New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), or submit a question for advice.
Now I am twenty, I live in a big city, have my own apartment, I work, I am a student and overall, I have become more outgoing. I want to date now! I want a boyfriend! But my lack of experience seems to be my road block. Whenever I’m kind of hitting it off with a guy and the question of past relationships comes up I am honest and tell them I have done nothing with a guy or been in a relationship before. They all act extremely baffled at my inexperience and I think it drives them away. I don’t see the big deal but for all these guys I meet they see it as a red flag and run the other way.
Do guys really care about that sort of thing? Should I lie about my inexperience or just try to dodge the topic? Everyone I try to talk about this with think I need to lie because being a “ultimate virgin,” as my friends dubbed it, is a turnoff. I don’t see why it’s such a big deal. I do things in my own time and don’t like being told what a girl my age is supposed to be doing or have already done. Should I lie to the next guy I have feelings for? Please help me get my first relationship! — The Ultimate Virgin
JAREK: I’ll be honest, 20 isn’t really all that late to be jumping in the game. I knew a few girls in college who were in that same position. And you know what, they carried on like nothing was even the matter. They were confident, strong-willed, and knew what they wanted. You’ve lived your life by your own rules so far, so why stop now? If a guy is going to get weirded out because you’ve never dated before, fuck him. Not literally, since he was probably just looking to get laid anyway, but to hell with him.
The best advice I can give you is to just be confident in your decisions. If you tell a guy you have never had a boyfriend and then you get all shy and treat it as an embarrassment, then I can see him not knowing how to respond. But if you roll it off like it’s no big deal and follow it up with something like “if you saw the guys in my high school, you’d understand” then I can not imagine the right type of guy would be reaching for his coat as he excuses himself to the bathroom.
A guy who is interested in you is not going to care about your experience, but he will care about how you view yourself. And the sex thing doesn’t even need to be mentioned. That comes way later, when you *both* are ready to get physical. I know you want a boyfriend now, but if you ask anyone who has dated for a while, you have to shoot the rapids before you get to where you want to be. Just because you’ve decided to wait doesn’t mean it will now happen faster. You’re going to be subjected to the same misery and failures in dating as the rest of us. But you’ll get there.
ART: 20-year-old guys care about the absolute stupidest things. You’ve been on dates, which means you now have experience and here’s nothing to lie about anymore. I am 27 and getting married in less than three months; I can count the number of girls/women I’ve called “girlfriend” on two hands, with some fingers left over to flip them all off. The point of dating is to find the kind of guy you like — and believe me, there are tons of guys who will do fine for a while, and there are way way more guys who are just awful regardless of your dating resume. As for lying: a lie will always bite you in the ass and it’s a horrible habit to get into. Don’t lie.
JMagic:While this may vary a bit depending on a guy’s age, for the most part there is a lot of pressure in being a woman’s “first.” Sure, being first in just about every other guy-thing (sports, drag racing, video games, etc) is a badge of honor that we gladly attempt, but being the one to ‘show you the ropes’ can bring out the insecurities of the most confident man. You may not know any better, and your reactions to us, specifically a negative reaction, can deal a serious blow to us and our performance later on in the encounter. On the flip side, I’m sure there are a number of guys who would LOVE to be the first, but I don’t think you’d be much interested in them anyway.
Keep it simple and honest. If it comes up, be honest. Yes, you’ve experienced the freak-out reaction, but for every one of those you’ll probably run into a more understanding and accommodating response that will put you at ease and make you forget all about your ‘ultimate’ status.
JOE: I can relate to this. My first girlfriend was the summer before my senior year in college, and I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 20. And you know what? I had a blast dating in my 20s. You will too. You will also feel awkward, have your heart broken, wish you had never been born, wish you had never met him, and so on. Let’s get you on that roller coaster ride, shall we?
Most guys who are looking for a relationship (not just to get laid) will not view a lack of experience as a negative by itself. You’re 20, not 50, and it’s not like you’re the only person your age with little to no dating experience. It’s more a curiosity if it’s anything at all. Will some guys be bothered by it? Sure. Will most? Not at all. Will some find it intriguing? Yes. Of course, this assumes that they understand that you just haven’t gotten around to it (which is true), as opposed to there being some deeper reason as to why you’ve not ventured forth already, which leads me to…
No, you shouldn’t lie about your inexperience. However, there’s a difference between lying about it and emphasizing or preemptively mentioning it and being defensive about it or acting as though you think it’s an issue. It’s ok to be vague at first, if asked, because it doesn’t need to be a topic right off the bat. You can also tell the truth without being starkly clear that you’ve never done any of it before. But.. I’m curious as to how this even becomes a topic. I’ve not discussed prior relationships in detail (or, really, at all) before entering a new relationship, so I don’t see why you’d need to. I wonder if perhaps you feel the urge to mention it without prompting, and, if so, tame that feeling.
For the record, you can go from knowing nothing about how to kiss (and all the rest) and nothing about dating and relationships to knowing 90% of what you’ll ever need to know in a stunningly short period of time. Any guy worth your time will recognize this, as should you. Instead of worrying if you should lie to the next guy you have feelings for (no!), worry about finding the right guy to have feelings for. Then go out with him. The rest will take care of itself. If it doesn’t with that guy, then lather, rinse, and repeat.
