Self-proclaimed “aging sex symbol” Raquel Welch has blamed the contraceptive pill for destroying commitment and damaging the institution of marriage.
The Hollywood actress said the Pill has given the illusion that sex has no consequences and she cautioned against plummeting moral standards.
The four-time married actress is well aware of the irony of her comments.
She said: “Seriously, folks, if an aging sex symbol like me starts waving the red flag of caution over how low moral standards have plummeted, you know it’s gotta be pretty bad.”
Her comments come in an article written to mark the 50th year since the Pill came to the market in the US.
Meanwhile, a feminist writer who became a best-selling author in the 1970s for a book praising female sexual experimentation, now says she rues the times she took the Pill.
While Miss Welch slammed casual attitudes to sex which have come about as a result of the Pill, she praised marriage as “the cornerstone of civilisation”.
Writing for American broadcaster CNN she said “a lack of sexual inhibitions, or as some call it, ‘sexual freedom’, has taken the caution and discernment out of choosing a sexual partner, which used to be the equivalent of choosing a life partner”.
“Without a commitment, the trust and loyalty between couples of childbearing age is missing, and obviously leads to incidents of infidelity. No one seems immune”, she said.
Miss Welch said that in the 1960s the effect of the Pill on female sexual attitudes was: “‘Now we can have sex anytime we want, without the consequences'”.
And she commented that the example of the previous generation meant teenagers in the 1990s made sexual promiscuity a “common occurrence”.
Miss Welch went on to praise the institution of marriage for its stabilising power in society.
She said she is “ashamed” to admit that she has been married four times, yet she still feels marriage is “the cornerstone of civilisation, an essential institution that stabilises society, provides a sanctuary for children and saves us from anarchy”.
She concluded that “it’s precisely because of the sexy image I’ve had that it’s important for me to speak up and say: Come on girls! Time to pull up our socks! We’re capable of so much better”.
Shere Hite, whose book on female sexual experimentation was a bestseller, said in The Times this week she regrets taking the Pill.
She wrote: “I remember how excited women around me were that we were now free to experiment sexually”.
“I wrote a book that fitted so perfectly with this mindset that it reverberated through the world as No 1 on bestseller lists in 29 countries”, she said.
But, the author continued, “Today I rue the days I took the Pill. It was wonderful and horrible, symbolic of the extremes of the 1960s and of the difficulties that women still face.”