Action Alert!

Guess what? Sex sells!

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jul 19, 2012

And now, from the sort of useful scientists who can demonstrate that water is wet, comes this study showing that young people who watch sexual activities in movies are more likely to engage in sexual activities themselves. Now who would ever have thought of that?!

The Dartmouth researchers discovered that “for every hour of exposure to sexual content on-screen, participants were more than five times more likely to lose their virginity within six years.” When you consider that an adolescent could easily absorb several hours of sexual content in a single evening in front of the television, that statistic is frightening.

Having demonstrated what your great-grandmother would have taken for granted, the authors of the survey take pains to explain why their findings are important. Young people, they say, may engage in “risk-taking behaviors” when they are bombarded with messages that sexual activity is a pleasant form of recreation. You see:

Most of the recent films did not portray safe sex, with little mention of using contraception.

The implication here is that if movie characters engaged in a spirited discussion of condoms before hopping into bed, the kids would receive a different message. Instead of thinking that promiscuous sexual activity is fun, they might think that promiscuous sexuality activity using a condom is both fun and responsible. The latter message is even more destructive.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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