Even Educated Fleas Do It

Another piece of questionable science – or at least shoddy interpretation of science – occurred with publication this week of a study in the journal Pediatrics concluding that teenagers who listen to more sexually degrading music lyrics start having sex earlier than those who don’t.

The conclusions are of interest to those who care about delaying or preventing risky sexual behavior among teenagers. But they prove very little. Most people hearing of this study, particularly radio talk show and late night TV hosts, would leap to the conclusion that rock’n’roll leads to depravity.

Haven’t we heard this before? Even before the Beatles’ “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?” or the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” or Elvis’ “Let’s Play House,” parents and other child advocates tried to make the spurious link between music and teenagers being stupid.

They are independent variables! It should be obvious that teenagers who like “sexually degrading” lyrics are also most likely to engage in degrading sex. One does not cause the other.

Just ask your grandparents about Cole Porter.

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