Posted By: Sheri (FunReadin,Last2PostsEngBd) on 'English' Title: Scandal opened sex talk Date: Mon Feb 15 05:56:13 1999 by the Washington Post Long after the lofty constitutional lessons have been forgotten, the Clinton scandal will be remembered for something else: the mark it left on the nation's sexual landscape. The turning point was obvious to CNN correspondent Candy Crowley last fall when she stood before a television camera describing graphic details of the president's sexual encounters, then received a call from her mother and her son, both dismayed at the words they'd heard her utter on the air. Debra Haffner knew something had changed when the 13 and 14-year-olds in the sexuality class she teaches at her Westport, Conn. church bombarded her with questions: What is oral sex? Do people do that? Why did Monica save the dress? It is far too simple to reduce the impeachment trial of the president to a moral referendum, a victory of the sexually liberated over defenders of traditional values. But it is inescapable that the year leading up to the Senate's verdict has forced upon the nation a thorough examination of its sexual mores. Experts in sexual behavior don't believe Americans are behaving any differently in the bedroom - neither a feverish rise nor a fearful drop in adultry, for example. But the Clinton scandal has left other, more subtle legacies. People are talking more openly about sex, over the office copier, on radio talk shows and family dinners. A Pew Research Center survey last fall found that nearly 60 percent of parents had spoken to their teen-agers abuot whether the president had had sex with Monica Lewinsky and that 1 in 5 teens had read at least part of independent counsel Kenneth Starr's sexually explicit report. Eight years after the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings made workplace discussion of sex seem almost dangerous, mena nd women across the country say the Clinton scandal opened the door to unprecedentedly raw at work sex talk. The scandal has coincided with the popularization of the Internet, where chat room discussions and jokes about sex are among the most popular topics. But perhaps more important, a year of national soul-searching has hsaped and crystalized Americans' reasoning about sex and public morality: With near unanimity, we apparently find Bill Clinton's excapades wrong, even deplorable. But most Americans don't find his sins politically disqualifying.
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