Study: Does TV Encourage Infidelity?

From: Ask Mars Venus

Recently, the Parents Television Council (PTC) accused broadcast networks of “cheating” on real relationships. PTC says their study, titled “Happily Never After: How Hollywood Favors Adultery and Promiscuity Over Marital Intimacy on Prime Time Broadcast TV,” found the following:

  • Sex between married couples is portrayed as “boring, burdensome, or nonexistent.”
  • Extramarital sex is depicted as positive.
  • Verbal references to nonmarital sex during prime time outnumber references to marital sex nearly 3 to 1. AND, scenes that implied sex between unmarried partners outnumbered similar scenes between married couples 4 to 1.

OK, yeah, we admit it. Married sex on TV is ho-hum. Two people who love each other having a cozy, adoring lovefest aren’t why most viewers tune into the daytime and nighttime dramas. But why? Would it make us uncomfortable to watch two characters actually celebrate their union? Or are we drawn to the more salacious entertainment because, like the shoot ‘em ups and mythological masterpieces on the big screen, they’re not anything we’ll ever get close to in our real lives?

The PTC is saying that they aren’t suggesting we go back to the Leave It to Beaver days, but they do believe the TV networks have gone overboard in an effort to shock audiences.

Here are some more intriguing stats from the study:

  • ABC had the most references to marital sex but they were mostly negative. Their references to nonmarital sex were almost universally positive. (Grey’s Anatomy,anyone?)
  • NBC had as many depictions of adults having sex with minors (good grief) as there were scenes that implied or depicted sex between married couples.
  • In 24.5 hours of programming, Fox only had one reference to marital sex, but they had 18 references to nonmarital sex and five references to adultery.
  • Sexual behaviors previously off-limits to broadcast TV now get regular mentions. References to incest, prostitution, partner swapping, pedophilia, threesomes, bestiality, and necrophilia combined outnumbered references to sex in marriage on NBC by a ratio of 27 to 1.

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