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Media and Its Impact on Sexuality in America's Adolescents

Autor:   •  December 16, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,431 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,612 Views

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Media and Its Impact on Sexuality in America’s Adolescents

Over the years, sexually provocative material in the media has become virtually inescapable. The effect that the use of sexual imagery has had and continues to have on our culture is enormous. Mass media leaves impressions on our society that impacts our views on vitally important issues in our lives. America’s mass media presents a very unreal depiction of the human condition whether it be love, wealth, health, happiness, or sex. These portrayals, especially [the often conflicting] ones depicting sex, may prove harmful to the developmental psychology of America’s youth (in terms of their understanding of their budding sexuality). Movies, television, music, print, and the internet are putting pressure on the adolescents in this country, compromising their perceptions of beauty, age appropriate behavior, and sexual mores. However, despite all the negative effects that the mass media in America may have on the youth of the country, it also allows those who are concerned with educating the adolescents of the U.S. a platform with which to spread knowledge and important information.

Today’s media permeates much of our society and its unavoidable existence leaves a lasting impression on the burgeoning sexual awareness our country’s youth. Since the majority of the mass media presents some sort of reference to sex (whether it is overt or implicit) it is constantly reinforcing the subject matter as one of vital importance. This along with the facts that the media cultivates a skewed image of “normal” behavior in common sexual situations, encourages an unnatural standard of beauty, and does not adequately address responsible sexual behaviors are all issues that are of great importance when addressing the possible effects that the constant bombardment of such material can have on young people. Unfortunately, the limitations of much of the research on such topics leave many questions about the exact effects exposure to sexually themed media may have on people unanswered. Even if the media is not directly responsible for the disquieting amounts of irresponsible sexual behavior (and its consequences: i.e. unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections) in the United States’ adolescent population, it could without a doubt provide more assistance with aiding in the decrease of these statistics.

The average American adolescent watches about three hours worth of television a day, during which there is an average of six sexually themed scenes broadcast per hour. Out of every ten shows, seven depict some type of sexually themed content, whether it be “conversational references to sex, implied sex acts, [or] depicted sexual intercourse.” Only a mere fourteen percent of one thousand television programs that included sexual content raised the issues of safer sex practices or risks associated with sexual

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