You can never truly say why you remember certain things along this journey called life. Some things stick in our memory with infinite clarity. The sites. The smells. The who said what to who. What was playing on the radio or what you ate for breakfast that morning. Sometimes life seems as if it’s been recorded in HD quality through our minds eye to be remembered forever and ever. Like someone’s removed the tab on an old VHS recording to our hearts.
And one thing I remember clear as day, is the first time I saw a sex scene on the telly. I was probably about eight years old. At my friend’s place after school. He said “you ever seen Predator?” I said nah. He said it was awesome. I said put the fucking thing on already. So he cried to his mum cos I used a bad word and I stuck his He-Man figurine in the toilet. Then he finally put the movie on. That’s when the action started, forget all that other guff.
I don’t think he even remembered the scene was in the movie. All he seemed interested in was the action and guns and blood and guts. So when the camera panned across the bed and there sat a woman, on top of a man, bouncing about all exaggerated-like and naked, I was transfixed. I had no idea what the hell was happening. But I knew that for some reason, it was good. Really good.
Everything else in the movie was a bit of a haze after that. I’m pretty sure a group of rebels or high school teachers burst onto the scene and broke it all up only to be skinned alive by the Predator and hung upside down like in a butcher’s fridge. If that is all true, eight year old me retained quite a lot on such a big day.
But after that fateful day, it was a long time between drinks for little old me in regards to bouncing naked women on screen. In fact, the only clear memory I have of watching simulated sexual interplay after that was cutting edge TV show Sex / Life.
Now, Peter and I have talked about Sex / Life in such great detail in our time on RRH that I’m sure there’s nothing you need know that hasn’t already been said. But basically, at the time, it was this incredible world of adulthood that I got but a tiny glimpse into. Tottie Goldsmith, the Ring Master of our pre-pubescent lives, toiled with our underdeveloped fantasies with naughty talk in preludes to simulated sex scenes in a variety of apparently educational scenarios like in a car or with someone of a different skin colour. I only ever got to see a handful of scenes from Sex / Life in my youth, but those scenes have gone down into a special kind of folklore that have never really been matched by anything except inspirational sporting montages and Michael Jackson film clips.
What you need to understand, boys and girls is that all of this was happening in the early nineties. Well after the sexual revolution of the seventies. After the desexualisation that seemed to have taken place in the eighties thanks to shoulderpads and homemade clothing. And before the internet put pornography on the ends of our fingers in the noughties. This was a time when seeing sex as an inquisitive young soul was near impossible unless you were brave enough to stay up til 10pm and catch foreign movies on SBS. But that was for the rebellious and the reckless. Not for a TV-less whipper-snapper like me. There would be no muted subtitled programming when it was my turn for the remote, no matter how well I’d studied the TV guide to see what nights had the priceless (N) or (S) next to a movie listing from Scandinavia or South America.
And I’m not going to lie, there has been plenty of sexual imagery upon my screen since those innocent days. Not because I’m a deranged pervert, but because sexual content is much more mainstream these days. Yes, we’ve all sat on the couch (hopefully not the same one) with our parents when the funky business has kicked off in film or in television. None more so awkward than watching Monster’s Ball for the first time together; an event I somehow managed to live through without spontaneously combusting on the spot.
But I think I can speak for all of us in Generation mid-eighties (whatever letter that is, X? Y?) when I say they were simpler times. More innocent times. Thanks to things like Rihanna music videos, high-speed internet and cheap DVD collections, sexing has become so commercialized and pop cultured that the youth of today are desensitized to the whole shebang. Little do they know that but only a few years ago, the world was a different place. A place where you had to really put in the hours to see a real life boob on the TV.