Virginal quandry
November 26, 2009 9:41 AM   Subscribe

A question and moral quandary from yet another sad virgin....

I’m a twenty-seven year old virgin (a woman), and with every passing year, I feel like the big, dark virginity cloud looming over my head is getting bigger and bigger. I’m not a virgin for a reason or an ideal, it’s just that I only started dating fairly recently. I’m very quiet, and don’t seek much for myself. I have a lot of friends, but I don’t often meet new people to date. In truth, I’m raring to have sex and have been for years; the only thing I’m “waiting” for is to meet someone I care about and trust. The last time I got naked with someone I was ready, but it turned out he was also a virgin but was waiting “for love.” Goddammit.

For the past few weeks I’ve been dating a lovely, sweet boy. I like him, but when my friends ask, the most I can muster to say is “he’s nice.” He quite likes me, I’m pretty sure. After a heavy make-out session a few weeks ago, sex was definitely up for the next time we had the opportunity. After the make-out date I’ve been very stressed with various issues, so I haven’t exactly been in an amorous mindset. When I saw him last, I suddenly thought “This won’t work out, I’m just not that into him anymore.” It was such a sudden 180. I think my gut is right, but I’m worried it’s the stress or fear of commitment talking. But what if it’s not? I can’t date him for dating’s sake, it’s not fair for him. And yet, the horny, desperate part of my brain just wants to have sex with him so I can stop obsessing about the scarlet V on my forehead.

Metafilter, how can I see past my stress and horniness and do what’s best for this boy, and for me? If I break up with him, how can I prevent myself from desperately dating and screwing anybody who’ll take me? Throwaway mail at
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

It sounds like this issue has really become blown up into something very big and troubling. It would be nice to lose your virginity the "right" way, with a caring and patient partner. But at this point I think the value of simply having shed the "scarlet V" is high -- just go lose it with the first passable, willing, unattached male.

On the other hand, if you do think you can be patient, you could hold out for a good guy who could make you comfortable and accelerate the learning process.
posted by dualityofmind at 9:56 AM on November 26, 2009

i take from this question that it's a given between the two of you that you're dating romantically. if you think he is likely to view sex between the two of you as an extension of your romantic relationship, then you'd be leading him on by taking it to the next level and having sex with him. you could just explain your situation and see if he's game, but it's hard to get across "i don't like you THAT much i just really need to lose my virginity" in a tactful way, IMO, when you've already been dating and there are probably feelings involved on his end.

if what you're looking for is someone merely to sleep with you, it shouldn't be too difficult. i just can't tell if this is your goal or not - you seem as if you'd prefer to lose your virginity in a relationship that you're excited about. if this is not the case and you're merely trying to become deflowered - do you have any good male friends who might take you up on this after you explained? a good female friend approached an, um, lothario type male friend to relieve her of her virginity in similar circumstances.
posted by anthropomorphic at 10:04 AM on November 26, 2009

> I can’t date him for dating’s sake...

Yes you can! That's what dating is for! Seriously, you're not in charge of his heart. Don't lie about your feelings for him, and if he ramps it up too fast ask him to slow down. But you can absolutely date him just to date him, that's why people date. Maybe you'll fall in love, maybe not, but the only way to know is to date him. So if you know you don't like him any more, stop dating him, but if you aren't sure, keep dating him. Maybe don't have sex with him til you're more sure, but don't feel some kind of crazy pressure to break up just because you weren't sure how you felt for a few days.
posted by twistofrhyme at 10:05 AM on November 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

I can’t date him for dating’s sake, it’s not fair for him.

Yes, it is. Unless he's said to you that he only wants to date someone as into the relationship as he is, or that he's waiting "for love" like your previous fellow, you're not being at all unethical. Dating is a risk, and sometimes people get their feelings hurt. Even if you were completely head over heels for him right now, you might wait up next week feeling nothing. You can't predict or control your feelings, the only thing you can do is be honest with him.

When I was in a similar situation, I said, basically: "I'm not sure how I feel about you yet. I like you and am certainly interested in continuing with things, but beyond that, I just don't know. I just want to make sure we're on the same page before we go any farther. How do you feel?"

Of course, there's the added twist of you being a virgin, but that doesn't have to be a big deal. You can tell him you're "kind of inexperienced", you can tell him you're a virgin, you can tell him nothing. I would suggest telling him you're a virgin, as caring and trust seem pretty important to you. Also, the experience will probably be better if he knows, as he can go more slowly and be more sensitive to you. First time penetrative sex can be uncomfortable for a woman, although it certainly isn't always.

