Here is a reader question and corresponding guest-post from Commander Logic on the subject of losing your virginity after most people around you have lost theirs, but really it’s like a manual on dating and respecting the shit out of yourself, aka, universally applicable.
Dear Captain Awkward:
There are a lot of awkward conversations going to be going on in my future. Hopefully, at least.
Here’s the story:
I’m a 27 female post-graduate student at a German university (I’m German.). I’ve never had a boyfriend (I may never have) and all the guys who were ever interested in me (not many) were sadly not my type. There was one I really liked, too, but he was as shy as me where feelings and touching were concerned and in the end another girl (who was a lot more outgoing) dated him and I was not interested anymore. Another guy I met on the internet actually kissed me on our second (and last) date – right in the middle of the lively market place of my little university town. He never called again – me neither.
Other than that I had some three crushes. One of those I actually tried to talk to (I had a crush on him for two years). We flirted a lot in class – he actually sat next to me on purpose (I think) and touched my hand “by accident” a lot. I really liked that. But when I tried talking to him I totally felt stupid and couldn’t really impress him, I guess.
Last year there was a Japanese guy I totally found hot and we had many nice dates with talking and walking. But when he confessed that he liked me a lot, I totally panicked. I wasn’t happy at all!! I went home, cried and was totally disturbed. I wrote our university counseling because now I was absolutely sure that I was a whacko and not right in my mind. Since then I’ve been there for a few times and it really helps me, but basically there is nothing much wrong with me. (Thank god.) The Japanese guy turned out to have more problems than me and we try to stay friends but sometimes that is really hard, too, because he wants me to adopt every opinion he has about certain things I feel very strongly about.
Anyways, my problem stays the same: I seem to have certain fears concerning relationships and run away fast, when there is a guy in sight who might actually be interested in me. I’m certainly not an anti-sexual type. I know my needs and have a normal amount (I guess) of sex with myself, where I fantasize about doing it with a man. I dream about a relationship with cuddling and lots of kissing. I love romantic movies (but I fear they have given me a very unrealistic stance on the whole concept). And lately as more and more friends are starting families with children I came to realize that I really, really want to have babies sometime soon (but not too soon and not without an actual father to those children).
But I also more and more realize that I’m way too late. I left out the whole teenager drama years because I was mobbed at school and would rather have died than let anyone know that I actually liked the guy who started bad rumors about me. I was always good at school but sadly also always slightly overweight, which gave good opportunity for children to harass me. My self-confidence was never very high for that matter. (I actually felt really great with myself for the first time when I attended a one month exchange program at Virginia. At that high school I wasn’t really the fat little pig anymore and guys actually talked to me and were nice to me.) My parents actually wanted me to change my school but I didn’t want to lose against “those people” and I finished with the fourth highest grade.
At university I thought that everything would change. Well, it did in a way. Especially after studying one year in Tokyo, Japan, I’ve become far more self-confident and actually a lot “girlier” as I started to wear decent make-up and am constantly looking for a good style for me. But I realized that I’m not the party-type and I really don’t think it necessary to get drunk to have fun. My friends seldom had boyfriends either, so there was seldom any male company to our come togethers. By the way, I may be 27 years old, but I’m not very tall (1.58 m) and look a lot younger (I’m constantly asked for my identity card when buying DVDs which are rated 16 (German scale) or alcohol (which you can’t buy when you’re younger than 18 in Germany).
Well, after telling you all of this I want to ask you what I can do. Especially since I started to fear that a man in my future might laugh at me for never having had sex before. I’m really starting to get afraid, which adds to my clumsiness when talking to potential boyfriend material. A friend of mine told me to not tell that I never had sex before. But he would know, wouldn’t he? How is such an awkward conversation to be mastered?
Reading this I feel like crying for being such a loser in the whole love business. I would love to hear from you.
Hello Fellow Virgin-by-Circumstance!
Commander Logic here, and let me lay down my bona fides here:
At 27 I, too, was a virgin. I was good-looking, if a little overweight, and at 31 am still both those things (Ed. note: Commander Logic is TEH HOTNESS). I had skipped the whole dating thing in high school and half of college. By the time I was ready to date in college, everyone seemed either hooked up permanently, or had relegated me to Kid Sister status. I went on two dates with one guy, and had month-long “relationships” with two others, none of this leading to sex or even close.
I mean, I wanted to have sex! I did! But I had two things working against me:
1. I was very serious about being completely honest about being a virgin.
2. I wanted to be emotionally involved with the first guy I had sex with.
Both are laudable, right? Not totally crazy things to want? And yet, I would tell a guy I’m dating, “Hey, I’m a virgin!” and he would immediately employ the fade out. I didn’t know it at the time, but after talking to many, many male friends and exes about this issue, I’ve determined that – contrary to social expectation – most men are TERRIFIED of virgins. Inside their heads it sounds like some part of this: “What if I screw up? What if I hurt her and she never wants to have sex with anyone again? I’ll RUIN HER LIFE WITH MY PENIS! What if I can’t make her orgasm? SHE’LL NEVER ORGASM! Oh man, and I bet afterward she’ll be completely in love with me and she’ll INSIST we get married and have kids and AUUUUUUGGGGHHHHHHHHH!” And all of this is on top of whatever sexual anxieties they usually have. So in retrospect, I get that my program of complete honesty and forthrightness was scaring the crap out of my would-be suitors. But I can guarantee you that none of your would-be boyfriends will be laughing AT you if you tell them. Nervous laughter, perhaps, but nothing malicious.
