Air on a G String

Herald Sun commentator Andrew Bolt today links to a study that finds a positive relationship between listening to sexual music and having sex at a younger age, and concludes that dirty music leads to sex. The hyperlink doesn’t work, so you can’t read the study, but wouldn’t any half-sensible person stop to ask whether people who have sex at a younger age might therefore also be more inclined to listen to naughty tunes?

Reminds me of the old joke. Q: Why do Methodists disapprove of sex? A: Because it might lead to dancing.

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15 Responses to Air on a G String

  1. Robert says:

    I saw the Bolt thing through Crikey’s “BlogWatch” (I wonder whether linking to a big-name columnist defeats the purpose of that section? but that’s beside the point) and had a squiz at the journal article, here.

  2. Robert says:

    Whoops, I meant to add that the authors were a bit more cautious than the newspaper coverage suggests:

    Our results suggest that the relationship between exposure and behavior may be causal in nature… however, our correlational data do not allow us to make causal inferences with certainty.

    [...]

    It is important to point out, however, that at the time of the third survey, about half of our sample had become legal adults (18–20 years); initiation of intercourse in this group would not be considered early according to US norms and might be considered healthy.

    They also note that simply listening to music, regardless of its sexual content, is associated with earlier sexual activity.

  3. Russell Hamilton says:

    We have a similar thing reported in today’s West Australian – watching wrestling makes you more violent. How could you dispute research done at Wake Forest University and reported in The West Australian:

    http://www.forbes.com/forbeslife/health/feeds/hscout/2006/08/07/hscout534224.html

    (via Google News). Google next has a link to an article which concludes: “professional wrestling does indeed have negative consequences in terms of physical, verbal, and attitudinal imitation by children who are regular viewers of its programming.”

    http://www.thesportjournal.org/2003Journal/Vol6-No3/wrestling.asp

    So, if watching wrestling makes you more violent, will it also make you more of an exhibitionist? More research needed.

    Seriously though … isn’t this like the ‘garbage in, garbage out’ rule re computers. Aren’t we affected by what we experience ? Always seems sad to me that the only new popular music form in the last 10 years has been rap with its miserable depressing hateful lyrics.

  4. Lyn says:

    Is it at all possible that feeling sexy encourages the playing of sexy music, or that feeling violent results in the watching of violence?

  5. Andrew Norton says:

    The only point Bolt seemed to be making was that reflex liberals would seek to dismiss the research, which seems plausible enough (and perhaps even confirmed by this post).

    If we accept that music can alter mood – which surely it can, from Mozart to rap – then it’s possible that this music contributes to early sexual behaviour, and this research finding is consistent with that, though not as Rob notes confirming it. Causation can run in both directions.

  6. Sorry Andrew (N) I read you as saying “Castration can run in both directions”.

    On a more serious note – actually an (even) less serious one, I may get this wrong but I heard Andrew’s joke (from John Button) in another form. Reconstructing it in my mind it was something like “Why don’t Baptists have sex standing up? Because people might think they were dancing.”

  7. I guess that Risdale was influenced by Gregorian Chants and the usual Catholic Hymns to become a serial sex offender of young children in his charge. I’m almost certain he wasn’t listening to rap or hip hop.

    Gerald Francis Ridsdale, a convicted pedophile and former priest already serving a minimum of 15 years for other offences, yesterday pleaded guilty to 35 additional charges relating to boys under his care from 1972 to 1987.

  8. Mark G says:

    Actually, listening to music these days is not just putting on a record, nor even jamming iPod earphones in the ears. If you’re young and want to stay in touch you have to watch the video-clips that come out with the song release — you either watch late night or cable music programs, or catch it for free on the Web.

    And the clips are overwhelmingly sexual – particularly the clips put out by the larger record labels. They’re dressed-up 3-minute commercials hammering a target marget, and they typically run about 80% sex, 15% attitude and 5% self-referential irony. Since the clips sell the music, I guess the marketers have nailed the hooks right to capture a teen market, but to my mind the hooks are often much stronger than the music they’re selling.

    Individually, what is being sold is music, and the sex is a gimmick to flog it, but collectively what is being sold is just sex.

    It’s always a cheap shot to pick on “young peoples’ music” – whatever the music of the day is. I think that there’s still a fair mix of content in current music — some is intelligent, some is just novelty and some is meant to shock. In any genre (including the maligned rap), you can get a mix. But the vid-clip mix is skewed far more than the music itself is. That’s advertising for you.

  9. Matt Cowgill says:

    “some is intelligent, some is just novelty and some is meant to shock”

    That particular statement would probably be an accurate summation of the state of popular music at any point since the popularisation of the gramophone.

  10. Mark G says:

    Yep Matt – and rap hasn’t changed that any more than heavy metal did 30 years ago.

  11. Russell Hamilton says:

    Well, it could just be age but it seems to me that new popular music is much less diverse and interesting than in my youth – 1965-1975. We still had the traditional Broadway musicals, Sinatra, but along came the pop of Elvis, Motown … also a whole folk thing – Peter, Paul and Mary, the Seekers, Bob Dylan; the popular rock of the Eagles etc, going into heavy metal, then along came disco and reggae, and then, the beginning of the end, Punk. What’s been new and popular in the last 10 years ? rap. We may not have reached ‘the end of history’, but it seems we’ve reached the end of popular music.

  12. Matt Cowgill says:

    Yes, it’s probably just age.

  13. Russell Hamilton says:

    Always ready to learn …… so what has been new and popular since rap ? What from the last 10 years is likely to be still selling in 30 years time – as are the classic albums of Eagles, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Dylan….

  14. Matt Cowgill says:

    Well one thing I’d have to concede is that the modern music market is far more fragmented than that of thirty or forty years ago. Nevertheless, there are many popular bands making great music that is likely to endure. (Please note: Saying ‘none of them is quite up there with Dylan, are they?’ is like dismissing contemporary economists for their lack of stature relative to Keynes and Adam Smith).

    PS The Eagles???

  15. Russell says:

    So, nothing ?

    (BTW The Eagles have the best selling record of all times according to Wikipedia – Eagles took over from the Beach Boys as everyone’s favourite group!). Think you’re right with fragmentation, but still think I could be right about the comparatively wondrous new diversity of popular music ’65-’75. Factors might include the size of the prosperous boomer generation, the further incorporation of ‘black music’ into popular styles, technological developments (anyone remember Switched on Bach and the beginning of synthesizers?) ….

    Is it annoying for young people to go into music shops and find half the stock is pre 1980? Wasn’t like that in 1970.

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