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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Research Suggests the “First Time” Really Matters

It seems the “first time” really does color your sex life for years to come, according to a study compiled by two researchers, one being the University of Mississippi’s own Carrie V. Smith.

Smith, an instructional assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, joined Matthew Shaffer of the University of Tennessee in surveying 331 young men and women about how they lost their virginity.

The results, which appeared in the study “Gone But Not Forgotten,” is one of the first to look at whether the first sexual experience has lasting consequences.

In an exclusive article for “MailOnline,” Smith said the circumstances of how someone loses their virginity “appears to have implications for their well-being years later.”

The Article from the DailyMail:

The first time really is important. The  quality of your first sexual experience colours your sex life for years to come,  researchers say.

Specifically, those who felt loved and  respected by their partner found later encounters more emotionally  satisfying.

The study, Gone But Not Forgotten, is one of  the first to look at whether the circumstances in which someone loses their  virginity have lasting consequences.

The U.S. researchers asked 331 young men and  women about how they lost their virginity, including whether they felt scared,  pressured, guilty or regretful.

They were also asked about how connected they  felt to their partner, including whether they felt respected and loved, and how  they felt afterwards.

The volunteers, who answered the  questions  anonymously, were then asked to fill in an online diary  detailing any sexual  experiences they had over the next fortnight.

They were also asked how they would rate  their sexual relationships overall.

In more than two-thirds of cases, the  volunteers said they were in a relationship when they lost their  virginity.

Analysis of their answers showed that those  who were most emotionally satisfied  the first time still found their sex lives  the most fulfilling. The same was true of physical satisfaction.

A better first time also tended to lead to  fewer feelings of  disappointment, the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy is  to report.

Researcher Carrie Smith, of the University of  Mississippi, said: ‘These results suggest that one’s first-time sexual  experience is more than just a milestone in development.

‘Rather, it appears to have implications for  their sexual well-being years later.’

Co-researcher Matthew Shaffer, of the  University of Tennessee, said that while the  study doesn’t prove that a better  first time makes for a better sex life in general, a person’s experience of  losing their virginity may set the pattern for years to come.

‘The happier the  experience initially, on the whole, the happier in future’ Sex  Academy author Dr Pam Spurr ‘In essence, first-time sexual experience may  create a general pattern of thought and behaviour that we use to  guide us in  new sexual experiences and a framework for our  understanding, perception or  interpretation of new information  concerning sexuality.’

Those taking part in the study were  relatively young but the researchers said it is ‘highly plausible’ that  the  same would be true decades later, with someone’s sex life in their  40s  reflecting their experiences in their teens.

Dr Pam Spurr, an agony aunt and author of Sex  Academy, said their theory rings true.

‘The happier the experience initially, on the  whole, the happier in future. It just kind of sets you up for good  experiences.

‘I also find that when people who had  first-time experiences they felt  unhappy about, perhaps they felt pressurised,  or too young, or felt used because they thought the person was in love with them  too but the  feeling wasn’t reciprocated, it sets a pattern for feeling they are  more likely to make bad choices in future.

‘Losing your virginity is such an important  aspect of our development as people, that if your first  time is poor, rather  than learning from it, a lot of people harbour the  negative feelings.’

Previous studies have concluded that most  people have sex for the first time between the ages of 15 and 17, with men  more  likely to enjoy the experience than women.

In one study, only  around a quarter of  females said they were ‘considerably’ or ‘extremely’ satisfied physically – the  response given by around two-thirds of the  men.

Men also found the experience more  psychologically satisfying, although the gap between the sexes was  smaller.

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