Does The Media Influence Adolescents Sexual Behaviors And Attitudes?

1830 words - 7 pages

Sexual content first appeared in the media in the 1980s. It was in the shape of a sex education newsletter (Rich, n.d.). Puberty is a strange stage for a teenager. During this stage in life they go through different developments such as hormone increase, sexual desires etc. The media can sometimes influence adolescents to become sexually active. They are more susceptible to being swayed to accepting sexual acts as being normal during the puberty stage. Depending on the age and phase of growth the adolescents are going through, their cognitive skills permit them to decisively explore the hidden messages found in the media. Studies show that adolescents’ sexuality is linked to the media; however, the affiliation is not apparent (Grube & Gruber, 2000).
It seems like everything we watch these days have some form of sexual innuendo from a lingering touch to full disclosure. With entertainment such as Teen Mom, The Kardashians, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, America’s Next Top model etc. games such as The Sims, Suburbia, God of War: Ascension, Farcry etc. Magazines/books such as The Fifty Shades of Grey, Harlequin Novels, Playboy, Maxim, Cosmopolitan etc. the media is full of sexual content even if it is not intentional. Even though the media has been linked to having power on behaviors and attitudes, few studies have examined the effects of media on adolescent sexual behaviors and attitudes (Eitel, et al., 2005).
Studies have been conducted on the exposure of sexual content among young children and adolescents ranging in age from six to 16. One study resulted in children, ages six-11, being fascinated by and watching television with sexual substance. Some college students have reported first seeing sexual material as minors and have had some form of response such as arousal, avoidance, nausea, disgust, shock, embarrassment and even interest (Rich, n.d.). Rich (n.d.) has stated that adolescents use the media to gain knowledge of sexuality, relationships, and love. Adolescents use their own ‘life experiences’ to connect with the media.
Rich (n.d.) mentions that music often shapes adolescents morals and outlooks on sex. Genres such as heavy metal, rap, rock and roll etc. with lyrics that include sexual content, could influence teens to have sexual encounters. For instance, the song by R. Kelly Bump and Grind talks about letting the woman of his desire know that he can do better (sexually) than her current boyfriend. Patty Labelle’s song Lady Marmalade has a verse in French “Voulez-vouz coucher avec moi, ce soir?” which translate into “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?” Akon’s Smack That is another example of sexually explicit lyrics. Then there are also the music videos that portray sexual content Britney Spears Womanizer, Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, and Wreaking Ball by Miley Cyrus etc.
Movies could also be influential to adolescents as well. Even though there are rated R movies that does not stop teens from watching them. Movies such as...

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