While it focuses on the UK, I can see how some of these categories could apply to the US. We in the US have abstinence-only education to deal with that makes sex look like something bad, unless it’s done in the context of a heterosexual marriage. School sex education classes continue to teach the bare basics about the plumbing, yet they do not teach that sex should be enjoyable. Kids are not made aware of how their bodies are changing. They aren’t given proper information about contraception. The conservative ideologues who control this country have a very limited and negative view of sexuality. Plus, the outright hostility they display towards single and divorced moms as well as gays and lesbians cannot be heathy for this country.
I know that Nip/Tuck, Desperate Housewives, and Sex and the City use sex as major driving points of their plots. I believe Will and Grace also does, but I have never seen that show. If anyone tries to learn about sex from watching Nip/Tuck, they’re going to be sorry. My husband and I love Nip/Tuck because those characters have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It’s a skewed way to look at sex, but it’s still a fun show. I get to turn my schadenfreude meter on when I watch it. I’ve seen a couple of episodes of Sex and the City, but that show never did anything for me. I think the female characters whine too much about not getting laid, not having boyfriends, being successful yet scaring men away, yadda yadda yadda. I haven’t seen Desperate Housewives in a while, but we did watch the first season on DVD. I like that show a lot. Still, I think we in the US need more television shows with positive portrayals of sex and relationships. The one television relationship which I think it positive and healthy is between Alison and Joe DuBois on Medium. You know they have sex. They’re talking about having another baby, although Alison doesn’t sound too thrilled about it. She already has three kids to take care of, and it looks like one is just out of diapers.
I found Dr. Petra Boynton’s list very interesting. I wish we had a Dr. Petra Boynton in the US. I’d prefer anyone other than that self-righteous Dr. Phil. I saw him by accident a couple of times, and I can’t abide him for more than a few minutes. What in God’s name did Oprah ever see in him? If there is an equivalent of Dr. Petra Boynton in the US, please let me know in comments.
Dr. Boynton’s predictions are in bold. My comments are below each prediction.
2006 is going to be the year of the sex addict.
Dr. Boynton says that there are many new TV shows that will discuss sex addiction, “either showing it to be an epidemic or offering training for men who are ‘cheaters’ to curb their behaviour.” We already have lots of shows in the US that treat all kinds of sexual disorders as if they are fodder for entertainment. We have “relationship” experts that dispense poor advice to people they meet for not much more than fifteen minutes. There is a big chance that abusive behavior as well as sexual behavior will be ignored, misdiagnosed, or pathologized. However, that doesn’t stop television producers from treating abusive behavior and sexual behavior as entertainment. Those kinds of shows are also very cheap to produce, so they are becoming more popular.
Other television coverage will not be sex positive.
Dr. Boynton says that “[y]ou can look forward to other programmes that purport to cover sexual science but will most likely be labelling, blaming or mocking participants.” She also mentions “makeover shows” that will transform people’s inter-personal relationships. This means more negative portrayals of sexuality and relationships for entertainment purposes. I’ve noticed that when I run a search for “sex” on Google that I turn up lots of stories about pedophiles. I would much rather see positive articles about sex.
New attempts will be made to tackle the UK’s sexual health problems.
Dr. Boynton pointed out that already overstretched services may experience problems. She wrote that “[a]n increase in self-management and moving sexual health services into community settings like your pharmacy or GP will most certainly become more widespread in 2006.” People need to be encouraged to use contraception, including using condoms more regularly. She would also like to see a more positive portrayal of sexual health. I agree with her. Too often “sexual health” is treated as if its a disease that needs to be corralled. In the US, we have problems with forbidding Plan-B from being approved for use. Pharmacists are able to use “conscience clauses” so that they may refuse for religious reasons to fill prescriptions for birth control pills and other forms of contraception, especially emergency contraception. I’m worried that Alito will be confirmed to the Supreme Court if the Dems don’t grow a backbone and do something about it. If he is confirmed, there is a good chance that Roe will eventually be overturned or completely gutted. Women in the US face grave attacks on their reproductive rights, and the people in government who are supposed to be protecting them are sitting on their hands.
