DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’m a 46 year old man and, for no obvious reason, I’ve never had sex. I’ve made out with three women my entire life. I’ve pretty much given up trying to lose it at this point.
Whenever I tell women I’ve never had a relationship, they don’t return my calls. I’ve only told a couple of girls I’m a virgin, and they both glared at me like I was a circus freak. I don’t really know what to do anymore. I feel like I blew it. I don’t really think I can lose it anymore, I just wanna reconcile this so I can sleep at night. How can I accept this and move on?
Resigned, Regretful and Rueful
DEAR RESIGNED, REGRETFUL AND RUEFUL: So, a couple of things R3.
First and foremost: I can all but guarantee that you’re not getting the reactions you think you’re getting — and certainly not for the reasons you think. I am more than willing to wager the price of a double cheeseburger and fries that your jerk-brain is ramping up people’s reactions into ball-shrinking scorn. In fact, I’m willing to further wager the addition of a milkshake that the single biggest reason you get these negative reactions is because of the way you roll this information out about yourself to the women you’re talking to.
I mean, my dude. I can feel the despair and self-loathing radiating from your letter. It’s like Eeyore took a vacation to Pripyat before trying to chase Rick Jones off a gloom-ray test-site. If you rolled out any of this to them the way you did to me? Yeah, I can understand why people might feel a little weird around you. Even folks who are down to clown are going to be a bit put off by someone saying “it’s ok if you don’t want to f--k me. Nobody does. I wouldn’t f--k me either.” You don’t need to go around proclaiming that you’re the hottest s--t jumping out of the coffee pot, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a reason why advertising firms don’t sell products with “look, nobody else likes it but maybe you will.”
It’s one thing to be a virgin, even an older virgin. That’s not an indication of your value or your worth or anything other than “I’ve not had this particular experience”. It’s another entirely if you’re talking to people you’re attracted to and telling them that “oh by the way, nobody likes me and it’s probably because there’s some horrible flaw that women can smell on me”. All that does is signal a host of negativity that most folks simply aren’t going to want to deal with. Even someone who’s absolutely determined to climb you like a tree is going to have second thoughts.
But just as importantly, that negativity and despair that’s coming across in your letter utterly f--ks with how you see the world. As I’ve said many times before: your attitude is the filter through which you view the world. Not only does it affect your ability to perform and your ability to succeed, it also changes how you interpret the world around you. When you believe that there’s some inherent deficiency in you that others find appalling, your brain is going to interpret everything in that light. Polite laughter becomes mockery. Confused looks become glares. Even momentary discomfort or awkwardness becomes “glaring at you like a disease”
And that’s without any possibility of having brought it up at an inopportune or inappropriate time. That’s always going to be a factor as well.
And here’s the thing: as with a lot of folks who lament being “too old” to be a virgin… you could lose your virginity tomorrow if you wanted. Sex work is a thing. Escorts exist, including escorts who cheerfully take older virgins as clients. Even if you were worried about the legality or ethics of it, legal sex work exists too. Flights to Reno are cheap and the legal brothels will even send a car to pick you up at your hotel or even the airport. But the issue isn’t your virginity… not really. The issue is in your head and heart; it’s the way you feel about yourself and the way you clearly feel that being an older virgin is a mark of shame. Even if you were to find someone tonight who was going to ride you like a bronco in the rodeo… there’s still going to be that part of your jerkbrain that’s going to whisper “that didn’t count”. Because there will always be some reason why it didn’t count; it was a pity f--k, you paid for it and she would never have slept with you otherwise, she wasn’t having sex with you so much as using you for something… there will always be an excuse.
While I certainly don’t think that it would hurt for you to get your ashes hauled — professionally or otherwise — I think what you need more than sex is therapy. Not because you’re broken or flawed, but because you’re clearly carrying around a lot of pain and emotional turmoil and no amount of f--king is going to cure that for you. If you were to go out tonight, find the woman of your dreams and bang like a screen door in a hurricane, when you woke up the next day, you’d realize you’re the same person you always were. Again, not because there’s something wrong with you but because sex isn’t magic. It’s not transformative. It doesn’t change you on some fundamental level. Losing your virginity no more alters who you are than eating shawarma for the first time.
The problem isn’t your lack of relationships with others, it’s your relationship with yourself. You don’t need to reconcile being a virgin, you need to heal your heart and your mind. And the only thing that’s gonna do that is talking to a counselor or therapist.
My suggestion would be to visit the Association of American Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists’ referral directory and find a counselor in your area. If that seems too much, or you can’t find one, you may want to consider an app like BetterHelp or TalkSpace; those can also put you in contact with licensed, professional therapists. But regardless of how you find one… that’s going to be the first and most important step. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll find that your life is far, far better than you realized and you have more hope than you ever allowed yourself to believe.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, email@example.com