What It's Like To Be An Adult Virgin, According To Science

Photographed by Maria del Rio.
New research published in The Journal of Sex Research has some disappointing news for a specific, sexual minority among us. Researchers found that most people don't find adult virgins sexually desirable — including adult virgins themselves.

Related: What I Learned From 10 Years Of One-Night Stands

For the paper, the researchers conducted a total of three studies, each based on a questionnaire of different groups of heterosexual men and women. The first study's questionnaire asked 560 men and women when they first had vaginal intercourse and whether they believe a stigma exists around people who lack sexual experience. The second study (which consisted of 4,934 people) asked if the participants would consider dating a virgin, and the third, with 353 participants, specifically looked into how young (between 18 and 26 years old) people view sexual inexperience.

The first study's findings backed up what we assumed to be true anyway — there aren't a ton of adult virgins out there: 90% of participants between the ages of 22 and 24 were sexually experienced. Then, in the second study, the researchers found that most people reported a low likelihood that they'd date a virgin. Interestingly, those who were sexually inexperienced were even less likely to consider dating someone who was also a virgin. However, the third study's findings, luckily, were less disappointing for virgins — among young people, the sexually inexperienced were more likely to find equally inexperienced people more attractive.
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One important thing to note about these studies is that the researchers did not look into why people were waiting to have sex, or even why they felt they couldn't date someone with zero experience with this particular form of sexual activity. Certainly, there's more to sex in general than just vaginal intercourse, and there are plenty of reasons to abstain or wait, even among heterosexuals.

So, as hard as it is not to wonder if you're "normal" when it comes to sex, what really matters is that you make your own choices with your health, comfort, and pleasure in mind.

Click through to Shape for more on sexual well-being. (Shape)

Related: Sex Advice I Wish I Knew In My 20s
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