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Study Says Sex on TV Doubled Since 1998

Television these days is loaded double the number of sex scenes aired seven years ago, says a study out today. And the number of shows that include "safer sex" messages has leveled off, it said.

There were nearly 3,800 scenes with sexual content spotted in more than 1,100 shows researchers studied, up from about 1,900 such scenes in 1998.

The study by Kaiser Family Foundation examined a sample of a week's worth of programming on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB, PBS, Lifetime, TNT, USA Network and HBO. Sexual content, as defined in the study, could be anything from discussions about sex to scenes involving everything from kissing to intercourse.

The study found that 70 percent of all shows included some sexual content, averaging about five sex scenes per hour.

The proportion of shows with sexual content in prime-time on the major broadcast networks ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox also increased, to nearly eight in 10 network shows, or 77 percent.

Media watchdog groups say there's way too much sex on television during the hours that kids may be watching.

"Kids who have repeated exposure to sexual content become sexually active at an earlier age. The research is absolutely there", said Tim Winter, executive director of the Parents Television Council.

But an advocacy group funded in part by the entertainment industry says the V-chip and other tools can help parents screen the shows their kids watch.

"Some activists will only see another opportunity to push government as parent, but parents make the best decisions about what is appropriate for their family to watch and have the tools to enforce those decisions", said Jim Dyke, executive director of a TV organization.

November 09, 2005 |

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