Monday, August 07, 2006

Study links lyrics to teen activity


Monday, August 7, 2006; Page A06

Study Links Explicit Music, Teenagers' Sexual Activity

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 being
released today.

The study is the first to document that music with "degrading" lyrics
appears to trigger different kinds of behavior than other songs,
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 Corp. 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 a 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.

-- Shankar Vedantam

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