What teenagers learn about sex through music

Nowadays, it seems as though it's impossible to turn on the radio without hearing some sexual innuendo blasted through the speakers, and it appears researchers are taking a closer look into who is picking up on the message.

In a recent study published in Sexuality and Culture, researchers examined the influx of songs pertaining to sex and how their message affects children and their attitudes toward intimacy. The study's authors believe that it's important to offer sexual education to teenagers in order to teach them about intimacy and ensure they have a better understanding of it.

According to the research, music listening by 8- to 18-year-olds has increased by 45 percent recently, thanks in part to the popularity of such devices as iPods. The study's authors noted that there have been a number of studies that have correlated sexual activity and exposure to sexualized messages in the media.

The authors wrote that females tended to suffer more from the sexualized messages conveyed through songs, as they were not only more likely to be treated like sexualized objects, but also more likely to act as though they were. This issue, the researchers point out, could lead to poor body image, eating disorders and substance abuse in teenage girls.

"Popular music can teach young men to be sexually aggressive and treat women as objects while often teaching young women that their value to society is to provide sexual pleasure for others," the study's authors write. "It is essential for society that sex education providers are aware of these issues and their impact on adolescent sexual behavior."

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