SEXY MEDIA MATTER: EXPOSURE TO SEXUAL CONTENT IN MUSIC, PREDICTS THE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR OF NIGERIAN YOUTHS
1.1 Background of the Study
Mass media is defined as those media that are designed to be consumed by large audiences through the agencies of technology (Anton, 2011). An array of communication media reaches large numbers of the public, including radio, television, movies, newspapers, and magazines.
According to Brown, (2012), media influences on sexual behavior were first reported in a sex education newsletter in 1981, and since then several overviews have examined adolescents’ use of media as a source of information and its possible effect on their sexual behavior (Malamuth, and Impett, 2011). Adolescents are vigorous users of the information broadcast in the media, and concern has been raised about the influence of media portrayals on sexual attitudes and the normative expectations of these adolescents at a critical developmental stage (Werner-Wilson et al., 2014).
The experience of everyday life is infused with different types of media, from the media we are involuntarily exposed to in public spaces to the media we actively choose to consume. Sex or sexualized content is a common feature in everything from magazines, to TV, to streaming services, to the radio, to movies, to video games (Malamuth, and Impett, 2011). This raises the question of whether sex in the media has an effect on society at large.
Adolescents are bombarded with sexual imagery in television programs, films, and music videos, and on the Internet. According to recent analyses, some form of sexual content (including talking about sex, passionate kissing, intimate touching, and explicit sexual intercourse) appears in 70% of all television programs (Roberts, Henriksen, & Foehr, 2009), with sexual talk appearing in 68% of shows (at a rate exceeding four scenes per hour) and sexual behavior in 35% of shows (at a rate of two scenes per hour).
Implied sexual intercourse is portrayed in 11% of all television shows. The presence of sexual content is even higher in prime-time shows (six scenes per hour) and higher still in the shows most watched by teenagers (nearly seven scenes per hour). Sexual content on television is thought to have increased substantially over the past decade (Kunkel et al., 2015).
Adolescents’ choice of music and their reactions to and interpretations of it vary with age, culture, and ethnicity (Roberts et al., 2010). Research has shown that there also is a difference in these variables between the genders (Roberts et al., 2010). Female adolescents are more likely than male adolescents to use music to reflect their emotional state, in particular when feeling lonely or “down.” Male adolescents, on the other hand, are more likely to use music as a stimulant, as a way to “boost” their energy level or to create a more positive image of themselves (Gibson et al., 2010).
Music videos have often been criticized for their large amount of stereotypical sexual content, and their potential to shape viewers’ beliefs about sexual behavior (Zhang, Miller, & Harrison, 2008). In fact, over two-thirds of the music videos on music television channels seem to feature sexual portrayals and erotic content (Wright, 2009). This content is often gender-stereotypical: Women are typically portrayed in submissive roles and men as dominant and (sexually) aggressive (Andsager & Roe, 2013). Watching music videos with sexual or erotic content, which we will call “sexual music videos,” has been found to be associated with beliefs about women as sex objects (Kistler & Lee, 2009), acceptance of rape myths (Aubrey, Hopper, & Mbure, 2011), as well as sexual permissiveness and stereotypical gender attitudes (Kistler & Lee, 2009).
Adolescents may be particularly susceptible to the influence of sexual music videos when forming sexual beliefs (Wright, 2009). Adolescence is by definition a period in which sexual beliefs are still developing, and adolescents often turn to the mass media for information about sexuality (Wright, 2009). Adolescents are the most frequent users of music videos, viewing them on average 10 hours a week (Ward & Friedman, 2013), and between 30 minutes and 3 hours per day (Roberts & Christenson, 2012). Moreover, music is a highly involving, pleasurable medium for adolescents (Roberts & Christenson, 2012). Such engagement with music, in combination with the high levels of pleasure and arousal that music videos elicit (Hansen & Hansen, 2012), makes an influence of the messages included in music videos on adolescents likely. Finally, music videos are now increasingly available, and potentially more pervasive than ever due to Web sites such as YouTube and multiple viewing platforms, including mobile phones, portable digital video/ music players, and computers (Wallis, 2011). Therefore, this study focuses on the exposure to sexual content in music and the sexual behavior of Nigerian youths.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Music videos have often been criticized for their large amount of stereotypical sexual content, and their potential to shape viewers’ beliefs about sexual behavior (Roberts et al., 2009).