If he assumes that because you're a virgin you must be attaching a lot of meaning to sex and be crazy for him, well that's his own fault for buying into stereotypes about women and virginity. I read an askme recently where the poster dumped the girl he was dating partially because she was a virgin, so there are jerks out there, but in my experience if you are forthright about what you want to do and why, things will be fine.

So yeah, the super-ethical, kind-of-cautious route is to talk to him about all this, but as I said way back in the beginning of this comment, you don't actually have to. Because unless he's explicitly stated that he wants something you can't give him - love, commitment - then he's taking the risk that he won't get it. And in the end, he's responsible for his own heart.
posted by shaun uh at 10:13 AM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I can’t date him for dating’s sake, it’s not fair for him. And yet, the horny, desperate part of my brain just wants to have sex with him so I can stop obsessing about the scarlet V on my forehead.

I'm joining the chorus that says, yes, you can date him just for dating's sake. There's nothing wrong with a sexual, dating relationship without being committed long term.
posted by jayder at 10:30 AM on November 26, 2009

You can date each other for dating's sake, casually. Just make sure that's clear to him to avoid possibly leading him on. That last thing is what it seems like you're concerned about. The key is to communicate.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:38 AM on November 26, 2009

Have sex with whomever you *want* to have sex with, be it the boy you are seeing now or anyone else. If you feel like doing it, do it. If not, don't. Stop stressing about it and follow your instincts, whatever they may be.
posted by Neekee at 11:36 AM on November 26, 2009

This reminds me of a time after I had fasted for four days. On the fifth, I kept passing up opportunities to eat because food had become the biggest deal to me, and I wanted that first food to be perfect. I kept telling myself that this or that food wasn't where I should start, because I had been waiting so long.

In contrast, on a normal day, I'll have a bite of this and a bite of that. I might try a mouthful of something that looks delicious just to see what it tastes like. I'll grab some fast food if I'm hungry enough and it's the only restaurant in town. I might put something on my plate and decide I don't like it enough to finish it. It's normally not a high-stakes decision to eat a little something, because I eat umpteen times a day.

The funny thing is that when I finally ate, that first food was something of a letdown. Even though it was a delicious tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad, it could never encapsulate everything that is wonderful about being able to eat. Where was the turkey dinner, the corn on the cob, the meatball sub, the blueberry crumble, the chicken enchilada, the crisp green salad, the Jolly Rancher, the noodle soup, and the melting ice cream, you know? Food is so many different, wonderful things, none of which I'd been able to have for 48 long hours.

Sex may never become "no big deal" to quite the extent that food is. But the reality is that you could date this guy and have awkward sex or great sex, then realize you ultimately don't get along, break up and after some coffee date end up having hot break-up sex. Then you might get in another relationship, have tentative is-this-okay sex, passionate up-all-night sex, quickie I'm-supposed-to-be-leaving-for-work sex, detached there's-something-that's-bothering-me-that-I-haven't-brought-up-yet sex, overwhelming I'm-so-glad-we-worked-that-out-I-love-you-so-much sex, furtive don't-wake-up-the-kids sex, and so forth for the rest of your life including that time you seduce the handsome guy in the nursing home.

Food and sex are wonderful and important pleasures in life, and attaching enormous import to any single act of eating or sex to some extent ignores their potential centrality and frequency and variety in your life, and all the other opportunities that lie ahead. You're voracious now, and you don't want to spoil your appetite, but maybe it would help to consider that you will get hungry again and again. ;)
posted by salvia at 1:30 PM on November 26, 2009 [24 favorites]

96 hours I meant
posted by salvia at 1:31 PM on November 26, 2009

I'm seconding, thirding, and whatever else-ing the "just go with your instincts" chorus. Those instincts and hormones are there for a reason. Roll with it. If I might suggest a song, Neko Case's "I'm an Animal" off of her most recent album discusses the things you should take into account and the questions you should have answered and things you should take into account from a woman's mindset.
posted by SpecialK at 2:13 PM on November 26, 2009

More broadly: virginity is something you only realise is not only not a big deal, but not any kind of deal at all until you lose the damn thing, and then you're like "why did I make such a fuss about this?".

