It turns out that putting off having sex until you’ve found ‘the one’ could set you up for long-term sexual dysfunction. 

Actress Rebel Wilson has revealed she didn’t have sex for the first time until 35, which is double the age the average American is losing their virginity – 17 years old. 

Seth Eisenberg, CEO of the PAIRS Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on fostering healthy relationships, told that people who lose their virginity later in life may have greater difficulty becoming aroused and experiencing orgasms once they do become sexually active. 

Studies have shown that waiting too long to do the deed can lead to pent up frustration, weak muscles and performance anxiety, leading to erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation or the inability to orgasm. 

Actress Rebel Wilson has revealed she didn’t have sex for the first time until 35, which is double the age the average American is losing their virginity – 17 years old

Rebel shared the intimate detail about her sex life in her new memoir, Rebel Rising, in the hopes it would help young people because ‘not everybody has to lose their virginity as a teenager.’ 

The 44-year-old told People Magazine: ‘People can wait till they’re ready or wait till they’re a bit more mature.

‘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,’ Rebel added.

Experts have long highlighted the benefits of a healthy sex life, which include boosting your immune system and heart health, lowering blood pressure, strengthening muscles, improving sleep and even extending a person’s lifespan. 

When abstaining from sex for extended periods of time – either remaining a virgin or going through a dry spell – studies have found thinking slows down, the immune system worsens, pelvic muscles and bladder control weaken, stress and frustration increase, pain tolerances plummets and your sleep is disrupted.  

One of the earliest studies from 2007 to examine how the age of losing your virginity predicts future outcomes found men who first have sex at 21 to 23 years old tend to have a harder time getting and maintaining an erection and experiencing an orgasm. 

Men who first had sex in their 20s had a 59 percent higher risk of experiencing sexual arousal issues than men who had sex at 17 years old. 

They also had a 46 percent increased risk of erectile problems and a 74 percent higher risk of not being able to achieve an orgasm. 

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Stephanie Manes, a couples therapist, told the pressure to perform after waiting all those years can lead to anxiety that will kill the mood. 

She said: ‘Anxiety is a big buzz-kill for arousal.

‘It’s pretty common for men to run into some trouble keeping an erection or having an orgasm the first time they have sex with a new partner. There can be a lot of pressure to please the woman and to prove that they can be a good lover. 

‘Women have their own version of that, being totally self-conscious or preoccupied that they can barely feel anything going on in their bodies.’

And for people who wait to hop into bed after tying the knot, the stress is exacerbated, Ms Manes said: ‘All this pressure is even higher when the man or woman you are having sex with is now your wife.’  

Aside from the physical, losing your virginity later in life can impact you mentally and emotionally. It can lead to poor social skills and stunted emotions – two things key for good sex. 

A separate study from 2016 found people rated virgins to be less attractive than people with sexual experience.

Additionally, the virgins themselves said ‘late bloomers’ were less attractive.

The stigma attached to older virgins led researchers to conclude that abstaining from sex may result in negative outcomes in relationships. 

While losing your virginity older than most may cause both physical and mental problems, the researchers from the 2007 study also found people who lose their virginity at a young age, defined as 14 years old, also face risks. 

Researchers said: ‘Both early and late initiation were associated with sexual problems such as problems with arousal and orgasm, primarily among men.’

Losing your virginity at a young age was associated with an increased number of sexual partners, higher chance of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and riskier sexual behavior. 

However, it seems that more Americans are waiting to hop into bed and people are having less sex overall. 

In 2021, research from Rutgers University in New Jersey showed casual sex steadily declined in recent years – a trend that was present even before the Covid pandemic. 

And people are getting married later in life, with the average age increasing from 24 in 1990 to 30 years old in 2022. As people wait to settle down, experts say they may find themselves entering relationships at an older age and therefore could be delaying first-time sexual encounters.  

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