Does music television effect teenagers’ sexual behaviours?

Music videos generally have some sort of sexually explicit content which have received constant criticism overtime. Growing up, music videos by American artists would play almost all day, every day on programs such as ‘rage’ or ‘MTV’; and they still do. However, back then sexual images were rare or mild in comparison to popular music videos now that usually contain content that ‘objectify women and promote recreational views of sexual activities’ (Heidelberg. 2015. They are extremely erotic and contain both male and female role models and celebrity figures engaging in sexual behaviours.

Examples of self- sexualisation of female artists in music videos

Frison, Eline is a PhD student at the Leuven School for Mass Communication research who specifically investigates the relationship between social networks and mass media and its effects in adolescence. Frison has written various texts and articles, containing her studies on adolescence. ‘Reciprocal Relationships between Music Television Exposure and Adolescents’ sexual behaviours written by Frison, E. et al (2015), describes a research conducted at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Its objective was to identify the ‘reciprocal relationship between music television exposure and sexual behaviours by exploring the mediating role of perceived peer norms’. The article consisted of the methods, hypothesis and conclusion all under titles to ensure easy navigation and flow. All findings and descriptive statistics were demonstrated in tables and patterns were identified to describe evidence of the final results. An appendix was added with the complete survey conducted, to understand all questions asked and how the survey was set out.

They gathered information from 515 Belgian teenagers between 12 and 15 years old and questioned how much music television they watched, how sexually active they were and how sexually active they thought their peers were. The study was conducted over a year with 6 month intervals to consider development changes during adolescence with ages from 12- 15 as this age was described as being ‘the most likely time for adversarial consequences when initiating sexual behaviours’. Survey data was collected from nine schools in Belgium all situated at various places. Student weren’t allowed to discuss or share answers due to confidentiality and were surveyed through 7-point scale ranges and yes or no questions.

Results were found through averages, scores and tally points that came to the conclusion that sexual music videos only affected the behaviour of boys. This made sense as ‘music videos tend to show males taking the active role in sexual interactions’ (Heidelberg 2015). Both girls and boys thought peers where also sexually active, which made boys watch even more music television.

The final conclusion and findings was reinforced at the end of the article to ensure understanding and clear objectives to the results. “Regarding the influence of music television exposure on sexual behaviour, our findings suggest that increased sexual activities may be triggered by media use among boys, but not among girls. As the portrayal of women as objects of lust reflects patriarchal values, media images that support this type of male dominance may provoke resistance in female viewers. This is especially valid among those who view such activity as a threat because of the high sexual activity rates of male peers.” (Frison et. Al, 2015).


Frison, E., Vandenbosch, L., Trekels, J. and Eggermont, S. (2015). Reciprocal Relationships Between Music Television Exposure and Adolescents’ Sexual Behaviors: The Role of Perceived Peer Norms.Sex Roles, 72(5-6), pp.183-197.

Heidelberg (2015) ‘What Effect does music TV have on the sexual behaviour of teenage boys and girls?’—/55270 [visited 2 Apr. 2015]

The Self-Sexualisation (Self-Objectification) of Female Music Artists. (2015). Available at: [Accessed 2 Apr. 2015].

Vandenbosch, L. and Frison, E. (2015). Eline Frison | KU Leuven – University of Leuven – [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Apr. 2015].


One thought on “Does music television effect teenagers’ sexual behaviours?

  1. I agree with your statement that sexual images in contemporary music videos are now much more sexually explicit than they were previously. I guess the saying ‘sex sells’ is true, and in our modern day consumerism we have become desensitised to the sheer amount of sexual content we’re exposed to each and every day via various media outlets. I thought you structured your blog well in terms of explaining the article, how it was set out, the research methods that were used to gather information from the Belgian teenagers aged between twelve and fifteen and the results that were found.

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