Recently viewed on HBO is a show called Strangers. In the show a man
was stood up at the alter by his finance. Instead of seeking compassion from his
friends he went to Paris to get over her. There, he met a beautiful Zoo Keeper who
later in the day he was having sex with. During the sex scene it reveled the
woman’s breasts and showed them engaging in intercourse (Bellafante).
Late night cable television is allowed to show these scenes and does so
frequently. Over 75 percent of late night shows on premium stations like: HBO,
Cinemax, and Showtime show sex scenes like the one on strangers often
(Bellafante)
Sexual content is not only found on late night premium stations but also on
regular sitcoms shown during family hour. (Impoco) On NBC’s popular sitcom
“Friends”, Phoebe has a major problem. Her boyfriend won’t sleep with her! “The
guy still won’t put out, huh?” a friend asks. The gang then speculates that he must
be gay. But Phoebe then rules that out by bringing up a circumstance when she
was dancing with him recently. She points out that while they were dancing he
became aroused. She knew this because she felt his penis poking into her hip.
Later in the show she can barely contain her happiness when she tells the gang that
they finally made it.”(Tyler pg 954-65) The trick she says was that she made it
clear to him that she wasn’t expecting a commitment just because they had sex.
In an extensive study by, Robert Lichter, Linda Lichter, Stanley Rothman
and Daniel Amundson found that a sexual act or reference occurred every four
minutes on average during a prime time show (Polymorphous). On NBC’s
“Caroline in the City,” penis size is a running joke. When a male character asks
“does size matter?” a female responds “ Give women some credit! Of course not
unless you’re having sex.”(Impoco) On ABC’s “Grace Under Fire” Grace
promises to repay her boyfriend with “Mother Natures credit card” if he watches
her kids (Polymorphous). On NBC’s “Mad About You” a neighbor asks Paul for
permission to loosely cup his dogs testicles to prove a point. On Fox’s “Melrose
Place” a plastered Jake takes a stranger to his hotel room. He asks her “no strings
attached, right?” (Steinbeck pg 565-573) “none but these” she replies as she drops
her spaghetti straps of her slip. And on NBC’s “Seinfield” a minicrisis erupts
because of a shortage of contraceptive sponges. Because of the circumstance
Elaine must interview her date to see if he is sponge worthy. He passes with flying
colors.
Recently the comedy sitcom star Ellen has came out of the closet by
revealing the fact that she is a lesbian. Her weekly sitcom is now based on her
being a lesbian. The number of gay/ lesbian/ or bisexual characters on television
has increased dramatically since TV’s beginning. (See chart below)
(http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/tv-characters.html)
The first gay character appeared in 1970 in the UK Since then many TV
shows have had characters appear as being gay
(http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/tv-characters.html). One sitcom, which ran
from 1972-1977, had 14 characters appear as being gay on a regular basis
(http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/tv-characters.html). From 1971-1980 21
shows had a total of 55 gay characters
(http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/tv-characters.html). From 1981-1990 45
shows had a total of 93 gay characters
(http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/tv-characters.html). And from 1991-present
there have been 66 shows with 138 gay characters making an appearance
(http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/tv-characters.html). That is a drastic increase
from the one show and one gay character appearing between 1961-1970
(http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/tv-characters.html).
Some say television is the best sex educator that society can offer. But the
message being sent out is “to go for it” (Tan pg 912-917). On television it is taken
for granted that after a few dates you sleep with the person. In a recent report sent
out by the Media Research Center it was found that portrayals of premarital sex out
numbered sex within marriage by 8 to 1 (Impoco). Furthermore, casual sex was
almost always condoned.
In our survey we asked teens and adults a series of questions about sex on
television. The questions were “Do you think TV has too much sexual content?”,
“Do you think what is portrayed on TV effects your personal decisions?”, and “Do
you think TV events are real