* If you’d like to ask the guys a question, simply email me at email@example.com with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.
Carolynasaurus November 1, 2011, 3:18 pm
I think Jarek nailed it, if you are embarrassed by it, they’ll be embarrassed by it too. But it’s absolutely nothing you should be embarrassed about! You sound very self-aware and that’s a rare and special quality in someone so young. Be proud of the decisions you’ve made and you’ll find the right guy who’ll be proud of you too.
Ktfran November 1, 2011, 3:28 pm
Agreed. Jarek’s response was spot on and exactly what I was thinking when I read the letter.
Act like it’s no big deal and they’ll respond in kind. If it’s anyone worth your time that is.
I was 21. I had dated before, but waited until I thought I was ready to have sex. He had sex with several people before. He was 22. He thought it was no big deal. We did it. It was great. We dated for two years after that. All is well.
SpaceySteph November 1, 2011, 5:23 pm
My story is amost exactly the same, except it wasn’t good at all. It hurt like hell and I bled through the guy’s sheet. We dated for 2 years after that though.
I think this is why some guys might be a little afraid to take a girl’s virginity. For some, it hurts and bleeds; for some its not so bad. But I do think if you act like its no big deal, they’ll follow suit. If you act like a scarlett V is pinned to your shirt, they will treat you like there’s something weird about it. Unless they are a jerk just looking for an easy lay, but in that case the V card is doing you a favor.
PFG-SCR November 1, 2011, 3:20 pm
“A guy who is interested in you is not going to care about your experience, but he will care about how you view yourself.”
This is such a great line by Jarek/mainer, and it really applies to more than just this particular situation.
LennyBee November 1, 2011, 3:24 pm
I’ve been where you are, except older (I didn’t see the point of dating in high school, or in undergrad, since I was planning on going away to grad school, and the guys in my neck of the woods thought you were a dried up spinster if you weren’t married by 23, which I had no intention of being – I’m also not the type of person who is able to date casually). When I was ready to start dating, it wasn’t really a problem and I found a great guy within about 6 months (who, incidentally, also had very little experience). Guys who want you because they actually like you and are interested in you won’t care. Guys who just want you for sex are the ones who will treat you like a weirdo. And honestly, it’s not that odd to have little dating experience in your early 20s. I know lots of people who waited to start dating.
The guys had great advice (as usual) – don’t lie, but don’t make a big deal out of it either. I liked to go with “I haven’t really dated much” or “I haven’t had a serious relationship.” You don’t have to detail all the things you haven’t done. Virginity should only come up when you’re talking about sex, which is usually not on the first date (in my limited experience).
Samantha November 1, 2011, 3:28 pm
I have a similar story – I was 21 when I lost my virginity. It came up once in awhile in conversation, why I waited so long, but it was my choice, so I was able to downplay it like it wasn’t such a big deal. And honestly, it’s not. And anyone who says it is probably has some growing up to do. You’ll be glad you waited, especially because you seem self-aware and mature, and, odds are, your partner will be more experienced which will make the actual experience less awkward.
The biggest thing is not to stress it and not to buy into your friends’ (idiotic) label of “ultimate virgin.” You’re just taking your time and making choices that work for you. And you’ll be better for it in the long run.
6napkinburger November 1, 2011, 3:34 pm
I tend to think less is more when it comes to things like this. You dont need to lie, and if you want to be loud and proud, then do so, but there is nothing wrong with saying “I’ve never really been in a serious relationship.” It’s true; you haven’t. I didn’t date in high school basically at all, and I don’t think it ever really came up in college. And I didn’t “date” in college really either; more of a hookup culture. If you want to make out, go for it! If you want to let them get you off, go for it! If you don’t want to do any of that until you’re in a relationship with a boy, don’t! If you only want to date-date for real (good luck in college), do that! Saying you’ve never been in a serious relationship is normal and fair. Im not so sure it has to come up on a first date whether or not you’re a virgin and I can’t remember ever talking about high school dating on a first date.
I was a virgin for most of college (I guess, the fake kind), and while it was a big thing to a couple people, it really wasn’t something I talked about unless they were trying to unbutton my pants.
leilani November 1, 2011, 3:36 pm
Really, if a guy truly likes you (as opposed to a guy who is just looking for an easy lay), this shouldn’t be an issue. I think this might be one of those things that is more a personal insecurity than an actual reason that guys are losing interest in you. Just be patient, you’ll meet the right person to start experimenting with soon enough.
JK November 1, 2011, 4:00 pm
I never really dated when I was younger either, I had a ” boyfriend” when I was 15, but that didn´t go beyond kissing.
I lost my virginity when I was 21, and madly in love (I thought) with a 33 year old. He actually quite liked the fact that I was a virgin I think.
Don´t worry about it too much, I would go with 6´s advice (great, as usual), then if things progress you can mention your virginity.
