How Many Men Attain Wizard Status?

Sex Statistics

The fabled wizard: the man who manages to go 30 long years of his life without coming into contact with a v*gina other than the one he came out of. How many men have the honour of having this title bestowed upon them?

I have consulted three datasets to answer this question, The National Survey of Family Growth, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and General Social Survey. This is how many heterosexual men (and women for interest’s sake) have not had vaginal intercourse at age 30, or in the case of the GSS how many opposite-sex sex partners they’ve had since turning 18. Of course it’s possible that some 30 year olds lost their virginity after turning 30, but it’s good enough.

How many 30 year olds are virgins?

The largest dataset, the NSFG, shows a rate of 2.1% for men and 1.2% for women. NHANES shows a similar rate of 1.7% for men and a slightly higher one for women of 2.8%. The GSS shows the highest rates of 3.7% for men and 4.5% for women, and this is despite the question not specifying vaginal sex like the others. I guess it’s possible that some respondents had sex prior to turning 18 and then decided it wasn’t for them, or maybe some of them misinterpreted the question to mean new sex partners since turning 18 while they had been in a relationship with their high school sweetheart since then, or premarital sex partners. The sample sizes are the lowest at 103 and 128, but the rates are also higher when looking at 30-35s. It’s not because the rates have suddenly shot up in recent years either. This chart shows the rates for 30-35 men:

The NSFG also doesn’t show evidence for a rise in the wizard rate from 2011-19:

Percentage of 30-35 year old men who are virgins and haven't had sex

Some have forecasted an ‘explosion of wizards’, but I guess we’ll have to wait to see if the sex decline observed among the young follows them well into adulthood or if ‘delayed adolescence’ will tend to be a more temporary phase. From the data that currently exists for people from their mid to late 20s it doesn’t really seem like there will be one for a while at least.

What Predicts Wizardhood?

What sociodemographic factors are associated with men travelling down this path? I ran a logistic regression analysis on the NSFG data for 30-35s using variables that seemed like they could play a role. Of 3,374 men, 69 remained virgins. We find a negative effect of being Hispanic, a positive effect of being college educated and living at home, and a negative effect of having drank alcohol and binge drank in the past year.

Predictors of virginity among 30-35 men

The data for height and weight aren’t publicly available for 2017-19, but here is a separate model including these variables:

Predictors of virginity among 30-35 men

What kind of picture does this paint? More likely to be college educated so probably not lacking cognitively at least. More likely to be living at home so probably has trouble living independently or properly integrating into society. Less likely to consume alcohol which implies less socially active and more risk averse. More fat. One might say that they fit the profile of someone on the spectrum fairly well, which would make sense considering autism is a strong predictor of chronic virginity. In a study by Schöttle et al. (2017), close to half of high-functioning autistic men were virgins while not one neurotypical man reported being one. The mean ages were in the late 30s.

Autism virginity and sexual frequency rates

We didn’t see any effect of height here at least (if anything wizards were taller, but of course the effect would need to be large to detect it here), but we saw an effect of obesity. It’s possible that this is because obesity’s effect on attractiveness, but it could also be that they’ve given up on life and let themselves go. These people probably lack much physical activity in their lives which wouldn’t help matters. It’s also arguably another sign of autism as autistic people are more likely to be obese (and also underweight, Sedgewick et al., 2020), or alternatively of low testosterone. It’s possible that facial attractiveness may play a role. Prokop & Fedor (2011) found a small but significant effect of facial attractiveness on the probability of parenthood for men above 40 (but not height).

Who else fits into the 2%? There’s probably some genuine asexuals out there. It’s hard to get exact figures on it, but the most common estimate seems to be about 1%, and in line with the libido gap more women than men seem to experience it, which may account for a good chunk of their 30 year old virgins. While Asperger’s/autism was far and away the most common disability experienced by men on the show ‘The Undateables’, others such as Down syndrome, Crouzon syndrome, and brittle bone disease made an appearance. Some may have severe ED. Some may simply be focusing on their sigma grind. What is clear is that for this to happen involuntarily there has to be something very special about you.

In terms of what they themselves stated the reason to be, in the NSFG data 43.5% said it was against their religion or morals, 2.5% didn’t want to get a female pregnant, 3.5% didn’t want an STD, 40.2% hadn’t found the right person yet, 1.2% were in a relationship waiting for the right time, and 12.3% selected ‘other’. So at least half may be wizards ‘voluntarily’ (volwiz?), although you could of course argue that the inability to find a spouse wasn’t quite as voluntary.

So it seems like men who earn this title are quite significant outliers. If you think about it there are less virgins than there would be if lifelong monogamy were mandated and all people who could pair up did, as some 5% more males than females tend to be born and they’re not dying as much as they used to. Some people may find this hopeful, but for those approaching or already in this cohort they may find it a lot more grim to realize how abnormal they truly are, and how over it may truly be for them as there may be less room to still be a ‘late bloomer’ than they had imagined.

References

Schöttle, D., Briken, P., Tüscher, O., & Turner, D. (2017). Sexuality in autism: hypersexual and paraphilic behavior in women and men with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience19(4), 381–393. https://doi.org/10.31887/DCNS.2017.19.4/dschoettle

Sedgewick, F., Leppanen, J., & Tchanturia, K. (2020). Autistic adult outcomes on weight and body mass index: a large-scale online study. Eating and weight disorders : EWD25(3), 795–801. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-019-00695-8

Prokop, P., & Fedor, P. (2011). Physical attractiveness influences reproductive success of modern men. Journal of Ethology, 29(3), 453–458. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10164-011-0274-0

6 Comments

  1. Not autistic, not short, not obese, college educated, not asexual. So i’m an outlier uh, what a grim destiny…

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