Annie Leibowitz's Peter Pan photo composition, with Mikhail Baryshnikov as Peter Pan, Tina Fey as Tinker Bell and Gisele Bündchen as Wendy. Image Source: Business Insider.
As lifespans have extended, so has the age of emotional maturation. Evidence for this fact is more than anecdotal. A 2013 British study of male psychology found that new generations of Peter Pan men now finally reach emotional maturity at age 43, eleven years after women, who emotionally mature by age 32.
Image Source: NY Daily News.
This finding contrasts startlingly with the fact that boys are reaching sexual maturity earlier than ever before. According to researchers, the cause of this growing gap between physical and emotional maturity derives from environmental changes, not culture. However, some argue against this. The increase in obesity definitely plays a role in the onset of puberty; and obesity originates both in cultural causes and policies in the food industry. Health.com notes that males face additional problems because a surge in hormones through young adulthood makes them prone to taking risks and getting into physical accidents, long before they reach emotional maturity:
males have been reaching sexual maturity about 2.5 months earlier every decade since at least the mid-1700s. “The reason for earlier maturity for boys, as with girls, is probably because nutrition and disease environments are getting more favorable for it,” demographer Joshua Goldstein, director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany explained ... .
The new study concluded that the span of time in which people are sexually mature (but not yet considered adults) is expanding. The authors noted that the cause of this early physical maturity is purely biological and has nothing to do with technological advancements or social activities.
In the study, the researchers examined mortality data from five countries. They explained that when male hormone production during puberty reaches its highest level, the likelihood of boys dying also increases, because the release of the hormone testosterone spurs them to take more risks. This phenomenon, called the “accident hump,” also occurs among male apes.
The investigators concluded that sexual maturity for boys is occurring earlier than it used to, along with this so-called accident hump.
On average, boys in America now reach puberty around ages 9-10. For girls, the average onset of puberty is 8-9 years of age. The Guardian observes that this differs markedly from earlier decades:The study authors noted that the accident hump hits its maximum in the late phase of puberty, when boys’ voices change and they reach reproductive capability. ... In addition, the researchers pointed out, the gap between sexual maturity and social maturity, or adulthood, is increasing. “The biological and social phases in the lives of young people are drifting apart ...” said Goldstein. “While adolescents become adults earlier in a biological sense, they reach adulthood later regarding their social and economic roles.”
in a wider historical context, the change appears far more stark: a study by Dr. Marcia Herman-Giddens found that in 1860, the average age of the onset of puberty in girls was 16.6 years. In 1920, it was 14.6; in 1950, 13.1; 1980, 12.5; and in 2010, it had dropped to 10.5. Similar sets of figures have been reported for boys, albeit with a delay of around a year.In short, there are now an astonishing 33 or 34 years between the time when males become sexually aware physically and the time when their hearts and brains catch up with that fact. And for females, the gap between sexual awakening and emotional maturity is 24 to 25 years.
"Men are selfish and immature cowards! Woman is equal to man." Image Source: Ozini.
The Daily Mail and Medical Daily reported that while male emotional immaturity "keeps things fresh," the majority of women find it highly annoying. According to the report, researchers asked women to indicate signs of male immaturity; they responded with examples such as:
- Staying silent during an argument
- Not being able to cook simple meals
- Not eating vegetables
- Trying to beat children at games and sport
- Their mother still does their washing
- Driving too fast or 'racing' another car at the lights or on the motorway
- Playing practical jokes
- Playing videogames
- Showing off about protein shakes/weight-lifting/how much they 'lift'