Age or stage of development also influences comprehension and interpretation of sexual content. In a study of sexual innuendo on television, 12-year-old youths were less likely to understand suggestive material than 14- and 16-year-olds. Similarly, in a qualitative study of adolescent girls aged 11 to 15, those who were at an earlier stage of physiologic development were less interested in sex portrayed in the media whereas more mature young women were intrigued and more actively sought out sexual content in the media as a means of “learning the rules, rituals, and skills” of romance and relationships. Specifically, they reported that the media provided models for achieving the “right look” to become popular and attract boys, portrayed teen characters with problems similar to their own, showed how they solved those problems, and gave examples of how to behave in sexual situations. We could not find comparable studies of developmental influences on boys' understanding and interpretation of sexual content.
Pornification: sex and sexuality in media culture
Bleakley A, Hennessy M, Fishbein M, et al. It works both ways: The relationship between exposure to sexual content in the media and adolescent sexual behavior. . 2008;11(4):445-461.
Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality in Media
Evidence does suggest that use of traditional media is a predictor of both sexual activity and sexual risk among adolescents. A growing number of studies link sexual content in media with adolescents' attitudes and sexual activities. In particular, three longitudinal studies demonstrate prospective relationships between prior exposure to sexual content in the media and subsequent changes in sexual behaviors, after controlling for likely confounding variables.,, In the first of these studies, Collins and her colleagues at RAND surveyed a national sample of 2,002 youth aged 12-17 years. Youth reported the frequency with which they watched a list of television programs that varied in their sexual content and their lifetime experience with a variety of sexual behaviors; they also answered questions tapping a variety of background characteristics (e.g., religiosity, parental monitoring). They were surveyed again one year later. The researchers found that the amount of sexual content in the programs viewed at baseline predicted teens' advancing sexual behavior by the first follow-up. Baseline virgins who saw more sex on television were more likely to initiate intercourse over the subsequent year than those who saw less. Exposure to greater amounts of sexual content at baseline also predicted progression to more advanced noncoital activities over the one-year study. (Such activities tend to occur in a sequence, e.g., from touching of genitals to oral sex.) Both associations held after controlling for more than a dozen variables that might confound the relationship.
Where do you guys draw the line with nudity and sexuality in media