Thursday, September 19, 2013

Does True Love Wait?


Does true love wait?
Research shows that people who have sex for the first time later than average may have better and more satisfying relationships as adults.
“Most people experience their first intimate relationships when they are teenagers, but few studies have examined how these adolescent experiences are related to marital relationships in adulthood,” said study leader Paige Harden, who used data from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health to look at 1,659 same-sex sibling pairs who were followed from adolescence (around age 16) to young adulthood (around 29). Each sibling was classified as having an Early (younger than 15), On-Time (age 15-19), or Late (older than 19) first experience with sexual intercourse.
Pickier about partners
Among the participants who were married or living with a partner, people with later sexual initiation were more likely to say that they were happy with the way they and their partners handled conflict, that their partners showed them love and affection, and that they enjoyed doing day-to-day things with their partners. The association held up even after taking genetic and environmental factors into account and could not be explained by differences in adult educational attainment, income, or religiousness, or by adolescent differences in dating involvement, body mass index, or attractiveness.
Although research has often focused on the consequences of early sexual activity, the Early and On-Time participants in this study were largely indistinguishable. The data suggest that early initiation is not a “risk” factor so much as late initiation is a “protective” factor in shaping romantic outcomes. Harden added it’s possible that people who have their first sexual encounter later might be pickier in ultimately choosing romantic and sexual partners.
“Individuals who first navigate intimate relationships in young adulthood, after they have accrued cognitive and emotional maturity, may learn more effective relationship skills than individuals who first learn scripts for intimate relationships while they are still teenagers,” Harden said.


Source : Nature and Health


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