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Any story headlined "Sexual Lyrics Prompt Teens to Have Sex" is bound to fall short of expectations, and Lindsey Tanner's does. A new study in Pediatrics doesn't conclude that teens' iPods are having the same stimulatory effects as vibrators. Rather,

Listening to music with degrading sexual lyrics is related to advances in a range of sexual activities among adolescents, whereas this does not seem to be true of other sexual lyrics. This result is consistent with sexual-script theory and suggests that cultural messages about expected sexual behavior among males and females may underlie the effect.

The researchers also suggest that "reducing the amount of degrading sexual content in popular music or reducing young people's exposure to music with this type of content could help delay the onset of sexual behavior." So when you next see Joe Lieberman some moralistic senator-to-be-determined demanding parental blocks on iTunes to stop the plague of underaged pregnancies and rainbow parties, here's what they're quoting.

NEXT: Government Causes Sperm Shortage

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  1. Well, come on, where’s the evidence against it. I expect better than just quoting the article.

  2. Song lyrics when I was a youth instilled me with the compulsion to put the lime in the coconut…

  3. I know that many adolescents turn to rebellious and degrading music because they have crappy parents, sad homes, very little adult guidance, live in a crappy neighborhood, have not money, and have no hope, but I’m pretty sure its the music causing the whole mess. Surely there isn’t another cause leading to both the adolescent sex and adolescent music listening. I mean, what could it possibly be?

  4. Listening to music with degrading sexual lyrics is related to advances in a range of sexual activities among adolescents…

    Now there’s a worthy social goal if ever there was one. Listening to degrading lyrics should be made compulsory within the middle-school curriculum. It’s for the children.

  5. Kids take their cues from society as a whole. That’s why it’s important for those of us with taste to keep reminding them how much hip-hop truly blows.

    Not that they’ll listen to me, the little sluts.

  6. Am I reading this study wrong, or is the distinction between “degrading” and “non-degrading” music determined by the subjective analysis of two people reading song lyrics? Since the whole thing seems to rest on this difference, I declare shenanigans.

    “…no one will be watching us/ Why don’t we do it in the road”

  7. Here’s a possible explanation for teens engaging in sexual behavior: puberty. Call me crazy, but that just might have something to do with it.

  8. Sweet had a song called Little Willy on the charts for months. Obviously, an entire generation of kids grew up overly conscious of their penis size.

    Just this weekend I heard “You’re Sixteen” on a PA system. Why haven’t parents demanded this pedophiliac ditty be striken from all playlists?

  9. As long as the kids have more kids, shouldn’t John Gibson be happy about all this?

  10. There clearly wasn’t enough “music with degrading sexual lyrics” around when I was a teenager….

  11. I can’t see how any thinking, reasonable adult could disagree with the conclusions of this study. Whether you like to admit it or not, you are influenced by your surroundings. Admitting that culture impacts behavior is not the same thing as saying we need to ban music – it’s just simple honesty.

  12. I miss the days when music just caused young people to wear black leather trenchcoats, slit their wrists and murder their classmates. Kids these days have nothing better to do than screw, apparently. I hate Gen Y.

  13. I miss the days when music just caused young people to wear black leather trenchcoats, slit their wrists and murder their classmates. Kids these days have nothing better to do than screw, apparently. I hate Gen Y.

  14. I’ve worked with a lot of teenagers in a volunteer capacity over the last few years.

    The ones who were into the kind of music that I personally found objectionable (I won’t try to pretend that there’s some objective standard out there) ran the gamut from being sexually aware (and active) to being (as far as I could tell) blushing virgins.

    One of the most sexually active kids worked with enjoyed bubblegum pop and orchestral music. Should Mozart be banned?

    Yet another case of confusing correlation with causation, IMHO.

  15. Sasquatch: the conclusion of this study is much more narrow than “culture influences behavior”. As a thinking reasonable adult I ask that you try a little harder.

  16. When I was a teenager, I was the weirdo listening to jazz, ambient and what was unfortunately called “New Age” (mostly acoustic Windham Hill stuff, thank you, not that overproduced Yanni crap). There were no lyrics.

    This may explain a lot.

  17. Too bad I wasted my youth listening to clean, wholesome songs like “Brown Sugar,” “Lay Lady Lay,” and “Squeeze Box.”

  18. I take it that the kids who listened to Mahavishnu Orchestra had to suppress their sexual urges and became serial killers.

  19. I believe Clerks II had a whole dialog about this topic.

  20. “listened to Mahavishnu Orchestra ”

    Woaw! That was totally me! I don’t wanna be a serial killer.

  21. What about the idea that kids who listen to this kind of music do so because they are more likely to engage in teen sex and not vice versa?

  22. Yet another case of confusing correlation with causation, IMHO.

    Yep, or just getting the causation completely backwards. From the article,

    Among heavy listeners, 51 percent started having sex within two years, versus 29 percent of those who said they listened to little or no sexually degrading music.

