When I was a kid, all the sitcoms showed married couples sleeping in separate beds. Evidently, it was unseemly to show married couples sharing the same mattress, lest the idea of “sex” pop into anybody’s mind!
These days, it appears that TV finds marriage unseemly – but not the sex.
A recent study by the Parents Television Council shows that marriage gets little respect on network television. Instead, extra-marital, kinky sex, partner-swapping, and pedophilia are more likely to get center screen.
The report said that visual references to practices such as voyeurism and sado-masochistic sex outnumbered married sex references by a ratio approaching 3 to 1. The report contends “Behavior that once was seen as fringe, immoral, or socially destructive has been given the imprimatur of acceptability by the television industry and children are absorbing or even imitating it.”
When parents want to identify and block such programs via the V-Chip, they’re lulled into complacency by the inaccurate and inconsistent designations, such as “S,” signaling sexual content.
The programs the Parents Television Council included in their report were from four weeks of scripted shows on the major networks at the start of the 2007-2008 season. ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, and NBC, the networks in the study, all declined to comment.
It’s disgusting that the so-called “family hour,” the first hour of prime-time TV, which draws the most young viewers, contains the highest ratio of references to non-married sex vs. married sex.