More than half of women and two out of five men lose their innocence before they are ready, potentially affecting their well-being and health.
The team adds that the wrong focus is only on age, noting that research suggests desires, comparative pressure and contraception, can affect whether the first-sex experience is positive regardless of age.
Kaye Wellings, co-author of the London Hygiene and Tropical Medicine School study, said that having a legal age of consent was protective, it could also affect people feel they need to start having sex at the 16th. your virginity at this age.
"Paper is not a" scrap metal age, let them have sex 12 ". It is much more than a variability that you could actually be 17, 18, 19 and not ready, ”she said, although she added that about a third of the 15-year-olds seem ready.
Wellings said that biological age cannot be changed, one can teach principles that provide a good first-sex experience.
"The fact is that the first sexual intercourse is a very important event – only about 3% of people can't remember when it happened," she said. "If it turns into an unfortunate experience, it is manifested in the following experience and it is a shame for the young because it is an important part of life and their relationship."
In the BMJ Magazine for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Wellings and colleagues report on how they looked at more than 2,800 sexually active British responses aged 17-24 to address the issues they faced. heterosexual intercourse.
A quarter to a third of respondents said they were born at the age of 16 for the first time.
The team looked at four factors to determine if a participant was "sexually competent" – the term they say means "ready" – when they first had sex, the label was only used when they reported reliable contraception; were the same as sex as a partner; did not feel that they had no autonomy (eg peer pressure or alcohol); and thought it was "the right time."
The results show that almost 52% of women are 44% men and were not "ready" when they lost their innocence. However, although the proportion that was considered ready increased with age, the negative experience was frequent in all age groups: 36% of women and 40% of men who first had sexual intercourse aged 18 or older showed that ready.
In addition, more than one in six women reported an unequal desire to have sex – almost twice as many as the same men.
"Does their partner agree with what they say is something we don't know," said Melissa Palmer, the first author of the study and also from LSHTM. But she said the findings show that… the experience of men and women may not be the same. The authors note that "previous studies report that men generally provide more positive reviews of first sex because they are likely to be just happy about having sex and are likely to report pressure from their partner."
Although the team says it is good news that about 90% of participants reported reliable contraception, they say that more needs to be done in sexual education so that men and women can experience positive experiences for the first time.
Indeed, the study found that women, though not men, had less readiness for sex than friends. In addition, previous studies show that first sex issues are linked to poorer sexual health later in life.
However, there were limitations in the study, including that it was based on self-communication of human memories.
Kate Monro, author of Losing It, agreed that a first-sex understanding requires a more nuanced approach and said that complexity exceeds the four factors researchers consider.
"In 13 years when people listened to people, told me about my first sexual experience, I can tell you that the first sex rarely meets sex," she added, adding that for some it is an attempt to get someone who loves you, others about becoming an adult and others about losing the stigma of innocence.
Lucy Emmerson, Director of the Sexual Education Forum, warned that while relations and sexual education (RSE) will become a law in British schools from September 2020, there is a risk that it will fail.
"At present, 29% of those who teach RSE have not trained in this area, but the government has not given a penny to teachers," she said.