Teen Girls Who Are Close to Their Moms May Wait Longer to Have Sex, a New Study Found

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Girls who are close to their moms may wait to have sex. Photo: Tom Merton/Getty Images

Research has previously suggested that parental relationships can affect the age at which an adolescent engages in sexual behavior. Now, a new study adds credence to that theory, finding that teenage girls who are close with their mothers tend to wait longer to have sex.

A team of Dutch scientists surveyed nearly 3,000 boys and girls about their sex lives and their relationships with both parents at ages 12 and 16, Reuters reports. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that girls who have high-quality relationships with their mothers were 44 percent less likely to lose their virginity during the study period. Adolescents who wait until their late teens to have sex are much more likely to use contraception, which decreases the risk of unintended pregnancy.

It’s no surprise that the current study’s findings suggest that girls who are close with their mothers may wait longer to engage in sex. A positive relationship between mother and daughter suggests that the two likely engage in open and honest communication, which could lead to constructive discussions about sex. Unfortunately, a 2012 Planned Parenthood study found that half of all teens feel uncomfortable talking to their parents about sex, which means they could be missing out on valuable advice about contraception as a result.

The study authors noted that because the study is observational, the results don’t definitively prove that such a close relationship leads to waiting a bit longer to have sex. Yet, Lucia O’Sullivan, a researcher at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, who wasn’t involved in the study, told Reuters that these children may also be more supervised by the parents they feel close to, or more encouraged to pursue educational or occupational goals, which could also account for them waiting longer.

Teen Girls Who Are Close to Their Moms May Wait to Have Sex