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Gen Z want less sex in film and TV, study finds

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A study conducted by UCLA has found that members of Generation Z want to see less sex in film and TV.

The new ‘Teens and Screens’ study, conducted by the Centre for Scholars and Storytellers, found that across 1,500 members of Gen Z aged between 10-24, young people were more interested in relatable stories with more emphasis on platonic rather than romantic  relationships.

Gen Z were found generally to prefer “lives like their own” onscreen, which included less romance. Almost half (48 per cent) of respondents agreed that  “sex and sexual content is not needed for the plot of most TV shows and movies,” with 51 per cent wanted to see more storylines focused on platonic relationships [via IndieWire].


“While it’s true that adolescents want less sex on TV and in movies, what the survey is really saying is that they want more and different kinds of relationships reflected in the media they watch,” Dr. Yalda T. Uhls, founder and director of CSS and co-author of the study, said. “We know that young people are suffering an epidemic of loneliness and they’re seeking modeling in the art they consume. While some storytellers use sex and romance as a shortcut to character connection, it’s important for Hollywood to recognize that adolescents want stories that reflect the full spectrum of relationships.”

Photo: Netflix

Uhls also connected this to the fact that Gen Z are having less sex than their parents did at their age.

“As a member of Gen Z myself, I wasn’t surprised by some of what we’re seeing this year,” CSS youth engagement manager Stephanie Rivas-Lara added. “There has been a wide-ranging discourse among young people about the meaning of community in the aftermath of COVID-19 and the isolation that came with it.

“Adolescents are looking to media as a ‘third place’ where they can connect and have a sense of belonging — and with frightening headlines about climate change, pandemics, and global destabilization, it makes sense they are gravitating towards what’s most familiar in those spaces.”

Sex scenes in film and TV have been subject to a wider debate in recent years, with some actors – from Emilia Clarke to Salma Hayek – speaking out about being made to feel uncomfortable, or even pressured, when shooting intimate scenes in the past.

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