We place an awful lot of importance on our first time.

We pick apart how old we were and how long we'd been with whomever we did the deed with. We have "the talk" with our mothers or fathers about waiting for someone who loves us. Some people sign pledges to hold off until marriage.

The advice and myths surrounding virginity are not always healthy, but a new study suggests that our first time could say a whole lot about our future sex lives.

Researchers at universities in Tennessee and Mississippi asked 331 college undergrads about their first time having sex, indicating factors like satisfaction, "sexual depression" and how intimate the encounter felt. They were then asked to keep a sex diary for two weeks, rating each sexual experience as they went.

The results showed that (surprise, surprise) a good first experience correlates with satisfying sex later on in life.

"These results suggest that one's first-time sexual experience is more than just a milestone in development," says the study's authors. "Rather, it appears to have implications for their sexual well-being years later."

However, that doesn't mean a terrible first time means your sex life is doomed to failure for the rest of your life. As any amateur statistician will tell you, correlation does not imply causation.

"While this study doesn't prove that a better first time makes for a better sex life in general, a person's experience of losing their virginity may set the pattern for years to come," study author Matthew Shaffer told The Atlantic.

Another reason to take this study with a big grain of salt? The age of the study's participants. As college undergrads, no one surveyed could have been getting it on for very long. The Atlantic points out that seven years is the longest anyone had been having sex at the time of the study.

For those of us past the messy years of post-secondary romps, there's still ample of time to have a satisfying sex life — and there's plenty to suggest that it only gets better with age. Last year, a study published in The American Journal of Medicine showed that sexual satisfaction increased for women as they aged.

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  • Talk About Sex

    As time passes in a relationship, it’s easy to get into a rut and just go through the motions, rather than express what you really want (and need) in bed. Sex therapist <a href="http://www.hwhpr.com/williamslucenablog/wordpress/?page_id=2">Williams Lucena</a>, FMD, says it’s time to break this cycle with some frank talk. “Ask each other, ‘What do I need in bed from you?’” he suggests. “Get back to the communication you used to have.”

  • Eat Healthy

    This doesn’t sound like a sex tip, but treating your body right with good nutrition helps the whole body, including your libido, says <a href="http://www.turnonyourinnerlight.com/page10.html">Debbie Mandel</a>, a stress management expert and author of Addicted to Stress. “Eat healthy foods to reduce cholesterol and keep your cardiovascular system humming,” she adds. “This will ensure that circulation is at peak performance for the ‘southern hemisphere.’”

  • Pick Up Some Chores

    Want to put your partner in the mood for better sex? “Help around the house,” says Mandel. “The best foreplay happens outside the bedroom. By helping with chores and errands, you make them feel valued.”

  • Exercise

    Few things will get you ready to satisfy women quite like getting in regular exercise each day, says Matthew N. Simmons, MD, PhD, of the <a href="http://my.clevelandclinic.org/urology/default.aspx">Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute in Cleveland</a>. “Even as little as 15 minutes of exercise daily will improve self-esteem, self-image, and libido,” he says. “Exercise makes the physical aspects of sex more enjoyable. Furthermore, making exercise a habit promotes cardiovascular health, which is necessary for normal <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/mens-health/erectile-dysfunction.aspx">erectile function</a>.”

  • But Don't Over Do It

    But don’t overdo it. Too much exercise can have the opposite effect, says Pete McCall, MS, an exercise physiologist with the <a href="http://www.acefitness.org/">American Council on Exercise</a>. “Being in an overtraining state produces general feelings of fatigue and low energy and can disrupt sleep patterns and change mood,” he says. “This is hardly a good combination for wooing a romantic partner.”

  • In Fact, Work Out Together

    If exercise is good, then exercising with your lover is an even better sex tip, says Mandel. “Working out together ensures that both libidos and endorphins will be up,” she says. “Since you’re both already sweating, take it to the next level. Stretching together is also a good idea.”

  • Abstain A Bit

    Abstinence as a sex tip? Believe it or not, it’s a surefire way to improve sex and make your next encounter with your lover even more exciting. “Practice abstinence for a couple of days, a weekend, or a week,” says Mandel. “Abstinence does make the heart grow fonder and makes you lust after forbidden fruit.”

