Sex portrayed in media

On April 16, 2013

Sex sells.

Sex sells TV shows and movies, and sex sells material objects. But the selling of sex influences personal perceptions on the topic.

From the time people are cognitively able to process the flood of information surrounding them to the time they can actually understand what they are actually seeing, sex is ingrained into their brains.

If you play video games, most female characters are portrayed with unrealistic bodies - huge chests, huge butts and tiny everything else.

Remember The Sims video game you - or someone you knew - used to play? At some point, after you spent hours increasing the relationship points with a certain Sim, you can propose. After that, you're able to have a baby. At least in this video game, you had to be in love before you had sex.

If you see advertisements, there are sexually provocative men and women intending to sell you something - perfume, cars or whatever they're paid to look sexy for.

With TV shows like Girls and Game of Thrones, you're privy to images of naked bodies once every two minutes.

And there's nothing wrong with that when you're a mature adult who is already in tune with your sexuality. Seeing a naked woman in a medieval whorehouse doesn't necessarily encourage someone to head to Nevada and walk into a brothel.

But there are some problems with the way sex is portrayed in some forms of media.

For one thing, reality television is just making the public dumber - on an overall level and on a sexual educational level. According to Sarah Gilbert, in an article from published in 2010, "less sexually experienced college students watch more reality television than their more experienced counterparts."

So when you see Snooki or one of those Jersey Shore characters having sex with a random stranger, it promotes disregard for the consequences and serious issues that come with promiscuity.

When you watch The Bachelor and you see dozens of women throwing themselves at one man in the name of love, what is the public supposed to take away from that? Is the only way a man will want to marry you is if you fawn and fight over him?

For another, models and actors cause body image issues for many people. Through media, women are taught what beautiful is supposed to be. If you aren't a size 0, like the models you saw on your television as you grew up, then you aren't beautiful.

This is preposterous and it is an epidemic in our society. According to, "problems with eating disorders have increased over 400 percent since the year 1970." Only 5 percent of women in the United States actuallyfit the current body type portrayed in advertising today, the same article said.

The media has a stranglehold on the portrayal of beauty and, as a society, we adhere to it. We watch television, play video games and listen to music that portrays the "ideal woman" and the "ideal man."

Instead of internalizing these images, ignore them. Choose to focus on health, not conforming to social norms. gives good examples on how to appreciate your body: "Be conscious about what your body is capable of every day. Keep in mind that the body is the instrument of your life and more than just decoration."

Think of individuals you consider role models - figure out why they are respected and why they are successful. Look for the beauty in the world around you; go to a park, read an uplifting novel.

Remind yourself that life is too short to be unhappy. Don't let the portrayals of beauty in media influence your life to the point where it makes you unhappy.



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