REPORT : Can the media influence the sexual activity of adolescents?

REPORT : Can the media influence the sexual activity of adolescents?

There is growing concern about young people’s exposure to sexual content through television and other electronic media and about its potential effects on their sexual attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

Researchers have documented the growing prevalence of sexual talk and portrayals of sexual behavior in televised media, as well as associations between adolescent viewing patterns and their sexual activities.

Although sexual content in the media can affect any age group, adolescents may be particularly vulnerable.

Adolescents may be exposed to sexual content in the media during a developmental period when gender roles, sexual attitudes, and sexual behaviors are being shaped.(2)

This group may be particularly at risk because the cognitive skills that allow them to critically analyze messages from the media and to make decisions based on possible future outcomes are not fully developed.

Analyses of broadcast media content indicate that, on average, teenaged viewers see 143 incidents of sexual behavior on network television at prime time each week, with portrayals of three to four times as many sexual activities occurring between unmarried partners as between spouses.

 As much as 80% of all movies shown on network or cable television stations have sexual content.

An analysis of music videos indicates that 60% portray sexual feelings and impulses, and a substantial minority display provocative clothing and sexually suggestive body movements.

Analyses of media content also show that sexual messages on television are almost universally presented in a positive light, with little discussion of the potential risks of unprotected sexual intercourse and few portrayals of adverse consequences.

Survey data show that adolescents’ access to and use of media as sources of information are substantial.

In a national study, high school students reported an average of 2.9 television sets, and 1.3 of 10 (13%) of American children reported living in homes with two or more televisions, 97% had media recorders in their homes, 75% had access to cable television, and more than half had a television set in their own rooms.

The number of television channels received in homes has moved from three to well into the three-digits, allowing youth to choose from a much wider variety of programming than in the past.

The variety of content available on the Internet is practically limitless and includes what were previously considered “other media,” such as music, television, games, and films.

Moreover, content can now be viewed or used on computers, MP3 players, handheld video players, and cell phones, as well as on television sets, regardless of whether it was initially “television” or “Internet” media.

This new portability makes it possible to use media in a variety of new settings and, conceivably, throughout the day.

Adolescents are immersing themselves in these and newer media, with social networking sites, cell phones, and instant messaging playing major roles in their everyday lives.

Thus, it is critical that researchers begin to systematically study new media and new platforms to determine their influence.

Given the emerging evidence linking more traditional media use with initiation of various sexual activities, to the extent that new media contain relevant sexual messages, researchers may find that these media are also linked to developing sexual attitudes and behavior and could affect sexual risk-taking and health (in either a positive or negative manner) as well.

 Further, more than 80% of adolescents report that their peers find out some or a lot about sex, drugs, and violence from television shows, movies, and other entertainment media.

About 10% of teens acknowledge that they have learned more about the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) from these media sources than from parents, school personnel, clergy, or friends.

Nearly 800,000 young women aged 15-19 years become pregnant in the United States each year, most of them unintentionally,(1) and half of the roughly 19 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) diagnosed each year are among 15- to 24-year-olds

Sexual Objectification

The media causes adolescent males to view women as sexual objects by imitating content that depicts women this way.

For adolescent females, they alter their perception of reality to conform to the media’s depiction of women as sexual objects that are subjected to mistreatment.

Objectification of females is common in music videos, which often further the notion that men in are more worthy than women.

For example, a music video may display beautiful women who seem obsessed by a desire to please the male characters in the video.

Sexual Openness

Teenagers find the media as an ample platform for them to be sexually open about their sexual orientation, desires and experiences.

This is especially prevalent in the digital media where they use social networks, blogs and cellphones to express themselves sexually.

Examples of ways in which adolescents may express themselves include erotic poems, sexting or posting nude pictures of themselves.

The Internet allows adolescents to explore or assert their sexual desires in ways that are impossible in the real world. This emboldens them to assert themselves sexually in their offline relationships.


Policy makers and health professionals have long been concerned about premarital sexual activity in the teenaged population and the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Sexual intercourse is the most commonly studied form of adolescent sexual behavior, and there is a substantial literature on the determinants of initiation of coitus.

Forty-eight percent of high school students have ever had sexual intercourse; 35 percent are currently sexually active.

Much is known about the predictors of sexual debut.

For example, studies show the influence of perceived parental and peer norms on adolescent sexual activity and risk-taking.

