Sexuality is our birthright, and must be reclaimed in order for us to be free individuals.
-Barbara Williamson, Free Love and the Sexual Revolution
Barbara Williamson is named Professional of the Year by the International Association of Who’s Who.
Barbara Williamson has been called ‘the most liberated woman in America’, pioneering women’s rights and the sexual revolution of the late 60s and early 70s.
After graduating High School, Barbara moved from Missouri to Los Angeles, California and began working at a male-dominated Fortune 500 company, where she quickly moved up the ranks and became a top national sales leader. She had a natural talent for sales and was earning high five figures by the age of 22. However, after meeting her husband John through work (he was a prospective client), she soon realized that selling insurance was not her true calling in life, and her passions lay elsewhere.
Not previously planning to become a wife, Barbara’s connection with John was such that less than a month later they married at a chapel in Las Vegas. Barbara and John shared interest in psychology, including studies by Abraham Maslow that focused on the possibility of achieving “self-actualization” through the sequential fulfillment of basic needs. From this shared interest, they went on to establish perhaps the most legendary lifestyle experiment of the 1970s: the Sandstone Foundation for Community Systems Research. Founded in 1969, located high up in Los Angeles’s Topanga Canyon across 15 acres, Sandstone Retreat, as it became known, was a rebellious, sexually charged commune and clothing-optional community where sexual freedom and expression were encouraged and applauded. During its seven-year run, Sandstone Retreat attracted around 500 members and 8,000 visitors, was featured across national media, played a central role in the bestselling 1980 book ‘Thy Neighbor’s Wife’ by Gay Talese, and became shorthand for the Sexual Revolution across America.
University professors nationwide flocked to visit Sandstone’s new kind of unstructured free love community to view and study members happily living such an alternate lifestyle to the rest of mainstream-America. Through Sandstone’s popularity, Barbara and John became darlings of the media, with newspapers, magazines, television shows and authors clamoring for interviews.
Barbara says it was at Sandstone that she found her real purpose in life, leading people into a new lifestyle of self-discovery and allowing a person’s mind, body, and sexuality to come together with a new sense of liberation; Barbara’s goal was to understand society and set it free. Barbara’s relationship with her husband was based on mutual trust and friendship and created a bond so strong that they were inseparable for forty-seven years, until John’s death in 2013.
Since retiring from full time employment, Barbara has dedicated her life to rescuing and caring for wild exotic cats that were facing death after being evicted from their home for the third time. Tiger Touch Sanctuary she founded with John in 1996. The cats lived out their natural lives in a secure environment. Endangered wild cats have an average life span of twenty years. All thirteen exotic cats have since died. Tiger Touch sanctuary was a membership organization. John and Barbara enjoyed wonderful interaction with the cats, while observing their bond with humans and where their futures lie together.
Barbara now lives alone in the Nevada desert. She is excited to share Sandstone’s 50 year rich history for those born afterwards. Four documentary parts of the sexual revolution are available for viewing on her website. In Parts 2 and 3 of documentary selection calls attention to bestselling author Alex Comfort’s, THE JOY OF SEX and MORE JOY and states that ”if Sandstone Retreat were a school, these books would be required reading.”
Barbara has published her first book, ‘Free Love and The Sexual Revolution: Finding Yourself by Removing Sexual Boundaries’, in which she shares her story of being the co-founder of the Sandstone Retreat for the first time ever. ‘Free Love and The Sexual Revolution’ is available from barbarawilliamson.org