We know our winning or losing is certain, yet wretch at the hollow glory gained by a shallow victory. Las Vegas explores the well-hidden lust that lies just beneath the sexually repressed exterior of the American public. This contradiction creates an illusion of sin and deviance that in reality stays just out of the grasp of the people wishing to partake of it. The closer the audience gets the more they discover there is nothing more that empty rooms surrounded by paper thin walls. Though the city appears to be rife with sex it is only an illusion created by the fantasy of violating our norms, which evaporates into a masquerade as inauthentic as the facade of any casino resort.
America's fundamental belief in the Chrisitan values that the country was founded on are at the root of the illusion. People have a strong attraction to deviance yet live in a world where it is unacceptable by definition. In America, sex is the ultimate symbol of deviance. By European standards America is a modest country in terms of sexuality. In America, sex has become the Christian icon for the thing we want and the thing that is just not attainable. Ferrari and Ives write that, "We are a Puritan nation obsessed with sex, a self-proclaimed meritocracy that idolizes wealth, a hardworking, churchgoing, law-abiding people that can't wait to party all night long" (6). But the sex will have to remain a taboo to be meaningful, as it is the repression of sexuality that brings such glamour to it. "This paradoxical condition of being the aberration and yet, the dream, results in a Las Vegas that is disliked and rejected, yet seductive and pleasurable" (Firat 8). America is psychologically drawn to the forbidden fruit and at the same time is repulsed by it. People want it to be a reality but they pray that it is only a facade.
Sexuality is an area where overindulgence is discouraged even while living in a society that praises consumer excess in the areas of wealth and avarice. Success in America is measured by how much materialism can be attained and flaunted. Yet, sex is the dirty little area where excess is truly taboo. Firat describes Las Vegas as "an aberration, where sleazy and illicit activities are sanctioned. Las Vegas is the excess of the American way of life, where many went to let go-the city of abandon" (8). However, norms and values as they relate to sex are not so easily abandoned in a culture that objects to even the most innocent public displays of affection. Sex in Las Vegas must necessarily remain a fantasy. These are the mixed messages that make Las Vegas a, "ridiculous manifestation of frustrated Puritanism" (Bouchet 7). People are praised for their love affections with their automobile and their public display of gluttony and greed, but expressions of sexual freedom need to remain hidden behind the closed doors of the private mind.
Sex is the one excess that American's will not emotionally tolerate and has become the national poster child for decadent behavior. It is the commodity of locker room talk and bathroom humor that is never brought into mixed company in the light of day. In Las Vegas it is expected that people will drink, gamble, and stay out all night. Family, friends, and society will excuse these violations of their personal norms. However, exploring the seamy underbelly of the sex trade would be