Dear Dr. NerdLove:
I came across one of blog forums, and thought it may be beneficial to reach out to you.
I’ve been getting a lot of shit from my family, mainly siblings and stepmom, about still being a virgin. I’m a 19 year old male coming from an extremely religious household. I was super self-conscious throughout high school, which combined with religion, negatively affected my ability to make friends/relationships. Since COVID I’ve been living with my dad’s family, who consistently insult my social ineptitude.
I’ve been looking up online the ages people usually lose their virginity, and feel like the clock is ticking till I become the stereotypical 40-year-old virgin. I really don’t care whether or not I ever have sex, as my priorities are on my career, but it feels like there’s a negative stigma towards virgins. I’d rather have a one-night-stand or some hookup now just to get it over with.
Do you have any advice for someone like me that has no experience with dating or hookups, and lacks in ideal qualities like looks or being a great conversationalist?
First Time Writer, Long Time V-Card Holder
I realize that I’m saying this a lot lately, FTWLTVH, but it’s a regularly occurring phenomena: the problem you’re asking about isn’t the problem you’re having.
There’s a saying that I’ve seen in a few places online – attributed to various different people – that I feel is appropriate here: before you diagnose yourself with depression, or low self-esteem, first make sure you’re not surrounded by assholes. Your issue isn’t that you’re a virgin, it’s that holy shit you’re surrounded by giant, sulfur-speweing assholes, gaping fundaments who’re spraying bullshit at you like they held a frathouse kegger where the only beer was Cholera Lite and Dysentery IPA.
This isn’t to say that there’s not a lot of horseshit out there about virginity, especially male virginity – it’s part and parcel of the Toxic Masculinity package – but your single biggest problem is that you’re living with a bunch of bullies, not whether you’ve had sex or not. And here’s the thing to realize: losing your virginity isn’t gonna change that. Even if Dua Lupa were to suddenly show up at your house, grab you by the shirt collar and drag you into her waiting Shaggin’ Wagon to take you ’round the world while your siblings and stepmom were there to watch the van go a-rockin’, all that would happen is that they would find some other thing to bully you over. Your being a virgin isn’t what’s making them bully you, that’s just the excuse. Get rid of that, they’ll pick something else. You could live your life in such a way that they couldn’t possibly find fault with you or give them any material to pick on you for, and assholes will just make up something instead.
So honestly: the ultimate answer is “get the fuck away from these people at speed, by whatever means necessary.”
Unfortunately, at 19 that’s not likely to be a viable option for you until or unless you can go live in the dorms at college or move in with friends.
(Neither is “next time they talk shit, break their nose”, unfortunately)
However, there’s also a secondary issue here; again, it’s not the question you asked about: how you are responding to the stigma of virginity. Sex for you isn’t a priority, which hey, that’s totally valid. Maybe it’s not something you’re interested in now, maybe it’s not something you’ll ever really be all that heated up about. That’s fine. But if that’s the case… why give a shit about what people think about it? If sex isn’t important to you, then who cares if you’re a virgin at whatever age?
At the same time, you’re also buying into a classic mistake: the idea that there’s some “window” in which folks are expected to lose their virginity or else there’s something wrong with them. This is, to put it mildly, horseshit. First of all, you’re not running out of time. The median age in the United States for a first sexual encounter is 17 (which, incidentally, has been going up), and that’s in the context of a steady relationship, not a casual encounter. At 19, not only are you not on the far end of that particular bell-curve, but you’re not even in a significant minority; less than half of teenaged boys the US have had sex by the time they were 18. So, no, you’re hardly running out of time, nor are you particularly unusual in this respect.
Similarly, there’s the fact that virginity, in and of itself, is a social construct; this is never more obvious than when you try to pin people down on exactly when someone has lost their virginity. If you stick to the strictly heteronormative idea of “when tab A goes into slot B”, then there’re a lot of queer folks who’ve never lost their virginity, despite racking up body counts that would make John Holmes feel inadequate. If it’s only “p-into-the-v”, same story; you get not just LGBTQ folks who don’t have penetrative sex, but also the folks who take advantage of God’s Little Loophole. If someone’s been with… let’s pick a number at random and say 28 people, and they’ve only ever had anal sex, are they still a virgin? What if they’re the master of oral (giving or receiving) with the same numbers, but that’s the only sexual contact they’ve had? Do they count as having lost their virginity? If no, why not?
