"Sexual Touch Promotes Early Puberty
The brains and bodies of young female rats can be accelerated into
puberty by the presence of an older male or by stimulation of the genitals."
"Contrary to the longstanding belief that puberty is largely controlled by
hormones, new evidence shows that sexual touch is a powerful puberty promoter.
Touching prepubescent female rats’ genitals can cause the brain region
that responds to such tactile stimuli to double in size and their bodies to
show signs of puberty up to three weeks earlier than non-stimulated
females, according to a report in PLOS Biology today (September 21).
The study reveals the hitherto unappreciated influence of physical sexual
experience on the young brain and body."
"This new work “provides insight into the possible mechanisms underlying
the widely observed, but poorly understood, phenomenon of puberty
occurring about a year earlier in girls who have been sexually abused,”
says psychiatrist Jay Giedd of the University of California, San Diego.
The caveat, of course, is that these studies were in rats and such
experiments would obviously be impossible to conduct in humans.
Nevertheless, Giedd adds, “it would be really amazing if this mechanism
only occurred in rats.”