“No one who reads romance novels will believe a 28-year-old virgin.”
            My critique partners were definite and unanimous. I needed to check my information.
            A friend Jan has her doctorate in psychology. Her practice is mostly adult women. I called her.
            “Have you ever heard of a 28-year-old virgin?” I asked.
            Jan laughed, coughed a couple of times, then disclaimed. She could not talk about specific clients but, yes, she knew, not only one, but many women who were still virgins beyond age 28.
            “Right now I have at least a dozen women clients between twenty-five and thirty years old, seeing me because of that very thing.”
            “Because they are still virgins?”
            “That many?”
            “I’ve had dozens since I began practicing. Their situations vary, of course. All the ones I’m seeing right now have some college. Most of them have degrees. I promise you, there is not a dog in the bunch. I mean these women are attractive and have a lot going for them. A couple of them are even knock-out gorgeous.”
            “Are they homosexual?”
            “No. Life might be easier for them if they were.”
            “None of them has had sex? Why not?”
            “As I said, their situations vary, but most of them don’t know why, which is ‘the problem’ that brings them to me. Because of not having had sex, most of them have developed low self-esteem, in spite of their many other accomplishments. Some are ready to give up on ever having sex, much less getting into a meaningful relationship. Some have decided they’re too old to have sex for the first time, given their ages.”
            “They consider twenty-five or thirty too old for sex?”
            “Too old for beginners.”
            “What do you tell them?”
            “At first, I was like you, amazed that there were any virginal women in Oklahoma over the age of seventeen. Opportunity seems to be the main culprit.
            “There are some who promised parents or church groups to remain virgins until marriage.”
            “Still unmarried, they continue honoring those promises.
            “I finally began asking some of my more promiscuous clients when they had sex for the first time and how it happened.
            “Most of them started young. They and the boys they knew were hormonal--actually focused primarily on their own sex drives. Both boys and girls used dialog borrowed from movies and books and copied celebrity lifestyles. Basically they knew what went where, but usually there was no finesse. Prom and graduation nights were fairy standard beginnings. It was part of being popular, who spent the night with whom.”
            “What about willing girls who got missed on prom or graduation nights?”
            “Beer parties at lakes. Drinking and drugs sometimes helped.”
            “Do you have any male clients? Are there frustrated male virgins, too?”
            “There are, but they see our male counselor.”
            “Do you counselors compare notes? Do you ever introduce his clients to yours?”
            “Not all females lose their virginity in high school.”
            “Of course not. Maybe a third of them. More opportunities arise in places like coed dormitories and parties in college.”
            “Where others get initiated?”
            “What happens if a woman gets through high school and college without having sex?”
            “Late bloomers become more aggressive. They have to, if they’re going to get in the game. Who do you think signs up to meet people online?”
            “Does love or a relationship play any part in all this sexual activity?”
            “Apparently not as much as women like to think. We’ve got things topsy turvy in America today. Sex often comes before a relationship. One of my clients had thirteen sex partners from the time she was twenty-five until she was thirty. She was trying to catch up. She is older now, and has not had sex at all recently. Not that she’s not interested, but she no longer feels like ‘giving it away.’  She’s now looking for a relationship.”
            “Nobody talks or writes about this.”
            “Not generally. No one wants to admit she’s been ‘left behind.’”
            “I feel obligated to share this surprising information, especially with people who write and edit romance novels. It could provide great new plot material.”
            Jan laughed again. “I can’t imagine information like this would be good for the romance novel business.”

 DO YOU LOVE ME?, Sharon Ervin's fourteenth published novel, is coming in the spring of 2018 from Intrigue Publishing. A former newspaper reporter, Ervin has a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma, is married, and the mother of four grown children. She lives in McAlester OK and is probate clerk in her husband and older son’s law office.
 Ervin’s books are available in print and electronic formats. Titles and blurbs are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, libraries, and wherever books are sold.
 She is active in Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Alpha Phi Sorority, The OU Alumni Association, the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., the Texas Writers Guild, and P.E.O.
 Ervin can be contacted at, on Facebook, Twitter, or by e-mail at


DO YOU LOVE ME? is a playful version of "Pygmalion," and "My Fair Lady," updated, reversed, and set in Dallas. CEO/socialite Savanna Cavendish, 32, is a career woman who assigns monetary value to everything, including her own time and energy. She considers religion a crutch for the poor. Savanna is annoyed when she must accept help from Pedro Rivera, 28, a highway construction worker who repairs her car, then refuses to allow her to pay him cash. A devout Catholic, Pedro, through an interpreter, asks Savanna to teach him to speak and deport himself well enough to create his own contracting business. 
 After thinking it over, Savanna takes the challenge, and agrees to remake Pedro into Peter, an American gentleman.

As Peter morphs, Savanna is surprised by her attraction to the man she considers her creation. As the chemistry between them quickens, Savanna struggles to view him as an investment rather than an individual. When women friends admire him, she is vexed by unfamiliar twinges of jealousy. 

Eventually, Savanna succumbs to a feelings that have no cash equivalent: love for a man custom designed for her, by her.


Sharon Ervin said…
Thanks, Marilyn, for allowing this blog.
This was different, but definitely interesting. Isn't it odd the things critique groups come up with sometimes?
Denise Camacho said…
Sharon I have friends who are still virgins...into their 40s! I wouldn't have published this if I had not truly believed there are women out there like this.
Thonie Hevron said…
This is a fascinating topic for a romance writer, heck, any writer. I write mysteries and am interested in this. The counselor had it right: we have things all mixed up these days. I recall seeing a episode of NCIS where the victim was a successful JAG lawyer who didn't have sex with her fiancé. The agents were all surprised, as it's not very common these days. Of course, the victim had a secret but that goes without saying. I try not to throw my heroine into bed too soon.
Sharon Ervin said…
Thanks, Thonie and Denise, for your input and support. Love little odd tidbits about people.

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