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How do I tell someone that I'm a virgin?
March 15, 2009 3:46 PM   Subscribe

How do I tell someone that I have never had sex?

Okay, I'm new to this site so I apologize if this has been discussed before and I just missed it in my quick search.

The background: I'm a 23 year old female who has never had actual sex (and no, I'm not counting oral, "almost", or any other expansive definition). I'm defining it in the narrowest of terms - the Bill Clinton way, if you will. To top it off, I haven't really done *anything* with the opposite sex besides the occasional drunken make out in the last four years. Oh, and I can't ask my friends around here for advice, since they all have no idea - and I like it that way.

Before I went to college I was in a very long relationship with an older guy. We did a lot, but I never felt ready to go all the way. The relationship ended shortly before I left for school and I guess I didn't think too much of it at the time - I figured I'd soon be dating again and it wasn't going to matter all that much, since I was only seventeen. Well, needless to say, that didn't exactly work out, and somehow I ended up finishing up school with no meaningful experience to speak of.

Now out in the real world I have a guy that I'm close to and, while nothing has happened yet, it really only seems like a matter of time at this point. But... two things are terrifying me and keeping me up at night:

The first: I worry about my rustiness. Since I'll actually be sober this time around (or at least hope to be) I'm freaked out that I'll be, you know, bad when things do happen and that that will nip anything we have in the bud right there.

The second: I worry that even if it's all like riding a bike and I know what I'm doing, that when it comes time, I'm going to have to tell him that I'm still a virgin. Awkward. I mean, I'm 23 - shouldn't this have happened by now? And, as a girl, it's not like I can really lie about this sort of thing without it be seriously obvious. Again, I'm worried that he'll just decide that it's not worth it... that I'm not worth it, and that'll be the end of that.

I really like this dude. I don't know if I want a relationship with him - I may be leaving my current city in a few short months for graduate school, but I want something to happen and I feel like these worries are holding me back. Please help.
posted by Wrigley to Human Relations (36 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
You've had sex, but next time you're being intimate, just tell him if it'll make you feel better.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:49 PM on March 15, 2009


I'm worried that he'll just decide that it's not worth it... that I'm not worth it, and that'll be the end of that.

Uh... I really a guy is going to turn down sex, especially sex with someone he likes, just because she's a virgin. You're really over-thinking this. Just tell him.
posted by Nattie at 3:53 PM on March 15, 2009


Just be honest with him. If he decides that it's not worth or you're not worth it (which is pretty unlikely), then he's an asshole and you're better off without him.
posted by kookaburra at 3:54 PM on March 15, 2009


Sorry, that should be *really doubt
posted by Nattie at 3:54 PM on March 15, 2009


If the guy you want to sleep with cannot handle that you are a virgin, you shouldn't have sex with him. I say tell him outright. If he does decide that "it's not worth it", then move on and forget him.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 3:54 PM on March 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Again, I'm worried that he'll just decide that it's not worth it... that I'm not worth it, and that'll be the end of that.

If that's the case, he doesn't deserve you, virginity or no. If he cannot handle that then *he* is not worth it, not the other way round.

Do you like him? Do you trust him? Would you like to engage in protected, consensual sex with him? If you said, "yes, yes, and yes", then talk to him about it, honestly and openly. If you can't talk about it with him, then you're not ready to actually do it with him.
posted by sephira at 3:59 PM on March 15, 2009


"The first: I worry about my rustiness. Since I'll actually be sober this time around (or at least hope to be) I'm freaked out that I'll be, you know, bad when things do happen and that that will nip anything we have in the bud right there."

I'm a guy. Two points to make here. For a guy, there's no such thing as bad sex. You might have had better sex, sure, but bad sex does not exist. We thank the Gods when any chance to have sex presents itself. So don't worry about being bad because even if you are, he'll still be happy.

But (and here's the second point), you probably won't be bad. Your brain, hard wired by generations of ancestors who came before you who liked and had sex, will know what you need to do and will help you be good and help you both be good. The only way you may end up ruining the event is is you stress too much about it. Sex and the lead-up to sex isn't meant to be stressful. It's meant to be exciting! So get excited about it and enjoy it when it happens!

"I worry that even if it's all like riding a bike and I know what I'm doing, that when it comes time, I'm going to have to tell him that I'm still a virgin. Awkward. I mean, I'm 23 - shouldn't this have happened by now?"

