Gen Z Teens and Young Adults Want Less Sexually Explicit Content in Media, According to UCLA Study
A new study conducted by UCLA has found that Generation Z teenagers and young adults are having less sex compared to previous generations. They are also expressing a desire for less sexually explicit content in the television shows and movies they consume.
The study, called “Teens and Screens,” was conducted by the Center for Scholars and Storytellers at UCLA. It revealed that 51.5% of adolescents prefer to see more content that portrays platonic relationships and close friendships. Furthermore, 44.4% of the surveyed youth felt that romance in media was “overused,” while 39% wanted to see more representation of aromantic or asexual characters.
In addition, 47.5% of the participants stated that sex scenes are not necessary in the majority of TV and movie plots. This change in perspective can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as a greater awareness of consent, sexual boundaries, and the #MeToo movement. According to Aliyah Moore, a certified sex therapist and gender and sexuality studies expert, Gen Z’s heightened awareness leads them to demand healthier and more respectful depictions of relationships, emphasizing emotional connections and platonic relationships.
Moreover, the study suggests that Gen Z’s access to online resources and their experience of increased isolation and loneliness may also influence their desire for less emphasis on sex in the media. These youth seek media content that reflects the diversity of human experiences, including representations of aromantic and asexual characters.
According to Bradley Schurman, a demographic strategist, young people want on-screen representation that mirrors their real-life experiences, which includes having less sex than previous generations. This trend of less sexual activity among young people has been observed globally due to various reasons, such as technology, heavy academic schedules, and delayed adulthood.
The study’s findings also align with other national surveys. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 30% of American teens in 2021 claimed to have never engaged in sexual intercourse. This number indicates a downward trend from 28% in 2019. The General Social Survey conducted by the University of Chicago in 2021 revealed similar results, with 3 in 10 Gen Z males and 1 in 4 Gen Z females between the ages of 18 and 25 reporting no sexual activity in at least a year.
Experts suggest that overexposure to pornography and easy access to sexual content through the internet and social media may contribute to the decline in sexual activity among Gen Z. This exposure can potentially lead to desensitization, causing young people to seek more meaningful and less explicit content in their entertainment choices.
Overall, the UCLA study highlights the shifting preferences of Generation Z, who are seeking media content that accurately reflects their experiences, while promoting healthier relationships and diverse representations of human connections.