Dear Dr. Locker: I am a 42 year old virgin. I ache for the touch of a female, and want to know what it feels like to make love. But I get scared and shake when I talk to a woman. Though, I'm glad I won't catch something or die from a sexual sickness. It is terrible to go through life without the touch of a hand or kiss or love. Can you help me?
Answer from Dr. Locker
It is rare that someone is still a virgin at age 42. In fact, only about 2% of Americans are still virgins at that age. (Most Americans lose their virginity in their mid-teens, late-teens, or early twenties. About 95% of Americans have lost their virginity prior to marriage, by age 25 or 26, according to research, including studies by the National Center for Health Statistics, as well as Finer, 2007).
There are a variety of reasons why some people may be virgins. As you described, sometimes when someone has remained a virgin that long, it shows that he or she may have many fears of sex, such as the fear of disease that you mentioned, as well as severe social and emotional issues. Unlike in the very unrealistic movie "The 40 Year Old Virgin" in which the man moved quickly into dating, affection, and kissing a woman -- in real life, most men this age with this issue would most likely feel excruciatingly uncomfortable, as you described.
The good news is that this is something that you will be able to work through in therapy. I recommend that you start therapy right away so that you stop missing out on affection and physical love in your life.
Work with a sex therapist who specializes in these issues. To find a sex therapist in your area, search on the web site for the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists [aasect.org]. Make sure that you find someone with a Ph.D. from a well known, accredited university, and who has worked in the field for a long time. [Read my answer about what else to look for in a sex therapist in my response to the question "How can someone find and choose a sex therapist?" under the category of “Sexual Problems."]
You will learn that you do not need to fear diseases if you are sexually active, because you can be effective at responsibly practicing safer sex (using condoms), and you will also learn what else is at the root of your other issues connected with sex. You’ll find out how to take the steps to deal with your social and emotional issues, and then how to gradually talk to, touch, kiss, then some day make love to a woman. It will take dedication on your part to work through your long-standing issues, and it will take time to meet a girlfriend who can be patient with your evolving sexuality. But it will be worth it to add this important part of the human experience to your life.
Copyright © Dr. Sari Locker www.sarilocker.com