The age at which you lose your virginity may be partially determined by your DNA.
According to The Guardian, a new study conducted at the University of Cambridge found several genetic variants that influence when you first have sex and go through puberty, as well how many children you might have.
Researchers studied the genes of more than 125,000 men and women ages 40 to 69 who were enrolled in the UK Biobank project.
They discovered DNA variants that appear to be 25 percent responsible for the age when you first have sex. The other 75 percent is made up of environmental factors such as religious beliefs, family background and peer pressure.
Some of these genetic variants were involved in the release of sex hormones, which affects the age in which puberty begins. A variant of the gene CADM2 was found to be associated with a risk-taking personality, having a larger than average amount of children and losing virginity at an early age, The Telegraph reports.
People who lost their virginities later than average, on the other hand, were found to possess variants of the gene MSRA, which is associated with irritability.
John Perry, a senior investigator scientist at the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, reportedly said,
While social and cultural factors are clearly relevant, we show that age at first sexual intercourse is also influenced by genes which act on the timing of childhood physical maturity and by genes which contribute to our natural differences in personality types.
Another genetic variant in women suggested an association between red hair, freckles and losing virginity later than average.
The roles of these genetic variants were confirmed when the Cambridge team examined the DNA of 250,000 men and women from Iceland and the US.
The team hopes its findings can help identify candidates with these genetic variants and prevent them from experiencing the harmful side effects associated with something like early puberty, which has previously been linked to poor educational performance and other negative outcomes.
This study was originally published in the journal Nature Genetics.