Monday, August 07, 2006

Raunchy Lyrics

Do dirty lyrics cause kids to have sex? I admit that I am not much of an expert on current music. I don't listen to rap, hip-hop, or even much rock - not surprising since most of it is aimed at people more than 30 years younger than I am. The stations I listen to are classified as adult contemporary and the music I buy is mainly traditional Irish. Still, I can spot the errors in this study a mile away.

In brief, a sample of 1,461 were interviewed. The original interview was done in 2001 with follow-ups in 2002 and 2004. The purpose was to see if music choice influenced subsequent behaviour.

While it is a valid conclusion that kids who like music about sex are likely to become sexually active earlier, it is not valid to say that the one causes the other. While the researchers say that they tried to account for other factors such as parental permissiveness, the lyrics still had a strong influence.

I would suggest that the type of kids who are more likely to start having sex early are also the ones who are drawn to music about it. There is an entire culture that pushes sex and degrading women. The music is part of it, but only one part. To say that music is the primary influence is a way of looking for a quick fix. If we only tone down the bad music then all of our social ills will vanish.

This has been tried for centuries. The quick fix never works.

Which isn't to say that most of hip-hop culture shouldn't be flushed down the sewer.

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