Friday, October 28, 2011

Brothers and Sisters

Jena Pincott asked, “Do Brothers Stall Their Sisters' Sex Lives?”

She asks the question because she give birth to a girl fifteen months ago and is afraid she’ll grow up too quickly.

The age at which a teenage girl starts to become sexually active depends a lot on her social environment -- peers, culture and so on. It especially depends on the family environment, according to a recent study by Australian behavioral ecologists Fritha Milne and Debra Judge. But here's the thing: family environment is not necessarily influential for the expected reasons, such as curfews and chastity pledges and other parentally-imposed restrictions.

The hidden influence is the younger sibling.

Milne and Judge recruited nearly 200 women and 76 men, all living in or around the city of Perth, Australia, and asked them questions about their family lives and sexual development. The results were that girls with younger brothers only (no sisters) lost their virginity an average of more than a year later (at age 18.3) than girls with younger sisters only. Girls with both younger brothers and sisters lost it nearly two years later on average (age 19.3) than girls with no younger siblings. Younger sisters alone had no impact.

The chastity effect only applied to girls with younger brothers. Having a big brother (or sister) didn't make a girl any less likely to hold onto her virginity.

Of course, I had to chuckle when I read the headline, given that I know of more than one woman whose first (and sometimes only, so far) sex partner has been her brother.

Anyone have any toughts or stories to tell?
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