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20 Years of Love & Sex
20-Year Timeline: From the beginning of AIDS awareness to outed cartoon sponges.
Love Is a Drug: Once the realm of poets, artists and philosophers, love has been exposed as biochemistry.
When Porn Wore Sideburns: In San Jose's golden age of smut, real fans converged in the dark at theaters like the Burbank, the New Paris and the Pussycat.
Gay Nineties: Twenty years of queers in the South Bay.
The Joy of Mix: Want a real window into the soul? Don't look into the eyes—look at the CD collection.
Victims Gone Wild: How feminism has messed up relationships.
Borderless Dating: In the valley, young couples aren't afraid of diversity.
Twenty Years of Tom Cruise: What were we thinking?


20 Years of Love & Sex

WHEN Metro started publishing in 1985, STDs and feminist backlash had put a damper on free love. Porn existed mostly in musty shops and dark theaters. And the South Bay's gays and lesbians were in the early stages of coalescing as a community and reacting to the devastating AIDS epidemic.

Two decades later, the world has changed, and the South Bay with it. For better or worse, the Internet delivers every variety of sexual image to anyone who wants it—including some who shouldn't be looking at those things.

A proud, visible GLBT community exists here. Medical advances have slowed the transmission and toxicity of AIDS. While challenges still exist, much progress has occurred on the frontiers of equality among the sexes and acceptance of diverse sexual identities.

The choices for personal romantic expression, the access to information and the social open-mindedness taken for granted today represent the aggregated result of many small changes and large sacrifices that occurred along the way. Metro has frankly chronicled this slow revolution over the course of its 1,000-plus-issue publishing life.

As many of us turn our thoughts to romance during our society's calendared annual love ritual, Metro writers look back at the equally transformative years that succeeded the much chronicled Sexual Revolution of the '60s and '70s.


20-Year Timeline


Rock Hudson dies of AIDS, giving a face to the ailment and posthumously outing an American icon.

Rev. Thomas Doyle warns Catholic hierarchy in confidential memo that potential liability of sex abuse could reach $1 billion.


Newspapers across America publish anatomical diagrams of showing the location of President Reagan's prostrate cancer, including location of his colon, anus and rectum but omitting his penis.

David Lynch movie Blue Velvet brings sadomasochism and erotic voyeurism into popular culture.

Independent filmmaker Spike Lee releases his first film, She's Gotta Have It.


Sen. Gary Hart admits adultery and tanks his presidential bid after Miami Herald exposes the senator's escapades on the yacht Monkey Business.

Michael Douglas and Glenn Close star in Fatal Attraction.

TV preacher Rev. Jim Bakker resigns from lucrative Praise the Lord TV station as the result of adulterous tryst with church secretary Jessica Hahn and subsequent payment to her of hush money.


A sobbing Jimmy Swaggart, America's leading televangelist, resigns his ministry after revelations about his dalliances with a prostitute.


World's first same-sex legal partnership occurs in Denmark.

Police discover tape of actor Rob Lowe having sex with underage females.


An OutWeek cover story—"The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes"—by Michelangelo Signorile started a furor over the secret gay life of media bigwig Malcolm Forbes.

Angela Bowie tells Joan Rivers she once caught her ex-husband, David, in bed with Mick Jagger.


Magic Johnson tests positive for HIV; says it's from unprotected sex with women.

Paul Reubens arrested for performing safe sex on himself in an adult theater.

Clarence Thomas is confirmed as Supreme Court justice by Senate committee after televised hearings that bring the issue of sexual harrassment to America's consciousness.


Dow Corning admits it ignored evidence that its breast implants were toxic.

British prime minister announces that Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, have "decided to separate."

Mia Farrow calls Woody Allen a "pedophile" after she discovers that he's had sex with her adopted daughter, 35 years his junior.

Courtney Love weds Kurt Cobain.

Sharon Stone flashes the world in Basic Instinct.