No, it should not have happened by now just because you're 23. It should only have happened by now if you wanted it to happen before now, and for whatever reason it hasn't, and that's totally fine.

And speaking as a guy, I can't imagine a greater honour than to be someone's first. I think he'll be flattered, unless he's a real jerk, in which case I'd hope you'd have better sense than to sleep with him in the first place.

Also, second point which I offer again because I'm a guy, if you were a virgin, I'd rather I knew before we started anything only because breakinbg the hymen, I'm told, can be very painful for the woman and I'd rather be aware of that and careful 'going in' (so to speak) so that it's not a horrible experience for you, and to avoid any worrying about why there's blood down there now and all that sort of stuff.

In conclusion, stop stressing about everything, tell him and have fun. And if he reacts negatively to any "rustiness" or the fact that you are a virgin, then you're better off without him, quite frankly.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:59 PM on March 15, 2009 [13 favorites]


you shouldn't feel awkward or apologetic about the choices you have made - especially when it comes to a person you like this much and especially when it comes to sex. mention it when the time comes around and if he asks explain what happened without much mumbling or negativity. you thought it was gonna happen, it didn't, well shucks. this, like anything else related to sexuality, is only a big deal if you make it so.

no sane person is every going to look down upon you for being a virgin at twenty-three.
that starts at thirty.
posted by krautland at 4:01 PM on March 15, 2009


23 is not too old to be a virgin. Any guy worth your time will be able to understand that. I doubt your level of sexual experience will be much of an issue. Don't let your anxiety about being "bad" or "rusty" stand in the way of what you want.
posted by Buttons at 4:04 PM on March 15, 2009


Ok so just speaking from a dude's perspective ... choose your own adventure style.

You pick an asshole: Page 14
You pick a nice guy: Page 18

Page 14
Fuck yeah, I'm so awesome she wants me to be her first time. WOOOO!!! (insert beer pong here)
Page 18
Oh fuck, her first time? Am I good enough? Will she notice my crooked dick and be turned off by men forever? Will it suck and she, be disappointed forever? Will I make her hate men? Should I get candles?

Seriously you are crazy overthinking this. Plenty of people are virgins well into their 20s, and most of those have no other "other" experience. Which honestly, is most of the game as far as technique is concerned.
posted by shownomercy at 4:08 PM on March 15, 2009 [15 favorites]


Nothing is wrong with you.

If anything, the first guy you have sex with will probably be thrilled if you tell him, because having sex for the first time is kind of a big deal for most people. It's certainly something special. Having decided to have sex with him when you decided not to with everyone else is bound to make the lucky guy feel like a million bucks.

Just tell him at some point before you do the deed, for three reasons. The first is above. The second is that saying something will that give him a heads up to take things slow, which is probably a good idea.

But third, the whole blood thing, while not that big of a deal if he's expecting it, might be rather surprising if he isn't. You only bleed from sex because either 1) you're a virgin, or 2) You're Doing It Wrong.* If he doesn't think you're a virgin, the natural conclusion is that something bad just happened, which would be awkward. For all you or anyone else knows this is going to be a complete non-issue, but hey, weirder things have happened.

* Or you're a complete freak. I'm just sayin' is all.
posted by valkyryn at 4:11 PM on March 15, 2009


You only bleed from sex because either 1) you're a virgin, or 2) You're Doing It Wrong.*

It's a side note, but this isn't quite correct. Some women's hymens take a long time to completely break, and might still bleed after their first time.
posted by thisjax at 4:22 PM on March 15, 2009


I'm 22 and still a virgin. I don't think about it (much). Seriously, n-thing everyone else on "you're overthinking". Everyone's bound to have a first time, and it doesn't matter when. Don't be afraid to tell him when the time comes. Virginity is nothing to worry about compared to, say, STDs and whatnot.
posted by curagea at 5:00 PM on March 15, 2009


There are plenty of virgins older than 23. Actually, I think I remember seeing a statistic that said a majority of (unmarried) people have still not had sex by the time they are 25. Similar shocking statistics exist about how many people have even dated. Don't have sex just because you think it's the normal or expected thing. Personally, I would advise you to wait until you're married, but it's your choice, so make it *your* choice. You don't have to conform to my expectations that you wait, nor do you have to conform to what may seem like society's expectations that you should have had sex by now. Do it because you chose to, not because you think you have to.
posted by brenton at 5:12 PM on March 15, 2009


Nobody else thinks it's a bad idea to tell the guy before? Just in case the idea freaks him out?

You're overthinking, for sure, and the guy won't think of it as "bad" sex, no matter what. But if there's even one per cent chance that knowing you're a virgin will make him anxious, maybe tell him as soon as possible afterward?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:16 PM on March 15, 2009


Pfft.

No reason to wait until you're married, but you have nothing to be ashamed of. You're young, you made the best decisions for yourself in the past. Think of sex more like a conversation; you can't really practice, and the way you have a conversation with one person is really different from the way you have one with someone else. The best way you can ensure that you're going to have a good time in bed is to communicate with the person you're hoping to end up there with.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:18 PM on March 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dude, relax. I dated someone who was a virgin at like... I don't know 20 or 21 or something, which is basically the same. In talking about our "history," she mentioned she had never had sex. I made sure she understood we wouldn't do anything like that until she was ready.

Then, one day, she was. So we made sure to start slow and stay slow, and I told her to communicate, and let me know if she was uncomfortable at ALL. There was also a LOT of build up before we just dove in on that particular evening. She ended up having a great time and it wasn't a problem.

I wasn't ever weirded out or worried or concerned; everyone has to start somewhere, so why would that bother me? In fact, I just wanted to make sure hers wasn't a terrible experience, so I specifically let her know if she needed to stop or what not, it was no big deal. Make sure that he knows so that you can feel like it's okay to communicate--it is.

Don't worry, relax, take it slow, and have fun. But strike up the conversation sometime, about how many he's had and work in that you haven't ever. And if he's immature and runs, then you just saved yourself a potential bad first experience.
posted by disillusioned at 5:28 PM on March 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Previous thread on the same topic. Unfortunately, it contains a lot of the same poor advice this one does.

I'm a guy. Two points to make here. For a guy, there's no such thing as bad sex. You might have had better sex, sure, but bad sex does not exist. We thank the Gods when any chance to have sex presents itself. So don't worry about being bad because even if you are, he'll still be happy.

Completely obvious untruth. Guys are not starving dogs who need sex like they need water. If you're bad, the guy will know you're bad. And you'll probably not be that good - virgins aren't.

If anything, the first guy you have sex with will probably be thrilled if you tell him, because having sex for the first time is kind of a big deal for most people.

It is a big deal to people, especially the party losing their virginity, which means that they'll beanplate it to hell and back, and it can be a hassle for the non-virgin party.

But if there's even one per cent chance that knowing you're a virgin will make him anxious, maybe tell him as soon as possible afterward?

This is ridiculous - don't lie to your sexual partners like this.

---

Anyways, there's nothing wrong with you. Unfortunately, this isn't the best of all possible worlds, but there are some things you can do to mitigate circumstances:
posted by TypographicalError at 5:37 PM on March 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


disillusioned and TypographicalError have the good advice.
posted by zephyr_words at 5:42 PM on March 15, 2009


seconding TypographicalError's advice.

Whatever you do, do not lie deliberately or by omission. Anyone who you want to have sex with will want the truth, and someone comfortable with less than that isn't someone you would want to sleep with. Your attitude determines the mood of the conversation, so let that dictate the where, when, and how.
posted by variella at 5:47 PM on March 15, 2009


There's nothing wrong with you. Don't overthink.

If it even comes up - why not just tell him that you're not very experienced when it comes to sex? It's true and doesn't reveal too much information that you're not ready to offer yet. Though I would think that anyone worth having sex with should be understanding and willing to go slow with you.

And don't forget condoms. Have fun.
posted by handabear at 5:48 PM on March 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


"it's not like I can really lie about this sort of thing without it be seriously obvious"

Are you kidding?

1. Many women don't have much hymen at your age, either because they were born like that, or because exercise and movement have already done the job.

2. Many men at your age are sufficiently inexperienced that they wouldn't know whether you were doing it for the first time or not. For all you know, there is about to be an Anon AskMe from your guy in the next few days going "There's this girl, I think we might have sex and I'm terrified she'll find out I'm a virgin!"

I don't think you should lie for all the reasons above, but these are additional worries you can discount.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:25 PM on March 15, 2009


I've been with three virgins in my life
and two of them told me after and I
kinda wished they'd told me beforehand.

The reason I say this is because they were
both very terrified and very stiff and hardly
moving and I thought that I was doing
something terribly wrong the entire time.