MJ November 1, 2011, 4:06 pm
Some guys have the misconception that if you are a girl’s first, she’ll get all clingy and emotional and weird about you. So the guys who are just looking for fun will probably be turned off if you announce you’re a virgin/have never been kissed/whatever (especially if you do it early on.) But quality guys will stick around and realize you’re cool and fun and then they won’t care.
Don’t let your interest in having a boyfriend make you seem desperate, develop a full and fun single life, and you’ll be fine.
I was 31 when I lost my virginity. Yes. 31. And I still managed to find someone to do it with! And we’re like BFFs now. So you are way ahead of me!
Kate B. November 1, 2011, 5:36 pm
31? I was older. Thank goodness, I was beginning to get depressed reading these answers, thinking I was the only one who waited that long.
haggith November 1, 2011, 7:44 pm
32, with opportunities to do it way before… i waited, it was great, learned a lot, the relationship failed, met another guy and married him (loving every minute of it :D) at any moment before that age i felt remorseful or embarrassed: it was my choice and there are no regrets
SpyGlassez November 1, 2011, 9:10 pm
I’m 30, have been with my boyfriend for 2 years, and still have not had sex.
Elisse November 6, 2011, 6:10 pm
I’m nearly 29 and still waiting. The guy I’ve just started seeing is 30 and is also still waiting, which I’m really happy about. 🙂
silver_dragon_girl November 1, 2011, 4:08 pm
I was 22. It’s not as big a deal as you think, and _jsw_ is right– it’s amazing how fast you can go from knowing nothing to knowing everything you need to know. Just don’t do what I do and go through a slutty year once you’ve ripped off that band aid, so to speak.
I think most guys, if you approach it casually and like it’s not a big deal, won’t care. If you come across all super-serious about it, expecting rose petals and declarations of undying love before you give it up, or something, they’ll be intimidated. If you let them think you’re saving yourself for marriage or something, they’ll be turned off if that’s not their thing.
The most important thing in any relationship is to BE YOURSELF. Lying is never the answer.
6napkinburger November 1, 2011, 4:23 pm
I think everyone who waits a while for pretty much no reason goes through a slutty phase. It’s par for the course.
I just want to reiterate that I think that the best strategy is that your virginity shouldn’t really be front and center in the dating process. If you are “dating-dating” then date, and it will all happen gradually. (Second date, making out. Third date, kissing on the couch, lying down. Fourth date, watching a movie, kind of dry humping, spooning, etc.) Bring it up and talk about it, when it feels right. Before then, “Let’s go slowly” is perfectly normal and reasonable.
I think it sounds like I think you should hide it, which I don’t. I just don’t really see why its such a big part of the beginning of dating. If you are in a hookup world though, where relationships usually come after people are already hooking up, then i do understand that.
Red_Lady November 1, 2011, 7:46 pm
“and _jsw_ is right– it’s amazing how fast you can go from knowing nothing to knowing everything you need to know.”
Agreed! I was 21 when I had my first kiss. I’m pretty sure the guy had no idea it was my first. But as he was leaning in for a kiss, I remember telling myself “don’t think, just react”, and it was great! We ended up making out for quite a while, and a few more times after that. I think that our sexuality is hard-wired, we know innately what to do. So don’t worry about that part. But when you do get around to losing your virginity, I’d recommend doing it with someone that you really trust and care about, who will make sure that you are comfortable and having a good time.
Calle November 1, 2011, 4:13 pm
Agree with most of the posters…A guy who is just looking to get laid might be scared off, but a guy who wants a relationship won’t have a problem 90% of the time. The only shame in this situation should be applied to your friends for being judgmental. I hate when people are judgey about virginity, it is a person’s own decision whether they want to have sex at sixteen or twenty-six and that choice should be respected. I wonder if you are only flirting with players? Maybe you should branch out and look at all different sorts of guys. Don’t just go for the football player, although I myself knew a couple of really nice jocks. Don’t act embarrassed when the question comes out but don’t lie. Just say the truth, that you have limited dating experience. Nothing wrong with it, just own who you are. Anyway, I hope this experience of an old friend of mine might be reassuring. She is blond, peppy, in a sorority, and was a 24 year old virgin…Goes to show you that you shouldn’t judge someone by their cover…Anyway, she slept with a guy she had been seeing for about three months but didn’t tell him she was a virgin. Afterwards, she actually did bleed (which doesn’t always happen) and he was hurt that she hadn’t told him. He wasn’t turned off, but had felt bummed out that she thought he would be the kind of guy that would be upset or dump over sexual experience. Unless a guy solely wants to just have sex (most guys would feel guilty sleeping with a virgin just for the sex), he isn’t going to have an issue.
Jess November 1, 2011, 4:43 pm
I was a virgin until I was 20… I always thought it made me MORE attractive. I think the only guys its unattractive to are the kind that want to sleep with you real quick and not have anything further. It won’t stop guys from thinking you’re hot, and it won’t stop guys who really like you for who you are.
