America's Favorite Songs Are Almost Always About Sex


“Approximately 92% of the 174 songs that made it into the [Billboard] Top 10 in 2009 contained reproductive messages,” declares SUNY Albany psychology professor Dawn R. Hobbs in her recent study about the prevalence of sex in American pop music. Are we at all surprised?

The study analyzed the top-selling songs in 2009 by dividing the genres (Country, R&B, Pop) and putting them into 18 different categories, such as sexual prowess, mate provisioning, genitalia, and sex act. The numbers show that R&B had the most sex-related phrases per song and references to “sexual appeal” were rampant in both Pop and R&B songs. Country music had the most references to commitment, as well as parenting, rejection, and fidelity assurance. (In other words, boooring!) The study then went on to compare the results of our current pop music with music of yore and opera and found that the same themes in music have gone all the way back to the olden days. Not a factor in the study? Whether these reproductive messages — subliminal or not — actually cause people to get freaky more often. (I’m guessing yes.)

92% of Top Ten Billboard Songs Are About Sex [The Atlantic]
Songs as a Medium for Embedded Reproductive Message [Dawn R. Hobbs]

Image from stryjek/Shutterstock

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