How can I be OK with never being intimate with another?
May 17, 2008 4:26 PM   Subscribe

I'm 29 and haven't had sex. How can I reconcile with the fact that it might not ever happen for me?

I'm 29 and I've never had sex.

This fact has been weighing on me lately. I feel like everyone around me is having sex and is able to find people to be intimate with except for myself.

So far, I've had two girlfriends. Both were somewhat religious, and did not believe in sex before marriage. I cared about them, and so I respected their wishes. Still, I always wondered what it would be like.

I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that perhaps I'm not meant to ever have sex with another.

So I ask you, has sex been worth it to those who have had it? If you're still a virgin, how are you able to cope with these feelings? Any help would be appreciated.

Throwaway e-mail is if you don't want to post an answer here or want to ask me further questions.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (41 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that perhaps I'm not meant to ever have sex with another.

You need to change your perspective. You just haven't been in the right situation with the right person. It's tempting to assume that it's never going to happen. But you know what? Sex is a basic part of human nature. You are a human. It's not like winning the lottery, where the odds are stacked severely against you. You will have sex.

Start thinking about the type of woman you want to be involved with. Figure out where you might meet this woman. If you're shy, think of strategies that will help you cope with more frequent social outings. Do you have issues with intimacy or with really experiencing your emotions? If so, seek a therapist who can help you with that stuff.

Hell, if you're just horny (and American), prostitution is legal in Nevada. It will not lead to a lifelong love affair (or even a weekend love affair), but at least that would prove to you that yes, Anonymous, you too can have sex with someone.

(Also, the first time will suck. Accept that now.)
posted by mudpuppie at 4:36 PM on May 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

So what's keeping you from having sex?

Problems meeting girls? Self-esteem issues? Etc....

It's difficult to answer a question like this without any knowledge of why you have decided you are "not meant to have sex".

Give us some more to work with so we can help you better.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 4:40 PM on May 17, 2008

I do know people who abstain from sex, but they do so by choice, and after having experimented to see if sex was something that they needed. Sex isn't just for the good looking party set-- it's a natural celebration of intimacy. If you don't want to have sex, fine. But don't give up on it because it hasn't happened.

To be blunt, any one can get laid, but some people have barriers due to trauma, poor self image, or religious propaganda. May I suggest going to a counselor to talk about sex and intimacy issues?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:40 PM on May 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

You've had two girlfriends, so you're doing ok with the ladies, right? I'm having trouble seeing why you're feeling so fatalistic - "no sex until marriage" is a decidedly minority view - if you wanted to date girls who felt that way I could see how it'd be tougher to find them, but all you're looking for is that girlfriend no. 3 be typical. Were your other relationships in high school?
posted by moxiedoll at 4:44 PM on May 17, 2008

Even people in the "no sex until marriage" camp have sex. Once they are married.
posted by ManInSuit at 4:47 PM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Date a woman who isn't saving herself for Jeebus. Let's assume for the sake of argument (it isn't clear from your question) that you would not choose celibacy but you're having a hard time finding a woman to have sex with. Replace woman with "person", and welcome to modern life. You're only 29 - as gross as it sounds, people have sex well through old age, so there isn't some stopwatch running above your head. Find a woman whose company you enjoy (in a romantic sense) and who returns the sentiment and you're well on your way. As stated in an above post, your first time is going to suck. Everyone's does. You're not defective or anything. Stop worrying.

If sex the physical act is more important to you than sex the overall experience, then go to the bunny ranch and get a hooker. But otherwise, you're well within the mainstream, with the same anxiety most people experience from time to time.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:50 PM on May 17, 2008

So I ask you, has sex been worth it to those who have had it?

My goodness, yes. I've never had a random hookup with someone whose last name I didn't know, so I can't speak to that, but the sex I've had with people I've been in love with, or very fond of - yeah, totally worth it.

Stop picking girlfriends who have religious or cultural reasons for remaining virgins until marriage (or, pick one of those, and then get married). You've not given a lot of information, so we don't know if there's some obvious factor that's keeping women away (and I'm assuming here that you're a guy) - we don't know if you're morbidly obese or covered in pustules or what. But even then, that's not necessarily a deal-breaker. I see people all the time who - to me - are physically incredibly unattractive and yet they have a spouse or S.O. Someone who loves them, and presumably has sex with them.

I think you're not trying hard enough, and I think that for whatever reason, you've locked yourself into some sort of cycle where you think you don't deserve it, and therefore you're not going to try. If you're not in therapy, you might give that a go; if you're pathologically shy, there's therapy and meds for that. Stop setting yourself up for failure.

