Researchers have devoted much attention both to the analysis of the first sexual experience and to how the couple was established, but little is still known about age differences of partners at their first sexual relationship. The availability of two highly comparable waves of a survey on the sexual behavior of college students in Italy (SELFY—Sexual and Emotional LiFe of Youth) carried out in 2000 and 2017 allowed us to study the predictors of age differences between partners at first sex, filling the existing gap on recent research. Results of multivariate analyses show important gender differences on mate selection: women tend to choose an older partner for having their first sexual experience and are less likely as men to be involved in age discordant first sex relationships with a younger partner. Age gaps between partners also influence age at sexual debut, which tends to occur earlier in a relationship with an older partner and later if having first sex with a younger partner. Another important predictor of the age gap is the type of relationship that linked the respondent to its partner at first sex. Our estimations indicate a lower likelihood of having had an older first sex partner for students who had their first sexual experience with the own boy/girl-friend or with a friend compared to those who have had it with a stranger. Finally, we have found a higher likelihood of first sex relationships among same-age partners relative to older partners through SELFY waves and small changes on variables influencing such relationships.

The “dating game”: age differences at first sex of college students in Italy

Maria Carella
;
Thaís García-Pereiro;Roberta Pace;Anna Paterno
2020-01-01

Abstract

Researchers have devoted much attention both to the analysis of the first sexual experience and to how the couple was established, but little is still known about age differences of partners at their first sexual relationship. The availability of two highly comparable waves of a survey on the sexual behavior of college students in Italy (SELFY—Sexual and Emotional LiFe of Youth) carried out in 2000 and 2017 allowed us to study the predictors of age differences between partners at first sex, filling the existing gap on recent research. Results of multivariate analyses show important gender differences on mate selection: women tend to choose an older partner for having their first sexual experience and are less likely as men to be involved in age discordant first sex relationships with a younger partner. Age gaps between partners also influence age at sexual debut, which tends to occur earlier in a relationship with an older partner and later if having first sex with a younger partner. Another important predictor of the age gap is the type of relationship that linked the respondent to its partner at first sex. Our estimations indicate a lower likelihood of having had an older first sex partner for students who had their first sexual experience with the own boy/girl-friend or with a friend compared to those who have had it with a stranger. Finally, we have found a higher likelihood of first sex relationships among same-age partners relative to older partners through SELFY waves and small changes on variables influencing such relationships.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/310656
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