November 1, 2009

Virgins in the United States.

13.9% of men and 8.9% of women between the ages of 25 to 45 have never had sex.

Via Metafilter, where there are some comments like this....
I watch the people around me find relationships so easily (I know it's *never* easy - but believe me, however difficult it is for you, it's all but insurmountable for me) and I wonder, night after night, month after month, year after year, what I'm doing wrong. it's hard not to wonder whether there's something fundamentally, immutably wrong with *me*. it's hard not to wonder whether sex and romantic love are simply things which aren't *for* me - things which the universe has seen fit to make available to others, but not to me. I know that doesn't make sense, but that's often how it feels.

it's hard not to feel resentful watching others take it all for granted, and to be asked why I don't just [find a girlfriend/get laid/go on some dates], the same way you'd suggest that I make a sandwich if I complain that I'm hungry - like I can just snap my fingers and make those things happen. I don't know *how* to make a sandwich. that may sound ridiculous to you - *everyone* knows how to make a sandwich! but as basic and instinctive as it may seem, there was a specific time, long ago, when someone showed you for the first time *how* to make a sandwich, right? well, I never learned. and now everyone insists that there *isn't* anything to learn; it's just something that people *know* how to do - and so they couldn't teach me even if they wanted to.

I'm not talking about mechanics; I'm actually relatively comfortable with that. I'm not even talking about the complexities of relationships - once I'm *in* one, I do well enough. I'm just talking about everything between here and there. it may be something *you* can just *do*, like making a sandwich. it's a dense jungle full of vipers and quicksand for me.
ADDED: As the commenters at the first link point out, it was a study restricted to unmarried Americans.

88 comments:

Expat(ish) said...

If you have time to spend on Metafilter writing comments like that you may be spending too little time where you are meeting other people.

Just saying.

-XC

WV = musnabl => twitspeak for "must nab a lady"

Darcy said...

That was touching to read. And very interesting.

ironrailsironweights said...

There's a new expression, "Incel," which means Involuntarily Celibate, in other words a man who is unable to get sex.

One inescapable fact is that it is much easier for a woman to get sex than it is for a man. Note this means sex and nothing but sex, not relationships and marriage. Almost any woman under age 50, or even 60, can get sex tonight if she really wants it, simply by going to most any bar or nightclub and throwing herself at the first man who pays her any attention. Of course this can be unsatisfying and potentially dangerous, and depending on what the woman has to offer the quality of the man may be very low, but at least it's possible.

Men don't have it so easy. Even if a man is willing to engage in what a Well-Known Sex Blogger calls "dumpster diving," there's no guarantee that he can score in the bars or nightclubs. Of course a man can get sex on demand by paying money, but that's illegal, costs money, and is potentially dangerous.

Peter

Mark O said...

So much for social engineering. Great progress. Give me the '60's every time.

Ann Althouse said...

"There's a new expression, "Incel," which means Involuntarily Celibate, in other words a man who is unable to get sex."

I don't see why this is limited to men.

"One inescapable fact is that it is much easier for a woman to get sex than it is for a man. Note this means sex and nothing but sex, not relationships and marriage. Almost any woman under age 50, or even 60, can get sex tonight if she really wants it, simply by going to most any bar or nightclub and throwing herself at the first man who pays her any attention."

Yes, but there are many women who are never going to do that, no matter how much they want sex. It doesn't matter that we could. We are just not going to do that.

Look at the percentages in that study. That is an awful lot of individuals, male and female. (And a very high percentage of gay persons too.)

John Lynch said...

I dunno, it sure seems like choice to me.

If weight and appearance don't explain the numbers, then it's choice. Whatever behavior the virgins are exhibiting is up to them. If you are middle aged, you are doing something wrong IF sex is what you want. Maybe it isn't that important if you've lived half your life without it.

No, the world isn't going to change for you. There's a certain sort of person who will say they want something, but will continually find ways not to have it.

What I suspect is that a lot of virgins have very high standards that are not justified by their status, income, appearance, etc. Yes, men can be very choosy.

This is one of those things that people may feel sympathetic about in the abstract, but never on a personal level.

paul a'barge said...

I'm not even talking about the complexities of relationships - once I'm *in* one, I do well enough. I'm just talking about everything between here and there

So.
(1) Join one of those online relationship websites
(2) Take one of the "Find A Mate" trips to Russia, Uzebekistan, etc
(3) Take a sex tour of SE Asia. Score repeatedly and bring back the best.

MrBuddwing said...

Remember that character played by the late Chris Farley on "Saturday Night Live," that fellow who did commentary while repeatedly making quotation marks with his fingers?

That's right, Bennett Brauer here with another commentary. Didn't think the suits would have me back perhaps. Thought they'd have my derriere replaced by one of those cookie-cutter store mannequins.

Well maybe I'm not "the norm." I'm not "camera friendly." I don't "wear clothes that fit me." I'm not a "heartbreaker." I haven't "had sex with a woman." I don't know "how that works."

I guess I don't "fall in line." I'm not "hygienic." I don't "wipe properly." I don't "own a toothbrush" or "let my scabs heal." I can't "reach all the parts of my body." When I sleep I "sweat profusely."

But I guess the "powers that be" will keep signing my paycheck at least until John and Jane Q. Viewer start to go for the remote so they can go back to watching commentators who don't "frighten children" and don't "eat their own dandruff" and don't "pop their whiteheads with a compass they used in high school." Thank you Kevin.

former law student said...

Some of my friends who served in 'Nam rented Thai women for their week's R&R. I wonder how many military non-virgins sought out a professional for their first time.

I won't say that women have it easier than men, but there are many situations in which all a woman has to do is say, "Yes," whereas a man has to have a strategy to create the situation.

Freeman Hunt said...

Is it inhibition? If that's it, the only real advice is to gather up your courage and force yourself to talk to people you are interested in.

Over and over and over. It will get easier.

ironrailsironweights said...

Almost any woman under age 50, or even 60, can get sex tonight if she really wants it, simply by going to most any bar or nightclub and throwing herself at the first man who pays her any attention.

Yes, but there are many women who are never going to do that, no matter how much they want sex. It doesn't matter that we could. We are just not going to do that.

Well of course. It's just that it is possible, and that men do not have a comparable (legal) option.

--

What I suspect is that a lot of virgins have very high standards that are not justified by their status, income, appearance, etc. Yes, men can be very choosy.

There also are some people, mostly women but some men too, who will not have sex before marriage. I would doubt that these people would have much effect on the cited statistics, as those are limited to people aged 25 to 45, and it's a reasonable guess that most of the saving-themselves-for-marriage people marry at young ages.

--

If you are middle aged, you are doing something wrong IF sex is what you want. Maybe it isn't that important if you've lived half your life without it.

No doubt there are many people who have little or no interest in sex, but surely they're not virgins, otherwise they wouldn't know they're not interested.

Peter

Jason said...

"'Nam?"

Who the heck says that?

Anyway, I think if he's anything close to presentable, he'll have a a girlfriend as soon as he's done trying to be nice to them.

When he is willing to call his best new female friend a whore, to her face, and do it with a smile and 100 percent confidence, then he'll have a girlfriend.

No not necessarily her, but someone, and probably someone who will give him the time of his life in bed.

Freeman Hunt said...

Jason, you'll only attract doormats that way.

Jason said...

Freeman,

You're missing the point.

That would be a 10,000 percent improvement over this guy's current situation. ;-)

We're just trying to get the guy laid here. Don't make this more complicated than it is.

Now hush. The ball game's on. Get me a beer, will ya sweetie?

natatomic said...

Eh, I'm a 23-year old-virgin, but it's by choice. I mean, I'm a female sci-fi dork and a coaster enthusiast - there are PLENTY of nerds out there who NEED girls like me for sex. Sorry geek-boys. These legs are not yet open for business.

Fred4Pres said...

Virgins of both sexes were slightly less likely to have swigged a beer in the last year, compared to non-virgins.

Slightly?

Jason said...

Men who attended the military or spent time behind bars were slightly less likely to be 40-year-old virgins than those not exposed to such discipline. "We used incarceration or military service as surrogate markers for exposure to violence or aggressive behaviour," Eisenberg's team writes.

This may be true for prison, but people join the military for reason other than aggressive tendencies. "The entire reason for the low rate of virgins with military experience is likely less clear than simply those with violent or risk taking tendencies," they add.


They can't figure that out? Christ, these guys must have eaten a heapin' bowl full of Dumb Flakes for breakfast.

Freeman Hunt said...

Now hush. The ball game's on. Get me a beer, will ya sweetie?

Har har.

Okay, I concede that that may get them laid by a certain sort of woman, but many men don't want to just get laid. A lot of (most?) men feel strange having sex with women they aren't in relationships with. I realize that isn't universal, but it is extremely common, and, I think, good.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Honey.

