From Frugivore — Over the last two decades, few music videos have hit mainstream television promoting sexual health. Everything from HIV to unplanned pregnancies has been a topic for pop culture discussion, but the framing around these issues often remains problematic for women. It’s easy to simply praise an artist for talking about sex outside of just pleasure. But it’s also important that artists’ create discourses that don’t simply rely on stereotypes or promote unrealistic solutions to the masses.
In 2006, Lyfe Jennings’ “S.E.X.” told the story of a 17-year-old girl going through puberty and coming into her sexuality. As her body developed and attracted male attention, Lyfe Jennings and songstress LaLa Brown warned the young woman to hold on to her innocence and not to have sex until she was ready. According to the song’s lyrics, there was a young man in her neighborhood who was pressuring her, and using the same tired line of “you’ll do it if you love me.” While this certainly is a reality for many young women, what about the others that want to have sex at an earlier age? It’s an old stereotype that young women are unwilling and uncapable of handling sex during youth. But the truth is that not every young woman wants or should have to pursue abstinence until she’s an adult. And while it may make adults uncomfortable, young people, both boys and girls, need to be informed about all of their options when it comes to sex, not just the ones that make adults sleep easier at night. That being said, why does the “think before you let it go” discourse always end up as a lecture for just young women? While Lyfe Jennings certainly deserves a pat on the back for making a “conscious” video, it would’ve been revolutionary if he actually geared his message to young men.