There's nothing we like more than a good scientific study, especially if it concludes that children will basically turn into sex-crazed nymphobeasts within seconds of hearing a vaguely sexy pop song.
That's more or less the point of a study published in Pediatrics magazine, which has linked underage sex with children listening to songs with lyrics about sex. And it's a fair point, too – who can't say they've been influenced by the lyrics of a pop song now and again? For example, would we have precociously tried to forcefully sex up a librarian in 1991 if it weren't for Color Me Badd? No, but you try telling that to the police.
So much music around these days is about sex, isn't it, from Push The Button by The Sugababes to She Bangs by Ricky Martin to Animal (Fuck Like A Beast) by W.A.S.P, and all this sexy singing is triggering uncontrollable sexual urges in children. Or something – that's what a study in Pediatrics magazine says, anyway. Forbes sums it up:
Teens who said they listened to lots of music with degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse or other sexual activities within the following two years as were teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music.
Studies like this are always rolling around, and this one is just a continuation of a long line including the study that noticed that some adult films contain sex, the study that said happy films make you happy and the study that proved that reading Harry Potter stops you falling out of trees. But what makes this study special is that it lays all forms of teenage sex squarely at the feet of sexy pop songs. Steven Martino, the lead author of the study, said that modern music turns boys into relentlessly pursuers of girls, and girls into objectified sex objects. Music, he says:
"gives them a specific message about sex. We think that really lowers kids' inhibitions and makes them less thoughtful."
The study was conducted by what must be the creepiest telephone interviews ever, as the research team telephoned thousands of kids aged between 12-17 and asked them all about music and sex. Surprisingly enough, some of these kids had sex within three years of being asked. Yeah, we were shocked too. And it's all down to the music, as 17-year-old Natasha Ramsey told Forbes:
"I won't really realise that the person is talking about having sex or raping a girl. We don't even really realise how much… A lot of teens think that's the way they're supposed to be, they think that's the cool thing to do. Because it's so common, it's accepted. Teens will try to deny it, they'll say 'No, it's not the music,' but it IS the music. That has one of the biggest impacts on our lives."
Songs about raping a girl? Blimey, things have changed a bit since we were youngsters listening to Me So Horny by 2 Live Crew – at least that was about paying to have consensual sex with a slightly unclean Vietnamese prostitute. But at least we all now know that it's music that makes children want to have sex. Not, you know, the bodily changes of sexual maturation and the psychosocial aspects of adolescent development.
[story by Stuart Heritage]