There have always been double standards, and hypocrisy has been with us since man first walked the Earth, but it occurs to me that these less-than-desirable human traits are, in this country at least, alive and well.

And particularly is that so in the realm of sex as evidenced once again by a series of stories in this newspaper in the past week.

The one that made me laugh out loud was the National Council of Women's call to ban energy drink cans featuring overt sexual messages.

The drinks, called Ms Svenson's Classroom Detention and Miss Helen's Massive Melons, have explicit sexual references such as "Miss Helen is never shy in getting her big plump ripe melons out for the lads".


According to NCW president Elizabeth Bang the energy drinks are "not okay" and the messages on the can are sexist and offensive to women. They portrayed women as sex objects; anyone, including young boys, could buy them; and they added to the "level of desensitisation" to this sort of advertising among some people in the community.

Where on Earth has Ms Bang been these past few decades?

This nation is every day saturated in sexual imagery, staring us in the face wherever we go and whatever we do.

The advertising industry in all media, including billboards visible to everybody irrespective of age, unashamedly use sex to sell anything from underwear to perfume to motor vehicles; television, magazines and newspapers serve up a regular diet of salacious articles and images of partly-clad or naked women - and men, too.

Advertisements for Viagra and Cialis and a string of other drugs designed to restore or increase sexual performance regularly crop up on television and in magazines, along with those "Sex for Life" ads we find sprinkled through our newspapers day in and day out.

Call up the Google search engine on the internet and type in the word "sex" and you will be presented with 444 million pages on that subject (in 0.9 of a second, incidentally). Type in "porn" and Google will deliver you 1.37 billion (yes, billion) pages of it - in 0.7 of a second.

Anyone with a computer and an internet link can spend a full 24 hours looking at cyberspace porn sites - from nudity to hard-core heterosexual and homosexual sex to bestiality and other utter depravity - without it costing a cent.

And, by the end of the day, there would still be several days of viewing left.


In a land awash with sexual titillation aimed at everybody from little children to the intellectually disabled to the aged, blaming a drink can featuring a cartoon character's big boobs for "desensitising" the populace is ingenuous to say the least.

Ms Bang says: "The National Council of Women has been working for many years to improve the status of women in New Zealand and the advertising on the energy drink flies in the face of our efforts. We strongly urge those retailers selling the product to take it off their shelves."

All I can say is the council's hard work over many years has been not only misdirected but rather less than fruitful.

I had to smile, too, at another article in this newspaper in which Dr Pantea Farvid, of Auckland University, described as a leading expert on casual sex, is reported as saying that "having casual sex doesn't make someone promiscuous". Well, that depends.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines promiscuous as "having or characterised by many transient sexual relationships".

She was having a go at Dr Albert Makary, a Timaru gynaecologist, who told this year's Forum on the Family that, among other things, Kiwi women treat sex "like mating in a paddock".

Dr Farvid, we are told, has spent the past six years studying men's and women's casual sex psychology at post-doctoral level and has called for a new era of sexual ethics in which women can seek out casual sexual encounters safely and without being labelled "sluts".

Once again, I wonder where Dr Farvid has been for the past 40 years. Shut away in an ivory tower, perhaps? Because ever since the birth control pill came on the market, women have been seeking casual sex.

Trust me, I know. These women - and they were the quiet and unassuming vanguard of female sexual liberation - were not sluts, nor were they seen to be, except for the very, very few who genuinely were.

So what we have here is something that happens far too often in "research" these days - an academic setting out to prove something the rest of us have known to be a fact for yonks.

For decades now most people have come to see the act of sexual intercourse as simply a physical function, much like having a meal together or playing a game of tennis, something to be indulged in purely for sensory pleasure. I really don't think that's the way it is supposed to be.