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I was surfing the television channels one night and happened upon a rerun of "Sex in the City." In this particular episode, Samantha and her boyfriend happened to be visiting a sex therapist and the conversation turned into a very graphic, yet comical, description of their sexual inadequacies. Although it was amusing, I was somewhat taken aback by the description particularly as this was prime time and just about anyone could view the episode, including children.

When I was growing up, it was considered somewhat risqué to see a Tampon ad in a magazine, but I think we've gone way beyond that with Viagra, Cialis and condom commercials on television. I don't care how you try to clinically describe it, there's something embarrassing about listening to the dangers of a four hour erection, particularly when children are in the room. And please, I am certainly not a prude when it comes to sex but it seems there is an overt attempt to promote sexuality on television, in magazines or on the Internet. You can't seem to get away from it, particularly on MTV and other programs aimed at our youth. On radio, we have the shock jocks led by Howard Stern where it seems the sky is the limit. Even Homer and Marge Simpson have been shown "getting it on."

What disturbs me is that the message to our young people seems to be, "Go for it." There is little concern about the repercussions of premature pregnancies or social disease, just get a piece of ass. More importantly, there seems to be more emphasis on simply having sex as opposed to romance; that the mystique of romance has been replaced by a simple biological function. It's a sad day in our culture when romance is supplanted by wanton sex. One could easily argue this is another sign of the moral decay in our society and perhaps is indicative of our rising divorce rate.

The courtship and budding relationship between a man and a woman is priceless. It's a matter of getting to know one and other, not simply throwing off clothes and hopping into bed. Probably every young person reading this will think I'm crazy as they all have one primary interest, which is fine. I'm just here to remind you there is much more to life than just trying to seduce the next person that comes along.

A few years ago I was on a consulting assignment in Spain. Due to the time change, I couldn't sleep so I turned on the television. I remember there was a late night show from Germany being shown which was a bawdy version of the "Wheel of Fortune" where the contestants removed their clothing after they spun the wheel. I didn't understand the German language but I had no problem grasping what was going on, particularly when the contestants finally got down to their G-strings. The next day I asked my local contact about the show; he laughed as he knew about it. I went on to ask him if there was a problem with young people watching the show.

"Why should there be?" he responded matter-of-factly, "They should already be asleep by that hour shouldn't they?"

His simple logic was right on target. The answer was twofold: parents should be aware of the programs their children watch, and the networks have a moral responsibility for not corrupting the airwaves inappropriately. It's not that the Europeans have anything against sexuality, but more importantly, they appreciate the need for romance. Whereas Americans put sex in your face, the Europeans appear to see the bigger picture.

I know what you are going to say, "Don't you know how to program your television set to block certain content?" Not really, but as I said, I don't see how you can escape from it as just about every channel makes some reference to sex, be it in a show or a commercial. If my program blocker worked correctly, I would probably end up with a blank screen.

I, for one, am most definitely going to miss romance.

Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant located in Palm Harbor, Florida.

He can be contacted at:  timb001@phmainstreet.com

Copyright © 2008 Tim Bryce.  All rights reserved.

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