We may be prospectless at an age that would make a Jane Austen-mother character faint, but many young women, for perhaps the first time in history, view being a long-term, deliberately single person as a legitimate option.The relationship virgin is "part of a larger societal trend in which people are deciding for themselves how they want to live their lives, rather than following conventional scripts," say Bella De Paulo, Ph.Andrea Syrtash, a dating expert in New York City and coauthor of , says the diminishing pressure to find a partner in our early 20s gives young women freedom to focus on other things, like friendships, hobbies, and careers.
Casual sex obviously comes into play, but it can be difficult for relationship virgins (of any gender) to trust that there are people out there who won't hold our inexperience against us.
"It's hard for them not to feel defensive about it." And while many RVs aren't sexual virgins, a guy or a girl who has been in a relationship is perhaps more likely to have explored in the bedroom more than someone who's had a few one-offs.
By one's mid-20s, there is a cultural (and sometimes personal) expectation of shared, baseline sexual experience, and not having it can feel embarrassing.
"Every time I log in to Facebook, there is a glaring message that says 'Update your relationship status,'" says Gabriela, 23, from New York City.
"Adults who have not been in a relationship may feel stigmatized," says De Paulo."Like, ever," she said, as though maybe I hadn't understood her the first time. I just wasn't all that surprised., came out last year, I thought I was the only relationship virgin out there.