Sexual socialization messages on television programs most popular among teens

Keren Eyal, Dale Kunkel, Erica N. Biely, Keli L. Finnerty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This paper examines the portrayal of sexual messages in the top 20 most popular television programs among teenagers in the United States. It compares findings from the 2001-2002 and 2004-2005 seasons. Results show that these programs contained a large number of sexual messages, though their frequency decreased over time. Most messages about sex were in the form of conversations. About 1 in 2 shows included portrayals of sexual behaviors, mostly precursory behaviors. Sexual risk and responsibility concerns were rarely addressed. Most consequences for sexual intercourse portrayed in 2004-2005 were negative, a significant change from 2001-2002. The findings' implications for adolescents' sexual socialization are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-336
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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