For that matter, while we’re talking about 40 year old virgins… what if they lost their virginity through force? If someone was sexually assaulted – no matter the gender of the perpetrator or the victim – does that mean that they’re now no longer subject to the stigma that comes with being a virgin? Do they never have to worry about being seen as The 40+ Year Old Virgin if they never have any sexual contact after that?
Once you start actually digging into these questions, it becomes pretty obvious that virginity is just an idea, not an actual state of anything; it’s just buying into someone else’s made-up happy crappy that ultimately has no real meaning or definition.
Similarly, the act of having sexual contact with someone isn’t transformative. You’re not going to suddenly develop The Glow because part of you has been in part of someone else (or vice versa). All being a virgin means is that you haven’t had a particular experience yet. That’s it. Being a virgin is no more definitional than having never played hockey or never participating in the Red Bull Flugtag competition.
If you were to go out and get laid tonight, tomorrow morning you would be the exact same person you are now. Nobody is able to tell The Untouched from the Wanton, by sight, by behavior or any other metric you care to define. Shit, if you were to strip the dude’s name off his tweets, you could be forgiven for thinking that that Elon Musk is just some stereotypical 4-chan-poisoned troll in his parents’ basement, shitposting on the Internet because nobody’ll touch his peenor.
With all that having been said: if you want to make having sex for the first time a priority, that’s completely valid. I’m a huge fan of sex and I think the people who want it should have plenty of it with other consenting folks who also want it. But right now you’re going to have a harder time accomplishing that, especially in a way that’s not going to make you feel worse. Not because there’s anything inherently wrong with you, but because of the way you’re approaching things.
If you want to lose your virginity right away, with no fuss, no muss and no need to worry about things like “looks” or “more than the minimal level of social skills”, then the easiest answer would be to visit a sex worker. Do some research, find an independent escort in your area, go through her screening procedures, pay her fee, tip well, bingo-bango-bongo, congratulations, you’re no longer a virgin. If you’re worried about the legalities of it all, then get a cheap flight to Reno and make an appointment with one of the legal brothels in Nevada; many of them will send a car service to the airport to pick you up and take you back. Same story there; you pay the fee, y’all make the bedsprings squeak for an indeterminent amount of time and hey, there you go: you’re freshly de-virginized.
This isn’t me being sarcastic, by the way. There’re plenty of folks who decided to go the escort route and found it to be a rewarding experience. In fact, one could argue that a professional would be a better option than, say, a bar hook-up or mutually drunk encounter at a party; you would be with someone who actually cares about your first time and motivated to be kind, gentle and giving instead of someone who said “you’ll do” because you were the closest, least objectionable warm body. Even if you’re just wanting to get it over and done with, it’s still going to be more enjoyable with someone who is going to give a damn about it being a good experience for you.
But honestly, that’s also likely going to be your only option with the way you framed your question. A casual hook-up or one night stand is going to be a lot harder when you’re coming to this with an attitude of “I don’t have the benefit of good looks or being a good conversationalist”. There’s a reason why Eeyore isn’t a sex symbol; very few people are into “it’s ok if you don’t want to fuck me; I wouldn’t fuck me either.” If you decide that you want to lose your virginity and you don’t want to go the sex worker route and you’re going to set these limitations on yourself… well, then you’re probably going to be waiting for a while.
Rather than lamenting “not being good looking” or not having “ideal qualities”, your goal should be to develop those qualities. Being self-conscious and coming from an extremely conservative upbringing may have meant that you haven’t developed your social skills much, but they don’t mean that you can’t. That’s the great thing about social skills: they’re skills. Skills aren’t something that you’re born with, they’re something that you develop through practice. You didn’t come out of the womb able to read, write or speak; you had to learn those skills and put them to use in order to master them.
The same is true about your looks and your social skills. You may not be a great conversationalist now, but you can change that. You can learn how to dress better and work on your grooming and overall presentation. You can put more emphasis on just talking to people and being a more social person. Focusing on learning how to build and cultivate the things you lack instead of treating them as immutable obstacles is going to be a much better use of your time than trying to game out how to lose your virginity as quickly as possible. This is especially true if your focus is going to be on your career; social skills are going to be vital, no matter what your career path or industry ultimately ends up being.
But seriously: get the hell away from the assholes in your dad’s side of things first. That alone will make your life 1000% better. Everything after that will be gravy.
Dear Dr. NerdLove:
As a dominantly American Sign Language (ASL) Deaf sapio-demi-bi-kink-asexual – 16 years has passed, by where most of the appealing deaf men fluent in ASL are already taken, gay or incompatible or Elite snobs.
