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Once a student has sex, it becomes less of an issue in future relationships.

," but don't hold its too-cute title against it—looked at how and when high-school students choose mates and their preferences when searching for a partner.

—interested in sex, whereas girls, no matter how boy-crazy, tend to focus on relationships.

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Other students dated infrequently in middle school but increased the frequency of dating in high school.

We also saw a large number of students who reported dating since sixth grade." Of the early daters, a large portion of the study group-38 percent-reported dating at almost all measurement points throughout the study.

Economists Peter Arcidiacono and Marjorie Mc Elroy of Duke and Andrew Beauchamp of Boston College examined an enormous trove of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, more commonly known as The poll asked a broad range of questions about health and behavior—and the data set has become the basis of dozens of famed medical, sociological, and economic studies.

(For instance, James Fowler of UC-San Diego recently used data from Add Health be a genetic foundation for an individual's political beliefs.) For their paper, Arcidiacono, Mc Elroy, and Beauchamp focused on the dating and sex lives of high schoolers—a subject much-analyzed by magazine editors and romantic-comedy screenwriters, but less familiar to social scientists.

In high-school terms, that means math nerds date math nerds, though members of the debate team may also qualify.) he or she seeks in a partner as well as what he or she ends up getting.

The idea is that men and women—jocks and dorks, freshman and seniors—base their search not only on the characteristics of their chosen partner, but also the expected terms of the relationship.Their teachers completed questionnaires about the students' academic efforts.The Healthy Teens Longitudinal Study included schools from six school districts in northeast Georgia.(Humans tend to partner with mates that look and act like them.In real terms, that means couples with the same socioeconomic, racial, and religious background are common."In our study, we found four distinct trajectories," Orpinas said.

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