Race and ethnicity are key predictors of age of intercourse initiation, as is gender, with minority youth and males more likely to have sex at a younger age.1

Nationwide, nearly half of all high school students have had sexual intercourse, with African Americans significantly more likely to be sexually experienced (72%) than Hispanics (52%) or whites (47%).

Racial and ethnic differences may stem from socioeconomic factors that limit opportunities for poor youth, cultural factors that consider parenting a path to adulthood among African-American youth, and differences in the normative environment surrounding sexual activity and parenting.

Social bonds, including strong relationships with parents, schools, or religious organizations, serve as protective factors, reducing rates of early sex.

Early intercourse appears to be part of a cluster of adolescent problem behaviors.

It correlates with substance use, truancy, and aggression and is also well predicted by indicators of behavioral deviance.

Intercourse at any age places an individual at risk for pregnancy and at greater risk for STIs.

But early intercourse initiation poses special risks, with an increase in the odds of both pregnancy and STIs when it occurs at a younger age.

As noted at the outset of this paper, rates of pregnancy and STIs are high among U.S. teens, and delaying the age of sexual debut may be one method of addressing these high rates.

In comparison to the study of intercourse, researchers have paid little attention to other forms of sexual behavior. However, carefully conducted surveys of a Los Angeles County high school and a nationally representative group of adolescent males (aged 15-19 years) indicate that substantial proportions of adolescents who have not engaged in vaginal intercourse have engaged in other sexual activity involving genital contact, such as mutual masturbation and oral sex.

Because noncoital activities are an important part of adolescent sexuality, and because some of them pose a risk of STIs and may be precursors to the initiation of coitus, researchers are becoming more interested in understanding and predicting these behaviors.

Researchers have also looked at the predictors of sexual risk-taking  sex without condoms, sex without birth control, or sex with multiple partners in a short period of time (e.g., one year).

Many of the factors that predict intercourse initiation also predict these risk behaviors.

These behaviors are the primary risk factors for STIs and pregnancy.

As noted earlier, nearly 800,000 young women aged 15-19 years become pregnant in the United States each year.

Half of the roughly 19 million new STIs diagnosed each year are among 15- to 24-year-olds.

That amounts to one STI for every four sexually active youth.(3)

A recent study conducted biological testing for five STIs among a nationally representative group of females aged 14-19 years

Twenty-four percent tested positive for at least one of these infections, and among those who were sexually experienced, the prevalence rate was 37.7 percent.

Fifteen percent of 9th-12th graders report having four or more partners in their lifetime. Among sexually active adolescents in this age group, only 63 percent report that they or their partner used a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse.

Given these high rates of risk-taking, the number of pregnancies and STIs experienced by U.S. adolescents is unsurprising.


According to most theories of media effects, the influence of media depends largely on the content it contains.

Much of the research linking media and sex  particularly studies of attitudinal effects  has focused on television.

Television viewing remains the most common medium and platform, and it makes up the largest chunk of adolescents’ media use, accounting for 4.5 hours of media time out of nearly 11 total hours spent with media daily.

Television includes a great deal of sexual content, creating the strong potential for observing such effects.

A state-of-the-art content analysis of 1,154 programs representative of the content airing between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Mountain Standard Time on 10 channels television season found that 70 percent of programs contained sexual content.

Among those with such content, there were an average of five scenes with sex in each hour of programming.

Thus, there is great opportunity for television to influence adolescents’ developing views about sex.

However, adolescents use a variety of media and increasingly engage with these media on diverse platforms.

The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents

Internet pornography is the new urgency for several American states that declare pornography a “public health crisis” – 59% of adolescents are accessing pornography intentionally ! – 46 percent said that they had been accidentally exposed to sexually explicit website !!!!!!

In one of the earliest reports on exposure to Internet pornography, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 70 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds were accidentally exposed to pornography when searching for health information online.

Consistent with this, analysis of the first YISS indicated that unwanted exposure occurred as a result of search results, misspelled web addresses, links on websites, pop-up adds, or spam email.

However, that study included in the “unwanted exposure” category youth who had experienced wanted as well as unwanted encounters with Internet pornography.

Analysis of the second YISS showed that, among youth for whom all exposures were unwanted, exposure was related to only one Internet activity: using file-sharing software to download images.

Filtering and blocking software appear to reduce the likelihood of both wanted and unwanted exposure to Internet pornography.

