Rebel Wilson lost her virginity at 35. That's nothing to be ashamed about.

by 24USATVMarch 28, 2024, 7:01 p.m. 23
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Rebel Wilson lost her virginity at 35 years old.

"People can wait till they're ready or wait till they're a bit more mature," Wilson told People ahead of the release of her new memoir "Rebel Rising." "And I think that could be a positive message. You obviously don't have to wait until you're in your thirties like me, but you shouldn't feel pressure as a young person."

For years, movies and TV shows have portrayed abstinent characters as strange, brainwashed, uptight or naïve (Look to Steve Carell's character Andy in "The 40 Year Old Virgin," who is mercilessly mocked by his peers). A 2016 study also found that people who are sexually inexperienced were perceived by potential partners as "flawed" in the dating market.

But many sex experts don't see it this way. In reality, choosing boundaries can be empowering for those who want to exhibit agency over their bodies and relationships. "There's just as much power in saying no as yes," Amanda McCracken, a sexual empowerment advocate and writer, previously told USA TODAY.

Each person's relationship and sexual journey is different, so there is no need to stress if Wilson's story sounds familiar.

Are people having less casual sex? Staying single longer?

Today’s young people are swiping left on the idea of casual sex.

In 2021, research from Rutgers University-New Brunswick showed that casual sex has steadily decreased in recent years. Though many would suspect this was due to the pandemic, the trend actually pre-dates quarantines and shutdowns.

As a sex researcher, Candice Hargons previously told USA TODAY there are many known benefits of a healthy sex life. But saying no can also offer similar perks. Some may opt for abstinence because they're fed up with hookup culture and crave an emotional connection. Others may use the opportunity for mindfulness and reflection.

Wilson recalled, "Normally I would just leave the room when the conversation (about virginity) was happening. And then the people that said, 'Oh, at 24, it's so late.' And then I'm sitting here thinking, 'Oh my God, my number's 35. What the hell? I'm going to look like the biggest loser.'"

Some recent statistics indicate that lifelong romantic relationships may not be forming as quickly for young people as they did in decades past.

"Overall, we’ve seen a shift in our culture that began occurring as millennials reached adulthood," says Moe Ari Brown, a licensed marriage and family therapist. "We are no longer marrying as young as our parents did."

The median age to get married for the first time in 2022 was 30.1 for men and 28.2 for women, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. In 1990, the median age for a man was 26.1 and a woman 23.9.

"This means that having your first romantic relationship might also happen later than in previous generations," Brown adds. "This is good news for anyone who feels like they are the only one who isn’t partnered."

A return to chastity?Why so many women are saying no to casual sex.

Why people might not enter romantic, sexual relationships

People are staying in school longer, are more keen on exploring their LGBTQ identities and are questioning traditional relationship institutions, Brown says.

Wilson, now engaged to designer Ramona Agruma, noted she "would've explored her sexuality more" had she "been born 20 years later."

Seeking professional help might be beneficial if fear of romantic relationships is the reason why someone finds they are remaining single.

"If someone is worried and finds social interactions awkward or uncomfortable there are coaches and therapists who can help employ exercises," says Courtney Watson, licensed marriage and family therapist. "If the difficulty is related to unresolved traumas then again, therapy is a great tool."

Important:Voluntary celibacy and the sexual empowerment of saying 'no'

What to do if you've never been in a relationship, had sex
• Remember it's not just you. "Many people have not had their first long-term romantic relationships, and it’s OK not to partner until you are ready," Brown says.
• Take time to get to know yourself. "Self-exploration can assist you in defining what feels best for you so that you can identify when you’ve made a solid match in a partner," Brown adds.
• Figure out what you want. Is a relationship something you actually desire, or something you think you should desire?
• Prepare to be vulnerable. "You might have to be ready to step out of your comfort zone and engage with others or apps In ways you have previously avoided to see what works for you," Watson adds.
• Stick to your boundaries. Don't change to fit into what you think someone else wants.
• Avoid comparisons. "You’re never too fast, and you’re never too slow," Brown says. "Think of yourself as right on time for your life's epic adventure. Things will unfold for you, and it’ll be well worth the wait when they do."

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