Timing of Sexual Initiation and Relationship Outcomes in Adulthood

Giuseppina Valle, Florida State University
Kathryn H. Tillman, Florida State University

Previous research has given little attention to the timing of sexual initiation and its implications for relationship experiences during adulthood. Using Waves I and IV of Add Health, this paper investigates the timing of first vaginal and oral sex and their effects on union engagement and relationship quality among young adults. Results indicate that, among both men and women, delaying the initiation of vaginal sex until later ages is associated with lower levels of relationship conflict, but remaining an adult vaginal virgin is associated with higher levels of relationship dissatisfaction. Being an oral virgin during adulthood, on the other hand, is associated with higher relationship quality for women and oral sex initiation is not significantly associated with relationship quality for men. While timing of sexual initiation is associated with union formation behaviors for both women and men, the effects are more pronounced for vaginal sex initiation than oral sex initiation.

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Presented in Poster Session 6