Little is known about young and middle aged adults who have never engaged in sexual intercourse. Individuals who have not engaged in sexual activity may theoretically have diminished overall quality of life, as recent evidence suggests that sexual activity may be related to overall health status in adults.
We sought to identify factors related to sexual abstinence in young and middle-aged adults.
We analyzed data from the male and female sample of the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth to examine sexual abstinence among unmarried participants aged 25-45 (men: N = 2,469; women: N = 5,120). Main Outcome Measures. Multivariable logistic regression modeling was used to test for independent associations between demographic, medical, and anthropometric variables and abstinence while adjusting for confounding and mediating variables.
A total of 122 (13.9%) men aged 25-45 reported never having had sex, representing approximately 1.1 million American men in this age cohort. Among female participants, a total of 104 (8.9%) women aged 25-45 reported never having sex, representing approximately 800,000 American women in this age cohort. Both men and women who reported that they attend religious services one or more times per week were more likely to be sexually abstinent, independent of their specific religious beliefs. Virgin status was also significantly associated with drinking alcohol within the past year. While a college degree in women predicted virginity, education was not associated with virginity in men. Men showed lower rates of sexual abstinence if they reported having spent time in prison or serving in the military.
Amongst young adults, sexual abstinence does not appear to be mediated by health status, anthropometric measures, or age. Attending religious services and avoidance of alcohol consumption are associated with virginity in adults. Other factors associated with abstinence differ between genders and merit further study.