I'm not sure I agree with all the producers in this article who say that sex makes America nervous, but I'm pleased to read that people prefer to keep sexuality private rather than parading it publically.

As any theater owner will eagerly tell you, American audiences like their movies PG and PG-13, not R, and certainly not NC-17. At the recent ShoWest convention, National Association of Theatre Owners president John Fithian urged Hollywood to give theater owners more PG-rated hits and a lot fewer R-rated losers.

Last year, five of the top-10-grossing movies were PG. Of the top 25, only four were rated R. "Increasingly, if a movie is rated R," says producer John Goldwyn, "audiences won't go."

Not because Americans don't like sex, but because sexual material is so easy to access at home that it's easy to keep it private.

But they're not making movies like that anymore.

Why? These days, sex is in the home. In the privacy of your own room, you can see all the racy material you want in "Sex and the City," "The L Word," "Queer as Folk," "Deadwood" and "Desperate Housewives."

"Today's audiences aren't comfortable being seen in a mass-audience public place like a cinema complex seeing something that is inevitably notorious because of its sex," producer Bill Horberg writes in an e-mail. "If you go to a complex, you might run into your kids, much less neighbors, co-workers." ...

"We are a Puritan society," Press says. "We'd rather watch it at home."

And I say, good. It makes it easier for parents to control what their kids are exposed to. I don't really care what people want to watch in their own homes, but the majority should get to rule on what dominates the public sphere. In this case, it's market forces that are shutting out highly sexual movies, which is far better than if the government were getting involved.



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