Pharrell Williams says the controversy surrounding Blurred Lines made him realize some of his songs were "catered" to a sexist culture.
The singer says at first he didn't understand why some people saw the lyrics as "rapey".
But he later realized that "there are men who use the same language when taking advantage of a woman".
Blurred Lines was criticized by some who claimed the lyrics referred to non-consensual sex.
It was banned at several universities and an ad featuring songs and models from the video was also banned from daytime TV in 2013.
In an interview with GQ magazine, Pharrell, 46, said he was "born in a different era" and some things that were allowed at the time would "never fly today".
Giving examples he referenced adverts that "objectify women" and "song content".
"Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today.
"I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place."
He said Blurred Lines was the turning point for him but he admitted that at first he "didn't get" why the song received such a backlash by some.
The song – which was a collaboration with Robin Thicke – includes lines such as "I hate these blurred lines, I know you want it" and "Must wanna get nasty".
The singer said he saw that some women really liked the song and would sing those type of lyrics all the time.
"So it's like 'What's rapey about that?'
"And then I realized that there are men who use the same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn't matter that it's not my behavior. Or the way I think about things.
"It just matters how it affects women. And I was like, Got it. I get it. Cool."
He added: "I realized that we were living in a chauvinist culture in our country. I hadn't realized that. Didn't realize that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind."
Blurred Lines has spent five weeks at number one on the UK charts and Pharrell has previously defended its lyrics.
In an interview with Pitchfork in 2014, he said: "When you look back at the whole song, the point is that she's a good girl, and even good girls want to do things, and that's where you have the blurred lines.
"She expresses it in dancing because she's a good girl. People who are agitated just want to be mad, and I accept their opinion."
Pharrell and Robin Thicke also had other issues over the song Blurred Lines.
They were told to pay $ 5m (£ 4m) in damages after Marvin Gaye's family claimed the copied song Gaye's 1977 hit Got to Give It Up.
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