Sex will be about products and purchasing.
I agree with Dr. Boynton that sex is becoming more commercialized. She believes that this upcoming year we will be seeing more media coverage of sexual issues that will come with product placements. We now have “sexperts” with something to sell, including sex toys, books, therapy sessions, and their own stores. Sex has become a commodity. Sharing valuable information about the enjoyment of sex, sexually transmitted disease, and relationships won’t come without a product endorsement. We are already bombarded with commercials for pills for “natural male enhancement” that have never been proven to be effective or even to work. Too many people are already getting the idea that if their sex lives are suffering, they only need to pop the proper pill and their problems will be cured.
A sex museum will open in the UK.
Dr. Boynton says reports on this are mixed. Such a museum could either focus on sex education and empowerment, or it could be titillation geared towards consumerism. I hope that a sex museum will include history about sex, including some of the first issues of popular sex magazines, such as the Playboy issue with the pictorial of Marilyn Monroe. It could be interesting to include vintage books about sexuality, and to include excerpts about the ridiculous things people used to believe about male and female sexuality. Older forms of contraception and sex toys could be showcased. Victoria Woodhull was an early feminist who was famous for supporting the “Free Love” movement. She deserves to be covered in such a sex museum.
Faux sex surveys will remain a media staple.
Save me from Cosmopolitan’s year-end Astrology booklets! I just read a faux sex survey that said most men consider kissing an “obligation”. What a sad way of viewing a very pleasant activity! The same survey also found that women prefer kissing to having sex. This reminds me of the survey conducted by either Ann Landers or Dear Abby that found that women preferred cuddling to having sex. These surveys are usually self-selected. They are often part of a limited audience. And they are misleading. We need valid, well-researched information about sex that can help both men and women.
2006 is a year for talking dirty.
Dr. Boynton linked to several sex blogs. I’ve enjoyed reading all of them. She said that 2005 was the year of the sex blog. Here are the sex blogs she linked to:
Viviane’s Sex Carnival
Sarcastic Sex Toy Blog
Audacia Ray’s Waxing Vixen Blog
Tracy Quan (author of Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl) blog
Susie Bright’s Blog
Sexoteric links to loads of great sex blogs.
There is also my blog, The Countess. I’ve made a point over the last few days of writing about sex. I also write erotic short stories. My stories have been published in Scarlet Magazine and Xodtica. I focus on paranormal erotic romance. I’m working on a paranormal erotic romantic novel right now. It’s nearly finished. I have already started sending letters and chapters to publishers. Hopefully, a publisher will choose to represent me soon.
She also linked to these blogs, which aren’t always about sex, but she liked them nonetheless:
Most of those blogs have blogrolls with many other great examples of sex blogs. They are informative, entertaining, and updated frequently. They are also getting to be more popular.
She also recommended the following books which came out in 2005:
Sex, Lies ands Stereotypes: Challenging Views of Women, Men and Relationships by Gary Wood.
Dr. Sprinkle’s Spectacular Sex, by Annie Sprinkle
Everything You Know About Sex Is Wrong, edited by Russ Kick
2006 is going to add to the blog-as-source-of-sex-information with the sex podcast.
I don’t think that sex podcasting is going to be that popular because most people don’t know what a podcast is. I think most people are going to get their sex information from magazines and books. Some, like me, will read sex blogs. The danger is that podcasting can become very commercialized. There may not be as much spreading of information about sex, but selling books, sex toys, online sex web sites that require paid registration, movies, and other products.
We’ll need more sex education in 2006.
We will get more sex education in the US, but not a good and informative kind. We are cursed with abstinence-only education. There are many lies promoted by abstinence-only education. A Congressional report found that students of abstinence-only education are being taught that “…abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person’s genitals can result in pregnancy”. We need sex education classes in schools that teach more than basic plumbing and that the “best” thing for teens is to abstain from sex. If teenagers are going to have sex, they need to learn about contraception. They need to learn how to appreciate their bodies, and they need to learn about the changes their bodies are going through. Sadly, with the conservative push for abstinence-only education, that’s going to be a tough hill to climb.