We're humans. We need touch, and affection, and love. There are those of us who seem to be able to get along without it, but your post doesn't seem to indicate that you're one of them.

If you can't think of how to meet someone (you're not into bars, or you hate volunteering, or whatever), then do the online thing. Whatever stigma that used to be attached to that seems to have evaporated. OKCupid has gotten praise on AskMe before, and if you're sorta geeky, that seems like a good place to start. (Disclaimer: I've not used OKCupid, but I know people who do, and it does not seem to be filled with axe murderers or psychos, and seems to have a fairly high ratio of smart/geeky/weird-in-a-good-way folks.)
posted by rtha at 4:53 PM on May 17, 2008

It'll happen. A female friend of mine didn't have sex until she was 31. She's an amazing, funny, friendly artist with no mental illnesses or social phobias -- she just never really felt that way about anyone. She even lived with a boyfriend and never slept with him. Now, three-and-a-bit years later, she's in a happy long-term relationship with a great guy. Just keep your mind open. I feel I can relate to you in some ways because it's been a long time since I've been in a relationship... a long time. Years. But things'll happen on their own time no matter what you do, and you just have to be patient and see.
posted by loiseau at 5:21 PM on May 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

If it's no sex til marriage it's kind of a signal for "Don't wait - call now!" and get married. Don't get married just because you want to have sex though. Although, that would make a pretty funny foreign comedy film (Iranian?).


You should be up-front and tell your next partner that you are a virgin. Don't let it hold you down. Don't wait for good sex! Go have it.
posted by parmanparman at 5:22 PM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ever notice how when you buy a new car, all of a sudden, every car on the road is that car?

They're not, really; you're just predisposed to notice your car, because you just bought it. The distribution of cars on the road hasn't changed, overall.

When you're not having sex, suddenly it seems like everyone else is. You're not, so it's obvious to you that everyone else must be.

It's probably nowhere near as true as you think-- and even if, by some fluke, 100% of your peer group and daily encounters were with the sexually active, some of them would have to be having truly crap sex, which is worse than none at all, IMO.

Relax and concentrate on building emotional intimacy and strong friendships with interesting folks of your preferred gender, and the sex part will follow. It'll be awkward and messy and sometimes unintentionally hilarious, and you'll make mistakes, and sometimes you'll find things that really work for you, and eventually you'll have developed a sense of your own sexuality at your own speed. Good luck with it.

(Didn't bother until I was 19. Made some really bad choices along the way. Enjoying it *a lot more* at 32.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:29 PM on May 17, 2008 [5 favorites]

It was very, very late for me too. But I will tell you right now that unless you're just plain repulsive, your shortage of luck is mostly a result of living too much of a sheltered life. You will have to work on getting together an outside life, outside of work, etc -- find interesting and eccentric things to do and branch out from there. Avoid structured activities. Do the bar scene. Go out and see bands, and see if you can make your way to parties. All this will get you a really big pool of social contacts, and from there anything can happen. This is not too late when you're in your late 20s as a lot of others are still single... as you get into your 30s, then it will start being a problem.
posted by crapmatic at 5:51 PM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

My only advice is to not make the first time a big deal. Once you've done it--hell, even with a prostitute or a craigslist hookup, just to get it over with--you'll look back and wonder why you were ever so worried about it and see how truly minor a problem it is. It's like starting a project at work or school that you've been putting off. Once you just sit down and start doing it, all the anxieties that were built up during procrastination disappear.
posted by wastelands at 6:07 PM on May 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

I don't think it's the case that you'll never have sex. You dated two women who just didn't believe in it. They're rarer than you'd think. I bet that within the next relationship or two you'll find a woman who wants to get it on.

I lost my virginity later as well, and my reaction to the first time was, "Wait...that's it?" It's fun, and can be wonderful with the right person, but it's not the all-important, all-consuming thing that everyone makes it out to be.
posted by christinetheslp at 6:09 PM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Didn't happen for me until I was older than you are. Don't worry about it. Go get fit.
posted by flabdablet at 6:14 PM on May 17, 2008

OMFG dude, I'm sorry but you have absolutely NO confidence whatsoever. You need a hooker, stat.

Don't laugh, I'm serious. Get a damn hooker.

And then, after she fucks you, get another hooker. And another. And I'm only saying this because you're totally aconfident.