PattyMayonaise November 1, 2011, 4:44 pm
I can relate. I had a boyfriend in high school. We dated for 2 years and we were in the “everything, but” stage and on the day I decided I was “ready” was the day he decided he was ready to break up. It was tragic (at least it felt that way at 18) and I wasn’t ready to date again for a while. When I was ready to date, the fact that I was a virgin was the first thing I’d tell a guy when things would start getting to the make out stage, and I would say it with an alarmed tone like i was really nervous about it. Guys would react in different ways. The first one pulled away completely, the second pressed harder (causing me to pull away), and another pretended like it wasn’t a big deal, but then he would barely touch me and we broke it off. None of those guys became my boyfriend and we broke it off shortly after I told them which made me think my virginity was the reason. Eventually I became more comfortable in my skin (which I think happens with or without your virginity) and I acted like it wasn’t a big deal. The guy who is now my boyfriend I told after a few dates. I don’t really remember why but I told him like it wasn’t a big deal. He kissed me on the forehead and said “so?”. He told me that he’d only been with a few girls and it turned out that I’d even kissed more guys than he did girls. We were together a few months and I told him I was ready, and he didn’t really say anything. It didn’t occur to me that he wasn’t ready to sleep with me until a few months later when we were making out in a hotel room after his friend’s wedding. We’ve both finally decided we’re ready, but haven’t had the opportunity (we’re both living at home). Things are good, I’m happy, he’s happy and it will happen when it’s right. I’ve learned that the its only weird if you allow it to be and they guys who make a big deal about it are not worth your time.
caitie_didn't November 1, 2011, 5:12 pm
Not to diminish your experience, LW, but I was older than 20 when I swiped my V-card and so were most of my close friends. It’s really not that unusual, and it’s crappy that your friends are so Judgey McJudgeypants about it. When addressing your dating experience, I would say “I’ve dated a little bit but haven’t had a serious boyfriend”- vague, but totally truthful. There’s no reason to bring up your sexual experience until you and the person you’re with decide to get intimate. But ultimately, when you DO decide to do the deed, you really should tell the guy- because a decent guy will want to make sure it’s a good experience for you.
Red_Lady November 1, 2011, 8:28 pm
Very well said! LW, if you think it’s the virginity that’s scaring guys off, just don’t talk about it until you’re at the point where you might sleep with him soon. Because otherwise, it’s really none of his business what you’ve done. And like caitie_didn’t said, the right guy won’t be wigged out by your V-status. If he cares about you, he’ll want to do what makes you happy.
caitie_didn't November 2, 2011, 12:08 am
Thank you 🙂 I’m sure that at this point, the LW knows that for a lot of girls, the first time isn’t the greatest, so what really makes the difference is the guy’s attitude. I waited until literally the last possible second to tell the first guy I slept with (in retrospect, I probably would have told him sooner) and although he was gentle, it was painful! But, it remains a good memory for me because he a). didn’t rush me and b). made sure I felt safe and cared for throughout. A good guy really will not make a big deal out of it!
CG November 1, 2011, 4:20 pm
I’m sure I’d get some purple thumbs if we still had them for saying this, but … could it be that your attitude is a turn-off? Maybe you’re coming across as rather strident, shall we say, in your honesty? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but just the way you wrote that you “don’t like being told what a girl my age is supposed to be doing or have already done” … well, no one likes that, but some people express it in a way that’s less off-putting. Maybe you just need to loosen up and knock back a couple mojitos and not get all women’s studies on guys you’re trying to flirt with. And I’m a big fan of women’s studies, so it took a lot for me to write that! 🙂
6napkinburger November 1, 2011, 4:25 pm
Virginity is a construct that doesn’t exist. Go team!
CG November 1, 2011, 4:28 pm
YES! Exactly 🙂
silver_dragon_girl November 1, 2011, 5:56 pm
Yes! I like that. I hate the word “virgin” actually. Like a person IS or ISN’T one…excuse me, I’m not something different just because I had sex…it’s just something you’ve either done or haven’t done. Like going to Disneyworld.
Painted_lady November 1, 2011, 5:37 pm
That’s a really good point. I had a good friend who was also a late bloomer, and he would get all eye-roll-y when we had a girls’ night and the conversation turned to sex at all, ever. As in, the only way we would have been able to make him happy is if everyone pretended we were all virgins – no “Oh my god, the other night, John did ____” or even “My ex once tried to _______.” He would regularly explode with “Why is everyone so obsessed with sex all of a sudden?!” The issue was, he was finally comfortable being out of the closet and was at an emotional place where a relationship sounded nice, so he was more obsessed with sex than before, not us. I wonder if the same thing may not be the case for the LW, that she’s suddenly realized that sex is a theoretical possibility for her. My friend felt left out for being the only virgin, and there was about a year when he didn’t want to hear about sex ever, but he also got really self-conscious if we censored ourselves around him. So the judgment was all self-imposed on his part, and it also came up with the men he dated, way too soon and way too intensely, vacillating between sanctimony and desperation, and it was really hard to watch him shoot himself in the foot for 12 months straight.
