Update: This has been a very popular post, generating comments and private emails. So we’re going to post it again hoping more people find it.
Thanks to one of our readers for linking us to a Salon article about Roger, a 49-year-old male virgin dealing with his intimacy issues. He worked with a psychotherapist and sexual surrogate and his journey is pretty fascinating. From the article:
Roger is not alone. There are no studies on the prevalence of virginity over 30, but many of the nation’s sex therapists report a small, steady stream of older-virgin clients. During 23 years in practice, California psychologist David Johnston says he’s counseled 50 middle-aged virgins, collaborating with various surrogate partners. “One was 72. A few have been women. But the vast majority have been men in their 30s or 40s.”
Our reader highlighted this quote, which I think echoes a lot of the emails we’ve been getting on the subject:
“Every older virgin has a unique story,” Johnston explains. “They run the gamut from terrible shyness to emotionally barren families to sexual abuse. But all older virgins feel terrible shame. They feel embarrassed and humiliated by their lack of relationship experience.” Age 30 seems to be a line of demarcation. “By 30,” Blanchard explains, “older virgins feel so socially awkward and out of sync with the world around them that they choose to hide.”
One of the most interesting parts of this story, for me, was Roger’s reaction to having sexual intercourse for the first time:
“The intercourse itself was not that big a deal,” Roger explains. “I mean, I was glad to have it. I was glad I wasn’t a virgin anymore, that I’d finally ‘done it.’ But I didn’t need it more than once. Our whole process of becoming physically intimate and talking about it was much more important to me. I felt freed from some of my shame about being so naive and confused about sex.