There has been popular music about sex for a long time, but have music and dancing become more sexual over the last 30 years? The 1960s through 80s saw the rise of a “sexual revolution,” where sex outside of traditional relationships was becoming more accepted and there was the increased normalization of pornography, public nudity, premarital sex and contraception.
The way this influenced the music scene may have led to more future musicians becoming comfortable with being explicit with sexual implications in their music, video and live presentation. The 80s brought about Music Television (MTV) and music videos. Then, in the 90s, the internet was born and soon enough musicians could post their own content for anyone to view at any time. Before the television, Dick Clark and American Bandstand were the only live music stations available and they made sure their bands were clean-cut and presentable to an all-ages audience.
MTV and YouTube did not have Dick Clark to tell any musicians to keep it modest, so performers did essentially whatever they wanted in terms of presentation to stay relevant and new. Modern American society is constantly seeking stimulation. One reason why you will pick up more profanity and themes of sex in music today, more than ever before, is because musicians have had to step up the shock factor of their music in order to be recognized. At modern high school or junior high dances, it’s not uncommon to see teenagers “grinding,” rather than dancing. However, grinding did not exist in the 80s.
According to my mother, who, unlike me, was alive in the 80s, the only touching in school dances happened during slow dancing. Music is not the culprit of making this generation more sexual in nature. Rather, this generation is making music that is more sexual, which in turn may aid in, but not solely cause, the spread of more explicit sexual behavior, like grinding at high school dances.
This generation isn’t necessarily having more sex, it is just louder about it in its forms of art and music. There has been popular music written about sex for many years, but it has only gotten more explicit with its themes.