What Gen Z Wants To See On TV — And It's Not Romance Or Sex

Gen Z wants television that accurately reflects their real lives.

Gen Z faces inside heart hands Xavier Lorenzo / Shutterstock

A recent UCLA study, conducted by the Center for Scholars and Storytellers, found that there is a shifting preference in Generation Z, specifically when it comes to on-screen relationships.

Rather than wanting romance and sex on television, Gen Zers, aged 10-24 in the study, are focused on another type of relationship we don't often see in movies.

A study found that Gen Z wants to see on-screen dynamics that showcase platonic friendships, rather than romantic relationships.

In August of 2023, the psychology department of UCLA collected survey data from 1,500 adolescents and compared it to data from 2022. The results highlighted some interesting discoveries regarding the younger generation's TV and movie viewing preferences.


According to the survey, 51.5% of adolescents showed a desire for more platonic relationships in TV shows and movies. Further, 56% of Gen Z has expressed that many of their peers are choosing to stay single, rather than getting involved in romantic relationships. Even more interesting is that 39% of participants expressed a desire to see more asexual and aromantic characters on-screen.

what Gen Z wants to see on TVPhoto: Hector Ges from capturenow / Canva Pro


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When it came to more sexual questions, they were asked to those ages 13-24. The statistics showed that 47.5% of participants felt that sex was not essential for the development of most TV shows and movies.

Finally, 44.3% of respondents expressed that romance in the media was simply overused.

After the study's results, it's clear that Gen Z wants to see their lives reflected accurately on TV.

Many people in Gen Z are choosing to remain single and choosing to not have children. Rather than pouring into romantic relationships, many are focused more on building platonic relationships.


This makes sense since the mindset of this generation has evolved from past generations. Most of Gen Z do not think that marriage is necessary to have a fulfilled life. Further, economic struggles are making it difficult for this generation to even consider having children or getting married.

Combine this with the need to have healthy boundaries in relationships, and it makes sense that Gen Z wants to see more platonic relationships on-screen. They want to see their reality reflected as it truly is.

It's noteworthy that Gen Zers are asking for more asexual and aromantic characters to be represented on-screen, but we can’t say it is shocking. After all, this generation is choosing to have less sex. Perhaps the desire to see a character who feels similar to them is the reasoning, or perhaps this generation simply wants to see more diversified backgrounds and content. 

what Gen Z wants to see on tvPhoto: Milkos from Getty Images / Canva Pro


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The reaction to this study has been mixed online, specifically on X, formally known as Twitter.

While Gen Z has mostly agreed with this study, some individuals feel it reflects just how 'corrupt' this generation has become.

Why is this generation corrupt, you may be asking yourself? Well, according to the criticism online, Gen Z has become too “soft” because they do not want to see sex on TV.

One user states, “Not a boy I knew older than 12 who did not have a stash of Playboy and Hustler mags...” If that isn’t disturbing enough, some have even insinuated that this study makes sense because it’s mostly queer people these days on TV having sex. 


To see this narrative reflected goes to show just how disconnected the media is from Gen Z’s true desires.

Wanting to see less sex on TV does not make this generation weak; rather, it shows a level of maturity. This maturity being that sex alone isn’t enough to have a stable and fulfilling relationship.


Queer representation has nothing to do with a decreased desire for romance and sex on TV. If that was the case, the desire to see asexual/aromantic relationships would not have been there in the first place.


Once again, the desire to see platonic relationships stems from the fact that there are more single people in this generation than ever before, and there's nothing wrong with that.

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Marielisa Reyes is an Entertainment and News Writer for YourTango. She focuses on pop culture and human interest topics.