January 3rd, 2005
Last year the amount of sex coverage in the media was considerable, even if the quality was largely questionable. It’s pretty likely this trend will continue into 2005.
Our obsession with celebrity relationships isn’t going to stop. The celebrity ‘sexpert’, and others with precious few qualifications to give sex advice will also remain – although you can expect to see research out that documents the danger of poor quality sex advice being given in the media.
Sex toys will be sold in greater numbers in high street outlets, alongside ever increasing virtual and real sex stores. The quality of training offered to staff selling sex products will be variable, although these people will in all likelihood be quoted more extensively by the media than qualified sex therapists, medics or other psychosexual specialists. Sex got more commercial than ever last year, and that’s not going to change.
From the US there will be greater moves towards abstinence only sex education, which is fraught with problems and proven to be ineffective – particularly towards those from sexual and ethnic minorities, and low income communities.
The Right’s war on porn is also likely to step up, making it difficult to offer sex positive information, sex education and safer sex messages to those in need. Maybe there’ll be war declared on the war on porn.
Within our media, sex coverage will – unless something amazing happens – continue to be defined by the people writing it. In other words, the sex stories you’ll read will be written by young, reasonably affluent, city dwellers, in monogamous relationships, educated to degree level, high in confidence, and most likely white, middle class, straight, and physically and emotionally healthy. People who assume everyone else’s exactly like them. Their sex lives – the fun, frisky, and ever new – will continue to be the model for us all to aspire to.
Although they took a knock at the end of last year, Big Pharma are going to be coming back at us this year, with many companies attempting to identify and target new sex topics and trends. Products for female desire may be slightly less high profile, but that’s not to say companies won’t be working to get their hormone patches and gels approved.
Several movies will be out this year focusing on the sex industry, pole, and lap dancing. Let’s hope this may lead to wider debates on sex work, given last year’s negative coverage of lap dancing in the press.
Sexually transmitted infections are still terrifyingly high – particularly in developing countries. We’ve seen diseases rise, alongside press coverage that either includes scary statistics, or is highly judgemental. This year, coverage should move to provide more balanced information about preventing STIs, and help us view it as a global issue we all need to take responsibility for. That’s not to say it will, though.
The government is also expected to report on their ‘consultation’ on prostitution. This exercise was unbelievably flawed, asking questions of people that had a research group conducted it in any other institution it wouldn’t have been granted ethical approvals defined by government standards.
The consultation was set up with the objective to show prostitution as negative, and despite many reputable researchers and organisations submitting evidence, it should come as no shock to us when the government releases ‘evidence’ that prostitution is universally bad for sex workers, and clients are also all bad. There will be no shades of grey, although there ought to be. Clients will be blamed, but in the long term it will be sex workers who’ll suffer if the consultation’s ‘findings’ are acted on.
Certainly we can expect to see sex coverage focusing on sex as being linked to hormones, genes, and biology – overlooking social, cultural and other factors. And sex is going to get a whole lot more ‘scientific’.
Several television shows are going to show us brain scans of women during the moment of orgasm, and measure blood flow to the penis or vagina. It may not be a whole lot of use, and again will place sex firmly in the realm of the body and the biological – hardly a help to those wanting to improve their sex lives, or who’d actually like to be able to talk about it.
With the release of the film about Kinsey (starring Liam Neeson) out in the Spring, magazines and papers will also focus on the life of this sex researcher (and possibly some up and coming ones too). This ought to be a rallying cry for us to demand better quality sex research finding its way into the media – let’s make that one of our new year’s resolutions.
Otherwise, it’ll be another year, where if Kinsey were still alive and practising as a sexologist, rather than completing high quality research, he could expect to be asked to make judgemental statements about celebrities on a daily basis.
It’s time for a change in sex. You can make 2005 that time.
Come back later this week and find out how we can improve the quality of our sex coverage, research, and most importantly remember that sex is supposed to be about pleasure.Tweet