This is a teen-written article from our friends at Youth Communication, a nonprofit organization that helps marginalized youth develop their full potential through reading and writing.
By Christine Lee
My mother was about to give me the sex talk — complete with a metaphor about jamming a key into a keyhole — when I quickly stopped her, telling her I already knew all that there was to know. She didn’t question how I figured it all out.
As a child, church had a big influence on my ideas about sex. I thought sex was an unenjoyable act that only married couples were allowed to engage in. And if you dared to have premarital sex, God would smite you and your ancestors by striking you down with lightening.
That was in stark contrast to what television was telling me. By the time our parents work up the courage to give us “the talk,” teens have already seen years’ worth of television depicting sex as something where everybody looks hot, acts smooth, and has an orgasm practically on command. While teen sex on TV is sometimes in the context of a relationship, more often it’s a casual encounter.
Producers and directors claim to show teen sex that realistically represents our sexually active age group. But the message they’re sending — that everyone is doing it — is far from the truth. A survey done by the Centers for Disease Control in 2011 revealed that 42% of unmarried teenagers between the ages of 15 to 19 have had sex. That means a majority of teens, 58%, have never had sex — something not reflected in popular teen shows.
What does all this do to an audience of impressionable, vulnerable teenagers? It’s a lot of pressure, for one. A research study by the RAND Corporation revealed that teens who watch television with a lot of sexual content are more likely to have intercourse the following year.
Sex scenes involving teens may be common these days, but they seldom helps teens understand relationships or take responsibility for their health. We all know the television shows we love are fiction, but seeing these depictions of sex constantly can cause viewers to think that TV sex is reality.
Take “Gossip Girl.” It’s infamous for wild sex scenes and scandal. It even promotes the show with ads that have the main characters half-naked and making out — some on the verge of ecstasy — with the acronym “OMFG” emblazoned across the images.
Each sex scene is perfectly orchestrated; couples always moan loudly, proceeding to orgasm on cue. The reality isn’t always so pretty.
“The Vampire Diaries” is also scattered with sex scenes — some done in the heat of the moment and others as a next step in a couple’s relationship. Stefan and Elena (both high school students) have sex after she confesses her love for him. Damon and Rebekah, on the other hand, are older, but have a one-night stand after drinking shots in a bar.