top of page

‘The rights of man, according to Jimmy Savile, are being able to do what you like when you feel like it, and without offering explanations – if you can get away with it. And Jimmy Savile can!’ (Boyfriend magazine)

‘Nine is a very sexy age for a girl to be.’ (Daily Mirror)

‘Many a career woman would gladly chuck it all, for a man with guts enough to lift her over his knee and spank her soundly.’ (American commentator Lee Mortimer)

‘Even girls who don’t want to be talked into having sex relations with a male can frequently be persuaded . . . most girls have exceptionally poor reasons for not indulging.’ (Sex-ed pioneer Albert Ellis)

‘The Sex Child is that curious co-mingling of innocent and temptress, more waif than woman . . . full of deep longings, sexual stirrings and the roots of something her child-like mind can only just conceive in dim outline.’ (Author and screenwriter Norman Thaddeus Vane)

Was the 1960s really a fabulous era of sexual liberation, or did its culture of celebration and experimentation conceal a dark seam of exploitation?

Growing Up takes an unflinching look at the decade of sexual revolution, exploding the myth that it was a period of freedom for all. It reveals how quickly and wildly things changed – with consequences that were sometimes joyful, sometimes ambiguous and all too often tragic.

Peter Doggett’s new book about sex in the 1960s concentrates not on the obvious landmarks (the Profumo case and the Lady Chatterley trial), but on a dozen more representative but less familiar avenues. These stories – based on years of meticulous research – range from the enduring influence of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita to the decade’s infatuation with the savage legacy of the Marquis de Sade. The book’s panoramic view of the sexual landscape takes in pop and politics, fashion and film, criminality and culture.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll never see the 1960s in the same way again.


Mad About the Girl:
Vladimir Nabokov mines a personal obsession with Lolita and creates an archetypal victim of the decade ahead

The Nymphet Leaves Home:
How Lolita entered popular culture and conquered Hollywood, while ruining the life of the young woman who brought her to life on screen

The Woman Always Pays:
The double standard of the 1960s in action, from sex-ed experts to an appalling murder driven by sexual jealousy

Mrs Smallgood and Mr Clean:
How Mary Whitehouse (in Britain) and Charles Keating (in America) led the crusade against the new erotic order

A Fashion for Exposure:
The ridiculous story of the creation of the topless dress, amidst a decade when designers set out to expose the female form by every means possible

The Cure With No Disease:
Even as a parliamentary bill was planned to loosen the legal restrictions on homosexuality, doctors and psychologists continued to search for a non-existent ‘cure’

Pop Go the Virgins:
The sexual desires that had long fuelled popular music are laid bare, as the era’s rock stars take full advantage of their erotic liberation

The Most Talked About Woman in the World:
The courageous journey of April Ashley, Britain’s pioneering transgender activist and celebrity

The Man of the Decade:
How the long-dead Marquis de Sade’s obsession with sexual violence became a dominant erotic urge

Vagina Rex and the Female Eunuch:
The role of sex in the countercultural underground, as exemplified by author/activists Jane Arden and Germaine Greer

The Return of Lolita:
As the decade nears its close, the obsession with ‘coming of age’ scenarios encourages a new wave of exploitation for its under-age stars

Growing Up With Dr Sex:
The strange tale of the decade’s most explicit sex-education film, the doctor who created it and the sex supermarkets he helped to promote

Plus: Eleven Interludes that tackle everything from the sexism of male novelists to the strange outbreak of cinematic frigidity, soft porn and hard porn, London’s secret lesbian subculture, the terrifying menace of pubic hair and the manifestos of sexual revenge.

bottom of page