I don't think that's a real word, but I'm using it anyway. ACONFIDENT - LACKING IN CONFIDENCE.

Until you feel confident about YOUR SEXUALITY, do what you need to in order to have sex. But seriously, for the love of Elvis, don't go around resigned to the fact that you "may" not have sex, ever.

wait, unless you don't really LIKE the idea of sex. Do you? Do you just not have any sort of sexual feelings or what? I'm not trying to be demeaning or anything like that, I swear.
posted by damnjezebel at 6:14 PM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I agree with wastelands. You're probably anxious about the virginity thing because hey, everyone else around you is having sex (it's in all the papers, and on the sides of buses, and in every song on the radio, after all), so what's the story? The trick is, it's a very minor issue and if you find the right person, instead of smouldering glances across the room, it tends to be a source of amusement as much as pleasure, because hey, this is pretty fucking ridiculous, right? Sure it can be a magical epiphany and so forth and definitely it is a very concentrated source of intimacy but in the end it's just willies and hoo-hahs and accidentally clinking your teeth together with the cat staring at you. Having said that, I'd recommend you maybe secure yourself a prostitute and see what the fuss is about.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:24 PM on May 17, 2008

I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that perhaps I'm not meant to ever have sex with another.

So are you looking for a relationship or do you just want to get laid? The former is a much trickier proposition.

If you're just looking to get laid the, uh, professional route is definitely one way to go. The track record for that sort of thing on AskMe is actually kind of good.

I have to tell you, though, that if you're a normal healthy male it's not like you'll have sex once and be like "ok, that's done" and you won't think about it anymore. The long term solution is to build some confidence and get into a relationship with somebody who actually likes sex too.

But a pro may well get you to stop the idealization of sex thats clearly going on.
posted by Justinian at 6:26 PM on May 17, 2008

So I ask you, has sex been worth it to those who have had it?

Yes, very much so. That said, all sex is not equal. The best sex, for me, was the first couple of times, and in my current relationship. The first few times were great not because the sex itself was that great -- it was actually pretty terrible, and managed to include everything from premature ejaculation to "oh man, it's gone floppy!" to being asked "aren't you done yet?" -- but because it was really, really nice to not be a virgin any more. I was younger than you are now, but had exactly the same feeling of thinking I was behind the curve, was missing out, might never find someone who liked me, etc.

And the sex in my current relationship just keeps getting better and better. Sometimes being together for a long time means you get bored and the sex gets really stale, but sometimes it works the other way and things just get hotter by the day. The point being, it was cool to lose my virginity when I did, just to get it over with, but it took an awful lot longer to start having good sex.

How can I reconcile with the fact that it might not ever happen for me?

I'm going to assume you are a man (because you mention girlfriends wanting to wait until marriage, something that in most places isn't available to lesbians); if that's not the case I apologize and hope that some small piece of this will still apply to your situation.

I'm not the world's biggest fan of prostitution, but it does have a place. And one thing it solves, entirely and without any doubt, is that if you have the cash, you can get laid. And if getting laid really, really matters to you -- more than having sex organically occur in a relationship, say -- and you feel like not having had the experience of sticking your penis into someone is holding you back and sapping your self-confidence, then I think you are a great candidate for the constructive employment of a sex worker. Be safe and sensible (I'd suggest taking a vacation to a place where sex work is at least tolerated, and ideally legal, to avoid risking arrest; wear a condom; etc), and be honest and upfront about what you are looking for -- tutoring? "girl friend experience"? straightforward fucking?

If that's off the table for you, which it might be for reasons of morals, or religion, or finances, then you are going to have to solve things by old fashioned hard work. It gets said a lot, but there is truth in sayings like "dating is a numbers game." It takes a lot of "hi, my name is X" to get a date; a lot of first dates to get a second date; a lot of second dates to etc. It's like a pyramid -- you want to reach the top, but to do that you have to make the base as broad as possible. Some of the people I know who are the most bitter about not being in a relationship are also the same people who never ask anyone out. They aren't going up to the cutie in the coffee shop and saying hi, they aren't following up on someone mentioning "I have this friend you would really like," and so on.

And there are a lot of basics that a lot of people just aren't taking care of. Do you smell really good? Have a really good haircut that you take care of religiously? Dress in a way that flatters your best attributes? Are you a master of basic etiquette issues like saying please and thank you? All these things sound totally basic and silly, but I have a number of very sweet, but very lonely, friends who complain about being alone... but who don't take care of things like this, and who also sometimes really struggle with some of the basics of social interaction. Take care of the easy stuff (like finding a really good hairstylist) before worrying about the hard stuff.

