Don?t judge a virgin by their cover
One of my best friends stayed a virgin until her early 30s ? not out of religion, or choice, but circumstance.
Despite her looks and personality, virginity made dating more and more difficult. One guy summed up all her challenges when he gasped on their third date and said, ?Is this just who you are as a person? I mean, how long am I going to have to wait??
She said she didn?t know. ?Maybe until we?ve dated a little longer?? The guy didn?t like her answer, so he ghosted.
He didn?t understand:
Virginity doesn?t mean anything by itself. But your attitude toward it says everything about you.
Finally, my friend met someone who didn?t care that much if she was a virgin. He loved her. Now they?re married.
What did he do right?
Ditch the idea of virginity
It?s done a lot more damage to our culture than good ? from purity balls to famous rappers violating their daughters? bodies. But the damage works both ways. Our culture seems to judge anyone who waits too long, or not long enough. You can?t win. The truth? Once you?re an adult, ?losing? your virginity doesn?t mean anything ? good or bad.
It?s all about how people regard you.
Here?s some common assumptions we make about anyone who?s a 20-something (or older) and still a virgin:
- They?re innocent or naive
- They?re hopeless nerds
- They probably don?t know how to dance
- They?re prudes
- They?re immature
- They probably don?t drink alcohol
- They?re indoctrinated
- They?re still saving themselves for marriage
- They missed their chance
- There?s something wrong with them
Let?s face it. Having sex in your teens doesn?t, by default, make you any more mature than someone who waits until their 20s or 30s.
These are myths. And they?re just as destructive to non-virgins, because they influence how we date.
Your first time having sex is a big deal, for both the man and the woman. It?s not limited to intercourse, either.
Any way you share your body with someone counts as a kind of sex, and it marks the entrance into a new world ? a complicated one. You have to be educated, and prepared for all the consequences.
If we?re going to talk about virginity, let?s talk about the emotional sky around physical intimacy, and stop obsessing over women?s hymens.
Get over your assumptions about virgins
Being a virgin, so to speak, doesn?t mean anything by itself. It doesn?t mean you?re awkward, innocent, or naive. It doesn?t mean you?re a religious prude, or that you?re damaged somehow.
In fact, someone who?s had a lot of sex can still live out all kinds of toxic ideas about sex and intimacy.
My friend?s story is proof enough.
My friend grew up in a relatively normal conservative family. Her parents were on the protective side. They encouraged her to listen to Christian rock instead of Guns N? Roses and Joan Jett.
Then she went to college and started to break with all that.
True, her first fiance was on the weird side. He came from an even more conservative family.
They treated her like a temptress. They warned him that she might corrupt his soul by holding hands.
Her fiance didn?t like spending time alone with her, because he felt tempted by dark forces. He was terrified what would happen if they ever went walking in the woods together.
Eventually, he wrote her a long letter breaking off their engagement. It referenced Space Ghost at one point.
So at 24, my friend stopped going to church with her parents, started reading Richard Dawkins, and eased into the dating pool ? where men regarded her with just as much suspicious as her ex fiance had.
Virgins aren?t always scared of sex
There?s a difference between having sex and having healthy attitudes about sex. Some of the most sexually-active guys and girls I know act like children when it comes to relationships.
Sexually-active people can cheat on each other and justify it, they can plan threesomes and screw them up with jealousy, and they can inject drama into other, healthy couples? lives.
Meanwhile, a virgin can develop healthy attitudes about sex and intimacy ? even healthier than someone who?s had sex a thousand times.
My friend started shopping for sex toys, mainly for herself. She learned biology and evolutionary theory inside and out. By 25, she could name parts of a guy?s junk he didn?t even know he had.
Seriously, how many guys can define vas deferens, or point it out on a diagram of their own netherworld?
She went on lots of dates. She went to clubs.
She attracted scores of men who got scared when she mentioned she was a virgin. They started worrying whether they were going to get lured into and trapped in a sexless relationship.
Virgins ? and women in particular ? face a bizarre pair of contradictions in the dating world. It goes something like this:
She had sex with me right way. There must be an ulterior motive. Maybe there?s something wrong with her.
She won?t have sex with me right away. There must be an ulterior motive. Maybe there?s something wrong with her.
My friend dealt with this a lot.
Men worried that she would dangle sex in front of them like a carrot, seducing them into marriage.
It was funny, how they expressed the polar opposite fear of her fiance, but in the exact same way ? by passing judgment, giving into fear, and jumping to all kinds of conclusions.
They did everything except listen to her, and trust her.
The men she dated were more scared of not getting sex than she was of actually having it. Many of them didn?t last a month. Some of them sent unsolicited sexts after they broke up ? to show her what she was missing, she presumed, which wasn?t much.
The right way to date a virgin
Finally, my friend got set up on a date with the right person ? someone who didn?t pass judgment.
Someone who listened to her story.
Someone who respected her boundaries.
Someone who didn?t invent ulterior motives.
They dated for a few weeks, then she told him she was ready. They checked into a nice hotel room with a king-sized bed, and stayed in it all weekend. He told her it was the best sex he?d ever had. She concurred.
And it got even better with practice.
Now they?re married.
If you ever start dating a virgin
The longer you remain single, the more rigid standards and presumptions you have to let go. You?re never going to meet someone whose sexual past matches up perfectly with yours. That doesn?t mean they can?t make you happy ?whether they?re a virgin, or a dungeon master.
Try this approach:
- Talk openly about your sexual histories
- Define any deal breakers
- But also rethink your own values and assumptions
- Make a decision to trust them
- Learn and experiment together
- Respect them, and their boundaries
This simple set of principles applies to any relationship, really. But it goes double when you?re dealing with something unfamiliar. Remember, strange isn?t always bad. It can be exactly what you need.