Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Larson, Mary Strom

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Communication Studies


Television and youth--United States; Youth--Sexual behavior; Sex on television


A content analysis of seven highly-rated television programs indicates that the four television networks display a high level of sexual activity between unmarried characters, perhaps implying in the minds of some viewers the network's stamp of approval for premarital sexual intercourse. Many of these unmarried characters involved in sexual activity are teenagers engaged in their first-time sexual experience— which may possibly teach and encourage teen viewers to engage in sexual activity. Most sexual activity on the seven programs displayed unsafe sexual intercourse, i.e., intercourse without the discussion of, or evident use of, protection against pregnancy, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), or AIDS. The study also indicates that a majority of sexual incidents on the networks are initiated by females. This may be a factor in recent evidence of a rise in sexually assertive teenage girls. Additionally, the study found 10 sexual fallacies displayed by the networks. These sexual fallacies may confound any sexual education received by teens and may even impede teen sexual development by adding confusion to the already confusing period of adolescence.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [51]-57)


vi, 82 pages




Northern Illinois University

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