WASHINGTON. — I'm tired of sex. Not the experience itself, but all the talk about it.
Television, that once great idea which now serves mostly as an uplink for the sewer, exposes me to a flash flood of sex. What happened to the people of great talent who worked in that medium producing programs to uplift and ennoble?
In recent days I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about the development of the female condom. Talk of the male condom ranges from serious public discussion to jokes on late-night talk shows.
Then there are the trials. Television has used the rape trials of William Kennedy Smith and Mike Tyson and the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings featuring the explicit sexual testimony of Anita Hill as a battering ram. The Jeffrey Dahmer trial offers a more sordid twist: sex with corpses and cannibalism.
Do I really need to know (or care about) testimony regarding the size of Mike Tyson's sex organ or how cute some Miss Black America contestant thinks his posterior is?
Our resistance to this kind of talk on television is lowered because, after all, we are watching ''news.'' But then it becomes easier to incorporate such language in entertainment programming. A network sitcom last week showed a man and woman in bed about to have sex. He expressed exasperation that he didn't ''bring any protection.'' The woman replies, ''Top drawer in the night stand.'' He opens the drawer to find an assortment of condoms. He looks at her surprised. She shrugs as if to say, ''Well, what did you expect?''
The Fox Television network has become the at-home equivalent of the peep show. Programs like ''Studs,'' a graphic talk show about dating, strip sex of its form and concentrate only on function. Fox has run condom ads, and the other networks are likely to, just as soon as they lower our resistance another notch or two.
Politics is now infused with sex as bimbos achieve a few minutes of fame after selling their stories to print and TV tabloids. For a moment I think I'm watching the old CBS program ''You Are There,'' in which Walter Cronkite conducted flashbacks into history. This must be Sodom and Gomorrah.
Part of the joy of sex used to be its unfolding mysteries. Like the preparation of fine foods, sex was something one approached slowly and tenderly, adding new ingredients as the process continued. It was thought best served within a committed marital bond. At least that was the ideal. Though not all practiced it that way, most of us believed it would promote not only our own best interests but also the general welfare.
Now it seems we approach sex, and nearly everything else, as we do microwave dinners -- quick and pretty tasteless. The goal has become more important than the means of reaching it. And we lose something special as a result.
5) Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist.