Study finds worrying thing about girls who lose their virginity before the age of 17 5 years ago

Study finds worrying thing about girls who lose their virginity before the age of 17

A study presented at he 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA) has revealed a shocking disparity between the social reactions between girls losing their virginity before the age of 17 and of boys losing theirs before the same age.

The study tracked two cohorts of youth from 28 rural communities in Iowa and Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2007. Students were surveyed in five waves: in the autumn of sixth grade and in the Spring of sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. The study followed the students from the ages of 11-16.

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Derek A. Kreager is the lead author of the study and an associate professor of sociology and criminology at Pennsylvania State University.

The study deciphered the social reaction to sexual activity amongst peers. Researchers did this by asking participants to identify their best friends. To identify changes in peer acceptance, Kreager and his colleagues considered how many friendship nominations participants received in each wave.

The study found, in incidences where they reported having sex, girls experienced a 45 percent decrease in peer acceptance and boys experienced an 88 percent increase.

"In our sample of early adolescents, girls' friendship networks shrink significantly after they have sex, whereas boys' friendship networks expand significantly," said Kreager.

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Interestingly, incidences where the participant reported “making out” and not having sex, girls experienced a 25 percent increase in peer acceptance, while boys experienced a 29 percent decrease in peer acceptance.

"What really surprised us was that 'making out' showed a pattern consistent with a strong reverse sexual double standard, such that girls who 'make out' without having sex see significant increases in friendships, and boys who engage in the same behavior see significant decreases in friendships” said Kreager.

The researchers stated that they believe the results are consistent with gender norms and expectations.