Gen Z teens seek more friendships, less sex on screen: Study

  • Report found out 44.3 percent of youth feel 'romance in media is overused', and 39 percent want to see more depictions of aromantic and asexual characters. In comparison, 47.5 percent opine sex is not necessary in most TV shows and movie plots.

Written By Saurav Mukherjee
Updated26 Oct 2023
The Idol teaser screengrab.
The Idol teaser screengrab.(YouTube)

It may sound different to some, but young people between the age of 13-24 years are majorly looking for fewer sex scenes on television and in movies, Variety quoted a new study out of UCLA.

According to the new report – “Teens and Screens”, which is out from UCLA's Center for Scholars and Storytellers, says 51.5 percent of adolescents would like to see more content depicting friendships and platonic relationships.

Details say that 1,500 young people were surveyed for the full report, which includes 100 participants from each age bracket between 10-24. However, 13-24-year-olds were asked about topics related to sex and romance, reported Variety.

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The report found out 44.3 percent of youth feel 'romance in media is overused', and 39 percent want to see more depictions of aromantic and asexual characters. In comparison, 47.5 percent opine sex is not necessary for the majority of TV shows and movie plots.

It is to be known that recent shows – focused on young people – are known for their frequent sex scenes like HBO’s 'Euphoria' and 'The Idol'.

The young people who participated in the study, also expressed a similar desire for sex and romance to be de-centered. The report quoted a 17-year-old Black male from Georgia, who said, "I don’t like [that] every time a male and female character are together on screen, studios feel the need to make them fall (in) love. There’s a complete lack of platonic relationships in American cinema.”

A similar opinion was expressed by a 23-year-old Asian female from New York who spoke on another relationship stereotype. She said, “The guy would be a jerk to the woman but she would end up falling in love with him.”

Commenting on the study, founder and director of CSS and co-author of the study, Yalda T. Uhls said, as Variety quoted, "While it’s true that adolescents want less sex on TV and in movies, what the survey is saying is that they want more and different kinds of relationships reflected in the media they watch.”

She added, "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, Hollywood needs to recognize  that adolescents want stories that reflect the full spectrum of relationships.”

Among other details, the UHLS added that compared to what their parents did at their age, young people are having less sex and many prefer to stay single.

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