One of the few things pop culture and real life actually have in common is how much parents care about their children. Well, that and the dread they feel when they hear their offspring had sex for the first time. But that’s understandable, seeing as it’s more of a symbol of innocence lost.
But according to a new study from England, parents should definitely not blame their kids for starting their sexual activity too early, as apparently the loss of virginity is influenced by genes. It’s not a cause and effect relationship, but it certainly influences at least a few things here or there.
As it turns out, puberty has been hitting increasingly late ever since the 1800s, with the age of puberty going up from 18 years old in 1880 to a strangely low 12.5 in 1980. And it’s only been declining ever since. While this would logically lead to earlier sex and earlier pregnancies, it turns out that it’s not quite like that.
In fact, in the past people used to have children much sooner than today, pretty much as soon as possible. Meanwhile, these days there is an average of ten whole years before first sexual intercourse and having your first child. But how do genes affect the loss of virginity, if not by relation to puberty?
Well, the study on which the research was based used as a sample the data of some 400,000 people from the United States, Iceland, and the UK. By analyzing their genetic data, the team linked some genetic variations to age at first intercourse and found that some linked to several factors. These factors included age at first birth, age of puberty, willingness to take risks, and number of children.
According to Dr. Tim Spector, a professor from the Kings College London and lead author of the study,
Twin studies from our group and others have also shown that age of first sexual intercourse as well as number of partners is also around 50 percent heritable. […]These genes are likely to have an effect throughout life […] The main message is that our teenage behaviors are a mix of our genes and environment.
But some are still convinced that the decreasing age of puberty has something to do with it, although they can’t really find any evidence for their claims yet. Still, regardless of whether puberty’s eagerness to insert itself actually matters or not, it’s clear that genes are at least partially responsible for the age of lost virginity, as well as for the number of partners.
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