How horrible is it to be a 30-year-old virgin?
January 24, 2012 1:56 PM   Subscribe

How horrible is it to be a 30-year-old virgin?

I know, I'm 10-years away from a hollywood movie, but 30-year-old virgins are still pretty uncommon.

I'm not QUITE 30, but it's around the corner, and a change in my virginity status is not likely before I hit that milestone.

My questions: when and how do I bring this up to dating partners? Part of me wants to just keep quiet about it (which is a horrible idea, I know) but it does have to be discussed.

How much of a deal-breaker could my virginity status be for potential suitors?

My background: I'll try to answer any anticipated questions.

As a young teen, I took a religious "vow" to remain a virgin until marriage. That motivated my decision not to have sex. I'm not 100% sure that I would be able to go through with pre-marital sex now; I would prefer to get married first, though I know that may limit my potential partners. I am terrified of a pregnancy out of wedlock (I would literally be disowned from my family) and I would/could never have an abortion. I know that birth control is available, but any risk percentage less than 100% is too risky for me.

Despite the reasons for virginity, I'm not particularly religious. I grew up in a Christian household, I believe in God, but I don't attend church. I don't have a problem with church in general, and would be willing to attend if I found one that suited me.

I have dated before; I was in 1 relationship with a partner who also chose to wait for marriage. The longest relationship of my past was 7 years; we had 3 dating 'intervals'. During one break, he lost his virginity, though he still respected my decision to wait. Neither break-up was related to sex.

I am not opposed to premarital kissing, and I am a very affectionate person in general. I don't have a problem talking about sex.

It's been over a year since I've been on a date. Why? I'm busy with work, but I would like to have children and a family some day, so I'm trying to branch out to online or other forms of dating.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (46 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

My questions: when and how do I bring this up to dating partners? Part of me wants to just keep quiet about it (which is a horrible idea, I know) but it does have to be discussed.

If you are looking to divest yourself of this virginity, I'd recommend keeping stumm. I used to know a 35-year-old virgin -- who may well be by now a 45-year-old virgin -- who saw no connection between his chaste status and his bringing this up in his first conversation with everyone he met. As I recollect, prospective partners seemed a bit put off by the notion of going where no woman had gone before, so they tended to move on.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:10 PM on January 24, 2012 [9 favorites]

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with being (for whatever reason, really) a virgin in your thirties. However, I agree that you need to be fairly upfront about this if you intend to enter the dating scene. (How upfront that is? I honestly don't know as I've never been in a similar situation, however, I'd like to be told in the first date myself, if that were to ever happen).

I also hope that this doesn't come off as unwanted info (since you mentioned being afraid of having sex due the possibility of getting pregnant) but if you go on birth control and use a condom, the chances of that happening are really slim. (I've found a site that mentioned the chances being of 0.002%)
posted by Trexsock at 2:10 PM on January 24, 2012

Not at all. Some people will love that.....
Read alot, don't be clueless, you will be fine.
Learning can be much of the fun with the right partner.

Good Luck Learning!
posted by Studiogeek at 2:11 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Not horrible at all.

Probably not a deal-breaker to (what sounds to me like) your target suitor audience of Christian men around 30 looking to get married in the near future.

(I suspect) The people it would be a deal-breaker for are probably not the people you are interested in for various reasons. Christian men around 30 looking to get married soon is not hugely limiting your dating pool either, you could have many much more limiting requirements.

You're doing fine, particularly if you're only worried about the impression it will give others and not because it affects your own self image negatively.
posted by pseudonick at 2:12 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

There's nothing horrible about it!

Your virginity will not be a deal-breaker for the type of person you should be seeking to date, especially if your preference is to stay a virgin until marriage.

Most importantly, if, as you say, any pregnancy risk less than 100% is too risky for you outside of marriage, then I don't see any way you can have PiV intercourse before marriage, and that is definitely something you need to tell dating partners. It's not necessarily telling them your "status" as a virgin that matters -- it's that you don't intend to have PiV sex until marriage, and maybe not much more than kissing(?) until then either.

