During the episode, one of the main characters (Rachel) reveals that she is pregnant, even though she and another character (Ross) used a condom during intercourse.The show gave specific information about condom-efficacy rates, noting that they are successful 95% of the time.
Rather, it concluded that more-effective tests of such material are needed.
One way to test such effects is to examine the impact of particular shows or episodes that deal with sexual risk.
The possibility of condom failure and the resulting consequence of pregnancy were thus vividly communicated to a very large adolescent audience, as was the message that condoms almost always work.
Given the size of the audience, the episode’s potential to influence large numbers of teens was enormous.
The other study examined television’s potential as a tool for educating teens about sexual risks and safe behavior.
Funded by the Kaiser Family Foundation, it examined the effect on teenage viewers of a particular episode of a popular sitcom () that dealt with condom efficacy.The results supported the view that watching shows with sexual content may influence teen sexual behavior, but also found that some viewing effects can be positive.Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are more common among youth who begin sexual activity at earlier ages.A total of 1,762 adolescents were asked about their sexual experiences and also their televisionviewing habits and, one year later, were surveyed again.The researchers measured levels of exposure to three kinds of sexual content on television: (1) sexual behavior, such as kissing, intimate touching, and implied or depicted intercourse, (2) talk about sexual plans or desires or about sex that has occurred, and expert advice, and (3) talk about or behavior showing the risks of or the need for safety in regard to sexual activity: abstinence, waiting to have sex, portrayals mentioning or showing contraceptives, and portrayals related to consequences, such as AIDS, STDs, pregnancy, and abortion.A different set of factors was found to decrease the likelihood of first intercourse.