Bruce Fretts
October 23, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Is there too much sex on TV? And how much is too much? EW asked viewers’ opinions; the answers provide a surprising snapshot of the country’s sexual mores — projected through a TV screen.

*Is there too much sex on prime-time network TV?
Yes…………..46%…………..No…………..51%

*Is there too much violence?
Yes …………..46%…………..No…………..51%

*Is there too much adult language or profanity?
Yes…………..40%…………..No…………..57%
A majority of women, people over 50, and born-again Christians say there’s too much sex and violence, while men, those under 50, and the un-born-again don’t mind. Born-agains are the only group with a majority (56%) who say there’s too much cussing.

*Would it offend you personally if prime-time network television featured mild profanity such as damn and hell?
Offensive……16%…………Okay……….82%

*…Featured more serious profanity:
Offensive……74%………..Okay……….24%
The line is clear — damn and hell are okay, but the S-word and the F-word are verboten, especially to women (80% would be offended).

*…A couple shown in bed making love beneath the sheets:
Offensive……..39%………Okay………..57%

*…Stories about teenage characters making love:
Offensive……..45%………Okay………..51%

*…Discussions between characters about orgasms:
Offensive……..55%………Okay………..41%
Only 27% of 18- to 29-year-olds would object to seeing a couple under the sheets versus 55% of people over 50. Teenagers making love is a bit more offensive to both groups, though only 34% of twentysomethings would balk. And as for orgasms, 61% of women would have a problem with discussions about them versus 48% of men.

*…Discussions between characters about AIDS:
Offensive……….9%……….Okay……….88%

*…Discussions between characters about safe sex:
Offensive……….17%……..Okay……….80%
Talking about AIDS is uncontroversial for the vast majority, though twice as many Protestants (11%) as Catholics (5%) and non-college graduates (12%) as college grads (6%) would be bothered by it. Safe sex ruffles a few more feathers; less than 10% under 50 would be uncomfortable with discussions about it, but almost one-third of people over 50 would object.

*…Full-frontal female nudity:
Offensive………63%……..Okay……….35%

*…Full-frontal male nudity:
Offensive……..67%………Okay………30%
Men would be less averse to actresses appearing nude on TV; a bare majority of 53% would be upset, as opposed to 72% of women. The idea of naked male actors is more disturbing to both sexes: 60% of men and 74% of women.

*…Discussions between characters about homosexuality:
Offensive……..39%……….Okay……….59%

*…Two people of the same sex kissing romantically:
Offensive……….65%……..Okay……….32%
Over-50s and born-agains are the only groups who would disapprove of discussions about homosexuality, but a single kiss between people of the same sex would upset a solid majority of every group. Strangely, more 18- to 29- year-olds (71%) would object than 30- to 49- year-olds (60%) or people over 50 (69%).

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