Exposure to Internet pornography is of interest to those who study or attempt to improve public health and positive youth development because theory predicts that it may influence beliefs and behaviors.

Few studies have attempted to assess this, but those that have done so indicate that this could be the case.

For example, a survey of adolescents (13-18 years) recruited from an online convenience panel found that those who reported exposure to sexually explicit material online were more likely to endorse statements that describe women as sex objects and sex as recreational.

Given the non-trivial rates of pornography use among teens, there are several reasons for concern about the impact of Internet pornography on adolescent development.

Specifically, some believe that pornography may impact adolescents’ sexual risk taking, sexual functioning, body image, sexual objectification and sexual aggression .

From this perspective, Internet pornography may threaten many facets of adolescent development and well-being, particularly because “children and adolescents are widely considered the most vulnerable audiences to sexually explicit material”

Of particular interest are the implications of potential harms of pornography on adolescent well-being.

At an individual level, well-being refers to a state of mental and physical wellness and involves both objective and subjective components.

In the social sciences, mental well-being has been further differentiated into the interrelated concepts of subjective well- being (the hedonic tradition) and psychological well-being (the eudaimonic tradition).

Subjective well-being is generally conceptualized as the experience of positive, rather than neg- ative affect, combined with a sense of life satisfaction.

In contrast, psychological well- being, which was inspired by more humanistic philosophies, conceptualizes well-being along six dimensions, including self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, environ- mental mastery, purpose in life, and personal growth.

The literature concerning pornog- raphy use and mental well-being stems from the study of late adolescents and early adulthood, and can be largely organized around the domains of self-evaluations, interpersonal function- ing, and the experience of dysregulated affect.

Although research findings are mixed, there are several reasons to believe that pornography use may impact the mental well-being of adolescents.

For example, pornography use may contribute to personal insecurities about adolescents’ bodies, their appearance, or their sexual performance  and it may undermine attachment functioning, leading to relationship dysfunction, and social isolation .

Furthermore, cross-sectional surveys have found that pornography use is related to reports of more negative affect, poor mental health and lower quality of life among adults  as well as lower life-satisfaction and self-esteem, and more symptoms of depression among adolescents .

On the basis of this evidence, the case for pornography having a negative impact on adoles- cent mental well-being may seem strong, however, several studies fail to support this conclu- sion—at least partially.

For example, some research has indicated that pornography use is either unrelated, or positively related to body and genital satisfaction, and to sexual esteem among adult samples.

Further, other studies have failed to observe significant relationships between social connectedness, attachment to parents and peers, and pornography use among adolescents  or have found that adult pornography users actually have more close relationships than non-users .

Sexual Messages in Music and Social Media

Music is a form of culture that is loved by all human beings across the world–the only difference may be concerning one’s musical preference. As mentioned before, music can create positive emotional experiences, and one will prefer the music that creates high arousal within them (Schafer & Sedlmeier, 2011).

Due to one’s natural preference with a certain genre, there may be a hidden influence behind the music one listens to, and the characteristics of the artist that we associate with the music.

One of the main influences could be the high presence of sexual behavior displayed by the music artists whose music is preffered.

No matter the difference between weak or strong sexual cues, one develops an increased attribution of sexual characteristics (Carpentier et. al, 2014).

For example, hip-hop music videos can contain strong sexual messages that result in people conforming to traditional gender roles, and the objectification of women (Kistler & Lee, 2009).

However, this does not only occur in the hip-hop genre.

In Belgium, 39.3% of their music video scenes in total were sexual with women being objectified twice more often than men with narrow appearance ideals (Vandenbosch et. al, 2013).

A weak sexual cue could be in regards to sexual preference, which can also be influenced by the lyrics presented in music. Lady Gaga, a prominent pop culture figure, wrote a song titled ‘Born This Way’ that promoted a biological explanation of being LGBT versus being a choice, which caused an increased attribution for acceptance and understanding towards people a part of the community (Jang & Lee, 2014).

The current study will focus on the presence of these types of messages in artist’s social media as well as the effect it has on one’s own sexual cognitions and behaviors.

Cognitive and Behavioral Processing

What one is thinking and how one perceives the world are processes of cognition.

When consuming sexual media, the Social Learning Theory could be an explanation as to why there could be a tendency to associate the sexual behaviors presented with being appropriate in society, and eventually starting to perform those behaviors as well (Bandura, 1977).

