Worried about your teenaged son or daughter becoming a delinquent? Get them into someone's pants, quick.
A new study from the University of Texas says sex is the secret to solving delinquency. But before you get all riled up, understand that it's "romantic" sex they're talking about, not a bunch of random hookups.
"Sexually active teens in committed, romantic relationships are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior than teens who have casual sex," the study says.
Wait a second. In either scenario, teens are having sex! We thought Rick Perry was preaching abstinence!! Are you trying to tell us kids aren't listening?
Okay, you have to assume -- just for the sake of argument -- that there are possibly some kids who disagree with Perry on the wonders of abstinence. Given that, UT psychologists say, it's much better if you're doing it with someone you love/like/tolerate because you're getting laid than if you just go gallivantin' about.
The results "may suggest that teens who spend more one-on-one time with their boyfriends or girlfriends, and less time with their friends, have fewer opportunities to get into trouble," UT says.
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"It can be difficult for researchers to understand how dating experiences in adolescence influence behavior because there can be pre-existing differences between teenagers who date versus those who don't," one of the authors of the study, with the slightly suggestive name of Paige Harden, says.
So the study looked at 519 same-sex twins from across the country and quizzed them on their sex and delinquency habits.
Among teens aged 13-15, "Genes related to impulsivity, extroversion and early puberty may influence young adolescents to have sex in non-dating relationships. These same genes may also put them at risk for adverse psychological outcomes," the study found.
Update: Our sister paper LA Weekly's sex blog LA After Dark has more analysis on the study.