I never thought I’d say this, but. . . .
To quote Salt-N-Pepa, let’s talk about sex.
First off, let me say this. I am a stereotype: red-blooded American male, heterosexual, with all the associated connotations thereupon. There is no question as to whether or not I enjoy it. Think of what you’d expect, and you pretty much got it. I’m not going to go into details, but I wanted to provide context.
Now. . . That being said. . . .
What the hell is up with all the fucking sex in entertainment?
Yes, I intended that pun for what it’s worth.
But seriously. I have an issue with this. Really, I don’t feel that I’m puritanical or hypocritical about this. Thankfully, you can’t see my Netflix cue. Yet the overbearing prevalence of it is too much.
Sorry, let me qualify that.
The overbearing prevalence of sex just for sex’s sake is too much. I get that it is a natural biological function; something entirely necessary for the continuation of the species (Why do you think there were so few Shakers? Look it up.), but there seems to be an obsession with the act. It isn’t taboo, nor should it be, yet we can’t get enough of it as a culture.
Let me explain what I mean.
Take Game of Thrones. George R.R. Martin has gone on record as saying that he doesn’t feel that there is too much sex in the series—since it is a driving force in the world. Would I agree? Mostly. In the series (and I’m talking the books here), several characters have sexual motivations for their acts. Cersei and Jamie Lannister’s relationship is both emotional and carnal. It shows the love the twins have for each other, but also the emotional depravity of each character. Tyrion Lannister, however, uses sex as the only form of intimacy he knows. Robb Stark’s wandering *ahem* got him, his family, and cause in serious trouble. The list, and their subsequent reasons, goes on and on. My point is that, for the most part, these iterations make structural and storytelling sense.
Now, lets look at two other examples.
The Blacklist, while a solid show for the most part, has an issue with women and sex. Their main female character, Elizabeth Keen, has a damsel in distress relationship with the man WHO TRIED TO KILL HER! In what world does that make sense, but they keep going back to that and how she wants to have his babies (adopted or not). Then, in a recent episode *SPOILERS* two agents have sex.
Shocking, I know, considering what I’m talking about.
Anyway, they have sex. Which then causes tension in the office and more than one set of hurt feelings. But here’s the thing. This tension—and the issues it creates—could have appeared through some other method. It made no sense for character growth or story development.
Was there any lead up to it? No, they suddenly leap into bed.
Did the characters ever show any attraction to each other? Nothing. Not one iota of sexual tension appeared between them.
Could they have found another way to drive the characters apart? Most definately. In a show that’s about power and secrets and covert organizations, that is laughably easy.
It boils down to the act being there just for the sake of “Let’s throw these people into bed together.”
I could give you another example from the show Black Sails (my latest addiction). Unfortunately, if I did that, I’d end up using terms like “the hot blonde” and “that one guy who is a captain, but we’ve never seen him captain a thing”. That undermines my credibility, I know. Granted, I’m entertained by the show on many levels (BOOBS!), reasons (BOOBS!), and concepts (MORE BOOBS!), but the use of sex for its own sake is too much. And toss in the fact that it isn’t fair what they show. K has been known to share her thoughts of disappointment at the female nudity, but no signs of full-frontal from men. While I’m not, personally, interested in such, I see her point.
Now I can see you thinking: “But Nick, sex sells.”
I agree. The pornography industry proves this. But I’m not watching porn, nor am I trying to satisfy some sexual urge. I’m trying to be entertained by *GASP* plot, story, and character motivations. This isn’t me wanting some tug job. This is me wanting some form of escapism. Sex isn’t needed to sell. In fact, more often than not, it hurts rather than helps.
Can anyone honestly tell me that they think certain people in the music and entertainment industries are around based solely on skill? And if so, why does it seem that, just when some celebrity needs a popularity boost (especially women), they pose in magazines like Playboy? It isn’t about their abilities, but what their tits and ass looks like.
Really, that’s a shame. It limits us and prevents those with strong abilities and skills from the industry based solely on them failing some predetermined concept of beauty. Some of the best actresses, in my opinion, weren’t really that good looking at all, but DAMN, they were talented and a joy to watch.
This is just one man’s opinion. Am I wrong? Based on sales for sex heavy shows, probably. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel it shouldn’t be said. Nor will I be avoiding the subject in any of my writing. It’s important to us as a people, a culture, and a species. Biological functions and human motivating factors should never be ignored.
Besides, sex sells.