Clinton signs "Don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the military.

Lorena Bobbit mutilates sleeping husband John by separating him from his penis with a kitchen knife.


Bill Gates marries Microsoft executive Melinda French.

AIDS-related illnesses identified as leading cause of death for 2544-year-olds in United States.

Michael Jackson pays $15 million to settle pedophilia claim.

Death of cross-dressing British MP Stephen Milligan leads to greater public awareness of risks of auto-erotic asphyxiation and self-bondage.


Actor Hugh Grant arrested for having oral sex with prostitute in parked car.


President Clinton signs Communications Decency Act intended to ban transmission of sexually explicit material to minors by online computer networks. A federal judge, however, blocks enforcement.

Clinton also signs Defense of Marriage Act, permitting states to refuse recognition to same-sex unions.

John F. Kennedy Jr. marries Carolyn Bessette.


Ellen DeGeneres stages the first coming out of a lesbian television character on Ellen.

British slang term "shag" enters U.S. popular vocabulary thanks to Mike Myers' Austin Powers movie.

Forwarded email about fellatio and Altoids mints heats up Internet.

A Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee home video is posted to the Internet. It becomes the world's bestselling adult video tape of all time.

Former Larry Ellison bonkee Adelyn Lee convicted of forging emails in attempt to extract money from Oracle.


Kenneth Starr releases a pornographic report on President Clinton, making oral sex a topic of mainstream conversation for Americans of all ages.

George Michael arrested "engaging in a lewd act" in a Beverly Hills public restroom.

Sex and the City debuts on HBO.


Bob Dole goes on air to shill for Viagra, making ED (erectile dysfunction) even more embarrassing than previously.

First U.S. bishop resigns after admitting to molesting minors.


Queer as Folk television series debuts on Showtime.

San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales admits adulterous affair with staff member Guisselle Nunez.


Jennifer Aniston and Winona Ryder kiss on Friends television show in ploy to boost ratings during sweeps week.

Rev. Jesse Jackson admits to fathering out-of-wedlock child.

Carolyn Carpeneti, 38, gives birth to love child of San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, 67.


Boston's archbishop, Cardinal Law, resigns after documents reveal he covered up a pattern of sexual abuse by priests.

Torch singer R. Kelly arrested and charged with having sex with a minor.

Pope John Paul II summons America's cardinals to Vatican to discuss sex scandal.

Pee-wee Herman star Paul Reubens pleads innocent to charges of possessing kiddie porn.


Madonna kisses Britney Spears at MTV video awards.

Media discovers metrosexuals.

Californians ignore allegations that he groped something like 15 women and elect Arnold Schwarzenegger governor of California by a huge margin.

San Jose Councilmember Nora Campos marries powerful Building Trades Council head Neil Struthers

Ashton Kutcher attends attends Hollywood premiere of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle with Demi Moore. Bruce Willis accompanies them.

Kobe Bryant accused of rape.



Archdiocese of Portland files for bankruptcy to protect itself from sex-abuse claims.

2,271 same-sex couples wed in San Francisco during 29-day frenzy sparked by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Photographs of sexual abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq bring shame to America.

Brief shot of Janet Jackson's nipple during Super Bowl halftime show sets off a furor that leads to FCC fines.

New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey declares at a press conference, "I am a gay American," and resigns amid allegations surrounding an affair with a member of his staff.

TV pundit Bill O'Reilly settles suit regarding allegations he treated an employee to unwanted comments about such fantasies as soaping her up in the shower with a loofah mitt.

Ron Gonzales marries Guisselle Nunez at Corde Valle golf club.


Jury selection for Michael Jackson sex abuse trial begins.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announces split from wife, Court TV anchor Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Bill Cosby accused of inappropriately touching a drugged female.

Conservative churches accuse SpongeBob SquarePants of being gay because he holds hands with a starfish. Mindy the Mermaid is devastated by the rumors.

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From the February 9-15, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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