Genes Predict Sexual Awakening
As science digs deeper into the specifics of the human genome, some startling discoveries are being uncovered. One that certainly falls into that category is a study published this week in Nature Genetics which describes genes that predict sexual milestones.
We are evolving all the time. In 1880, a female’s first period tended to occur around age 18. By the 1980s the age had dropped to 12.5.
Now a study team at the Medical Research Council's Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. has used genetic data from more than 380,000 people to further investigate the genetic variants involved in the timing of puberty.
The aim was to understand whether the genes that promote the early onset of periods have an impact on the age of first sexual intercourse, age at first birth, number of children and other life success-related parameters.
The team uncovered 38 gene variants that were connected to the age of first intercourse. Many are already known to play roles in brain development and neural connections. One gene of note -- CADM2 – has been linked with a greater likelihood of having a risk-taking personality, often resulting in an earlier age at first sexual intercourse and higher lifetime number of children.
Generally, these sexual milestones have been considered to be influenced mostly by peer and parent relationships, low parental monitoring, a lack of religious belief or a host of other social and cultural parameters.
This research indicates that genes could also have an influence. Genes may well influence sexual conduct by influencing physical traits, such as puberty timing -- or personality characteristics, such as risk-taking propensity.