During the period of the film industry’s Production Code (The Hays Office), Hollywood imposed its own rules governing the depiction and non-depiction of sex in the movies. It prohibited “excessive and lustful kissing, lustful embraces, suggestive postures and gestures.” So clever filmmakers resorted to metaphor, symbolism and innuendo to get the idea of intimacy—sex—across. Today everything goes, nothing is hidden, the world is freer but still not a better place.
I do, however, have some nostalgia for the days when suggestion stimulated longing and desire. When we didn’t take sex for granted. When the sound of a steam locomotive chugging at full speed into a tunnel was what got Hollywood screenwriters all hot and excited. Like the climax in Alfred Hitchock’s North By Northwest. Hitchcock.