you want in life. Get it for yourself.” -Helen Gurley Brown, we will never forget your fierceness!” Tweeted model and talk-show host Tyra Banks.
“I’m so sad about Helen Gurley Brown. She was a groundbreaker for women. A General in the sexual revolution. A generous lady. A dear friend,” Tweeted Joan Rivers.
Tell us: What do you view as Helen Gurley Brown’s most important impact on women, culture, and society?
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