Staying involved in kids’ lives helps them think critically and make good decisions as they get closer to adulthood. A new study suggests that young people who are closer to their parents during adolescence are more likely to delay sex.
Researchers in the Netherlands collected and analyzed data from almost 3,000 young people ages 12 to 16 at two separate intervals, first in 2008-2009 and again in 2010-2011. That data included information about the participants’ sexual behavior and familial relationships.
They found that girls who had better relationships with their mothers were less likely to report sexual activity between the first and second waves of the study.
However, the same did not hold true for boys, and relationships with fathers did not have any significant effect on when teens in this study had sex.
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Delaying sex until later in the teenage years can help prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy because there is no risk in the years before a young person has sex. Older teens are also more likely to use condoms and contraception when they do become sexually active.
This study does not explain why those with good parental relationships are less likely to have sex early. One explanation could have to do with parental monitoring; parents who know where their kids are and what they are doing have more control over their behavior.
Previous research has shown that Dutch parents and U.S. parents have very different attitudes about sexuality, with the Dutch being more likely to discuss sexuality with their children. Therefore, it is unclear whether research in the United States would find the same results, but other studies here have found that parent-child communication about sex has positive results.
Nice Guys Finish First—Or at Least More Often
Canadian researchers Steven Arnocky and Pat Barclay conducted a two-part study to determine the role altruism plays in our choice of sexual partners and our overall own sex lives.
In their first study, they surveyed undergraduate heterosexual men and women asking about their altruistic behavior such as donating blood, their sexual behaviors, and their general personalities. Young people who scored higher on the altruism scale reported that they were more desirable to the opposite sex and that they had more sexual partners, including more casual sex partners. In terms of number of partners, altruism mattered more for men than for women, suggesting that more women than men find altruism a desirable trait in a mate.
Arnocky and Barclay found these results interesting but recognized that participants could have exaggerated their altruism or their sex lives. So, for the second study, they chose a more concrete way to measure altruism. They told participants that at the end of the study—which once again asked them to answer questions about their sexual history, their personality, and their perception of their own desirability—they would be entered in a raffle to win $100. They then offered participants the opportunity to donate their potential winnings to charity. They found that those who said they would donate their money reported having more lifetime sex partners, more casual sex partners, and more sex partners within the last year.
Philosophers, like Friedrich Nietzsche, have been arguing for centuries that there is no such thing as true altruism since doing good often rewards the do-gooder in concrete or intangible ways including winning praise or even just an increased sense of self-worth. As the daughter of a philosopher, I’ve always found this to be one of the more pointless debates: Who cares why we do good deeds so long as we do them? And now that we know altruists may get sexual rewards, perhaps we will see an uptick in good deeds.
Gamers May Be Having More Sex Than the Rest of Us
Stereotypes of gamers may have them sitting alone in dark basements, eating Doritos, and wearing the same concert T-shirt for weeks at a time. But a new survey pushes us to rethink these images. UNILAD—an England-based website for millennials that covers fashion, food, sports, technology, and gaming—surveyed 2,400 women older than 18 and asked them to classify their male partners as a hipster, gamer, rocker, gym goer, nerd, trendsetter, or other category (including “chav,” which may not have an easy U.S. equivalent).
Only 7 percent of women categorized their partner as a gamer but those who did had good things to say.
First, it turns out gamers are having more sex than many other men. Their partners reported intercourse six times a week compared to four times per week for hipsters and chavs. Also important, 59 percent of gamers’ partners said her man put her needs before his own. That’s compared with just 19 percent of those who had trendsetters as partners.
So, the next time someone invites you over to check out their Nintendo 64, it might be wise to say yes.