"Sex on TV has effect"

from the Daily Oklahoman, September 13, 2004

  Children who watched a lot of TV with sexual content were about twice as likely to start having intercourse during the subsequent year as those with little exposure to televised sex, researchers found.

High exposure to TV sex among those ages 12-17 also was linked with a lower but still substantially increased risk of starting non-intercourse sexual activities, including passionate kissing, the researchers found. Even shows that only refer to sex but don't depict it had the same effect, they found.

"Exposure to TV that included only talk about sex was associated with the same risks as exposure to TV that depicted sexual behavior," said Rand Corp. behavioral scientist Rebecca Collins and colleagues.

From innuendos to depictions of intercourse, sex is pervasive on television, present in about two- thirds of all shows other than news and sports. Teens watch an average of three hours of television daily, previous research has shown.

Television thus "may create the illusion that sex is more central to daily life than it truly is," the researchers said.

The study appears in September Pediatrics. Pediatrics, Vol. 114 No. 3, September 2004