Wait til halftime.

chuck b. said...

If we could just fit those 13.9% of men with that 8.9% of women (and there are more women than men in absolute numbers, right)...

Well, there would still be some unmatched men, but it would be progress.

chuck b. said...

(And a very high percentage of gay persons too.)

Indeed. Imagine trying to make a go of it being 11% of (what?) 2% of the population.

Lem said...

Unfortunately, no one can be told how to make a sandwich. You have to do it for yourself.

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back ;)

John Stodder said...

Remember that character played by the late Chris Farley on "Saturday Night Live,"...

Saturday Night Live is never that funny anymore.

Synova said...

"This may be true for prison, but people join the military for reason other than aggressive tendencies. "The entire reason for the low rate of virgins with military experience is likely less clear than simply those with violent or risk taking tendencies," they add."

Jason: "They can't figure that out? Christ, these guys must have eaten a heapin' bowl full of Dumb Flakes for breakfast."

I second the profanities. Egad.

(All the obvious things that are wrong with that aside... there is also something about a guy who is fit, trimmed, and *bathed*.)

Methadras said...

Can some explain to me when it became fashionable to blame your victimhood on the Universe? As if the Universe is an entity that is deliberately seeking to prevent you from having sexual intercourse for the first time in your life. It's you, you moron. You are keeping yourself from experiencing one of life's grand pleasures because of your moronic hang-ups whatever they may be. Don't blame it on an ever expanding time-space continuum that has a collective intelligence of zero. An amoebae is smarter than the universe.

Methadras said...

natatomic said...

Eh, I'm a 23-year old-virgin, but it's by choice. I mean, I'm a female sci-fi dork and a coaster enthusiast - there are PLENTY of nerds out there who NEED girls like me for sex. Sorry geek-boys. These legs are not yet open for business.


And yet you taunt. However, it isn't your legs that the geek-boys want open for business. Nerd laughter ensues.

Flexo said...

Hardly surprising. We live in an increasingly hedonistic, utilitarian society, where others are no longer looked upon as persons who have intrinsic value and dignity, but as things, the value of which is determined by superficial criteria as looks, money, fame, and power (especially fame and power), mere things which are used and tossed aside or treated as if they do not even exist.

And when it comes to relationships, rather than seeking love by engaging in love, that is, by giving of themselves, people look for "Mr. Right," making demands on others and looking for what they can get from the other, not what they have to offer the other, in a vain search for the perfection that is sorely lacking in themselves.

We glory in the FREEDOM! of the sexual revolution, and yet, people are more miserable and unhappy and unsatisfied and empty than ever before.

el polacko said...

the lamenting virgin would, assuming he's trying at all, do better at hooking up if he learned to keep his trap shut. if someone were to lay a rap like that on me, i would politely excuse myself and then run screaming into the night.

Flexo said...

As for the statement in the story that those who attended church at least once a week were more likely to be virgins than those who attended church less often --

Yes, it is likely that those who attend church have more traditional and conservative notions of human sexuality and chastity and, for that reason, are less likely to engage in casual sex. They have the same levels of sexual desire (they live in our sex-saturated society just like we do, and they are subject to the same temptations as we are), but they also have the desire to rightly order their sexuality, to conform their sexuality to truth and love, and to control their passions, rather than having their passions control them.

At the same time, it would be a mistake to think that the causation road is all one-way. Just as church attendance is likely to cause some additional levels of virginity/chastity, so too is virginity likely to cause an increase in church attendance.

That is, the involuntary non-sexual person has the exact same hunger for love and acceptance as any other human being. Humans are social beings with a built-in need for love. And if they cannot get love from other human persons, then they will seek love from the God who is Love itself. Thankfully, God does not see as humans see, falsely and superficially, rather, He sees the inherent beauty that is in each of us as a result of being made in His image.

Those who have been rejected by society, the refuse of the world, the poor, the unwanted, the undesirables, the hideous, the disfigured, the lepers of the world (both physical and social), and losers of all stripes, these have always sought the refuge of the Church, who, like a mother, offers them the loving embrace that everyone else refuses to give.

blake said...

I'm guessing Jason wouldn't say that to Freem's face.

Well, not twice anyway.

Jason said...

It's all about timing.

Pogo said...

The study was a bit of a waste, as the Beatles had already researched this issue.

"All the lonely people
Where do they all come from ?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong ?
"

kentuckyliz said...

Those percentages seem about right, considering that part of the population that is terminally oddball.

TMink said...

