December 29th, 2005
Last January I kicked off the year with a few sex predictions. As this year is drawing to a close, I checked to see whether my crystal ball was working this time last year.
Some of the predictions I was right about, some it seems I wasn’t so good at guessing, and a few were worthy but sadly never came to pass.
It wasn’t too difficult to see that media sex coverage would increase and the standard would remain variable this year. Nor that the sex lives of celebrities would remain a media and public obsession. With high profile splits, divorces, love triangles, unplanned pregnancies, shotgun engagements/weddings, wildly enthusiastic declarations of love, and doomed relationships 2005 certainly was the year where celebrities fuelled our gossip and news pages and inspired countless features articles.
Last year I suggested the celebrity ‘sexpert’ would remain as a media staple, although thankfully that trend has reduced somewhat. Poor quality ‘sexperts’ of the non-celebrity variety unfortunately continued to be overused by the media this year. And there are still those who’re not famous but are desperately trying to become celebrities by peddling poor quality sex ‘advice’ to the press.
I got it a bit wrong when I suggested sex toys would be sold in greater numbers in high street outlets. The promise that high street pharmacies and some department stores would stock sex toys didn’t happen, and a number of high street sex shops closed during the year, although online sales and stockists continued to grow.
The commercialisation of sex most certainly didn’t reduce over the year and looks set to continue.
Abstinence-only sex education continued to be advocated in the US although evidence suggests it is not effective long term. Within the UK the idea was used as a basis for a reality television show although didn’t gain much support. In the developing world it is still being recommended as a source of HIV prevention with debate raging as to whether this is an effective strategy.
Whilst I predicted more crackdowns on porn in the US, the surprise attempt at changing the law came within the UK, where part way through the year the Home Office began a consultation on ‘extreme pornography’ with a view to limiting access to certain forms of BDSM material. The promised feedback following the UK government consultation on prostitution didn’t appear to happen, perhaps it will this year.
The medicalisation of sex continued to play a part within media sex coverage, and sex research, particularly with uncritical media uptake of stories advocating future sex breakthroughs. Other media coverage certainly did as predicted and combined ‘sex’ with brain scans, laboratories and medical procedures.
A number of sex-related movies did liven up the year, and the film Kinsey in particular did make some small inroads in selected parts of the media as to our understanding of sex and sex research.
Sexually transmitted infection rates did continue to remain a problem, and within the UK this was further confused by a number of proposed sex educational strategies that at times conflicted with each other. In the US there was a surprise move when the positive health evidence on over-the-counter emergency contraception was overruled, making it unlikely this form of birth control will be available in the near future.
So that’s what I thought was going to happen, and whether I got it right. Join me tomorrow when I’ll take a longer look at the year gone by, followed by my sex predictions for 2006.Tweet