Your DNA controls everything about you – your eye color, if mustard make you gassy, if you’ll slowly start balding at 35, that sort of thing. Now, we also know that your DNA influences your sex life.
In a new study published in the scientific journal Nature Genetics, a team of researchers analyzed the genetic profiles of over 400,000 people, and found that there are specific genes that influence the age at which you lose your virginity. The study found that of the 20,000-25,000 protein-coding genes in the human body, 38 influence the age you first decide to have sex.
Apparently, people who possess a genetic predisposition for risk-taking tend to have sex at a relatively earlier age. According to the study, one of the most telling genes is the protein CADM2, which is "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." So that cuckoo-crazy kid from your neighborhood who was always in and out of the ER for jumping off things? He probably swiped his V-card before everyone else.
Through statistical analysis, the study also revealed that people who hit puberty earlier in life tend to have sex at an earlier age, but at a cost. "Puberty timing and age at first sexual intercourse appear to be adverse for diabetes, heart disease, and a number of cancers, particularly reproductive hormone cancers,” says study coauthor Ken Ong, meaning that going through puberty at a younger age, and having sex at a younger age is kind of bad for you. Late bloomers, rejoice!
However convincing, this study only looks at the biological side of things and doesn’t count social and environmental factors, like the age at which your high school buddies told you that “doing the sex” behind the bleachers was cool and if you believed them or not. Scientist Mary Hediger, who's researched adolescents at the NIH for 35 years, argues that social, economic, and cultural factors can’t be overlooked. “You don’t want to give the impression that you’re doomed, your biology dooms you," she says.
Like any scientific research, it's wise to take the findings with a grain of salt, because it's not always 100% accurate. But no matter if you were an awkward 16- year-old or a burly 20-something when you first had sex, what's important is that you did it. Congratulations.