Dear Dr. NerdLove,
I am a straight man in my mid-twenties who had had absolutely zero dating experience until relatively recently. In part thanks to inspiration from your blog, I started working towards self-improvement and tried putting myself out there more, and I finally began to get a few dates. Eventually, I had my first (and so far only) sexual experience involving another person, which ended badly. I brought a woman back to my place after a second date, and she said yes to sex (I had never done more than make out). I started going down on her, which she seemed to enjoy, but I threw up on her. Quite understandably, she asked me to stop and drive her home. I sent her a text the next day apologizing again for what had happened, but unsurprisingly I never heard from her again.
This incident was a stumbling block in the path of the confidence and momentum I’d been building up, and I haven’t been able to get a date since. Given that I only have this one experience to draw from, I have no idea whether this was a one-time reaction or something likely to recur. On the one hand, it’s possible I simply ate something that didn’t agree with me (I don’t think alcohol is the culprit, by the way, as I’d only had a single drink with dinner). On the other hand, this could easily be something that happens again. I am a picky eater who sometimes gets nauseous from food with off-putting tastes, smells, or textures, so that could be the reason. Her vulva smelled pretty bad to me, and I kept getting pubes stuck on my tongue. Since I have nothing to compare it to, however, I have no idea whether most women would be similar or if I was simply dealing with a case of unusually bad hygiene.
Also, I feel bad saying this, another possible factor is that she was… I wouldn’t say unattractive, but approaching the limit of what I would find physically attractive. She was a nice person, and I try to keep an open mind and not have too high standards for physical appearance, just as I would hope others would do for me. Still, I wonder whether I would have had the same reaction if it were with someone I were more strongly attracted to. Finally, a contributing factor was probably the fact that I was nervous. It was my first time getting naked with someone else, and I had thought I was about to lose my virginity. The irony is not lost on me that if nerves were playing a major role, then that makes me nervous it could happen again, which in turn makes it more likely.
I’m at a loss for how to approach this the next time I find myself about to get sexual with a woman. Presumably, saying “I’ve only done this once before and I puked on her” would send most people running for the hills. However, it also feels unfair to a potential partner to not warn her that I’m concerned that I could vomit on her, since I don’t know which of the aforementioned factors were involved and which ones could arise again. I feel really bad for the last woman and wouldn’t want to put someone else through that. How should I handle this going forward?