If you're embarrassed because you're a decade or so away from becoming the female 40-year-old virgin, consider this. A new study from the University of Texas reveals that those who postponed sexual activity until age 19 or later are more satisfied in their relationships today. This explains a lot for the rest of us!
Psychologist Paige Harden was curious if the age at which you lost your virginity might predict romantic decisions later on in life, such as the decision to get married, how many partners you will have or if you'll be satisfied in your adult relationships. To find out, she looked at 1,659 same-sex sibling pairs from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health who were followed from adolescence to young adulthood (ages 16 to 29). Each sibling was classified as having an "Early," "On-Time" or "Late" first experience depending on age — younger than 15, 15 to 19, or older than 19.
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Turns out that those who held on tight to their chastity not only had more satisfying marriages or long-term relationships as young adults, but also achieved more in terms of education and had higher incomes. The same group, however, had fewer romantic partners and were less likely to marry in young adulthood.
The study suggests that the timing of your first sexual encounter predicts the quality and stability of your adult romantic relationships. But before we kick ourselves for getting buck wild freshman year of high school, Harden offers other explanations as to why the late bloomers might be having more fun now. One thought is that those who delayed sexual intimacy could be considered pickier about who they make their bed with. It's also possible that those who wait until adulthood are simply more emotionally mature to handle the otherwise confusing world of sex and young love.
Earlier sexual intercourse isn't always a negative. Turns out the early bloomers in the study, particularly those in relationships, had lower levels of delinquent behavior problems.
And before this study makes anyone feel like the rest of us royally screwed up, I would like to share my empathy with my fellow early bloomers in the crowd. Some of us can't help it if we developed early on. Teenage hormones are quite the beast. As is teenage romance, the teenage years and Katy Perry's wildly catchy song, "Teenage Dreams." Sometimes we just have to give in.
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At what age did you lose your virginity? Do you feel like this has affected your adult relationships?
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