The sexual revolution: an evocative term, but what meaning can be given to it today? How does 'sexuality' come into being and what connections does it have with the changes that have affected personal life on a more general plane? In answering these questions, Anthony Giddens disputes many of the dominant interpretations of the role of sexuality in modern culture. The emergence of what the author calls plastic sexuality - sexuality freed from its intrinsic relation to reproduction - is analysed in terms of the long-term development of the modern social order and social influences of the last few decades. Giddens argues that the transformation of intimacy, in which women have played the major part, holds out the possibility of a radical democratization of the personal sphere. This book will appeal to a large general audience as well as being essential reading for students and professionals.