Timing-wise, you're not obliged to tell anyone until you feel comfortable doing so, but I think you'll find that sharing what you want sooner rather than later will serve you well in helping you find the person right for you to developing a relationship with, and helping anyone that you're dating figure out if you might be that person for them.
posted by argonauta at 2:13 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

My family consists of my parents, my three brothers and two sisters. We were brought up in an extremely religious atmosphere, and the expectation was that, as with you, sex was not to be contemplated before marriage. My two older brothers are 33 and 34, and although I don't enquire closely into their personal lives, I'm pretty certain they adhere to this viewpoint.

The eldest is not married, and doesn't have a girlfriend. The next eldest was married about 18 months ago. Both of them seemed quite content with their choices.

It's not horrible, and the thing that is telling you otherwise is the relentless pressure of the commercialisation of sex. There are no logical grounds for thinking it bad to not have had sex.
posted by fearnothing at 2:17 PM on January 24, 2012 [8 favorites]

I imagine that some people, particularly those in religious communities, won't find it off-putting at all.
posted by sugarbomb at 2:19 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

How much of a deal-breaker could my virginity status be for potential suitors?

It's only a deal-breaker if you make it a deal-breaker (by making it out to be a big deal to your future partner).

I am not opposed to premarital kissing...

This is a deal-breaker, however. It's not so much that you are not opposed to "premarital kissing," but that you would even think to say something like this could be a serious problem.
posted by lobbyist at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2012 [25 favorites]

It's not something to be ashamed of, but it's going to significantly determine what kind of partners you will be compatible with. Being a virgin per se wouldn't be much of a problem with many men at all. Waiting till marriage will be quite a stumbling block for most men, but not at all for others. You need to focus on those. Most of these are going to be quite religious. Are you okay with being with someone for whom religion is a major component of their lives? If so, you should get involved with some church dating scenes, and/or try eHarmony which seems to focus on this demographic.

Also, not to be too much of a downer, but within the Christian community there is a significant shortage of single men in their 30's, they are almost invariably outnumbered by single women in their 30's. Which makes it tougher on women who wait until they're a bit older for marriage.
posted by skewed at 2:25 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think it would be foolish and possibly unethical to date anyone who doesn't share all of your beliefs around this kind of stuff, if you hadn't disclosed it after the first couple of dates. It's not "horrible" or "weird", but it's enough of it's own thing that you should only be trying to date other people who feel the same way, and who are hopefully also virgins themselves or are at least understanding of your choices.

I don't think you being a virgin will automatically be a "deal-breaker" to people who don't share your beliefs, just that it would probably not be a good idea to start dating them in the first place, given what you seem to want out of a relationship. If it so happens that you happen to get to know someone with different beliefs and values outside of an online dating/meat market context, and you really hit it off, are attracted to each other, and you both want to try a relationship anyway, that could totally work out, but you'd have to negotiate everything with that particular person as an individual. If you're just browsing profiles on OKC or eHarmony or letting your friends set you up or whatever, doing some filtering based on your beliefs and goals is probably a good idea.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 2:31 PM on January 24, 2012

I don't think mid-to-late 20s virginity is all that rare afterall. I was there years ago. My girlfriend was a 20-something virgin when we first started going out and I was humbled and honored and it has been a heck of a lot of good times. I can think of several guyfriends who are 20-something virgins for reasons similar to your's.

I've known some female friends who say late virginity in a potential boyfriend could be a potential red flag, but I've never heard that from a guy. Either way, someone who is crazy about you isn't looking for red flags and you want your first time to be with one of those crazy enamored people anyway!

You're way more likely to die in a car crash than to have a birth control failure while doubling up on birth control. Get a prescription for the pill right now and start right now and take it consistently without exception. Use condoms consistently and without exception. Have some Plan B on hand in case there's some really unavoidable situation. As a society, we like to scaremonger about sex, but the truth is that safe sex done right is way safer than a heck of a lot of daily activities. (Safe sex gets a lot less safe when people don't take it seriously, which is where all the scary common-use odds come from but you have control of that.)

In any event there are whole worlds of sexy time activites that don't involve PIV penetration. Whole worlds! Variations on the phrase, "can you stay over without sleeping with me? I want to take it slow," can delay for a while until you have an intimate enough and communicative enough relationship to have a more blunt conversation. And you really want to be able to communicate because that is the #1 difference between good sex and whatjusthappenedwasthatabadidea sex.

There are a lot of other AskMeFi questions relevant here if you search the archives, too!
posted by Skwirl at 2:42 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

How horrible is it? Not at all. People who partake of online dating relate a staggering range of things ranging between preferences, strong preferences and requirements.

Deal-breaker? Definitely for some. Sexual compatibility is no trivial thing in a marriage and from a numbers-game perspective, can't be too many men with whom you have spiritual and no-pre-marital-sex compatibility.

That's to say devout people of faith are probably relatively inclined to wait for marriage, though some doubt that there would be compatibility in spiritual and other realms.

But if it's what feels right and good to you, to choose otherwise would be highly questionable.
posted by ambient2 at 2:43 PM on January 24, 2012

Some will find it a dealbreaker, others won't. I think it's worth going on 2-3 dates with someone before worrying too much about whether they'll care; take those dates to see if you even like them enough to want to continue dating them. You might also, as others mention above, limit your online searching to people who feel the same way you do about that topic.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:44 PM on January 24, 2012

when and how do I bring this up to dating partners?

First or second date, if not before. Make it clear that your goal is to remain a virgin until you're married.

How much of a deal-breaker could my virginity status be for potential suitors?

Virginity isn't the problem, the desire to remain until marriage is. It's going to be turn off to many guys that they're not going to be having sex. It's better to get that out in the open as early as possible, so everyone can decide if they want to stick around.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:45 PM on January 24, 2012 [10 favorites]

Do you want to have sex?

If not, none of this should matter. Why would you want to be with someone who doesn't share your values and regards something pretty basic about your life experience as a dealbreaker?

If you had the reverse situation ("How horrible is it to have slept with 500 people by age 30?"), I would tell you to DTMFA anybody who had a problem with you because of that. This should be no different.
posted by Sara C. at 2:59 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Not horrible - and good practical advice from many other above.

But what might be "horrible" would be for you to look back with regret at having too many years of your life spent focussing on work - when that work was done as a way of avoiding addressing issues such as sex/babies/relationships.

You have been dating in the past; more recently you have stopped. Now it seems you have realised you should address the issue. Good! If there is a significant voice in your head telling you want a family and children "some day" than make some concrete plans to get out there and start looking ASAP. Don't let your work - any more than your hang ups about virginity - snowplough your dreams.
posted by rongorongo at 3:15 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is a lot of talk about religion as a reason for virginity here and I do agree that very often that is the case, but backing up a bit I'd say don't necessarily look at it this way. Many people for many reasons grow in different areas of their life at different paces.

In all of my relationships I have moved VERY slowly. I'm a dude so it might have been seen as undesirable, but it wasn't for me - it was (and is) awesome. I don't think I missed out on anything. I still got a first this and a second that and they were all great. I did skip the opportunities for one-night-stand type situations in HS and college that could have happened, but looking back I don't think I missed much. I went out with girls who wanted to move much faster and it just wasn't for me. Nobody was hurt by this - we were just different.

I'm obviously only speaking for myself here, but my reasons for slow progression had little to do with religion, parents, or outside pressures. It has worked great for me and my wife and I have a great sex life so I'm not missing out now either. In fact I am glad that at 35 we're still getting into new things that might seem tame to a very adventurous 20 year old - it means we still have more fun ahead.

Your best bet for finding someone who is a good match is to be upfront about your preferences. You are very far from alone here - regardless of what it may look or feel like to you.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 3:18 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had a roommate who was a virgin in her mid-20's who wanted to wait until marriage, and she met her boyfriend (now husband) on eHarmony. I've never used that site myself but it seemed to work out great for them. The impression I get is that it's a little more skewed towards religious and/ or marriage-oriented people so I don't think your being a 30 year old virgin would be a huge deal or particularly unusual on that site.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 3:33 PM on January 24, 2012

Are you interested in having other forms of sex that don't involve a risk of pregnancy? It's not clear to me from your question if you're okay with anything beyond a makeout session with clothes on.

It's just that there is a big difference between "no sex for you, but here's a glimpse of my ankle" and "let's have nekkid time but don't stick it in, please." Would you be comfortable becoming gradually more intimate with someone if you could trust them to respect your boundaries? If so, I think that makes your virginity much less of a deal-breaker for the average guy.
posted by cabingirl at 3:43 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

In theory, I respect people who choose to remain virgins until marriage. They may do so for religious reasons or because they believe it will somehow lead to a healthier, more respectful relationship before introducing complicated issues involving sex.

But you might want to reexamine your reasons for remaining a virgin at age 30. From what you've said, they involve mainly fear (I'll get pregnant) and guilt (my family will disown me if I get pregnant). One poster above has already mentioned that if you're using both BCP and condoms (maybe even with spermicide) your chances of getting pregnant are less than negligible.

And if in the extremely unlikely event you did get pregnant, would your parents really disown you? A thirty-year-old woman? Really? I mean, have they said this recently, or did they say that once when you were a teenager and you've always carried it with you? Because people--and times--change and mature. In any case, you should not let an incredibly unreasonable (and possibly nonexistent) threat like that govern all your choices about your relationships and your life. There may be genuinely compelling reasons for remaining a virgin, but the fear of what your family will say or do should NOT be one of them.
posted by tully_monster at 3:55 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

If I were you, I'd start looking around for a church I liked. Oddly enough, I know at least three guys around your age who are in the same boat as you and they are all pretty religious but otherwise normal and attractive. I think getting involved in church activities will provide you with your "target market".
posted by Jess the Mess at 3:56 PM on January 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

If you are dating online, I would think about writing something in your profile along the lines of,
"I'm not particularly religious, but I am waiting until marriage to have sex. Other activities are still on the table :)"

I'm curious about what other mefites think of this idea. My thought is that it would screen out anyone who thinks that no premarital sex is a dealbreaker - this is good, you're incompatible with them anyway. It lets people know where you stand.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:57 PM on January 24, 2012

It could be a deal-breaker, but that's okay, because you don't want to date those people. The reality is, you're a virgin and you want to stay that way, so whoever you get involved with better be OK with that. You should think of it as criteria to weed out people who aren't right for, you as opposed to a liability that will weed you out. With that said, I wouldn't say so on the first date unless you have met the person in such a fashion that implies you very well could be waiting until marriage (Christian website or church?) You should not feel pressured to tell this right away because a first date is just seeing if you get along as people, and, in my opinion, is not the time to talk about sexual proclivities or lack thereof. You'd have to judge the situation, though. Talk about it when you feel comfortable. And if you don't feel comfortable talking about, that's probably a sign you need to pay attention to.
posted by amodelcitizen at 4:04 PM on January 24, 2012

I don't quite get if the issue that you are currently a virgin or that you wish to remain a virgin until marriage. Whatevs. This is 2nd or 3rd date material. Nothing to be ashamed of. But, guy should be able to make an informed decision on whether you are right for him and knowing there is no shtupping until it is permanent is something guys (like me) would at least want to know.
posted by AugustWest at 4:16 PM on January 24, 2012

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a 30 year old virgin. It's not 100% clear in your posting as to whether you wanna loose your virginity or wait until marriage. It seems that you're leaning towards waiting until marriage based on your vow along with fear of pregnancy. This is all understandable. You have the right to remain a virgin until you decide otherwise. That being said, if you're going to get involved with someone and you know you're not going to want sex until marriage you need to eventually say this to them. Not on a first date...or even second, but sometime after the two of you have been seeing each other for a bit. Certainly no sex will be a deal breaker for many partners. Sex is one of the main reasons people want a relationship. On the flip side, if you're open to the idea of having sex before marriage, I can't see why being a virgin would be a deal breaker. In fact it might even make things really exciting and special for the other person. As for birth control...yes you can still get pregnant if you use condoms or birth control pills. Is it likely? No. If you wanna play it really safe use BOTH condoms and birth control pills. Nothing guarantees not getting pregnant, but double birth control is about as good as it gets. Stay strong in who you are. Don't ever feel pressured. Sex is great, but it's far from the greatest thing ever and probably won't be anywhere near as big of a deal you think it is once you have it. Hope this helps. Internet dating is a great way to meet potential partners. I met my wife there.
posted by ljs30 at 4:19 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is no deal breaker here. If you find the right person, it won't matter. Don't worry about this, go dating and just be yourself.

If you want to remain a virgin until marriage, then you'll probably need to find someone who feels a similar way to you. (Are there any Christian dating websites? Surely...) Let's just say that most 30 year olds have already passed this milestone in their lives.

Good luck
posted by 0bvious at 4:23 PM on January 24, 2012

I empathize very much your situation. I'm your age and I share your beliefs (I'm more religious, though).

Secular dating is going to be a total crapshoot at your age. It really is a different ballgame than in your 20's because a lot of men (not the ones *you* want, but, it's hard to determine that upfront, sometimes, especially if it's a blind date) are going to look at you the way they look at anyone they feel is behind, developmentally. To them, you're the sexual equivalent of someone still living in grandmama's basement, and no matter what they say, expect the quick fade.

Don't let this get you down. You made a different choice, and if you encounter these guys (which you will, in secular dating, no matter how hard you try to vet them), try to shrug it off. It's hard 'cause the guy who thinks you're so cool one day will not be returning your texts two days later, but hey, he wasn't for you.

When to disclose? ASAP. There's usually a point when you're talking to someone when it comes up naturally, either before the date if it's a blind date or on the first date or two if it's not. Whatever you do, dont smile along if he says something like, "But crazy sexual experiences, that's what college was for, right?!" That's your cue to confidently, briefly mention your personal beliefs, just don't do it in a judgemental way.

Basically, religious guys are going to be your best bet. Bet so many of them are married by 30! So you're going to have to go out of your way to find adult fellowship meet-ups of your own faith or perhaps interfaith ones if you're down. In my experience, a man one meets, say, at the zendo will be much more open to no sex before marriage than almost any guy at a bar. Even a really nice bar.

And online dating or meetups you find online just for Christians are pretty good bets, too.

Something you need to know: dating over 30 if you have a minority belief (In the U.S. no sex before marriage qualifies) is harder, especially if you don't have cultural resources or expectations such as arranged marriages/marrying super young.

So if I were you (And I was, before I met my boyfriend of the last couple of years) I'd make finding a partner my top priority. If you want babies... the clock is ticking, so just be mindful of this. You're really going to need to set aside time for dating, and if you feel you're playing catch-up (which you sound like you are 'cause work has been your priority) then get a move on, please, there's no time like the present, and delays are not your friend here. And if you've been avoiding men romantically for other reasons, you may want to examine all of that also.
posted by devymetal at 4:39 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

It's hard 'cause the guy who thinks you're so cool one day will not be returning your texts two days later, but hey, he wasn't for you.

FWIW, I'm a 30-year-old non-virgin and this has happened to me every.single.time I met someone interesting in the last year. You have to kiss a lot of frogs, as the saying goes, regardless of whether you're willing to go to third base with them or not.

posted by Sara C. at 4:49 PM on January 24, 2012

I think it is a shame for you to put constrictions on your sex life because of fear and habit, instead of because of genuine religious convictions. You don't need to decide whether to have sex now - but you do need to get comfortable with expressing yourself sexually. That's really the issue - not virginity, per se. I'd encourage you to get more comfortable with your body. Go to Plan Parenthood to learn about birth control options and discuss your worries. Read "taking charge of your fertility" to understand the awesome way your body makes babies (or avoids making them!) Really start to think deeply about why you fear the stigmatization of single motherhood so much, and consider whether the people and social pressures telling you that would be "the worst thing ever" are worth crippling such an important aspect of yourself.

