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Responding to a friend who noted that hotels now advertising themselves as “gay-friendly” would never advertise themselves as “heterosexual-friendly” and rarely as “child-friendly,” a second friend responded:

What if hotels who say “family friendly” really came clean and said they were Fornication Friendly and Adultery Friendly? The hotel business revels in what the French call the cinq à sept: rooms used from 5 to 7 with expensive room service for the same price as a room full of kids pushing all the buttons in the elevator and eating every kind of free food the hotel offers.  Even the easy availability of  porn for the business traveller says this is a lust-based business model.  Adding “gay friendly” is just greedy, trying to get the last  few percentage points of fornicator market share.

To which Stuart Koehl, author of Beyond the Pill: Looking for the Origins of the Sexual Revolution (which I commend to your attention), responded:
O tempora! O mores! When was it not so?  Though, for what it’s worth, the bread and butter of the hotel business today is the business traveler on per diem.  Believe me, we’re too tired at the end of the day for expensive fornication with talented professionals, or even enthusiastic amateurs.

So, a clue:  back as far as hotels existed, hotels and prostitution went together like bread and butter—right back to ancient Greece and Rome, truth be told.  It may not have been emphasized on the television, but in the radio episodes of Gunsmoke , they’re pretty clear about what kind of business Miss Kitty was running up on the second floor of her establishment.

If you want to point to an epochal, behavior-changing development, maybe the automobile and the motel should be higher on your list.  The former gave people the mobility to get away from family, friends, and neighbors, and the latter, with its little detached cottages or single story row buildings with detached entrances that allowed one to circumvent the nosy concierge.  All told, a lot more fornication friendly than most hotels today, what with all the security cameras and magnetic door keys creating permanent records of everyone’s comings and goings.

I suppose that’s true, but now, of course, almost no one minds fornication (not that anyone knows the word anymore) and so would not mind the record of their comings and goings being made public. Adultery is still a furtive activity (I hope) but hotels are so afraid of violating their customer’s privacy that the surveillance is not a threat.

It is a pleasant daydream, though, to think of a hotel that advertised itself as “family friendly” and required that its customers be married.

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