Is Hollywood promoting sex outside of marriage more often than good family relationships? One watchdog group says yes, and that Hollywood is making fun of things it wouldn't dream of joking about a few years ago.
Hollywood has been talking about sex for a long time. But when it is mentioned, who does it involve?
Some Salt Lake residents say intimate scenes don't usually involve a happily married couple. One woman says, "It's usually between a non-married couple, not between a husband and a wife at all."
A new study by The Parents Television Council (PTC) says that lady is exactly right.
PTC Salt Lake City Chapter Director Brian Urie said, "In terms of references to sex (talking about it), the number of cases between someone or between people who were not married, the cases were about three to one [over references involving a married couple]."
Urie says scenes that actually depict a non-married couple in an intimate scene outnumber married couple scenes four to one. Their studies show an increase of sexual content over the last five years, and TV is talking about things that used to be taboo, like partner swapping and pedophilia.
"I found it amazing as we would actually take the dialogue, the offensive dialogue, and put it in print, in a letter, and then ask the advertiser if that's the type of content they want established with their brand," Urie said.
But do viewers think references to extra-martial sex are increasing, or staying steady? One woman I spoke with says she notices an increase, although it's been pretty bad for a long time. She said, "Susan Lucci's [character] has been with everybody in Pine Valley."
Some TV critics say Hollywood may be just reflecting reality.
Salt Lake Tribune television critic Vince Horiuchi said, "I think there are more people who are facing divorces, who are not taking marriage as seriously as they used to."
Horiuchi says he has not noticed an increase in sexual references for non-married couples as opposed to one for married people, but he says graphic content in general has gone up. But, he says, the PTC's statistics might not paint a full picture.
"They rarely put any of those kinds of statistics into any kind of context with the show," he said.
Plus, Horiuchi says he thinks the PTC's tactic of writing to advertisers to complain about offensive material is the wrong way to keep children from seeing questionable things. He says parents need to use current technology to block what they don't want their kids to see.