Your anxiousness will communicate itself
in plenty of non-verbal ways. Telling this
person, I suspect, will make things easier
not only for you but for him as well.

Also, letting him know a couple days
beforehand - plenty of heads up, so to
speak, is good. Right before, might be
very sudden.

Also, you might not have a hymen.
The third virgin I was with didn't bleed
and she was surprised that she didn't,
but I told her that I heard in sex ed class
that if you used to ride horses, that your
hymen might have been burst by that,
and she used to ride horses.

Okay, that is all. Tell him!
Not only for you, but for him.
Oh, and good luck!
And also know that the first
time isn't always great, but that
with practise, subsequent times
get a lot cooler. Also don't be afraid
to tell him what you like, and to
try things to find out.

But don't do anal the first time.
That might be a little much.
But if you do, use a tonne of lube.
Actually, don't try anal the first time.
Try it yourself with a condom
and your finger and a lot of lube
by yourself just to see if you even
like something going that close
to where poo comes out of.

And good luck!
posted by Sully at 7:26 PM on March 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Everyone is a virgin until their first time. Being 23 is not relevant. Tell him in advance. Tell him when you are ready. If he handles it well, then proceed. If not, wait until you are comfortable.
As a one time (long ago) 23 year old male who slept with a virgin, I viewed it as my brush with history. This woman would always remember her first time and with whom, so I wanted her to remember JohnnyGunn as caring , thoughtful and patient. If this guy has a typical male ego, he will be worried about his legacy.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:46 PM on March 15, 2009


I didn't tell the person who was my first that I was a virgin, and I wish I had.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:01 PM on March 15, 2009


whatever you do please tell him before you get started.
an ex girlfriend of mine (who was 24/25 at the time) was. when we had sex for the first time she told me when i was "at the threshold" so to speak. i was totally caught off guard and took a few minutes to re-group. i really liked the her and things went just fine after that but if i had known even an hour or so earlier the whole thing would have went smoother.
posted by swbarrett at 8:11 PM on March 15, 2009


Have you ever had a pelvic exam? Even if you're not sexually active, at 23 you might want to visit a gynecologist for a checkup. The doctor can tell you what your hymen looks like, and can probably help you out by opening it up if it looks like first-time sex is going to be difficult or painful.
posted by Joleta at 8:29 PM on March 15, 2009


If you're that worried about it...why not just NOT tell him. Do you see any harm in that? Your previous sexual experience (or inexperience) is none of his business unless you want it to be.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:09 PM on March 15, 2009


Tell him. You don't have to justify it; it's not a bad thing. It's part of who you are/where you are. Any lack of practice or nervousness on your part may be made up for by the Wow-a-virgin component. It may or may not be uncomfortable. He should know so he can be especially cautious and sensitive to your comfort and enjoyment.
posted by theora55 at 9:20 PM on March 15, 2009


>But strike up the conversation sometime, about how many he's had and work in that you haven't ever.

>Completely obvious untruth. Guys are not starving dogs who need sex like they need water.
>If you're bad, the guy will know you're bad. And you'll probably not be that good - virgins aren't.

>disillusioned and TypographicalError have the good advice.
Oh no. The majority of the advice here is very good, but the two above tidbits are not. I was in a similar situation leading up to my 24th birthday. We went on a daytrip to the beach and I somehow managed to pull enough suave together to ask whether or not I needed to pick up "a toothbrush or any other bedstand necessities." Her answers were 1) yes, and 2) already got some. Speaking as a guy, any woman who directly asked a similar question would immediately gain, like, a zillion awesome points. I mentioned my inexperience on the car ride back, "I think you should know that I haven't ever been with any one else, so I don't know if it will be clear sailing at first, but judging how things have been going, I think we're pretty great together."

Initiating a conversation about how many partners your fella has had in the past is not a good way to telegraph confidence and you might not want to hear the answer. However, it is a good idea to have the safe sex discussion in a more directed way and you should mention your virginity either before or during that conversation. Discussing safe sex entails asking about and mentioning your own STD history (which a "Clinton era" virgin might have something to say about), discussing birth control (it's a very, very good idea to use 2 methods, since condoms can break) and asking if they've always used protection in the past. I know this sounds intimidating, but there are enough worries around the first time with any new partner without also worrying about potentially risky pasts.

