Question #132: Should I make my film about being a virgin?

Hey Captain Awkward,

Don’t really know how to start. Haven’t read much of the blog (I’m a bit lazy today I guess).

I’m a 26 year old guy who also happens to be a virgin. I’m nearly going to be a 27 year old virgin.
At the moment I’m writing a screenplay for a short movie for my master’s in Film. I’m writing it about two people who get together in some kind of rendez- vous to loose their virginity.

I don’t know if it’s such a good thing to make a movie about something that’s so close to me. I feel that people who know me well enough to have never seen me with a girlfriend or something of that kind just know that I am a virgin when I talk about about my movie(only when they ask). Is it awkward to feel this bad about it? Sometimes the ask me if its autobiographical, and I answer negative (I didn’t have a rendez vous to  loose my virginity) But I never mention that I’m actually a virgin. There are some friends that I told. Sometimes we talk about it, but most of the times not, and a lot of times we joke about it (I think joking about it is like taking control over the situation I guess).

I really want to lose my virginity, but maybe I’m to naïve about it. Watched too many movies that screwed my perception on how the world of connection, love etc etc works. Maybe I want to much control that I won’t allow a little bit of chaos in my life.

There is a friend of a friend that is like interested in me. My friend told me that she found me hot, and she also told me that it wouldn’t took me a lot of trouble getting her into my bed. But the moment she told me that I just freaked. First the thought that somebody actually wanted to have sex with me scared me a lot. The second thought was, what the hell am I going to do if I eventually get into the same room alone with her. I keep on writing these screenplays in my head in how it’s going to be: Am I going to be badass in bed, am I going to suck at it, is it going to be good etc etc. It’s driving me crazy!

I don’t feel an enormous attraction to the girl. She is 6 years younger, mildly attractive. Completely not my type (she even annoys me from time to time). Should I just go for it and forget all the blabla about the ultimate love etc etc feeling intimate, feel connection, or just have pure sex just for the sake of it. At least I can scrap “lose my virginity” from my ‘to do’ list.

What to do, what to do….

Kind Regards,

The Doubter

You’ve come to the right place, Doubter!  Here we have both an expert on being a 27-year-old virgin (Commander Logic) and a film instructor who went through an MFA program (Me). Our wheelhouse, you are in it.

Let’s start with art.

Make the film.

Make a film about what it’s like to be a 27-year-old virgin, and to be fascinated by sex and worried about sex and tempted to have sex just to find out what it’s like and then worried about performance, and wanting to be cool about it and worrying that everyone will know.  If you’re not putting your own obsessions into your work, if you’re not making films that are as weird and vulnerable as you are, what the fuck are you doing?  Films don’t have to be autobiographical (and you don’t have to admit whether or not they are, ever), but they do have to be yours.

Maybe make the film about a situation where the guy has a chance to lose his virginity to someone he’s not even sure he likes, and what he learns by going through with it or not going through with it, and what it would mean to be “good at sex” or “not good at sex” and where you got your ideas about that.

You can learn how to use most cameras or sound equipment in about 30 minutes if you have the manual. Casting, directing actors, pre-visualization, getting actually good at cinematography, working with a crew, writing and rewriting, and editing take longer – you have to learn by doing – and you will have many opportunities to pick them up during your time in film school.

What is harder to learn is how to put your guts into your work, and then put that work out in the world without fear or apology and listen to what people say about it, and how to develop that thing that is your voice. The longer you wait, the harder it gets, because the higher the stakes of each project. So do it now!  Right now I am picturing all of your teachers wearing cheerleading costumes and saying “Make your weird awkward virginity film!  Awesome!  Yes!” and possibly “Make sure you flesh out that female character fully so she’s not just a tool in your main character’s search for fulfillment – what does she want out of this whole thing?”

Make this film.  You have to make this film, and conveniently, it’s the film you have to make right now. When you’re out on the festival circuit and someone asks you if it’s autobiographical, look very thoughtful and say something like “We all start out as virgins, right?”

If you start feeling discouraged, here’s an example of someone who made a weird film about a weird guy who had trouble finding love.  It worked out pretty ok for him, I think. And if you’re looking for a hilarious, awkward film about two people maybe having sex, may also I recommend Lynne Shelton’s Humpday?  That also worked out pretty well for her.

As for that girl you don’t really like and aren’t attracted to who wants to have sex with you?  I don’t think you have time for people you don’t really like and aren’t attracted to.  I think before you scratch “lose virginity” from your to-do list, you’ve got things to do, like “Make awesome movie.”  There’s a really obvious metaphor in here about risk and authenticity and connection, which I will leave you to tease out.

Link us to a copy when it’s done?

32 thoughts on “Question #132: Should I make my film about being a virgin?

  1. Seconding the don’t have sex until there are mutual feeling of wanting to have sex; it’s seriously the difference between lightening and a lightening bug, to steal a phrase.