And on the more fun side, enjoy your body! Masturbate, watch sexy movies, ready sexy stories.

Your sexuality is yours; it is meant to give you pleasure and bond you to your lover. Own it!
posted by mrs. sock at 4:53 PM on January 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

First off, decide for yourself how far you are willing to go sexually before marriage. You're okay with kissing. How about groping? Oral? Anal? How much sexual activity are you willing to engage in before marriage? Your decisions about that will inform what guys are likely to go along with your needs or not. I have one virgin-at-30+-Catholic-waiting-till-marriage friend who won't even hold hands until marriage and to be honest, the men are not beating down her door. (I think that she uh...has other issues though, see below.) If you're willing to physically fool around/do other things beyond the P-in-V, your odds are better. But if you aren't comfortable with that at all, then at least be honest with yourself about it rather than forcing yourself into contact you don't want.

If you really want to stay hands-off until marriage, it does limit your pool to pretty much the Christians. Which means, go back to a fairly strict church. If you're okay with that, then it'll work for you. Outside of strict church communities, your odds are pretty low, though. Most people don't want to hop into a marriage right away, and dating for years without nookie is not something most folks do now.

One disclaimer: some folks who want to wait until marriage are only saying this because they don't actually want to have sex. One of my relatives married a dude like this and was unpleasantly surprised on the honeymoon night. I would suggest ah...well, at least doing a little more beyond kissing before the honeymoon night to see if sexual compatibility is likely to work.

Btw, this week's Savage Love podcasts talks to some virgins, if that interests you any. (mp3 link)
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:53 PM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

I recently read this question and think you may find it and the responses helpful.
posted by vegartanipla at 4:54 PM on January 24, 2012

Virginity is not that big a deal and I think it's a mistake to invest it with too much importance.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:56 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would bring it up in the context of "waiting for marriage," since that is an issue. If you just wanted to have sex and move on, I would say not to mention it. But your partner is likely to want sex at some point, and that's not on the table, so you need to be up front about that. Not up front as in first date, but up front as in... third date? fifth date? Something between where sex would ordinarily be a thing people might start expecting to happen and the start of a committed relationship.

Your stance would be a deal-breaker for me. I wouldn't want to remain in a long-term relationship with no sex. I wouldn't want to get married without knowing we were compatible in a long-term relationship (including but not limited to sexually). I can only speculate that this would be an issue for a lot of people in their 30s (most, in fact), but it certainly wouldn't be a deal-breaker for everyone. I think you're more likely to have a lot of success finding compatible people in that regard with people who are religious and take religion pretty seriously.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:59 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

So you've saved something very special for SOMEONE very special. What's so bad about that? This will not limit your choices at all, and you should not second guess yourself. There are plenty of things more enjoyable and more meaningful than sex - one of them is sticking to your guns and doing the right thing.
posted by brownrd at 5:55 PM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't think that being virgin at age thirty is "horrible," but I do think you're in a tough spot if you use the language of conservative Christian values but aren't an active believer.

I think mrs. sock's suggestions are fantastic. There is absolutely no harm in educating yourself about sexual health and exploring and getting comfortable with your sexuality in ways that feel safe to you. I don't mean, "If you just learn about birth control, you'll be comfortable having intercourse"--what I mean is, right now your explanation of your values is based on shame and fear. Your description is pretty off-putting, both because it sounds like you have some religious baggage and also because you don't seem to be making these decisions in an adult way.

You could make the exact same choice based on facts and self-awareness, and it would be far less off-putting. So, I'm not saying you should go out and have sex. I am saying that you should invest some time and energy into exploring, embracing, and owning your sexuality in a healthy, adult way.
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:34 PM on January 24, 2012 [6 favorites]

How horrible is it to be a 30-year-old virgin?

Not horrible at all.

