But some of their younger consumers are less judgmental about gender roles and have a more tolerant view of their sexuality, embracing gay marriage in larger numbers than their parents and, perhaps, seeing a threesome or even foursome as no big deal.
Many couldn't understand what all the "commotion" was about. One commenter on New York magazine's Web site declared, "All I can see are beautiful people having a good time…It's not the advertising that makes little children confused, it's the uptight handling with sex-related issues in general of their parents."
Even those who have never considered a ménage a trois (or more) didn't seem shocked by the notion that more is merrier.
"I think that many younger people are OK with threes and fours, theoretically," said Lauren, a 28-year-old New York City teacher who did not want her last name used. "In college, many people engage in threesomes either with three friends, strangers or even their main partner and then a friend."
But some say Calvin Klein, whose earlier ads seem tame by comparison, had hit a cultural nerve.
"It's just porn from a guy who's done kiddie porn," said Bob Garfield, ad critic at Advertising Age and co-host of National Public Radio's, "On the Media." "If you pay attention to it, you're just doing his advertising for him."