WARNING: Listener Discretion Advised – Sex on the Airwaves

I Wanna Love You

I see you winding and grindin’ up on that pole

I know you see me lookin’ at you and you already know

I wanna love you you already know

I wanna love you you already know, girl . . .

By Akon & Snoop Dog

What do a pole dancer, a patron with a hyperactive libido and love have in common? They are lyrics to a song that have nothing to do with formulating healthy relationships and everything to do with lewd desire. R&B artists Akon and Snoop Dog are part of a music culture that peddles false illusions of women, sex and love. Forget about sexual innuendo, radio broadcasts ought to come with the disclaimer, “listener discretion advised.” Tune in to any R&B or rock station and you are likely to be bombarded with vulgar lyrics too distasteful for print. This style of lyric serves to objectify women, reduces sex to nothing more than an animalistic urge, and has an adverse affect on adolescents who are still developing their sexual identities.

At first listen, many of these songs are appealing. The energetic beat and rhythmic chorus continue in mental auto play long after the song has ended. Naïve listeners may tune in the first time or two without being assaulted by the crass nature of the verses. The discovery phase, however, can be quite shocking. Further investigation into Akon’s song lyrics exposes crude terminology referencing the female anatomy. The song makes no mention of the woman as a whole, just her “humpin’ & jumpin’” body parts. A cursory glance at the song title, “I Wanna Love You”, lures the listener in with the false illusion of an innocuous love song. However, instead of a soothing, melodious ballad the listener suffers shock from sexual inundation. Metrolyrics.com reveals that, rather the using the word, “love”, the unedited version of Akon’s song actually uses X-rated terminology meaning, “to have sexual intercourse.” Use of the word “love” reflects a G-rated, radio-play, stand-in.

Overtly sexual lyrics are not confined to the R&B genre. Rock group Nickelback makes a contribution from the CD, All the Right Reasons. Their song, “Animals” does not refer to lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The “animals” in the song are two adolescents showing no sexual self-restraint. The song opens with a teenage boy out looking for trouble. He finds “trouble” in the form of a girl sneaking out of her house. He tells the girl, “I got the car door opened up so you can jump in on the run; Your mom don’t know that you were missing; She’d be pissed if she could see the parts of you that I’ve been kissing.” The chorus goes on, “Oh, we’re never gonna quit: Ain’t nothing wrong with it; Just acting like we’re animals.” In her article, “The Mating Game,” Jeanna Bryner reports,When it comes to mating, wild animals make their own rules. From the lionesses of East Africa that mate with many males before ovulating and committing their eggs, to male walruses that joust for several female partners, the animal kingdom is full of swingers.” These types of lyrics cause impressionable teens to formulate the opinion that unrestrained, animal-like, sexual urges are an acceptable societal norm. Acting out these sexual fantasies may lead to promiscuity; sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy and an inability to function in healthy relationships.

Oddly, this sexual phenomenon is not merely proliferated by men. Stacey Ferguson, A.K.A. Fergie, makes a sexual object of herself in the song, “Fergalicious.” She sings, “Fergalicous definition make them boys go loco; They want my treasure so they get their pleasures from my photo; You can see me, you can’t squeeze me; I ain’t easy, I ain’t sleazy; I got reasons why I tease ‘em; Boys just come and go like seasons. Fergie seems to take pride being an object of men’s sexual desire, a pride that extends beyond simply being attractive. Traditionally, women who are viewed as “being a tease” are not looked upon kindly by the opposite sex. AskMen.com defines a tease as, “a master manipulator, an expert at spotting male vulnerabilities and flaunting her femininity to capture a man’s attention; a tease drops sex-charged hints with no intention of ever sleeping with the object of her teasing.” Fergie uses her music to promote the myth of self empowerment through sexual manipulation.

Does this chronic exposure to sexual lyrics have an adverse effect on the sexual behavior of youth? A 2006 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that music may have an important influence on adolescents’ sexual behavior. According to the study, “music facilitates how adolescents gain information about society, social and gender roles, and expected behavior.” Additionally, “a recent analysis of mass media demonstrated that sexual content is much more prevalent in popular music lyrics than in any other medium. The sexual references in many popular songs may be difficult for youth to ignore, because the language used to describe sex has become increasingly direct.” This study lambastes the theory of music as innocent entertainment and reinforces what educated parents have known all along, sexually explicit lyrics are not falling on deaf ears. Instead teens, whose identities are still in the formulative stages, are highly vulnerable to a false but powerful message about sex.

Fortunately, not all of music industry has succumbed to this disturbing lyric trend. Many songs are provocative and appealing without using sexual bombardment. Examples include Emerson Drive’s, “Moments” the story of a homeless man who saves a suicidal husband from jumping off a bridge; Elliot Yamin’s “Wait for You,” where a heartbroken man tells his woman that he will wait for her the rest of his life; or Timbaland’s “Apologize” a soulful tale of apologies coming too late. Finding such music though, requires navigation through a virtual minefield so listeners are advised to proceed with caution.

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