As someone mentioned above, the difference between good sex and bad sex is all the stuff that you've already done while being intimate. A good kisser is pretty likely to be a good lay. Be an active participant. Be present. Be communicative of your own needs. Do all the stuff that pops into your head, unless it's really freaky, then just ask if you can do the freaky stuff that pops into your head first. Ask what he likes. When in doubt, copy some of the things he does (adjusted for anatomy). Actually, do that when not in doubt, too, because it's good times. Good sex is all in the communication, verbal and non-verbal. All the in and out stuff is up to the dude, more or less, unless you're uncomfortable and need to speak up or need to help guide. Have some lube ready, since lack of lubrication is a common reason for condoms to break.

The rule of thumb is that the first time having sex in ANY new partnership usually isn't as stellar as every time after that. It usually gets really, really good around the third time. Foreplay can be amazing right at the beginning, though, with good communication and trial and error. The true cliche is that it's the journey, not the destination. Trial and error and experimentation are the best parts of sex in any long-term relationship. The real hard part isn't getting started. The hard part is maintaining that sense of excitement, wonder and experimentation in a seasoned relationship.

It'd be worth reading what Go Ask Alice has to say about hymens and virginity.
posted by Skwirl at 6:28 AM on March 16, 2009


(a) From what I have heard, guys are plenty disturbed (and so far this Ask Mefi seems to confirm it) if they find out that they devirginized a girl and weren't aware of it beforehand. So regardless of the state of your hymen, you'd better tell.

Yes, it's awkward. But do you want to lose it to someone who's gonna freak that you are one? Better to get rid of that jerk fast, IMO.

(b) Optimally speaking, I'd pick someone to lose it to who you will be involved with for awhile (don't go for the one-night stand to "get rid of it"), and ah...fool around down there in other ways for awhile before you go for the P-i-V. The pain issue will be a lot less if your vagina gets used to accommodating things larger than a tampon before you go whole hog.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:20 AM on March 16, 2009


Page 18
Oh fuck, her first time? Am I good enough? Will she notice my crooked dick and be turned off by men forever? Will it suck and she, be disappointed forever? Will I make her hate men? Should I get candles?


self-doubt and neurosis are not indicating 'nice guy.'
posted by krautland at 9:57 AM on March 16, 2009


I think that it actually is helpful to talk about this stuff in different terms. You have had sexual intimacy with other human beings. What you have not had, so far, is intercourse.

That seems less daunting somehow, doesn't it? Intercourse is not the be-all and end-all of sex. You know something about sharing sexual intimacy with others--you just haven't done this particular act.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:23 AM on March 16, 2009


Virginity is a state of being, it does not define you.
I know it sounds sappy, but I really think everyone should wait until they feel comfortable. So I don't see anything wrong with you being a virgin. It sounds like that is what you want.
I don't think being a virgin or not being one is that big of deal, that is to say that "the morning after" you are still the same person. The only thing weird about it is there is no going back, the person you loose it to will always be that person and the first time will always be the first time, so there is no need to rush!
Don't set your expectations too high.
Remember that it is easy to have a bad first experience especially if you are not ready, so really focus on yourself and what you want.
Finally it is no one business but your own unless you want to share, you are not obligated to let people know.
posted by Ekidnagrrl17 at 7:02 PM on March 17, 2009


And, as a girl, it's not like I can really lie about this sort of thing without it be seriously obvious

Well, you can - not all women keep their hymen for as long as they keep their virginity, and not all women find the first time tricky. But that's not what you're asking right here.

I lost mine to someone who was a year younger than I was (he was 16) but had had sex when he was twelve. I felt like I was really, really inexperienced, but we spent a year or so leading up to it with me getting more and more comfortable with the idea, until one night I just thought 'hey, let's try it and get it over with'. It seems weird now I'm 26 and had a few LTRs that sex was ever such a big deal, but I remember how it was built into something it wasn't. He talked about how he wanted to put me in a ring of candles - when it happened, he'd started going off me, I didn't particularly enjoy or dislike it, and we split up a couple of months later. You, however, are not seventeen, and probably have some idea that it's not a fairytale experience, it's not a miserable experience, it can be either, but it's usually somewhere in-between. And it can get better. It does get better. I think you should tell him.
posted by mippy at 7:07 AM on March 18, 2009


I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has posted in this question so far. No updates yet, but everything all of you have said has been really helpful to me. :)
posted by Wrigley at 3:22 PM on March 22, 2009


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