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By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

PITTSBURGH, February 25, 2009 ( – Researchers at Pittsburgh University School of Medicine have found that teenagers who regularly listened to music with explicit and aggressive sexual phrases were twice as likely to be engaged in sexual activity compared to those who avoided such music.

Writing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, lead researcher Dr. Brian A. Primack said, “This study demonstrates that, among this sample of young adolescents, high exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex in popular music was independently associated with higher levels of sexual behavior.

“In fact, exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex was one of the strongest associations with sexual activity … These results provide further support for the need for additional research and educational intervention in this area.”

The press release from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine announcing the results of the study points out that sexual activity among adolescents in the United States results in over 750,000 teenage pregnancies each year. With reports of up to 25 percent of all female adolescents in the US having sexually transmitted infections, researchers and public health officials are looking for those factors that might increase sexual activity in teens.

The study was based on surveys that were completed by 711 ninth-grade students at three large urban high schools, with one third of the group described as regular listeners (more than 14 hours each week of lyrics describing degrading sex), one third casual listeners (2 to 13 hours), and one third who listened infrequently or not at all.

The study concluded that compared to those with the least exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex, those with the most exposure were more than twice as likely to have had sexual intercourse.

Dr. Primack commented that these findings build on those of previous studies suggesting that exposure to sex in media messages may be a risk factor for early sexual progression.

“I am not saying parents should try to ban such music; that is unlikely to help,” Dr. Primack said in a BBC report. “However, I think parents should consider this. It is tempting to say music is just ‘teenage stuff’, but parents should be talking to their children about sex and putting these sorts of lyrics in context.”

The full text of the research may be accessed from this link: