Married couples generally keep their sexual innuendos to themselves, but the rules change when the couple in question is pop royalty. Mr. and Mrs. Carter are better known as pop superstars Beyoncé and Jay Z, and their Grammy performance generated a lot of heat — on and off the stage. With parents comparing the performance to Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus' risqué performance last year, critics and fans are taking sides on the Grammy controversy. Are Grammy producers responsible for producing a kid-friendly show?

Breaking down the controversial Grammy performance

The show opened in shadows, the light slowly revealing Beyoncé straddling a chair, wet-looking hair glancing across her face, fierce eyes daring you to look away from her overt sexuality. My '80s-girl brain immediately went to a similarly shadowed movie scene involving wet hair and a scantily-clad woman dancing with a chair. If my kids would have been watching the Grammys, the Flashdance moment and Beyoncé's unflinching stare gave me ample time to change the channel before she opened her mouth to make her way through the lyrics of "Drunk in Love" — lyrics called sexy or filthy depending on with whom you spoke Monday morning. Grammy producers and Beyoncé delivered exactly what the opening moments of the show promised — her powerhouse voice a backdrop for grinding against the chair, letting her tongue linger on the microphone and finally welcoming Jay Z to the stage to perform his verse of the song, let his hands linger on Beyoncé's backside and appreciatively stare at his wife as she sang about riding her "surfboard."

No one would call Beyoncé's Grammy performance anything close to family friendly.

Does the Carters' marital status lessen the controversy?

wedding bandsThe line was immediately drawn in the social media sand. People cheered Bey and Jay for broadcasting their marriage's voracious sexual shenanigans and people jeered over the appropriateness of the performance, which aired in some areas of the country at 8 p.m. Vocal detractors compared it to another controversial performance at an awards show — Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke performing "Blurred Lines" at the Video Music Awards. Defenders touted the wedding rings on Beyoncé and Jay Z's fingers as a reason to hold their performance to a different standard than that of Cyrus and Thicke.

Whether or not you approve of the sexually-laden performances shouldn't rest on the marital status of the performers. Awards shows are showcases for performances — carefully produced performances designed to entertain and titillate. Musicians have two layers to work with — the pure musical aspect and the spectacle of the visual performance. Whether or not the performers go home to a shared bed at the end of the night shouldn't matter to anyone but them.

Grammy producers are not parents

Well, they might be parents, but their only responsibility in that role is the parenting of their own children. They are not responsible for parenting my children or your children. What Grammy producers are responsible for doing is creating a show that celebrates music, entertains viewers — and gets people talking.

People are talking.

Katie Hurley, LCSW, recognizes the way age-inappropriate images and expectations impact children. She says, "Fast tracking childhood is a common problem these days. Kids are playing sports at very young ages, learning at an accelerated pace and being exposed to media that isn't age appropriate. Whether it's the Grammys, the American Music Awards or the Oscars really doesn't matter."

Adult content is created for adults. It is the job of the parent to set appropriate boundaries when it comes to media consumption, and part of that entails previewing content and making decisions based on age and emotional level.

Hurley wants parents to make conscious parenting decisions about exposing their kids to adult content. "Adult content is created for adults. It is the job of the parent to set appropriate boundaries when it comes to media consumption, and part of that entails previewing content and making decisions based on age and emotional level. Sure, sexuality in the media is on the rise. Parents have two choices when it comes viewing this type of content: Watch it and discuss what is happening on the screen and how that translates to the real world, or shut it off and get outside to play. I would suggest the latter."

Talking about Bey and Jay's Grammy performance

If your children already saw the controversial performance, talking about what they viewed can help kids understand the boundaries between adult and child content. Ask questions and keep your answers simple. If it fits with your family values, you could bring up their marriage or public displays of affection. Older kids and tweens may be ready for discussions about the differences in the male and female costuming for the performance or even how people react to such overt displays of sexuality.

Controversial performances are here to stay

In a show that celebrated marriage equality in a 33-couple wedding ceremony and brought music legend Stevie Wonder together with helmet-wearing Daft Punk, talking about the appropriateness of a single performance seems a bit ridiculous. Depending on Grammy producers to put together a kid-friendly show isn't fair. Whether or not parents agree, awards show performances are produced for adults, and risqué performances will continue to be the norm. Madonna gyrated on the stage to "Like a Virgin" 30 long years ago, and performers and producers have continued to push the entertainment envelope — and the fabulous buzz generated by controversy means they won't stop anytime soon.

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Photo credit: WireImage

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