Scholarly vs. Popular Media Focus On Sexuality Paper

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 6
Words: 1376
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: College

Analysis of a Peer-Reviewed Journal Article

Published in 1997, the article “Negotiation in Teenage Girls’ Sexually Motivated Situations: Achievement of Intentions Using Different Negotiation Strategies” by Pia Suvivuo, Kerttu Tossavainen, and Osmon Kontula aims at discovering the negotiation issues in Finnish girls’ sexual encounters. This gives details on the negotiation strategies that they used showing how the criterion behind the fulfillment of the various intentions in the process.

The methodology used in this study involved a kind of interview requiring the girls to write narratives about their sexual encounters. The study involved of a variety of narratives compiled by the 9th-grade girls about their experiences in seemingly sexually motivating scenarios. The narratives included only those situations viewed to have involved negotiation. Analysis of the presented interviews followed using narrative analysis, which involves the categorical-content mode of reviewing. As revealed, regardless of the strategy that the girls used for negotiation, most of them ended up successful. They could maintain their control thereby sustaining themselves without any difficulties in the end.

According to the study, the verbal direct strategy of negotiation proved the most effective especially when it came to the girl’s hopes. However, a verbal indirect strategy also secured victory in a number of contexts. However, all the strategies of negotiation worked in some contexts but not in all the contexts. The study’s conclusion declared it an important thing in sex education to arm girls with the proper negotiation strategies to save them in compromising situations. Effective use of these strategies plays an important role to girls especially teenagers exposed to sexually compromising situations where they have to employ one or two of the strategies to get out.

Analysis of a popular Media Article

The article “Sex Study: More Teens, Young Adults are Virgins” by Sharon Jayson placed on the USA Today on the third of March of 2011 provides an analysis of research released by the National Center for Health Statistics. In the article, a number of experts in the field of sexuality give their views on the findings of the study as well as assess the methodology used and give an explanation on why they think the results took that direction.

The study that was carried out among teenagers between the years of 15-24 revealed that most teenagers of these ages have never had sexual encounters. The term sexual encounter includes all sexual activities that expose one to dangers such as the acquisition of STDS (Jayson, 2011, Para. 3). As a result, the statement includes oral sex. According to the findings as revealed in this article, most teenagers who have ever had sexual encounters had oral sex before intimate intercourse.

Jenifer Manlove, a researcher based in Washington D.C and who works for the ‘NGO: Child Trends’, bases the reason on the fact that teens and young adults might as well take control of their sexuality as opposed to what other people think. J. Dennis Fortenberry, an adolescent medicine specialist at Indiana University school views the aspect of age as an important factor in the study arguing that as their age progresses, young people choose not to have sex for several reasons.

The study was conducted through an interview with teens and young adults. Some of the respondents chose to reply to the questions online to remain anonymous and keep their privacy. However, as it is brought out by Kaaren Williamsen, who is the director of the Gender and Sexuality Center at Carlton College, there is an extent of internalized homophobia since there are people who cannot confess having had same-sex relationships even in anonymity.

Comparison of the articles

The two articles as presented in the different mediums achieve a common end in that they explore the subject of sexuality among teenagers. In their different approaches, the two articles give details on the aspects and perspectives that teenage sexuality is viewed by adults as well as teenagers. A common aspect between the two articles is that they open the subject for more researchers to question the approaches as well as the conclusions that they draw up.

Other than the obvious fact that the visual difference between the two, the manner in which the two articles handle the issue of sexuality stands out as different as well. For instance, the account given in the media article focuses more on the selective, positive, and anecdotal outcomes of the study it seeks to report. In this regard, the article concentrates on the manner in which teenagers and young adults are portrayed as succeeding in the abstinence struggle. Most of the arguments by the contributing experts aim at justifying the already concluded judgment on the findings of the study. Therefore, one can insinuate that such an inclination of the research makes sense to the media, aiming at influencing the opinions of the readers. Clanidin (2007, p. 23), states that on the other hand, the peer-reviewed journal article does not present any inclined argument as all the arguments about the sexuality of teenagers seem strictly based on the findings of the research.

In the popular media, the discussion about teens’ sexuality gets more attention from most people and triggers more discussion about the topic. This is the major advantage of discussing such a weighty topic in the popular media rather than in scholarly journals (Lingard, 2005, p. 14). The popular media has however been accused of distorting the findings of research to suit the needs and opinions of the parties involved in the discussions. Discussing the issue of teenage sexuality in the popular media invokes questions from even people considered less qualified to have a say in such weighty matters. In the scholarly journal article, the analysis of the results and the coming up with a conclusion takes a lot of weight based on the counting and consulting done by experts concerning the arguments presented in the field.

The power that the popular media has in shaping the opinions of the public cannot however remain ignored especially when it comes to discussing subjects of weight such as sexuality (Lingard, 2005, p. 21). The media, in handling this topic, performs its role of informing the public on matters that they consider of importance to them and provoking debates on the matters as well, therefore, making it imperative to discuss sexuality in the popular media as a forum for all to raise their views.

Scholarly journals present an unrepresentative and unbiased reporting of research, which does not discriminate findings deemed to arise from small studies from those of rigorous studies. Professors therefore insist that students write papers basing their arguments not on perceptions obtained from the popular media but on scholarly journal because the journals present in depth information: well researched and undistorted compared to that of the media.

Further, people should study sexuality majorly because the subject appears amongst the aspects of humanity with the knowledge therein playing a vital role in people’s lives. According to Aggleton and Campbell (2000, p.33), one gets to effectively know him/ herself and the matters of sexuality through engaging in this subject whether in the popular media or in scholarly works.


The different forums handling the subject of sexuality contribute to a common end in that they open the topic to more reviews and analysis from other people who initially seemed less concerned about the topic (Widman & Welsh, 2006, p.8). The popular media despite its being accused of distorting the truth to achieve a specified end in weighty issues as sexuality is equally important to other presentations or forums such as peer-reviewed journals (Corman & Miller, 1989, p. 56). It suffices to allocate topics for discussion such as sexuality not only to experts but also to anyone since the subject addresses something that cuts across all humanity (Lingard, 2005, p.49). However, the manner in which the popular media seeks to make the presentation of the topic or the analysis of the subject through recording interviews conducted to professionals in the fields seems as a cause for alarm rather than achieving its end. Being a forum where the readers can engage the topics without any prejudice or discrimination, the popular media should also engage people who do not qualify as experts in the discussion about sexuality owing to the importance of their views and perspectives.


Aggleton, P., & Campbell, C. (2000). Working with Young People towards an Agenda For Sexual Health. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 15 (3): pp. 283-296.

Clanidin, J. (2007). Mapping a Landscape of Narrative Inquiry: Borderland Spaces and Tensions. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Corman, M. & Miller, J. (1989). Predictors of Condom use and Multiple Partner Sex Among Sexually Active Adolescent Women: Implications for AIDS-Related Health Interventions. Journal of Sex Research, 26 (4): pp.514-524.

Jayson, S. (2011). Sex Study: More teens, young adults are virgins: USA Today. Web.

Lingard, B. (2005). Interrogating Single-Sex Classes as a Strategy for Addressing Girls’ Educational and Social Needs in the Media. Oxford Review of Education, 31(2): pp. 237-254.

Widman, L., Welsh, D. (2006). Sexual Communication and Contraceptive use in Adolescent Dating Couples. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39 (6): pp. 893-899.