Turns out true love might be worth the wait.
At least these are the findings in a new study by psychological scientist Paige Harden of the University of Texas at Austin. The study found that the later a person first had sexual intercourse not only corresponded with a higher education level and household income, but also found they were less likely to be dissatisfied with their relationships in adulthood.
However, the study also found that these latecomers were also less likely to be married and have fewer romantic relationships.
The report used data from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health that followed 1659 sibling pairs who were followed from the age of 16 to young adulthood (roughly around 29). But the study had a particular method of categorizing ages and sexual experience: "Early" sexual intercourse was younger than the age of 15, so called "on-time" was 15 to 19 and "later" was over 19.
Now of course, this is not to imply that you must be married to be in love or that there is a correct age to have sex. Sex educator Sari Locker says if you are wondering about the "right time," there are guidelines to consider with your partner, according to Match.com.
Locker notes a variety of ways to tell you're ready, including the point at which the kissing gets really good and you feel comfortable naked in front of your partner.
The study also claims that the timing of one's first sexual encounter can predict the stability of their relationships under 30. People who have sex at a later age could be pickier in choosing romantic and sexual partners, which may explain why they're reluctant to enter a relationship in the first place. But another study from the Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults found young people are optimistic about their love lives, showing that people between the ages of 18 and 29 expected their marriages to last a life time.
And to that end, if you fall into one of these so-called "early" categories, it's not all bad news. In previous studies, Harden found that teenage couples who've had sex younger than 15 had lower levels of "delinquent behaviour problems."
"We are just beginning to understand how adolescents' sexual experiences can influence their future development and relationships," Harden said in a press release.
What do you think? Do our first sexual encounters really affect the future of our love lives? Let us know in the comments below:
ALSO: Dating coach Christine Hart's eight dating rules that don't suck:
BY THE NUMBERS: According to the survey, 63 per cent of women have asked men out on the first date. SHOULD YOU? Dating coach Christine Hart says about 10 years ago, this would never be the case but these days women shouldn't be afraid to make the first move. "We have found a middle ground. If you're asking a man out in a confident and direct way, men are becoming more open to it."
BY THE NUMBERS: According to the survey, 85 per cent of women have dated someone outside of their political beliefs.SHOULD YOU? To keep conversations interesting, why wouldn't you? Hart says if you are dating someone who has different political values, make sure you communicate your values within the first few dates. "If you can focus more on where you agree, you could find yourself having the same moral values and ethics." Also, avoid anyone who doesn't respect your beliefs.
BY THE NUMBERS: According to the survey, 70 per cent of Canadians have gone on two or more dates in the last year.SHOULD YOU? "I think this is a great average," Hart says. If you're looking to get back into the dating scene, Hart says coffee dates are easy ways to get back into the game -- don't wait around for a year for dates to happen.
BY THE NUMBERS: According to the survey, 44 per cent of Canadians wait until the second date to lock lips.SHOULD YOU? "If there is any kissing on the first date, it should be on the cheek," Hart says. Locking lips on the second date is fine -- often couples find themselves short on time during their first date, which leads to awkwardness during a goodbye kiss at the end of the night, Hart says.
BY THE NUMBERS: According to the survey, 89 per cent of Canadians admitted to telling someone else about their dates.SHOULD YOU? Make sure you have a few close friends you're willing to share secrets with -- a best friend or a family member for example. "You don't want to go to work and tell five people about your date, you're going to get a mix of opinions that can confuse you," Hart says.
BY THE NUMBERS: According to the survey, 66 per cent of Canadians believe in love at first sight.SHOULD YOU? Well, this one is tricky. Some people do and some people don't Hart says, but more importantly, never let a bad date get you down. "Don't worry if it isn't love at first sight, sometimes you need at least four dates until you to know someone," she says.
BY THE NUMBERS: According to the survey, 31 per cent of Canadians would move in with their partners after less than one year of dating.SHOULD YOU? "This is a nice low number. I think you need to know somebody through four seasons before you start sharing places," Hart says.
BY THE NUMBERS: According to the survey, 12 per cent of Canadian women say they would never pay for the bill.SHOULD YOU? Never pay? You want to be in a relationship right? Even if you want your partner to pay for the first date, Hart says being in a partnership is communicating to one another -- and offering to pay for a meal or plan a date is always a nice gesture.