Sex & the Century
By Jim Milio
In late 1997, The History Channel approached our company, MPH Entertainment, to develop a documentary mini-series dealing with sex throughout history. The History Channel's goal was to create a smart, compelling overview of this immense and often controversial topic by clearly separating fact from fiction. We really wanted a show that was provocative without being sensational or exploitive. The History of Sex aired in the fall of 1999 and was a critical success, along with becoming the History Channel's highest-rated program of all time.
Not surprisingly, The History Channel wanted a follow-up documentary. We all felt that the dramatic history of sex in 20th Century should be a mini-series all its own, hence Sex in the 20th Century, a four-hour special.
The approach we are taking in this new documentary is to provide an in-depth look at the never-ending sexual battle fought between conservatives and libertines throughout these tumultuous last hundred years. Not only have we interviewed more than 20 top scholars to provide context, but we also spoke on camera to a number of people who have stood at the front lines of this sexual battlefront, including Reverend Jerry Falwell, Larry Flynt, Hugh Hefner, Susie Bright, Nancy Friday, Susan Brownmiller and Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt.
The four-hour series takes us from the first electric vibrators to petting parties, from the furtive sexuality of the 1950s to a stained blue dress near the century's end. Sex in the 20th Century will air on The History Channel April 23-26 at 10 p.m.
Jim Milio is executive producer of both The History of Sex and Sex in the 20th Century. He is the head of MPH Entertainment.