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Three Decades of Sexual Content on Prime-Time Network Programming: A Longitudinal Meta-Analytic Review

Authors

  • Amir Hetsroni

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Communication, Yezreel Valley College, Yezreel Valley 19300, Israel
      Amir Hetsroni; 31 Erez Street, Carmei-Yosef 99797, Israel; Telephone: 972-8-9286602; e-mail: amirh@yuc.ac.il
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Amir Hetsroni; 31 Erez Street, Carmei-Yosef 99797, Israel; Telephone: 972-8-9286602; e-mail: amirh@yuc.ac.il

Abstract

This paper uses meta-analysis to review 25 content analyses that examined the frequency of sexual content on American prime-time network programming between 1975 and 2004. The overall sample is composed 2,558 hours of broadcasts from 18 seasons. The frequency per hour of most of the sexual contents consistently decreased over the years. This is particularly notable for dialogues about sex and normative heterosexual conduct, but it is also true for illegal sexual interactions and messages about risks and responsibilities in sexual behavior. Homosexuality is an exception, as its frequency increased considerably over the past 2 decades. Methodological and socioeconomic explanations are discussed.

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