Did you lose your virginity in high school while other friends seemed to wait forever? Were you one of those who didn’t feel the need to rush?
While peer pressure, religious beliefs, family factors and community environment can all play a role in what age a person decides to first have sex, researchers have located a group of genes that seem to affect our decisions, too.
A study published this week in Nature Genetics outlined the details.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge analyzed the genetic data of 59,357 men and 66,310 women between the ages of 40 and 69 years old and found that 38 gene variants are associated with the age a person first has sex.
According to an article put out by the University of Cambridge, several of the gene variants are located in or close to genes that have been found to affect brain development and neural connections.
The 38 genes are said to be associated with a range of reproductive behaviors, including how old a person will be when they have their first child and the number of children they’ll eventually produce.
Nothing is set in stone, but it looks like the forces of nature do have a bit of a plan for us, that we might not be aware of.
“One example is a genetic variant in CADM2, a gene that controls brain cell connections and brain activity,” said Dr. John Perry, a senior investigator scientist at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, and a lead author of the paper to cam.ac.uk. “We found (it) was associated with a greater likelihood of having a risk-taking personality, and with an earlier age at first sexual intercourse and higher lifetime number of children.”
The research team has said they hope their findings can help produce more targeted and effective approaches to promoting healthy behaviors in young people, by taking into account the age someone hits puberty and their personality type.