What is up with sex, and why is American sex different from other people's sex? Specifically, what have we done in marketing sex appeal into our consumer economy that changes what sex is, or what sex is supposed to be?
This is a monstrously huge question that we've touched on in the Weird Science thread, and maybe a little bit in dealing with the implications of Proposition Eight, but not really directly in terms of why sex matters as much as it does as a cultural phenomenon and what effect it has on the basic function of society.
Mark Steyn made quite a big deal about the birthrates of Muslims in Europe and how Scandinavians and Japanese are essentially dying out by not reproducing. When I was a kid, I came from a family of five, which was considered large but not huge. Now, the very idea of a professional with five kids is almost unthinkable, but one with two kids and one from a second marriage seems to be commonplace. We expect teenage girls and boys to be sexually active. Meaning what? How many times a week is normal, with how many partners? I came of age in the 70s when best selling advice came from Xaviera Hollander aka the 'Happy Hooker'. What of legal prostitution? San Francisco is going for it.
Speaking for myself I realized at the age of 10 that everybody is naked. I was helped by an issue of Playboy magazine which showed nurses and nuns and secretaries and schoolteachers. What resides in the sexual imagination today? What's left of it? With all of the pornography out there, is there any sexual imagination? What's the deal with safe sex?
How much should our sexual proclivities and orientations define us? Should that be political? Is sex easy or difficult - how much hesitation do we have making friendships sexual? It sex today as intimate as it used to be? Is it a sport or is it a sacred act? WTF?