Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Has Virginity Lost Its Virtue? Relationship Stigma Associated with Being a Sexually Inexperienced Adult

While virginity prior to marriage has been historically valued, changing sociosexual scripts in the United States have made premarital sexual activity the norm for young adults, with sexual debut generally occurring in late adolescence. 

In the current research, we examined the impact of being developmentally off-time with first coitus (i.e., not yet engaging in coitus when most same-aged peers have done so). Specifically, we investigated stigma toward sexually inexperienced adults and discrimination regarding romantic relationship formation. 

Across three methodologically diverse studies we observed that sexually inexperienced adults perceived themselves to be stigmatized due to their inexperience and that sexually inexperienced adults were not highly desired as relationship partners. 

Even sexually inexperienced adults themselves did not find other inexperienced adults to be attractive relationship partners. 

Although abstaining from sexual activity may bestow some health advantages, our studies show that being a sexual "late bloomer" may result in negative interpersonal consequences such as limited opportunities for romantic relationships.

Below:  Target’s attractiveness as a function of age of target and participant.

Below:  Target’s attractiveness as a function of sexual experience of target and participant

Full article at:

  • 1 The Kinsey Institute , Indiana University , Bloomington.
  • 2 Department of Psychology , University of Florida.
  • 3 The Kinsey Institute and Department of Gender Studies , Indiana University , Bloomington.
  •  2016 Mar 16:1-12 

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