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Sex In Popular Culture

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As most Americans are aware, sex sells just about anything from Pepsi to Victoria's Secret underwear. Perhaps the greatest argument of our time is the recent indictment of sex and violence on television. Political groups lined up to do battle over the salacious content on the television. Whether it's graphic violence, or steamy sex, the widest held opinion is that television in the last 10 years has increased the presence of violent criminals in America.

Controversy erupted because of the amount of sexual activity and the way it is shown on prime time TV. Critics contend that there is too much skin shown in most daytime TV. They are also concerned that the exposure of sex might send the wrong message to its teenage viewers. Most channels such as: MTV, WB, and VH1 show a number of shows sending out the message it is ok to have sex. Critics are also very quick to point out that these shows don't discuss or show safe sex techniques. Sex in popular entertainment is sex without consequences or emotional impact, but teenager viewers do not see behind the lights and the cameras. Teenagers are having sex at younger ages and teen pregnancy is becoming a huge problem in the United States. Our society has become very dependent

on popular culture without even thinking about the real messages that are displayed.

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The average American teenager watches three hours of television a day. Typical teenage shows contain sexual content, ranging from touching, kissing, jokes, conversations about sexual activity and intercourse. Sex is often presented as a casual activity without risk or consequences. The messages young viewers absorb from television promote sexual activity. Young teenage couples think that sex is not a big deal. In an online study conducted by Concerned Women of America statistics show that around twenty percent of teenagers (13-16 years) are sexually active and are not using condoms. One-third of U.S. teens did not use birth control the first time they had sex. A number of fourteen year olds admit that they have had pregnancies scares. United States teens have the highest pregnancy rates at around eleven percent. The Center for Disease and control state that the

Number of teenagers with sexually transmitted diseases has increased more throughout the past five years. If abstinence is not the rule, then perhaps birth control should be taught.

Sex Ed is not taught much at home. Most information that teens get when it comes to sex primarily comes from peers and the television. Friends often do not get the information from the correct sources either sometimes they tell each other they can't get pregnant if they do it standing up, or nobody gets pregnant the first time or they can tell if people have AIDS just by looking at them.

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Statistics show that teen pregnancy occurs during the first month the teen is sexually active or it can happen the first time they have sex. Television is not making the messages any clearer, couples on TV never show methods to prevent pregnancy.

A survey conducted by the center of public media in1994 found that 75 percent of Americans felt that television had "too much sexually explicit material." As well, 86 percent believed that television had contributed to a decline in value. Scanning the ads for movies or channel surfing through the television reveals shows celebrating premarital sex, adultery, and even homosexuality; sexual promiscuity on television is at an all-time high.

In an article "Entertainment Television as a Healthy Sex Educator" researchers conducted a study in three parts they looked at (1) sexual behavior, such as kissing, intimate touching, and implied or depicted intercourse, (2) talk about sexual plans or desires or about sex that has occurred, and expert advice, and (3) talk about or behavior showing the risks of or the need for safety in regard to sexual activity: abstinence, waiting to have sex, portrayals mentioning or showing contraceptives, and portrayals related to consequences, such as AIDS, STDs, pregnancy, and abortion.

The results on the study showed that heavy exposure to sexual content on television related strongly to teens' ideas of intercourse or their progression



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