August 9, 2006
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention: a Rand Corporation study shows teenagers who regularly listen to music lyrics with explicit references to casual sex are more likely to initiate sexual intercourse and take part in other sexual activity. That is less true for teens who do not listen to this kind of music.
Lyrics about casual sex influence both male and female teenagers; whites and nonwhites, according to the study. The researchers wrote, “lyrics classified as degrading depicted sexually insatiable men pursuing women valued only as sex objects.” In the 1980s when people like Tipper Gore and Susan Baker tried to make the case that a connection exists between such music and teen behavior, the major media and liberal members of congress ridiculed them. When Tipper’s husband, al, ran for president, she had to backtrack for political reasons. But these two women – and many conservatives – were right then and this study proves it. Rand is not a right-wing group so its findings should carry more weight. But the music industry is about making money. As long as this stuff sells and parents don’t monitor what goes into their kids ears and eyes, they’ll keep recording and selling it.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.