I am not sure, but I think there may be some support for the notion that it is doubly as sinful to talk about sex on Sunday – but what the heck, I have become quite comfortable in this handbasket and I am familiar with my end destination.
It is interesting that after years of advertising and marketing that has been supercharged with sexual images that the mere mention of “sex” still carries such a prurient stigma. I have been amazed for years – actually decades – in regard to how far the envelope has been pushed in public advertisements. When I was a kid (which I acknowledge was quite awhile ago) the most risque advertisement I can remember was the Nair short shorts commercial (which was pretty hot for the time). Things have changed dramatically since then. No longer are married television couples like Lucy and Ricky sleeping in separate beds. These days it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find a television show that doesn’t have folks in the same bed engaged in some fairly intimate made-for-TV activity.
So I wonder, why is this? Are we as a society truly going to hell in a handbasket or is this the natural evolution of our society (and some may say perhaps the underpinning of its downfall)? And an even more interesting question – is this over-saturation of sexual imagery having an effect on the amount or quality of sex? Is it possible that sex could become either too valued in life priorities or not valued enough based on this over-saturation?
When my older daughter and I were at the salon getting pedicures a few weeks back we saw the new Miley Cyrus video on television – wow – I dare say, Hannah Montana has grown up. I was surprised at first, but upon reflection I realized that given the over-sexing of society in the media this was to be expected. After all, Miley is growing up and these grown-up images have been emblazoned across all forms of media since she was a child. I have not been a fan of the over-sexing going on in advertisements over the years, particularly as it relates to everyday products like food and sneakers and toothpaste. Do we really need to use sex to sell almost everything?
But back to my questions above. Is this obsession with sex in advertising a fast-track to hell or is this part of a normalization process as we evolve as a society? I am going to assume it is not a fast-track to hell for purposes of discussion (because hell really is the last stop right?) and focus on this notion that sex as a selling tool has been normalized across society. To follow-through with that thought, the normalization of the use of sex as a selling tool has, in my mind, changed our collective overall view of what is acceptable. We lean further and further into openness where sex is concerned and children are exposed to it earlier and earlier.
I remember smuggling a copy of The Godfather into the house to read secretly when I was a teen – the sex discussion in that book was scandalous at that time. Alas, those days of teens reading titillating passages in books as a rite of passage are all but over. With the internet and cable television one does not have to look far for such material. And while you might ask why I jumped from the topic of sex in advertising to the consideration of interest in the act of sex itself, I might suggest that they are so inextricably interlinked that it isn’t a jump at all, but instead a mere baby step.
So, let us assume that we have in fact baby-stepped from our over-saturation of sexual imagery to our actual sex lives. The question then becomes what has the effect been on our sex lives? Are we having more or less sex these days (and yes I know other factors play into this discussion, but let’s keep it simple for this discussion) and is of a better or lesser quality? Is the imagery stimulating us or over-stimulating us? Is the excitement piqued or deflated? Are the images – which can be tad unrealistic as it applies to average folks’ bodies – taking away from the level of satisfaction real people find in real acts of intimacy? Is sex more or less important to folks these days based on this over-saturation?
I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but I am sure there are plenty of folks that do. My ponderings today were driven by the stigma of the word “sex” and that I would dare to speak of it in a blog on Sunday…but really, look around…the imagery is everywhere and the imagery alludes to the desire for, culmination to, or the act itself. Talking about sex has become almost blase…so, let’s talk about sex baby, but let’s not pretend that it is a daring discussion to undertake. It is as normal a discussion as why you bought that particular toothpaste in your cabinet or that bag of Doritos.
And yes…there still is a bit of room in my handbasket if you’d like to join me.
Day three hundred and fifty of the new forty – obla di obla da