  2. I have had a LOT of bad sex in my life. At one point I had so much bad sex that I thought all sex sort of sucked a little! And I’m not talking about the rape- that happened to me, too, so trust me in that I know the difference.

    But I had all of this bad sex, and then I had sex which was bad sometimes and good other times and sometimes just ok. And I learned different ways to please a partner (rule number one, ask them what they like!! Don’t just assume. Can’t stress this enough) and make sure I was pleased as well (tell them what you like! That is my super-sekrit sex tip! Don’t be all, “but you should knooooooow already…”). Anyway, my point is that learning to do the sex is like learning to make yourself dinner. You eat some really disgusting messes and then you start to experiment and then you learn what you’re good at and what you like to eat. That’s kind of the best part, really.

    So I guess my advice would be this: picture that person in your mind and ask yourself, “Do I want to have sex with that person?” And then ask yourself, “What do I want from sex?”
    If your answer is that you just want to do it, then do. If your answer is you want to like the person you are doing it with, then choose a partner whom you actually like. Since you have indicated that you don’t really like this person all that much, it probably would not make things all too much better to get naked.

    1. YES. This. I’m done having sex with people I don’t really want to have sex with – but I had to do it to learn that. Good job for having learned this one the hard way!

  3. Just wanted to say there really isn’t such a thing as “being good at sex**”. Partners are like unique snowflakes. And lots of times sex can start out as bad until you get to know what the other person likes. And vice versa!

    **not being rapey and trying to be sensitive to what your partner likes is like 99% of being “good at sex” but sometimes styles just don’t mesh, no matter how GGG you are.

    1. Yeah, the more I think about it, the more it should be called “The Pact” and be about 2 people who agree to lose their inconvenient virginity together….OR DO THEY?

      Solid, solid idea, Letter Writer.

      1. I’m developing a script now that I originally created when I was 23 and it totally has an MPDG. So embarrassing. I rewrote her character completely though, so it’s cool.

        1. I wrote a series of short stories years ago about a character everyone who read the stories seemed to love but who I hated (but couldn’t stop writing about). I only recently realized why I despised her so much: she was a total MPDG (though she had the good sense to despise the narrator for brooding over her). Point being, lady writers write these characters too, apparently.

  4. I’m a rank amateur film production-wise, but here’s my perspective on making a film that’s close to your heart – remember that in order to get across the emotional reality of something, you may need to alter or even caricature it in some way. The analogy I use is the rain – if you shoot the rain, it just looks wet. If you want rain in your movie you need a rain machine.

    Tim O’Brien writes eloquently about this in The Things They Carried. An important lesson for fiction (and helpful in understanding how something like A Million Little Pieces comes about,)

    1. Good point! I like the garden hose with holes cut into it and the bucket, myself, or just spraying the windows of a car down with water and then getting the light right so it looks like it rained.

  5. If you already know that you’re not attracted to this woman, seriously, do not have sex with her. There’s no pressure. You’re off the curve, and you’re old enough to approach your sex life with a little bit of calm and self-confidence. I mean, you can tell who you are and are not attracted to. People do not necessarily know that when they first become sexually active! And many people who lose their virginity as teenagers lose it in circumstances that are not that memorable or lovely.

    Let this happen in its own time, and wait until you find someone you want to sleep with. It probably won’t be very long. Partners usually need time to learn how to have sex with each other, anyway.

    Also…I know it feels awkward? But it’s kind of an adorable idea, a guy making an indie film about losing one’s virginity, which is a close and personal subject to him because…he’s still a virgin! You shouldn’t feel embarrassed. Honestly, you should probably get used to people thinking that it’s cute. And very brave. Happy irony, yes?

  6. I would 100% watch that movie. Worry about the movie. Don’t bang that chick. Don’t worry about being a virgin.

    It’s like the Captain has talked about in other posts: you are the story you tell about yourself. If the story you tell about yourself is “I am a virgin and I make movies,” that’s really limiting how I’m going to see you. I mean, how many people tell their story as, “I’ve had sex with x number of people and I’m an accountant and football fan”? I know how virginity can seem to loom large, but it really isn’t keeping you from love and relationships.

    “Sexual experience” – whether none, some, or lots – is SO far down the list of interesting things I want to learn about 99% of the people I meet, and probably that you will meet. Yes, even when dating. It’s way more important to learn if you and that person can hang out, and laugh, and feel sexy feelings for each other. And remember: You HAVE sexual experience, just not so much with another person physically in the room. Masturbation is sexual experience. Fantasizing is sexual experience. Watching porn is sexual experience. You aren’t weird (well, not any more than the rest of us), and you aren’t unfuckable. Circumstance has just delayed you, and possibly for the better.

    Make your movie. Go on dates to meet nice ladies (I’m presuming that ladies are your interest). If you meet one you like and things are going well and in the sexytimes direction, you can say this:

    “I want to have sex with you, A LOT, but I haven’t had a lot of sex partners, and I don’t want to screw up.” 1- That takes the pressure of BOTH of you to perform for performance’s sake. 2 -Talking about learning what turns on the woman in front of (or under, or beside) you will stop it from being about “losing my virginity!!!!” and more about having quality sex. Use words. Ask questions. Try things and say “does that feel good?”