Painted_lady November 1, 2011, 5:21 pm
How soon into a dating relationship do you tell a guy all this? I kept my v-card till 23 and I have some of the most ridiculously awkward stories where I told a guy too early or too late. It ranged from it sort of falling out of my mouth over first drinks (“You’renotgettinglaidtonightbecauseidontsleepwithmenyet… Um, yes, I’ll have some more chips, thanks.”) to shoving a guy off me at the last *possible* minute and yelling it as I ran out the door (“I CAN’T DO THIS!!! I’VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE!!!”). Neither of those garnered especially good reactions. If you lead with sex (or lack thereof) it sets the tone for the whole relationship that may create at least added pressure, if not some awkwardness. Waiting till too late is worse. Just let the subject take its course naturally, and address it when you feel like in order to keep a man in the dark about your lack of experience, you’re going to have to start lying.
As far as it being an issue aside from timing, well, it should be a talking point, a yellow flag at worst. Most people look for a partner who is mature, financially responsible, emotionally healthy, and smart. I wouldn’t automatically dismiss a man who had a GED and was going back to college, but I would take pause to ensure his GED wasn’t indicative of irresponsibility or a lack of value for education. It’s not a dealbreaker like, say, a convicted serial rapist, or even a red flag like having been in college for twelve years with no degree to show for it and five different majors. It’s just a “maybe I should unpack the whole story before I jump in” sort of flag. Unfortunately the vast majority of 20-year-old guys that I knew when I was 20 had about as much desire for a deep connection and a relationship that will be any sort of work as they do a hole in the head. Give it time, don’t force it (as in, every male you ever have more than 2 minutes’ conversation with, you think “Maybe THIS guy will be my boyfriend” – I say it because I did it), and have faith that guys get a lot more patient and genuine as they get older, and you’ll also get better at picking them out.
Good luck! From one late bloomer to another, you’re going to be totally fine. Also, it’s totally okay to make up for lost time when you do get there. I totally did, and it was a blast.
Rachelgrace53 November 1, 2011, 9:51 pm
hahahaha those were two awesome visuals of “too early” and “too late.”
Painted_lady November 2, 2011, 12:17 am
True and hilarious now, although completely mortifying at the time. To his credit, the guy that I ran out on surprised me in a completely wonderful way. He stopped me and had the decency to be surprised that I didn’t seem completely clueless – or at the very least, played off his shock that I was still so inexperienced as a testament to my innate skills – and took sex completely off the table. He coaxed me back inside and talked me through where my comfort zone was, made me feel totally normal despite being a basket case, and was so sweet and so very much fun that I nearly slept with him anyway. I didn’t, but he was absolutely fine with that. And this guy had a total reputation for being this hard-partying ladykiller with no conscience – but he never told a soul I’d made a total fool of myself. We never dated, but he always held a soft spot in my heart for not acting like a sleazeball when he had every opportunity to do so.
Mel November 1, 2011, 5:24 pm
Pfffft. Like Jarek said, to hell with them. I was an ultimate virgin too for the most part of my life. My now boyfriend thought it was weird when I told him, but we weren’t exactly dating, we were just getting to know each other in a friendly environment. We’ve been together for almost 3 years now and he’s told me he’s glad he was my first everything (by the way, I was 19 when I lost my virginity).
Mel November 1, 2011, 5:26 pm
It may be convenient to add he was 26 at the time, and a tad more mature than the average guy I go to college with.
spark November 1, 2011, 6:56 pm
I was a 20-year-old virgin too, but, in my experience, guys who knew thought it was HOT!
katie November 1, 2011, 8:15 pm
why do people think that dating in high school is pointless? The LW isn’t the first person who i have heard this from, and i am just wondering the thoughts that people have on it.
I personally think that dating in high school is like a pre-cursor to the “real world” dating that you do when you get older, so it is ultimately a good thing to become comfortable with the opposite sex…. and not comfortable like sexually, comfortable as in you arent scared of the thought of approaching a member of the opposite sex that you’ve never talked to.
Red_Lady November 1, 2011, 8:33 pm
I always thought high school dating was dumb b/c (at least at my hs) it wasn’t actually dating. It was just “will you be my girlfriend?” prior to ever even going out! It just didn’t fit with my idea of what dating was – going out with someone, getting to know them, and then deciding if you wanted to make it “official”.
Jess November 1, 2011, 9:09 pm
i was madly in love with my HS boyfriend, we had a great relationship and young love is so excited. “The ignorance it can ever end” But I will say it seems like in a lot of cases there’s the ‘hot’ 10% of each hs class that everyone wants to date/has crushes on… and the 90% don’t want to date each other.
6napkinburger November 2, 2011, 11:16 am
No offense to everyone who says it, but I find “I didn’t date because it was pointless” or “I don’t date because I’m too focused on my X (studies, work, etc)” to be BS 99.9% of the time. Not in a mean way. Not in a “you just couldn’t/can’t get a date kind of way.” But just, that its something we tell ourselves after the fact to make us feel better. Especially about high school. I know I told myself that I thought dating was stupid, but that’s because i didn’t really have any potential options, and I was way too shy/nervous/young/immature to ever tell a guy I liked him. But I had crushes and dreamed about going out with them the way people seemed to go out in Seventeen, though that’s not really how it worked in my school. Did those people who thought it was “pointless” never get crushes? If they did, then unless they were asked out by their crush and they said “no, I’m sorry, dating in high school is pointless”, I think I’m going to have to respectfully call a very empathetic bullsh*t.