Lastly, some people really get off on being drama queens -- like dating only women who won't have sex with them, or who have all these issues, or who are just unavailable. If that's you, well then that's the fundamental problem that would need to be solved first. There is also the issue some guys have where they are such nice guys that they don't actually ask the girl to have sex with them. Pressuring her is really, really wrong. But there is nothing wrong with communicating your desire -- that should be flattering and exciting for her. I could have lost my virginity two years before I did if I'd only figured out that when she seems interested, it's ok to make an approach.
posted by Forktine at 6:41 PM on May 17, 2008 [3 favorites]

Why is getting a hooker a solution for a lack of self-confidence about sex? On the one hand, yeah, it might help get someone over the "hump" if they are worried about the mechanics or something.

On the other hand, It isn't hard to imagine that someone who hasn't had sex because of a lack of self confidence is going to feel any better about themselves if they feel the only way they can have sex is to pay for it.

I think there is a lot the OP isn't telling us, and may not really understand himself. For a start, which really came first, OP? The idea that you'd never ever have sex, or that your only girlfriends have been religious and unavailable sexually? Did the latter really cause the former, or is there more going on? Do you go for virginal religious girls because it means you won't have to have sex? Do you come from a religious background? Do you jerk off? Did you and the former girlfriends get hot and heavy without bare-flesh touching or penetration? Have you talked with a woman about sex or otherwise flirted in a sexual manner? What are your sexual fantasies?
posted by Good Brain at 6:43 PM on May 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

Don't give up on yourself. Honestly, you sound like a really nice guy lots of women would love to meet. Do you have any idea how many men out there wouldn't dream of staying with a woman who wouldn't have sex with them? Or who, when they do have sex with a woman, disappear before she wakes up the next morning and never even bother to call her again? Or how sleazy and off putting men who have had some staggering number of partners can come across to a woman who wants a man who will value her? Whereas you obviously see a woman as a person whose needs and standards deserve your respect. Lad, you're a catch.

Have you ever seen The 40-Year-Old Virgin? Yeah, yeah, roll your eyes, but hear me out. Steve Carell's character feels bad about his "status", and is condescended to by his friends, but he's actually the pick of all the men in the movie. He's kinder and better adjusted. He does get chances to get laid, just as many as his friends do, but he turns them down because he's fastidious. He wants to be with a woman he connects to and cares for. He just hasn't met someone good yet, probably because he spends all his spare time at home playing video games.

Yes, sometimes people have a hard time connecting with others because they're flawed. They don't make the most of their appearances, or they have emotional problems of some kind, or they don't have great interpersonal skills, and it means they attract fewer people and sabotage what relationships they do manage to find. But sometimes the problem is situational — as for instance it might be with someone who doesn't go out a lot and works in an industry mostly populated with those of the wrong gender and/or sexual orientation.

You know yourself best. You probably have some idea if your appearance could use work, if you get along well with others, if you're messed up, or if you're somewhat shy and not good at mingling. If you think those are problem areas, work on them.

You don't say how long your relationships lasted, but I'd say if either of them lasted longer than say, a year, and were good experiences, that your problem is more situational than innate. You probably just haven't met someone with whom you clicked and who was willing to have pre-marital sex.

In that case, take some of the advice in this thread about meeting people. Pursue your own interests in socially oriented ways. Try taking a cooking or art class - they're always full of women. Join an outdoor club if that's more your thing. Volunteer for a cause you believe in. Have patience. It can take awhile to develop relationships of any kind with people. And you never know — the new male friend you meet might have a sister or a roommate who thinks you're hot stuff.

I wouldn't be too quick to tell a woman she's your first. Wait until it becomes apparent that she's about to go the distance with you. Like, say, when items of clothing start coming off. And then tell her, but be casual about relaying the information, and maybe make a joke or two, such as that you're like an unbroken horse she can teach all the right habits. If she really likes you, it won't matter much in any negative way, and she might even think it's kind of sweet.

And your first time won't suck unless you try to sleep with someone who isn't right for you in some way — and I don't mean that she has to be the love of your life. Don't sleep with anyone unless you two really like and are attracted to each another. Don't sleep with an asshole or a mentally unbalanced person. It'll be awkward, but it'll be sort of like when you were a little kid and you ate an ice cream cone. Yes, the ice cream got all over your face and hands and clothes, but that didn't mean you enjoyed it any less.
posted by orange swan at 6:45 PM on May 17, 2008 [4 favorites]

You shouldn't be trying to "be OK" with never being intimate with another. If it were OK, you probably wouldn't have to try.

