Similar to previous research on younger adolescents, male subjects reported an overall higher satisfaction with their appearance after having sex for the first time, while female subjects reported the opposite.
Admitting more research is needed, the study's authors still think cultural influences might account for these differences.
Since having sex is often seen as a way for young men to prove their manhood, they write, it seems "doing it" for the first time would boost a male adolescent's image of himself.
Also, because of women's tendency to be more selective in choosing sexual partners, male subjects may receive validation from being chosen by a member of the opposite sex, the researchers say.
Taking a stab at why female subjects were less happy with their appearance after having sex for the first time isn't easy either. The researchers speculate that women's intense focus on their appearance - fed by unrealistic portrayals of women in media messages - is probably one of many factors.