"If weight and appearance don't explain the numbers, then it's choice."

People with Asperger's or high functioning people with autism or various personality disorders would basically require mercy sex. Their social behaviors are so disordered or clueless that it would be needle in a haystack time for them.

Which is basically what Kentuckyliz said.

Trey

EDH said...

Some people just aren't "closers."

The secret, my friends, is A-B-C: "Always be Closing."

NSFW.

Pogo said...

Clearly we need a gummint program to solve this injustice.

Boinkfare vouchers for Naughty Bits Services from certified Sex Workers will be reimbursed at 65% of the going rate.

Documentation of each client encounter must include 3 of 5 Sexual History elements (frequency and severity of celibacy, date of onset, relieving factors, use of mechanical devices or farm animals), physical examination (height, weight, respiratory rate before and during sexual activity, and nipple count), Diagnosis/Plan of Care (a written narrative is preferred, but video is acceptable).

Currently, "voluntary celibacy" is not a reimbursable Sex Diagnosis and any payments received for this constitutes fraud.

EDH said...

Oh, and I do love Bennett Brauer.

natatomic said...

And yet you taunt.

I don't think I'm in much danger of leading anyone on inside the virtual world that is a comments section of another person's blog. *shrugs*

Jason said...

You must be new around here, nat. ;-)

Jason said...

Methadras,

For the record, the geek-boy for whom Nat's legs open for business will be a fortunate geek-boy, indeed.

She's lovely.

Salamandyr said...

She's lovely.

But the taunting is ugly.

Pogo said...

Awww, she was joshin' and cute to boot.

Plus she makes a mean robot costume. What's not to like?

Eric said...

Methadras,

For the record, the geek-boy for whom Nat's legs open for business will be a fortunate geek-boy, indeed.

She's lovely.


Like he said: "And yet she taunts". Definite character flaw on display there.

Pogo said...

Geez; whatta tough crowd.
She seems sweet.

Anyways, birds do it, bees do it.
Even educated fleas do it.
Why can't 13.9% of men do it?

Conspiracy.
Something involving Jews, Masons, Catholics, and the Illuminati.

Dogwood said...

Like he said: "And yet she taunts". Definite character flaw on display there.

One man's taunt is another man's flirt, or something like that.

And Nat, be careful what you say in the comments, look what happened to Meade. Up & married on us.

Be careful out there.

ironrailsironweights said...

People with Asperger's or high functioning people with autism or various personality disorders would basically require mercy sex. Their social behaviors are so disordered or clueless that it would be needle in a haystack time for them.

I've gotten the impression that this describes a substantial percentage of the can't-get-sex men who populate the Game/HBD blogosphere.

Peter

Pogo said...

What geeks/Asperger's guys need to learn is that sincerity is everything.

If you can fake that, you've got it made.

Hucbald said...

I had a very close friend who was an alcoholic. He was also one of the funniest human beings I've ever encountered. Beneath every mirror in his house - bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways (There were many) - he had posted signs that read, "You're Looking at the Problem!"

I'd suggest these poor, unhappy, involuntary virgins do the same, because he cleaned up real good and did fantastically well for himself, in all areas of life.

Looking for external causes to personal problems is a loser's game. It's futile.

richard mcenroe said...

Hey, we've got a poltical virgin in the White House. Why hassle these folks.

"What geeks/Asperger's guys need to learn is that sincerity is everything."

I keep trying honesty. I also like pulling out all the damper rods on nuclear reactors to see what will happen (it HAS to work this time...!)

Maureen said...

Frankly, there are always a high proportion of people out there who are unworthy of any relationship, never mind sex. Nobody in their right mind wants to go out with a rapist, a druggie, someone who hates the opposite sex, etc.

There are also a high proportion of people who plan only to have sex as part of marriage or some long term relationship. Thanks to the high proportion of skanky people, some of these people will never find a mate. (It gets worse if the society is polygamous, etc.) But this doesn't make their choice wrong or even counterproductive. Wanting a permanent sexual relationship and otherwise not bothering with sex is an entirely sane, sober, and prudent choice. These folks benefit society, and we should thank them for not swelling the ranks of skanks.

Also, some people remain virgins by positive choice. If your plan for life is to become a monk, nun, or Catholic priest, probably you don't want to run around having unmarried sex before you start, anymore than you should start your career on safety patrol at school by learning how to jaywalk.

