Sex sells. In movies, television, print media and on the web, sex is a hot button issue that is hotly debated. Just yesterday I saw a promo for the upcoming episode of the CW series ‘The Carrie Diaries;’ which follows the life of a young fictional character, Carrie Bradshaw. In the promo, Carrie was debating whether or not she would finally lose her virginity to her date on her birthday. While the grown up series, ‘Sex and the City’ tackled far more outlandish sexual issues, the fact the promo in this series, featuring a girl barely out of her teen, used sex to catch the attention of the viewer proves the point: sex sells.
I guess I should have just been happy that the character was considering having sex with someone she was actually dating, because causal sex is a far too common theme in the ‘sex sells’ cache. In fact, causal sex has become the new ‘it’ thing to do. Sex with no strings, hooking-up, one-night-stands. No matter what name you use to describe it, causal sex is the face of sex for the youngest generation. Despite the notions that causal sex is no big deal, what consequences are occurring as a result of so many young people buying into the hype?
In a sort of ‘Sex and the City’ 2.0, the new HBO series, ‘Girls’ explores the sexual lives of a few twenty-something women in New York. Of course, the series has garnered acclaim from critics. However, actress and self-proclaimed feminist Lily Tomlin is not a fan of what she perceives as the show’s over the top sexual nature; especially when it comes to the show’s main character. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Tomlin said about ‘Girls’, “I think it’s too sexually focused. I think it should have a little more range.” She added, “But the sexuality is what is going to bring the big audience, and a lot of young girls, I suppose, puzzling over what to do and what not to do or how to do it. Life is very different from the time when I was 20 and the time Lena is …”
Indeed, life is different now for 20-year olds as opposed to decades earlier. However, the fact remains that sex is still sex and women are still women. The emotions that (naturally) occur from sexual relationships don’t change simply because society and the media slap an easy, breezy name like “causal sex” on the act. A culture that teaches girls to de-value themselves by engaging in sexual acts for sport is detrimental in many ways. Teenage pregnancy, STDs and other physical consequences are just the beginning. The fallout from single parent households, created by the belief in the misguided notion of causal sex, is real and most prominently felt in minority communities.
On the blog, “Black Female Culture” the author analyzed Steven LeBlanc’s “Crime and Fatherless America,” citing statistics for out-of-wedlock births in the United States and the culture of anger that has resulted in the youngest generation. “Divorce and out of wedlock births is creating a subculture of angry teens. In America nearly 24 million children live in a home without a father to guide and protect them.Now more than half of all births to American women under 30 are born out of wedlock, and the trend in marriage-less birth is becoming a normal reality of American life.”
In order to connect the media’s trend of promoting causal sex to the downfall of our culture, look at it this way. Causal sex is pushed by popular shows with relatable characters positively endorsing this detrimental ideal to an impressionable generation. If that doesn’t elicit cause for alarm and a push-back by industry actors and audiences alike, we will continue to see the downfall of the traditional American value system.