Another theory, known as the Media Practice Model, refers to the way young people consume media based on who they are or who they want to be in that moment (Brown, 2000).

The similar characteristic between these two theories is in regards to the desire of conforming to the societal norm due to lack of knowledge about a particular area.

A more current approach to how one learns sexual ideas explains that it may not be as simple as originally thought.

More specifically, this approach focuses on the subtle sexual messages, such as appearance ideals promoted by the media.

Vandenbosch and Eggermont (2014) extended the research to support a multidimensional approach of self-objectification, which is one of the first approaches to label a three-step process to specifically analyze how one adjusts to what is attractive sexually and how that effects one’s sexual behaviors.

The three steps proceed as follows:

  • internalizing appearance ideals,
  • valuing appearance over competence/skills, and
  • body surveillance (i.e., being conscious of how your body looks vs. the societal norm)
    (Vandenbosch & Eggermont, 2012).

However, this study focuses on sexual content in magazines and does not mention social media.

The current study will focus on appearance ideals portrayed on social media by music artists.

The current study aims to fill the deficit in the research regarding sexual content in social media specifically.

By knowing how sexual messaging can potentially influence attitudes, it bears the question if the exposure of these messages combined with social media has an effect on our own perception.

If so, it would be important to understand what would cause an artist to promote this type of culture in the first place.

Taking prior research into consideration, the current study will focus on the following potential relationships:

  • H1: Artists who post a lot of sexual content on their social media will have a significant relationship with sexual content in their music lyrics and music videos
  • H2: More frequent exposure to sexual messaging in social media posts by music artists will result in more lenient sexual attitudes (i.e. frequent sexual thoughts and/or behaviors).
  • RQ 1: What characteristics are present in artists who post a lot of sexual material (i.e. music genre, gender, etc.)?

Data for the current study will come from a recent study conducted at the University of Central Florida (UCF) via the Sona System. Participants in the original study took 32.50 minutes to complete the online questionnaire and received class credit or extra credit for their participation.

A total of 1,013 college students participated in the original study.

A total of 111 participants were deleted from the study because their responses indicated that they were not involved with the survey or they did not answer important questions in the study, leaving a total sample size of 902.

The majority of participants were female (n = 647, 71.7%) and identified as White (n = 613, 68%). The age of students ranged from 18 to 59 (M = 21.58).
Demographic questionnaire. Participants answered four questions related to their current age, race/ethnicity, and gender.

Sexual Cognitions. Participants answered a total of 88 questions to assess their sexual cognitions.

These questions were used to assess particular themes of sexual cognitions found in previous research.

Seven questions derived from Ward (2002) and ter Bogot et al. (2010) were used to assess the cognition that dating is a game or recreational sport (alpha = .70), eight questions (Ward, 2002) were used to assess the cognition that men are sex driven (alpha = .77), twelve questions (ter Bogot et al., 2010; Ward, 2002) were used to assess the cognition that women are sex objects (alpha = .73), four questions (ter Bogot et al., 2010) were used to assess the cognition that men are tough (alpha = .64), sixteen questions modified from Ward, Handbrough, and Walker (2005) were used to assess participants feminine and masculine ideals (alpha = .85), fourteen questions (Ward et al., 2005) were used to assess participants sexual stereotypes (alpha = .83), nine questions (Burt, 1980) were used to assess participants sex role stereotyping (alpha = .80), nine questions (Burt, 1980) were used to assess participants adversarial sexual beliefs (alpha = .80), and an additional twelve questions (Burt, 1980; Ward, 2011) were asked to determine participants sexual conservatism (alpha = .81).

Participants responded to all questions using a 6-point Likert type scale (strongly disagree, disagree, slightly disagree, slightly agree, agree, strongly agree).

The complete list of questions can be found in Appendix A.

Exposure to sexual content in music.

Participants rated the top 55 music artists from the top-40 charts on how much they liked the artist with response options ranging from 1 (I don’t know this artist) to 8 (extremely like).

Participants also rated artists on how much they listened to the artists’ music, watched the artists’ videos, and how often they read about the artist via the internet and social media outlets, with responses ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (daily).

Exposure to sexual content in music lyrics and corresponding videos were based on measures of content analysis using the frequency method for the most current popular songs performed by the top 20 rated artists by participants using two independent raters.

Artists not rated in the top 20 by participants were not analyzed in the current study.

Songs for each artist were selected from the top-40 charts that had been given air play on radio stations and music television.

