Music as a resource for the sexual self
An exploration of how young people in the Netherlands use music for good sex
Poetics : Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts , Volume 66 p. 19- 29
Much has been written about young people, music and sexuality, often in the context of the sexualisation debate. However, little research has been conducted about the intricate ways in which young people actually use music in their everyday sexual practices. By drawing upon sociological approaches to music and everyday life, with special attention for the work by Tia DeNora (2000, 2003), the current study aims to analyse what young people consider good music for good sex. We introduce a methodological approach that we call ‘music voice’ as it is partly inspired by photo-voice methods. We asked young people to construct a playlist of what they consider good music for good sex, after which we discussed their choices in an in-depth qualitative interview. We found support for the theory that music has transformative power in the constitution and regulation of a sexual self. There were moments in which our young respondents talked about the sound and lyrics of the music and how they resonated with their conceptions of good sex, but most of the time the discussion hinged on the way they felt when the music played and how they actually used the music to move from one emotional, cognitive and physical state into another. Using music for good sex was not always about turning the music on during sexual activities, however. While for some of our respondents music helped to turn their ideas of good sex into reality, others felt music did not contribute to their experience of good sex.
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van Bohemen, S.R.J.M, den Hertog, L, & van Zoonen, E.A. (2018). Music as a resource for the sexual self. Poetics : Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts, 66, 19–29. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2017.12.001