Touchy Subjects: Sex in the Workplace on Broadcast, Cable, and Internet Television
A content analysis of workplace sexual interactions, informed by past research on sexual harassment in televised workplaces, was conducted of 100 U.S. broadcast, cable, and Internet television programs that featured work or a workplace as a prominent setting. Although sexual interactions were relatively common, they were generally depicted in ways that did not clearly communicate harassment. Sexual talk and behavior in the workplace were generally met with either reciprocation or no response. Workplace sexual behavior was more frequent in situation comedies than in other genres of entertainment television content and more common in programs produced for distribution over the Internet than in programs produced for distribution through cable channels or broadcast networks. Results are discussed in terms of likely consequences of viewing, particularly noting that theories of media influence suggest that viewing such programming is likely to contribute to greater tolerance of sexual talk and behavior in the actual workplace.