How old were you when you lost your virginity? Were you a hormonal teen in the flush of first love, or were you a late bloomer — a 20- or even 30-something — who chose to wait?
It’s a cheeky question to ask anyone, but the answer to that most personal of questions may offer valuable information when it comes to determining your present or future happiness in love, or so suggests recent research.
An article in the February issue of Psychology Today suggests that the age at which people lose their virginity is a factor in predicting how their romantic lives will pan out. The study indicates that late bloomers may have fewer, but happier, relationships.
The article cites a study by psychology researchers at the University of Texas that found that men and women who waited until they were adults to have sex had fewer sexual partners and were less likely to be married or living with someone 10 years after the fact.
But the study also found that those people who waited until they were in their 20s and 30s to have sex and who were in serious relationships 10 years later were more satisfied in those relationships.
In short, the waiting was well worth it, as the 20- and 30-year-old virgins were happier with their mates once they did settle down. This group was more likely to be happy, to enjoy loving and affectionate relations with their partner and was more likely to say that they liked spending time with their partners.
The question that remains largely unanswered, however, is just why waiting to have sex may prove more beneficial in those cases. Lead researcher Paige Harden theorized that it may have something to do with maturity.
“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 in a press release.