Does Sex on Soaps Lead to Trouble?
In TV Culture, the author says that when people discuss what is happening on soap operas, they are not only discussing and evaluating fictitious issues, but also the issues of their own lives. (Fiske 77) Perhaps this contributes to why people want soaps to deal with all the issues mentioned in the previous paragraphs.
Respondents were presented with the statement, "Having sex often leads to trouble for soap opera characters." The expectation was that all survey takers would either agree or strongly agree. Sex on soaps does invariably lead to trouble for the characters. The examples are endless. A return to the sex scenes observed on ANOTHER WORLD and SANTA BARBARA will illustrate the point. (Again, these scenes and their consequences are easily transferable to any currently airing soap opera.)
On SANTA BARBARA, one couple's love making ended before it began because the woman stabbed the man as he kissed her! She experienced a flashback of being sexually abused by another man when she was younger. Also on the same show, one character's sexual encounter caused the dissolution of his marriage AND the loss of his mistress!
One more example also came from SANTA BARBARA. A male character had an affair and his wife lost her baby due to the stress when she found out. The man and his mistress were racked with guilt over the loss of the baby. However, the wife never really had a baby in the first place! She was faking pregnancy after a one-night stand she had with the man prior to him becoming her husband. She tricked him into marrying her for the sake of the non-existent baby in order to keep him from the woman he really loved.
Sex leads to trouble on soap operas? You'd better believe it does! "Viewers may learn from sex on soap operas that sex will always get you into trouble." (Frentz 38)