Taking advantage of a large-scale study in which 14- to 17-year-old adolescent women completed 84 successive days of brief surveys (i.e., “daily diaries”), researchers identified 41 women who reported having sex for the first time during the diary period. The research team assessed how women felt on the day prior to, the day of, and the day after having sexual intercourse for the first time. The women reported greater sexual interest the day just prior to their first intercourse (and on the day of), relative to the day after having sex for the first time, and they reported similarly higher levels of sexual interest on subsequent days on which they had sex (as did their more sexually experienced counterparts in the larger sample). This may seem obvious, but young heterosexual women are often characterized as having sex because their partners wanted to do the deed; turns out young women can and do engage in sex for the first time for their own reasons. Further, in addition to feeling greater sexual interest, the women also reported greater “partner support” (e.g., “He made me feel loved”) the day of first coitus (and the day after) relative to the day prior, providing some evidence that first time experiences generally occurred in a positive context.
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Tanner, A. E., Hensel, D. J., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2010). A prospective study of the sexual, emotional, and behavioral correlates associated with young women’s first and usual coital events. Journal of Adolescent Health, 47, 20-25.
Dr. Tim Loving – Science of Relationships articles | Website/CV
Dr. Loving’s research addresses the mental and physical health impact of relationship transitions (e.g., falling in love, breaking up) and the role friends and family serve as we adapt to these transitions. He’s a former Associate Editor of Personal Relationships and his research has been funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.