Top songs included songs from artists’ most recent albums as well as songs from previous albums because radio stations and music television often play current and previous songs and fans often listen to current and previous songs of artists they prefer (Wright & Qureshi, 2015).

Exposure to music artist social media sexual content were based on measures of content analysis using the frequency method for four consecutive months of social media posts by music artists on both Twitter and Facebook.

The top 20 rated artists by participants were followed on both social media outlets from January, 2014 to April, 2014. Posts were then assessed using two independent raters.

Artists not rated in the top 20 by participants were not analyzed in the current study.
As in previous research (Wright, 2013; Wright & Brandt, 2015; Wright & Qureshi, 2015), raters coded for the frequency of the following sexual references: (a) sexual behavior and body language (e.g., intimate touch, hand gestures to sexual acts), (b) sexual language (e.g., talk about sexual encounters, advice regarding sex), and (c) demeaning messages (e.g., objectification of women, sexual violence).

This technique was modified from a similar method implemented by Collins, Martino, Elliot, and Miu (2011) in an examination of exposure to sexual content on television.

This technique has also been used to examine content within current popular music and its relation to sexual behaviors as well as retrospective behaviors that occurred within the past ten years (Wright, 2013; Wright & Qureshi, 2015). Inter-rater reliability for the current study was good for lyrical content, r (221) = .95, p < .001, video content, r (221) = .87, p < .001, and social media content, r (256) = .95, p < .001.

The top artists rated by participants, popular songs selected for each artist, and the average sexual content in both lyrics and videos for selected songs can be found in Table 1. Table 2 contains the sexual content in social media posts.

Exposure variables were then created for exposure to sexual references via lyrics and videos by multiplying self-reported listening and viewing habits of each of the top rated artists by the average content contained in song lyrics and music videos.

Comparably, exposure variables for exposure to sexual content in social media were created by multiplying self-reported exposure by the content contained in social media outlets.

This technique, too, was modified from that used by Collins et al. (2011) and was recently used to assess sexual content in music (Wright, 2013; 2014; Wright & Qureshi, 2015).

Participants in the current study reported listening to a variety of music genres.

Therefore, exposure variables for music lyrics, videos, and social media were grouped by genre (Pop, R&B, Hip Hop, Rock, Dance, and Country).

The total exposure variables for music lyrics, videos, and social media will be used in analysis.

The sexual content posted on social media had a significant correlation with specific sexual cognitions.

Since young adults are estimated to spend up to twelve hours a day on social media (Vaterlaus et al., 2015), this provides plenty of opportunity for exposure to the social media posts of popular music artists.

Most people use social media as a source of peer interaction, but also to stay relevant on what is going on in our culture.

Gender and sex role expectations are potentially reinforced and deemed as normal when one sees their peers promoting sexual ideals themselves, or if they’re supporting one’s favorite music artists on their social media feed.

Prior studies have provided support for this finding by stating that frequent exposure to sexual themes can influence sexual cognition and attribution of sexual characteristics (Brown and L’engle, 2009; Carpentier et al., 2014; Kistler and Lee, 2009).

Female Artists and Levels of Sexual Content

In the current study, female artists were found to post more sexual content on social media compared to male artists. Vandenbosch et al. (2013) had shown that close to half of all popular music video scenes contained sexualizing messages.

Within these messages, women were being objectified with narrow appearance ideals more often than men.

According to the Social Cognitive Theory, this frequent exposure to sexual and gender role themes could have made it the norm for this behavior to be acceptable (Bandura, 1977).

Other women who may consume media content are more likely to identify with the female being portrayed, thus they incorporate the artist’s behaviors into their own behaviors (Bandura, 1977).

A main feature of a female artist’s presentation in the music industry may require them to act more sexually compared to their male counterparts since there is a high presence of sexual themes in social media have set the appearance and sex standard for all types of women.

The results of the current study could serve as support for the Cultivation Theory, which states that more exposure to specific gender roles in the media could increase the likelihood of someone integrating those ideas into their own psyche (Gerbner et al., 1994).

With such a high exposure to female being objectified, this could be a reason why female artists tend to go in a sexual direction in terms of how they portray themselves, whether or not they consciously acknowledge the behavior.



1. Guttmacher Institute. U.S. Teenage pregnancies, births and abortions: National and state trends and trends by race and ethnicity. New York: Guttmacher Institute; 2010.

