Defining the Relationship: An Examination of Sexual Behaviors and Relational Contexts across Tween, Teen, and Young Adult U.S. Television

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although content analytic research has examined casual sexual scripts in television programming, less is known about how the relational context of sexual behaviors is depicted by age. Using a sample of U.S. tween, teen, and young-adult television programs from 2016, we analyzed how relational status varies by type of sexual behavior and presumed age of the target audience. Results show sexual intercourse behaviors are most frequently depicted within the context of a hookup or casual sex interaction, whereas precursory sexual behaviors (flirting, kissing, and touching) are more commonly portrayed in committed relationships. Findings further suggest tween shows exclusively depicted sexual behaviors in the context of committed relationships, hookups are just as frequent in teen shows as they are in young-adult shows, and casual sex relationships are more likely to occur in young-adult shows than in teen shows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-147
Number of pages12
JournalCommunication Reports
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • relationship status
  • sexual behaviors
  • Television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Defining the Relationship: An Examination of Sexual Behaviors and Relational Contexts across Tween, Teen, and Young Adult U.S. Television'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this