If you don't see any point in getting married or have any interest in any kind of long term relationship, the sensible and kind thing to do is to stay out of dating, in order not to swell the ranks of skanks. You are helping serious inquirers by getting out of the way.

It's a shame that not everyone thinks this way, because it would be a lot easier for people who want love to find love without all the static provided by skanks and those who aren't serious. But that's human nature.

Prime Designer said...

You people think too much.

People haven't changed. The environment has.

Where before, people would get out and mingle more, now you get to know far less people.

And before you chime in with "I meet LOTS of people who I get to know personally." Do you really think you're the norm?

So the odds haven't changed. You simply rolled the dice more often.

It's just all math.

Jason said...

Nobody in their right mind wants to go out with a rapist, a druggie, someone who hates the opposite sex, etc.

Not true by a long shot.

C.f "revealed preferences."

former law student said...

Can some explain to me when it became fashionable to blame your victimhood on the Universe? As if the Universe is an entity that is deliberately seeking to prevent you from having sexual intercourse for the first time in your life. It's you, you moron.

That's what I tell dyslexics and the hard of hearing. Shape up you whiners! We were all born knowing how to get laid, or at least we could spend $2000 on a pick-up artist training seminar (Negs, kino, the whole bit.)
if we lacked the mad skillz w/ chix that I innately have. (November-only: 25% off my introductory course)

But the poison of blaming others for your own faults* has even reached Rush Limbaugh, the paragon of accepting personal responsibility for one's actions.

*Racially charged things he said about NFL players made him a poor candidate for owning a team in a league filled with black football players -- who knew? Much easier to blame others, who allegedly faked racially charged quotes and attributed them to him.

former law student said...

Wanting a permanent sexual relationship and otherwise not bothering with sex is an entirely sane, sober, and prudent choice.

In every other field of human endeavor, practice is seen as necessary for mastery, a positive good. Compare this sentence:

Wanting to someday write a best-selling novel, and otherwise not bothering with fiction, is an entirely sane, sober, and prudent choice.

gmjgmj said...

The author of that piece must be in a lot of pain, since most of life is not spent where they feel comfortable.

As a lay counselor at my church, my suggestion would be for the author to get help from a licensed professional family therapy counselor. The author is facing very complex challenges that will be overcome most quickly with the help of a counselor.

Life does not come with instructions and we learn from our environment. Some environments are healthier than others. Fortunately, counselors have been trained on how to live life in a healthy successful way.

I would avoid new age counselors; the ones I know seem to glob onto the latest untested psychological-theory aberration and make things up as they go.

I have and will pray for the author.

former law student said...

As the commenters at the first link point out, it was a study restricted to unmarried Americans.

But virginity is not restricted to unmarried Americans:

Tyra is talking to married couples who remain virgins. With issues ranging from performance anxiety to being physically unable, the couples share the reasons they've been unable to consummate their marriages. We will also meet a couple who had the same problem, but have since found an unlikely cure. Can it work for the other couples as well?


http://tyrashow.warnerbros.com/2009/08/wednesdays_show_married_virgin.php

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm guessing Jason wouldn't say that to Freem's face.

No, not likely.

J said...

"I've gotten the impression that this describes a substantial percentage of the can't-get-sex men who populate the Game/HBD blogosphere"

Cruel. Probably true, but cruel.

The author of the metafilter comment in the post needs to find a megachurch with an adult singles program.

former law student said...

my suggestion would be for the author to get help from a licensed professional family therapy counselor.

I could see how that would help if his kid was hanging out with thugs and not doing his homework, but what training do counselors get to help people get laid?

Salamandyr said...

First you have to figure out what you want. Do you want sex, or do you want a relationship?

If you want sex, my suggestion is, hire a prostitute. It's easy, no more expensive than a date, and with certain precautions, not really dangerous.

If you want a relationship, stop thinking about the sex. The sex will come. Work on being a good partner. Bring something to the table. Then do things that expose you to women. The easiest thing...online dating. It takes the awkwardness out of it. All you're doing is writing an email. Say "Hi, I like your profile, I'm so and so and I'd like to talk to you further." If she responds, yay. If she doesn't, go to the next one on the list. Much less investment than the singles bar. When you meet, dress nice, and be willing to listen as well as talk. Stop worrying about the sex part. If you're moderately presentable, and don't insist on a supermodel level of attractiveness, you'll get sex.

Frogwatch said...

