When you have an older sibling, you have a permanent (and sometimes annoying) person to look up to, even if you didn't consider them a role model when you were younger. Even if you're too embarrassed to ask them questions about your body or dating, you still have someone who paves the way — and at least have an idea of what awkward things are going to happen when you grow older. One of those things? Sex. While some siblings may not even discuss it like they would with their besties, just thinking that their older sibling has had sex can have a huge influence on their sex lives.
A new study published in Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics evaluated how older siblings affect their younger siblings. The researchers divided the participants, ages 12-18, into three groups: those who thought their sibling was having sex, those who did not think their sibling was having sex and those who did not have a sibling.
The study found that those who think their older sibling is not sexually active are more conservative in their own sexual attitude and behaviors. Those who believe their sibling is sexually active are more likely to be more sexually active.
Looking back at my friends in high school, I can totally see the correlation — even with friends who weren't close with their older siblings then. I wonder how older siblings affect other things, like dating behavior or alcohol consumption.
But researchers say that kids may exaggerate sexual behavior. Study author Brandon Almy explained:
“Since we were working with adolescents, who knows how the cross-section was made. We don’t know how accurate our results are because some siblings are super close, discussing in the dark, whereas some are feeding their younger siblings information as a scare tactic.”
Regardless of the type of the relationship, I think this just goes to show our siblings have a huge impact on our lives.
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