Get your heads out of the gutters, America's musicians. We always knew that with all your nipple-showing and lesbian-kissing and crotch-grabbing that you're obsessed with sex, and today we have the science to back it up: "Approximately 92% of the 174 songs that made it into the [Billboard] Top 10 in 2009 contained reproductive messages," says SUNY Albany psychology professor Dawn R. Hobbs in Evolutionary Psychology. That's right--"reproductive messages," our newest favorite euphemism.
Those 174 top-selling songs were analyzed in order to determine how many sexy messages they contained in any of 18 sexy categories, including "arousal," "sexual prowess," and "genitalia." There was an average of 10.49 sex-related phrases per song, with R&B being head-and-shoulders(-and-maybe-some-other-body-parts) above the two other musical genres analyzed, country and pop. "Sexual appeal" was the most popular theme among both R&B and pop songs, while "commitment" (yawn) was most prevalent in country music.
He also discovered that sex sells: "further analyses showed that the bestselling songs in all three charts featured significantly more reproductive messages than those that failed to make it into the Top Ten," the report says. That's the trend that not only dated back to 1959 in American music, the study found, but one that goes all the way back to the classy days of opera: "While the frequency of some of the themes differ, these findings clearly show that the same reproductive categories derived from the content analysis of our initial sample of 2009 contemporary songs map surprisingly well onto the lyrics from opera and arts songs dating back hundreds of years."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.