Virgin Stigma Is Real, Says Science

domoyega/E+/Getty Images

The 40-Year-Old Virgin had one thing right: it's tough being sexually inexperienced, and it's even tougher trying to get a date. According to a new study published in The Journal of Sex Research, virgin stigma is a problem, and a lot of people suffer under its oppressive weight. Where it was once a virtue to be unsullied by sex (for women — a virtue designed by a patriarchal system bent on viewing them as property), it has now become less-than-desirable.

After analyzing surveys about the sex lives of 560 heterosexual adults between 18-71, researchers found that the self-perceived stigma from those who were sexually inexperienced was higher than the self-perceived stigma from those who were sexually experienced. This perception didn't change even in those whose sex "number" may have been high enough to conflict with societal standards. But wait! It gets even worse. When a separate study was done of 4,934 single, heterosexual adults and they were asked to rate how likely they'd be to date a virgin on a scale of 1-4, the median answer was 2.41. Men were less likely to want to date virgins than women were, and virgins themselves were less likely to want to date a virgin than non-virgins.

CasarsaGuru/E+/Getty Images

So the sad news is this. Even virgins themselves don't like virgins. Whether this is because prude-shaming is the new slut-shaming or because people believe sex is what signals your worth remains to be seen. All in all, defining yourself based on what sexual interactions you have or haven't had seems pretty bogus and last century to me. Here's a radical thought: wouldn't it be great if we did away with the concept of virginity altogether?

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

Images: Getty Images (2)