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When You’re the Real 40-Year-Old Virgin

You saw The 40-Year-Old Virgin with friends and laughed at all the right places. And even though Steve Carell’s character is the most lovable person in the film, and even though he’s vindicated at the end of the movie, you may have still left the theater at least somewhat uncomfortable, wondering how others might react to the fact that you’ve never had sex.

There could be any number of reasons why you are the 40-year-old virgin in real life (or an adult of any age who hasn’t “crossed the threshold”). It may be that, as the Carell character says, “It just hasn’t happened yet” for you. Or you may have made a conscious decision not to sleep with someone until you’re married, or until you’ve met just the right person.

Whatever your motivation, there’s really no reason to feel ashamed, or even embarrassed. Actually, there are some facts about being a virgin that you might find pretty encouraging.

Fact #1: You are by no means Alone

Despite the fact that sexual inexperience seems laughable in certain circles, it’s actually not even that rare. In fact, about 30 percent of Americans say they have had one or no sex partners since turning 18. Many of these people are married, of course, but still, we’re talking nearly a third of the U.S. population. That’s a fairly surprising figure, since so much of our culture sends the message that practically everyone is having sex all the time, and with lots and lots of partners. What all of this means is that you’re simply not as atypical as our hypersexualized society might lead you to believe. Yes, a future partner may be surprised by your virginity, so you should be prepared to explain where you’re coming from. But in reality, the fact that you haven’t had sex puts you smack dab in the middle of a rather large crowd.

Fact #2: Your Virginity can be a Draw in your Relationship

Yes, some individuals might prefer a partner with more experience when it comes to sexual intimacy. But others will be more than pleased that you’ve saved this valued part of yourself to share with someone special. Having sex for the first time is obviously a big moment, and especially if you’re experiencing that moment in the context of a caring relationship, your partner will likely love the fact that they are getting to be a part of it with you. It’s an added bonus that when you do begin a sexual relationship, you can do so without comparisons to past partners.

Fact #3: There are Things a lot More Important than your Virginity

As you look to find someone with whom you can connect on a deep and meaningful level, keep in mind that the amount of sex you’ve had will almost never derail a healthy relationship. We’re not saying that sex in a relationship isn’t important—it definitely is. But when it comes to creating something really good between two people, sexual experience—or, in your case, sexual inexperience—matters much less than important relationship skills like communication, trust, commitment, and good old hard work.

Fact #4: You have the Opportunity to Experience sex for the first time as a Mature Adult

You may not have thought of this, but you get to enjoy a benefit that not everyone gets to enjoy: experiencing sex for the first time as a mature adult. Just think about it: Aren’t you more secure about yourself than you were when you were a teenager, or even when you were in your 20s? And don’t you have a lot more perspective than you had back then? So when you decide to have sex for the first time, you’re going to be able to relax more, enjoy yourself, appreciate the intimacy, and be fully present in the moment in a way that you couldn’t have done when you were younger.

Fact #5: There are all Kinds of Practical Advantages to being a Virgin

In addition to all of the above, there are plenty of practical benefits to your virginity, benefits that increase your day-to-day quality of life. For example, you don’t have to worry about sexual diseases the way someone with more experience does. Likewise, you haven’t had to face everything that an unintended pregnancy entails. In other words, be grateful that you’re not currently having to deal with all of the troubles, costs, and consequences that can come with a history of physically intimate relationships.

Look, we’re not saying here that everyone in the world should strive for adult chastity, or that you should necessarily be thrilled that you haven’t yet crossed the sexuality threshold. This is a very personal matter, and we wouldn’t presume to tell you how you should express your sexuality, or even how you should feel about it. We’re just saying that if you’re an adult who feels uncomfortable about the fact that you haven’t yet had sex, there are plenty of reasons to feel good about your situation.

So see if you can let go of some of your embarrassment and discomfort. Once you do, you can begin to get clear on your emotions and decide how you really feel about where things stand in terms of your sexuality. If you feel good about your decisions and your current situation, then great. If not, and you know that you want to pursue a relationship that will include a sexual dimension, then consider what steps you want to take in that direction and decide when the timing is right for you and the other person.

Regardless of what you decide concerning this important area of your life, keep in mind that any relationship that is worth having is made up of two individuals who encourage and support each other, who communicate well about who they are and what they want, and who respect the choices and beliefs of their partner. Anyone who’s worth investing the time to build a relationship with won’t make your sexual inexperience a deal breaker. In fact, if they are the right one for you, they’ll probably treasure that part of you.