The study is based on responses from a questionnaire sent 7,000 young people ages 18 to 29 who live in Skåne County in southern Sweden.
More than one-third, 36 percent, of female respondents reported that at some point or another having been coerced to perform sexual acts against their will. The corresponding figure for men in the same age group, meanwhile, was 17 percent.
"It's a high figure, but I'm not totally surprised as we've seen that young people are vulnerable and they often choose not to file a report," Lund University researcher Anette Agardh, who carried out the study, said in a statement.
Agardh explained that woman often refrain from reporting unwanted sexual encounters due to feelings of guilt or due to a feeling that there is a lack of support for their predicament from society at large.
"Our knowledge of young people and sexual coercion in Sweden is limited and needs to be improved," she said.
The study also revealed that young people who had experienced sexual coercion were more prone to suffer from depression, problems sleeping, and thoughts of suicide, compared to other young people. They also took greater sexual risks.
Agardh hopes the study's preliminary findings will help spur dialogue among health authorities and public officials in southern Sweden about how to address the situation.