Aubrey, J.S. 2004. “Sex and Punishment: An Examination of Sexual Consequences and the Sexual Double Standard in Teen Programming.”

Aubrey, Jennifer Stevens. 2004. “Sex and Punishment: An Examination of Sexual Consequences and the Sexual Double Standard in Teen Programming.” Sex Roles 50(7/8): 505-514.

The study entails a content analysis of prime-time television dramas that featured characters between the ages of 12-22. The study investigates the sexual consequences(noted by sexual dialogue, reference) incurred by the character, with emotional and social consequences outnumbering counts of physical consequence. Additionally, when female characters initiated sexual activity, they were more frequently represented to have negative consequences, in comparison to scenes where male characters instigated the sexual act. In review, some positive consequences (like increase of self-esteem, expression of affection, etc.) were observed. Male characters were more likely to initiate televised sexual activity. However, the comparison of women/men receiving negative consequences was not statistically significant. Yet, this may continue to reflect a sexual norm where young viewers learn that “good girls” do not initiate sexual conduct, but instead wait for men to do so; additionally, good girls are expected to control the advance of sexual activity.

In the literature here, Aubrey notes that previous authors portray televised sex as relatively free of consequence (Kunkel 1999, 2001; Truglio 1998) – however, early studies of televised sexuality tend to focus on physical consequence (unwanted pregnancy), rather than emotional and social ones (social ostracism, relationships with sexual partners, characters’ confusion about their own bodies).

The sexual double standard: when “sexual activity among young men is tolerated and encouraged, whereas for young women, sexuality is controlled, restricted, and subjected to censure if norms are violated” (Muehlenhard 1998). Ward (1995) notes that several prime-time programming themes articulate a sexual double standard that poses women as sex objects who are valued mostly for their appearance. Teen magazines, too, offer sexual scripts that reinforce the sexual double standard – where men’s sexuality is represented with aggression, while women’s sexuality is regarded with “allure, passivity, and responsibility” (506); this casts women as the delimiters of men’s (and their own) sexuality (Carpenter 1998; Durham 1998).

CITES:

Carpenter, L.M. 1998. “From Girls into Women: Scripts for Sexuality and Romance in Seventeen Magazine, 1974-1994.” Journal of Sex Research 35: 158-168.

Durham, M.G. 1998. “Dilemmas of Desire: Representations of Adolescent Sexuality in Two Teen Magazines.” Youth and Society 29: 369-389.

Kunkel, D., K.M. Cope, and E. Biely. 1999. “Sexual Messages on Television: Comparing Findings from Three Studies.” Journal of Sex Research 36: 230-236.

Kunkel, D., K. Cope-Farrar, E. Biely, W.J.M. Farinola, and E. Donnerstein.  2001. “Sex on TV: A Biennial Report to the Kaiser Family Foundation.” Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation.

Muehlenhard, C.L. 1998. “’Nice Women’ Don’t Say Yes and ‘Real Men’ Don’t Say No: How Miscommunication and the Double Standard Can Cause Sexual Problems.” Women in Therapy: 7(2/3): 95-108.

Truglio, R.T. 1998. “Television as a Sex Educator.” Pp. 7-23 in Social Learning from Broadcast Television, edited by K. Swan, C. Meskill, and S. DeMaio. Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Ward, L.M. 1995. “Talking about Sex: Common Themes about Sexuality in Prime-Time Television Programs Children and Adolescents View the Most.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 24: 595-615.

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