The Joy of Teen Sex

April 29, 2011

If the title of the British show, The Joy of Teen Sex, isn’t enough of a hint of what is to come, the opening scene reveals it all. While images of teens engaging in a variety of sexual behaviors flash across the screen, a woman narrates, saying “Although the age of consent is 16, by that time the average teen has slept with at least three people.”

Having grown up in Europe, I’ve always known that European television is much more liberal than what we see here in the U.S., but even I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. The show uses a combination of graphic video clips and interviews with teens involving nudity to openly discuss sexual topics and provide sexuality education to teens. If the show Skins has caused such controversy in the U.S., we won’t be seeing The Joy of Teen Sex on American television anytime soon.

The show addresses a wide range of topics and answers the awkward questions that we all probably have. Do I think the concepts are good? Yes. But the provocative images meant to attract and entertain an audience and the soundtrack of music you would hear at a rave seemed a little over the top for a show meant to educate. It’s nice to have a show that pushes boundaries, but The Joy of Teen Sex would provoke less controversy in the U.S. if nudity was used for educational purposes and less for sheer entertainment value.

—Sam Dercon, 17, Staff Writer

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