It turns out that our genes have an important role to play in when we lose our virginity.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have found that differences in DNA could account for a quarter of the variation in the age at which a person first pops their cherry.
Scientists, who published their findings in the journal Nature Genetics, analyzed the genetic data of 150,000 men and women that was recorded in the national health study British Biobank.
“Comparing the data revealed genes partly influence sexual and reproductive behaviors – which are not just due to social culture and the environment,” said study author John Perry. “Our findings showed exciting insights into the biological regulation of personality and how brain activity controls our attitudes.”
In total, researchers were able to find 38 genetic variants associated with the age at which people lost their virginity. They also found that a person’s DNA affects the age of puberty and when they first give birth.
For example, the so-called CADM2 genes were discovered to make a connection between an early start of one’s sex life and risk-taking behavior leading to a large number of children. Perhaps most interestingly, they found that the average age for both men and women to lose their virginity was 18.
“We were able to demonstrate using genetics that earlier puberty has a causal impact on earlier age of first sex, timing of having children and lower educational attainment,” Perry added. “This will help to inform future preventative efforts to delay puberty among young children. For example, avoiding excess weight gain aims to improve their future health as adults.”
In the future, scientists plan to continue analyzing adult reproductive traits and behaviors in even larger studies.
“This will further inform our understanding of the underlying biology behind reproductive aging and associated diseases,” Perry concluded.
- By Dmitry Belyaev