Sexuality and Culture

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 21–36 | Cite as


  • J. M. Dempsey
  • Tom Reichert


While media research has incidentally addressed the portrayal of sex between married partners, this study specifically analyzed how sexuality between married couples is depicted in popular films, as represented by the top 25 movie video rentals of 1998. Of the occurrences of sexual behavior (N=105), married partners represented 15 percent of the total compared to 85 percent for unmarried couples. The most common sexual behavior among husbands and wives was passionate kissing, which accounted for 63 percent of their sexual activity. By comparison, implied intercourse was the most common sexual behavior among unmarried partners, occurring in 38 percent of their sexual encounters. This and other findings suggest that sexual behavior among married characters is rare and rather mundane compared to those having unmarried sex. These findings and their implications are discussed.


Sexual Behavior Married Couple Sexual Encounter Married Partner Kaiser Family Foundation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Dempsey
    • 1
  • Tom Reichert
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Journalism and Mayborn Graduate Institute of JournalismUniversity of North TexasDenton

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