Reproduction in Early Adulthood

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  • 0:02 Early Adulthood
  • 0:45 Sex & Reproduction
  • 2:46 Fertility
  • 4:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

In their twenties and thirties, many people have children. However, it doesn't always go smoothly. In this lesson, we will explore sex and reproduction in early adulthood, including changes in sex drives and reproductive issues, like infertility.

Early Adulthood

Kate and her husband Damien have been married for six years. They met in college and have always had a great sex life. But recently, things are starting to change. They both turned 30 last year, and now they are focused on having a baby. Suddenly, sex is no longer just a way to show that they love each other. Now, it's about making a baby.

Kate and Damien are in early adulthood, or the time of life between adolescence and middle age. Generally, this means between ages 20 and 40. During early adulthood, many people have children. Let's take a closer look at sex and reproduction in early adulthood, including issues with fertility.

Sex and Reproduction

Kate and Damien, like many people their age, have always been very good at expressing their love for each other in physical ways. Whenever Damien is around, Kate feels a zing of sexual attraction. This is changing somewhat; Kate has noticed that, occasionally, she and Damien will fall into a pattern where they don't have sex for a while. But overall, they still have an active and healthy sex life.

The sexual reproductive system is at its strongest during emerging adulthood. This means that most people are most sexually active and best able to have children during this time. Young adults have a strong sex drive. Like Kate and Damien, things slowly begin to change. As people age, their sex drive lowers. This doesn't happen all at once. Remember that Kate and Damien still have an active sex life, but sometimes they go for a while without sex. This is a normal part of aging and is nothing to worry about.

Older adults, too, can have happy and healthy sex lives, but in general, younger adults have stronger sex drives. There's a biological reason for this. Early adulthood, particularly, the time in a person's twenties, is the best time to have a baby. At that point, fertility is at its highest point and miscarriage is less common than later in life.

Because the body is primed to have babies at this point, nature doesn't want people, like Kate and Damien, to miss out on the opportunity. As such, nature makes sure that their sex drives are high when their best opportunity to have babies is also high, that is, in early adulthood.

How does nature do that? The hormone testosterone is linked to a person's sex drive. The more testosterone a person has, the higher their sex drive is. Testosterone is at its highest in both men and women in their twenties. Again, this is nature's way of guiding people to have babies early in adulthood.


Why does it matter if people have babies early in adulthood or not? Fertility, or the capacity to produce offspring, is at its highest in a person's teens and twenties. After 30, fertility issues become more and more common.

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