Develop a 4–5 page research paper based on the portrayal of sexual behaviors in the media. It is important to understand how sexual problems are defined. An underlying theme is that most problems must be delineated within the context of the individual’s personality, lifestyle, and relationships with others. By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 1: Apply psychological theories to topics in human sexuality.
    • Describe sexual behaviors in the media selection and the extent to which these behaviors are considered acceptable or deviant.
  • Competency 2: Apply scholarly research findings to topics in human sexuality.
    • Describe the impact of the media portrayal on societal perceptions of the behavior and the extent to which the behavior is considered acceptable or deviant.
    • Explain how the scholarly research findings support statements regarding the portrayal of sexual behaviors in the media selection.
    • Apply scholarly research findings by integrating the research with the media portrayal of sexual behaviors.
  • Competency 4: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for professionals in the field of psychology.
    • Write coherently to support a central idea with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics as expected of a psychology professional.
    • Use APA format and style.

Sexual behaviors are influenced by factors such as age, race, religious beliefs, and educational background. Solitary sex includes thoughts and fantasies, erotic materials and toys, and masturbation. Solitary sex does not seem to be compensation for lack of availability of a sexual partner. The frequency with which people experience private sexual pleasure seems to be positively correlated with how frequently they seek shared sex.


Individuals should be aware of the difficulties of finding appropriate nonjudgmental labels for all types of sexual behaviors. A distinction is made among aspects of sexual performance and the more subjective factors of sexual desire, sensuosity, and sensuality. These concepts are particularly useful as you explore the different dimensions of human sexuality.

Human sexuality has found its way into the culture and laws of every society. The balance of personal sexual freedom with the public need to regulate social behavior is a topic to consider. How far should sexual freedom for adults be carried? To what extent should legal systems regulate sexual behaviors? What limits should be imposed on the availability of sexually explicit materials?

Attempts have been made at distinguishing between pornography and erotica, although the final distinction clearly lies in the eye of the beholder. Sexologists are increasingly using the term “sexually explicit materials” as a general descriptor. Graphic depictions of human nudity and sexual behavior have been a part of every society and historical period. Pornography, or sexually explicit material, is generally meant to sexually arouse. Obscenity is material that potentially arouses and offends. Erotica is a name given to sexually realistic art or fiction.

In the early twentieth century, some revolutionary decisions were made about the type and amount of sexual behavior that could be depicted in books. This was followed by increasingly liberal attitudes toward sexual themes in magazines and films. More recent developments include hard-core video, telephone sex services, cybersex via the Internet, and sexual depictions on television. Regulation of the Internet for various sexual purposes has become an increasingly complex issue for governing bodies and the courts (Kelly, 2015).


Kelly, G. F. (2015). Sexuality today (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill

APA Resources

Because this is a psychology course, you need to format this assessment according to APA guidelines. Additional resources about APA can be found in the Research Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom. Use the resources to guide your work as needed.

  • American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. Available from the bookstore.
  • APA Paper Template [DOCX].

Suggested Resources

The resources provided here are optional and support the assessment. They provide helpful information about the topics. You may use other resources of your choice to prepare for this assessment; however, you will need to ensure that they are appropriate, credible, and valid. The PSYC-FP2800 – Introduction to Human Sexuality Library Guide can help direct your research. The Supplemental Resources and Research Resources, both linked from the left navigation menu in your courseroom, provide additional resources to help support you.

Sexual Behavior

  • Kelly, G. F. (2015). Sexuality today (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Available from the bookstore.
    • Chapter 12, “Solitary Sex and Shared Sex,” pages 316–344.
    • Chapter 13, “Sexual Orientation, Identity, and Behavior,” pages 3450–372.
    • Chapter 14, “The Spectrum of Human Sexual Behavior,” pages 373–395.
    • Chapter 15, “Sexual Consent, Coercion, Rape, and Abuse,” pages 398–430.
  • Interviews With Individuals in the GLBT Community | Transcript.
    • In this video, four individuals discuss the meaning of self-identification as gay, bisexual, or transgendered individuals.
  • FMG Video.
    • Click the following link to view a video playlist purchased through Films Media Group for use in this Capella course. Any distribution of video content or associated links is prohibited.
      • Being Gay: Coming Out in the 21st Century | Transcript.
        • While gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are no longer forced to hide their sexual orientation, prejudice, discrimination, and internal pressures can make coming out a difficult decision. These videos present the accounts and stories of people who have recently taken the step of coming out. Interviewees and experts discuss the benefits of this important transition by examining the six stages of coming to terms with one’s sexual identity. They also look at the dangers—such as alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide—of running away from sexual self-acceptance and discuss how finding support can greatly assist the process.
        • Running time: 24 minutes.
  • Edwards, T. (1994). Erotics & politics: Gay male sexuality, masculinity and feminism. London, England: Routledge.
    • This resource covers a variety of perspectives connected to sexuality and gender roles

Develop a research paper based on the portrayal of sexual behaviors in the media. Select an example from the media to use as the focus of your paper. Some examples may include television shows like Three’s Company, Will and Grace, or Modern Family and books and films like the Fifty Shades trilogy.

Use your selected media example to write a 4–5 page paper in which you address the following:

  • Identify and describe the sexual behavior.
  • Describe to what extent or in what ways the behavior is considered acceptable or deviant.
  • Describe how the behavior is addressed in the media and provide examples.
  • Describe the impact that the media portrayal may have on societal perceptions of the behavior.
  • Identify a minimum of four sources that support your statements regarding the identified sexual behavior and its impact on society. At least two of these sources must be scholarly.
  • Explain the findings of these sources and how they support your statements about the identified sexual behaviors.
  • Connect what you have learned in your research by integrating and combining information from your sources with the media selection.

Your paper should follow a logical structure and be evidence based. Use the MEAL plan to help guide the organization of your paper:

  • Main Idea: Present the main point or idea that you are making about the portrayal of sexual behaviors in your selected media example.
  • Evidence: What does the research say? Support your statements with evidence from the literature.
  • Application: Summarize main ideas from articles related to your topic. Apply concepts that relate directly or indirectly to your main point. Make explicit links between source articles and your current paper.
  • Link: Integrate and combine information from your source articles with your main point or idea.

Conduct independent research for resources and references to support your paper. Provide a reference list and in-text citations, in APA format, for all of your resources. You may cite texts and authors from the suggested resources as well as any additional reputable resources you find on your own.

If you wish, you may use the APA Paper Template (linked in the Resources under the APA Resources heading) to complete your paper. In addition, you are urged to use the resources in Capella University’s Writing Center to help you develop clear and effective writing. In the Writing Center, you will be able to receive feedback on your writing, use writing resources, discover new writing strategies, and explore different ways to draft, revise, edit, and proofread your own work.

Additional Requirements

  • Written Communication: Ensure that your writing is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA Formatting: Format resources and in-text citations according to current APA style.
  • Number of Resources: Use a minimum of four resources; at least two must be scholarly.
  • Length: The research paper should be 4–5 pages in length. Include a separate title page and a separate references page.
  • Font and Font Size: Times New Roman, 12 point, double-spaced. Use Microsoft Word