Some men will never get laid or have a real relationship with a woman. I got married early(23) and think that if I had not I might have been one of those. To some of us, human relationships are opaque, a language that is extremely difficult to learn and takes constant practice and if one is not constantly exposed to such he forgets how to engage in such relationships. Imagine being only able to see in black and white but everybody talks about seeing colors, it is even worse for some men who do not understand it is a deficiency within themselves.
Caught early enough, this deficiency can be partially overcome (but not cured) if he realizes the problem is in his head and makes a huge effort to overcome it. He has to learn to watch others very analytically so he can "fake" sincerity well enough to get by. He has to learn to make eye contact, to practice an interested facial expression and to learn to recognize facial expressions on others. Things that seem instinctive to others, some of us simply do not have.
Even if he is successful enough to meet someone he marries, he will still be on the outside looking in never being able to make good human connections outside his family he sees all the time.

One of my great fears is that my youngest daughter is like this too, a female version of myself. She is happiest being alone, is socially clueless, very smart, scientific and says she is happy having only one friend.
I believe this tendency has a strong genetic component because my wife's brother is just like this, probably a 50 yr old virgin. My mother was a clueless geek too who majored in botany, fortunately my father was the right kind of man for her. My sister has a son like this who will probably never have a real relationship.
People like this cannot be entirely blamed for their situation, after all no amount of soul searching will cause a blind man to see and for some of these people no amount of effort will make them normal enough to have a relationship.

ironrailsironweights said...

If you want sex, my suggestion is, hire a prostitute. It's easy, no more expensive than a date, and with certain precautions, not really dangerous.

Except in parts of Nevada,* it's also illegal. Not everyone's willing to take the risk. Even if the penalty is minor, the public humiliation factor can be overwhelming.

* = IINM the Rhode Island legislature closed the legal loophole that allowed massage parlors to operate in the Ocean State.

Peter

Paddy O. said...

not having sex is the new gay

Michael Brand said...

What many many people don't understand is that some people feel and because of the feedback they get in life subsequently know they aren't good enough.
 
When you are not good enough, life is a horrific place to be. Watching all the good people in life be loved, have sex, have families, have careers and earn money as those like myself that aren't good enough just watch and cry from the sidelines.
 
I guess I'm one of the lucky losers, I've had sex. Although, I've never been loved or enjoyed any of the good things in life that good people get.
 
Since society has no problem with women killing unwanted babies ala aboirtion, why should my unwanted life be forced to live. Shouldn't people like me be given the same compassion that unwanted babies are given. My birth mother left me like unwanted garbage at the hospital. If my own mother didn't want me, why should I believe anyone else in life would ever care. And guess what, 51 years of life experience has proven that to me.
 
It's much more than just sex. It's about a life that isn't worth living.
 
Like therapists have been telling me for years... if I don't love myself I can't love or be loved. I guess what they mean is if even I can't find anythiing about me worth loving, why should I believe someone else could.
 
Let the people like me die with dignity, don't make us suffer until our bodies give out. Unless of course you are the kind of person that takes pleasure in watching others suffer.

prairie wind said...

My advice to people who need friends, need love, need attention is to stop worrying about what they need and think instead about what they can give. Serving at a homeless shelter won't get you a date but it will stop you from thinking about it for an evening. So, two good things happen: the homeless get some help and you get your mind off your problems. Too much thinking about yourself is not a good thing.

R.L. Hunter said...

I believe this video is relevant in some way

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_U2yG3uZp0

Paddy O. said...

"Let the people like me die with dignity, don't make us suffer until our bodies give out."

Michael, I think this is not an either/or situation. People like me who have been in places like that think that people should not die nor should they suffer.

Indeed, having sex isn't even the answer. 85% of men apparently are getting some, but there are some massively miserable individuals in that group. Having sex doesn't bring happiness, though there are enough people out there who pursue it for such that they've made a cultural insistence this is so.

Who cares if a person has sex or not? Sex doesn't give meaning. It often steals meaning. It robs a person of identity or deflects them from finding who they are. And because society is caught up in false forms of identity, people who don't play that game for whatever reason--personality, religion, capability--are made to feel left out and losers.

The non-judgers judge the most when you don't play their identity finding games.

I don't care if a person has sex or not. I don't think having sex is a cure for suffering. I think loneliness is. I think not being what a person can be is often a cause for suffering.

And that's not a passive place. I don't want people to suffer, and I don't think they should just end it all. I think if you're at that point than you're at the point you can begin to take risks, letting go societies definition, living as though there was nothing to lose. And in doing that, in living to the full, in taking leaps in even small ways, it's funny how the brain chemistry changes.

