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Virgins as a Sexual Minority?

With society so over-sexed, what is wrong with waiting until marriage?

While the average age adolescents lose their virginity in the U.S. is around 17, there is still a portion of the population that abstain from sex until marriage. Their rationales, cultures, religious beliefs, and backgrounds surprisingly are quite diverse. According to one statistic, the percentage of U.S. adults who wait until marriage to have sex is at about 3% which translates to approximately 10,000,000 individuals. The population of Americans who identify as LGBT is roughly 3.8%. Compare this with the roughly 1% of individuals who identify as asexual.

However, research suggests that for those who wait, a better and more satisfying marriage and sex life await. An article published in the Journal of Family Psychology by Dean Busby and colleagues (2011) found that even after controlling for religion, those who delayed sex until after marriage: rated sexual quality 15% higher than people who had premarital sex; rated relationship stability as 22% higher; rated satisfaction with their relationships 20% higher. While some claim the study must be biased coming from a religiously-affiliated university, its results support some largely common sense conclusions. In explaining the results, sociologist Mark Regnerus stated, “Couples who hit the honeymoon too early —that is, prioritize sex promptly at the outset of a relationship—often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy.”

So the question then stands, what is so wrong with waiting until marriage? When a fair number of individuals abstain from sex until matrimony, the research shows it can lead to better relationships, and even some celebrities claim they want to be “born again virgins,” why is it still so highly stigmatized and politicized? A choice to wait, is a choice to wait.

Whether one is Catholic, atheist, of an ethnic background where this is the norm, or simply a hopeless romantic waiting for “the one,” it seems this one is a choice too often under-represented in mainstream media. Instead, we are bombarded with images of one-night stands and steamy hotel room trysts. And even when it is portrayed in the media, we still don’t get it right. Take the episode of the new television show Super Fun Night where Kimmie meets a man in a hotel room for what is about to be her first time. He is surprised she’s never been intimate with someone before. But as the audience, we know how she is painted. Nerdy, full-figured, and a little awkward. Clearly what every virgin looks like.

Will virginity lose its taboo reputation? Or will it continue to be polarized with the only choices seemingly being absistence only models shoved down adolescents' throats or free-for-all orgies? Perhaps it can find a healthy middle ground free of judgment or raised eyebrows. Even better maybe a supportive dialogue can open up for those who live their lives this way in the spirit of sexual inclusion and diversity.

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