DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’ve been getting a lot of s--t 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
DEAR 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 a--holes. Your issue isn’t that you’re a virgin, it’s that holy s--t you’re surrounded by giant, sulfur-speweing a--holes, gaping fundaments who’re spraying bulls--t 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 horses--t 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 a--holes will just make up something instead.
So honestly: the ultimate answer is “get the f--k 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 s--t, 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 s--t 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, horses--t. 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. S--t, 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, s--tposting 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 indeterminant 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 f--k me; I wouldn’t f--k 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 a--holes in your dad’s side of things first. That alone will make your life 1000% better. Everything after that will be gravy.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, email@example.com