James D. Tippett – jdt@imokyourenot.com

For some, sex, drugs and rock and roll are as American as apple pie, yet increasingly it is becoming Porn, overdose and Emo Music. The internet and high tech cell phones have made sex a public sport, the drug problem is almost everyone’s problem and music with self defacing and violent lyrics is gaining in popularity. How we react to these influences speaks volumes about our susceptibility to outside forces. This article is intended to examine these traditions of our culture.

First Sex, we often hear of the school teacher, the priest, the judge or the governor ending up in trouble over some sexually related miscue and these are just the stories that have been newsworthy. Most are appalled at these behaviors yet when we engage in discussions about what are normal versus deviant sexual desires the debate continually encroaches on significant gray areas. Society often attempts to set boundaries or express feigned abhorrence to sharpen the lines.

There are many resources on the subject of sex, from plain old missionary sex to the wildest of unimaginable perversions, coupled with beliefs ranging from abstinence to polygamy, all are a part of our world. It is no surprise that searching the simple word “pictures” on the internet not only produces numerous social networking sites but an ample sampling of pornographic web sites as well. Let’s not be so ignorant as to blame the porn industry, or the internet, or whoever else we want to make a scapegoat of to deflect and blur the true vision. The billions of dollars are coming from somewhere.

Similar to all social ills, whether it is sex drugs or rock and roll, it is not the media itself, but the available and willing participants on both sides of the producer / consumer relation that allows it to thrive. We find these media replacing our need for caring, nurturing, touching and feeling with artificial emotion and simulated connectedness. When our basic physiological and psychological needs are not met through what popular opinion would consider normal, the pleasure centers of our mind often induce very powerful compulsions to act in ways that may ignore basic safety and or mute our realization of consequence in our quest for acceptance.

I am not advocating censorship, puritanism, or abstinence for that matter. I am advocating responsibility. It is in the very nature of our survival to have sex, but like electing not to shop at a store you don’t like, you can shun the impact of the degrading and relationship destroying porn, by taking it for what it is, a business out to make a profit, not a portrayal of loving relationships. It is imperative to continually work to build healthy open relationships in which sex is as natural and enjoyable as drinking a glass of water, defined only by the consenting participants not encroached on by social stigma or stereotype.

I realize that is a relatively simplistic solution, the lure of the “Dark side” has offered feigned adoration to all genders, races and creeds. But the quicker it is revealed as overt, albeit well masked, manipulation and control, the better able we are to resist the degrading onslaught and restore our balance. But let’s leave the shadowy behind the screens world and emerge to mainstream society. Effective advertising has and hopefully always will rely on visually stimulating images to entice us to buy things. It is commonly accepted that sex is used sell, and yes sex is used to sell to women the same as to men. This is perhaps the most universal of truths in our culture. Whether it is an attractive model, male or female, orsuggestive wording, advertising with sexual connotations is the most effective. Five dollar foot longs? I rest my case, but my case is, so what? It’s as plain and natural as the dance of the prairie chicken; it is what makes us human. None of us would be here were it not for some hot steamy animalistic gyrations. Let’s face it, when our desires, any desires, are left unsatisfied, our drive to satisfy that desire intensifies, this is basic human nature.

It can even be argued that the more one abstains or suppresses the urge for sex, the more perverse the addiction becomes. Now I am not saying that relationships are all about sex, but a good portion of the mix is, at least the psychological bashing we give ourselves when the sex part isn’t up to someone’s par. Given all the commercials for Viagra and Enzyte there must be something to this reasoning. Add in ingrained childhood beliefs, the latest sexually transmitted disease statistics and conflicting pressures from friends, school officials and parents, and coping becomes even more challenging. Continually we just don’t talk of such things. That is unless we are in the company of our nonjudgmental friend the computer, or within the security of our lives back alley.

Drugs next, I find it interesting to note the similarities to sex, remember that “human” thing. Drugs are all around us, caffeine, aspirin, pain pills, nicotine, Prozac, Viagra, marijuana, and crack cocaine, all are drugs. Some legal some not, some available off the shelf, some only by prescription, others only on a shady street corner or your nearest high school, but each can be as damaging as the next depending on the extent of the use. Water can kill if you drink too much of it.

The joys experienced with most of these drugs, similar to sexual stimulus, are powerful forces indeed. Our escape from reality, our need to focus, our need to sleep, the lack of inhibition, the power rush or enhanced performance are all behavioral re-enforcers augmented by these little helpers. Notice however, that it is normally only a temporary solution, soon the effects aren’t as great or the cost becomes too high. Unless you really screw up and your self inflicted suicide attempt works, the world, and all its wonderful problems will still be there when you wake up from the daze.

The sellers are truly in a buyer’s market aided by the media, evolving societal standards of what “good performance” should be, the pharmaceutical companies save the world theme, and aggressive underground, back alley marketing techniques that put Mary Kay to shame. Like porn on the internet and prostitutes on the street, drugs are there because someone is buying them, and from the scope of the problem lots of people are buying them. I can’t be so hypocritical as to tell you what you should or should not do, this is about knowing the difference between moderation, which you control, and obsession which is controlled or at least nurtured, by others. They influence you to do something that benefits them, and eventually destroys you, if you let it. It is your choice, and only your choice. You can surrender or choose to defend your self by taking control of your current reality and the manipulative forces in your life.

Lastly Rock and Roll Music, all music for that matter, has always carried a message, but some artists in recent times appear to be taking on more of a main stream violent and self degrading nature. Yes there has always been, and hopefully will continue to be, a stand up to “the man” theme, but like the internet there is a dark side. But it is ridiculous to think that by listening to a song we will start to act like a mindless robot, even though the artist may relish in that outcome.

Music can indeed have influence over us, scientifically proven to influence mood, perception, actions and even physiological reactions within the body, both good and bad. Yet I would argue that if something as simple as a song can influence our life experience to the cellular level, why can’t we?

Well the answer is we can!

We have control Houston, yet many continually look to their rock star hero to define their life. You are being manipulated, whether by emotionless sex, the lure of drugs, holiday cash or songs with self defacing, hypnotizing lyrics. Their goal is to take your money and/or destroy you. Some want to end your marriage, some want you hooked on drugs and some want you to buy their music, they care absolutely nothing about you. But if that’s your thing just make sure you are not capsizing the relationships that matter most to you. The intent here is to identify one area of our existence that will provide continued sources of turmoil if we are not willing to have open, honest and non judgmental discussions with those closest to us. The more we suppress these discussions of our reality, the more they become dirty little secrets and mental afflictions.