The Real 40 Year Old Virgins

The real 40 year old virgins

Contrary to Hollywood notions, the 40-year-old virgin is not an awkward yet funny and endearing electronics salesman played by Steve Carell.

He is a church-going teetotaller who has neither been to jail nor served in the military, according to a new survey of more than 7000 people. He also represents an estimated 1.1 million American men and 800,000 women aged 25 to 45 who have never had sex.

The study, led by urologist Michael Eisenberg of the University of California, San Francisco, will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

His team’s survey found that 13.9 per cent of men and 8.9 per cent of women said they have never had sex.

Men and women who attended church at least once a week were respectively 5 and 3.9 times more likely to be virgins than those who attended church less often. Virgins of both sexes were slightly less likely to have swigged a beer in the last year, compared to non-virgins. And women with college degrees were 5.4 times more likely to be virgins than women who never got their Bachelor’s.

Men who attended the military or spent time behind bars were slightly less likely to be 40-year-old virgins than those not exposed to such discipline. “We used incarceration or military service as surrogate markers for exposure to violence or aggressive behaviour,” Eisenberg’s team writes.

This may be true for prison, but people join the military for reason other than aggressive tendencies. “The entire reason for the low rate of virgins with military experience is likely less clear than simply those with violent or risk taking tendencies,” they add.

The study also found that male homosexuals were 11 times more likely to be virgins than heterosexuals, while female homosexuals were 6 times more likely to say they were virgins than heterosexuals. African American men and women were significantly less likely to be virgins than any other ethnic group.

Just as notable as the characteristics associated with middle-aged virginity are the traits that aren’t. Weight, income, and health all showed no association with virginity in men or women.

The standard disclaimers apply to the study. None of the associations show a cause-effect relationship with middle-aged virginity, and the findings represent a snapshot in time among a relatively small population. Income, education, religious attendance and alcohol use can all fluctuate over time.

And, remember, these are statistical associations, not set-in-stone rules. There are bound to be more than a few booze-swilling ex-convict atheists who happen to be middle-aged virgins. Now that would make a good movie.

Via New Scientist