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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Study Links Music Lyrics to Sexual Activity Among Teens

Teenagers who regularly listen to music lyrics with explicit references to casual sex are more likely to initiate sexual intercourse and take part in other sexual activity, compared with those who do not listen to such music, according to a study released Monday.

The study is the first to document that music with "degrading" lyrics appears to trigger different kinds of behavior than other songs do, including those that focus on romantic attachment, love and longing.

Lyrics about casual sex affected both male and female teenagers, whites and nonwhites, according to Rand Corporation researchers who published their findings in the journal Pediatrics. The study tracked 1,461 adolescents over three years and compared the music they said they listened to with self-reported sexual activity.

"Lyrics classified as degrading depicted sexually insatiable men pursuing women valued only as sex objects," the researchers wrote. Such lyrics, which were most prominent in rap music, might convey distorted notions about gender roles to both male and female teenagers, the researchers concluded.

Large numbers of sexually active teenagers told researchers that they wished they had delayed sexual initiation, the study said.

Early sex is associated with an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, the study noted -- more than one-third of teenagers reported not using a condom the last time they had sex.

About 900,000 U.S. teenagers get pregnant each year, which translates to one in five sexually active teenage girls.