It has long been known that peer pressure and upbringing play a huge part in determining the age at which you first have sex. However, recent research shows that genes, too, play a very important role in the matter.
John Perry, an expert in reproductive ageing and related health conditions at Cambridge University, said:
“We were able to calculate for the first time that there is a heritable component to age at first sex, and the heritability is about 25%, so one quarter nature, three quarters nurture.”
The study was conducted on the DNA of more than 125,000 people aged 40 to 69, who enrolled in the UK BioBank project. Most men and women lost their virginity at 18. The study then did a comparative analysis on a further 250,000 people in the US and Iceland.
Earlier, attaining puberty early was linked to poor educational performance. However, it was argued that poor performance was just a reflection of other underlying factors, like poverty. With this study, scientists have now come closer to proving that early puberty is not a reflection but a cause of poor educational achievement.
George Davey Smith, a clinical epidemiologist at Bristol University, said:
“It suggests that earlier puberty does influence early age of sexual debut, which then appears to have other consequences such as, all things being equal, earlier first birth, having more children, less likely to remain childless, and poorer educational outcomes.”