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According to the much-publicized study by Gagnon, Laumann, Michael & Michaels, the actual sex lives of Americans appear pretty ordinary. So, since advertising mirrors U.S. society, you'd think today's ads would be pretty tame, too. Not like during the sexual revolution, or flower children and "days of love," or Brooke Shields and "nothing between me and my Calvins." Right?

Wrong. Ultima II's Head Over Heels is downright "too sexy" for words; Hot Sox posters are being stolen from their outdoor locations and, we'd guess, hidden in closets or under beds; sex in the pool is back and hotter than ever.

So what's going on?

It's advertising, after all, that will catch the heat if the public-the public that by and large thinks sex is best in a sustained relationship and performed not as frequently as some might think-complains that the commercials are too hot, needlessly fanning the flames of lust.

Well, the deal is that what advertising is providing is voyeurism. Voyeurism among the citizenry, the University of Chicago study also says, is in; watching a partner undress is No. 2 among sexual activities.

So, instead of attacking advertising and too much sex on TV, think of it positively. "Hot" ads could be called society's safety valve.

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