  • Plan For Sex

    It may not sound that romantic, but Dr. Simmons says it’s a great way to improve your sex life and satisfy women. Construct a plan for having sex, he suggests: “Setting aside time or arranging opportunities for sex is very important, especially for busy couples or those with children. Don’t let the frequency of sex dwindle due to fatigue or the inability to find the ‘right time.’”

  • Send Your Partner A Text

    Make use of technology. Want to keep her in the mood for sex later that night while you’re stuck at the office? Use your cell phone or e-mail. “Send her sexy messages throughout the day,” advises Mandel.

  • Compliment Her

    Want a foolproof way to drive her wild and ensure better sex? “Find a particular feature, and tell her that she is the best in this class,” says Mandel.

  • Focus On Relaxation

    Men like to get excited for better sex, but women are more likely to get in the mood through relaxation. “Wash her hair in the shower or massage her scalp to relax her,” says Debbie Mandel, a stress management expert and author of Addicted to Stress. “A woman needs to be relaxed before she is ready to receive.”

  • Foreplay

    Regardless of how you get revved up for better sex, Matthew N. Simmons, MD, PhD, of the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute in Cleveland, suggests not skimping on the foreplay — no matter how long you have been together as a couple. “Foreplay contributes greatly to stronger orgasms and improved sex,” he says. “Gearing up your autonomic nervous system will increase sensitivity, excitement, and strength of orgasm. Your patience and attentiveness will pay dividends.”

  • Think Like Your Partner

    Natalie Bencivenga, co-founder, editor, and writer of <a href="http://twodaymag.com/">twodaymag.com</a>, advises thinking like a woman. “To think like a woman in bed, you don’t have to be one,” she says. “Give attention to some of her most neglected areas, like her neck, her feet, her inner thighs. Tease her mercilessly. Make her want it. You will be surprised what a build-up will bring!”

  • Let Them Take The Lead

    Men so often take the lead in bed. Sometimes, the key to better sex is letting her be in charge. “Don’t be afraid to let your mate lead,” says Joyce Morley, EdD, a licensed counsellor in Decatur, Ga. “Allow your mate to initiate sexual pleasure on occasions, as well as taking the top position.”

  • Don't Overlook Lubricant

    According to Bencivenga, there’s no shame in using lubricant to satisfy women. “Many guys think that since women get wet, if we aren’t wet, then we aren’t into it,” she says. “That’s not true. Sometimes, whether it’s stress, certain times of the month, or fatigue, women can have a hard time getting physically aroused even when they are mentally in the game. Lubricant in the bedside drawer is your new best friend.”

  • Switch It Up

    If you’re experiencing a case of the “same-old, same-old,” working on adding a little variety is the key to better sex, says Simmons. “Spice things up by planning and discussing variations on your usual sexual habits,” he explains. “Lingerie, toys, new positions, and other creative additions can enhance intimacy and orgasm.”

  • Change Locations

    Another way to add variety and improve sex life, suggests Mandel, is to try some place new. “Do it in different places to experience a different energy,” she says. “Take it outdoors if you are overwhelmed with technology and want to get back your natural rhythm.”

  • Just Don't Have Sex, Make Love

    Does it feel lately like it’s just sex? “Try making love,” advises Dr. Morley. “You make love with that special someone, but you have sex with anybody.”

  • Use Touch Even Without Sex

    Even when you’re not having sex, you can still improve your sex life by using touch in an intimate, but not sexual, way. “Touching is important, but doesn't always mean sex,” says Morley. “It is important to be intimate with your mate by touching her with love and affection on a daily basis. Kiss daily, and don’t be afraid to allow her to reciprocate.”

  • Take Care Of Your Penis

    “Take good care of your penis,” says Dr. Simmons. “Penile injury is usually sustained when your partner is on top or when the penis buckles from missed penetration. If things are getting out of hand, ask your partner to ease up. If you suspect a penile fracture due to a perceived ‘pop’ followed by bruising, see a urologist immediately.”