I mean this is the essential religious answer to such suffering. We become miserable when we collapse into ourselves, self-focused in our miserable, unchanging condition. But, it doesn't have to be that way. Though sadly so many religious groups play the same game as the rest of society.

Be there for someone who is miserable and help them. Step off the boat and see what is possible in life. Don't let anyone else define you but be free to live in exploring what is intriguing and interesting and possible. Do something that matters in some way, that can be a step to more steps. This last one pushed me away from video games. It's a lot of work and time for no end result, which leaves a terrible frustration because, once again, all that work doesn't matter.

Sometimes the most life embracing thing a person can do is not have sex--leaving behind the games that so many other miserable people try to play in their artificial assertion of their temporary happiness.

Leaving them free to pour that passion out in directions that make an impact, show progress, alleviate suffering, bring fruit--and in doing those things its funny how often inner suffering is slowly left behind.

prairie wind said...

Michael, listen to Paddy O. He and I agree but his explanation is much more helpful than my shoot-from-the hip advice.

JamesM said...

As a 40 year old male virgin myself, I can tell you it isn't really about "having sex" per se. It's about validation as man and as a human being.

Clearly, a significant right of passage from "boy" to "man" is not just having sex, but having sex with a woman who sincerely wants to be there with you. (Prostitutes clearly don't meet this criteria)

It's perplexing, really. For myself, I'm average looking, in good shape, have a great job (major airline pilot), and live almost entirely debt free. Clearly though, there are some pretty glaring deficiencies that bar access to this rather fundamental human activity.

But no matter. After a certain point, the obsession with having sex and experiencing intimacy fades (at about age 35 for me). Other interests take over to fill the void. I suppose it's a good thing that they do, or the world would be full of George Sodini's.

It's nice to read that there are plenty of other blokes out there in the same boat though.

Jason said...

Jeez, Michael!

Look at the quality of your writing! It's impeccable.

You know that little nagging voice in your head? That little silent voice that does nothing all day but whisper to you that you suck, that you'll never amount to anything, that you won't be loved, and that the reason you haven't been loved (and maybe you are, but she's too shy to tell you), and that you're a loser?

That little voice?

It lies.

It's been lying to you your whole life.



It's also something that can be destroyed.

Wandering Geologist said...

In every other field of human endeavor, practice is seen as necessary for mastery, a positive good. Compare this sentence:

Wanting to someday write a best-selling novel, and otherwise not bothering with fiction, is an entirely sane, sober, and prudent choice.


---

That would make sense if the end goal of marriage were perfect sex. But the goal of marriage for most people (and certainly for people who abstain from premarital sex) is a good relationship, not good sex. There's plenty of time to "practice sex" once you're married.

Pogo said...

Well said, Paddy O.

"Like therapists have been telling me for years... if I don't love myself I can't love or be loved."

If your therapists have said that, they are full of shit. Fire them.

Give yourself one year.
Do what Paddy O. says.
And fully.
If after one year you are in the same spot, fine; leave then.

John Lynch said...

Michael Brand, I hope you're trolling. If not, here goes.

My wife was abandoned on the street in Korea when she was three. She was adopted at age six and came to the US. She still has trouble speaking English, which is sometimes humorous but sometimes a real problem.

I'm "autisic light" (high functioning, whatever) in that I'm smart enough to figure out how to function when none of the social rules are intuitive. I was hopeless around women for many years. Things improved when I realized that I'd probably be single my whole life and it really wasn't that bad.

Then I met my wife, and thought, "gee, she's really nice. Not like any of the other women I've chased around pointlessly." And one thing led to another and we have been married seven years. We have a little son.

So, we both took a terrible hand and turned it into a normal life because we wanted to. There's a lot of random chance in life, but there's also seizing opportunities when they present themselves. I could have just hid after one date with my future wife, but I didn't.

Also, it's about being happy with yourself. For many people it's better to be single than in a bad marriage. Being rejected by the opposite sex isn't the final verdict on your life.

John Lynch said...

And, I guess I'll add, if I had killed myself at the bottom of my life I never would have had any of this.

And I thought about it.

Things get better.

Edmund Ironside said...

'We live in an increasingly hedonistic, utilitarian society, where others are no longer looked upon as persons who have intrinsic value and dignity, but as things, the value of which is determined by superficial criteria as looks, money, fame, and power (especially fame and power), mere things which are used and tossed aside or treated as if they do not even exist.'
Those things have ALWAYS been true. So has the fact that if you want a 'spiritual' person to go out with, there are loads of those. There are loads of every kind of person. You just have to get off your arse and go and find them.

