Report: Sex scenes up on TV, but mentions of safer sex also increase

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 06 2003 1:00 AM ET

A new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that more television shows are including sexual content but that more also are including safer-sex messages, The Washington Post reports. The report, titled "Sex on TV: Content and Context," showed that of 1,100 programs on 10 network and cable television channels during the 2001-2002 season, 64% included some sexual content and 14% showed depicted or implied sexual intercourse, up from 10% two years ago. But of the shows featuring any kind of sexual situation, including kissing or even discussions about sex, 15% also included messages of safer sex, up from 10% two years ago. Among the top 20 programs among teenagers that included sexual content, 34% contained safer-sex messages, almost double the rate of four years ago.

"From a public health perspective, it's encouraging to see this trend toward greater attention to safer-sex issues on TV," said Vicky Rideout, the Kaiser Family Foundation vice president who oversaw the study. "This generation is immersed in the media, so when Hollywood makes safer sex sexier--whether it's abstinence or protection--that's all to the good."