It is widely assumed that youths’ exposure to sexual content in the mass media influences their sexual activity and may contribute to sexual risk-taking. Portrayals of sexual activity in mass media favored by teenagers often show the emotional and social consequences of sexual activity like guilt and disappointment, but less frequently show adverse physical consequences like pregnancy, STIs (Roberts et al., 2009). In light of this, and in view of the amount of mass media teenagers are exposed to and the proportion of that exposure that contains sexual content, it is reasonable to think that risky sexual behavior (early sex, unprotected sex, or promiscuous sex) results in part from the impact of mass media on youths’ attitudes, beliefs, and behavior (Anton, 2011).
Music plays an important role in the socialization of children and youths. Popular music is present almost everywhere, and it is easily available through the radio, various recordings, the Internet, and new technologies allowing adolescents to hear it in diverse settings and situations, alone or shared with friends (Aubrey, Hopper, & Mbure, 2011). Parents often are unaware of the lyrics to which their children are listening because of the increasing use of downloaded music and headphones. Research on popular music has explored its effects on schoolwork, social interactions, mood and affect, and particularly behavior. The effect that popular music has on children’s and adolescents’ behavior and emotions is of paramount concern (Anton, 2011). Lyrics have become more explicit in their references to drugs, sex, and violence over the years, particularly in certain genres. A teenager’s preference for certain types of music could be correlated or associated with certain behaviors (Roberts et al., 2009). As with popular music, the perception and the effect of music-video messages are important, because research has reported that exposure to violence, sexual messages, sexual stereotypes, and use of substances of abuse in music videos might produce significant changes in the behaviors and attitudes of young viewers (Kistler & Lee, 2009). These problems make it glaring that there is a need to carry out a study on the exposure to sexual content in music and the sexual behavior of Nigerian youths.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine the exposure to sexual content in music and predict the sexual behavior of Nigerian youths. In order to achieve this objective, the specific objectives required include:
1. To determine the extent to which Nigerian Youths are exposed to music.
2. To ascertain the perception of Nigerian youths on the influence of music.
3. To find out the attitude of Nigerian youths towards the sexual content in music.
4. To determine the implication of the mass media on the sexual behavior of Nigerian youth.
5. To assess the recommended solution to the influence of music on the sexual behavior of Nigerian youth.
1.4 Research Questions
The relevant research questions related to this study include the following:
1. What is the extent to which Nigerian Youths are exposed to music?
2. What is the perception of Nigerian youths on the influence of music?
3. What is the attitude of Nigerian youths towards the sexual content in music?
4. What is the implication of the mass media on the sexual behavior of Nigerian youth?
5. What is the recommended solution to the influence of music on the sexual behavior of Nigerian youth?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
H1 – There is a significant attitude of Nigerian youths towards the sexual content in music.
H0 - There is no significant attitude of Nigerian youths towards the sexual content in music.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be of great relevance to Nigerian youth, parents, guidance, school management, and researchers.
To Nigerian youths, this study will succinctly address the implication of music on their sexual behavior and the recommended solution to the influence of music on their sexual behavior.
To parents and guidance, this study will be of importance by addressing their responsibility in curbing their children from viewing erotic music videos and listening to music lyrics that create a sexual mental image in them.
To school management, this study will extensively narrate the necessity of educating students on the psychological influence of erotic music lyrics and video and the need to avoid them. Some students are not well educated on this in their various homes.
To researchers, this study will enhance the existing body of literature by contemplating the areas of the literature that have not yet been examined or considered and incorporating these factors into the current study. The study will thus form the basis for further studies in the field.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is restricted to the exposure to sexual content in music and the sexual behavior of Nigerian youths. A questionnaire was used for the purpose of this study and the sample population is students of Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-iwoye Ogun State. The researchers restrict this study to the students of the faculty of social and management sciences in Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-iwoye Ogun State because of the limited resources available and the time constraints.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
Some of the major constraints the researchers encountered in putting up this research include lack of time, lack of willingness to give information by respondent,s and also limited resources.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Sexual content is any picture, photograph, drawing, motion picture film, digital image, or similar visual representation depicting sexual bestiality.
Sexual behavior: is the activity or pattern of activity of a person sexually, it includes courtship and the mating act.
Music: vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.
Youth is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood..