Mid-Life Virgin?
April 30, 2005 10:06 AM   Subscribe

I am a 30-year-old Chicago male, and I am still a virgin.

Indeed, I've not done much physically in my life; although I have dated women and have had some physical moments, I have only French-kissed a girl once, and have only touched a woman's breasts once while at a New York strip club a very long time ago (with her permission).

Why so? Well, I never was very popular with women, although I have had a few very short relationships scattered over the last 15 years or so. I suppose the biggest three are that (1) I went to an ultraconservative college where curfews were enforced and sex was punishable by expulsion; (2) I moved to Chicago a year after graduating; and (3) during college and the years after, I gained a considerable amount of weight. I now weigh 325 pounds. Let's make it clear: I intend to lose the weight, and indeed already have lost a relatively good amount. I may even wait on dating until I'm much closer to my ideal weight.

You guys gave good advice to totally_generic in a thread a while ago. (I am not him; I merely ran across the link to that old thread when t_g recently posted asking directions as to hire a prostitute, as it's certainly a thought that's crossed my mind.) That gave me the courage to seek your advice on this one.

So ... I have two questions for the MeFi crowd.

First, how rare are 30-year-old male virgins? Has anyone here lost their virginity after 30? (I suppose I mean to exclude from this question people who purposefully made a choice to abtain prior to marriage.) Does anyone have any (preferably recent) links or materials as to the age when men lose their virginity? Even if I knew that it was as low as 1% of the population, that still lets me think to myself that that probably translates into at least 100 or 200 guys in the same boat here in Chicago, and ten or twenty thousand nationally. It would let me feel a little less like the Only Virginal Freak in the World.

My second question is for the women here. Please tell me, honestly, what your reaction to a partner would be if he told you he was a virgin. Don't try to spare my feelings, because I frankly need your honesty here. My initial desire is to be honest with whomever my first partner is, because we'll be in a caring relationship, and heck, for all I know, it might be a positive thing in their eyes. But I've heard from a few (male) friends of mine that this is something I shouldn't reveal ... that it will make them wonder what the hell is wrong with me. Of course, there's also the fact that my first time will probably very obviously be my first time to my partner whether I tell her or not.

So, *thud*, there's the question(s). I await with no small amount of terror the responses ...
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (60 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Most older virgins I know just have unreasonably high standards. They think some incredibly hot girl is out there waiting to have sex with them. Try dating a 325 pound woman, you'll have better luck.
posted by ryanissuper at 10:18 AM on April 30, 2005

A good friend of mine was a virgin until he was... 32 I think. Though it might have been 33. He lives with a woman now and has a kid. Their relationship has lasted about 4 years so far (kid's 8 months old now), which beats my longest relationship by 6 months and I lost my virginity in my teens.

That said, I think that you shouldn't dwell on what percentage of the population is a virgin post-30. It's pointless, really. What should matter to you is your own situation and whether you want to change it.

Losing weight will help build your confidence and make you more attractive to others. Put considerable effort into it if it's important to you. Also, rather than dwell on being "heavy" at present, mention and think about the weight you have dropped already. So, instead of "I weigh 325 pounds!" think "I used to weigh 350! I lost 25 lbs!"

Oh, and not that it matters all that much as it's an understandable slip, but the guy's name is pretty_generic, not totally_generic. I don't know what your real username is but if you go the personals route, as P_G did, don't use a name that's self-depracating. It's negative connotations far outweigh it's humor value. You are what you think of yourself.
posted by dobbs at 10:19 AM on April 30, 2005

I'm not sure you have to lose weight. The guy who owns my local skate shop is easily 350-375 and 5'10 tops. He's got a scruffy beard, a shaved head, and spends the days sitting outside his shop smoking and scowling at people passing by. Yet his girlfriends are amazingly hot. So it's not the weight, it's something else.
posted by Panfilo at 10:49 AM on April 30, 2005

Sex isn't that big a deal. It feels nice, and it's lots of fun. But, but, but, it's easy to get the idea from popular culture that it's this huge deal and that your life is significantly emptier if you haven't been initiated. Really, it's not that big a deal, so try not to worry.

I say try not to worry because worry may translate to a lack of confidence, and a lack of confidence seems to be really unattractive to most people. More unattractive than a couple hundred extra pounds even.

I wouldn't wait until you get closer to your ideal weight to start dating. Your weight in this circumstance is an excuse in this case. You need to recognize it and move past it.

I don't think that I would mention being a virgin unless they ask (which they probably won't). It's a lie of omission, and you can maybe come clean about it later. I just think there's very little chance of that conversation not sounding desperate, and desperation is as unattractive as a lack of confidence.

It sounds like you'd be happier if you went out on a few dates with somebody. Start taking steps to make that happen. Work on your self-confidence. That will probably be the biggest thing you need to change. Set some goals in that respect, and start achieving them. You already mention losing weight. Great. Keep up the diet, keep exercising. Go get yourself a nice new wardrobe. Make a conscious effort to start approaching people. If you're not comfortable with that, get on a few dating sites. For some people, it's a lot easier to do it that way. Map out the steps you're going to take to achieve your goals and then do it.
posted by willnot at 10:56 AM on April 30, 2005

Women like it if you remember their name!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:58 AM on April 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

I haven't known a 30 year old male virgin, though one or two close to that. I think you might want to focus on what advantages this gives you, because there are a couple.

For one thing, sex is still totally new to you. Your mind is yet to be blown by your first awesome sexual encounter, and then your first awesome ongoing sexual relationship. It will happen for you, and it will be special, intense, you'll appreciate it and savor it and throw yourself into it as only a newbie can.

Secondly, on a similar note, you're not emotionally jaded by lots and lots of sex and/or deep committed relationships. There are lots of women in their 30s who are looking for one good man, and there's got to be something fresh, genuine, even innocent about a guy who hasn't been around the block. You could have this innocence taken advantage of if you're not careful, but assuming you're not an idiot, just sexually inexperienced, use good judgment and you may stumble upon that heart of gold that's been hoping to stumble upon you.

Along the same lines, you have no sexual history for anyone to be jealous or judgmental about. If you wanted to marry a super conservative girl you could do it without offending her. You could also be with someone equally inexperienced without making her feel inadequate or ashamed. Some people are excedingly jealous of past relationships, and you don't have any to trouble them. Some folks are walking around with herpes and other health scars from previous relationships, a drawback you're clear of. And some people might really be turned on or just charmed by the opportunity to be your first.

Play in to what you have rather than thinking of yourself as way way behind the game. You'll catch up in no time. I'd also suggest studying up on sexual techniques that won't be impaired by your weight. That struggle may take a while and you may have to fight it several times in your life so don't be a prisoner to it. Focus on lingual and digital dexterity and read up on cunnilingus and manual manipulation. It's not all that hard to find a woman who will let you go down on her or finger her in the car, even if you're not her paragon of beauty. Practice, practice, practice. There's no need to lose the weight to start bringing willing women to orgasm. Trust me, they'll love you for it and your confidence will soar.
posted by scarabic at 11:11 AM on April 30, 2005

I'm in your approximate weight range (a little lower) and I can reassure you, there are women out there who will totally do you. And not just desperate ones either. I have had some smart, sexy girlfriends who, yeah, often had a little extra cushioning, but if a woman doesn't let that make her feel unattractive -- she won't be. In the real world women come in all shapes and sizes.

And yeah, you should be totally up-front about your size and your lack of experience. (You don't have to say "I'm a virgin," just say you're shy and not very experienced.) The weight thing probably won't be as big a deal as you think. Some women like big guys, or genuinely don't care as long as your grooming and hygiene is good. Some of them aren't necessarily big themselves. Try some personals.

Here in the Northwest there's a "fat admirers" group that gets together occasionally. These groups tend to focus more on women than on men, but if you're looking for a place to hang out where women won't judge you for your size, and where many of them are in fact looking for some action, you could certainly do worse. (I've never been, though I know a woman who's always trying to get me to go.)

If all else fails, you could pay for it. But frankly, sex, while wonderful, is IMHO not important enough to pay money for, especially because you don't get the other emotional benefits of a relationship along with that kind of sex. As willnot said, sex is not the big deal that it's made out to be. It's admittedly hard to totally get that until you've had it, but try to keep it in mind.
posted by kindall at 11:16 AM on April 30, 2005

I have to say I wouldn't care that you were a virgin if I liked you. I would want to be told, though. Especially because if you were awkward in the bedroom and I didn't know you were a virgin, I'd just think you were a spectacularly bad lay. I'd also want to be able to talk about it, to understand why.

So basically, if I liked you and you said what you said above, "I am a virgin for these reasons," I wouldn't see a big problem. I wouldn't expect to be told on the first date, but I would like to know before I got your pants off.
posted by dame at 11:16 AM on April 30, 2005

And really, there's something hot about being a guy's first. Besides, what ever virgins lack in skill they more than make up for in enthusiasm.
posted by dame at 11:18 AM on April 30, 2005

I just want to second dame's comments. It wouldn't put me off if a guy was a virgin, but I'd want to know before we had sex for the first time and I also wouldn't want to know too much before then. You wouldn't want the girl to think that the only reason you're with her is so you can lose your virginity (assuming that's not the case, of course.)
posted by INTPLibrarian at 11:24 AM on April 30, 2005

I guess someone else will come through with some kind of statistics but in my experience your situation is not unusual at all. I would be amazed if the figure is as low as 1 percent.

The important part of your question is how much to share when the moment comes. My advice: don't hide it but _definitely_ do not make a big deal out of it. You need to try your best to be 100 percent focused on the personal connection with your partner and she definitely does not want to be made to feel like you're preoccupied with the novelty of the situation. I cannot stress this enough.
posted by teleskiving at 11:24 AM on April 30, 2005

My girlfriend claims the skate shop guy is 250 not 350. It's kind of hard to tell. But he's big anyway, and as willnot says your weight may be an excuse.

Scarabic: Fingering in the car? Yucka yucka.
posted by Panfilo at 11:24 AM on April 30, 2005

Yeah, don't play the numbers game. Not because it would somehow prove you are in the ballpark or not [I have no idea, statistics mean pretty much nothing to me and there are so many variables that statistics like that do NOT take into account or make transparent] but because it DOES NOT MATTER. I'm sure we could all find some kind of statistic to prove that we're in the minority of some generic standard. The point is that you want to change something, not that other people expect you to change.

For one, I would think that going to a college like that would throw a wrench into your system. You say that you moved to Chicago right after, and gained weight, but I'm not so sure that the problem itself is the weight. You went to a very strict college where sex was the big no-no, where it was likely fairly religious (are there other big reasons why sex is forbidden at college? I have no idea), and then you moved to a big city with possibly less guidance, and were thrown out there into the Big Bad World. No wonder you gained weight; you were trying to discover who you were and why, when people around you had been asking many of those questions in college. The weight is not the problem, it is a symptom of something else here, especially since it's not like you were always overweight. It happened at that particular time, for a reason.

I would imagine that you have some issues around sex itself: going to a college where sex is forbidden by expulsion means that you may have been raised in an environment where a similar rule was in place. A healthy sexuality this does not make, in my experience. This does not make you fucked up, but it can make starting relationships difficult IF you don't understand WHY you believe some of the things that you do. I would try to think about what sex means to you, and start working on some of the more obvious difficulties. The fact that you're a virgin now says TO ME that even after college, you haven't worked through the sex-block in your brain.

And it is a brain/emotion/heart/mind/expectation thing, and not a physical thing, because I know LOTS of overweight people who have very healthy sex lives. As others have said, it's about mindset, expectations, self-consciousness, confidence. Work on those - in combination with losing weight because that could help the confidence - and you'll be ahead soon enough. I would also recommend seeing a sex-positive therapist to work out some of those specific issues.

One guy
on this site lists "physical and emotional intimacy" as his specialty, and he's written a book on "God and Sex." He might be able to help you question your assumptions, hidden judgements, or expectations. And as the others say, enthusiasm, skill with the hands/oral and you'll be fine. Seriously, the weight will not keep you from a happy, healthy sex life! Good luck!
posted by fionab at 11:41 AM on April 30, 2005

One of the best lovers i ever had weighed at least as much as you. He was sensual and smart and funny and attentive.

You are hiding your light, i bet.. :-)
posted by reflecked at 11:47 AM on April 30, 2005

Here's my take (woman, mid-30s).

First off, I wouldn't mention being a virgin right off the bat. Not that it's something I think you should be ashamed of or embarrassed by (though I will admit that that's probably pretty easy for me to say) -- I just think that it's got the potential to be a loaded issue that would cast a certain... pallor (not quite the word I want!) on those early getting-to-know-you interactions that first dates are all about. (Note: this is, of course, not an issue if -- as scarabic says above -- you are interested in finding or happen to wind up dating a woman for whom being with a virgin is important.) Dating is about finding out if two people can click on various different levels -- do you laugh together? Do you share interests and hobbies? Do you enjoy each other's company? Try to focus on those factors as you date and go through the process of finding a potential partner.

As for the woman's point of view: I've never dated a virgin, though I was involved for quite a long time with someone who had only had one other sexual partner (and that had been several years before we started dating when he was in his late 20s). The problem was not so much his inexperience per se, but that he wasn't particularly forthcoming about it, I think because he knew that I had more experience than he did. The result was that I think we were both pretty unsatisfied by the physical side of things most (though certainly not all) of the time, because we just didn't particularly click physically very well, and that took its toll on the relationship emotionally for both of us.

So I would suggest this (and this is purely my own take on how I'd want to be informed by a partner who's a virgin): once you find someone you're interested in getting physical with, let the first phase of that happen naturally -- a gentle kiss, a cuddle, etc. -- without comment. Once you progress to the next level of making out, casually say something (at a natural pause in the proceedings) along the lines of "wow, you know, I don't have a lot of experience with this, but this feels great -- let me know if things are going too fast or too slow for you." What you've basically said there is that you're open to verbal/non-verbal clues from her in terms of how to proceed. And then pay attention: as you proceed, you might be so amazed by how good you feel that you don't notice things from her -- the "yes, do that" signs (which may include actually saying "yes, do that" or some variation thereof!), or more importantly, the "no, not that" signs. But you need to be alert to what she enjoys as much as what you enjoy. I think there are a couple of novice mistakes to watch out for:

Kissing: Do not kiss so limply that you resemble a dead fish. You know when you shake someone's hand and it just sort of lays there? Don't do the kissing equivalent. Conversely, do not do the kissing equivalent of the guy who crushes your hand when you shake it, either! Don't force your tongue in her mouth, and don't stick it out like you're making a face at someone.

Fondling/cuddling: Always err on the side of gentleness to begin with. Even the most hearty girl will be startled by having her nipples treated like radio tuners right out of the gate. Start slow and gentle; things can always get faster as you proceed, but the "attack, then back off as necessary" approach isn't advisable.

You'll note that I didn't say you should mention your virgin status at this point (i.e., the first make out session), just that you don't have a lot of experience (which isn't a lie). I say that because I think the first time or two you fool around with someone, you don't want to imply that you necessarily expect that making out will lead to sex right then and there -- and to me, hearing the word "virgin" at that point would possibly imply to me that you were expecting the encounter to proceed to intercourse. Also, I think it's advisable for you not to have sex right off the bat -- spend time (weeks? months?) getting to know your partner and yourself physically at this level. It's fun!

After making out a couple of times, I think you're ready to be specific about not having had sex before. I also think this conversation needs to happen when you're not already getting physical -- the ideal time, to me, would be a time when you're alone, feeling comfortable, maybe talking about how "things" are going between you, your arm around her, etc. I would then say something along the lines of, "hey, I'd like to tell you something. Remember when I said I didn't have much experience? The fact is, I've never actually had sex before. I really enjoy the physical side of things between us, and so I wanted you to know that beforehand if things proceed to the next level." Don't be embarrassed, don't feel ashamed, don't make excuses for yourself. (Though if she wants to talk about it, cool.) It's honest, but it's also not about making your virginity the issue but rather as a component that both of you can take into account if and when you proceed to lovemaking. And who knows... she may have always dreamed of "teaching" someone the ropes! ;)
posted by scody at 12:04 PM on April 30, 2005 [3 favorites]

Practical advice which others may disagree with but which has served me well: masturbate the day before a date. Achieving orgasm from foreplay can be disappointing.
posted by kavasa at 12:38 PM on April 30, 2005

A British study of sexual activity (.pdf file) suggests that around 3.5% of men age 25-34 have had no sexual partners. The census says that Chicago has 268,098 men in that age group, if the prevalence of sexual activity is roughly the same there as in Britain, there would be about 9,383 guys in your situation. I'm not sure what that should mean to you -- however, if it's a comfort, great!

I think the advice up above is really good. Sexual activity is only one part of a relationship - it definitely can be important, but it's certainly not the most important thing in relationships (1st place goes to communication, in my book).
posted by jasper411 at 12:41 PM on April 30, 2005

everyone's given pretty good advice, but i'd add that sex is about chemistry too...there will be horrible people who you will have great sex with, and wonderful people that you'll have no chemistry at all with, so be prepared for that--it can be a harsh lesson to learn, and will depend on what you value most in a relationship.
posted by amberglow at 12:52 PM on April 30, 2005

"First, how rare are 30-year-old male virgins?"

Well, there's this: I go to a Jesuit school, and a lot of my professors are Jesuit priests. So they're all virgins (at least the ones I know well enough to know about how/when they entered the order) and, hell, most of them are in their sixties. I know that you're probably not a Jesuit, and it doesn't always work out for them, but a hell of a lot of priests are doing it. They're just men, nothing particularly special.

That's why I'd say what willnot said: sex isn't that big a deal. The funny thing is, I've known a couple people who've waited a long time to have sex, and they tend to know just as much about sex as people who do. The learning curve is steep; you pick up the physics and the motion and all that faster than you pick up riding a bike. Sure, there are things you can do to make it better, but these things vary so much from person to person and in the end turn out being so unimportant that there's no reason to worry about them too much beforehand. Furthermore, since you're a guy, you've almost certainly thought as much about how sex works as someone who's actually done it. In short, experience really doesn't count for shit.

What does count for shit is approach. There is only one right approach: love. I've never done it, but I imagine it's very difficult to bring that to the prostitute experience, so I wouldn't do it.
posted by koeselitz at 1:02 PM on April 30, 2005

I have two close friends who were virgins well into their twenties. Both (one male, one female) were attractive, brilliant people who, for reasons having nothing to do with conservative values or religion, had just not met anyone special enough to have sex with. So even though you may be convinced that everybody good-looking and cool has sex, it's not true.

Of course, there's also the fact that my first time will probably very obviously be my first time to my partner whether I tell her or not.

I don't think this is necessarily true. Sex is often weird and awkward when you're having it with someone new.

I think you don't necessarily need to tell the girl you're a virgin unless you've gotten really close before you have sex. When you eventually do bring it up, you can say you were shy about it -- that's true -- but that you were really glad your first time was with her. It would not freak me out to find out afterward like this. It might freak me out if you brought it up really soon after we met. Of course, if she asks, be honest.

And finally, a note about mechanics: sex feels different than anything you can do on your own. It feels strange to try to synchronize your rhythm with someone else's. Vary your masturbatory routines to practice -- hump pillows, maybe. And don't be weirded out if the girl you have sex with does not have an orgasm. That has nothing to do with your lack of experience -- many women don't have orgasms from just plain old sex.
posted by climalene at 1:30 PM on April 30, 2005

Because you asked...

I probably would be put off a little to know that the person I was dating is a virgin because I would figure it to be a religious or pathological shyness thing. I would also be afraid of sex being too huge a milestone in our relationship. I would feel a huge sense of responsibility knowing that at 32, I was someone of a contemporary age's first sexual partner.

However! If I really liked you, I'd get over it and it would stop being something that felt like a burden and instead become something that felt like a gift and an honor. But I would want to be told first and early on in the relationship, at the first inkling of it being more than just a casual dating relationship.

Your weight wouldn't matter to me, though, especially if I really liked you.
posted by jennyb at 2:44 PM on April 30, 2005

Dude, in my humble opinion you're totally a score:

a) I would be *thrilled* to be someone's first - that would mean a lot emotionaly, and be pretty hot, too

b) Big guys = sex-ay

c) NO STDs! NO STDs praise jeebus! Yes!
posted by tristeza at 2:44 PM on April 30, 2005

My boyfriend was 27 when we started dating, and he admitted to having sex only once before me (I sometimes wonder if he made it up so he wouldn't have to admit to being a virgin, if I were to find that were the case I wouldn't mind). I'd been in long-term relationships and having the accompanying sex since my late teens.

Firstly, it was important that he told me he was (almost) a virgin, and I think you should do the same. Not only will things be a bit different than with a more seasoned fellow (there may be some endurance and technique issues at the very beginning), but the person you're with will probably be more proactive about telling you what she likes, and figuring out what you like too.

Anyhow, I loved my boyfriend tremendously before we were intimate, so he was comfortable and knew he was with someone who would accept and love him no matter what happened. I hope you're able to find the same. I'd almost think that if you're with someone, and you're not sure you should be telling her you're a virgin, then you probably shouldn't have sex with her.
posted by FortyT-wo at 3:04 PM on April 30, 2005

I'm gonna marry a guy who was pretty inexperienced when we started dating (so was I). I was in my mid-20s and he was in his late 20s. I really like the approach he took.

Upfront, he told me that he hadn't dated a lot and didn't have a lot of experience. Then we went on a date and he was really nice to me. We had dinner and went for a walk in a park. While walking, he stopped me on the path, looked into my eyes and told me he really liked me, that he hadn't had succesful relationships in the past and he didn't know what would happen with us, but that he'd really like to keep seeing me if I was interested. I swooned. Who cares how experienced someone is when they're incredibly nice and decent?

As our relationship became physical, he was completely upfront with me about his limited past experience. He never used the "v" word, and I don't think you should either, anonymous. There's something embarassing about saying "I'm a virgin." Saying, "I've never done this before" is easier somehow, and even feels more honest.

As the older sister of an obese teenager who's aldready dated a few girls, I think the fat thing is a red herring. When you feel worse about yourself because of your body it shows in how you carry yourself and how you behave, and that may make you seem less sexy to people. But if you can work on building confidence in other areas and projecting it in how you carry yourself -- fake it if you have to -- people will start seeing your inner sexiness.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:19 PM on April 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure you have to lose weight. The guy who owns my local skate shop is easily 350-375 and 5'10 tops. He's got a scruffy beard, a shaved head, and spends the days sitting outside his shop smoking and scowling at people passing by. Yet his girlfriends are amazingly hot. So it's not the weight, it's something else.

It's true! I am a fatty and I get more tail than the dog catcher. It's about confidence. You clearly need some. At then end of the day women are people just like us; no better no worse. I fear you're putting them up on a pedestal... and that's the LAST thing they want.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 4:36 PM on April 30, 2005

Building on my last comment: Why don't you start looking at the positive aspects of being you. Once you see your worth other's will too. I can say this, I have met allot of guys that were traditionally good looking that couldn't get laid with a million dollars and trunk of spanish fly. Women may act like they are all about the hunks, and I am sure to some extent they are, but you have to remember women are less sexually visually orientated than we are. So you need to sell the other points you've got going on.

Also, so see a sex worker for christ sakes. That virginity thing is hanging around your neck and dragging you down. A good hooker taught me a long time ago that women are just as fucked up as us. At the end of the day they are just an insecure mass doubt like we are. Once you realize this then you'll be ahead of the game. Also, realize that you have allot to offer a gal; hanging out with you should be an honor to any woman.... and if she doesn't get it, fuck her, there are allot of girls out there.

Ooh ooh, and don't get caught up in the games; once they start pulling that shit somehow they can't get me on the phone anymore.

Also, last advice, read "Trick Daddy" by Iceberg Slim.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 4:53 PM on April 30, 2005

LC: I think you mean "Trick Baby".
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 5:10 PM on April 30, 2005

Dude, I've known virgins who were over 40. I remember thinking I was some kind of sexual retard because I didn't lose my virginity till 18. Just relax and follow the woman's cues, and there will be a woman. I am of the firm belief that everyone has somebody somewhere who finds them hot beyond belief. And I guarantee you that when it does happen, that fter you review the womans behavior, you'll realize that you could've scored numerous times.

Go get 'em, dawg.
posted by jonmc at 5:19 PM on April 30, 2005

"LC: I think you mean "Trick Baby"."

yeeaaaah that's it! Thanks.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 5:22 PM on April 30, 2005

Please tell me, honestly, what your reaction to a partner would be if he told you he was a virgin.

I'm female, now close to 40, and have been with my sweetie for just over 11 years. He's about about same age as me, and was a virgin when we met. I am still the only sexual partner he has ever had, but I had been in two long term (5 year +) relationships prior to our romance.

Two tips:

First, if you want to lose the weight, I encourage you to do so, but being a heavy guy is not an obstacle to women (at least non superficial women) being interested in you. However, being a dirty, ill groomed, wrinkled, rumpled, mopey heavy guy is a turn off, because it tells me you don't think very much of yourself. Dress neatly and with style, get a good haircut, pay attention to your skin and the way you smell -- these things are all more important than your weight. Women want to date confident, funny, generous, caring men. Lots of "pretty boys" aren't any of those things.

As for the virgin thing, well, let me just say that I'm glad I knew before we made love the first time. Scody's advice about that is right on the money -- don't make it a first date topic of conversation, but if you get to a point where one or both of you has taken of their shirt, its time to let the girl know.

I'll also say that the fact I'm the only woman he's ever been with has never been a huge issue for us, but it has made the learning curve slightly different than with my previous relationships. Early in our relationship I found that many of his ideas about sex had been fairly heavily influenced by porn, which meant that he expected things to be a certain way and was disappointed when they weren't, and which also meant that he'd sometimes come up with these off-the-wall ideas and positions that (while I'm very open minded) were sometimes just not physically possible or pleasurable if they were possible. Also, I think at some point he went through a stage of wishing that he had been with other women, just so he'd ... well ... have had a variety of experiences, I guess. We love each other madly, are strongly committed to each other, and we're expecting our first child in December, but I think that having only a single sexual partner is something of a regret for him.
posted by anastasiav at 6:12 PM on April 30, 2005

c) NO STDs! NO STDs praise jeebus! Yes!

And since your partner might think that, remember that you need to insist on (and provide) protection, so that your first time isn't something to regret.
posted by mendel at 7:23 PM on April 30, 2005

Also, so see a sex worker for christ sakes. That virginity thing is hanging around your neck and dragging you down. A good hooker...

Ugh. If you do feel the need to somehow deal with this issue further before getting seriously involved with a woman (though I'm with the chorus who believes your viriginity is a asset in many a woman's eyes), then don't gamble your health and criminal record on the possibility that some hooker may be your magical cure. There are licensed sex therapists who can provide legal, ethical, compassionate, PROFESSIONAL help dealing with your fears about body image or sexual inexperience. Paying to stick your dick in some anonymous woman's vagina isn't going to teach you how to give your partner pleasure (her JOB is to put on a good show, whether you really get her off or not), to be emotionally intimate, to give and take cues about what feels good, to trust your partner enough to be honest about your fears about being less experienced than her, etc. These are the things you want help with right? So see the right "pro" for the job.

If you decide to lose more weight, terrific. But do it because it's for your health, though; not as self-esteem cure or in some misguided attempt to transform into a babe magnet. Self-esteem, humor, intelligence, respectfulness, and ATTENTIVENESS are very attractive qualities to any woman, no matter what you look like. Heck, being a non-stud can be downright sexy in its own right.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 7:30 PM on April 30, 2005

I dated a guy for about a year and a half who was 31 when we met and had never even kissed a girl. He told me a few minutes into our first make-out session. As far as your friends' advice about women thinking you're a freak if you let them know, well, chances are she can tell that you're a little inexperienced or awkward already and won't be too surprised. If you're at the point where you're moving toward intimacy, it's going to happen anyway and your experience or lack thereof will be irrelevant. If you're a willing student, the "educational" aspect of it all can be a lot of fun for you both. ;-)
posted by bendy at 8:30 PM on April 30, 2005

As someone who once weighed more than you (and is still pretty big), I can tell you that the weight isn't a showstopper. It's all about *attitude* and *personality*. Women will prefer a tubby guy who is nice, friendly, funny, and sincere over some skinny jerk who just wants to get his rocks off.

If someone's primary way of judging you is by physical appearance alone, you probably don't want/need to be with them.. Then again, i've found that (and prefer) women with "padding" are more fun!
posted by mrbill at 8:37 PM on April 30, 2005

I can't find original source data (the Durex global survey site is not so well put together) but according to this story you are in a group of 2% of Americans who remain virgins after 25.

posted by nanojath at 9:44 PM on April 30, 2005

I'm with most all the women here in saying that it wouldn't matter much, and that it is best addressed as things move toward increasing intimacy. (I would be more concerned that if we got serious, later down the line you would be tempted to "make up for lost time" outside.)

But I really wish we had a way for anonymous askers to respond to questions, because I'd like to know a little bit more. Specifically, I was struck by two statements: a) "I never was very popular with women," and b) "I've heard from a few (male) friends of mine that this is something I shouldn't reveal".

I'm curious about the first in terms of how broadly this is meant. Did you intend "popular" to indicate sexual attractiveness? Or did you mean you've never really had female friends generally? Because if it's the second case, it might be extremely helpful to address this more basic situation. Having women friends will make you less self-conscious around women generally, and they can be a great source of help and advice. If you feel like you can't speak to women with any degree of comfort at all, then of course it's going to be rare to find yourself in situations that move naturally towards physical intimacy.

It seems obvious from your statement about what your buddies have advised that you can make close friends, and that you aren't carrying this around like some deep unspeakable secret, which is great. If you were a friend of mine, though, as a woman, I'd probably give you slightly different advice than your guy friends do, plus all sort of tips and pointers and as much help as possible to move beyond this little repetitive hiccup in your life. But I'm guessing that if you already had female friends, the hiccup wouldn't even exist.

So it may be that you need to take a slightly different tack in your approach to the problem, and see what you can do about making a new friend or two. Also, when asking men for advice about women, I reccommend talking to guys with sisters, especially sisters who are fairly close to their own age. In my experience, these are the men who are less likely to have many problems relating to women generally, and are thus also more successful romantically.
posted by taz at 10:24 PM on April 30, 2005

Dress neatly and with style, get a good haircut, pay attention to your skin and the way you smell -- these things are all more important than your weight. Women want to date confident, funny, generous, caring men. Lots of "pretty boys" aren't any of those things.

Anastasiav has nailed it! Good men of MeFi, please take note of this. Write it on a slip of paper and put it in your wallet. Consider engraving it on a plaque and putting it on your wall.
posted by scody at 12:23 AM on May 1, 2005

Geez, scody, it seems like it would be easier to hit the gym more often. Losing weight is a pretty simple process us men can understand (even if not all of us can follow through). Those other things are subjective and mystifying.
posted by grouse at 1:12 AM on May 1, 2005

Those other things are subjective and mystifying.

What, like, take a shower every day? Wear deodorant? Don't have a unibrow? Get skin problems under control? Doesn't sound too tough to me. If we were telling him to start wearing makeup, that's where it'd get hard (so many products! so many colors!).

But I digress. I really like taz's advice about female friends- I am a female friend to several guys, and I think I can sometimes see the blind spots they might have regarding dating (they way I'm sure they see mine!). Ask your wise, trusted female friends how they think you come off to women, and ways to make yourself more generally attractive. As your friends, they will be constructive and kind (this is only something to ask people you care about; who cares about the opinions of people who don't care about you?). Thank them for their advice, and think about it- a friend of mine has a habit of asking for advice, and then telling me it's totally wrong. Last time he did it, I told him to STOP ASKING ME FOR ADVICE he wasn't ready to hear (somehow I feel the same thing should be put on the AskMeta question page ;-)

And for the record, I've gone out with some older virgins, and it didn't turn me off. I think your situation is more common, for both men and women, then people might think.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:41 AM on May 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

Concentrate on romance and the sex will follow in due course. If you get all caught up in trying to find sex it will probably just be a turn-off to most women. Lot's of good advice on the romance aspect in this thread and in many prior AskMe threads. Have some self confidence, have some fun and good luck to you.
posted by caddis at 7:27 AM on May 1, 2005

What, like, take a shower every day? Wear deodorant? Don't have a unibrow? Get skin problems under control? Doesn't sound too tough to me

Are you kidding? That sounds like way more effort than I'd like to put into anything that I'm not being paid for. And be careful with the "confidence," cure-all some people are peddling. If you naturally have confidence then it works, but if you have to fake it till you make it, it can easily edge into cockiness if your not careful.

My advice is to simply start yelling at girls from bus windows. So many guys do it, it's got to work sometimes.
posted by jonmc at 7:40 AM on May 1, 2005

What does count for shit is approach. There is only one right approach: love. I've never done it, but I imagine it's very difficult to bring that to the prostitute experience, so I wouldn't do it.

I don't think that's true at all. (About the only right approach to sex being love.) Love isn't all that easy to find and sometimes it works to have sex in the process. Sex can be, and often is, a very good thing in and of itself. In my experience, love just makes it more special. (Not necessarily better sex though.)

I say, be open to the idea of visiting a hooker. Might help boost your confidence (which I agree is integral). (Having never been to a hooker, I can't really say, just a hunch.)

How would I feel about dating a 30 year old virgin? It wouldn't be a positive factor for me (I do like more experienced, cocky kind of men), but it wouldn't be a major problem either. Lack of confidence, or a mean streak, or lack of intelligence ... those are bigger turnoffs to me than lack of sexual experience.
posted by Amizu at 9:31 AM on May 1, 2005

I'm with the other female responses. And to add - I'd much rather hear that you were a virgin than if your first time was with a prostitute. I mean, if we cared and loved each other, it wouldn't matter either way. But as an honest opening impression thing... it would bother me.
posted by mileena at 10:53 AM on May 1, 2005

And be careful with the "confidence," cure-all some people are peddling. If you naturally have confidence then it works, but if you have to fake it till you make it, it can easily edge into cockiness if your not careful.

jon, you make a good point. I agree that cockiness is never particularly attractive, and that trying to "put on" confidence can just come across as false bluster. I guess for me, the kind of confidence I'm talking about (and I assume many others -- men and women alike -- have in mind) is a kind of base-level sense of being okay with one's self. I think it comes from being aware of one's best qualities, no matter how tall or short, heavy or skinny, introverted or extroverted, etc. you might be. At the end of the day, I think that real confidence comes from knowing and liking yourself, warts and all. No bluster, no bragging, no arrogance, no "hey, look at me" salesmanship: just a positive sense of self.

As for grouse: presuming you're not exercising a very dry wit, I'm sorry you find the ideas of personal hygiene, kindness, and humor so mystifying. They strike me as pretty self-explanatory. (And in the event you were exercising a very dry wit: heh.)
posted by scody at 10:59 AM on May 1, 2005

When I was in my early '20s, I dated an amazingly cool 32-year-old woman who'd been a virgin until she was 31. (She'd been really freaked out about her sexual inexperience, to the point where it drove guys away; finally she realized it was Not That Big a Deal, and behold, it wasn't.)

A dear friend of mine married a man who had never kissed anyone before her. They started dating when he was 34 (she was 29 and had briefly been married in her early 20s). That was five years ago, and they're still blissfully happy.

I say: Avoid the hookers. Do stuff that makes you happy about yourself. That is CATNIP TO THE LADIES, as they say.
posted by 88robots at 11:02 AM on May 1, 2005

I agree with what scody, croutonsupfreak and tristeza said. Personally, I'd find it really special that someone thought that I was the one that they wanted to "lose" his/her virginitiy with.

And trite though it may be (and as other people have said), the outer-self really isn't the most important factor. Yes, be neat, tidy and well groomed, but it's the inner-self that really counts. I'm much more attracted to the overweight person who's a sweetheart rather than the greek god/dess who's an utter asshole.

Also, as someone who was a ..er.. late bloomer, first time sex is special but it was much easier and more of a non-event than I expected it to be.
posted by deborah at 12:55 PM on May 1, 2005

Hey, anonymous: The progression from virgin to non-virgin, from feeling like one who has no experience to feeling like one who has, was awkward even for most of us who did it the more typical way and lost our virginity when we were a lot younger than you.

In other words, had you started kissing at 13 and gotten laid at 18 (for example), you still would have gone through a lot of awkwardness, insecurity, rejection, and confusion, not to mention a number of good days in which, after much anxiety spent on one girl, you found yourself in bed with another, to whom you were much more attracted, and whom you had made no effort to attract.

Well, guess what: you have to go through all that anyway. The great mysteries of understanding and attracting those you are attracted to, of learning how to see yourself and how others see you (and again, after you have lost a lot of weight), and of deciding what your priorities should be, in sex and love, are really not that much clearer to most people than they are to you. Don't let your lack of experience become a crutch. Get out there while you're still relatively young, and start forming a greater body of experiences to base your anxiety upon.

And here's a tip from a fellow fat guy (me): all this talk about how it's confidence that matters isn't going to do you much good, as I'm sure you recognize, if you don't yet have that confidence. A 325 pound virgin pretending to be confident to attract girls is not going to work. Losing weight can definitely have a big effect on a guy's confidence, and I hope you won't let any well-meant comments here discourage you from pursuing that very valid activity. Fat can become a crutch too, but telling yourself that the girls you want aren't attracted to you simply because they're 'superficial' isn't ultimately going to make you feel much better.

But speaking of self-esteem issues: don't go to hookers. Don't go to strippers. You have to avoid thinking of girls as elusive whirling dervishes of unattainable delight. They are people with insecurities and problems just like you, and a lot of them will allow you to touch their breasts for free. :)
posted by bingo at 2:51 PM on May 1, 2005

You have to avoid thinking of girls as elusive whirling dervishes of unattainable delight.

I don't know; that description is so awesome, I wish it were true.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:31 PM on May 1, 2005 [2 favorites]

I'd just like to be another voice encouraging you not to think of it as the hugest thing ever. I would be easy going and honest about it with a potential partner - for me personally, if I liked the person, it wouldn't make a difference to me whether they were experienced, but it might make a difference to me if they tried to hide it. I mean, if it's on your mind, and it sounds like it probably would be, you will be cutting off a major experience you're going through from the other person.

I happen to have done this myself, actually: I first had sex at 19, and at the time, in the context, I felt like I had held out somewhat longer than most people around me (second yr at a very liberal college), so I didn't tell the person it was my first time, and I later implicitly denied it. I regret doing that, and sometimes even wonder if that might have contributed to our breakup. It wasn't a big lie, but - honesty is really important, I think.

Re: the weight, I think it's great that so many people are so open to your body type, and I encourage you to take advantage of that, but just for the sake of balance, I'll encourage you to trim down. Good for your health anyway, and it will make you more attractive.

But if you tend to find women in a similar bmi range attractive, then I'd say it's all good. In general, relationships are most successful when both partners are within some vague range of each other on most attributes; if there's a serious disparity it can become a stupid power play even when everyone goes in with good intentions (i.e., the one with the advantage starts taking things for granted, or the one who feels disadvantaged starts acting out. It's definitely dumb, but I have seen it happen a number of times).
posted by mdn at 5:29 PM on May 1, 2005

You have to avoid thinking of girls as elusive whirling dervishes of unattainable delight

I don't know; that description is so awesome, I wish it were true.

Take out the "unattainable," and it still kid of is true.
posted by jonmc at 6:57 PM on May 1, 2005

Wow, there are a lot of great comments in this thread.

First of all, I have to say, where have you been all my life, anonymous?! I'm in northwest Indiana and I am looking for a guy!! hehe! Okay, enough with the advertising, I have a profile.

Now then. I'm 24 and had 3 boyfriends. The farthest I've ever gone? Kissing ON THE CHEEK. That wasn't my choice actually... my last and most serious boyfriend was ultra-religious and wouldn't kiss me on the lips. Anyways, I think you should be honest with the girl you find. Like a lot of people have said, you don't have to say it in so many words... just say you're not experienced... but if she asks, be honest. And personally, I'd ask... with all the diseases out there, I wanna see your blood test results before I sleep with you... okay, I'm not really that strict, but I'd wanna trust that the guy was being honest.

I'm only speaking for myself here, but I think if I was about to become sexually active, I'd be happy to take an active roll... meaning I'd be comfortable going with the guy to buy condoms and talk freely about things I'm not comfortable with. Perhaps some may call this a gender-reversal but I'd hope the guy would be honest with me, in case something like I'd wanna go farther but he was changing his mind... I'd want him to feel comfortable enough to tell me. I'm sure everyone is nervous their first time, but be comfortable enough with the person you're with to be able to tell them things.

Finally, in regards to self-esteem... I'm around 245 pounds. I used to tell myself how I didn't deserve any better than Wal-Mart clothes and once I lost weight I'd buy some nice clothes, etc. I can't tell you how much of a genuine difference it has made in my self-esteem since I started buying cute clothes at Fashion Bug that fit me now, rather than degrading myself. I am not "faking it till I make it..." rather, it really has made me feel good about myself. Do nice things for yourself. It works.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:33 PM on May 1, 2005

Dress neatly and with style, get a good haircut, pay attention to your skin and the way you smell -- these things are all more important than your weight. Women want to date confident, funny, generous, caring men. Lots of "pretty boys" aren't any of those things.

So, you mean it takes money to get a girl?


From what I've been able to sqeeze/happenstance out of others, the pay-for-sex not only doesn't do any good, but it makes things even worse. For casual sex, there'll be someone for anyone - but spending the time to find someone who is worth trading (even on a practice-level; no bag, no love) bodily fluids with is worth it.

Sorry, I'm a an admited excessive adipose-ist which I apologize for, but I've observed heavier people have no problems with dating other heavier people. Do the objects of your sexual appreciation lie within 50% of your weight?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:04 PM on May 1, 2005

Wow, I don't know how to dress "with style," don't use fancy exfoliating skin products or even understand them, or know how to pick the right cologne, and suddenly scody and ThePinkSuperhero act like I don't know to use deodorant or bathe daily. Incredible.

Another tip for your self-confidence, anonymous: avoid women like these two.
posted by grouse at 4:01 AM on May 2, 2005

Oh fuck you, grouse. Look back and see- scody said, "Hey, men, make sure you dress neatly and smell nice." You were the one that said, "Oh noooo, that's too confusing for me." Nobody said anything about turning into the sixth member of the Queer Eye gang. Project much, eh?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:35 AM on May 2, 2005 [1 favorite]

Despite your use of quotations for text you apparently made up, what she actually said immediately before my comment was, "Dress neatly and with style, get a good haircut, pay attention to your skin and the way you smell -- these things are all more important than your weight."

