Heavy Petting returns to the 1950s in America, a time when World War II had ended and sexual liberation had yet to begin. This lighthearted film draws from sex education documentaries, teenage films and interview footage to re-visit the conflict between adolescent sexual curiosity and the expectations of proper society. Sex education films of the 1950s portrayed the era's primitive sexuality through well-mannered mothers donning aprons while explaining to their daughters the dangers awaiting all "good girls" while hinting at tips for pleasant grooming. Teenagers had an exaggerated innocence in every malt shop scene. Girls were constantly lectured on how to handle "the boy problem." Teenage sexuality was addressed through slogans such as "Don't do a don't," and sexual impulses were labeled as dangerous. Meanwhile, Elvis Presley was gyrating on stage, girls were practicing their French kissing on each other and boys were mastering the art of unhooking a bra.