By Jurriaan Kamp and Tijn Touber
During the 10th and 11th centuries in the Indian town of Khajuraho a remarkable series of “sex temples” was built. Temples with the most explicit images of erotic encounters. All that in structures reaching up to God. Sex, it was thought, was the path to spirituality. The Khajuraho built their temples to exhibit the secret potential of sex to all.
During that same era, Western societies were doing everything they could to suppress sexuality and keep it behind closed doors. They lived for centuries without having a clue about the positive nature of sex. Taboos were used to restrain this tremendous, startling power. Sex was the night, sex was mysterious and dirty; something to be played out secretly in the dark.
Europe hit a turning point in the 1960s. Subjects that had been off limits for ages were suddenly opened up for discussion. For many this was a liberating breakthrough. Oppressed women found freedom. Homosexuals who had stayed “in the closet” for fear of public disapproval, no longer had to suppress their feelings. Then things started to move fast. Once the dams had burst, sex rushed from the darkness past the light and into the floodlights. Or rather, into the television lights. According to the new adage, everything had to be public and television producers were only to happy to go with the flow.
Now sex is everywhere. Increasingly explicit, in more and more programs on more and more channels. Nearly every television commercial, advertisement, billboard and music video makes an implicit reference to sex. The financial and moral barriers that kept prostitution and porn films out of the public eye have been eliminated by the arrival of so many commercial television channels and websites.