Tried to meet hearing men, but 99.9999999% refuses to become fluent in ASL. Why is it hearing women will bend over backwards to learn ASL fluently for their deaf boyfriends/husbands, but hearing men won’t become fluent for their Deaf girlfriends/wife? Without clear visual-gestural language that I can understand 100%, I refuse to date non-signers and they need to be sensitive & aware of Deaf/ASL Culture norms.
On top of that, most guys are surprisingly vanilla in bed. I’ve tried numerous of dating site and got scammed. Moved to 7 different states thinking I’d meet up nice new fellas at a lot of Deaf events, nothing. Even attended workshops hoping to meet like minded guys, nothing. I’m now 52 years old and suddenly a bunch of non-signing nice 30 years old hearing men are hitting on me!? My limit is 45 years old & up… I’m running out of ideas. Help?
Hard Outta Luck
Alright HOL, I want to preface this with the acknowledgement that I’m a hearing man and only have a limited knowledge of Deaf culture. While I’m aware of some norms, issues and controversies within the Deaf community, there’s likely going to be things that I miss or am ignorant of, so take my thoughts with suitable grains of salt. I also invite my deaf and heard of hearing readers to share their thoughts and experiences in the comments.
So with that in mind, let’s take these in order of “least complicated to most complicated answers.”
First: Hearing men who don’t or won’t learn ASL for their partners tend to be… well, self-centered. It’s not that dissimilar from folks who won’t put in the effort to be able to understand their partners for whom English (or what-have-you) is a second language; yes, the fact that they may be fluent is handy, but learning it yourself so you can communicate with them (and their family, friends, peers, coworkers, etc) is, at the very least, considerate and shows that you’re willing to meet them where they are.
Second: Despite what the culture tells us, there’re plenty of younger men who like older, more mature women. There’s still bullshit social stigma surrounding older women with younger men, so many men are less open about it (even with the prevalence of terms like “MILF” and “cougar”), but they exist in greater numbers than many people realize. The fact that you’re encountering young dudes who dig your vibe likely says more about your personal journey than anything else. And while they may not be your particular preferred flavor… hey, just because you’re not going to the party doesn’t mean it isn’t nice to be invited.
Third: there tend to be two types of people in the kink community – people who were functionally born kinky, and people who became kinky… usually because they were dating a kinky partner. This is going to be important for you because you have a fairly stringent set of must-haves and dealbreakers that’re going to sharply limit your available pool of potential partners. The number of Deaf men who are kinky and or hearing kinky men who are fluent in ASL are going to be thin on the ground and of those, the number of single (or ethically non-monogamous) ones will be smaller still.
This means that you have to make some choices.
The first is that you accept that your dating pool is going to be very small and accept that you’re going to be single longer than you’d prefer. Obviously this is not something you’d want, otherwise you wouldn’t be writing to me.
The second is that you relax your guidelines about what you will or won’t accept in a partner as the price of entry to having a partner in the first place. Now, considering that this would entail, for example, a pretty serious language and communication barrier if you were dating a hearing man, I can understand why this would be a no-go for you.
The third – and more viable option – is that you look for potential partners (both Deaf and hearing) who are willing to become what you need. Remember what I said about how there’re two types of kinky people? Well, you may need to focus on the second kind of kinky person – the kind who learned to love kink because their partner lead them to it. This means that, if you’re going to date exclusively within the Deaf community, you’d likely be starting off with folks who are more into standard-issue sex, but who are open to kink or willing to be introduced to it. This is likely going to be a much easier lift to accomplish, and would help expand your pool of potential dates. Yes, it means that there may be more vanilla sex than you might prefer at the start, but it would still ultimately lead to your having the kind of relationship you want.
To be sure: you could date a hearing man who’s already kinky and is willing to learn ASL for you; I promise, despite the preponderance of straight dudes who make dating a headache for women, there’re kinksters out there who’d be willing to make the effort. However, they can be harder to find, and there’s going to be a greater delay for them to develop fluency than there would likely be for a standard-issue Deaf man to learn the ins and outs of BDSM or shibari or other forms of kink you might be into.
I wish I had an easier or more satisfying answer for you. In an ideal world, it’d be easier. If there were a genie who could grant you the perfect man, that’d be even better. But unfortunately, there’s no real settling down without settling for and every relationship comes with a price of entry. In this case, that may mean having to find a hot, loving, vanilla Deaf man to be the Eliza Doolittle to your kinky Henry Higgins.