CONTENTTRENDS IN MEDIA SEX
Bradley S. Greenberg
Michigan State University
It is a common gambit in popular discussions of media to begin by proclaiming that children will watch so many thousands of hours of television before they begin school, that teenagers will spend literally years in front of the TV set before they complete high school, and then to indicate that these same young people will have watched hundreds of acts of violence on TV and film each year that they have lived. After scrutinizing the literature on sex content in the most popular mass media, in this chapter I proclaim just how much sex our young people will see, and what kinds. To end with that pronouncement (so that you have something to look forward to), I first share information about what sex content prevails in today's mass media. I assure you, however, that it is far more difficult to write (and talk) about sex than to examine it (in content form). A videotape, a film, a TV show, and a music video would do much to clarify my conclusions and to keep your attention; instead, much as verbal sex content in the media does, I must trust your imagination and your experiences with the kinds of content described. Frankly, having what in locker room parlance is called a "dirty mind" would help.
Here, we describe current trends in the portrayal of sex in six forms of media content: music videos, X-rated videos, daytime soaps, primetime commercial network television, magazines, and movies.