Oh, sex and violence have always been in media - but it didn't use to be so blatant. Or so naked.
There was a time when scenes like these were never shown on primetime programs:
In movies probably; but not on easily-accessible TV.
TV has certainly gotten a lot sexier. There's still a lot of wholesome, intelligent entertainment around of course, and I'm glad for that, but you can't deny the proliferation of orgies and orgasms on screen.
It's funny how when we were teens, our parents worried about TV programs that seem so tame in comparison to the shows aired today. Good moms and dads ranted about the possible negative influence of Beverly Hills 90210 and Dawson's Creek by the way the characters switched make-out partners so easily and slept around without consequences - but really, that was nothing.
I wonder how my friends-who-are-now-parents cope as they screen their kids' viewing selections. There's just something about becoming a (responsible) parent that changes your whole worldview, regardless of whether you were prudish or promiscuous when you were younger. Parents who want to censor their children's movies or TV shows have a much harder time these days, since uncut versions of any show can be easily downloaded or streamed online. Besides, corner DVD pirate never asks for ID.
Sex sells, it has been said for decades. I bet. Often, the sexy stuff on TV isn't even essential to the plot, i.e., the episodes would be fine and dandy without them, so it seems they were intentionally added just for that lust factor. Like for example, I don't really need to see those ladies in their lingerie to believe they have happy conjugal lives, and I don't need to witness what they do in the bedroom to appreciate the story.
But then, without all the risque parts, I guess Grey's Anatomy would just be another hospital drama, True Blood would be just another vampire story, and Spartacus would just be another period drama.
It used to be that actual sex scenes in mainstream media were merely suggestive (anything more was considered hardcore X, like those virtually inaccessible freethinker films from the '70s) - and those things never made it to primetime television. Primetime used to be for wholesome fun and family movies.
In certain recent series, there's nothing suggestive about the sex. Though it isn't as brazen as actual porn, there's still too much bedskill to see. Like, if I were a horny virgin teenaged boy, I could easily make my friends believe I was a pro just by watching those things. If I were an innocent high school girl, I wouldn't need to wonder what an orgasm is anymore. The nudity on TV isn't just a little flash of flesh; in some cases, it's full frontals. Sometimes, viewers get to watch the characters go until they climax.
I remember back when I was in University, there was a lot of debate on art vs. morality over Rosanna Roces' movie, Ligaya, which had 4 or 5 bed scenes in its two-hour span. In those days, that was already real scandalous. Four sex scenes, huh? The first episode of The Tudors Season One alone had four, and it's barely an hour long. And Rosanna bed scenes are coy compared to the Stackhouse sack action in True Blood.
I remember having to pretend to be older just to get into movies like The Crow or Interview With the Vampire, those show with R-ratings. Things like those would easily be PG13 these days.
Sex has always been around - even the perverse kind - but I'm inclined to think that people haven't always been so indiscreet. Horndogs have existed since time immemorial and they have always found a way to screw if they really wanted to. TV just takes their stories and turns them into entertainment. But the stuff people see gives them more stimulation, more ideas, more stories to turn into more entertainment - thus stoking the cycle into a fever-pitch. It makes you see that art imitates life just as much as life imitates art.