Have you ever considered the impact that your birth order position has on your personality? Research shows that the place where we fall in the family pool plays a critical role in shaping the way we think and act — not only through childhood, but our entire adult life. Birth order has strong influence on romantic relationships, too. It can affect the number of sexual partners we end up having, our sexual desires (or lack thereof), our ability to remain faithful, and even our decisions regarding when to start a family.
In fact, birth order can help pinpoint how each person's needs and personalities may differ, gel or clash within a romantic (as well as non-romantic) relationship. For example, firstborns are normally more authoritative, responsible and rules-based; while the baby of the family prefers to take risks and may have a more rebellious nature.
Whether you're the eldest, the youngest, the middle child or the only child, your birth order is defined by a certain set of characteristics. These traits are not necessarily applicable to everyone under the sun, but research shows some pretty fascinating patterns between birth order and the way we think and behave.
Here are a few interesting tidbits about how birth order may affect how we approach relationships, love and sex.
1. Firstborns / first-born children:
They're more likely to be doms?
According to human behavior and parenting expert Dr. Gail Gross, first borns are over-responsible, reliable, well-behaved and careful: essentially, "smaller versions of their own parents."
Because firstborns are often given more responsibility at home (like babysitting younger brothers and sisters, helping with chores etc.), they can be quick to take charge. As a result, they become something of a mini-parent, with a tendency to dominate their siblings.
Many firstborns want to be Queen (or King) Bee. Psychologist Dr. Kevin Lemin says they may "develop badger-like qualities and will scratch, claw, and bite to get what they want." This aggressive nature, which can help firstborns to succeed professionally, also tends to work against them in their close personal relationships.
(While no studies seem to exist that link firstborns to sexual dominance, one may surmise that they would slide quite easily into that type of role!)
They have more sexual partners than their siblings
A 2001 study from Florida Atlantic University shows that firstborns reported having significantly more past sexual partners than any siblings born after them (also known as "laterborns"), based on different time intervals. However, that same study shows that firstborns did not desire significantly more sex partners than laterborns at any of the future time intervals.
They want to have kids younger
The 2001 Florida Atlantic University study also showed that firstborns expressed a desire to have their first child at a younger age than their siblings.
2. Middle kids (a.k.a. "middleborns")
They're more faithful than their siblings
According to birth-order researcher Dr. Catherine Salmon, middleborns are significantly less likely than others to cheat in a long-term romantic relationship. In fact, 80 percent said they never strayed, compared to 65 percent of firstborns, and 53 percent of last-borns.
This may be due to middleborns being generally understanding, cooperative and flexible. According to Dr. Salmon, they are "willing to let things go, and are not always intent on getting their own way...they've grown up with a more give-and-take approach to that sort of thing, which is very helpful in a marriage situation."
They're more sexually open-minded
Salmon and Katrin Schumann, who co-authored the book The Secret Power of Middle Children , state that middleborns are not only less judgmental of other people's sexual interests; they are more willing to experiment and try new things in the bedroom.
They're compatible with just about any birth order
Psychologists believe that birth order can play a factor in romantic compatibility. According to Salmon, middleborns are "the Type O blood of relationships: they go with anyone."
3. Lastborns (a.k.a. the "babies" of the family)
They're risky, rebellious, adventurous
Parents are almost always more lenient with lastborns than their other children, which means the babies of the family often have more leeway in life. Moreover, according to Salmon and Schumann, because the youngest child views their older siblings as bigger, faster and smarter, they often attempt to differentiate themselves by being more rebellious.
They're social charmers
Last-borns are often engaging, precocious, engaging and affectionate. They tend to be more carefree, easy-going, fun-loving and sociable - and they like to make people laugh. They are, in other words, the life of the party. They love to be the center of attention.
Lastborn + lastborn = a chaotic life?
Leman warns against two lastborn children getting involved. They may have an immensely creative and entertaining relationship - but may also find it difficult to plan ahead sensibly and ensure the mundane tasks of daily life are completed. Generally speaking, lastborns are likely to be less responsible than their older siblings, and more careless with their money.
4. Only children
They're similar to firstborns...but to the extreme
Just like firstborns, the only child is like a mini-parent, but to a greater extreme. Research describes the thinking of an only child as super-perfectionist. And because they never have to compete with any siblings for parental attention, they are more confident, articulate, and more on top of things.
They have the ability to relate to others
A lot of people assume that only children have no social skills. Not so! Only children never lack companionships. But they're also just as good on their own: from an early age, only children learn how to be alone without feeling lonely.
Only children + lastborns are the best marital pairing?
Some reports say that the best love match in terms of birth order is between an only child and a lastborn child. This may be because only children tend to be responsible as well as mature, having grown up more quickly than kids without siblings; and they tend to complement the less-responsible nature of their lastborn partners.
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