Here's a website full of the kind of advice you're looking for. It's written by someone who used to be in a similar situation. Nuggets of wisdom include "Getting laid once will not solve all your problems," and "When you're getting regular sex you don't so much feel more happy as you feel less unhappy."
posted by PM at 6:55 PM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm more curious as to why you have only pursued two relationships with people who were completely incompatible with you?? I'd say it isn't a matter of pursuing sex as an end in itself but to work on dating several women to find compatibility before you end up in a relationship. Once you find a compatible partner, the rest will take care of itself so simply it is amazing.

If you are just interested in the concept of "having sex", drunken hookups can easily happen any day of the week.
posted by JJ86 at 7:41 PM on May 17, 2008

Yeah, throw out the idea of "never." I would guess that what you really mean by reconciling yourself is that you'd like to have this not be something that weighs so heavily on your mind. I have to tell you, I first had sex fairly young, maybe a few years past the median, and it didn't change in the least the fact that being with a member of the opposite sex consumed a pretty large chunk of my thoughts at any time that I wasn't in a relationship. I haven't known a hell of a lot of people for whom this isn't the case. For that matter, now I'm married and a family man and everything and I still expend a lot of mental energy on the maintenance and health of my relationship. For most of us love is something we need and it takes a hell of a lot of getting and a hell of a lot of keeping up once you've got it. It never gets easy.

I didn't get old enough for the issue of "my first time" to loom too large in my mind but still, better than half the people I knew had sex before they got out of high school and I definitely felt the odd one out at times in college. When the moment came it didn't make near as big a difference as I thought it would. It's definitely worth doing. If you're honest a woman with more experience than you can teach you a lot and in my experience they don't mind doing it at all (they share the reward, of course).

From what little you've said, you seem like the type who is looking for a relationship. There's nothing wrong with a casual thing (maybe there's even nothing wrong, at least in some circumstances, with going with a professional, I'm not sure how I feel about that as a generality), but it's not for everyone. I know it's a platitude, but concentrate on being the person you want to be, and when you find someone you're interested in, concentrate on trying to engage in an honest relationship, and the issue of sex really will sort itself. The right person is not going to be put off by the fact that you're a virgin.
posted by nanojath at 7:43 PM on May 17, 2008

I offered to post follow-ups for the OP since lots of people are asking questions and I figured he might not want to contact a mod. Here's what he has to add:


Follow-up from the OP:
Here are some answers to questions that people have asked:
Q: What's keeping you from having sex?
A: I was overweight up until I was 25. I also grew up in a somewhat conservative household where we weren't allowed to date. The lack of high school experience and my weight helped keep me out of the dating pool until I got out of grad school and lost weight.

Q: When were your relationships?
A: Relationship history:

Age 26-27: Went out with a girl for 7 months. She was needy, clingy and insecure. I was wrong here too, because I did lie about being a virgin. I came clean to her eventually, but she couldn't really trust me after that. I see where I was wrong in this one.

Age: 27-28: Was single this whole time. I met a girl on the Internet and another one at work. Neither got past a couple of dates. Both of these women pursued me.

Age 28-29: I met a girl at volunteer work. Again, she pursued me. We were together for 11 months, and I thought she was the one. She was very Catholic, and the fact that I am not broke us up.

Q: Do you have any off-putting habits?
A: I think of myself as gracious, polite and accommodating. Other people tell me this too, so it can't be totally false. I do have a tendency to tease people, so this might be off-putting.

Q: How is your hair / appearance / hygiene?
A: I admit that I don't pay as much attention to my non-work wardrobe as I should. When I'm not at the office, I often go out in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. I would ask for fashion advice, but that's a whole other AskMeFi question.

My hair is not really styled. I get it cut at a barbershop. I wish I had the knowledge to know what sort of haircut I need. I will add that my hair is thinning, but I am not bald.

I shower every day, and wear cologne on occasion. I don't smell (that I know of) unless I'm out in the heat.

Q: Are you a drama queen?
A: I don't think I am. I broke up with my first girlfriend because of the drama. I can be anxious at times, but I generally try to avoid drama and confrontation.

Q: Do you jerk off?
A: Religiously. It's getting boring, which is the reason I want to have sex.

