Dear Captain Awkward,
I’m a single straight guy in my early 30s. I’m also a virgin. (Or at least I identify as one. I wouldn’t quibble with anyone who’d say I’m not. I have some limited experience receiving oral sex, for example.) I’m far from the negative virgin stereotypes, I think: I have plenty of female friends, I have at least some confidence that I could be a desirable partner for the right person, and most of all, I’m not obsessed with my virginity. I’m a virgin due to my own choices, and mainly due to my own hangups. I think I can get over them eventually, through a combination of therapy and willpower and getting really comfortable over a period of time (like, months) with someone I’m pretty into, but it’s not going to be a quick or easy process.
I don’t really get the sense that age-appropriate potential partners for me are generally into waiting for “a period of time” for sex, though.
To complicate matters more: My one long-term relationship ended on decent terms some months ago. (She was cool with no sex for awhile too, but in the end that was part of why things weren’t working.) At this point in my life, I don’t think I want another serious relationship. I think I’d rather try out open relationships, friends-with-benefits situations, etc. To take the pressure off, you know, and just because being “partnered” is not how I want my life to be right now. But that kind of casual relationship seems like it would make not rushing into sex even harder! “Hey, do you want to come back to my place and…make out for awhile like we’re 14?” I can’t imagine that’s too appealing to anyone my age, but especially anyone who’s also looking for something less serious. I really do feel like I missed out on the usual high-school-age or college-age development, in terms of casual relationships and “building up” from kissing to sex, and I worry that at my age, now that I want that, it’s too late.
So, what’s a guy to do?
I like your opening paragraph. The right person for you will not really care about your virginity – basically everything in here applies to you also, so keep not carrying it into dating situations as some giant hangup to be overcome. There are plenty of sexually-inexperienced-but-totally-horny women in the world, and they too are being bombarded by the weird cultural messages that say, “EVERYONE BUT YOU IS HAVING FABULOUS SEX 24-7. NOW BUY THIS STUFF!” Ethics prevent me from giving you the emails of the ones who are in my inbox, but the sample size is not small.
I think your assumption that no one will want to just make out with you is incorrect. I think some people would like some safe, fun make-outs with a nice person without too many complications. Provided you live in some kind of metropolitan area, I think you can use Craigslist or other dating sites to find them.
I wrote just such an ad for another poster long ago:
“Wanted: Make-Out Slut To Make Out Like Teenagers”
I want a nice, smart, friendly, nerdy, cool man to come over and make out with me.
I’ll supply: Comfortable couch, breath mints, and a movie we can pretend that we’re watching.
You bring: Lips, good dental hygiene, and a clear, unshakeable understanding that everyone will be keeping their pants on and completely zipped/buttoned/sealed for the entire event. Bonus if you have experience building sweet blanket forts.
Please send a photo and a brief description of why it would be fun to make out with you.
Change the genders, post at least one photo (A CLOTHED PHOTO) and maybe something that shows your living space so people can see that you don’t live in murder-dungeon with your feral cat colony. Have a photo of your face where you are smiling ready to send interested parties and see what happens. Be ready to give your full name so people can safety-google you, meet in a public place first, and talk on the phone. And be willing to go to their house.
Also, make an OK Cupid profile (it’s free), put what you are looking for as “short-term dating,” NOT “casual sex.” Short-term dating MEANS anything between “let’s go on a few dates and maybe make out a little” and “let’s bang once in a while.” It’s honest – you’re not looking for a long-term partner right now. Put multiple nice photos of yourself, let your personality shine through, and write to some cool people and go on some dates. Pro-tip: Look at what other dudes your age in your area do with their profiles. Emulate (but don’t copy) the cool ones. Avoid annoying things, like writing as if your first language is “bro.” Do not mention sex – either your prowess at or lack thereof – at all. It’s such a gross pet peeve when someone is all “I am good at backrubs and I really love giving oral.” Ugh. 1) “Oral” is not a noun. 2) Can’t that just be a nice surprise?
Finally, I’m going to say the same stuff to you I say to anyone looking for casual relationships:
1) They’re still relationships. So look for people you actually like in a friendly way. Look for people you can carry on a conversation with. Treat them with kindness and consideration. Manners count.
2) Each person you meet is a universe unto herself. She’s not a representative of Women. Assume nothing. Like, right now you are assuming that most of the women you meet will be disappointed if you don’t deliver your sweet, sweet cock and expert lovemaking right off the bat. No. And you’re assuming that all of them will want some kind of commitment. No. Don’t assume. Don’t try to be smooth. Ask. Out loud with words.
3) A lot of people won’t write back to you. It’s not personal. You have to risk some rejection in order to get to the cool parts of this.
4) You might find exactly what you’re looking for among the poly- or open relationship people, so don’t discount them. Someone who has a steady primary partner but is playing around (ethically, we hope!) on the side will not want to imprint on you and will hopefully have some skills around conducting the kind of relationship you’re looking for in a fun and respectful way.
Good luck! Keep your sense of humor, be kind and polite, be direct about your desires and hopefully you will find someone who will put her face on your face all regular-like.