These Are the 20 Most Important Ages of Your Life

Meet the years when you hit your most crucial bodily milestones.

If you've read about this medical test that can pinpoint you "true" age, you know your biological age is much more important than the years you've racked up since birth. Still, one of the great things about being human is that, as different as we may be, there are certain rites of passage that occur at different numbers, and markers, backed up by science, that affect all of us. We've rounded up some of the the most important years below. So read on, and be amazed. And for more about your fascinating mind and body, here are 20 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About Your Body. 


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Kids are like sponges when it comes to learning new languages, but the unique ability to pick up a language as easily as a rock ends just before puberty. And for more on kids, here are the 40 Lies Kids Say That Parents Always Fall For.


Girls are hitting puberty earlier than their mothers these days. A 2010 study found that the proportion of girls who had breast development at the age of 8 was much higher than in the previous generation. This is of some concern in the medical community as early puberty has previously been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer. And for more on breast cancer, here are the 20 Breast Cancer Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore.


10-year-old boy

Anyone who has had a bar mitzvah knows that the age at which a boy traditionally becomes a man is 13. But a 2012 Harvard study found that boys today are hitting puberty, on average, at 10—a full three years earlier than 40 years ago.



A girl can get her period anytime between 8 and 15, but, on average, this momentous rite of passage into womanhood occurs at the age of 13.



Like growth spurts, voice breaking is an essential part of puberty, and it can happen anytime between 12 and 16 for a boy. On average, however, both will have occurred by the end of their 13th year. And for more ways to take care of your body, here are the 50 Genius Tricks to Improve Your Life. 



A guy can start to develop "peach fuzz" anytime between 8 and 12. By 15, however, most men have enough strands of facial hair to justify their first razor.


driving license

By 16, most men have stopped growing, though their muscles will continue to develop. 16 is an important year for both men and women in America, however, because it's when they can receive their driving license. For gay men growing up today, 16 is also the year that they are most likely to come out (a number much lower than that of their grandparent's generation, for whom the average age was 37).


compliments men can't resist

Though some statistics indicate that men tend to lose their virginity a little earlier than women, and there's some debate about what losing your virginity even means if you're LGBT, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the average age Americans first have vaginal sexual intercourse is 17.1 for both men and women.


Kids Studying on Bench

According to a 2016 study, this is the age at which our brain's processing power is at its peak.


According to data crunched by Dataclysm author and OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder, this is the year in which woman are the most attractive to men. In a somewhat unfair twist, it seems women don't have a particular age that they prefer in men, but do generally prefer someone who is the same age as them or a little older. In an extra unfair twist, Rudder's charts show that men continue to prefer women who are 23, regardless of how old they themselves get.


Man, lifting weights

Strength peaks around 25 years of age, plateaus through 35 or 40 years of age, and then declines at an accelerating rate by the age of 65. All the more reason to be like Dennis Quaid and hit the gym more often!


marriage Bad Dating Marriage Tips

The average age of first marriage in the United States is 27 for women, a steep increase from 23 in 1990 and 20 in 160.


surprise your spouse

The average age of first marriage in the United States in 29 for men, a steep increase from 26 in 1990 and 22 in 1960. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, 29 is also when you're likely to have the most friends you'll ever have. As a result, it's also often cited as the age at which people reach peak happiness.


Couple Lifting Weights

At 30, men and women have the densest and strongest bones. After that, bone mass plateaus for women until menopause, when it drastically declines. You can help prevent osteoporosis by not smoking and getting plenty of exercise.


Woman Holding Pillow Anti-Aging

According to a 2013 UK study, this is when women reach peak maturity.


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Whereas men reportedly hit their sexual peak at 18, women don't hit their prime until 35, presumably because that's when the biological instinct to have a baby goes into overdrive.


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The average Noble Prize winner didn't make their discovery until they were 40. But even if you're not a genius, the study claims that you're still most likely to realize your full creative potential at this age. Unfortunately, if you're a man, this is also when your fertility begins to decline (compared to 35 for a woman).


bad puns

According to a 2013 UK study, men don't reach maturity until the age of 43, a full 11 years later than women. "Maturity" was defined as not playing video games late into the night, eating tons of fast food, farting, failing to do any chores, and other behavior that characterizes a 15-year-old boy.


elderly couple drinks wine and eats in Italy

Studies have found that American men and women report large levels of satisfaction with their lives in their early 20s, then dip in their middle age, reaching a low point at around 50. But, fear not, because we peak again at 69.


According to a a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Americans reach their peak emotional well-being at 82.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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