Richard’s colleagues call him their work therapist. He’s empathetic and a good listener, he says – “so a lot of people tell me about their personal shit”, including the people he works with at his retail management job in the south-eastern US. But when they complain to him about their sex lives, or he sees happy couples hand-in-hand in the shop, “I think: ‘That’s not something that’s going to happen for me.’” At 31, Richard is a virgin. If it seems as though taboos about sex have lifted in these ostensibly open-minded times, there is one that holds steady: the stigma over never having had sex. While it has become widely unacceptable to criticise someone for having too many partners, being a virgin “still seems to be something that can be only mocked or shamed or suspect”, says Richard. It may be that later-in-life virginity is dismissed as a problem with an easy fix. Cath Mercer, a principal investigator on the Natsal survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles in Britain, says the vast majority (95%) of the general population report have made their “sexual debut” – as she rather grandly puts it – by age 25. And the most recent… Read full this story
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