Hardison: Well, what'd I say?
Eliot: You were explaining how you're still a virgin?
If you are a nerd, then as far as fictional media are concerned, you have never gotten laid, very likely haven't gotten to first base, may have never ever stepped up to bat — and quite possibly have never so much as wandered within a mile of the ballpark.
Now, this does have some real life basis, in that some nerds and geeks do lack some social skills, and take up unusual interests as a way to fill the gap in their lives (or, more unfortunately, fail to develop social skills because of said interests), or simply find them more interesting than exercising social skills. Some might just be asexual.
This trope can apply to female nerds as easily as male nerds, but thanks to the Double Standard, the males are far more likely to find unwholesome outlets for their unexpressed sexuality, virginity notwithstanding. Also, because males are expected to make the first move, female nerds are not at a disadvantage due to shyness or social ineptness. In fact, male nerds have just as much chance of being the Casanova Wannabe as any other type of male character. Some males (and a rare female or two) may try to deny their virginity, out of fear of losing face, but thanks to their nerdy exteriors, they are unlikely to be believed by other characters, if they even have the social graces to spin a convincing lie in the first place. Another possible reason that female nerds are less likely to be virgins is because All Men Are Perverts and A Man Is Always Eager in Fiction Land, and couldn't care less about what a woman's hobbies are as long as she's letting him have sex with her. Women on the other hand are often depicted as far more discriminating and will reject a partner whose hobbies aren't "cool" enough. Hence the use of terms like "girl repellent" (or the less G-Rated version "pussy repellent") to describe nerdy things.
There is also a general perception that a nerd's level of nerdiness is inversely proportionate to their chances of losing their virginity, which is a big reason that Even Nerds Have Standards. It also means that some nerds will deny at least some aspects of their nerdiness. The reverse belief also exists. Instead of believing that nerdy hobbies prevent you from having sex, some people believe that the only reason people take up nerdy hobbies in the first place is because they can't get sex and seek a form of escapism from that fact.
In non-mainstream works, this trope shows up less frequently, although some cases are deliberate aversions and some are just Author Appeal.
If the nerds are the main characters, there is a high chance they won't be virgins by the end of the movie/book/first season of the show, because virginity is a tragic flaw and heroes always overcome their flaws. Make that a very, very high chance if said heroes are male.
Note this doesn't prevent a Nerdgasm.
Compare You Need to Get Laid.
- A Pacific Bell from the late 1990s' implies this when it features a group of geeks playing a D&D like game in a basement that goes something like this:
Geek #1: I roll 13 so I reach level 35 wizard.
Geek #2: You can't level up, you ate a poison mushroom in the enchanted forrest.
Geek #1: No I din't!
Geek #2: Yes you did!
Geek #1: No I din't!
Geek #3: Ugh...The geeks get knocked on the floor by three flying phonebooks that open up on a specific page.Narrator: "Dating services." Another problem solved by Pacific Bell.
- In Steins;Gate, Okabe and Kurisu spend a great deal of time mocking each other for being scrawny, nerdy virgins - naturally ignoring their own scrawny, nerdy virgin-hood.
- No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!: Several stories revolve around Tomoko's inability to talk to boys and her sexual frustration.
- Tokyo Ghoul introduces protagonist Ken Kaneki as a shy bookworm that rarely leaves his apartment. He's very clearly a virgin, fretting over trying to ask a girl out for the first time. Unfortunately for him, his first date ends with him discovering Rize is a Literal Maneater...
- An issue of the Marvel Comics' Captain Mar-Vell during the Genis-Vell run used this trope when an evil sorcerer needed to sacrifice virgins to summon a demon and tried to use a comic book store's customers for that purpose. Marlow pointed out that rather than going to the time and effort of setting up a comic book store he could have just gone to the nearby Star Trek convention.
- Revenge of the Nerds plays with this in varying degrees. Clearly some of the nerds are out of their depth sexually, but Gilbert seems fine at attracting nerdy girls, Lewis comes off as a sexual maestro, and Booger clearly has enough experience to take an illegitimate child scare seriously in the fourth movie.
- The 40-Year-Old Virgin: The virgin protagonist collects fantasy (comic book style) toys, and has a good understanding of technology; this doesn't necessarily imply 'geek' therefore 'virgin' but it is consistent with that view. But the film is also a deconstruction of Sex as Rite-of-Passage, so it's probably a subversion. Also, the protagonist is conventionally attractive and has good social skills, further subverting the mainstream nerd stereotype.
- In The Breakfast Club, Brian Johnson (the "brain") is a virgin... but so are Claire (the princess) and Alison (the basket case). However, Alison and Claire both get together with Bender and Andy at the end, while Brian is left alone and single.
