Scientists hope to better understand the time of puberty; new approaches can help promote healthier behaviors in this phase of life.
UK – Researchers have identified the age at which individuals lose virginity may be associated with genetics. According to the study, published yesterday in the journal Nature, differences in the DNA may be responsible for 25% of the variation of ages in which people choose to have their first sexual intercourse. The international team of experts hope that by better understanding the time of puberty, new approaches and types of interventions can be made to promote healthier behaviors in this phase of life.
The researchers, led by John Perry, an expert in reproductive aging at the University of Cambridge (UK), analyzed the genomes of more than 380,000 British, aged 40 and 69, who were in a DNA bank. The study identified 38 genes responsible for the stage where they lost their virginity – and many of the genes were related to human behavior.
One of the genes, called CADM2 found in people who started their sex lives early, is related to risk behaviors. Another genetic variation, called MSRA, found in people who lost their virginity later, is related to irritability. According to researchers, the most common age to loss of virginity for men and women was 18 years.
According to Perry, even though the social and cultural factors are evidently important, their study show that the age of losing virginity is also prejudiced by genes that act in childhood maturity time and genes that interfere with our natural personality differences,.
The study also showed how early puberty is directly related to age at first sexual intercourse and having first child – according to the researchers, these two events, if occurred too early may interfere negatively in education. The hope is that, with the study of these behaviors and understanding better how it develops in the body, scientists are able to avoid early puberty and improve the education of children and adolescents.
The same team, in previous work, linked increased long-term risks for diseases like heart conditions, diabetes, and some forms of cancers when one attains puberty at an earlier age.