2. Committee on Communications, American Academy of Pediatrics. Sexuality, contraception and the media. Pediatrics 1995;95: 298-300.

3. Forhan SE, Gottlieb SL, Sternberg MR, et al. Prevalence of sexually transmitted infections among female adolescents aged 14 to 19 in the United States. Pediatrics. 2009;124(6):1505-1512.




1. Casual sex is okay.
2. You don’t need a relationship to have a good time; all you need are two people who are attracted to each other.
3. Sexual activity is desirable as early in a relationship as possible.
4. It’s okay to have sex with several different people, because then you start getting good at it.
5. Dating is basically a game, a battle of the sexes, where both males and females try to gain the upper hand and manipulate each other.
6. A good way to reward or punish someone is by giving or withholding sex.
7. A man will be most successful in meeting or picking up women if he has a “rap” or uses flattery, sexy, or cute pick-up lines.
8. Men more often think of sex and therefore they cannot be faithful to their girlfriends.
9. Men are mostly interested in women as potential sex partners and don’t want to be “just friends” with a woman.
10. It’s difficult for men to resist sexual urges and to remain monogamous.
11. It is natural for a man to want to admire or ogle women and to comment on their bodies, even if he has a girlfriend.
12. Something is wrong with a guy who turns down a chance to have sex.
13. Men who are “good with the ladies” and who can get any woman into bed are cool.
14. Men are always ready and willing for sex; they think about it all the time.
15. It is only natural for a man to make sexual advances to a woman he finds attractive.
16. Women should really take care of their appearance; men don’t want an ugly woman as a girlfriend.
17. A woman has to look sexy in order to be attractive to men.
18. It is cool for a guy to have a sexy girlfriend.
19. Women are sexual objects whose value is based on their physical appearance.
20. An attractive woman should expect sexual advances and should learn how to handle them.
21. Women should be more concerned about their appearance than men.
22. Using her body and looks is the best way for a woman to attract a man.
23. Women should spend a lot of time trying to be pretty; no one wants to date a woman who has “let herself go.”
24. There’s nothing wrong with men whistling at shapely women.
25. It bothers me when a man is interested in a woman only if she is pretty.
26. There is nothing wrong with men being primarily interested in a woman’s body.
27. Being with an attractive woman gives a man prestige.
28. Handsome boys can get any girl.
29. It is cool for a girl to have a real hunk as a boyfriend.
30. Girls prefer a tough guy as a boyfriend.
31. As a boy you better be a macho than a nerd.
32. It is okay to have sex with someone you are very much attracted to but don’t know very well.
33. Sex belongs only in married relationships.
34. It is important for a man to be athletic or in good shape

35. It is important for a man to be intelligent
36. It is important for a man to be cool or stylist
37. It is important for a man to be daring or to be a risk taker
38. It is important for a man to be physically attractive or ‘fine’
39. It is important for a man to be nice or polite
40. It is important for a man to be funny or to have a good sense of humour
41. It is important for a man to have money or nice things
42. It is important for a woman to be athletic or in good shape
43. It is important for a woman to be intelligent
44. It is important for a woman to be cool or stylist
45. It is important for a woman to be daring or to be a risk taker
46. It is important for a woman to be physically attractive or ‘fine’
47. It is important for a woman to be nice or polite
48. It is important for a woman to be funny or to have a good sense of humour
49. It is important for a woman to have money or nice things
50. Most women are sly and deceptive when they are out to attract a man, often hiding their flaws, and play it sweet.
51. Women are most attracted by a muscular body and a handsome face.
52. Being with an attractive woman gives a man prestige (e.g., a trophy date).
53. What women find most attractive about a man is his money, job, or car.
54. There is nothing wrong with men whistling at shapely women.
55. Using her body and looks is the best way for a woman to attract a man.
56. Something is wrong with a guy who turns down a chance to score with a woman.
57. Men want sex; women want relationships.
58. Women should not be afraid to wear clothes that show off their figure; after all, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
59. It is okay for a woman to pursue a man who is already taken. After all, all is fair in love and war.
60. Women should do whatever they need (e.g., use make-up, buy attractive clothes, work out) to look good enough to attract a man.
61. A man should fight when the woman he’s with is insulted by another man.
62. It is acceptable for the woman to pay for the date.
63. A woman should be a virgin when she marries.
64. There is something wrong with a woman who doesn’t want to marry and raise a family.
65. A wife should never contradict her husband in public.
66. It is better for a woman to use her feminine charm to get what she wants rather than ask for it outright.
67. It is acceptable for a woman to have a career, but marriage and family should come first.
68. It looks worse for a woman to be drunk than for a man to be drunk.
69. There is nothing wrong with a woman going to a bar alone.
70. A woman will only respect a man who will lay down the law to her.
71. Many women are so demanding sexually that a man just can’t satisfy them.
72. A man’s got to show the woman who’s boss right from the start or he’ll end up henpecked.

