Those who lose their virginity at a later age -- around 21 to 23 years of age -- tend to be more likely to experience sexual dysfunction problems later. Thus speculate researchers at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute's HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies in a January 2008 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
Does waiting too long to start having sex carry risks of its own??
The authors write that the study "lends credence to research showing that abstinence-only education may actually increase health risks," adding that other approaches may better equip young people to avoid both short- and long-term sexual health consequences.
Many sexuality experts agree.
"In my view as a sexuality therapist since the 1970s, the abstinence-only approach is a public health hazard," Ogden said. "Sexual relationship is complex, and the moment of marriage is not a magic marker.
"Instead of making young people pledge 'no' until marriage, we need to be encouraging them to understand their own sexual responses and orientations, learn how to engage in sexual practices that are safe, and acquire intimacy skills that will lead them into caring relationships."
Coleman states, "While abstinence only programs seem to be helpful in delaying onset of sexual activity, there have been suggestions that this approach could cause more problems when sexual debut takes place due to insufficient preparation and knowledge of responsible sexual behavior.
They conclude that "this study is interesting because it suggests that sexual experimentation is a normal developmental process, and when this process is inhibited or not guided, there can be poor sexual health outcomes."
In this country, we place great emphasis on our sexuality. Why does talk about virginity still remain taboo?