How much of a deal-breaker could my virginity status be for potential suitors?

It is a deal breaker for most men in the age bracket you are looking at. It is also a highly important aspect of who you are as a person and you are looking for a person who needs to complement what you require. So it needs to be brought up very early in the piece and you need to be very clear that you require that in a relationship before that relationship goes forward. Essentially, make it a dealbreaker for you by articulating it clearly to any future potential partners.
posted by mleigh at 6:44 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

What's so bad about that? This will not limit your choices at all

Nothing is bad about it, but I think it's a little disingenuous to say that it will not limit her choices at all. Unless she confines her dating to people who share her desire to wait, which seems like a small subset of the potential dating pool, the no sex before marriage thing will be a dealbreaker for a lot of guys. Which is not to say that it's not possible, but the OP is going to have to be upfront about her beliefs to avoid wasting her time.
posted by crankylex at 7:08 PM on January 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

Ok, so I will preface this with feel free to totally disregard what I'm about to say if you really feel that strongly about it but you need to seriously reconsider your stance on premarital sex.

At the very least you need to be open to the possibility that you may meet someone and that there will come a time in that relationship, prior to marriage or even engagement, that you will want to have sex with them and feel comfortable having sex with them. You need to put it on the table. I'm nt saying on date 1 or 3 or 15, but somewhere before lifetime commitment.

From the sound of it you are deeply uncomfortable with premarital sex. What I'm not getting however is an actual moral objection to it. I feel that you are still trying to work out that distinction. And there is a distinction. If you are no longer deeply religious what is holding you back? You need to explore that. You need to figure out what do I really find immoral and what just scares me. Because having sex for the first time is scary. You are taking a risk. You are putting yourself out there. It's not easy. I don't know who said it first, but I find it to be entirely true, that it is both the most overwhelming and underwhelming experience of your life.

But I digress. How big of a deal is it? Well do you want to marry someone extremely religious? Because if you do you are good to go, but if you are looking for someone more moderate, well, honestly not having sex before marriage is unheard of except in the hyper religious communities. Unheard of. And even in very religious communities it happens a lot.

That's not to say being a virgin is a deal breaker. I don't think it is. I really don't, but the no pre marital sex almost certainly is. That's not to say you should feel rushed. A lot of people are willing to wait, just not until marriage. That's why I'm saying be open.
posted by whoaali at 8:45 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

As a young teen, my grade 7 Catholic school elementary teacher thought masturbation was selfish and immoral. I thought it was good advice at the time. I didn't start until I was 21 as I was transitioning to atheism. The previous belief I had was wrong and masturbation can be an essential component to keeping guys level headed. I was also judging my friends because they were masturbating. Values change and maybe you're making your life difficult when it shouldn't be.
posted by DetriusXii at 8:46 PM on January 24, 2012

If part of the subtext of this question is "where might I find a guy who isn't totally wigged out by a 30 year old virgin, and a virgin who may not have pre-marital sex at all, especially one who probably shares my semi-religious cultural background?"

a) church type functions. There are tons of them. But yes, you'd have to actually find a church.

b) meet-up type groups, outside of church, but with a specific emphasis on something related to your religion. Maybe volunteer groups in the area. i.e. Habitat for Humanity sponsored by a conservative church. That kind of thing.

c) friends who are in that circle, or know people who are.

d) was pretty much designed for you!
posted by barnone at 9:05 PM on January 24, 2012

lobbyist: " This is a deal-breaker, however. It's not so much that you are not opposed to "premarital kissing," but that you would even think to say something like this could be a serious problem."

This. My first boyfriend didn't tell me for 6 months that he didn't want his first kiss until his wedding day. I spent that whole time thinking I had bad breath or something. It strikes me as really prudish. I think it's taking chasteness too far.

Look, at 29 I went and got a random hookup to get it over with, and it sucked. It hurt and he turned out to be kind of creepy. Maybe you'd have a different experience, but I say don't do it just to get it over with. It'll be fine if you're still dating in a religious pool.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:24 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

If it's about pregnancy, you could always date a sterile man.

