Could television be adding to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases? Maybe.
The growing amount of casual sex on television can create the perception that casual sex is perfectly safe… which is not true.
Just sit down one night and watch Primetime sitcoms. There’s a LOT of sex on TV.
How much sex are TV characters having?
We found a ten-year-old article from USA Today where a parent examines the popular sitcom Friends. We find the writer’s research astonishing:
I just spent the past two hours reading 226 plot synopses for TV’s Friends. According to my calculations, during the course of the show’s 10 years on the air—up to and including the most recent episode—the character of Rachel (played by Jennifer
Aniston) has had some sort of sexual relations with about 20 men. (source)
The example may be 10 years old, but we get the point. As viewers, did we ever see any negative consequences for Aniston’s character (other than something fun that added to the plot?) Nope.
Is that reality?
In today’s world of STDs and Sex on TV
Today, one out of every four people have STDs. So, take Rachel from Friends.
Over the course of the show, her sexual relations with 20 men means that statistically, at least five of the guys had an STD.
And say that Rachel was the one with an STD – she affected at least 15 men who possibly didn’t have one before their rendezvous. (Oh – and did you know in some states, lawmakers want lack of STD disclosure to become a felony?)
Now that would really make an interesting episode.
If you think Friends is the only example, we can pick a ton more.
Charlie from CBS’s Two and A Half Men sleeps with a different woman, by our estimate, on every episode. Schmidt, a character on FOX’s New Girl prides himself on his numerous sexual endeavors and never fails to teach his friends his methods.
Name any show on TV without a character that runs after sex and has multiple partners. Short of Seventh Heaven, there are few on the list.
The fact that these characters’ actions are without consequence is dangerous to viewers. Although funny to watch, a lifestyle of casual sex and multiple partners depicted on TV display harmful lifestyles that shouldn’t be emulated.
Sure – we all love a great comedy or drama that captives our attention and lets us unwind. Just make sure you remember that what you’re watching is not fact.
If the characters run around … and sleep around … without STDs becoming an issue – that’s definitely fiction.