Q: Did you and the former girlfriends get hot and heavy without bare-flesh touching or penetration?
A: Yes, the first girlfriend and I did everything except genital penetration of any orifices. The second girlfriend was a bit more standoffish about sex. We got naked, but she had a phobia of our naughty parts touching.

Q: Have you talked with a woman about sex or otherwise flirted in a sexual manner?
A: I talk to a good female friend of mine about sex. She has professed to having a thing for me, but I'm not attracted to her physically.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:28 PM on May 17, 2008

someone who hasn't had sex because of a lack of self confidence is going to feel any better about themselves if they feel the only way they can have sex is to pay for it. -- Good Brain

We all pay for it, Good Brain. We all pay for it.

If the women you are dating don't want to have sex, but you do, then you are dating the wrong women. Everything else is overthinking this. Just go get 'em.
posted by rokusan at 8:50 PM on May 17, 2008

Heck, I don't think you need to reconcile yourself to this idea at all. Instead, why not try setting having an intimate/sexual relationship as a goal and begin pursuing that actively. You don't need to hire a prostitute - you've got the rest of your life to date and pursue people, and you'll get laid. Honestly you will. Deciding right now you'll never have sex is a total cop-out. I understand it's intimidating and you're afraid, but I hope you'll start moving on to questions like "How do I meet/date/get closer to/a woman, and how do I tell her I'm a virgin, and how do I develop my skills so we both enjoy it more..." etc. It's a progression you can make. Definitely do not get up on close human sexual relationships - most of us want them and certainly deserve them.
posted by Miko at 9:06 PM on May 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

A: I talk to a good female friend of mine about sex. She has professed to having a thing for me, but I'm not attracted to her physically.

You only seem to get involved with women who are unavailable to you physically. Could be a coincidence, could be a thing.
posted by Justinian at 9:43 PM on May 17, 2008 [5 favorites]

It sounds like except for the detail of being in relationships with celibate women, you wouldn't be a virgin. You seem to have the tools you need in terms of social skills, so this is not an insurmountable obstacle. I would guess you need to broaden your social circles, make new friends that will in turn lead to meeting other people and so forth. It works... I met my wife at a bar-b-que held by a friend I met through a friend I met at school.

Deciding that you're doomed to a sexless life just because you haven't had penetrative sex yet doesn't make much sense to me... you're potentially only one new social interaction away from meeting someone that wants to ball you.
posted by EmptyK at 9:53 PM on May 17, 2008

One of the great things about sex is... no matter how long you haven't had it? You can catch up on what you were missing REALLY, REALLY fast. And pretty soon all of the time you went without it will feel totally meaningless. It just won't matter to you anymore.

When you find someone you feel comfortable with and attracted to so that you can let your guard down... yeah, it's worth it. And yeah, it's a Hell of a lot of fun. We wouldn't lie to you on that.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:07 PM on May 17, 2008

It's not like winning the lottery, where the odds are stacked severely against you.

for some people, the odds ARE severely stacked against them (though i'm not saying this is the case for the OP). people who are very obese (i am, so i can say this) often can't get laid unless it's by a "chub chaser" and if you don't happen to belong to that club or surf craigslist or whatever, you are not going to get laid. the odds are also stacked against people with severe social anxiety, because they can't even get out there to meet people, so how are they going to find someone to fuck?

also, some people are just asexual. they just don't think about, care about, or want to have sex. it's not something that drives them or interests them.

and, for some people, sex is just kinda pointless. like humping a tree as someone upthread said. like, you do it because you're supposed to and people would think you were weird if they found out you didn't give two shits about getting laid. or you do it because it's just easier to do it and get it over with than get in another fight about it.

there are people who exist for whom it won't happen. to presume otherwise is shortsighted and kind of silly.

now that i've gotten that off my chest: OP, you don't have to resign yourself to being a virgin forever, but it won't be the worst thing in the world if you are. there are so many other ways to be intimate with a person, and i'm not talking about heavy petting or oral. intimacy isn't just about being physical. it is absolutely possible to have a fulfilling relationship without having sex.

and, if you really feel like sex is something you're missing out on and need to experience, you don't need to hire a hooker and you don't need to have a girlfriend. just go out to a bar or club with a couple buddies (even if it isn't your scene) and have a one night stand. that will "get it over with" and you can move on from there.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:11 PM on May 17, 2008

Your biggest obstacle at this point is a psychological one -- either that you think you need to go out and get this thing done, or that it's something that's just not going to happen. Either one puts too much pressure and significance onto every chance encounter with women.

