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Old 08-07-2006, 01:08 PM   #1
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New Study About Teens And Sexual Lyrics

I would agree that the healthy sense of self that is derived from other factors in teens' lives should be able to counteract the messages in lyrics. That being said, the messages being sent in some of these lyrics can be dangerous and I agree that teens and parents need to think about them critically.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/paren....ap/index.html

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Teens whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, a study found.

Whether it's hip-hop, rap, pop or rock, much of popular music aimed at teens contains sexual overtones. Its influence on their behavior appears to depend on how the sex is portrayed, researchers found.

Songs depicting men as "sex-driven studs," women as sex objects and with explicit references to sex acts are more likely to trigger early sexual behavior than those where sexual references are more veiled and relationships appear more committed, the study found.

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.

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.

Exposure to lots of sexually degrading music "gives them a specific message about sex," said lead author Steven Martino, a researcher for Rand Corp. in Pittsburgh. Boys learn they should be relentless in pursuit of women and girls learn to view themselves as sex objects, he said.

"We think that really lowers kids' inhibitions and makes them less thoughtful" about sexual decisions and may influence them to make decisions they regret, he said.

The study, based on telephone interviews with 1,461 participants aged 12 to 17, appears in the August issue of Pediatrics, being released Monday...

....Martino said the researchers tried to account for other factors that could affect teens' sexual behavior, including parental permissiveness, and still found explicit lyrics had a strong influence.

However, Yvonne K. Fulbright, a New York-based sex researcher and author, said factors including peer pressure, self-esteem and home environment are probably more influential than the research suggests.

"It's a little dangerous to just pinpoint one thing. You have to look at everything that's going on in a young person's life," she said. "When somebody has a healthy sense of themselves, they don't take these lyrics too seriously. "
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Old 08-07-2006, 01:29 PM   #2
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As a teen, when I read this, it just makes me

Luckily I don't listen to these kind of lyrics...
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Old 08-07-2006, 01:32 PM   #3
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The worst kind of music is rap. I have seen it change my younger brother from a regular joe to some wanna be.
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Old 08-07-2006, 03:33 PM   #4
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Relentlessly pervasive promotion often leaves parents with no options. It's hard to be heard over 115 decibels, to get in the way of billboards selling sex on every streetcorner, to drag attention away from the latest music video.

Based on the Girls Gone Wild thread, it also seems like there are a number of other sociological factors at play here, at least in terms of women seeing themselves as sexual objects.
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Old 08-07-2006, 06:01 PM   #5
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I would imagine that these lyrics can impact an impressionable young person who's struggling with various issues, but so do alot of things. If you took away the suggestive lyrics there would still be plenty of pressure to have sex young.
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Old 08-07-2006, 07:16 PM   #6
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Just another ingredient in the societal soup we are cooking up daily. Such lyrics are often defended as reflecting “the way things are” while at the same time perpetuating (as one of many influences) some of the societal ills reflected by the songs.
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Old 08-07-2006, 07:26 PM   #7
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It seems to be insinuated that the lyrics "cause" the sexual activity... but who's to say these kids who listen to this sort of music aren't the ones who would have sex anyway?

I'm 18, don't really listen to that sort of music and am still a virgin. Maybe it doesn't appeal to me because that's not what I'm interested in.

"It's a little dangerous to just pinpoint one thing. You have to look at everything that's going on in a young person's life," she said. "When somebody has a healthy sense of themselves, they don't take these lyrics too seriously. "

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Old 08-07-2006, 07:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by amerrydeath
Maybe it doesn't appeal to me because that's not what I'm interested in.

"It's a little dangerous to just pinpoint one thing. You have to look at everything that's going on in a young person's life," she said. "When somebody has a healthy sense of themselves, they don't take these lyrics too seriously. "
I'd agree with this. I tried listening to "gangsta rap" when I was 13 or so, because it was cool. But, frankly, it just made me personally uncomfortable (while, nowadays, it sounds like a joke to me).

So yeah, I do think this is one of those instances where politics seem to trump solid research. There's a lot of obvious questions about the conclusion they came up with.

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Old 08-07-2006, 08:41 PM   #9
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We need to understand the difference between causal relationships and correlations. Lyrics, video games and the like may not cause an activity (in an if-then relationship), but they may be an active part of the filter someone uses when deciding to engage in an activity.
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Old 08-07-2006, 10:32 PM   #10
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I agree with amerrydeath. In fact, I often wonder if there really are any correlations at all. Teenagers have been having sex since the dawn of time. From a very simplistic perspective, it's perfectly natural. I was sexually mature (able to have a baby) at age 11 and there was no choice or societal influences involved in that.

Maybe my friends and I are all outliers, but I've never felt any influence to have sex OR to abstain from any form of media. The same thing is true for drugs, drinking, any sort of "rebellious" behavior.

