More than one in eight (about 12%) of the 18-year-olds who failed to initiate sexual activity remained virgins into their 20s.Researchers did find that about 1% of the people surveyed reported no sexual attraction to the either gender at all.
They asked surveyed respondents in four waves: 1994-1995 (junior high or high school), about a year later, in 2001 (18-26 years), and in 2008 (24-32 years old), according to study researcher Carolyn Halpern, a professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina.
Prior analyses have conflated two important terms: "technical" or "vaginal" virgins and actual virgins.
The former may have abstained from vaginal sex to avoid potential negative consequences, like pregnancy or disease.
But "actual" virgins have never engaged in any kind of sex — vaginal, oral, or anal.
The longer you wait to have sex, the less likely you are to actually do it.
Of people who don't have any sexual experience at age 18, 3% still didn't have any sexual experiences by age 24 to 32, a new study, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, found.
The study was the first of its kind to delve into the reasons why these people stay virgins into adulthood. Sex might not interest many adult virgins, potentially identifying them as asexual. The study included 2,857 participants (1,302 females and 1,172 males) in a health survey starting in the 1994-1995 school year.
We traditionally think people "wait" to have sex later in life for religious reasons. Researchers chose participants from a larger sample based on who had initially reported no sexual experience by age 18 — mostly non-Hispanic whites with educated parents.
These results were consistent with prior research indicating that asexuality and sexual inexperience are not one and the same," the researchers wrote.