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Does too much sex on TV cause teenage promiscuity?
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Olivia_WebMD_Staff posted:
This topic is a spin on the topic suggested by Butterflygarden and seems timely with all the awards shows going on right now:

This is actually a two-fold debate. First, do you think there is too much sex on TV and in the movies these days? Why or why? And, do you think all the sex that is portrayed leads to more teenagers engaging in sexual behavior?
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Anon_999 responded:
Yes and Yes - the teens look at it like this - so if they can do it so can I. I won't watch a program if it has sex in it who needs to watch it - there are plently of other shows to watch. Dancing with the Stars bothers me because of the skimmpy clothes they wear and flount their bodies around.
 
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Anon_5366 replied to Anon_999's response:
I agree!
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
I am often amazed how far the censors allow some shows to go, especially on the quasi-regulated cable or satelite television systems. I have to police the programs carefully before the grandchildren spend the night. Sex sells, and teenagers (as well as adults)...buy.

I don't think the sexual content of television causes promiscuity per se, but I think it portrays sex as something overly casual that everyone does without thinking. Sex education in schools has not really had a major impact on sexual activity either. Kids who are going to experiment with sex would probably do so no matter what was on television. The reasons are many, but the sexual content on television is only a small part of this serious issue.

Our adolescent clinic sees 2-3 unwanted pregnancies per week, and countless STDs. Sexual activity can occur at ages 12-13 in our populations.
 
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ddnos responded:
I think how much sex is in the media (TV, movies, Internet) it's a sad commentary on our society today. Many of our children are out of control because the parents don't take any responsibility for their roles as parents. Too many of them are far too concerned about being friends with thier kids rather than being thier parent.

So yes, I believe that there is far too much sex in the media. Sex has become a casual act from an early age onward rather than the expression of true love between two people.
 
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hackwriter responded:
I have a slightly different focus. As a writer, I've noticed that comedians (seen largely on Comedy Central and HBO) use explicit sexual terms and situations to get a laugh. If you're going to directly express the nitty-gritty, there's no place to go from there.

When censorship was in place on television (I'm 54, so that's what I grew up watching), writers had to dig deeper to come up with clever ways to obliquely imply sex--and that was better writing. There were more metaphors for sex, rather nice ones, and I miss that in the culture.

I'm not a prude by any means; portraying sex and talking about it have their place. But as soon as a woman bares her breasts on a visual medium, all we do is look at them and can't focus on anything else. Storywise, it's distracting and usually does nothing to move the story forward.

As far as its influence on teens, I remember debates on this issue in my teens back in the sixties and seventies. Sex education in schools was very controversial and specifically banned any talk of birth control--because it might make us want to have sex. That was pure rubbish, of course. But it's still controversial today for the same reason.

Moreover, there was a larger focus on violence back then--it was a time of great upheaval. Television simply mirrored what was going on in the culture.

Does seeing a gun on television make us want to have one? Does watching sex make us want to do it? Does seeing a Big Mac make us want to have one?

The answer isn't exactly clear. Advertising has proven that we are influenced by what we see, otherwise it wouldn't be so ubiquitous and lucrative. But I think it targets our impulsiveness--which teens possess a lot of. Proper communication with their parents and support resources and full access to sex education and birth control are--and always have been--the best countermeasures to the rich pageantry of media excesses.
 
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butterflygarden replied to hackwriter's response:
Eloquently put, Hackwriter!

Do I think that some TV shows carry it a bit too far? Yep. Do I think that what we see on TV or in movies may have some affect on us? Yep. But, as Hackwriter implies above, education and support is the key with teaching teens about sex. We have no problem watching actors taking their clothes off and writhing all over each other in primetime TV, but we still fear that ANY talk of sex in public school will just make kids want to go out and DO IT.

Schools can't educate kids about sex and birth control and STDs. Many parents are uncomfortable talking about it. And since we're all hardwired with hormones, particularly in the teen years, kids are going to seek what information they can find, with or without our help. Some of that information may be wrong or sensationalized.

I remember being a kid and going to my grandparents house where we were not allowed to watch the show, "Facts of Life." Anyone remember that? And that was a VERY tame show.

Now, we have "The Secret Life of the America Teenager" on ABC Family, where kids are having babies and sex all over the place. It's supposed to show how tough life can be for a girl who gets pregnant in high school, but even my teens have said, "Gee Mom, they almost make this seem like playing house." It's more like the teen version of a soap opera, with kids making decisions they have no business making and the parents are present, but not engaged.

So, in a nutshell, I don't believe that these shows are causing kids to be more promiscuous. But, I think that they sensationalize sex for teens in a way that makes it seem more hip and flip than it should be. For kids who don't have a strong parental unit giving them support and factual information, I think these shows can be a bad influence.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SEX!!!!

Butterfly
 
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3point14 responded:
I think lazy or absentee parenting is far more to blame for teen promiscuity than anything they're watching on television. I've always found it really lame when people would fret over what was being allowed on TV, but then allow their children total access to that. Put on parental controls, don't have cable, enforce when TV can and can't be watched, and use the opportunity when you're watching this stuff with your child to discuss with them what they see.

The shows on TV are produced for entertainment and to make money. That's it. In the same way you wouldn't educate your child about eating by watching Paula Deen, you shouldn't be allowing your child to piece together their sexual education from MTV. What people should do is give their child actual factual information so that when they are exposed to things about sex, they understand it.

When they get into sexual situations themselves, they aren't wondering what some ficticious person on a screen did, they remember what their parent or someone else they respect said to them. If they're confronted with something, they should have someone they can ask who might know what they're talking about, not an equally ill-informed friend.

