Sex and Music

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Sex and Music
The Influence of Music in Sexual Behavior

Different types of music have been known to make impacts on sexual behavior to different people and different ages. Types of music can calm people’s senses down or fire them up; it can also be something that arouses people.

Songs, lyrics and teen sex[edit]

Studies have shown that there is a strong link between the music that young teens listen to and sexual behaviors. The average teen listens to 1.5 to 2.5 hours of music every day. Many of these songs have sexual themes that can range from being romantic and playful to raunchy and degrading. [1]

Chart of sexual content of different genres of music (based on this study without empirical significance)

Musical Genre Number of songs per album(s) % of songs with sexual content % of songs with degrading sexual content
Hard Rock 12 50 0
Alternative Rock 26 16.5 0
Rap-Rock 25 63.5 44
Rap 43 43 32.5
Rap-Metal 14 21 14
R & B 12 42 17
Country 25 8 0
Teen Pop 50 30.5 0

Songs that depict men as sex studs and woman as sexual objects and have explicit references to sex acts are more likely to begin early sexual behavior than those where sexual references are more hidden and relationships appear more committed.

Teens who 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. Girls who watch more than 14 hours of music videos are more likely to engage in unsafe sex with multiple partners and get STI. Boys who watch violent sex scenes on television have less sympathy to victims of sexual violence.

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. [2]

A new research study discovered teenagers who preferred popular songs with degrading sexual references were more likely to engage in intercourse or in precoital activities.

The relationship between exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex and sexual experience held equally for both young men and women. [3]

"A study of more than 700 ninth-graders who listened to lyrics considered sexually degrading -- like "Wait (The Whisper Song)" by rap duo the Yin Yang Twins -- linked the music to higher levels of sexual behavior among young teens." [4]

The findings indicate that "people who are exposed to certain messages in music are more likely to copy or emulate what they hear," said Dr. Brian A. Primack, a pediatrician. [5]

A professor of cognitive neurology at Newcastle University's research found that the brain's responses to music are just like its responses to sex; the measured brain activity of someone who receives trembles from music and the measured brain activity of someone having pleasurable sex are exactly the same. [6]

- Fans of different musical genres gave very different responses, with fans of hip-hop and dance music standing out in particular. 37.5% of hip-hop fans and 28.7% of dance music fans have had more than one sexual partner in the past five years, (compared with, for example, 1.5% of country fans). [7]

Sexual Themes/Lyrics in music[edit]

One minute man by Missy Elliot
“Ooooooh, I don`t want I don`t need, I can`t stand no minute man, I don`t want no minute man, Ooooooh, here`s your chance be a man take my hand understand, I don`t want no minute man”- one who doesn’t last long during sexual intercourse or ejaculates quickly; someone not attentive to his or her partner’s needs and hurries through any act of intimacy
Till (Your legs start shaking) by Sleepy Brown
“I’m on top of you, you’re under me, there’s no other place I’d rather be”- describing the pleasure and intimacy of sex with you
Bed by J. Holiday
“Getting tucked in”
PDA (We just don’t care) by John Legend
Public display(s) of affection; making out in public and other behaviors
Groove with you by The Isley Brothers
Song implies more than dancing
Bump n grind by R. Kelly
“Sit down on the couch, take your shoes off, let me rub your body before I tear it off, the honey lover man is ready to flex, girl flex, time to have sex, we’ll start right here and work our way around, I won’t stop until I hear the “ooh, R sound”
Rock the boat by Aaliyah
“Boat” is a metaphor for female genitals
What’s my name by Brian McKnight
Songs sets the mood and sung in a classy tone; song is seductive and doesn’t express vulgar language or tacky phrases

Other songs:

American popular music

Sex on the beach by Vengaboys, What’s your fantasy by Ludacris, Love sex and magic by Ciara f. Justin Timberlake, Birthday sex by Jeremih, Sex on fire covered by Sugarland, original by Kings of Leon, Gimme head by E40, Put it in your mouth by Akinyele, My neck my back by Khai, How many licks by Lil Kim, Magic stick by 50 Cent, Every girl and Lollipop by Lil Wayne, Hotline by Pretty Ricky, Pearl necklace by ZZ Top, Afternoon delight by Starland Vocal Band, Shake that ass by Eminem, Closer by Nine inch nails, Back that ass up by Juvenile

Jazz Music

Warm Valley, Satin Doll by Duke Ellington, Soul eyes by Coltrane, Kind of blue by Miles Davis

Music Videos and sex[edit]