I just don't see the relationships. Yes, the music is trashy, but teens are curious about their bodies and will have sex whether they are listening to rap or Beethovan.
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:53 PM   #11
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As a parent, I have thought the lyrics since the age of rap, specifically gangsta rap have gotten worse and more disgusting. It's to the point teens think the language used in the songs is alright to use in day to day communications with their peers and with adults. I find it disgusting to see groups of half dressed teens smoking, cursing like sailors, dancing provocatively and listening/singing along to these sexually explicit songs (sorry I don't consider it music) at younger and younger ages. Is it because of Mtv? Is it because of rap music? I don't know that it's due to any one particular influence but a combination. It's just sad. My son went through the rap scene and rebelled. It was several disconcerting years of a very tense household, but we luckily survived and my son is settled in college now. HE bames MTV for the way teens are today.
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:59 PM   #12
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This thread is beginning to sound like Footloose.

People have blamed music from the beginning for teens having sex. The truth is, sex really doesn't need that much promoting.

Now our attitudes towards sex can be affected, but isn't this the job of our parents and family?

Sexist lyrics have been around since the beginning...

I think the reason rap gets such a bad reputation is that it isn't subtle. Rap and subtlety just don't go hand in hand.
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Old 08-08-2006, 07:53 AM   #13
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I just believe if kids don't have a strong parental influence, and the only images they are getting of sex and gender roles and expectations is from some of the lyrics out there these days, it is troublesome.

It makes me feel so old, but the music I listened to growing up didn't have the lyrics that exist today. As a female I gravitated to music like U2, because it was respectful of women and it was never degrading to love and sex and relationships. I know if I had kids I would filter out stuff that I felt was demeaning and degrading, at the very least talk to them about it and about sex and relationships long before lyrics were their biggest impression.

I believe in promoting sex and relationships in the way I personally feel it should be promoted, and I definitely believe that is a huge parental responsibility. Unfortunately some parents don't do it, for whatever reason.
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Old 08-08-2006, 08:01 AM   #14
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Given the statistics on teen pregancy over the last 15 years (decent drop) I don't think it is fair to target the music industry for this, perhaps music that promotes oral sex is beneficial even if kids have sex earlier.
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Old 08-08-2006, 09:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by amerrydeath
It seems to be insinuated that the lyrics "cause" the sexual activity... but who's to say these kids who listen to this sort of music aren't the ones who would have sex anyway?

I'm 18, don't really listen to that sort of music and am still a virgin. Maybe it doesn't appeal to me because that's not what I'm interested in.

"It's a little dangerous to just pinpoint one thing. You have to look at everything that's going on in a young person's life," she said. "When somebody has a healthy sense of themselves, they don't take these lyrics too seriously. "

Exactly!!
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Old 08-08-2006, 09:44 AM   #16
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clearly, a study like this is designed to frighten parents, especially when, as A_W notes, rates of teen pregnancy are way, way down, and even the age of first sexual intercourse is slowly climbing up.

so, it seems to me that there's really only one solution: Virginity Pledges!
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:49 AM   #17
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The study did point out that this was not simply limited to rap music, it was simply music with lyrics that presented females as objects to be won, and discussed sex as a casual act.

On the other hand were songs that presented sexual relationships in deeper terms, that discussed things like love and commitment. I didn't see anywhere that it said that those who listened to these songs were more likely to end up in this kind of relationship though.

It seems like NB said, these may not play an overt role, but they are part of the culture that shapes who we are as individuals. If you are surrounded by influences telling you that women are objects and sex is soley about getting your own needs fulfilled, then the chances increase that your outlook will be similar.
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Old 08-08-2006, 09:10 PM   #18
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Hmm...
I've grown up with sexually explicit lyrics all about sexual relations, derogative or not towards women, and albeit I LIKED the music, I remained a virgin until I was 19. Am I not part of a statistic? I'm being left out!!!
So are most of my friends too, I guess, I know of a 27 year old who is still a virgin. We ARE being left out!
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Old 08-08-2006, 09:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
This thread is beginning to sound like Footloose.

People have blamed music from the beginning for teens having sex. The truth is, sex really doesn't need that much promoting.

Now our attitudes towards sex can be affected, but isn't this the job of our parents and family?

Sexist lyrics have been around since the beginning...

I think the reason rap gets such a bad reputation is that it isn't subtle. Rap and subtlety just don't go hand in hand.
I agree. And the constant put-down of rap as a genre gets a little tiring. How is demonizing rap today different than demonizing rock 50 years ago? There is a lot of really raunchy rap but that doesn't mean hip-hop music is inherently like that. Just ask the unabashed hip-hop/rap fans in U2. Just another non-story to get a rise out of people's puritanical sides.
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Old 08-09-2006, 09:12 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lemonfix


I agree. And the constant put-down of rap as a genre gets a little tiring. How is demonizing rap today different than demonizing rock 50 years ago? There is a lot of really raunchy rap but that doesn't mean hip-hop music is inherently like that. Just ask the unabashed hip-hop/rap fans in U2. Just another non-story to get a rise out of people's puritanical sides.


... i am reminded of many U2 fans highly embarassing reactions to Kanye West as an opening acts. it's clear that rap/hip-hop faces extreme ignorance and prejudice as a musical genre.
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