Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What exactly is going on here?

Sexual lyrics in music make teens have sex

Teens whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, a study found.

Whether it's hip-hop, rap, pop or rock, much of popular music aimed at teens contains sexual overtones. Its influence on their behavior appears to depend on how the sex is portrayed, researchers found.

Songs depicting men as "sex-driven studs," women as sex objects and with explicit references to sex acts are more likely to trigger early sexual behavior than those where sexual references are more veiled and relationships appear more committed, the study found.

Teens who said they listened to lots of music with degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse or other sexual activities within the following two years as were teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music.

Among heavy listeners, 51 percent started having sex within two years, versus 29 percent of those who said they listened to little or no sexually degrading music.

Exposure to lots of sexually degrading music "gives them a specific message about sex," said lead author Steven Martino, a researcher for Rand Corp. in Pittsburgh. Boys learn they should be relentless in pursuit of women and girls learn to view themselves as sex objects, he said.

"We think that really lowers kids' inhibitions and makes them less thoughtful" about sexual decisions and may influence them to make decisions they regret, he said.

The study, based on telephone interviews with 1,461 participants aged 12 to 17, appears in the August issue of Pediatrics, being released Monday. Most participants were virgins when they were first questioned in 2001. Follow-up interviews were done in 2002 and 2004 to see if music choice had influenced subsequent behavior.

Natasha Ramsey, a 17-year-old from New Brunswick, N.J., said she and other teens sometimes listen to sexually explicit songs because they like the beat.

"I won't really realize that the person is talking about having sex or raping a girl," she said. Even so, the message "is being beaten into the teens' heads," she said. "We don't even really realize how much."

"It's a little dangerous to just pinpoint one thing. You have to look at everything that's going on in a young person's life," she said. "When somebody has a healthy sense of themselves, they don't take these lyrics too seriously."

David Walsh, a psychologist who heads the National Institute on Media and the Family, said the results make sense, and echo research on the influence of videos and other visual media.

The brain's impulse-control center undergoes "major construction" during the teen years at the same time that an interest in sex starts to blossom, he said. Article here.

The most annoying commercial on TV

Boyfriend tatoos his girlfriend while asleep?

Hillary Snyder said she isn't going to let her boyfriend's antics get under her skin. Snyder, 20, awoke recently to find she had been tattooed by her boyfriend while she slept.

She said she took a painkiller with a sleeping pill before she went to bed Saturday night. When she awoke, she discovered a tattoo of a five-pointed star on her right ankle.

Snyder said she had previously told her boyfriend she didn't want a tattoo. He wanted her to get a tattoo of a five-pointed start to match one of his own, she said.

"At least he didn't flub it up," she said The boyfriend wasn't identified. No arrests had been made. The investigation was continuing.

A police report accuses the now-former boyfriend of domestic assault. But Snyder isn't so sure. "I mean it's not like he beat me up. There were no bruises or blood or anything. I'm just not going to see him again." Article here.

Nice catch

Fish jumps out of water, hits man off jet ski

A man riding a personal watercraft on the Suwannee River was injured after a 4-foot-long sturgeon jumped out of the water and hit him, wildlife officials said.

Blake Nicholas Fessenden, 23, was heading north on the Suwannee River Sunday just north of the Hart Springs Sand Bar when he was hit and fell off the craft, according to a statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Fessenden was knocked unconscious. His girlfriend was riding another watercraft behind him and was able to get to Fessenden and hold his head above water before passengers on another vessel arrived to pull him from the water, officials said.
He was airlifted to Shands Hospital in Gainesville with non-life-threatening injuries, officials said. A 31-year-old woman was hospitalized in April after a 3-foot-long sturgeon jumped into a boat being driven by the woman's fiance. The pair was also on the Suwannee River.

Officials at the time said similar accidents occur once or twice a year on the river and that the fish can jump as high as 8 feet in the air and can weigh up to 200 pounds. Article here.

Saved by the Bell (remix)

Dude dies opening grenade with sledgehammer

A Brazilian man died on Tuesday when he tried to open what police believe was a rocket-propelled grenade with a sledgehammer in a mechanical workshop on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

Another man who was in the workshop at the time of the explosion was rushed to a hospital with severe burns, a police officer told Reuters. The workshop was destroyed and several cars parked outside caught fire.

Police found several unexploded army issue rocket-propelled grenades in the workshop. They believe the ammunition had been brought there by scavengers wanting to sell them as scrap metal, but they also are investigating a possible link to Rio's heavily armed drug gangs who often raid military bases. Article here.