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Would You be in a Sex Scene for $1 Million?

 
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I think we can all agree that contemporary media has a huge impact on the development and expression of sexual desire in women both young and old. Therefore, my ears are always pricked whenever I hear about the depiction of sex in magazines, programs, or films. The latest story I read detailed the firing of actor Neal McDonough (Desperate Housewives, The Guardian, Minority Report) due to his refusal to film sex scenes for a new primetime sitcom.

McDonough recently acquired the starring role in a program called Scoundrel, which he would have been paid $1 million. According to the newsgroup Viscosi Media, “McDonough’s refusal was based on his belief that such scenes would clash with his Catholicism and his reputation as a family man. McDonough is married with three young children and is known to have refused to film any sex scenes on Desperate Housewives."

What strikes me about this story is the fact that it highlights the effect of capitalism on sexuality. As human beings, we all know that sex is necessary and enjoyable, but we are careful to erect clearly defined boundaries so as to control what we perceive as overly passionate emotions. In our effort to make reasonable decisions, we understandably then construct social morals to reassure ourselves that our sexual drive is not too overzealous or out of control.

By establishing sexual rules we presumably intend to protect ourselves from our own feelings, but we also place undue value upon the behaviors we have labeled either good or bad. When placed within a capitalist framework, this necessarily invites (and even encourages) the trade of money for feelings or experiences that are desired but not accessible in everyday life.

To put it bluntly, people can make a lot of money engaging in sexually taboo behaviors - dancing for Chippendale's, working at Hooter's, or providing sexual favors. However, the line must be drawn at some point; how long can a person live outside of his or her value system in order to get ahead, or even simply survive in some cases? For one million dollars, would you film a passionate scene with a person who was not your partner or spouse?

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