Recent research finds that the way in which the first sexual experience occurred during adolescence and romantic ties in adulthood are related
In their study, scientific psychologist Paige Harden investigated how the time of sexual initiation in adolescence influences subsequent romantic outcomes, such as if people marry or live with their partners, how many romantic partners they get, and Whether they are satisfied with their relationship or not in adulthood.
To answer these questions, Harden and his colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health conducted between same-sex siblings, which were followed since the adolescence (around 16) and until the young adult age (about 29).
Harden's findings were presented in a research article published in the journal. Psychological Science, of the Association for Psychological Science.
Apparently and to begin with, those who had the first sexual experience at later ages, usually achieved a higher educational level and higher family income in adulthood, compared to those who had them at earlier ages.
People who had a first sexual experience later were also less likely to be married and had fewer romantic partners in adulthood.
Among subjects who were married or lived as a couple, later sexual initiation was also associated with lower levels of dissatisfaction with your partner during adulthood.
The researchers found that these associations about late sexual experience were not modified when genetic and environmental factors were taken into account. Nor could they be explained by the differences in the educational level of the subjects, income or religiosity, or by the differences in the participation of adolescents in appointments, or their body attractiveness.
Experts believe the results affirm that the moment of the first experience with sex predicts the quality and stability of romantic relationships In young adulthood.
The researchers also say the data suggests that early initiation is not a "risk" factor as much as late initiation is a "protective" factor in shaping the results of future relationships.
According to Harden, there are several possible mechanisms that could explain this relationship.
One of them would be that people who have the first sexual encounter later also have certain specific characteristics of personality (for example, a secure attachment style) that have an effect on sexual retardation and the quality of the relationship.
Another aspect could be that they were more selective in their choice of sentimental and sexual partners, hence this delay appears in entering into intimate relationships, unless they think they will be really satisfactory.
Finally, Harden said it is possible that "individuals who have intimate relationships at later ages, after they have accumulated greater cognitive and emotional maturity, can learn more effective relationship skills than individuals who learn intimate relationship patterns when they are still teenagers."
Experts say that additional research is needed to corroborate which of these mechanisms may actually be the greatest indicator of association between the time of the first sexual encounter and the results in future relationships.
According to her: "We are beginning to understand how teenagers' sexual experiences influence their development and relationships in the future.".