DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I am 22 years old and I am a virgin. I have severe anxiety that is caused by me being a virgin. I need to figure out how to get over my anxiousness towards sex, dating and relationships and how it relates to my virginity. I feel that me being a virgin is a huge turnoff to women, especially my age, so I am very shy in approaching them.
Looking at me, people would probably be stunned that I am a virgin because I am in pretty great shape somewhat of a natural bodybuilder so, I know girls look at me and stare at me and whatnot. I had a situation that had happened to me when I was around 19 where, long story short, I was in bed with a girl, I told her about my virginity and she laughed and told me I was pathetic but she would still f
k me anyway because she felt like no one else would.
Since then I have been very nervous to get in bed with any girls, so it has lead me to not even trying in shame and fear of rejection. I had a relationship I was in at 16 up until I was 19, where my now ex-girlfriend and I decided if we were going to have sex it would be after we married. She was very religious and I respected her so I wasn’t going to push it.
Well, she’s been gone, the relationships been gone and I feel that I have let myself fall behind. I have considered for the last few months about going to a prostitute and just paying $300-$350 for the hour and getting it over with; I haven’t followed through with that yet because I am very nervous and I know I would be taking several unnecessary risks. Outside of my non-existent sex life, I have a great job that pays well, I have some education, several different work experiences and I know that if I am ever in need of a job, I would be taken care of by any of my former employers in a heartbeat.
Any advice you can give me would be much appreciated and put to good use, this holds me back as a person from dating and having the life I want to have and I don’t know where else to go to for help. Your videos on the virginity paradox and the incel community both made me feel that I need to reach out for help.
DEAR LEFT BEHIND: First things first, LB: being a virgin at your age isn’t that unusual. You’re a smidge older than average, but you’re still well within the mean of that particular spread. But honestly? Even if you were far on the edge of the graph… so the f
k what? Your being a virgin has exactly as much meaning and significance as you give it, no more, no less. Being a virgin at 22 doesn’t make you any less of a man than losing it at 8 makes someone a stud. All it means is that you haven’t had a particular experience yet; that’s it.
I mean, your history and your life now are all indicators about just how bulls
t the stigma around virginity is. Your first serious girlfriend wanted to wait until marriage and you were willing to respect her beliefs. That’s as big of a sign of your good character as one could want. When you’re sixteen, you’re basically a walking erection. You’ve got all these hormones flooding through you that a stiff breeze would make you harder than Chinese calculus and yet you respected your girlfriend’s choices without protest. That’s admirable.
Similarly, now you’re a hot piece, with a good job and the admiration of many a lovely lady. That alone should tell you that the fact that you’re still a virgin isn’t because there’s something wrong with you.
The issue you’ve had hasn’t been that there’s something shameful about being a virgin, some invisible mark of Cain that designates you as one of the Great Unf
kable, it’s that you’ve been dealing with a
holes. That girl who offered you a literal pity-f
k? She was an a
hole. Her s
tty behavior towards you after finding out that you were a virgin says nothing about you and everything about her being an awful goddamn person and you should thank whatever gods you believe in that you didn’t actually sleep with her. She didn’t deserve the privilege of being your first and you didn’t deserve the ignominy of having your first sexual experience be with her. You, my friend, dodged a bullet like you just got told there is no spoon.
Honestly it sounds to me like the biggest issue for you is the sting of the a
hole making fun of you. And while that’s understandable, her being an a
hole has nothing to do with you; a
holes are gonna ass. But there’re more good, caring people than there are a
holes out there, and anyone worth sleeping with isn’t going to give you s
t like she did.
Now would going to a sex worker solve your problems? I’m inclined to say no, but only because the issue is in your sense of self-worth. From a purely objective standpoint, there’s no reason not to. A sex worker, especially one who’s in a position to charge $300 an hour is almost certainly going to want to make sure your first time is a rewarding one. She’s much more likely to put care and consideration into your experience and center the appointment around you and your pleasure than, say, a random hook-up at a bar. And honestly, there are less risks involved with an escort than a stranger, especially in locales where sex work is legal. So if you decide you want to hop a flight to Reno and take a trip to one of the brothels out that way, then hey, treat yourself my friend and have yourself a hell of a time.
The only reason I say that you probably shouldn’t is that I suspect that in your case, it would only make you feel worse. I get the feeling that you’d see having paid to lose your virginity as another black mark in your ledger, more proof that there’s something wrong and shameful with you. And while that’s not true, adding to your anxiety over this would be counter-productive. So I think the best thing you can do is start to redefine how you see yourself first. Treat being a virgin with the same level of importance as having never had sushi or schwarma or mansaf: you’ve never had it and you’d love to find someone who can introduce you to it.
(Also: holy shirtballs would I love some mansaf right now…)
Think about it: if you’re trying some new cuisine, you’d want somebody who’s interested in making sure you have a great meal, no? Nobody who would want you to experience sushi for the first time would be giving you a six-pack of California rolls from the grocery store; they’ll want to take you to their favorite sushi restaurant and helping you figure out what you want to order. So it is with your first time: you want someone who is as interested in your enjoying and appreciating the experience. Maybe that person is someone you’re dating. Maybe that’ll be a friend who’s interested in helping you out. Maybe you’d get lucky and it’d be a stranger who’s kind and caring and a little turned on by being able to break the seal on a hot hunk of man.
What you don’t want to do is to treat your being a virgin like something shameful or something you need to apologize for. The way you treat it is going to affect the people you meet who you might potentially lose your virginity to. Treat it like either no big deal or a special treat someone gets, then you’re more likely to find someone who’s going to be turned on by the chance to be your first — and trust me, they are out there. On the other hand, treat it like a deep dark secret and you’re more likely to find people who’ll give you s
t for it and give you a lousy first time. Not because of any woo-woo-read-The-Secret kind of magic but because those will be the people you’ll be more likely to gravitate towards. Thinking that it’s a bonus means that you’re more likely to look for someone you would think is worth sleeping with. Thinking of it as your deep dark shame means you’re more likely to look for someone who’d tolerate it or take pity on you.
Trust me: you want the former. You want to be the former.
Honestly, LB, I think this will be less of an issue than you realize. Choose to see yourself differently and I think things will fall into place for you faster than you expect… and it’ll reward you in ways you’ll appreciate for years to come.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org