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Sex is hitting an all-time high on television, according to Advertising Age magazine, but responsibility seems to be at an all-time low. Ad Age has no problem with sexuality (in fact, beware: their story is racily arted with a couple in bed), but takes the TV networks to task in their current issue for splashing sex all over their shows–CBS’s upcoming “Swingtown” is Exhibit A–while refusing to portray the participants observing safe-sex rules.
“We’re doing a show about adult, free-thinking people having sex with whomsoever they choose,” a “Swingtown producer objects. “You don’t want a scene to be a PSA for safe sex.” Granted, people in the ’70s, when “Swingtown” is set, didn’t have to worry about AIDS, but the producer sounds a lot like a headstrong lover complaining that nothing cools down a passionate moment than fumbling for a condom.
More damning perhaps is the article’s investigation into why the networks, happy to tout Viagra and its competitors, have been refusing condom advertising. Fox has denied time to condom maker Trojan’s spot portraying men without protection as pigs. When asked why, the net told Ad Age irt was “not comfortable calling it reflective of the network’s position” on condom advertising. I doubt the networks are “comfortable” calling much of their shows’ content reflective of their positions. Why should commercials be held to this standard?

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