Rants & Essays

Chatting with Uncle Ray: “Do raunchy lyrics lead to teen sex?”

By Ran Van Horn, Jr.

I'm postponing my Nina Blackwood narrative in light of this intriguing question that was posited on MSN and quickly removed before I had a chance to read it in full, but I stopped dead in my tracks with lingering clouds of the dreaded PMRC and Tipper Gore's crusade in the eighties to cockblock (yeah, I said it) artists by imposing "Parental Advisory" labels on albums with questionable and flat-out vulgar content.

Do raunchy lyrics lead to teen sex?

As if. I remember as a kid getting a hold of Kiss' Rock and Roll Over and laughing at the lyrics from the song Take Me that went "put your hand in my pocket, grab onto my rocket, feels so good to feel you again...I want to know, do you want to blow..." Alright, so maybe my mom wasn't too happy about that, nor was she happy I used to imitate Paul Stanley's heavy panting on Do You Love Me? from Destroyer because I thought it was cool sounding, totally amiss to the fact that he was breathing--no, oozing--innuendo and machismo.

Seriously, none of that impacted me until I had my first wet dream and I knew full well what an erection was. Did it make me want to go out and have sex right away? No. The fact that my father scared me out of my wits as a young boy by teaching me the birds and the bees with a copy of Hustler magazine perhaps delayed my raging hormones by about a year, but the first time I was thrown into a dark bathroom at age twelve with one of the neighborhood girls, it was that moment in time where my sexuality woke up. Was I listening to any music at the time? You bet. We were listening to AC/DC's Hells Bells from Back in Black in the living room, but the record was long over and the more sedate Joe Jackson was playing when the incident in question occurred. I came of age to Steppin' Out instead of Let Me Put My Love Into You by AC/DC which didn't get played that day since everyone only wanted to hear the hits. The incident was more innocuous than I'm letting on. I respected the girl as a friend, she asked me if I was going to do anything and when I said no, that was it.

Personally, I find that vulgar, crude and raunchy lyrics in music only makes listeners laugh, not want to drop trouser and find the nearest body to grind with. If anything, Barry White had the sheer power to make you want to get it on with the nearest warm body, but it was slow, sensual, romantic, and the power of Barry's suggestiveness, along with his enticing baritones that was a bigger stirrer of loins than, say, Soundgarden's Big Dumb Sex with its hilarious "I'm going to FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! Fuck you! Fuck you!" chorus. Seriously, how horny can you get with something so blatantly wrong and ridiculous?

Take rap music for instance. Since the majority of today's rap game is more about sex and macho throwdowns to the extreme, it's hard to get all buggered up when most of it is absolute rubbish. The songs are mere party anthems to dance to in clubs, and it is the chemical inducement from the flesh instead of the music that triggers potential sexual activity. Perhaps LL Cool J's Doin' It is a sexy mood setter, particularly with his Grace Jones sample that works perfectly with the reggae splashes, but again, it's the connection of the mind and body between two people that instigates sexual activity, not a piece of music that you can just as easily jam to in your car with. The suggestion by the article on MSN would have one believe that someone who hears Kelis' Milkshake while driving has to find the closest orifice to gratify one's self instantly.

I think teenagers are sophisticated enough to laugh off a dirty lyric because the thoughts of getting into one anothers' pants is there long before the first note of a deliberately over-the-top song by Gwar or even Sum 41. Teenage lust is something you can't control. It's natural, it's a given. Back in the Renaissance days, it was acceptable for fourteen-year-olds to have sex and moreover, for older men to marry fourteen-year-old girls as betrothed brides, as the average life expectancy was far below what it is now. Shocking to think upon it now, yes, but you have to consider that teenage hormones are ingrained without the aid of raunch rock from Motley Crue.

What it boils down to is determining what is taboo on a personal level. It's not wrong for curious teenagers to fool around, even to go all the way. What's most important is making sure teenagers are fully aware of the potential repercussions to their actions, be it pregnancy or venereal disease. It is the conservative moral majority dominating our current Roman culture in the United States that is trying its best to dredge up McCarthyism once again, trying to tighten its leash on an American society that whacks off to porn more than it admits to on a regular basis. Still, admittedly, there is a large sect of people who adhere to a strict moral code and my hat is off to them. Sex is one of the most maddening emotional forms of expression we as human beings endure.

My point is, it wasn't The Who's Squeeze Box or even Little Richard trying to lyrically ball Miss Molly in the back seat or the pulsing dance jam of People Are Still Having Sex by LaTour, or Prince's masturbatory delights in Darling Nikki or even Kix yelling a mantra ad nauseum in their bluntly-titled song Sex that sends generations of kids running with their peckers at attention. There's been a thousand songs about sex recorded and there will be thousands more. If you really listen deep, there's occasional eroticism lurking even in classical music by Mozart, Mendelssohn and yes, Bach. Sex is a constant; it's been with us since Eve swiped the apple and it'll be here even if there's no music to celebrate it with. In fact, without music, there'd be a lot more sex going on, bank on that. How else do you relieve all of the tension we build up inside ourselves on a daily basis?

Final point, it wasn't Madonna's song Like a Virgin that produced many a night pulling on myself; it was because I thought she was so damned hot in that teased hair, fishnets and bangles... If anything, that leaves us open for debate as to whether or not sex-driven visual presentations by artists are responsible for teen sex. Yeah, and the original EC Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror comics made their readers want to kill...

Monday, August 07, 2006.