    Why assume the music listening is causing the sex? Couldn’t it just as likely be the other way around? What if teens that are more um… prudish (or responsible depending on your point of view), and thus less likely to engage in sexual activity, are also less likely to like music with “raunchy sexual lyrics”?

    At any rate, if “raunchy sexual lyrics” were really causing teens to have sex earlier wouldn’t we expect to see a rise in teen pregnancy rates corresponding to the increase in raunchy sexual lyrics? I presume those that are concerned with this stuff would agree that we have seen such an increase in such lyrical content over the last 10-15 years. Yet over this exact period of time we have seen a dramatic decrease in teen pregnancy rates.

    All subjective studies that rely on personal interviews and the opinions of the subjects themselves are inherently flawed because they can so easily be manipulated (by choosing the questions to ask and how to ask them) to produce any desired result. Just like in the “porn causes rape” studies, based essentially on asking rapists if they looked at a lot of porn and if this influenced their crimes, which were even more convincingly refuted by statistics showing large drops in all violent crime at the same time as far more porn than ever before was being watched, the statistics just don’t support the conclusions of this study. Well, that is, unless you believe that at the same time teens are engaging in more sex than ever because of all the raunchy lyrics they are also being more responsible than ever about using protection.

    Just as an example, here are the teen pregnancy rates per 1000 girls aged 15-17 in the Portland area (Multnomah County) for the years 1990-2004:

    78.7; 80.1; 71; 73.7; 75.7; 68.1; 60; 55; 52; 50.3; 46.8; 41.4; 35.7; 35.0; 30.2

    And this isn’t unique to Oregon. Over the last 15 years teen pregnancy, abortion and birth rates have steadily declined in every state.

  23. From the study’s conclusion:

    “Because adolescents’ music choices are likely to be shaped, in part, by their level of sexual experience, we may have overestimated the relationship between exposure to degrading sexual content and advances in noncoital behavior.”

    “…our findings suggest a need for intervention. Reducing the amount of degrading sexual content in popular music, or reducing young people’s exposure to music with this type of content, could delay initiation of intercourse and related activities. This, in turn, may reduce sexual risk behavior and sexual regret. Intervention possibilities include reaching out to parents of adolescents, to teens, and to the recording industry.”

  24. “Couldn’t it just as likely be the other way around? What if teens that are more um… prudish (or responsible depending on your point of view), and thus less likely to engage in sexual activity, are also less likely to like music with “raunchy sexual lyrics”?”

    That’s just silly.

    And besides, try getting a government grant to study teen sex with a hypothesis like that.

  25. [Originally tried to post this prior to 3 p.m. EDT. Feed the rodents something, `mkay?]

    What if we did ban “offensive lyrics” that are claimed to drive the teenies to wanton sex? The kids will just make up their own. The actual lyrics to Louie, Louie aren’t filthy, but millions of teens and the FBI were sure that they were. If one has sex on the brain, one will see and hear it everywhere.

    I hit puberty as the 60s were waning. I was exposed to such raw filth as the Rolling Stones, Velvet Undergound, New York Dolls, Raspberries* and Sammi Smith+. Despite such immersion in aural lust and debauchery, my real life canoodling opportunities were nothing like what the bluenoses would have expected. Maybe the girls I knew didn’t listen to enough Filthy Rock Music.

    Kevin

    *Yeah, the Raspberries. What could be worse for young virgin ears than Go All The Way?

    +She had a big country ht with Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make It Through The Night that advocated sleeping around just to feel good.

    I don’t care what’s right or wrong
    I won’t try to understand
    Let the devil take tomorrow
    Lord, tonight I need a friend

    Utterly depraved behavior, totally indifferent to moral concerns. 🙂

  26. The table of contents of the journal indicates that “it’s hard out here for a kid”:

    The Relationship Between Watching Professional Wrestling on Television and Engaging in Date Fighting Among High School Students

    Epidemiology of Lawn Mower?Related Injuries to Children in the United States, 1990?2004

    Escalator-Related Injuries Among Children in the United States, 1990?2002

    Differences in the Risk Associated With Head Injury for Pediatric Ice Skaters, Roller Skaters, and In-Line Skaters

    Prevalence of Flat Foot in Preschool-Aged Children

    Someday we will eradicate the scourge of flat foot. Someday.

  27. Surely there isn’t another cause leading to both the adolescent sex and adolescent music listening. I mean, what could it possibly be?

    The reason is that biologically we humans are wired to desire sex far sooner than our current up-tight society thinks is acceptable. Somehow we’re supposed to not even think about sex until we’re 18 and even then not until the bonds of scared, government-approve, monogamous, heterosexual, matrimony.

    Of course, our cultures elegant solution to achieve is to try to bar all sexual concepts from from teenagers young minds, fire Joycelyn Elders for suggesting that it’s a good idea to tell kids that masturbating is OK, drop a Bible in their hands, and make them take “abstinence pledges.”