    Above all, know that your life is so much bigger than your sex life, and the Awkward Army is rooting for you!

    1. Very good point. There’s really no such thing as “virginity,” and sexual experience is qualitative, not quantitative. To risk TMI, I’ve been with my wife for 18 years and every time we do it I have a moment where I think “Omigodwe’retotallygonnadoit!!!” A big part of what makes sex fun is that moment. It’s worth waiting for.

  7. I wish more people would make films like the one the LW wants to make. Films should reflect real life. In real life some people don’t lose their virginity until they are in the mid to late twenties. Some of those people lament over that fact. Awkwardness ensues when they continually try to lose their virginity. These are things which your audience is going to find refreshing because NO ONE MAKES MOVIES LIKE THIS.

    As for the girl, let me tell you a little story about 19 year old me. I met a guy at my university who was a little cute. He was not funny, all he did was play video games and smoke weed, but I started flirting, dating, and sleeping with him because I was a bored horny virgin who wanted to rid myself of my virginity. He spent all of our three months together constantly whining because I was a real person with real emotions, he would ignore me for days on end to play video games, the only time he ever wanted to have sex was when he was high, he subjected me to his sexist horrible friends (even though he is a feminist he hung out with some truly awful fauxgressive douches because they gave him weed) and he was often just down right terrible in bed. Now with the exception of the sex things I knew all of this before I started sleeping with him and it annoyed me. He annoyed me but I slept with him anyway because he was there and it was convenient. I finally decided after three months of that bullshit that it was a mistake and broke things off with him. Then he became a raging douche and did things like steal my stuff, harass my roommate, and then he got one of my friends high, slept with him, and got him pregnant. This taught me something. When your brain is telling you that this person is annoying DON’T SLEEP WITH THEM. They only make you annoyed with yourself, the sex is really awful, and the situation never ends well.

    That being said you don’t have to wait until you are madly head over heels in love with someone to sleep with them. You just have to respect them, like them as a person, and trust them to be decent.

  8. okay, from someone who didn’t lose his virginity until his twenties, I think I should say a few words. First, if you have it in your head that the most important thing about relationships with women is finding the ONE PERSON who you fall DEEPLY AND MADLY IN LOVE WITH and that all sex has to be SUPER MEANINGFUL AND IMPORTANT, then a.) I totally understand where you are coming from, and b.) you should probably loosen up a little and allow yourself to experience things that don’t necessarily need to lead anywhere significant. There is no stigma with being a virgin, or at least there ought not to be, however since you sound like you long to get past this, I would free yourself to go along with whatever situation presents itself that you feel comfortable with. She doesn’t have to be someone you picture having a relationship with, heck she might not be looking for that anyway. Besides, you don’t actually know what “your type” is until you’ve let yourself experience a few different things. Secondly, when it comes to doing it, don’t think that you have to be anything other than yourself. You don’t have to say you’re a virgin, but I don’t think anyone will laugh if you do. Heck some girls like to show a guy the ropes, and sometimes they’ll even know if you lie about your level of experience. If you know what feels good to you and you are paying attention to what feels good to her then you’ll probably have a good time. Just you know, use protection and don’t copy anything that you may have seen in porn, that’s NOT how it’s done.

    1. I like your sly mention of going beyond what you imagine your “type” to be. This is because I am with you now, and I know your type pre-having-sex-with-actual-and-not-imaginary-women was mostly “no fatties.” And then you had sex with some ladies and some of them were fat and you realized that “no fatties” was actually more of a culturally imposed thing for you than a real actual thing.

      And then fast forward past your twenties and here you are, married to me, and I am not a skinny lady! So it turns out that the best thing ever for both of us was when you got a little bit older (and a lot more experienced) and threw out your perceptions of “types.”

  9. Make YOUR movie, LW. Your story is weird- so is mine, so is everyone else’s. But no one can tell your story but you.

    Also, don’t disrespect yourself or the girl you don’t like/aren’t attracted to by having sex with her. In my experience, you don’t have to be in love to have sex- I’m not giving that advice. But, sex is fun, or at least it’s supposed to be. If it sounds like a chore, then don’t do it.

    1. Sex does bring you closer to another person, so yeah, only do it with people you’d like to know better than you already do.

  10. Go for it! I think you have an oppurtunity to celebrate yourself and go on a journey with this film. You can tell the story from an honest perspective, which can be difficult now-a-days. It’ll probably mean a lot to you and the final product will more than likely be something honest, endearing and touching.

  11. Official Policy of Captain Awkward Dot Com Enterprises: You can have sex and respect the daylights out of yourself and the other person. You can choose not to have sex and also respect the daylights out of yourself and the other person. If you think that having sex means “not respecting yourself” definitely don’t have sex! Only have sex with people you respect (and respect yourself in the process).

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