Don’t get me wrong; I think you absolutely can be too busy to date successfully in adult life, and there are tons of people who “fail” at dating because of their schedules. (I’m free two wednesdays from now, does that work for you? No, I’m in switzerland then. How about the monday after that? Nope, I have a midterms that month, what about the tuesday after Christmas?)
But the idea that people truly “take themselves” out of the dating world because they are focused on their career/education seems a little disengenious to me and something that only happens in rom-coms. An amazing guy asks you out to dinner on a night that you have no work or other obligations and you are like, No, I don’t have an interest in dating until I’m out of med school? Or do you say, ok, and then eventually play the “when is good for you game” and realize its just not going to work because you are never free.
I am not offended and it doesn’t really bother me personally (people need to tell themselves what they need to tell themselves to make themselves happy, as long as it isn’t hurting anyone, which this isn’t). But it just makes me a little… skeptical.
fast eddie November 1, 2011, 8:38 pm
I lost my virginity at 20 and wondered what was so great about it at the time??? I finally had a GF in my late 20’s that dumped me. 10 years later my love/sex life got going and went through all the stuff that the rest of the world did in high school. For some of us it takes a bit longer.
Rachelgrace53 November 1, 2011, 9:49 pm
20 is still SO young to be getting started! And you’re, what, a junior in college? So young! Sure, it’s more and more rare to make it out of your teens with virginity intact, but almost everyone I know wishes they had waited until they were older. I know I do, and I was 19! Plus, I’ve been out of college for a year and I still have several friends my age that are virgins, two of which are “mega virgins.” I’ve never heard of anyone making a big deal out of it in a dating situation (and they’ve dated!).
I’d say to play it off until a relationship is more serious and you’re closer to being ready to take those next big steps. I’m not sure why it has to be talked about right away though. But if it comes up early on, just casually say that you’ve not really found anyone worth being serious about yet. If he’s a worthy guy (not just interested in banging you), he’ll be able to handle it and be willing to take things slow.
Painted_lady November 1, 2011, 11:57 pm
Having waited a few more years, I am actually completely happy I made that choice. I was beyond ready, and it was completely drama-free. Actually, my thought at the time was something similar to, “Cool, got that out of the way AND had some fun at the same time. Now I can get on with my life.”
Allison November 1, 2011, 11:55 pm
I didn’t have sex until I was 22. I didn’t mention it to the guy until RIGHT before, which may or may not have been a smart move. Basically, he wasn’t sure what I said, and then asked me to clarify later, at which point it was no longer relevant. Slightly awkward.
Anyway, as Jared was saying, if you say it like you’re embarrassed, then it’s going to make it sound like something to be embarrassed over. Don’t look at the guys (or anyone for that matter) who are more experienced as more “normal” than you. The age you lose your virginity or how many partners you have is just a fact of life. It’s not good or bad, or normal or abnormal.
If you’re having a conversation on a date about relationships, then it makes sense to say you haven’t really been in one, but that sounds a little too early, in my opinion, to disclose that you’ve never had sex. I don’t recall ever having a conversation with a guy I was dating of how sexually experienced I am, honestly, much less on an early date.
L November 2, 2011, 12:03 am
Bear with me as I rant a bit here…
It frustrates me that some people see their virginity almost as a “disease” — the sooner they get rid of it, the better! Being a virgin isn’t a bad thing! It’s ok to not date right away, even when everyone seems to be dating. It’s ok not to be having sex even if everyone is doing it. Have patience and things will come in time!
Background: I’m still a virgin, and choose to be one until I get married…now, I know I’m in the minority on this site with that. Everybody is different and everybody has different choices they make in relationships. Some choose to start having sex early, some don’t start until much later. It all varies depending on each person! There’s no “right” answer that fits everybody! There’s no “right” age to start having sex! And I assure you, LW, you are NOT a “late bloomer”…I didn’t have my first kiss until with my current boyfriend at age 21. 21!! I didn’t have my first date until senior prom in high school. That also marked my first slow dance with a guy (who wasn’t my dad)…I was 18. I didn’t cuddle with ANYBODY until I was 18 (and it was REALLY awkward cuddling…)…in college I only cuddled with a gay guy (until I met my boyfriend that is). I didn’t truly fall in love until I was 21.
The point of telling you all of this is to tell you you’re not alone. There are people who just haven’t dated until their 20’s or later. You shouldn’t have to lie about your sexual history to a guy just to get him to be with you. Those that actually care about that and pass you over just because you are inexperienced truly aren’t worth your time. When I had my first kiss from my boyfriend 2.5 years ago, I told him immediately that that was my first. He didn’t believe me, but then when I reassured him I was telling the truth, he just smiled and kissed me again. We’re still together and he has enjoyed teaching me the “ropes” of being in a relationship. Now I know I’m totally biased, but THAT’S the kind of guy you want to go through your first relationship with! 🙂
Jess November 2, 2011, 5:31 am
yea i agree! I had a very serious HS boyfriend and I was very in love with him but I still didn’t sleep with him. I wanted to be a virgin. My rational was I didn’t want to grow up yet- i liked having that innocence. I loved telling guys I was a virgin- I was proud of it (I thought it made me more of a challenge/pure/etc) I had sex when i was 20 and felt ready for that stage of my life with my second serious boyfriend. I really have no idea where girl’s are getting the idea that being a virgin is a bad thing.
look, you could walk about to 4 guys in any bar and ask “do you want to fuck me” and 3 would say yes. losing your virginity as a girl is the easiest thing in the world, if you really wanted to just do it, and everyone knows it.
moonflowers November 2, 2011, 1:20 pm
As an “old” virgin myself (27 and counting…), I can understand why she’d be worried, though. Defying social expectations is alway uncomfortable and can bite you in the weirdest ways.
