DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: My last (and first) girlfriend broke up with me because I’m a virgin, even though she said she wouldn’t hold it against me when I told her. She said she was afraid she wouldn’t love me if the sex wasn’t good.
She also said it bothered her when I told her I loved her.
How do I get over this?
Shot Down In Flames
DEAR SHOT DOWN IN FLAMES: So, I get a lot of comments like this whenever I write about virginity, especially male virginity, and more often than not it’s pretty clear that the story being presented isn’t what actually happened. This isn’t to say that people are lying, so much as slapping a very thick filter over everything that happened. It’s very easy to assume that the thing that YOU are most concerned with was, in fact, the reason the scenario you were afraid of occurred. Especially if it’s something you already believe marks you out as being one of the Great Unf--kables, someone who’s been given the bird by the Fickle Finger of Fate.
In reality, it’s almost never that least and clean. There’re usually other issues that actually prompted the break-up and the ONE issue — virginity, in this case — is the scapegoat.
But hey, you caught me in a generous mood, so while there is definitely a big ol’  appended to your letter, I’m going to take you at your word that this happened exactly as you say it did.
The problem here isn’t that you’re a virgin, SDIF. The problem is that you were dating an asshole. An asshole who, I might add, doesn’t seem to have really liked you all that much.
Now, I’m on the record as being firmly of the belief that it’s important to prioritize sexual satisfaction and sexual compatibility in a relationship. If one or both partners aren’t enjoying the sex they’re having in a relationship, that’s going to be a metaphorical stone in the shoe that’s going to ruin everything. Sex pretty much always wins in the end.
(And to be perfectly clear: sexual satisfaction and compatibility also encompasses people who are demisexual or asexual. Ace folks, especially sex-averse ace folks, who’re feeling compelled to have sex they don’t want are just as badly served by the relationship as couples having bad or unsatisfying sex.)
But while sexual compatibility and satisfaction are important and something to be prioritized, that doesn’t mean that virgins are shit out of luck by definition. To start with, being a virgin doesn’t mean being a bad lover, any more than having had hundreds of partners means that you’re amazing in bed. Much of what makes the difference between bad sex and great sex is clear communication, a willingness to listen, pay attention and take direction without letting your ego get in the way. Lots of folks — women included — have had great sex even though it was their partner’s first time.
By that same token, there are many, many women — including people who’ve written in, people who comment here and people in the Dr. NerdLove and NerdLove Academy Facebook groups — who’ve slept with virgins and many who actively enjoy it.
So while this singular woman broke up with you, presumably because you’re a virgin, that doesn’t mean that all women will. It means that you met one asshole. Maybe she meant it when she said she wouldn’t hold it against you and simply wasn’t able to keep that promise. Maybe she just said it because she felt like she should. Either way, it sounds like she treated you pretty callously and that’s a good sign that you’re better off without her. The fact is that, while this absolutely hurts, she did you a favor. The way she behaved marked her as someone you wouldn’t want to lose your virginity to. It doesn’t sound like she would be a caring, sensitive or communicative partner at all and your first time would likely have been disappointing at best. So you likely dodged a bullet here.
But there’s also the part of where she says it bothered her when you said that you loved her. Now without more detail it’s impossible to really say what’s up with that… but there’re two distinct possibilities. The first is that it bothered her because she didn’t care for you and hearing that you loved her made her feel bad because she knew she was going to dump you anyway. That’s on her. The second possibility is that you fell a little too hard and a little too fast and that weirded her out. Now that’s the result of inexperience and is something a lot of folks go through. That tends to be the sort of thing that you really only learn how to gauge by going through it. Again, it sucks… but it also sounds like your ex was someone you’re better off leaving in your rearview mirror. There are far better — and more diplomatic — ways of dealing with that situation and she basically failed at it entirely.
So all in all: I think you dodged a bullet, SDIF. It sucks it fell out this way, but it’s almost certainly going to be better for you in the long run.
That’s why the way you get over this is to recognize that you got lucky — not in the way you were hoping, granted — and move on to date other people. You met an asshole, but there are many many more women out there who are awesome and would love to take someone like you and show them the ropes. It may be a short-term relationship, it may be next love of your life… but those women are out there. And with time and experience (and you sound pretty damn young, SDIF) you’ll realize that this was a singular point in time, not something that’s going to define the rest of your life.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org