73. Women are usually sweet until they’ve caught a man, but then they let their true self show.
74. A lot of men talk big, but when it comes down to it, they can’t perform well sexually.
75. In a dating relationship a woman is largely out to take advantage of a man.
76. Men are out for only one thing.
77. Most women are sly and manipulating when they are out to attract a man.
78. A lot of women seem to get pleasure in putting men down.
79. A woman who initiates a sexual encounter will probably have sex with anybody.
80. A woman shouldn’t give in sexually to a man too easily or he’ll think she’s loose.
81. Men have a biologically stronger sex drive than women.
82. A nice woman will be offended or embarrassed by dirty jokes.
83. Masturbation is a normal sexual activity.
84. People should not have oral sex.
85. I would have no respect for a woman who engages in sexual relationships without any emotional involvement.
86. Having sex during the menstrual period is unpleasant.
87. The primary goal of sexual intercourse should be to have children.
88. Women have the same needs for a sexual outlet as men.

Table 1: Sexual References in Lyrics and Videos

Artist Song Lyrics Videos
Katy Perry pop Roar (2013) 0 1.5
Unconditionally (2013) 0 14
dark horse (2013) 0.5 7
walking on air (2013) 4.5 7.5
by the grace of god (2013) 0 0
this is how we do (2013) 0 0
it takes two (2013) 0 0
Justin Timberlake



suit & tie (2013) 5 16
Mirrors (2013) 0 27
tunnel vision (2013) 0 181.5
take back the night (2013) 34 1.5
TKO (2013) 1.5 22
pusher love girl (2013) 2 0
don’t hold the wall (2013) 1.5 0
strawberry bubblegum (2013) 10 0
drink you away (2013) 1.5 0
let the groove get in (2013) 33 0
Lana del Rey pop burning desire (2012) 12 5
dark paradise (2012) 0 0
young and beautiful (2013) 3 0


summertime sadness (remix) (2013) 9.5 1.5
Drake hip hop hold on, we’re going home (2013) 11 11
all me (2013) 9.5 0
worst behavior (2013) 0 0
started from the bottom (2013) 0 11.5
pound cake (2013) 1 0
the language (2013) 4 0
too much (2013) 1 0
w-tang forever (2013) 2.5 0
I do it (2013) 22 0
from time (2013) 1.5 0
Eminem hip hop the monster (2013) 0 0.5
rap god (2013) 1.5 0.5
Berserk (2013) 7.5 0
Headlights (2013) 0 0
Survival (2013) 0 0
bad guy (2013) 0 0
rhyme or reason (2013) 0 0
Legacy (2013) 0 0
beautiful pain (2013) 0 0
so far… (2013) 2 0
Miley Cyrus pop wrecking ball (2013) 1 34
adore you (2013) 0 93
we can’t stop (2013) 6.5 35


Drive (2013) 5.5 0
someone else (2013) 0 0
hands in the air (2013) 0 0
maybe you’re right (2013) 0 0
fuck me when you know I got it (2013) 0 0
SMS (Bangerz) (2013) 0 0
my darling (2013) 0.5 0
Imagine Dragons rock Radioactive (2012) 0 0
Monster (2013) 0 0
Demons (2012) 0 0
on top of the world (2012) 0 1.5
Maroon 5 pop love somebody (2012) 2 47
Daft Punk dance get lucky (2013) 38 0
instant crush (2013) 0 0.5
lose yourself to dance (2013) 0 1
doin’ it right (2013) 0 0
Ariana Grande pop the way (2013) 1 15.5
right there (2013) 3 8
almost is never enough (2013) 0 6.5
baby I (2013) 0 2.5
last Christmas (2013) 0 0
tattooed heart (2013) 2.5 0
honeymoon avenue (2013) 0 0
Bruno Mars R&B when I was your man (2012) 0 0