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of cognitive distortions concerning women on sexually aggressive behavior in the laboratory. Twenty-seven men listened to misogynous rap music and 27 men listened to neutral rap music. Participants then viewed neutral, sexual-violent, and assaultive film vignettes and chose one of the vignettes to show to a female confederate. Among the participants in the misogynous music condition, 30% showed the assaultive vignette and 70% showed the neutral vignette. In the neutral condition, 7% showed the sexual-violent or assaultive vignette and 93% showed the neutral vignette. Participants who showed the sexual-violent or assaultive stimuli reported that the confederate was more upset and uncomfortable in viewing these stimuli than did participants who showed the neutral vignette. These findings suggest that misogynous music facilitates sexually aggressive behavior and support the relationship between cognitive distortions and sexual aggression. [8]

Studies from 10 years ago show that 60% of videos on MTV at the time contained sexual imagery and sexually suggestive content. A cross-sectional review of 40 randomly selected videos showed that 90% of the videos were sexually suggestive. Research results show that the more people watch music videos, the increased likelihood they are to have high frequency estimates of sexual behaviors and liberal attitudes toward sex. This is also coupled with a stronger tendency to endorse sex-role stereotypes and the toleration of sexual harassment. [9]

Music in the bedroom[edit]

Men watching rock or rap music video clips including texts using rough violence and direct sexual messages presented increased levels of testosterone, aggressiveness and misogynistic reactions. This then can lead to more violent or abusive sexual behaviors with their partners.

Those who enjoy jazz have 34% more sex than those who like pop and the least sexually active are those listening to classical music. [10]

Music as a Sexual Lifestyle[edit]

The rock and roll lifestyle has always been associated with sex and drugs. Musicians had always attracted attention from the opposite sex. While some rock groups were in favor of long-term relationships, other groups and artists did little to discourage it, and many tales of sexual acts became part of the rock music legacy. [11]

Reducing music’s influence on sex[edit]

Parental permissiveness, peer pressure, self-esteem, and poor at home environments are the most influential ways in which young adults acquire explicit sexual music. The role of a parenting and a positive at home environment can make a huge difference in the music of which an individual is listening to at a certain age. Music which is sold in stores can be marked explicit and cannot be bought by individuals under the age of 17. Enforcing that right can reduce music’s influence of sexual behavior. Outside of the home, educators in the school systems must also make a positive environment in which explicit lyrics and music is not allowed. “A healthy home atmosphere is one that allows a child to investigate what pop culture has to offer and at the same time say ‘I know this is a fun song but you know that it’s not right to treat women this way or this isn’t a good person to have as a role model,”’ she said. [12]

Dr. Bruce Perry said "Kids who don't have a solid family and community value system to anchor them -- they're the ones who are influenced by TV. They are living with a parent who is overwhelmed, they are disconnected from a cultural, religious or ethnic set of beliefs...so they learn how the world works from TV." [13]

  • Monitor the music and watching of music videos
  • Discuss sexual activity and the risks (i.e. Pregnancy, STIs, HIV)
  • Discuss content of lyrics and possibility of actual happening (rape, using drugs or alcohol, etc.)
  • Studies have shown that teens spend more time listening to music than watching television. Although music is viewed as a source of entertainment, it is important to recognize that listening habits influence coping strategies, identity formation and interpersonal relationships. [14]

Music/Media create sexual stereotypes[edit]

When people hear songs depicting women this way and men that way, they begin to develop stereotypes about different genders. Through musical lyrics and music videos, gender and sexual stereotypes are formed and applied in society. In rap songs and videos women get depicted as objects that always have a sexual desire towards men and will be their servants, while men get depicted as strong, powerful, and rich. A major study out of Harvard University has found that popular music videos overwhelmingly portray black men as aggressors and white women as victims. The study analyzed 518 videos on the four most popular music video networks in the U.S. Researchers found that violence occurred in 14.7 per cent of the videos shown, with MTV showing the highest rate of violent videos at 22.4 per cent. In particular, black people were portrayed as aggressors in 25 per cent of the violent videos -- 95 per cent of them men. Of victims in the violent videos, 47 per cent were white women. Almost all of the aggressors (85 per cent) in the violent videos were portrayed as attractive role models, not villains. [15]

Another study investigated the sex-role stereotyping of occupational roles and the behaviors of music-video characters in a random sample of 182 MTV music videos. It was found that both male and female characters were shown in sex-typed occupations. Male characters were more adventuresome, domineering, aggressive, violent, and victimized than female characters, while females were more affectionate, dependant, nurturing, and fearful than males. It was also found that a large percentage of female characters wore revealing clothing and that they initiated and received sexual advances more often than males. Steven A. Seidman, An Investigation of Sex-Role Stereotyping in Music-Videos

Throughout history, music has created influence in individuals all over the world. Athletes use music to excite them for competition, sleep deprived people use music to calm them down and fall asleep, and some people are influenced by music which arouses them sexually. Weaved inside of music’s lyrics, beats, and rhythms, lies a deep sexual influence which affects many people. The beats and sounds of music can affect our motion while the lyrics attack our minds and place pictures and stereotypes in them. Music is a powerful sound which can create an incredible sexual mood, with an incredible sexual influence for better or for worse.

References[edit]