I got ragged on by a nurse practitioner at my college health center when I went in with a yeast infection from taking antibiotics. When she told me she had to insert a speculum, I explained I was a virgin and had never been to the OBGY, and she rolled her eyes, stopped the examination, sighed, and said, “Okay, we do get an unusually high number of you academically oriented overachiever types…”. She basically implied that I was all work, no play, and hopeless. Never mind that I did have a boyfriend for two years whom I did a bunch of other things with, but not sex because my conservative parents would’ve flipped if I billed birth control on our health insurance.
Painted_lady November 2, 2011, 9:03 pm
Forgive me for being late to this particular conversation. Despite your claim not to be judgmental below, you are – inadvertently, I assume – being a little judgey with the “virginity is a disease” comment in that you’re maybe not taking into account the motivations behind it, nor that many women have their own sexual agency regardless of what it may signify to some dude.
I was one of the people who wanted to start having sex for its own sake, not because my virginity was some awful, humiliating thing I needed to hide. I liken it to getting my driver’s license (because apparently on this website all my metaphors liken sex to cars). I was the “wait until marriage” girl until I hit about twenty, and then I started changing my mind – not because of pressure from a boyfriend as I was single, nor from any real feeling of shame, but because I felt for me that it was the next logical step, and I was curious, and, well, I was frustrated! Just like about the time I hit fourteen I was more than ready to get my driver’s license, but I had to wait a couple of years. My lack of a driver’s license wasn’t particularly embarrassing – I was fourteen! That would have been way too young! – but man, I was looking forward to that day like crazy. And I was really ready to get naked with a dude; that’s how my brain worked. And just like my first time out in my car, I felt like I’d hit a milestone when I finally did. My first time was really normal and nice, and it was fun, and I felt empowered because I finally felt fully in control of my life. Just like my first time behind the wheel of my first car solo was nothing out of the ordinary. But the significance lay in what it meant to me. I’ll never forget my first car trip solo – on the way to school, and Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” was playing – even though that moment in and of itself was not all that big (it was a Tuesday, I had a thousand things to do after school, I think maybe I hadn’t done my English homework). And similarly, my first time wasn’t THAT huge: I was a little drunk, I was with an ex who was comfortable but not THE ONE, I think we had pasta at my house for dinner while we watched Madagascar, and it was otherwise just another night. I’ll always remember it, but for me the moment was honestly not that big of a deal. All it really did was take the pressure off the next relationship I had.
L November 3, 2011, 8:43 am
I really appreciate you chiming in on this conversation, Painted_lady. What I really love about the way you described your approach to sex in your relationships (I loved the car analogy by the way 🙂 ) is that you thought/think things through so thoroughly. You thought about every single option that you had available and did what you discovered was right for YOU. When I was mentioning those who handle sex like a “disease” I’m referring to those who just find whatever partner is available and without much thought, they go home with that person just with the intention of “getting rid of” their virginity. Since sex IS an important part of one’s life and does play a rather large factor in future relationships, I feel as though it is something that takes a lot of self reflection and thought to determine what it is that you TRULY want. Weighing ALL your options is very important. Whether that’s to wait beyond a certain age or wait until getting married or do some experimenting with your next boyfriend…some deep thought on the subject would help alleviate some of the regret that sometimes happens if people discover later that they actually wanted to wait but may not have taken time to think things through.
SweetPea November 2, 2011, 9:31 am
LW, please take notice- many of the ladies posting on this thread were exactly where you are… and older. It really isn’t so strange. So, please, try not to let the “ultimate virgin” comments from your friends get to you. You are NOT your virginity. You are a beautiful, smart, capable young woman and any decent guy will not be scared off by the lack of notches on your bedpost. What a RIDICULOUS thing for them to be scared off by!
A few of the other people mentioned that you should not make a big deal or be embarrassed by it. I fully agree. But, also, do not lie or hide your inexperience. I made that mistake. I did get some stupid reactions from guys in the past, so I decided to just not say ANYTHING. When I was a couple years older than you I got tired of waiting for “the right guy” and felt like I really just needed to get this sex thing “out of the way”. That’s a terrible way for me to have looked at it. Sex is awesome! Not something to “get out of the way”. But, I decided it must be done. So, I picked a guy who I genuinely liked (he was pretty easy on the eyes), but he was clearly only looking for one thing. I didn’t say a word about my inexperience. And, so there was no gentleness. It was painful and well… terrible. So, definitely don’t do that! It is not something on a to-do list to get out of the way.