- Implied in Dead Poets Society:
- Inverted in American Pie: the biggest nerds (band geeks) are also the sluttiest.
- Averted in Mean Girls. There, the school has the sexually active band geeks.
- Back to the Future:
- Played with/implied when in the past, Marty observes his dad's incompetence:
Marty: Jesus, George, it was a wonder I was even born.
- There's also this, when Marty and Doc observe George's incompetence in 1955:
Dr. Emmett Brown: Which one's your pop?
Marty: [points him out] That's him.
[they see him getting kicked around by other school bullies]
Dr. Emmett Brown: Maybe you were adopted.
- Played with/implied when in the past, Marty observes his dad's incompetence:
- Referenced in Transformers when Glenn is being held for interrogation by the FBI.
Glenn: I have done NOTHING bad my entire life! Hey man, I'm still a virgin.
- In The Core, the resident Hollywood Hacker delivers the following line when confronted by the Government Conspiracy:
Rat: Wait a second... you guys aren't here to whack me, are you? Cause I was kinda hoping to have sex before that happens...
- Enforced by The Angry Video Game Nerd in Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie, who tells his protégé Cooper that true nerdhood means forsaking the pursuit of social interaction — especially dating and sex — for the pursuit of your chosen hobbies. Or, to summarize: "Nerds before birds". He's fine with Cooper hooking up with Mandy at the end of the movie, though.
- Suverted in Sho-shan y la Dama Oscura. Almost all of the adults on the book are nerds on their own way (Except Kadiri and her nuns, Sasuke, Placida and Kokoa) but it's implied that all of those nerds have also an active sex life.
- Referenced in The Martian when the NASA senior staff are meeting to discuss a risky but viable plan to hasten Mark Watney's safe return to Earth, which the guy who thought it up has dubbed "Operation Elrond". Annie Montrose, Head of Media Relations and sometime Nerd Nanny, is the only person in the room who doesn't get the reference and has to have it explained to her by one of the others.note
Annie: "Jesus. None of you guys got laid in highschool, did you?"
- The Big Bang Theory averts this. Aside from Sheldon justifying it with his Asexuality, no one else in the group is a virgin, even if Raj has trouble with women (as a result of a personality issue completely unrelated to being a nerd, and it didn't stop him from sleeping with at least two girls in the series). Played straighter with Amy. As of season 9, both Sheldon and Amy have both lost their virginity to each other, making this trope fully averted.
- Similarly, 30 Rock's Liz Lemon is not a virgin, but merely has a terrible sex life, partly due to her bad social skills and partly due to the fact that, aside from Floyd, all the men (and one woman) she has dated turned out to be either insane or wildly unsuitable in some way.
- In Community, Jeff Winger jokes that the math club has improved so dramatically at paintball that they must have been practicing... while everyone else was having sex.
- Sam has been body-swapped with a teenage boy and is looking through the kid's stuff.
Sam: [checking out his new face] Who are you? [finds Advanced Physics and Chemistry textbooks] Smart kid. [finds Darth Vader T-shirt] Virgin. [finds porn magazine] Frustrated Virgin.
- Subverted with Charlie, a semi-recurring character who LARPs and loves Harry Potter among other nerdy endeavours, and is a lesbian Pornomancer that can bed pretty much any woman she looks at, even once crossing the species boundary and making out with a fairy. She probably also banged Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, but that's not confirmed.
- Also both brothers are both a little bit nerdy, Dean constantly dropping references and Sam being a former law student, and seem to have no trouble getting laid. It probably helps that they don't look remotely nerdy.
- In one episode, Sam and Bobby both make fun of Dean for not having heard of H.P. Lovecraft or any of his works. Dean then shoots back, "Sorry, I guess I was too busy having sex with women." Of course, Even Nerds Have Standards, and later in the same episode, Bobby is talking to a guy who collects Lovecraft's private correspondence letters and snarks, "You must be catnip to the ladies".
- Sam has been body-swapped with a teenage boy and is looking through the kid's stuff.
- On The O.C., Hollywood Nerd Seth is stated to be a virgin at the beginning of the series, but it doesn't stay that way.
- Of course, so are Summer and Marissa.
- Averted in Bones, where the show's extensive and exotic gallery of nerds and geeks all do have sex, usually satisfactory and often perverse (and do they brag about it!). Played with in the case of Zach Addy, whom everyone initially assumes is a virgin. He tells them quite frankly that he has, and does, in fact, have sex. At one point, he asks the psychologist Sweets why everyone thinks/assumes he is a virgin.
