It’s complicated, but the University of Texas has discovered new research showing that late bloomers may have better luck with relationships. According to this longitudinal study, those who have sex for the first time at an older age are more likely to have less partners and are less likely to get married, but if they do end up in a relationship, it looks like they’re happier than those who have sex early in life.
Apparently, this is because the late bloomers have better relationship abilities because they are more cognitively and emotionally mature once they do start getting intimate. However, last year, a similar study indicated that those who are sexually active at a young age are less likely to have delinquent behavioral issues. The research also indicated that late bloomers had attained higher education and income. So it seems abstaining from sex as a teenager has its pros and cons.
Although there are correlations between having teenage sex and short-term consequences, the researchers wanted to study any links it may have to later behaviors, like marriage, living with a partner, amount of sexual partners and satisfaction in their love lives. For the purpose of the study, having sex before age 15 was seen as “early," from 15 years of age to 19 was seen as “on time,” and anything later than 19 was seen as “late.” The searchers studied same-sex siblings from the ages of approximately 16 to 29 years. Factors like genetics, environment, education, attractiveness, religion and income were taken into account. The research was published in the Psychological Science journal.
The results seem to suggest that the timing of teenagers’ first sexual experience can predict the stability and quality of future relationships. Though this can be explained by the possibility that people who are more likely to wait to have sex have other characteristics that are associated with healthy relationship, such as having secure attachment style personalities or are pickier in who they chose to date. However, researchers acknowledge that more studies are needed to really understand exactly what factors into the association between abstinence and satisfaction levels in adult romantic relationships.