When I've been single, after a couple of months I've gotten into the habit of thinking "boy, I need to go get laid". Which leads to a disastrous sex life, because when you are clearly on the look-out for sex you send out creepy vibes and no-one obliges you and you disappoint yourself every night and eventually you give up and withdraw from the race...and then you're still putting out the wrong vibes because you intepret every attractive woman you meet as a pre-emptive failure on your part rather than as a possible lay.

Relax more about it. If you're acquainted with oral sex, you're not really much of a virgin and your penis is not repellent to the whole female population. Look for women you like, give it time, don't be waiting constantly for the magical penetrating sex to happen, just focus on liking them and getting more intimate with them and let things happen naturally. You've already gotten a woman into bed and had oral sex with her once, so you can do that again, and then eventually the other species of sex will follow.
posted by creasy boy at 1:49 AM on May 18, 2008

Stop dating conservative, religious women.
posted by grouse at 3:41 AM on May 18, 2008

I want to retract my suggestion of hiring a professional, based on the update from the OP. Well, hire a professional if you want to, but if you are getting pursued by women on a fairly routine basis, the problem is thoroughly solvable in more routine ways.

So yeah, make sure your haircut is good (there are lots of threads about this; if you are balding do not do anything resembling a combover), and make sure your clothes are flattering. Jeans and t-shirt are fine -- but they need to fit and be of decent material that feels good to the touch. A lot of guys wear their old t-shirt from orientation week at college, even though they have lost or gained weight since then, and don't really notice that their jeans were maybe cool in 1989. I don't think that there is a need to spend lots of money on these things (though in the many jeans threads on AskMe you will find plenty of high-dollar suggestions), as long as they fit and are flattering. Ditto the shoes, belt, etc -- get the details right, going for understated and quality as guiding principles.

You are clearly at least minimally acceptable in your appearance and behavior, because women have pursued you. You need to start finding women who are not only into you, but also are into going all the way. Don't put all your eggs in one basket -- try online dating, try chatting to women who look friendly in cafes and bars, follow up if a friend suggests that someone they know is single, etc. Do things that put you in contact with the kind of people you enjoy -- maybe that means finding a church where the congregation is a better fit, taking a dance class or joining the local branch of the native plant society, going to lots of gallery openings, whatever is a good fit with you. It doesn't mean sitting at home playing video games every day, all day -- do that if you want to, but don't fool yourself that sitting in the basement has anything to do with getting laid.

So yeah, I see no reason to resign yourself to this unless you want to -- but I don't think you can force yourself to be resigned to it. As foreign as the thought is to me, there are indeed people who think of sex as "humping trees"; if that was you, you would already be much more blasé about the whole thing. It's a solvable problem, but you will either have to solve it by paying a prostitute (which many, many people do -- it's not like only weirdos and failures do this), or by really putting yourself out there, going on as many dates as you can, and ruthlessly saying "no thanks, bye!" whenever one of the women you meet says "hi, I have issues, and don't believe in sex." That's cool for her, but it isn't what you are looking for right now.
posted by Forktine at 6:32 AM on May 18, 2008

I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that perhaps I'm not meant to ever have sex with another.

How would you be "not meant to evrer have sex with another."? Would this be written on a planet or something?

Your locus of control is outside of yourself. You see your life as a script someone else has written. Not so. Get out there and ask lots of women out. It will happen.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:42 AM on May 18, 2008

Okay, so you didn't date until you were 26, and then you've spent half of the last three years in relationships, both of which involved some sexual activity. And you've had other women pursue and be interested in you. This really is a decent track record, so I doubt there's much wrong with you. Go forth and mingle and you will get laid sooner or later.
posted by orange swan at 6:48 AM on May 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is going to come off a bit blunt, but the truth is that anybody can get laid, it's just a matter of setting your standards low enough. Also, set yourself up in social situations where getting drunk is OK.
posted by jedrek at 7:28 AM on May 18, 2008

I'll second OkCupid. I'm sitting next to my girlfriend I met there. She came up as 84% compatible so I thought I'd give it a shot, and I'm glad I did. You will meet that someone, but it does take a bit of effort. And the first few goes are throwaways, so when you do have sex, finally, be prepared for it to not be mindblowing the first 2 or 3 times.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:38 AM on May 18, 2008

there are people who exist for whom it won't happen.