    Yeah, that really works.

  28. It’s the Knack’s fault:

    “Good Girls Don’t”

    She’s your adolescent dream,
    Schoolboy stuff, a sticky sweet romance.
    And she makes you want to scream,
    Wishing you could get inside her pants.
    So, you fantasize away.
    And while you’re squeezing her, you thought you heard her saying. . . .

    Good girls don’t,
    Good girls don’t,
    Good girls don’t, but I do.

    So, you call her on the phone,
    To talk about the teachers that you hate.
    And she says she’s all alone,
    And her parents won’t be coming home till late.
    There’s a ringing in your brain,
    Cause you could’ve sworn you thought you heard her saying. . . .

    Good girls don’t,
    Good girls don’t,
    Good girls don’t, but I do.

    And it’s a teenage sadness
    Everyone has got to taste.
    An in-between age madness
    That you know you can’t erase,
    Till she’s sitting on your face.

    You’re alone with her at last,
    And you’re waiting till you think the time is right.
    Cause you’ve heard she’s pretty fast.
    And you’re hoping that she’ll give you some tonight.
    So, you start to make your play,
    Cause you could’ve sworn you thought you heard her saying. . . .

    Good girls don’t,
    Good girls don’t,
    Good girls don’t, but I do.

    And it’s a teenage sadness
    Everyone has got to taste.
    An in-between age madness
    That you know you can’t erase,
    Till she’s sitting on your face.

    Good girls don’t,
    Good girls don’t,
    Good girls don’t, but I do. . . .

  29. EDIT: …achieve this goal is to try…

  30. I remember in high school getting these surveys in homeroom that wanted to know about what drugs we did and how frequently we did them.

    If you went by my answers, I should’ve been dead by spring break because I was doing at least 10 or 12 eightballs a week, not to mention shooting a little horse daily just to take the edge off.

    Phone interviews with kids 12 to 17 years of age talking about sex and how much they do it?

    Please….

  31. Phone interviews with kids 12 to 17 years of age talking about sex and how much they do it?

    One does have to wonder how they determine the validity of these studies given how in all likelyhood, the kid is lying.

    Still doesn’t mean that the average teens ISN’T hornier than mink in heat and that trying to stop them from fucking eachother is a useless and counter-productive. How can you teach them to be “sexually responsible” if you’re constantly

  32. What was the causational effect of Barry White on these kids?

    I demand answers!!!

  33. Escalator-Related Injuries Among Children in the United States, 1990-2002

    lol. Some parent needs to teach condition him to fear and respect that escalator!

  34. I, for one, disclaim any and all responsibility.

    “She’s Tight ”

    When I’m down I make a call.
    Got the number written on the wall.
    First it’s busy then I try again.
    Oh, who’s she talking to, could it be him?

    I got the number and it starts to ring.
    I get excited and I start to dream.
    I start to fantasize of memory lane.
    Then she answers and she says right way.
    She says I’m home on my own, home all alone.
    So I got off the phone.

    (She’s tight.) She’s ahead of her time.
    (She’s tight.) She’s one of a kind.
    (She’s tight.) She’s a talented girl.
    (She’s tight.) She’s got her head down tight.

    I have something got to say to you.
    Amnesia and my train of thought.
    On the tip, tip of my tongue.
    I had a vision when I was young.

    You floated in, we floated up.
    Through the window and down the hall.
    I had a smoke and went upstairs.
    Turned the door and opened the key. She spoke…
    I’m on my own, home all alone.
    So I got off the phone.

    (She’s tight.) She’s ahead of her time.
    (She’s tight.) She’s one of a kind.
    (She’s tight.) She’s a talented girl.
    (She’s tight.) She’s got her head down tight.

    (She’s tight.) She’s giving me the go.
    (She’s tight.) She’s giving me the high sign.
    (She’s tight.) We’ll turn off the lights.
    (She’s tight.) Pull down the shades.
    (She’s nice, she’s tight.) Turn on the cam’ra.
    (She’s nice, she’s tight.) And getting ready for action.

    Turn off the radio.
    Turn on the video.

  35. What was the causational effect of Barry White on these kids?

    Barry is the cause of some of these kids existing in the first place.

    The mindset that it must take to obsess on ‘dirty lyrics’ boggles the mind. I suggest a refreshory listen to Zappa’s “Porn Wars.”

    I don’t listen to the same stuff the young’uns of today do, but how many of us could even tell what our favorite rockers were singing at all, let alone internalize all of those naughty messages? Maybe it’s all subliminal. After all, I’m quite sure I learned to smoke pot from “Another One Bites the Dust” and worship Satan from “Stairway to Heaven.”

    Heck, I didn’t even need subliminal messages to learn from Kiss that being a musician is a good way for ugly guys to get laid a lot. Is that “degrading?”

  36. I don’t agree with this perspective.pop music could bring positive mindset to teen as long as the lyrics is not too bold.

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