Sex more common on TV, study reveals
March 2 2001 by Ken Camp , Associated Baptist Press

Sex more common on TV, study reveals | Friday, March 2, 2001
  • Movies were the most likely type of programming to contain sexual content, at 89 percent. But they were followed closely by situation comedies (84 percent) and soap operas (80 percent).
  • The increase in sexual content was greatest in situation comedies, rising from 56 percent in 1997-98 to 84 percent of all episodes in 1999-2000.
  • No category of programming showed a decrease in sexual content.
  • Sexual intercourse is depicted or strongly implied in 10 percent of all TV shows.
  • Portrayals of teenagers involved in sexual intercourse increased three-fold. In the first study, 3 percent of all TV characters involved in sexual intercourse were teens. In the most recent study, that figure jumped to 9 percent.
  • Nine out of 10 TV shows with sexual content included no reference to the risks and responsibilities of sexual activity. References to the risks and responsibility of sexual activity were most likely to be included in dramas (15 percent) and least likely in situation comedies (5 percent). Programs depicting teen characters in sexual situations were most likely to include such references.

    While the findings are disturbing, Haag emphasized that Christians are "not powerless" to respond to objectionable programming.

    "We can compliment and support the television programs and movies which rise above sexploitation to give a more truthful account of life. We can express our views to advertisers and producers," he said.

    Parents can monitor and influence their children's television viewing and use available technology to lock out some harmful programming, Haag added.

    "And we can use the bad programming which does get through as teaching moments for our children," he said.

    (EDITOR'S NOTE: The "Sex on TV: Content and Context" study is available online at

  • Friday, March 2, 2001

    Sex more common on TV, study reveals

    By Ken Camp Associated Baptist Press DALLAS (ABP) - Sex is more prevalent on TV today than just a couple of years ago, according to a recently released study. "Sex on TV: Content and Context" was the second biennial study conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, an independent national health-care philanthropy based in Menlo Park, Calif. The foundation released its report Feb. 5.

    The study revealed that the number of programs containing sexual content rose from 56 percent of all shows in the 1997-98 season to 68 percent in the 1999-2000 season. At least one show in four (27 percent) included sexual behavior, with the remainder featuring conversation about sex.

    Television's preoccupation with sex offers a skewed view of reality, says Bill Tillman, T.B. Maston professor of Christian ethics at the Logsdon School of Theology in Abilene, Texas.

    "Sexuality is a major part of life, one of the major shapers of each of our personalities," he said. "Still, we are more than sexual beings. Thus, TV media content proclaims life in an out-of-balanced kind of way."

    Sex is particularly common in primetime network programs, the study demonstrated. In 1997-98, 67 percent included sexual content, while 75 percent did in 1999-2000.

    These results are not surprising because they just confirm the truism that "sex sells," said Joe Haag, special moral-concerns associate with the Christian Life Commission at the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

    "Sex is front and center in television programming and cinematic production because sex attracts viewers, and viewers attract advertisers and investors," Haag said. "What is alarming and discouraging is the overwhelming power of this economic reality."

    Researchers in southern California examined 1,114 programs that aired between October 1999 to March 2000 on 10 network, syndicated, public television and cable channels. Only scenes in which sex was a substantial emphasis were counted in the research.

    The study revealed:

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    3/2/2001 12:00:00 AM by Ken Camp , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments
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