Project much, eh?

That's hilarious coming from someone who rewrites quotes and interprets people in the least favorable light for no reason whatsoever.
posted by grouse at 9:43 AM on May 2, 2005

Who is the one doing the interpreting? You said above, "suddenly scody and ThePinkSuperhero act like I don't know to use deodorant or bathe daily". But neither of us either mentioned YOU- it's obvious we were talking generally- that in general, it is not hard for a man to stay neat and clean, and that it's a good way to up your attractiveness level. So why you suddenly felt the need to take our commenting on the issue at hand as a personal attack is beyond me. It's obvious you have issues with this topic that go beyond this thread.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:05 AM on May 2, 2005 [1 favorite]

Wow, I don't know how to dress "with style," don't use fancy exfoliating skin products or even understand them, or know how to pick the right cologne, and suddenly scody and ThePinkSuperhero act like I don't know to use deodorant or bathe daily. Incredible.

Another tip for your self-confidence, anonymous: avoid women like these two.

And then, just one exchange later:

That's hilarious coming from someone who rewrites quotes and interprets people in the least favorable light for no reason whatsoever

The irony is fucking killing me. Both I and TPS have offered substantive, heartfelt, sincere, helpful feedback to anonymous, and in the process I highlighted what is, I think, a genuinely positive message to men out there: that is, contrary to the idea that "what women want" is some Adonis with a yacht, what many of us truly want is someone who takes care of himself and is good to himself and the people around him.

And you think that's negative? You think we're not offering good advice? What advice have you offered anonymous here, grouse -- other than to tell him to stay away from women like me and ThePinkSuperhero? No, your basic contribution to the thread basically boils down to deliberately misrepresenting my comment (which actually quoted anastasiav, by the way!) as a demand to "use fancy exfoliating skin products" or face rejection. And from that you then conclude that TPS and I (and presumably anastasiav, who brought up the inscrutable concepts cleanliness and humor in the first place) are confidence-destroyers who anonymous should avoid! That's bad faith and it's bullshit.

Since you're the one who stated that the concepts of being (anastasiav's quote) "confident, funny, generous, and caring" were (your quote) "mystifying," I'll try to re-state it more simply, grouse (aptly-chosen name, by the way): many, many, many women are not interested in someone with a perfect body or movie star looks. Many, many, many of us prefer instead a man who practices good personal hygiene (that's where the "smells nice" thing comes in -- soap smells nice!), takes care with his appearance (again: I am not suggesting Prada suits and $100 haircuts, so don't try to pull that shit again), and is kind, funny, considerate, and has a positive self-image. Are those concepts still mystifying? I suggest a dictionary.

What on god's green earth are you suggesting is a better suggestion? Being mean, petty, inconsiderate, and filled with self-loathing? Oh yeah, that's really going to help anonymous out! Frankly, I don't even buy your claim that these things are really so mystifying to men in general. I've known plenty of men (friends, family members, coworkers, partners, etc.) who have all been perfectly clear on those concepts. In fact, I think that if anyone's insulting men in general here, it's you -- by implying that you're all too thick to understand what "caring" means. If you are truly "mystified" by the idea of being "confident, funny, generous, and caring," then I'm sincerely sorry for you. Most men, in my experience, know exactly what those things are -- so I guess, in the end, my advice will only resonate with them.

So explain again why anonymous should stay away from women like me?
posted by scody at 11:31 AM on May 2, 2005

A man who practices good personal hygiene (that's where the "smells nice" thing comes in -- soap smells nice!)
I always ask the guy I'm dating what scent he is wearing, because he always smells so nice. The answer is always "laundry detergent".
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:46 PM on May 2, 2005 [1 favorite]

What on god's green earth are you suggesting is a better suggestion? Being mean, petty, inconsiderate, and filled with self-loathing?

It worked for Jim Morrison and Lou Reed.

scody, you have to learn soomething about men here: we're just as insecure about our ability to be attractive as females are. For some guys this leads to excessive vanity and poodle-syndrome, for others (like myself) it leads to a weird sort of defensiveness: "you don't dig my 3-day unshowered self in my jeans and dirty t-shirt? Fuck you, snooty bitch."

And some guys can actually do that and make it work, somehow. But breaking some poor slobs ball about it isn't gonna help. It's like teloling him, it's not your sloppiness, it's you, you just suck. Which is how a lot of men become bitter old bastards.
posted by jonmc at 6:50 PM on May 2, 2005

we're just as insecure about our ability to be attractive as females are.

But jon, whose balls are we breaking? I honestly think we're on the same page about a lot of this here. What I (and TPS, and anastasiav, etc.) are saying is that much of the baggage men are carrying about how to attract women (I have to be Cary Grant handsome, have six-pack abs, and make a six-figure salary, etc.) is just as crap as the baggage many women are carrying around (I have to have a the face of Angelina Jolie and the body of Pam Anderson, I have to have perfect children and a successful career, etc.). The things you worry about and the things we worry about are much the same -- and just as unrealistic and often unnecessary!

I mean, aside from the daily showering thing (which, I agree, a few men can in fact make work for them -- I look forward to meeting you one day and finding out if you're one of them *wink*), I honestly am baffled as to what you think we're saying is so snobby/bitter-bastard-in-the-making at all -- I'm trying desperately to say just the opposite, in fact. I don't want a musclebound millionaire; I'd be thrilled with (and indeed, was desperately in love for several years with) a shy, skinny, nearsighted guy who reads James Joyce and makes me laugh helplessly till milk comes out of my nose. Preferring him to have a working familiarity with soap and water doesn't strike me as snotty ball-breaking -- nor out of touch with the bathing habits of the majority of the populace, frankly.

To bring it back to Anonymous, the point that all of this was really to let him know he didn't need to wait to get to his ideal weight to start dating at all! We were actually reassuring him that for countless women, a guy who takes care of himself and is likeable (funny, considerate, etc.) who happens to be heavy is far more attractive than some male model type with nothing between the ears or in his heart. Again, I'm baffled as to how the expectation of personal hygiene can be equated with unrealistic snobbishness. After all, this is Amurrrica, not France! ;)
posted by scody at 10:44 AM on May 3, 2005

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