If it's not about pregnancy -- which it doesn't really sound like -- then you might want to reflect on the overall nature of your sexuality. Particularly your own drives. You don't mention any.
posted by ead at 9:36 PM on January 24, 2012

Do you want to have sex? Have you ever? (Apart from the fear of pregnancy, and apparently only former moral objection.) Have you had and are you open to oral sex? I'm kind of getting the vibe from your post that you're not into sex. Which is fine, but it could influence advice on how to discuss this with your future partner.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:38 PM on January 24, 2012

Do be aware that the moment you say, "I do not want to have sex before marriage," there are going to be those who will take that as a challenge.
posted by mie at 2:34 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

You are a "virgin" if you really, really want to have sex and are just waiting for someone, *anyone*, to help you "lose it" before the clock strikes 30 (or some other number). You are a "celibate" if not having sex. for the first time or the millionth time, is an active and conscious decision. If you still feel more like a "virgin", you can stop reading here.

While it is a nice feeling, society is not going to validate your decisions. Why is it that the 40 yr old virgin is a comedy? Why is it that a celebrity's admission of celibacy is "shocking"? Why is it that the fact that one in four American teen girls have at least one STD is not more shocking? What is popular is not always right and what is right for you may not be as popular- but you need to know what is right for you and then stick with it and be proud of it. The vow aside, you have to really know, deep within your heart, what you really want. What you really want is what you will look for outside, to date. And this applies not just to sex but also marriage. Some people date *anyone* because being married and having kids with *anyone* is what they want. Nothing wrong with that but its important you really know what you want to be able to find it.

I do not know what you mean by other forms of dating. If you are going for online dating, this is something that some people will mention explicitly in their profiles. There are profiles that imply this with the language they use and given the heavy stance on religion, its all pretty obvious. Not telling people that you are a "virgin" is not horrible, not anymore than not sharing the intimate details of your sexual health with a potential partner, or not discussing it at all! The only reason its better to let the other person know is that you can gauge your compatibility.

when and how do I bring this up to dating partners?

When you are comfortable and ready to discuss, and/or when you discuss your relationship history. Yeah, everyone wants to know that you have the Ebola on the first date so they can run away as fast as they can. Maybe that too.

How much of a deal-breaker could my virginity status be for potential suitors?

Depends on the person you date. The answers in this thread also give a very idea how the reactions are going to be, which are, well, all over the spectrum.

Finally, while you ponder on these things, like someone mentioned above- don't be clueless. Read and learn what all the fun is about!
posted by xm at 3:01 PM on January 25, 2012

I'm getting married later this year, a few months after my 30th birthday (wow, I just realized that connection for the first time), and I'll be a virgin until then. I also grew up in a Christian household, though my family isn't as legalistic as yours sounds to be (I'm sorry if that comes across judgmental, I don't intend it to be). I'm not a fundamentalist, far from it actually, and not conservative, but I did make the decision when I was much younger to stay a virgin until I'm married. I've lived an adventurous life so far, and certainly am not one of those sheltered Christians who's only friends with other Christians. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm pretty normal.

I've had plenty of opportunities to change my mind, so to speak, but have stuck with it, and I'm glad that I did. Not being a virgin is certainly not a deal-breaker in my mind, nor do I judge other Christians for doing it (hehe). But when I was still dating, if I was interested in a girl who was choosing to stay a virgin until getting married, had good reasons for doing so, and wasn't naive about the whole thing - that was a good thing in my mind. Something that made her a bit more attractive as a person. It often belied a strength of character and of her faith.

So don't feel awkward about your decision - own it. Be proud of it. Know why you want it that way - for reasons that have nothing to do with fear of being disowned or unwanted pregnancy. I wouldn't bring it up unless you need to, but honestly, you're making it out to be a much bigger deal than it actually is. The type of person you want to be with long-term will appreciate this about you, and might even like it.

All that said, I agree wholeheartedly with lobbyist's comment about using the term "premarital kissing."
posted by hootenatty at 3:46 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

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