Treasure (2012) 1.5 4.5
Gorilla (2012) 10 54.5
young girls (2012) 0 0
Moonshine (2012) 2 0
Tyler Farr country Whiskey in my water (2013) 0.5 28.5
Redneck crazy (2013) 1 1
Sara Bareilles pop Brave (2013) 0 0
Paramore rock Still into you (2013) 0 0
Now (2013) 0 0
Daydreaming (2013) 0 0
Grow up (2013) 0 0
Jake Owen country days of gold (2013) 1 24.5
ghost town (2013) 0 16.5
what we aint got (2013) 0 0
anywhere with you (2011) 0 0
J. Cole hip hop power trip (2013) 3.5 18
she knows (2013) 4.5 0.5
forbidden fruit (2013) 8.5 0
crooked smile (2013) 0.5 0
let nas down (2013) 0 0
Villuminati (2013) 3 0
born sinner (2013) 0 0
rich niggaz (2013) 2 0
Blake Shelton country boys round here (2013) 3.5 2.5


sure be cool if you did (2013) 0 14
mine would be you (2013) 1.5 0
steve mcqueen (2012) 2 0
dude (looks like a lady) (2012) 1 0
the christmas song (2012) 0 0
timber, I’m falling in love (2013) 0 0
Celebrity (2013) 0 0
ten times crazier (2013) 2 0
do you remember (2013) 4 0
Nicki Minaj hip hop High school (2012) 9.5 26.5 hip hop #that power (2013) 0 0
fall down (2013) 2.5 18
Calvin Harris dance I need your love (2012) 0.5 39
Thinking about you (2012) 0 36.5




Table 2: Sexual Content in Social Media

Artist Twitter Facebook Total
Katy Perry pop 3 1 4
Justin Timberlake



0 0 0
Lana del Rey pop 0 1 1
Drake hip hop 1 0 1
Eminem hip hop 0 0.5 0.5
Miley Cyrus pop 45.5 11.5 57
Imagine Dragons rock 0 0 0
Maroon 5 pop 0.5 0 0.5
Daft Punk dance 0 0 0
Ariana Grande pop 0 2 2
Bruno Mars R&B 0 0 0
Tyler Farr country 0.5 0 0.5
Sara Bareilles pop 0 0 0
Paramore rock 0 0 0
Jake Owen country 0.5 0 0.5
J. Cole hip hop 0 1 1
Blake Shelton country 1.5 0 1.5
Nicki Minaj hip hop 63 11.5 74.5 hip hop 0.5 0 0.5
Calvin Harris dance 0 0 0




Table 3: Intercorrelations of Study Measures

1 2 3
1.  Sexual content in social media


2.  Sexual content in song lyrics


3.  Sexual content in music videos
















Table 4: Intercorrelations of Social Media and Sexual Cognitions


1 2 3 4 5 6
1. Sexual content in social media .08** .12** .09** .09** .05
2. Dating as a recreational sport/game .08* .43** .44** .29** -.25**
3. Men are sex driven .12** .43** .62** .49** .25**
4. Women are sex objects .09** .44** .62** .63** .23**
5. Men are tough .09** .29** .49** .63** .26**
6. Sexual conservatism .05 -.25** .25** .23** .26**
7. Masculine ideals .02 .18** .38** .46** .47** .32**
8. Feminine ideals .05 .16** .34** .44** .42** .30**
9. Sexual stereotypes .15** .46** .63** .78** .65** .29**
10. Sex roles .10** .12** .36** .49** .41** .49**
11. Adversarial sexual beliefs .11** .38** .56** .62** .51** .39**

*p < .05, **p < .01-.25**




Table 5: Intercorrelations of Social Media and Sexual Cognitions Cont


7 8 9 10 11
1. Sexual content in social media .02 .05 .15** .10** .12 **
2. Dating as a recreational sport/game .18** .16** .46** .12** .38**
3. Men are sex driven .38** .34** .63** .36** .56**
4. Women are sex objects .46** .44** .78** .49** .62**
5. Men are tough .47** .42*** .65** .41** .51**
6. Sexual conservatism .32 .30** .29** .49** .39**
7. Masculine ideals .87** .51** .39** .35**
8. Feminine ideals .87** .50** .36** .33**
9. Sexual stereotypes .51** .50** .51** .71**
10. Sex roles .39** .36** .51** .51**
11. Adversarial sexual beliefs .35** .33** .71** .51**

*p < .05, **p < .01-.25**


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