One cannot deny that the amount of sexual or overly explicit content has increased at a very fast pace in the past few years. With OTT and web series also taking over, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that graphic media has taken over every sector.

Social media has not fully helped in this, having and even encouraging people to be more explicit and promoting stuff that could be seen as overly sexual.

But it seems that the current generation and Gen Z are becoming tired of all the heavy sexual content and are instead liking more platonic or innocent relationships being shown in media.

What Did The Study Find?

The Center for Scholars and Storytellers (CSS) at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) recently conducted a study with more than 1,500 people on the topic “Teens and Screens”.

The survey group consisted of people between the age of 10 to 24 but the questions specifically about sex and romance depicted on screen were limited to the group ranging from 13-24.

Each age group had almost 100 representatives and the survey eventually found that around 44.3% of the participants felt that “romance in media is overused” and wanted more focus on platonic relationships and friendships.

Around 39% of them claimed that they would like an increase in aromantic/asexual character representation and approximately 47.5% of them said that they don’t find sex to be a very important element in movie and TV show plots now.

Ana, a 16-year-old survey participant was shown in the video of the study released by UCLA saying “When there’s media with too much sex, me and my friends often feel uncomfortable.”

Another respondent, 20-year-old Joseph said, “My friends are I maybe awkwardly bear through it.”

The study claims this trend as ‘nomance‘ with researchers Stephanie Rivas-Lara and Hiral Kotecha writing “Young people are feeling a lack of close friendships, a separation from their community, and a sense that their digital citizen identity has superseded their sense of belonging in the real world.”

Stephanie and Hiral wrote an essay about what the study found and stated: “The core essence of kids and teens will always be the same – from camaraderie to curiosity and a sense of adventure – and it appears that somewhere along the way, this may have been forgotten in storytelling.”

Read More: Young Adults Are Wary Of Taking Mental Health Leaves From Office: Here’s Why

The study had the participants discussing topics like media stereotypes, depictions of sex and romance on screen, and how Hollywood was exhausting them with overly sexual elements in the storylines.

As per reports, a 17-year-old Black male from Georgia commented “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.”

While a 23-year-old Asian female from New York spoke the common trope of “The guy would be a jerk to the woman but she would end up falling in love with him.”

Yalda T. Uhls, co-author of the study and founder and director of CSS also spoke about the findings saying “While it’s true that adolescents want less sex on TV and in movies, what the survey is really saying is that they want more and different kinds of relationships reflected in the media they watch.”

Uhls also stated that the study did not inquire about youth participants finding sexual content or pornography outside of the sectors of social media, film, and TV saying “It’s not that young people aren’t interested in TV, movies and other media with sexual content, it’s that they want to see more and different types of relationships.”

She also said “We did not specifically ask about porn so I couldn’t say for sure. But one theory could be that the prevalence of porn could be a reason why they feel they want to see less sexual content in traditional media.”

Uhls also working as as an adjunct professor in the psychology department of UCLA 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, it’s important for Hollywood to recognize that adolescents want stories that reflect the full spectrum of relationships.”

This is not the only thing the study found, apparently, the people surveyed also showed an exhaustion with remakes and franchises. Around 56% of them claimed they preferred original content over remakes and long franchises.

A few other things the report found were:

  • Binge releases were seen as preferable compared to weekly episode releases with twice as many adolescents stating so.
  • Adolescents this year were also found to be interested in stories that show “lives like (their) own” as compared to last year’s answer of wanting to see “lives unlike (their) own.”
  • Authenticity is also being seen as something desirable with a large part of the 10-24 group putting MrBeast the YouTuber as the most authentic media.

Even popular American artist Olivia Rodrigo was quoted in the study speaking about how she hasn’t seen the controversial HBO series ‘The Idol’.

Her quote from NME was added where she said “I don’t have the desire to. I remember walking out of ‘Barbie’ and being like, ‘Wow, it’s so long since I’ve seen a movie that is female-centered in a way that isn’t sexual or about her pain or her being traumatized.’”

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Variety, Livemint, The Guardian

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: Gen Z, Gen Z study, ucla, ucla study, Gen Z ucla study, hollywood, hollywood gen z, Olivia Rodrigo, barbie movie, euphoria, the idol, the idol show, euphoria hbo, gen z romance, American Cinema, Gen Z Teens, Explicit Content, Platonic Relationships, nomance, sexual content, OTT, teens, sexual relationships, MrBeast, explicit content

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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