Why You're Not Having Sex

Death, Sex & Money

By WNYC Studios

Why You're Not Having Sex

Wednesday, 11 March

A 34-year-old listener we’ll call “Marie” emailed us back in 2015. She’d never dated anyone seriously. She'd never been kissed, and she'd never had sex. She wasn't opposed to any of those things. They just hadn't happened for her yet. And she worried that if she told a potential partner about her sexual inexperience, he'd walk away. 

Many of us aren’t having sex, for all kinds of reasons. When we asked you why you're not having sex, you told us about abstaining for religious reasons, or because of lingering fears based on what you learned (or didn’t learn) about sex growing up. We heard about not having sex because it hurts too much, or because you could hurt someone else by doing it. Some of you aren't having sex because you can't find the right partner or keep running into narrow societal standards about what’s “attractive.”

We heard from people in relationships, too, like a couple who can't agree on how much sex is enough—so they're not really having any. And a man who says everyone thinks his life is full of three-ways and orgies because he lives with his wife and their girlfriend. But in reality, he says they're not having sex at all. 

When we asked for your stories about why you’re not having sex, you also told us that not having sex can be really difficult to talk about. But by talking about it, what becomes clear is that our idea of what's "normal" might in fact be a myth. 

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