Ann Althouse said...

A terrific book about an Asperger's guy figuring out how to make relationships is "Look Me in the Eye." Anyone having difficulty figuring out what's going on with other people and why their response to you is off could benefit from reading this book, which is also very interesting for anyone to read. The author simply doesn't sense what other people are feeling and had to learn how to get along in his own way. He does a lot of other interesting things along the way (like design pyrotechnics for KISS).

Ann Althouse said...

"That would make sense if the end goal of marriage were perfect sex. But the goal of marriage for most people (and certainly for people who abstain from premarital sex) is a good relationship, not good sex. There's plenty of time to "practice sex" once you're married."

There's a terrific new episode of "Taxicab Confessions" in which an old woman sitting between her daughter and son-in-law displays the true joy of marriage. Has anyone here seen that episode? The son-in-law is saying he doesn't see how anyone would marry without trying out the goods first, and the old woman, who learned from her mother that you don't do *that*, talks about her 50+ year marriage. She's a widow now, but she's still aglow with love for that man when she talks about the *physical* affection they had. I watched the episode twice, and I was floored by that lady. She knew the meaning of life. She lived it.

Nathan said...

While there are many reasons that finding a relationship/getting laid can be difficult, the one that's been on my mind lately is the difficulty of finding someone who shares certain core values in a place or in a subgroup where those values aren't widely shared.

Ever tried finding a woman who won't cringe when she finds out you're a Republican when you live in a deep blue state? While it may be fun replying to comments like, "I don't sleep with boys who don't vote for Obama," with lines like, "I'm sorry, I vote with my head, not for it," it also doesn't get you far relationship-wise.

John Lynch said...

Nathan--

While going to English classes at the local four year institution of learning I carried my books in a "Durango Natural Foods" ccanvas grocery bag.

Protective camouflage.

The thing with being conservative around liberals, I found, is that being one for a period of time when people don't know your opinions let's people get used to you and decide you are "OK." Only then do you talk about politics.

Nathan said...

John,

I never really mastered the trick of camouflage. I mean, I don't go out of my way to advertise my political affiliation, but when someone in the crowd spouts a tired, liberal cliche and everyone else starts nodding as if it were self-evidently true, I just can't keep my mouth shut.

In any case, I'm not interested in meaningless sex, I'm looking for a relationship, and I find that it is generally best if those aren't based on deception.

former law student said...

Nathan -- did you not go to any tea parties? Conservatives are everywhere. You just have to pick a path that intersects theirs. You missed an opportunity to work on someone's 2008 campaign, but volunteer for next year's campaign. Join your local gun advocacy group -- one that has regular meetings. Although they may be 90% guys you only need to meet one. Plus guys have daughters and sisters -- if you seem like a nice guy they may introduce you.

Micheal said...

A terrific book about an Asperger's guy figuring out how to make relationships is "Look Me in the Eye."

Just bought this book last month. When I'm done with James Ellroy's latest novel (Yeah!) I plan on reading it next.

Synova said...

I was thinking...

I think that "love yourself first" thing is utterly backward.

I think you have to be able to love other people first, to care about other people first, and to accept their weakness and failings and forgive them for not being perfect.

Once you have practice doing that I think it's easier to accept that your own value is intrinsic and not up for discussion.

And nothing makes a person feel better about themselves than actually doing something to help other people. Even small things. Even just realizing that smiling at someone else will brighten their day.

Blair said...

Casual sex is great fun. People should try it. Of course, it's not as fulfilling as a relationship, but snubbing casual sex is like saying you won't eat McDonalds because you're saving yourself for a 3 star Michelin restaurant. Why deprive yourself? Big Macs are tasty too! ;-)

As for advising these poor virgins... have any of them heard of a wonderful product called "alcohol"? :-P

Lea said...

I would like to recommend John Ball's lovely novel, Miss One Thousand Spring Blossoms, if you can locate a copy. The protagonist is a 40+ year old engineer and a virgin. (John Ball is perhaps better known as the author of In the Heat of the Night.)

MrBuddwing said...

I'm not terribly good at the Pearls of Wisdom Department. But as for the middle-aged male virgin whose quoted posting started this discussion, and the semi-serious "helpful" suggestions involving alcohol and professional sex providers, may I suggest: He sounds like someone who values women, values sex - and maybe doesn't value himself as much. And that's what makes it all so sad.

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