By Kieran Thomas
Western culture uses one measure more than any other to define the increasingly blurred ideal of being an adult, sex.
Sex on television was always one of those subjects – others consumption, violence and swearing– which it seems impossible to achieve widespread consensus as to what the ‘right amount’ is.
Every decade Ofcom polls the public’s attitudes towards what is being broadcast into our homes. In the most recent poll for the first time those over the age of 65 have in the majority decided there is “The right amount of sex on TV”. Now skipping over if any sex over the age of 65 is ‘the right amount’ it does provide food for thought.
The first response would be while we do have more graphic and unorthodox sex on our flat-screens then we ever had on our tubes this is the clear result of a shift in people’s attitudes towards sex. Those over 65 are the same people who experienced the sexual revolution first hand (Brigitte Bardot is 78!) and there is no denying sex is everywhere; the two biggest shows at the moment Homeland and Game of Thrones both are littered with orgies of carnal pleasure (sometimes literally in Game of Thrones).
Perhaps though it is not a shift in attitudes; these same liberal minded OAPs still think there is too much drugs, violence and swearing so what is different about the sex?
No longer do half-naked women walk around detective shows or big breasted life guards run towards the creepy bloke in the bushes with a slow motion camera. Sex (and more importantly women) are no longer just thrown lazily into the background as objects likely due to the advent of free online porn destroying demand for such cheap titillation.
Sex is used for narrative, plot points and character developmental purposes to show a flaw or weakness in a character, normally a male’s weakness for temptation. Almost every top show now uses lack of sex, or lack of good sex, to create a cold un-likable female and lift the guilt from the male character when he meets the ‘other woman’. Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Homeland, Breaking Bad all great shows and all use this technique with glee (I’m unaware if Glee does).
The issue with sex on TV for so many decades was the abundance of women exploited because of sex. These last 10 years have seen women on TV being exploited or exploit others through sex and now there are growing numbers of young males with disturbing attitudes towards women and sex, men seeing themselves as victims of women and almost idealising rape as men taking control of sex once more.
Over 65s might think there is the ‘right amount’ of sex on TV or that sex has become more realistic but now we have a generation who has no ‘realistic’ idea of what sex is and might never even know what is the “right amount”.