Correlates and Predictors of Virginity Among Heterosexual African American Young Adults

  • Antoinette M. LandorEmail author
  • Leslie Gordon Simons
Original Paper


Research documents that African American adolescents and young adults engage in more sexual activity than other racial/ethnic groups, yet little is known about individuals who remain virgins into adulthood. Using data from the Family and Community Health Study of 554 African American young adults, we examined the individual, familial, interpersonal, and community-level correlates and predictors associated with their virginity status. A total of 82 (14.8%) reported never having had sex. Hence, sexual activity among African American young adulthood is not a universal experience. Multivariable analysis showed that, for males, virginity was associated with BMI, physical attractiveness, educational attainment, anxiety, self-esteem, religious salience, residing in a two-parent household, and neighborhood social disorder. Lower odds of virginity were associated with being in a relationship, higher cognitive performance, and more antisocial friends. Among females, higher odds of virginity were associated with educational attainment and parental quality while lower odds were associated with higher cognitive performance and cigarette use. Results demonstrate that some characteristics associated with virginity were not necessarily the converse of previously identified factors linked to sexual activity. It is important to consider multiple correlates of virginity and their implications for sexuality development of African Americans across the life course.


African Americans Virginity Sexual behavior Young adults 



This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (MH48165, MH62669) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (029136-02). Additional funding for this project was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the IRB of the University of Georgia and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family ScienceUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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