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|C. Price • 11/15/12|
Is there a connection between the age you lose your virginity and the chances you’ll have a happy, satisfying relationship later in life? According to a recent study, a connection does exist, but the actual conclusions may surprise you.
The University of Texas study determined individuals who lose their virginity at a later age are less likely to marry and may have fewer romantic partners as a whole, but when these individuals find themselves in a committed relationship, they tend to be happier with that relationship and with their partners than those who lost their virginity at a younger age (defined in her study as ages 15-19).
Author of the study Paige Harden arrived at this conclusion after studying data drawn from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, which looked at the relationships of 1,659 same-sex pairs of siblings between the ages of 16-29. By looking at siblings, Harden was largely able to factor out genetics, environmental differences, social disparities, and physical attractiveness from her evaluations of the data.
“When these individuals find themselves in a committed relationship,
they tend to be happier than those who lost their virginity at a younger age.”
But without external and social factors impacting the data, how does Harden explain her conclusion that individuals who lose their virginity later in life are happier with their adult relationships?
Harden said that more research is necessary to draw a definite conclusion as to why the age at which one loses their virginity impacts their future relationships, but speculates when you “first navigate intimate relationships in young adulthood” after you “have accrued cognitive and emotional maturity,” you have likely learned “more effective relationship skills than individuals who first learn scripts for intimate relationships while they’re teenagers.”
In other words — the more mature you are when you start engaging in romantic relationships, the more maturity you’ll bring to how you approach those relationships. And in contrast, when you begin to engage in romantic relationships at a young age, you’re likely to continue to carry those less mature expectations and understandings with you into your adult relationships.