Brisbane Times – Wendy Squires 12 Jan 2013
Amid the vacuous dross that spills from the silicone lips of celluloid stars, sometimes – and it is a rarity – a relevant comment will make it to print. This happened recently when Irish actor and father of two teenage boys, Liam Neeson, steered away from the usual promotional guff involving ”generous co-stars”, ”visionary directors” and ”getting in character” to deliver an unscripted and highly personal opinion. In Neeson’s case, one I passionately agree with. ”I’d hate to be a kid now, because we’re all inundated with so much information about sexuality coming at us from everywhere – the media, the advertising billboards, just everywhere – and it must be so confusing for them,” the 60-year-old told Ireland’s Catholic Herald. ”There’s a problem that, if you become overfamiliar with something, it moves from the sacred to almost the profane. The act is very, very special, you know. It’s full of mystery and wonder, and I’d hate us all to get to the stage where we just treat it lightly, because it deserves more than that … but times have changed since I was young, no doubt about it.”
….As a father of 16 and 17-year-old sons, Neeson is right to despair. The art of learning about sex through trust, time and tenderness has left the building, it seems. And it’s not coming back for an encore any time soon. There are myriad reasons why sex has become so debased in society it has been almost rendered an ablution, going from something magical to mechanical, from a gift of love to subservient surrender. About now it’s my duty to raise my arm and declare ”mea culpa” because, as a magazine writer and editor who has commissioned and written innumerable ”how to satisfy him in bed” articles, I have most definitely contributed to the problem. And I’m not proud of it. But it takes more than magazines to turn what should be a spiritual act into a routine release, a sexier version of a sneeze. I blame porn. I blame advertising.
I blame Western religion. I blame the endemic rise of narcissism as the norm. I blame the near extinction of respect and romance in society. Sex sells may be a marketing truism, but the cost is often self-esteem, safety and sanity.