Is there a word for a sexually-inexperienced man/boy - like how virgin is for a woman/girl?

I'm from Norway, and here the word svenn is used for males who have yet to sleep with someone. Although jomfru (virgin) is also more and more used on males.

Svenn is also used for a person who's been studying (often a craft) under a master, and will soon become a master himself. I guess apprentice would be a good translation, although a svenn may himself have younger boys beneath him, whom he instructs in the craft.

Svenn is also used in peppersvenn (an unmarried man 30 years old or older), as opposed to peppermø ( = maid)(an unmarried woman 30 years old or older).

So is there a "male" version of virgin - and perhaps a male-specific word for losing his virginity?

  • 5
    I posted this question today and it might be interesting to you. :)
    – user140086
    Nov 30, 2015 at 15:44
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    Just for your information, you want to use "losing" and not "loosing" here.
    – nanny
    Nov 30, 2015 at 19:48
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    Ironically, I believe the word svenn is cognate to the English word swain, which means a man who is a woman's lover.
    – psmears
    Nov 30, 2015 at 19:54
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    Do you have a source for "svenn" being used for male virgins in Norwegian? The only meanings I've encountered for it before is for it either it being a young man, or a craftsman's apprentice. Googling doesn't turn up anything resembling your definition, and neither does Wikipedia, Store Norske, or www.nob-ordbok.uio.no/
    – eirikdaude
    Nov 30, 2015 at 21:15
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    It's gender-neutral, as in The 40-Year-Old Virgin
    – smci
    Nov 30, 2015 at 21:39

4 Answers 4


Virgin is used to refer to a person who has never had sex or a person who has no experience in a particular activity. This person can be male or female.

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    This is what allows Jeff Dunham to make the joke with Achmed, asking "did they say it would be only female virgins?" Nov 30, 2015 at 19:13
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    I've occasionally heard the term to mean having had receptive sex rather than just any form of it in certain contexts. K: "I'm not a virgin!" C: "You mean you've lost your virginity or you've taken someone else's? You don't look like the pitchin' kind to me."
    – zxq9
    Dec 1, 2015 at 2:21
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    @zxq9 - that quote seems to demonstrate that virgin can mean either way, other wise C wouldn't need to clarify. K has either lost his virginity through some prior sexual relations, or he has taken someone else's, but whether he was giving or receiving, he's no longer a virgin. K seems to make a distinction between losing one's own virginity and taking someone else's.
    – Johnny
    Dec 1, 2015 at 2:41
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    In the movie, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin", the protagonist is not a woman. Dec 1, 2015 at 18:10
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    @Cronax - How does one give or receive virginity? One is a virgin by default until the criteria for not being one are met. Dec 2, 2015 at 18:09

In English the word "virgin" has absolutely zero gender requirements. Virgins are virgins, male or female.

It simply means anyone that has not had sexual intercourse. It is quite normal to refer to a male having lost his virginity, or referring to a male virgin, etc.

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    It might also be good to mention that this is a modern phenomenon. 'Virgin' meant 'a woman who has not given birth' or simply 'a young woman' in the past.
    – otakucode
    Dec 1, 2015 at 12:31
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    @otakucode: When? The 13th centrury barely counts, while maiden is a rather different word
    – Henry
    Dec 1, 2015 at 18:26

A slang term exclusively used for males is cherry-boy (cherry boy). Urbandictionary has many entries for the term also.

Cassell's Dictionary of Slang has the slang term cherry prick also but I've never heard it before.

The terms above are uncommon unlike virgin which is used for both males and females.

Here are the definitions from Cassell's Dictionary of Slang (by Jonathon Green):

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cherry-boy n. [1970s+] (US) a male virgin [CHERRY adj. (1)]
cherry prick n. [20C+] a male virgin. [CHERRY adj. (1) + PRICK n. (2)]

They are related to the term cherry meaning a female virgin (from 1920s).

Here is an excerpt about cherry boy and its origin in military slang during World War II in Japan:

Cherry boy⁠—Cheri boi(Chay-ree boy).
So many of the young American GIs who took part in the military Occupation of Japan had had no sexual experience that the term "cherry boy" was one of the first "new words” the GIs learned. Japanese prostitutes delighted at breaking in "cherry boys" and would often service them without large fees (resulting in some GIs faking virginity over and over again). Cherry girl was also used. The Japanese word for a male virgin is dotei (doe-tay). A virgin girl is a shojo (show-joe).

Sex and the Japanese: The Sensual Side of Japan (by Boye De Mente)

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    Amusing side note - "cherry boy" has been borrowed into Japanese to mean "male virgin" (チェリーボーイ / cherī bōi; this despite Japanese already having the unambiguous word 童貞 dōtei meaning "male virgin"), and is probably more widely understood in Japanese than in English.
    – senshin
    Dec 1, 2015 at 2:48
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    I've updated my answer further. I'm aware that the terms I offered are uncommon but I considered this question as a more advanced question. It is obvious that virgin is gender-neutral and it can be found in many dictionaries. If the answer is "virgin is gender-neutral" then why all the hassle. I thought OP was interested in other slang terms.
    – ermanen
    Dec 1, 2015 at 17:43
  • So that's where the phrase to take someone's cherry comes from?
    – TRiG
    Dec 2, 2015 at 14:37
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    @TRiG: All related terms come from cherry meaning a female virgin (from 1920s).
    – ermanen
    Dec 2, 2015 at 15:17
  • @TRiG the other way around, it comes from an euphemism for rupturing a woman's hymen.
    – Jon Hanna
    Dec 2, 2015 at 15:51

According to the OP, in Norwegian, the word "svenn" has at least three different meanings: an apprentice, a young man who never had intercourse, and an unmarried older man.

"an unmarried man, 30 years or older" as mentioned by the OP, can be referred to as "a celibate" no matter his sexual status.

  • celibate (noun) - a person who abstains from marriage and sexual relations. (typically, but not always, for a religious reason)

A young man who never experienced sex, as mentioned by Jasper in his answer, is a "virgin". It's the usual word to refer to a young man and can be used for both males and females, any age group. Some related words are: chaste, immaculate and virginal. These are adjectives and the first two are not exactly synonymous with "virgin" (noun).

Edit - "celibate" and "virgin" are not synonyms. A celibate abstains from sexual relations and a virgin never had any.

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    -1 Celibate suggests your current lifestyle. You can be celibate without being a virgin
    – wim
    Nov 30, 2015 at 17:50
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    You can also be a virgin without choosing to be celibate, as I suspect many teenagers would attest.
    – abligh
    Nov 30, 2015 at 17:53
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    Did you see the quite relevant comment from smci regarding "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"? There is no age limit on being a virgin. The difference I see between "celibate" and "virgin" is that the former word generally refers to an intentional choice, while the latter simply refers to a state (of never having had sex).
    – herisson
    Nov 30, 2015 at 22:46
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    The correct term is "virginal". The other suggestions of things like "cherry boy" or "cherry prick" may be correct but are using totally the wrong register. "Chaste" is not so good because it implies that you are choosing to abstain for some specific reason. If you are virginal it simply means that you've never had sex. That's it.
    – Brandin
    Dec 1, 2015 at 10:51
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    @Jay - "Christians say that Christ was born to a virgin and refer to this as the "immaculate conception"" is a frequently-encountered misunderstanding of "immaculate conception". That actually refers to the conception of Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was conceived and born without original sin. In turn, she conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit - but that event is NOT the immaculate conception.
    – Floris
    Dec 1, 2015 at 19:42

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