"Teens will try to deny it, they’ll say ‘No, it’s not the music,’ but it IS the music. That has one of the biggest impacts on our lives."
--Natasha Ramsey, 17, of New Brunswick, N.J. Ramsey is a teen editor for Sexetc.org, a teen sexual health website produced at Rutgers University.
A study by Rand Corp. found a correlation between exposure to sexually degrading music--where men are depicted as sex-driven and women as sexual objects--and early teen sex. For the study, teens were surveyed over three years on their music choices and sexual practices. Among frequent listeners of explicit music, 51 percent started having sex within two years, compared to 29 percent of those who said they listened to little or no explicit music.
Holly says: In this article, teen Natasha Ramsey says she sometimes listens to a song for its beat and doesn't initially realize it has sexually explicit lyrics.
We all have our moments of passively listening to music and watching TV and movies. A few weeks ago, I planned to show my youth group the movie "Signs." In my mind, it had perhaps one or two swear words, and it passed muster with some parents I spoke with--they agreed it was "clean." I even read a couple Christian reviews of the movie, which counted few swear words in it. So when I sat down to preview the movie, I was surprised at just how much profanity it contained.
Granted, "Signs" is an extremely clean movie by today's standards. While this blog post may be sounding like a suggestion to separate ourselves from pop culture, I'm actually in favor of the opposite. We should be tuning in. We should realize what songs are on the radio stations we listen to on our commutes. We should take note of how many suggestive jokes are on our favorite TV shows. We should examine which swear words are becoming common, acceptable language (When I was a kid, "butt" was foul language.).
Honestly, I don't know what happens next. I've got to prayerfully get my eyes and ears open to what's going on around me. Maybe once we do that, we'll know exactly how to respond.
For more on being a discerning viewer, look for Holly's article, "Is it OK for Christians to Watch Occult-Themed Television Shows?" in the September/October 2006 issue of Today's Christian Woman, which will be available on newsstands later this month.