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From Latter-Day Virgin To Deckhand: Nicole Hardy Makes The Most Of Her Confession

Image courtesy of Nicole Hardy

This story originally aired on October 10, 2015. 

Author Nicole Hardy told a lot of people she was a 35-year-old virgin. When her essay “Single, Female, Mormon, Alone” was published in 2011 in a New York Times Modern Love column, it sparked a lot of attention.

That turned into a book deal, and in 2013 “Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin” was released. In the book, Hardy describes her conflict with the lifestyle requirements of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Hardy never wanted children. Though a virgin until age 36 — or perhaps especially because of that — she has had sex fantasies about Paul Newman. She’s even patronized a sex shop in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

While these things made her an aberration in the eyes of the church, her confessions found a welcome audience among the public. The book was a success, and she landed a sizable chunk of money.

Realizing her book earnings might be a one-time affair, Hardy was determined to do something special with the money.

Image courtesy of Nicole Hardy

Surprisingly, her isolationist lifestyle as a childless woman with doubts about her faith, was particularly well suited to an 11-month voyage across the world on a tall ship — which, she explains, “basically looks like a ship from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ or ‘The Goonies’.”

Her new life at sea came with a cramped cabin, a broom, and a prophetic sea captain. She got calluses and scabs, felt stupid and inexperienced; and got very, very dirty; but she didn’t give up.

Hardy is currently working on her second memoir about her 11 months at sea.