Telecommunications | Topical Seminar in TEL Processes & Effects
T602 | 14510 | Paul, B.
Graduate Seminar Announcement for Spring 2007 semester
T602: Sex in the Media
Class Number: 14510
Tuesdays 5:45-8:30 PM
Instructor: Dr. Bryant Paul, Department of Telecommunications
Open to Masters or Doctoral students
Seminar fulfills 3 credits towards graduate minor in human sexuality
Sex lies at the heart of basic human social interaction. Modern
media tend to serve as an ultra-normative social force. We all look
to the media (whether consciously or not) in order to determine what
kinds of thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors are appropriate or
inappropriate; popular or unpopular; and normal or abnormal. Media
also often serve to inform us about practices, movements, and events
of which we would otherwise have never been aware. It is only
natural then that sex, as a fundamental social force, would play a
major role in shaping the nature of the media environment.
Likewise, it should be expected that the media, as a powerful setter
of social norms, will have significant influence on behaviors and
attitudes related to sex and sexuality. Using a social scientific
and historical perspective, this course will focus primarily on the
fascinating relationship between these two powerful forces in
Although some of the specific direction of the course will depend on
the make-up of the individuals who sign up to take it, topics to be
covered include, but are not limited to the following:
- How much media sexual content is there really?
- Why are sex and sexuality so popular in the media?
- How are the different genders portrayed by the media?
- What have been the trends in media portrayals of sex and
sexuality over the last century?
- What are the impacts of exposure to different types of
mediated sexual content (both explicit and non-explicit)?
o On TV
o On the Internet
o In videogames
- Who is attracted to what type of mediated sexual content?
o And with what types of differential effects?
- What is the relationship between exposure to media sexual
content and coercive sexual behaviors?
- What is the impact of media sex on the wellbeing of
o Sexual health?
o Mental health?
o Romantic relationships?
o Avoidance of STIs?
- How and why do media safe sex campaigns succeed and fail?
o And can more effective campaigns be developed?
- Is exposure to pornography harmful, helpful, neither, or
o Does the media source matter and why?
- What differences and similarities are there in the ways
males and females respond to mediated sexual content?
- How do trends in media sexual portrayals influence public
attitudes towards related social issues?
- What is the impact of media sexuality on children?
- What role does sex and sexuality play in the development of
Again, the above list of topics is only a partial list, and will be
fine-tuned based on student interest.
Anyone interested in further information on this course should
contact Professor Bryant Paul in the Department of
Telecommunications at email@example.com or 856-2575.