Peer love is a highly invested autobiographical marker, and its scientific ascent can be studied in terms of its literature’s motives, stated objectives, exclusions, and delimitations. In this article an overview of numeric and selected ethnographic data on the timing of “first love” is presented, to inform an assessment of the ontological underpinnings of milestone research common to quantitative sociology and developmental psychology. Complicating scientific normalization of love’s initiatory connotation, selected ethnographic observations on the timing and notion of early/first love in non-Western societies are presented. These observations facilitate a critique of love as a heterosocial, propaedeutic event, and hence, as scientifically accessible and befitting the routines and metaphors of biomedical “milestone monitoring.”


Age of First Love, First Crush, Critique of Quantitative Methods, Ethnography, Literature Review, and Adolescence


Diederik F. Janssen wishes to thank Dr. Richard Alapack, Dr. Beate Schwarz, and Dr. Rainer Silbereisen for their kind communication. He would also like to thank the Qualitative Report board for providing what has been a truly helpful context for developing this paper.

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