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Sexual Lyrics Associated with Early Sexual Experience

Music with degrading sexual lyrics associated with increased intercourse, sexual activity

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Degrading sexual lyrics, which account for two-thirds of all sexual references in popular music, are associated with early sexual experiences in adolescents, according to study findings released online Feb. 24 in advance of publication in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Brian A. Primack, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues surveyed 711 ninth-grade students between 2006 and 2007. The average age of the students was 15 years. Approximately half of respondents were female (54 percent) and 56 percent were African American.

The investigators report that each week, students were exposed to 14.7 hours of songs with degrading sexual lyrics. Nearly one-third of the respondents reported prior sexual activity, and those students with the most exposure to degrading sexual lyrics were more than twice as likely to have previously had sexual intercourse. If they had not yet experienced sexual intercourse, students who had the most exposure to sexual lyrics also were 1.88-fold more likely to engage in non-coital sexual activity. Conversely, lyrics not containing degrading lyrics had no significant association with sexual outcomes, the researchers report.

"Adolescents are heavily exposed to lyrics describing degrading sex in popular music, and this exposure is associated with early sexual experience among them in an urban population of youth at high risk for risky sexual behavior," the authors conclude.

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