Sex Sells!: The Media's Journey From Repression To Obsession

Sex Sells!: The Media's Journey From Repression To Obsession

by Rodger Streitmatter

Hardcover(New Edition)



In 1953 when Lucille Ball became pregnant, the censors required the characters on "I Love Lucy" to say only that the wacky redhead was "in the family way"-they feared the word "pregnant" might conjure up, in the minds of viewers, images of a man and woman having sexual intercourse. Now, some fifty years later, from giant billboards featuring nearly nude models in Times Square to Bill Clinton's creative definition of sex to Madonna and Britney's prime-time kiss, sex pervades virtually every aspect of public life, including the films and television programs we watch, the music we listen to, and the racy ads that bombard us. What happened? Through lively prose and engaging examples, Sex Sells! illuminates this arc from repression to obsession vis-à-vis changing sexual mores during the last five decades. Not only does the author examine how a broad range of media genres have reflected this libidinous journey, but he also shows how the media have played a leading role in propelling the Sexual Revolution. Whether it was the decision by Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown to run a photo of a nude Burt Reynolds in 1972 or the recent success of Showtime's sexually explicit "Queer as Folk," the media have led the charge in bringing sex into the mainstream. Along the way, what the author terms "sexual literacy" has become vital, especially for young media consumers. For Rodger Streitmatter, unlike many critics, believes that much of the media's sexual content is beneficial, as it gives parents and educators a jumping-off point from which to discuss such matters as AIDS, sexual identity, and sexual mores. In this age of continuing sexual liberation, such a viewpoint seems especially important and timely.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813342481
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 09/20/2004
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.34(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.05(d)

About the Author

Rodger Streitmatter is a professor of communications at American University. A former reporter for the Roanoke (Virginia) Times & World News, he is the author of five previous books. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

The 1950s: No Sex, Please, We're Americanxiii
1The Pill and the Media: Spawning a Revolution1
2Playboy Magazine: Taking Pornography into the Mainstream15
3James Bond: Bringing Sex into the Movies29
4Jim Morrison of The Doors: Pushing the Limits of Sex in Music43
5All in the Family: Bringing Sex to American Television57
6Cosmopolitan Magazine: Celebrating the Sexually Active Woman67
7Donahue: Talking Sex on Morning TV78
8Three's Company: Adding Jiggle to the Small Screen90
9Movies of the 1980s: Erasing Sexual Taboos103
10American Advertising: Pitching with Prurience115
11Madonna: Tackling Sexual Issues Through Music126
12The Gay Nineties: Adam and Eve + Adam and Steve140
13The Black Nineties: Showcasing African-American Sexuality154
14Semen on the Front Page: Bill Clinton's Sex Life Redefines the News168
15Youth Media: Shaping Teenage Sexual Values182
16Paying for Sex (on Cable): Sex and the City and Queer as Folk196
17Cyberporn: Bringing Sex to the World Wide Web210
18Reality Television: Crossing New Sexual Thresholds222
"Sexual Literacy": Understanding the Media's Sexual Messages234

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Sex Sells!: The Media's Journey From Repression To Obsession 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently chose this book for an English paper in my Comp II class. Had I never had that assignment, I never would have read the book and I would have missed a lot. Streitmatter does an excellent job at taking an issue, sex in the media, that is generally looked down upon, and giving it a positive outlook. This book focuses on Americas exceptance and openess of sexuality, and the steps that took them there. From topics such as birth control, so sex in music and The Doors, and from Cosmo to Reality TV. Streitmatter covers them in a very educational way. All these things influenced what the media is today.