MOVIES

Movie Sex Scenes Have Decreased but Become More Graphic, Study Says

One might assume that less sex in Hollywood movies is a trend toward more puritanical ideals. However, Stephen Follows tracked the prevalence of violence and profanity in the top-grossing movies, and there hasn’t been much change in those categories since 2000. The only notable decline is in sexual content, and that reflects a similar decline in Gen Z having sex in real life, which has been attributed to greater isolation, partly from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as greater access to pornography online. 

A 2023 UCLA study helped shed light on what Gen Z wants to see in media, with 47.5% of those polled believing sex isn’t necessary for most plots. It’s not simply the newer generation being prudes; there’s also a significant desire expressed in the study for media to showcase more platonic relationships. Dr. Yalda T. Uhls stated, “What the survey is really saying is that they want more and different kinds of relationships reflected in the media they watch.” It’s valid to want to see relationships where people stay friends, but there’s no denying that sex is an integral part of the human experience. It should be reflected in art on some scale. 

Obviously, not every film requires sex, but Hollywood has definitely scaled back on depicting it in recent decades. This could be due to placing a greater emphasis on making movies that are PG-13, which can’t have sexual content since they need to be marketable to a wider audience. Movie and TV sex scenes are necessary for a variety of reasons, such as showcasing more realistic portrayals of sex than what’s found in online porn. Hopefully, filmmakers won’t shy away from making the next “Poor Things” because of pushback from certain circles.

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