Remembering Number 96: when TV 'lost its virginity'
Nigel Giles, author of a new book about the 1970s TV show Number 96, talks about the legacy of the groundbreaking series which featured on-screen nudity, gay couples, inter-racial romances and Aboriginal and transgender characters.
I'm a bit worried the internet might be ruining sex.
When my parents were teens, dating in the late 1950s, they drove to a secluded beach for a dip. Mum breezily popped behind a sand dune to change. Dad chose the safety of the back seat. But the idea of removing his trousers with a lady person in the vicinity was all too much. He hunched silently silent under a towel, pants around knees, paralysed with horror at the depths of the perversions to which this vixen would stoop.
Mum made it worse by tapping on the window at regular intervals and going "woo-hoo!". He still shudders when he tells the story.
By the time I was at Uni in the early 1980s, things had relaxed to the point where people were sleeping with people but you sort of had to attempt an awkward week-long relationship after to avoid a serious round of gossip and judgment.
Then came casual sex, Cleo magazine, and Sex and the City, powered by the strengthening of the feminist agenda meant young women, quite rightly, started taking more control of their own sexuality. Why is a woman who has a one-night stand a slut, but a guy who does the same a stud, they asked? They called out the double standard and started "having sex like a man."
This meant there was a chance, if there was enough champagne flowing, and you could stand up and say a sentence or two in some semblance of order, a girl might actually pick you up. To use your body for sex and not even pretend to try and date you! Who knew! I've heard more than one bloke my age wish he was 20 years younger.
Then, the requirement to be well-groomed and witty in a bar in the hope of a "hook-up" dropped away as everyone started swiping right. The rise of dating apps over the past few years has changed sex completely again. You don't have to pretend to date, you don't even have to pretend to talk.
Online porn has also normalised the extreme. When on earth did strangling someone and spitting on them become sexy? How am I able to hum the tune to a song with lyrics that go "my p***y, my crack, in the front and in the back," which is regularly played on radio stations. No-one even bats an eyelid.
Wired for pleasure
Looking forward, you won't even need a person in the room, or a person at all. As artificial intelligence comes to rip a chunk out of the job market and economy it's also creeping into your bedroom. A good number of millennials are already happy to use wearable technology during sex.
What's going to be the point of a relationship with a real woman when a hot hyper-realistic robot can read your every desire and won't make you take the rubbish out?
What will the fallout of all that be? Everything's available right now but we're losing the ability to chat, to flirt, to take a little time and enjoy a bit of discovery, to have some reward for effort.
The art of the tease
There's a shot of a woman's legs on the wall at my old-school barber that, as everyone getting a shave agreed, is way hotter than anything you can find on creepydirtystuff.com. (I made up that website because I'm too scared to google the real thing). You could show it to your Nanna. It could be your Nanna.
I think I'm proud to be a prude. It's way hotter.
Do you think sex is being ruined by online dating and Tinder culture? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.