You hear the term "sex sells" thrown around all the time. Usually it refers directly to advertising and marketing, but mass media as a whole is subject to the rule. Even though TV and music continue get more obvious with messages, themes of drugs and moreover sex have been present in popular music and television in some form for most of the radio and TV era. A researcher spent some time analyzing sexual and love themes in music and  found that sexually themed and romantic lyrics seem to lead to song popularity (shocker, right?).

In a study published in Evolutionary Psychology, it was found that 92% of the 174 songs that appeared in the Billboard Top 10 in 2009 (as a sample for the study) had what the researcher referred to as "reproductive messages." These messages include 18 specifically defined references such as infidelity, body parts, and other references.  Among these references are more subtle "romantic themes," so it isn't just blatant sex that the study measures.

The study continues to say that the more references the song has, the more popular the song is, leading to better sales. This phenomenon is not limited to one type of music. The researcher looked at all major popular music genres, and the same themes pop up in all types of music from rock to R&B, pop to country, and beyond.

It's kind of interesting to think that money was spent on this study, considering this is pretty common-knowledge. In any case, aspiring song writer or singer, you now have the scientific formula to a Billboard hit.

If you'd like to indulge, here are some of the examples cited in the study:

Lady Gaga - Love Game


Cobra Starship - Good Girls Go Bad


Kings of Leon - Use Somebody


Jeremih - Birthday Sex


Soulja Boy Tell 'em - Kiss Me Thru The Phone


Sources: The Atlantic Wire, Evolutionary Psychology