February 1, 2019

Kids Can’t Watch NC-17 Films in Movie Theaters, But They Can on Netflix

Netflix, the streaming service powerhouse, has hundreds of TV shows and movies to choose from. That selection also includes many titles that contain extreme graphic sexual content, requiring no automatic barrier to access them.

Furthermore, Netflix has a flimsy ratings system at best, only very recently adding content ratings to the opening screens of any selection. The lack of descriptive content warnings employed by cable television and other streaming services means that movie rated “TV-MA” could have anything from a few swear words to gratuitous and explicit sex scenes.

Netflix ratings do not note if shows and movies contain sexually explicit content.

Due to the nature of streaming, many of Netflix’s titles do not have the industry-standard MPAA ratings such as PG or R. Instead, many programs fall under the umbrella of TV-MA, meaning “Mature Audiences”. Again, Netflix does not require any other content warnings to be included besides this vague description. Netflix currently has several films that fall under the category of TV-MA, and some are even rated NC-17. Many of the films rated TV-MA were originally released as NC-17 or otherwise have extremely graphic sexual content.

The only way to block this content is for parental controls to be turned on, requiring a PIN for either specific titles or ratings such as TV-MA. Read more about Netflix parental controls here.

If movie theaters don’t allow those under 17 to see NC-17 (or even R) rated movies, then why is Netflix making these films available to anyone regardless of age?

Below is a list* of films currently offered on Netflix that have either a NC-17 or TV-MA rating for graphic sexual content:

  • Love
  • Nymphomaniac I and II
  • Lust Stories
  • Blue is the Warmest Color
  • Y Tu Mama Tambíen
  • Sex and Lucía
  • Below Her Mouth
  • Sex Doll
  • Fragments of Love
  • Love Steaks
  • The Little Death
  • Immoral Tales
  • Desire
  • Newness

*Keep in mind this list may not be exhaustive, and does not include movies originally rated R or TV shows rated TV-MA.

Sommer Porter

Copywriter

Sommer Porter is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University, earning her
bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in International Development. She is
passionate about solving important world issues such as sexual exploitation through
non-profit work and advocacy. She has worked with several non-profits, including
spending three months conducting a program evaluation for an organization based
in Bulgaria. She now works as a copywriter at the National Center on Sexual
Exploitation and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in the future.

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