- Also averted in Covert Affairs. Auggie is a genius with an affinity for anything technological. He's also quite the ladies man.
- Toby Isaacs, one of the few people in Degrassi Community School history to graduate as a virgin. This trope was averted with Liberty, however.
- Seinfeld inverts the trope and implies Virgins are Nerds. When men don't have sex, or stop having sex for a significant amount of time, the 99% of their brains that are always thinking about sex will start to function normally and boost their intelligence and thirst for knowledge significantly (George, for example, becomes an Omnidisciplinary Scientist and learns Portugese in a matter of days). Women however, can get sex so easily they take it for granted to the point where they require it to function normally, and during a dry spell start to act like someone who hasn't had their morning coffee.
- Averted in CSI, when the Hollywood Homely assistant coroner displays some particularly nerdy knowledge and Nick quips "you need a girlfriend, man." The coroner replies "I'm engaged".
- Subverted in Clueless: the main characters are doing a school assignment with a nerdy girl who keeps running off to throw up. At first they assume she has an eating disorder; instead, it turns out that she's likely pregnant, which they get a test to confirm. (Note that all three of the popular protagonists are virgins up until about the last episode.) The girl's boyfriend, though unseen, is apparently a massive dork himself.
- Late Night With Conan O'Brien made this joke a lot. It went so far that, one year, at Comic Con Triumph The Insult Comic Dog went around interviewing the attendees and seeing how much they really knew about sex, including Triumph holding a picture of a vagina and asking the men in attendance to identify it. No one did.
- Invoked on Friends when Joey doesn't know why Chandler and Ross' college friend is nicknamed Gandalf.
Chandler: Didn't you read Lord of the Rings in high school?
Joey: No, I had sex in high school.
- Quantum Leap: When Sam's teenage leap-host was being mocked by some high school scifi geeks, one of them remarks that if he'd been as lame as host/Sam, he'd still be a virgin too. Al, looking invisibly over their shoulders, consults Ziggy and then remarks that the mocker still is a virgin at present, and will remain one for quite a few more years. (Talk about an Omniscient Database...)
- Used in Veep regarding Jonah's stats team:
Statistician 1: You're like Neo.
Selina: What's a Neo?
Statistician 1: He's from The Matrix. Everything he does is awesome.
Statistician 2: The first movie. The sequels sucked.
Jonah: Guys, we agreed to let The Matrix debate lie.
Dan: Jesus, I can feel my virginity growing back in here.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic:
- In the song "All About the Pentiums", one line goes "They call me the king of the spreadsheets. Got 'em all printed out on my bedsheets." Doesn't leave too much room, apparently, for doing anything else under the bedsheets.
- And again in "White and Nerdy": "Spend my nights with a roll of bubble wrap. Pop, pop, hope no one sees me gettin' freaky."
- The Stephen Lynch song "D&D" ends with the line "Virgins 'till the day we die!"
- Scribblenauts: "Virgin" gives the same result as "Gamer".
- Changed in the sequel to give you a bride. Which is the original meaning.
- Subverted in The Last Story. Adventurer Archaeologist, Weekend Inventor, and all-around bookish and meek shopkeeper, Horace, is married... and when hero Zael discovers this, he seems rather shocked. Horace tells him he doesn't have to act so surpised that a fellow like him actually managed to find a wife.
- A rather subtle and possibly accidental instance of this trope occurs in Mass Effect if you decide to romance Liara, a shy, socially awkward scientist. At one point she states she has never done the "mind meld" asari equivalent of sex before, to which Shepard can ask incredulously, "Wait, you're a virgin?"
- In the Halloween page (#150) of Blaster Nation, that's how vampire!Ash deduces Matt is a valid source of virgin blood.
- Averted with Rayne from Least I Could Do. He is a huge nerd who also routinely sleeps with women. This strip is a very deliberate aversion.
- Gary from Ménage à 3, although he did get laid eventually. A few times, even. And he later gained a reputation as an master of cunnilingus, so he has women literally lined up outside his door mos of the time. Unfortunately most of them just want to use him like a glorified vibrator so he doesn't get much out of this reputation other than a sore jaw, and he's too much of an Extreme Doormat to say no.
- The heroine of The Non-Adventures of Wonderella will of course state this.
- Marigold in Questionable Content is a World of Warcraft-playing Yaoi Fangirl with zero boyfriends to her name, who admits that she has "never seen a dick". She later manages to find a sort-of boyfriend or two ... at least one of whom, Dale, is himself a rather nerdy WoW-playing virgin. The trope is averted as of this strip, where Marigold and Dale hook up.
