On July 17, 1986, the world discovered that there was “no sex in the USSR” during a television talk show between audiences in the United States and the Soviet Union.
The Leningrad-Boston “telemost” (TV Bridge or Space Bridge) was one of the first joint Soviet-American programs filmed live. When an American woman brought up a topic about sex, a Russian lady exclaimed to the whole world about the absence of this phenomenon in the Soviet Union by saying “There is no sex in the Soviet Union.”
However the viewers only caught the first part of her response, as she was interrupted by a burst of laughter. In response to the question of whether or not the Soviet media had the same amount of sexual content and violence as did the media in the US, Lyudmila Ivanova responded by saying, “There is no sex in the Soviet Union…on television!”
Subsequently the edited version of the telemost was broadcast on Soviet television under the pretense of a live show, and Lyudmila Ivanova went down in history as the woman who declared that there was no sex in her country.
Although her casual phrase became an instant anecdote and has provided many with a laugh, one might say that there actually was no sex back in the Soviet Union, compared to the “sexual revolution” of the 1960’s in the West. For many in the USSR, the word “sex” was almost indecent and the ideology in those days was against public affection and intimacy before marriage.
The Soviet people of the 1980’s were deprived of short skirts, heavy make-up, cleavage and sexy lingerie (only available thought the black market at an insane price). It was rare to publicly discuss or to teach basic knowledge of sexuality and forms of contraception. Soviet people were ashamed to say the word “condom” and some official documents listed the item as a “mechanical-rubber product №2” (pharmacies were always short of supply).
Soon after the startling statement, Russia experienced a sexual revolution of its own. Huge quantities of erotic publications and films practically swamped Moscow in the mid 1990’s, and although Russians once joked that there was no sex in their country, now some might say there is too much. Today, the “mechanical-rubber product №2” is widely available in pharmacies and most nightclub bathrooms.