I say do exactly what you’ve been doing. You’re going your own way in life. Continue to get to know guys that you find interesting. Don’t feel pressure to meet any age milestones. Be honest about who you are… but don’t be embarrassed (because the guys in turn will feel weird about it). Emphasize all the other million things about you- not your virginity. You will eventually find someone worth your time and it will be fantastic!
bittergaymark November 2, 2011, 10:55 am
Remaining a virgin till you’re married is a decidedly loaded roll of the dice…
Anybody considering doing so should watch SEX AND THE CITY and review what happened to Charlotte when she and her her first husband decided to wait until marriage for sex… (1) I know she was not a virgin here. But (2) I personally know of three people who did wait (highschool friends) and ALL the marriages proved to be mismatched sexual disasters!
L November 2, 2011, 12:10 pm
Yeah, because everything in Sex and the City should be taken as fact…
This is obviously targeted at my post. You know what? It’s my personal decision. I don’t bash the decision of others because I know that not everyone fits the same mold sexually. Everyone has their own decisions that they make and I respect that. I know I’m in the minority with that particular choice on this site. Notice I wasn’t saying “WAIT UNTIL MARRIAGE! YOU’RE TOO YOUNG!!!” in my post above. I’m not trying to push my own views down another person’s throat, thank you very much.
Knowing myself and my own needs, I’ll be ready for sex once I’m committed to somebody. Emotionally and mentally, I just need that commitment. I know myself pretty well and I know sex a HUGE step for me. Not that it isn’t a big step for everyone but compared to other people, but for whatever reason it seems to be a much bigger deal for me.
I know that I am sexually attracted to my boyfriend because I feel the physical attraction. I can tell we click because I know that he respects my boundaries and he is willing to go as slowly with me as I need him to. He has much more experience than I do, but that hasn’t been an issue in our relationship. Yes, sex is important, but so are ALL THE OTHER FACTORS in a relationship that we have been able to focus on.
So please do me the courtesy of not telling me what to do, BGM. I don’t judge people based on their decisions and neither should you.
bittergaymark November 2, 2011, 12:20 pm
Um, okay. Whatever. I also had three good friends act out the same little play as SATC in reality in the mid 1990s and the results were indeed VERY much unlike Sex And The City. See, on SATC it was all played for laughs in many ways, whereas with my friends it was an epic greek tragedy with kids and bitter divorces and one friend who is STILL not over how much of a mess her marriage was 15 years later. But go ahead. Clearly you know best. Can’t wait to see how it works out for ya…
L November 2, 2011, 1:29 pm
Yes, I know what is best…for my own personal needs. I’m sorry for what happened to your friends, I truly am. No matter what the circumstances, going through a divorce absolutely sucks. On the other hand, my parents have been happily married for 28 years and are still very much in love with each other — and yes, they waited until marriage. In fact, I have plenty of relatives and friends who waited until marriage to have sex. Some of these people are the happiest couples I know. However, I’m not judging other peoples’ decisions and I’m by NO MEANS saying everyone fits this mold. For me, I know what I need and my boyfriend is on the same page. In the long run, what makes a relationship last? Communication, friendship, respect, devotion… Great sex will only take you so far. And, just throwing it out there, but when you are deeply in love with someone, I’m guessing sex is just THAT MUCH better.
That’s all I’m going to say on the topic. Yes, you disagree with me, and I respect that, but don’t judge my decisions. I know what’s best for me.
KKZ November 2, 2011, 12:08 pm
Wow… I was never really ashamed of the age when I lost mine (15), because at my high school it was pretty normal to lose one’s virginity before graduation. But reading so many of the comments above about waiting till 20s or 30s, I admit I started feeling that cringe-y withdraw-y feeling of shame. I know I have no reason to feel ashamed, because as many have said above, it’s an individual thing – but the judgey voice in my head is now slut-shaming me. Must…resist…self-deprecation…
That aside, I will say I count myself among those who wish they would have waited. The boy I lost my virginity to became the man I married as an adult six years later and am still married to. The sex we had as teenagers definitely skewed our expectations of sex and the way we communicate about it, and not in a good way. Actually, in a rather disastrous way that we are only now starting to heal from. I said to him the other day that in many ways, we pretty much had to “start over” when we phased out of our teenage relationship into our adult one – except that neither of us were aware at the time that we had to start over, and thus went about it ALL wrong and did a lot of damage. So, tally that one as an argument for waiting.
With that being my personal experience, I’m not sure what I can offer the LW that hasn’t already been said – basically, it’s only a big deal if you make it a big deal, and this isn’t exactly first-date conversation. Maybe once you’ve been on a few more dates and feel like you still want to date him and eventually get physical with him, bring it up then, because then you’ve hopefully gotten to know him well enough that you can at least somewhat predict how he’ll react.
MsMisery November 2, 2011, 1:11 pm
From Art: “I can count the number of girls/women I’ve called “girlfriend” on two hands, with some fingers left over to flip them all off.”
I am stealing this (just switching the gender) 😀