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Your "First Time" Could Shape Your Sexual Satisfaction for Life

Update Date: Jan 29, 2013 01:24 PM EST

A person's "first time" having sex could set the tone for the rest of their sexual encounters to come, a new study has revealed.

It's generally assumed that the sexual experience a person has when they lose their virginity is not all that they thought it would be. Instead of bliss and pleasure, the "first time" is usually stressful and confusing.  And to put even more pressure the situation, a new study has revealed that a person's first sexual encounter affects the sex they will have for the rest of their life.

The latest study, published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, found that the way a person feels about the time they lost their virginity could affect their attitude toward sex for the rest of their lives.

Lead researcher Matthew Shaffer, a doctoral psychology student at the University of Tennessee says that a person's first time is often viewed by society as "an important milestone in human development" and represents a "transition to adulthood".

However, Shaffer said that there has not been much research on how a person's first time could influence the rest of their lives.

"We wanted to see the influence it may have related to emotional and physical development," Shaffer explained in a news release.

In the new study, Shaffer and his team looked at how first-time sexual satisfaction affects long-term sexual function and how first-time physical and emotional responses impact long-term sexual experiences.

Researchers asked 331 undergraduates, 206 women and 113 men, to discuss the time when they lost their virginity.  Study participants were asked to rank their first time in terms of regret, anxiety and contentment. Participants were also asked to discuss their sex lives, ranking their personal sense of control, satisfaction and general well-being. Afterwards, researchers asked participants to keep a diary for two weeks that detailed each of their sexual interactions.

The study revealed that positive first-time experiences significantly predicted physical and emotional satisfaction in later sexual interactions. However, participants who reported higher levels of anxiety and negativity with the way they lost their virginity reported lower overall sexual functioning.

"These results suggest that one's first-time sexual experience is more than just a milestone in development," the authors wrote in the study. "Rather, it appears to have implications for their sexual well-being years later."

"While this 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," Shaffer noted.

Researchers say that the findings suggest that a person's first sexual experience may create a general pattern of thought and behavior that sets the tone for future sexual experiences and understanding of information regarding sexuality. 

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