By Sabrina Rojas Weiss
Every couple of months, someone comes out with a study trying to link teen sex and pregnancy to popular music, TV shows or movies. They always inspire these alarming headlines like, "Rap Music Makes Kids Have Orgies" or something of the sort that I'm sure makes many parents decide to lock their kids up with nothing but a phonograph and some Mozart LPs (though I'm sure back in Wolfie's day, there were people saying the same thing about him).
This week, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study that shows a link between exposure to music with "degrading sexual references" in the lyrics and the level of sexual activity in a group of 711 ninth graders from urban high schools. According to the BBC, the kids were divided into groups based on how many hours a week they listened to music that describes sex as a physical act (rather than an act of love). Those who listened to such music regularly, at least 17.6 hours a week, were twice as likely to have had sex as those who listened to it infrequently (under 2.7 hours a week).
I just don't understand what that's supposed to prove. First of all, there's probably a whole lot more different about the lives of the "regularly" kids from the "infrequently" ones, like the fact that they have 17.6 or more free hours in a week to listen to music. I'm willing to bet anything that the teens in the infrequent category: a) have parents who won't let them play music with explicit lyrics in the house, b) have parents who are around enough to notice what kind of music they're playing and/or c) have plenty of extracurricular activities and homework. All of which means they also have less free time to get hot and heavy with their girlfriends and boyfriends and more people around them saying it's not necessarily a great idea to do it so early.
"I am not saying parents should try to ban such music; that is unlikely to help," lead researcher Dr. Brian Primack told the BBC. "But they should be talking to their children about sex and putting these sorts of lyrics in context."
Well, Dr. Primack, if that's what you mean, why did you have to do this study at all? Why not just do a study about children whose parents talk to them? Let me guess: Because then you wouldn't have the BBC and MTV talking about it.