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Love Is All You Need: A Content Analysis of Romantic Scenes in Chinese Entertainment Television


Brown, Jane D.; Zhao, Xinshu; Wang, Mena Ning; Liu, Quan; Lu, Amy Shirong; Li, Lucille Jing; Ortiz, Rebecca R.; Liao, Shengqing; & Zhang, Guoliang (2013). Love Is All You Need: A Content Analysis of Romantic Scenes in Chinese Entertainment Television. Asian Journal of Communication, 23(3), 229-247.


A large sample of entertainment television programs that were aired on 28 channels in China in 2004 was analyzed for romantic and sexual content. Romantic scenes, typically portraying men and women already in committed relationships, appeared in 80% of the 196 programs analyzed. The analysis suggested that, according to Chinese television in the early part of the twenty-first century, emotional love was more important than physical sexual interaction in romantic relationships. More than half of the 1112 romantic scenes analyzed depicted love between the partners without any discussion or display of physical sexual behavior. Only 8% of scenes included discussion or depiction of sexual behavior (e.g., touching, kissing, and intercourse) without some sense that the partners were in a loving, committed relationship. Sexual intercourse was implied or depicted in fewer than 2% of the romantic scenes. Findings are discussed in light of the Chinese government's periodic regulation of sexually suggestive media content and attempts to filter Internet content. The extent to which such content may affect young viewers' perceptions of romantic relationships and sexual behavior is also discussed.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Asian Journal of Communication


Brown, Jane D.
Zhao, Xinshu
Wang, Mena Ning
Liu, Quan
Lu, Amy Shirong
Li, Lucille Jing
Ortiz, Rebecca R.
Liao, Shengqing
Zhang, Guoliang