We’re more comfortable with sex on TV…but should we plug the filth flood before it’s too late?
As a 1980s teenager, finally deemed old enough to be allowed to stay up late and watch TV with my parents, it was the moment I feared the most – THE SEX BIT. On the screen that is, not in the living room. For both myself and my parents, short-term mortification was guaranteed every single time.
Of course, as this was almost thirty years ago, so when I say THE SEX BIT I’m referring to nothing more sizzlicious than the sight of a woman in her underwear, an extended bout of what Britain’s swimming pool law-enforcers call ‘heavy petting’, or if I was lucky/unlucky enough, actual female toplessness.
See even today, I’m still struggling to grasp for the correct terminology while maintaining my composure. But I have to confess that it isn’t working – my hands are becoming clammy and my brow fevered as I poke the words ‘female toplessness’ out on my sweat-drenched keyboard.
Back then, during one of those infrequent but time-stopping sexy TV flashpoints, if someone were to run in to the living room and conduct a straw poll as to whether there was too much sex on TV, the outcome would be a resounding 100% affirmative vote.
Mind you, if someone were to run in to the living room and steal our eyeballs from right out of the front of our heads, there would be very little dissent. We were all too busy trying to pretend that what we were witnessing wasn’t happening, while straining to stem the crimson tide of embarrassment that was flooding our faces.
But it’s 2012 now and attitudes are changing – Britain is loose and groovy now. A recent Ofcom poll found that just 25% of adults are unhappy with the amount of sex on the small-screen, a figure that is down from 36% in 2005. Perhaps some of them are unhappy because they’re not seeing enough sex, who knows. The fact that only 19% were offended by something they’d seen over the past 12 months suggests that might well be the case.
So what’s happening to us all? Are we in the midst of a new 21st century permissive society? Is the sight of televised rutting now as normal to us as that of Jeremy Kyle haranguing an absent, glue-addled dad?
If many of us are indeed more comfortable with the sight of what the French commonly call ‘the flesh fandango’, perhaps broadcasters will bend to our will and tailor more of their post-watershed programmes to our increased thirst for boot-knocking.
For years now, knuckle-dragging observers have yearned for the first televised full-blown sexual encounter in the Big Brother house. Perhaps it already happened – I genuinely couldn’t care less. But surely it’s time for the BBC to steal the march and give us the first ever full-blown sex scene in Eastenders, preferably in the Queen Vic, during a lock in. As for what form it takes, I don’t care as long as Jean Slater is involved (I have niche tastes, shush, mind your own business).
Surely it’s time for David Attenborough to stop traversing the globe and obsessing over the mating habits of boring old animals and secrete himself away in a wardrobe in a Surrey semi instead, fastidiously commentating on the passionate wranglings of a middle-aged middle manager and his partner of choice. As for the potential that is inherent in a new-look, post-sexy-revolution Strictly Come Dancing – well, the mind boggles. Oh, my hands are getting clammy again.
But telly sex isn’t for everyone and there would need to be a two-tier system with a quick and easy opt out available. Fair warning should be given ahead of any graphic sex scene and a simple push of the red button would switch to an alternative broadcast, with all of the rude bits covered by an animation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien monotonously braying the words ‘this is not actually happening’.
Is it what we really want though? Before long we’ll be living in a new era of wall-to-wall filth and we won’t even know how it happened. We’re almost certainly just a few years away from a time where the major source of living room awkwardness is when dad realises that the TV remote is wedged firmly beneath the writhing bodies of his 19-year-old daughter and her boyfriend.
Be careful what you wish for.Tagged in: ofcom, sex, sex on tv, television, watershed
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