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But how does it feel to be a virgin in your 30s and 40s? I only recently fell in love properly for the first time. He seems to accept me exactly as I am. I feel like we are soulmates.


Keith McDorman walks into the back room of an Austin, Texas coffee shop.

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With his dirty-blond hair, light eyes, week-old beard, and striped button-down shirt, he looks like a younger, shorter, bohemian version of Bradley Cooper. He tosses his scooter helmet onto the wooden table, sits across from me at a booth that barely fits us both, and talks before I ask a question.

How it feels to be a virgin in your 30s and 40s: our readers share their stories

That statement brings glances from studying college students. We opt for more privacy by heading outside, where we talk over a live rock band at a high table near a vegan food truck. McDorman continues by telling me about a conversation he had recently with his girlfriend, in which he expressed fear that his libido had dropped. She laughed because, well, they had had sex six times that week. He told me this less as a brag and more as a preface.

Later-in-life virgins – ‘at my age, it becomes a red flag’

McDorman had lost his virginity just a year prior. He abstained from sex because he had low self-esteem, which he says heightened after learning about his sinful nature at church. The class, which he ed after hearing about it from a friend, eased McDorman into being sexual in a permissible environment where he felt safe. Soon after, he lost his virginity to a girl in this community and later met his current girlfriend.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionthe average age Americans lose their virginity defined here as vaginal sexual intercourse is The CDC also reports that virgins make up That drops below 5 percent for both male and female virgins ages 25 to 29 and goes as low as 0.

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Of course, those statistics represent only heterosexual penile-vaginal sex. And straight people too sometimes feel that oral or anal sex counts as virginity loss.

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Still, the most common definition of virginity loss is penile-vaginal intercourse, as Planned Parenthood points out on its website. Many thought 25 was the first late age. The popular film American Pie suggests that late is freshman year of college. For Sarah and John Devaney, who lost their virginity to each other on their wedding night, being a year-old virgin was not too outlandish within their Christian community.

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When they got married, Sarah was 31 and John was The couple recently Skyped with me, sitting on their bed in Reno, Nevada. Sarah is a year-old brunette who smiles with her whole face. She has bangs, dark eyes wrapped in black mascara, and is a director for a Christian ministry.

The two also wanted to avoid STDs, pregnancy, and the emotional damage they had heard can come with having sex with someone who ultimately leaves.

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It took lots of experimentation. Neither of us had anything to compare it to.

‘i have always fallen for people who are unavailable’

Not every person who loses their virginity later in life fares as well as John and Sarah, though. These sexual problems include having trouble reaching orgasm, maintaining an erection, and becoming sexually aroused.

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Stephen Snyder, a sex therapist in New York City, has seen his share of sexual dysfunction among his male patients. These patients, who often are virgins or men who lost their virginity in their 20s or 30s, most commonly suffer from extreme shyness, social anxiety disorder, or anxiety about their bodies.

So a man who is socially anxious is going to have much more difficulty taking that risk.

On ‘late’-in-life virginity loss

During our phone conversation, Snyder referred me to the web for the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale Test to emphasize some of his points. In those cases, Snyder typically prescribes medicine and performs psychotherapy to de-catastrophize negative thoughts.

Childhood physical or sexual abuse can also, understandably, leave some hesitant to have sex. Mare Simone, a Los Angeles sex surrogate and tantra educator, has had older virgin patients who have been sexually abused. As a sex surrogate, she has intimate encounters sometimes intercourse with people to help them overcome sexual issues, often working alongside with a therapist in cases of abuse. Emotional abuse can also lead to sexual abstinence. That was the case for deer Stacy B. This made her distrust men. Stacy says her mother taught her that sex is special a common reason people wait and she kind of believed it.

Later she realized that the emotional trauma she faced growing up caused her to keep her distance from men, rather than the belief that sex was special. She wishes she had dealt with this a long time ago, before becoming too old to have .

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Stacy lost her virginity to a guy she met on the casual encounters of Craigslist, who she said was very accommodating to her inexperience. In fact, she still has sex with him sometimes and said she has an incredible sex life. Aline Zoldbrod, a sex therapist in Boston, says the environment you grew up in can make all the difference in how you approach sex.

The ideal environment, according to Zoldbrod, is a happy home where sexual curiosity is encouraged, questions about sex are answered age-appropriately, and privacy and independence are not only respected but also cultivated.

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Other environments, such as homes where sex is never talked about or where parents are not openly affectionate with each other, can lead to issues. A University of Texas at Austin study showed that survey respondents who lost their virginity at 20 or older reported having more satisfying romantic relationships than respondents who lost their virginity at younger than After telling me how madly in love he is with his girlfriend and how sex has drawn them much closer, McDorman stands up to leave the coffee shop.

But first, he brings our conversation full circle. Popular Latest. The Atlantic Crossword.

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Recent women


In these open-minded times, one taboo has held steady: never having had sex at all.


Some people may think a woman or man who is smart, educated, caring, and still a virgin in their late twenties or early thirties is unique, or worse, abnormal.


Some people may think a woman or man who is smart, educated, caring, and still a virgin in their late twenties or early thirties is unique, or worse, abnormal.