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Steamy Media Linked to Early Sex Among White Teens

White teens with heaviest sexual media diet more than twice as likely to have had sex by age 16

TUESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- White teens between the ages of 12 and 14 who are exposed to a heavy sexual media diet are more than twice as likely to have had sex at ages 14 to 16, according to a study in the April issue of Pediatrics.

Jane D. Brown, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues surveyed the sexual media diet (SMD) of 1,017 black and white adolescents from 14 North Carolina middle schools at 12 to 14 years of age, and two years later. SMD involved the sexual content of television, movies, music and magazines that teens commonly consumed.

White teens aged 12 to 14 who were exposed to the most sexual content in their media were 2.2 times more likely than those exposed to the least sexual content to have had sexual intercourse two years later.

Among black teens, however, there was no statistically significant link between sexual behavior and the SMD they consumed. Instead, the sexual behavior of black teens was more likely to be influenced by parental attitudes and peer behavior.

"Exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television and magazines accelerates white adolescents' sexual activity and increases their risk of engaging in early sexual intercourse," the authors write. "Black teens appear more influenced by perceptions of their parents' expectations and their friends' sexual behavior than by what they see and hear in the media."

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