|Music, Lyrics, and Sex: A Recipe of Disaster for American Teens|
American society is full of influences that may in one way or another promote sexual promiscuity and aggression by children and teens. Practically all types of media are responsible for the tolerance, if not, encouragement of sexuality. From movies and videos to print and advertisements, a large portion of what one sees is related in some way to sex. In relation to this, there’s another type of content that’s making a loud “noise” in sexually influencing teens. We call it music.
Music was once referred to as the food for the soul. It seeks to inspire, inform, express, and entertain people. But when we try to listen and dig the lyrics of the popular songs these days, there‘s an obvious emphasis on sexually explicit words.
Numbers don’t lie, and because of this and all other factors involved, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine thinks that the reason why the United States has a very high rate of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among teens is because a lot of teens today are becoming more sexualized primarily due to the influence of song lyrics they hear.
When young and innocent minds are constantly exposed to music that primarily contains sexual content, they are absorbing a kind of message that sex is casual, and that anyone can engage in it. As a consequence, teen boys turn out to be persistent in luring and attracting girls and girls meanwhile start to love their role of being sexual objects. To make matters worse, almost 1 in 4 teens has had four or more partners and 1 in 4 sexually active teens is infected with an STD each year. [i]
However, we are not establishing a conclusion that every type of song shows sexual lyrics. The thing is, teenagers who are fond of rap, metal, and pop songs are more likely to enter sexual relationships and activity than those who are more into classic and folk. For instance, a study conducted in 2006 entitled “Exposure to Degrading Versus Non-degrading Music Lyrics and Sexual Behavior Among Youth,” emphasized two realities – first, that most American teens love hip hop, R&B, pop, and rap music, and secondly, these types of songs also contain the lyrics that are sexually degrading. So how are these findings justified?
The study, which was seen in Pediatrics, used the Top 50 songs of the Billboard chart. Of those fifty, most fell into music genres mentioned earlier. And among them, twenty two have been confirmed to have suggestive sexual material in the lyrics. They frequently regard men as being always preoccupied with sex while women are nothing more than objects of sexual pleasure.
If we go through the evidence, one day is not enough to show that almost every popular song is very sexually explicit. In the song “Lollipop” by Lil’ Wayne and the hit single “Sexy Can I” by Ray J, there are blatant references to sex acts.
And though most of the sexual content in music lyrics comes from male artists, female singers are as equally guilty and immoral. Famous American singer Mariah Carey has the same kind of explicit lyrics in her hit song, “Touch My Body”.
The study we quoted earlier is just some of the many researches made by concerned individuals, groups, and organizations that are getting more concerned on the state of morality for young adolescents, teens, and young adults.
One thing parents can do is listen to the music with their kids and talk about what message the song is trying to give. Remember that even in the teenage years, parents are still a big influence in a child’s life, so what you think does matter to them.[ii] Also, as a parent you can give ground rules about what music you allow them to listen to, and if these rules are broken there are consequences. The teen should know that it’s not about ruining their fun but rather protecting their mind. One thing is for sure, as long as artists and singers continue to encourage sexual promiscuity in their songs, more and more young people will apparently view sex as something cool.
[i] American Academy of Pediatrics. AAP Parent’s Pages. Sex, the Media and Your Child. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/data/107/1/191/DC1/1
[ii] Clayton, Victoria. Brown, Bradford. Mounts, Nina. Falling in with the Wrong Crowd. Growing Up Healthy. MSNBC.com