My friends had a few suggestions that I am sure you are familiar with:
Don’t tell him you’re a virgin!
But I’m scared! What if I do something wrong? And isn’t that lying by omission? He should know!
Just pick up some guy at the bar and take him home and BANG HIM. Get it over with! How about that guy?
No. Just… ew.
Do you have any single guy friends? See if they’d help you out!
Ehhhhhh, no. Because then things would be… WEIRD.
None of these are bad solutions, by the way. But they were all wrong for me, and I don’t think virginity was actually the problem. The problem was that I was not out in the dating scene primarily to have sex. I wanted love. Cuddling. Jokes. Warm nights on the couch watching movies while it rained outside. And sex, sure, but that other stuff way more! So here’s the part where we get down to your (and my) actual problem: How to date in order to find love instead of in order to get laid.
From the tone of your letter, I suspect that you’re looking for love, and you view your virginity as a big road block in your way. To that I say, nonsense! First of all, congratulations, you come equipped with an Asshole Detector most people our age do not possess. If you do end up telling a suitor, “Hey, can we take it slow? I’m kind of new to the whole sex thing,” and he responds negatively (or creepily positively) then you know that he is an asshole who does not deserve you. AND THEN YOU MOVE ON.
The answer to our problem isn’t sex, it’s dating. A lot. Get an online dating profile, and if you like someone, go meet them for coffee or at a bookshop (buy each other a book, great first date!) or at an ice cream shop or whatever for 30 minutes. If that goes badly, you say goodbye forever and move on. If that goes well, go on a bigger date. If that goes well, keep dating. Kiss your dates. Make out with them. Hold their hands. Dump them after three dates. Dump them after a year. Let them feel you up in movie theaters. Massage their thighs in movie theaters. And if you like them That Way, and they seem good at the kissing and feeling up, tell them you’re not very experienced at sex, but would like to try it with them. The point of dating is not sex. The point of dating is not even love. The point of dating is to get to know a person well enough that love and/or sex are possible.
Because virginity doesn’t define you. You are not a 27-year-old-virgin. You are 27-year-old-YOU. You, who has been to Japan! You, who can take care of her own sexual needs! You, who kissed a guy in a marketplace that you never called! You, who breaks hearts! You who has had your heart bruised! You who wants love and maybe babies but not right now and definitely a wonderful life with someone!
And you can find love. It is manifestly not too late. It is not too late now, and it will not be too late ten, twenty, or fifty years from now.
I finally lost my virginity when I was 27. It was to a man I did not tell about my virginity straight out, though I alluded that I was not very experienced. It was… not great. It hurt. And sex kept hurting. But I had no frame of reference, so I figured I was just doing it wrong, but couldn’t explain to him what the problem was. He broke up with me. I told him he was my first, hoping that it would make him…. guilty perhaps? It was juvenile of me, but I was hurt and sad. And I went on my way. He did not deserve me.
Then I found love.
Okay, FIRST I went on a lot more first dates, fewer second dates, and maybe two third dates, but this guy. This man loved me. He waited for me to be ready to have sex with him. He was gentle and kind. He didn’t care if I’d had one other partner or one hundred, which I know because he said that. He loved ME. When he looked at me, he didn’t see hot-chick-I-want-to-bang or even near-virgin-who-is-pure, he saw Commander Logic (Who is super hot, and also makes hilarious jokes, and loves Doctor Who, and has great taste in beer, etc). (Ed. note: All of these things are true.)
I married that man last year. We have a condo and two cats and so much love that it sickens people who walk by. For the record, sex is awesome and does not hurt.
That might happen to you. But what happens to you will probably be a lot different! Maybe you’ll date exactly one guy and you’ll fall in love and then have seventeen babies with him. Maybe you’ll lose your virginity to a super sexy 53-year-old tour guide from Spain and then leave him and become a Berlin accountant’s mistress. Maybe you’ll date sexlessly for 17 years, but have a BLAST doing it and then sell your memoirs for a million euros. Maybe the 22-year-old delivery boy will develop a mad crush on you and you’ll have a torrid love affair and then leave him for his older, hotter brother. Maybe you’ll teach or take a night class and befriend a student who is sweet and sincere and wins your heart, and you get a flat together, never marry, but never need to.
There is no one way to live your life or fall in love, so it is impossible to lose at love or life.
You are not defined by your virginity.
You are wonderful and complex.
And seriously, when you are online dating, meet up after no more than three email exchanges. Penpals will never have sex.
Commander Logic OUT.