Heavy Petting is a documentary film that was written by Pierce Rafferty. Directed by Obie Benz and Joshua Waletzky, the cast features David Byrne, Frances Fisher and Sandra Bernhard. The film covers the topic of necking and sex during the 1950s and uses old teen movies, sex education films and commentary of middle-aged survivors of the period, as well as rock 'n' roll music.
Included is information about how Hollywood teens were naive and lived in innocent times when venereal disease was always dreaded and many people did not admit to having sex until long after high school. In fact, many people were fearful of the opposite sex. There was often only one girl in the film who had sex all throughout her high school years.
There is an assortment of different kinds of people from the era who remember how things were back then. Many of the commentators are artists such as David Byrne, Laurie Anderson and Ann Magnuson. William Burroughs indicates that he never really wanted to be loved by anyone but his cat.
One woman recalls that she slow danced with a boy who tried to see how far he could get by dancing as closely as he could and then running a hand over the back of her bra. When Allen Ginsberg was around 12, after he told a girl that her breasts were large, she promptly hit him. He says that is when he gave up on females for the rest of his life.
The witnesses grew up in cities like New York, where not many teenagers could use or needed a car. One person describes how he and his partner actually became interlocked and had to visit the emergency room to get unstuck. The great loss of innocence that occurred within the last 30 years is covered by stories of many kinds, all detailing the resultant ignorance, naivete and clumsiness of sex during those times.