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Sex and the Soap Opera


Jacqui and Rob are 20. They have known each other for three years and feel themselves to be very much in love. They have decided to take a flat and live together as they are both full-time students with only part-time casual jobs. Rob's parents in particular are sad and upset. They have explained many times their point of view, which is that sexual relations are an expression of a permanent, exclusive and public commitment. Rob admires his parents and is sorry to hurt them but does not feel ready for the commitment of marriage, though he wants to be together with Jacqui. He feels his parents' position is a little narrow, as many friends see absolutely no problem with people who care for each other entering into a sexual relationship. ‘After all,’ he says, ‘"it's no big deal. We see it every night on television.’ When his parents lament the popular culture which makes it so difficult for young people to either refrain from sexual relationships until they are married or to be willing to commit themselves permanently in marriage to someone they love, Rob gets defensive. He reminds them that Church and community attitudes in the past caused much anguish, especially for young women who found themselves pregnant and were shamed, ostracised and often separated from their children. He is also quick to point out that he and Jacqui do have values, which include equality, friendship and a commitment to partnership, and that sexual expression of affection is natural and normal.


  • Should Rob and Jacqui marry?
  • What has changed since Rob's parents were married?
  • What is the influence of television and popular culture on sexual relationships?
  • What are the underlying issues here?

The following scenario allows you to explore the viewpoints of a range of different people.

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