Code Book
Sex Code Book

Sex Code Book

Definition of Sexual Content

Sexual content is defined as any behavior that suggests a precursor to or engagement in sexual intercourse or other sexual activity.

Number of Characters Involved

Code for the total number of people involved in any type of sexual activity, including all characters that appear partially or fully naked in the segment (breasts, butt, or genitals for women / butt or genitals for men).

Relationships Among Characters

If there is only one character involved in the sexual content (i.e., exposed breasts independent of sexual activity) or if there are multiple naked people engaged in no sexual contact, code “No Relationship.” For example, masturbation scenes or scenes in strip clubs.

If there is some type of interaction between characters, code their relationship accordingly: married or engaged characters are coded as “intimate.” Friends, strangers, acquaintances, unknown, etc., are coded as “non-intimate.” A married man having relations with a mistress would be coded as “non-intimate” because their relationship does not include engagement. Keep in mind that relationships between characters may change throughout the movie.

Explicitness of Sexual Content

Explicitness of sexual content is rated on a scale of 0-4 (adapted from Leone, 2002), where sexual content is defined as any behavior that suggests a precursor to or engagement in sexual intercourse or other sexual activity.

0 = No Sexual Content – Coded only if no sex occurs in the segment.

1 = Somewhat – Includes three types of portrayal:

(a) Kissing (on the lips) but no other sexual contact, or seductive dancing with clothing, or removal of clothing without visible nudity;

(b) Or a female character’s exposed breasts without other sexual activity;

(c) Or scenes in which there is an indication, through visual cues, that intercourse occurred, but no sexual contact shown.

2 = More – In addition to or instead of kissing (level 1), involves groping, fondling, rubbing, or grinding (behavior considered foreplay) while clothed or partially clothed (female breasts may be visible but no genital areas are visible). No penetration vaginally, orally, anally or any masturbation.

3 = Very – Includes three types of portrayal:

(a) In addition to level 2, characters are visibly naked, which can include some clothing, such as garter belts;

(b) Or sexual intercourse, sexual penetration, or masturbation while clothed;

(c) Or display of female or male genital areas but without any sexual activity.

4 = Most – Includes two types of portrayal:

(a) Sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration or masturbation while naked;

(b) Or any sexual activity with genitals of character(s) shown.

Intercourse Shown or Implied

Characters shown having sex, or displaying behavior and movement indicating that they are having sex would be “shown.” Nudity is not necessary for sex to be considered “shown.” “Implied” sex would be a scene where two characters go into a bedroom together and wake up next to each other naked or partially clothed the next morning.

Protection Used

Before sexual intercourse, character is shown using or preparing to use a condom, or dialogue implies that this is the case if it is not directly depicted.

Rape or Forced Sex

“Forced vaginal or anal penetration or forced oral sex” – force defined as: “physical and verbal threats… or the inability on the part of the victim to give consent because of alcohol or drug intoxication, unconsciousness, sleep, or youth” – from Bufkin and Eschholz (2000).

Mention of Pregnancy Risk / STD / Safer Sex

Pregnancy or STD risk is mentioned before, during, or immediately after the act of intercourse takes place. Mentions of safe sex or safer sex occur during or immediately before or after sexual content is depicted.

Sexual Content Location

Code for sexual content in a dwelling or non-dwelling location.