According to a new study from Cambridge University, the age at which people lose their virginity may be determined by their genes.
Gene differences that have an impact on the age at which one hits puberty, gives birth for the first time, and loses their virginity, have been identified in the study. The study involved more than 380,000 people.
Losing one’s virginity is largely based on several social factors, including family history and peer pressure, the Independent noted. But Dr. John Perry, a geneticist at the University of Cambridge who was the senior author of the paper published in Nature Genetics on Monday, stated “that age at first sexual intercourse is also influenced by genes.”
One’s DNA, Perry said, has a much larger role than what was previously believed. Genes play as much as 25 percent role between a person who has sex for the first time when they’re 15, and another who loses their virginity at 20.
“It’s one of those things that people think is completely choice,” Perry said. “Sure, choice has a massive role in this, but there are biological and genetic factors, too.”
Genetic records of 59,357 men and 66,310 women aged between 40 and 69 years were assessed. The findings were recorded in UK Biobank. Thirty eight variants were identified that can be linked to the age at which one has sexual intercourse for the first time, TheWeek.com noted.
Those who hit puberty faster lose their virginity earlier. It is principally because their hormones are active, and their mature looks are more attractive to their partners. The results of the study could help agencies create better public health policies and also understand why some growing up in the same circumstances lost their virginity years apart.
Nancy Segal, a developmental psychologist at California State University, said, “You could send a whole junior high class to the same sexual education class but you’re going to get different outcomes.”
In the 1950s, the average age of a heterosexual Briton regardless of the gender was recorded to be 21, according to Family Planning Association. However, the same number stands currently at 16. Meanwhile, the international average is 17.3.