I've always found it confusing to blame "the media" on the behavior of teens. It seems strange to me that we let these people operate motor vehicles, vote for presidents, but not expect them to understand that they're not on Jersey Shore. I think it's really condescending to assume that teens follow the example of characters because we don't do the same about adults. We don't wonder if the divorce rate is affected by the Real Housewives, and we don't wonder if men are cheating more on their wives due to sexuality on TV. We assume adults are capable of making up their own minds, but we also assume that these adults can't teach their values, morality, or simple facts to their own children?
 
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rachael67 responded:
It's not merely sex on tv that I fault, but I also find shows which focus on the lowest commmon denominator in humanity to be a problem!

Where are the plays,shows and documentaries which feature the good in our fellow creatures? And the movies which harness our positive energies and inspire us to make this world a better place? Or shows which point us toward ideals and ideas in order that we might choose paths which go toward greatness and goodness?

Where are these same things in our newspapers and magazines? They are missing too in our music and even our everyday conversations.

It is cheaper and easier to throw a reality show together...Folks just love their 15 minutes in the spotlight, and don't mind at all that they look like the south end of a north bound horse!

In order to titillate the public, it seems imperative that we are supplied with lots of t&a as well as the ever-present car chase!

And how much more delicious is a conversation which feasts on the foibles and failings of each other than anything of real worth?

As long as we insist that we are satiated by such, it isn't only the young who are influenced...It casts a shadow on each of us. Perhaps it is time that we and they sit down together and share and learn from one another? Sex is part of life and must be addressed responsiblity and reasonably. But life consists of more than that, and the media and WE should make sure that our young see it's most noble possibilities.

Rachael
 
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An_243125 responded:
I believe sex in the media does not cause teenage promiscuity. While yes I agree it can be featured in a more casual way, ultimately this can be boiled down to a lack of parenting. (like so much else...) As a father of 2, if I find something objectionable on the television I do not let my children watch it. Further, I have the "parental controls" set so my children can't stumble across something when I am not aware.
I have also sat both my teenage son and daughter down and had "the sex talk", explaining everything, and hopefully, if I've raised them correctly, passing on some of my own morals and thoughts on the subject.
Teens have raging hormones, and will always be placed in situations that we as parents will find questionable. The solution is giving them the facts, and hoping that we raised them to make the right choices. Pointing the finger at anyone besides your self, as a parent, is counter-productive, and in the end questionable in it's own way.
I guess my oppinion, to sum it up, is : If you don't like it so much, turn the TV off...
 
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ItsMe_999 replied to An_243125's response:
The rates of premarital sex have gone down or stayed the same(depending on what studies you look at) since the 1950's, so the idea that sex on television is causing teens to want to have sex seems like a tough sell. We need to be worried about the kind of sex that is being had. Are teenagers having safe sex? If there were real sex education programs in schools then we might begin to see decrease in teen pregnancy and STD rates.

Here is one of the studies from a few years ago, it is interesting.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17236611
 
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An_243145 responded:
I completly agree. My wife is infatuated with those tv shows like 16 and pregnat, teen mom, secret life etc. I hate them so much to the point that the shows are no to be watched in our hom, she has to go to her friends house to watch them. The prouducers say that the are trying to prevent teen pregnancy but honestly watch just a couple episodes and I think that you migh agree with me in saying that there mission statement most likely reads "Come on kids kock each other up so we can make more and more money!!!!!!!!!"

Im not going to say the Im a perfect angel either, I lost my virginity at 15, and in the time before I meet my wife and to be honest within 3 years I slept with over 150 women. Now I dont know if it is sheer luck but not a single one of those women got pregnant from me. (yes i did wear protectio, but we all know that they dont always hold perfectly)

But hey this is but just one guy talking. If you dont like it too bad.
 
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billm57 responded:
im gonna have to plead the twinkie defense - lol - tv - like twinkies - is not the cause - all people have to be personally responsible and accountable - especially the network and cable execs website operators and parents - ratings are way overated and greed is the bottom line - and as long as the clandestine porn peddlers think sex sells and as long as we keep subscribing to that - thats what were going to get - from hardcore to casual innuendo which can be just as bad - theres a time and place for all that but its not primetime - also it seems the more regulation is tried the worse it gets - so just as there is no one real cause there can be no one real solution - the on/off switch is a good start
 
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ferrebeebetler_an responded:
No. Regardless of what is on TV. Teens are going to continue to have sex. Sex is natural, as long as they're safe, who cares. We all get urges, it's very healthy to have sex. Just teach your kids to be safe, and you'll have nothing to deal with. Sex is sex. We all do it. Don't act like it is something bad. You can't stop them from doing it, so just protect them.
 
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lola_16 responded:
No, sex been around TV, music videos, and movies for a long time. It is a disgusting cycle that continues. Honestly, if a teenager wants to have sex they'll do it. Nobody is going to stop them. I was a teenager before, and I choose not to have sex at a young age. For me, it was disgusting and too intimate. At the time, I felt it was for adults only. One of my classmates was pregnant at 13! I felt so bad. I thought- why did she gave in at a young age? She was too young to be worrying about taking care of a baby. I am glad that she did not abort the child. I was so proud of her for taking responsibility! Anyways, TV shows, music about sex ect, is NEVER to blame for teenagers being sexually active. The more people restrict sex the more teenagers crave it. It is a mind thing, and my parents never told me, "Don't have sex!" All they told me was to respect myself. It was up to me to decide if I wanted to have sex. So yeah, those that are promiscuous is their choice. Nobody has a gun in he or she skull. It's their choice not media.


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