I had a friend in the exact same position as you this year - except even older. He went out with a girl who was very keen on him, against his better instincts. He got his rocks off, they broke up a couple of months later because they just weren't suited, and you know what? It really chilled him about about the whole having sex thing. He's happier now, she's - well, I have no idea, but she seems fine. Everybody wins. Go forth and make sweet love on the heath (or down by the fire, either is perfectly acceptable. Not too close to the fire, mind)!
posted by smoke at 2:31 PM on November 26, 2009

I honestly have to disagree with smoke, I still understand why I made such a fuss about losing my virginity, and I still think it was a big deal. The perspective that it isn't a big deal doesn't help when you yourself haven't crosses that line yet. You feel it is a big deal and people telling you that it isn't a big deal once it happens doesn't help or make you feel all that great. I don't think that smoke is wrong for him, or for lots of other people, but it can be a big deal, especially for late starters even after it has happened for the first time.

As for the question, I would agree with the chorus of people stating that you should just go with your instincts and not feel bad about dating him just to date him. I think it is a fine thing to get practice in and find your own likes and dislikes. Not every person you date has to be a potential marriage partner.
posted by Carillon at 2:51 PM on November 26, 2009

My overwhelming conclusion after losing my virginity at the age of 23 was: the only thing bad about having sex for the first time is that you want to keep doing it. Again and again.

I say go for it, don´t feel guilty about him, he's a grownup taking his own risks, just like you. Tell him if you feel like he will understand you, or don't.
posted by Locochona at 5:52 PM on November 26, 2009

Chiming in as another "late bloomer." My revelation was that "sex is not a big deal. Lack of sex (like lack of food, for instance) can be a big deal." My instinct says you're overthinking it, and the general problem with overthinking something like this is that the consequences of overthinking are way worse than anything else. I'm a huge overthinker/future tripper and also pretty in-tune with my emotions, but I was totally blindsided by my immediate reaction to losing my virginity: feeling sad about my lack of experience (despite a way happy partner snoozing right next to me!) That feeling transformed into HOLY SHIT THIS WILL BE THE BEST TRIAL AND ERROR EXPERIMENT EVAR the next morning and, sufficeth to say, that's been my overarching experience ever since, although the other feelings come and go as well.

In which case, I wonder if it's almost preferable to be within a relationship where your side of the stakes are low but where you also feel safe. Try your best to be in the moment, have fun and also be gentle with yourself and your expectations about yourself. First times with any new partner are always kind of a little awkward. A skilled lover is merely one who realizes that every new coupling is different and requires a learning curve.

You can't concern yourself with someone else's stakes, because it's their decision and thus outside your zone of control. I also wonder if your 180 degree turnaround on the sweet boy is at least somewhat attributable to anxiety regarding losing your virginity to him. Having been a sweet boy from time to time myself, I always have felt the most regret about relationships that ended just short of a milestone, because I'd never know what it's like on the other side and I feel like I missed something.
posted by Skwirl at 2:07 AM on November 27, 2009

In my experience, sex the first time with someone you love, whether you've been having sex for years or you never have before, is a big deal. Losing your virginity, on the other hand, can go either way. It depends on the person, the experience, and the relationship you have with them. It sounds like you want to lose your virginity with someone you are attracted to and care deeply about, but not necessarily spend the rest of your life with, but you also don't want it to be some meaningless, one night stand (which can be fun under the right circumstances, but this is probably not the right situation for you). I think that's a healthy attitude to have, and one I see no reason to change, unless your feelings about it shift.

As for this guy, if you like him, are having fun with him, and want to have sex with him, then you should totally go for it. You can't make decisions about what's fair or not fair for another person. If someone expresses intense feelings or expectations that differ from yours, you need to make sure he knows that, but if he wants to proceed anyways, that's his choice. Your responsibility is to be honest, respectful, kind, and to make the best decisions for yourself. That's it. Good luck, be safe, and have fun!
posted by katemcd at 5:30 AM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you're getting overwhelmed by all the virgenness, maybe check out Elna Baker's "The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance". She's funny and screwy and sometimes she makes bad decisions, but a lot of her book talks about dating guys and not having sex with them. Which is not what you're trying to do right now, but perhaps you'd benefit by reading someone else's experiences with all the weird tensions that build up between people.
posted by redsparkler at 10:22 AM on November 27, 2009

If you're "getting naked" with people, you're having sex with them, aren't you? You're just not having intercourse with them, yes? (Presuming that you're not getting naked and talking about Civil War battlefields or something.)

Intercourse is great, but it's not that different from other sex except insofar as it presents a greater risk of pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease. If you've been having manual and oral sex, it's kind of the same except that the penis, rather than the fingers or the tongue, goes into the vagina.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:40 PM on November 27, 2009

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