- In the Whimsy arc of Skin Horse, the group needs a "total, inexperienced, never-been-kissed virgin" to play the role of a princess, and they turn to Nick. In fairness to Nick, he is a cyborg with the body of a helicopter. Actually, even Nick can make jokes about nerd virginity: "Is this the reality filter kicking in, or are you that desperate?"
- Ruby in Sticky Dilly Buns is something of a nerd and clearly a virgin. Admittedly, she has significant issues in addition to her relatively subtle nerdiness.
- Openly subverted in The Word Weary. The main characters play Dungeons and Dragons and are open nerds, but have active sex lives.
- Girls with Slingshots has Joshua, who although has good social skills and has confessed having experienced sex (with man despite being straight, and hookers), he admits never being in a relationship before.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
- Something*Positive includes a few jokes of this caliber, but most explicitly with the "Hell House" arc.
- That Guy with the Glasses:
- Chester A. Bum noted this in his review of the new Star Trek.
- Averted with most of the TGWTG crew though. Doug Walker is married, his brother is married, Linkara is married, and Spoony and Lindsay have all been in long-term relationships.
- Ask That Guy with the Glasses had this answer to the Star Wars special editions and the famous The Dog Shot First scene.
Q: Who shot first? Han or Greedo?
A: Sleep with somebody.
- There are several copypasta stories (which probably aren't true, but you never know for sure) that involve the poster bringing a girl who is very much into him back to his place only for her to see his nerdy interests and walk out.
- In one of these stories, the girl worked at the comic shop the poster frequented, where she sold him most of the nerdy stuff. Somehow things didn't click for her until she got back to his place.
- In another, the girl was perfectly fine with the guy having a model of a race car on his shelf, thinking he was into NASCAR or whatever, but as soon as he mentioned it was actually a Transformer, "Ha ha, what a loser! I'm outta here!"
- Yahtzee alludes to this in his review of Catherine:
(Increasingly amused) "... there's a moral choice aspect where you answer questions based on your own substantial experience with relationships *stifled laughter* "
- And the accompanying visual is of a fat glasses-wearing guy sitting next to a blow-up doll.
- The Involuntary Abstinence meme.
- In a podcast, writer David S. Goyer asked, "How many people in the audience have heard of Martian Manhunter?" After some reaction from the audience, he asked, "How many people that raised their hands have ever been laid?" (That one of the architects of the DC Extended Universe expressed this view of the franchise's core audience did not go over well.)
- The virgin in "The Virgin Walk"◊ and its spinoffs looks nerdy.
- The Cleveland Show: Cleveland takes Junior to a sci-fi convention, to show him what happens to guys that fail to lose their virginity. They ended up coming home with heaps of stuff from it.
- Another example from this show involves a cutaway gag about finding a rapist at a Star Trek convention. The police ask the crowd to raise their hands if they are not a virgin. The only person who does so is told he is under arrest.
- The Star Trek episode of Futurama mentions that in Earth's past, Trekkies, after the show became a worldwide religion, were executed by being thrown into a volcano because it was "the manner best befitting virgins." Considering how many of the show's staff are themselves Trekkies, nerds or holders of advanced degrees there was a definite Take That, Us vibe to the scene.
- On Family Guy, a Cutaway Gag features an Al-Qaeda suicide bomber arriving in Heaven, excited to get his promised reward of 72 virgins. He gets 72 male nerds playing Magic: The Gathering.
Suicide Bomber: [angry Skyward Scream] OSAAAMAAA!!
- The Comic Book Guy in The Simpsons lost his virginity to Agnes Skinner when he was in his forties. Principal Skinner, who is pretty square himself, apparently lost his to Mrs. Krabappel when he was in his early 40s.
- One bit on Robot Chicken has the Devil wondering what happened when everything in the underworld suddenly turns frigid as he's torturing victims. Cut to a bedroom with a hot blonde lying in bed and a nerd dancing around the room singing "I got laid! I got laid!"
- Like its Seth MacFarlane companions, American Dad! has this in effect with Steve, Barry, Snots, and Toshi. Many episodes have a subplot involving either Steve or Steve and his friends trying to overcome their nerdiness and get some.
- Both Daria and her artsy best friend Jane end the series as virgins; of the other notable characters in their grade, the only one not implied to have sex is Upchuck. There was an episode where Daria and Tom almost have sex, but Daria can't go through with it.
- Interestingly Inverted with Daria's popular, boy-crazy sister Quinn, who is implied to have a Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality. In fact, there's not really any indication that anyone in the Fashion Club has had sex.