But in all of your examples, that's by choice. I firmly believe that whether or not you get laid is within your control. There are no obstacles you listed that dictate that a person cannot or will not ever get laid; only that they might not want to get laid, or might not want to have sex with anyone who wants to have sex with them. But that's not the same thing as having it completely beyond your control.

People are much more in control of their relationship lives than they usually believe; they have many more choices than they usually tell themselves. If you don't want sex, that's one thing and no one will argue with you if that's right for you. If you do, though, you can pretty much have it if you pursue it as a goal.
posted by Miko at 7:54 AM on May 18, 2008

I realize I am about to take massive flak for this but considering that it does bother you may I suggest that you use the web to find a person specifically to address this issue?

you stated you had previous girlfriends. I thus don't accept the premise of you never going to have sex.

you seem to be a fairly articulate guy. consider joining a meatmarket website like AFF and write a long profile, take some decent pictures and actually sit down and write some potentially interesting women messages. you know, paragraphs not "hi, let's fuck." being a guy, you'll have to invest some time and effort into this as your competition will be fierce, but it's doable. I'm tempted to throw some couple/fetish/etc -dating links your way as your case may be of interest to that market but feel you have enough to deal with right now. if you're in a larger city, consider craigslist.

you should know that what I mentioned above is only a band-aid. there are larger issues at hand here. why have you had only two girlfriends thus far? have you looked at yourself? do you have issues relating to females or is it something physical about you? keep in mind that humans are not static entities - you can change nearly anything that bothers you. if you feel unattractive that that hinders you from approaching women the way you would like to, join a gym and get a personal trainer. it will change the way you feel about yourself within six months. if you don't know how to relate to people, consider chatting with a therapist for a bit. your ability to address what holds you back is what separates you as an intelligent, aware human being. use your abilities.

(mods: feel free to delete this post if you think I'm crossing a line here. I'm trying to help.)
posted by krautland at 8:58 AM on May 18, 2008

i'm pro sex, and pro sex workers. too many odd value judgments flying around here about sex workers and the trade, so thought i'd weigh in...

sex workers are professionals. seek out the ones who treat you, and themselves, with respect. learn safe sex techniques and insist upon them, as your sex worker will. a good sex worker has met people from all levels of experience, from beginner (like you) or those whose situations find them needing a specific style or type of sex. you are not alone, you are not the first guy in the world to lose his virginity. you are in control of how much information you reveal. you could potentially be upfront about your lack of experience, or just finesse it and see how it goes. but do give some thought to what sexual experience you desire, it will help you connect with the sex worker and make for a better experience.

another guiding quote is "why is there all this mystique around a simple biological function?" once you blast through the layer of mystique, you may find a comfortable familiarity with sexual expression and desire. sure, there's lots of nervousness involving any "first time" for anything, but embrace it and let it be a guide but not a distraction.

good luck, play safe, and here's hoping you'll find great sex!
posted by kuppajava at 9:47 AM on May 18, 2008

I agree with parts of what almost everyone has said, but I don't think sex is the actual issue. I doubt it's a coincidence that the only two girls you dated wanted to wait until marriage. IMO, you need to figure out what your problem is: lack of confidence, unrealistic standards, unattractive to the opposite sex, etc. All of these things are fixable to a large extent. Depending on your trust levels, I would suggest asking your friends and family what they think your issue(s) is that's stopping you from being successful in dating (I'd leave the word 'sex' out of the conversation). Other people are very perceptive about our flaws but will rarely mention them unless asked.

I have no problems with sex workers but I wouldn't count on an hour with an escort solving all of your problems. IMO, it's a myth that you gain confidence instantly after getting laid. I think it would be more accurate to say the confidence comes after your first relationship where you have sex dozens of times with the same person. However, if you think nailing an escort will help then I say go for it.

Here's what I would do: ask your friends to set you up with single women they know but tell them you're not necessarily looking for a relationship. Most women I know LOVE to set people up on blind dates. Once you get into your thirties the offers for blind dates seem to quadruple almost overnight if you're somewhat normal and have a job. I never turn down a blind date without a good reason. Has that philosophy gotten me burned a few times? Yep. Has it also given me some really funny stories to tell at parties? Oh yes.

I know sex seems like a life changing event when you're a virgin, especially an older one, but it's not that big of a deal after you've done it. Don't get me wrong, sex is fantastic and I highly recommend you start having it ASAP, but it's not exactly what you're picturing in your head. And trust me, there are PLENTY of other people out there of all ages that are very rarely having sex.
posted by bda1972 at 9:44 PM on May 18, 2008

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