Should She Tell Men She’s A Virgin?

February 20th, 2015

Awkward, Dating Lies, Dating Realities, NEW!

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Sharonvirgin
Comment: I’m 33 and a virgin. At first, this was a decision I made for religious reasons, and I planned to wait until my wedding night. As the years went by, however, I have felt that marriage may never happen, and now i am just waiting until I fall in love for the first time. Dating is so painful – guys never stick around past 3 dates. I haven’t quite figured out why for sure, but I think it’s because once they find out I’m a) still a virgin and b) waiting until I fall in love for sex, they lose interest. I’m still relatively naive and don’t understand why after only 3 dates guys are expecting to sleep with me – is this the norm, or am I just dating jerks? I have only had one boyfriend ever, 7 whole years ago. I’m an attractive, accomplished woman who even dabbles in modeling from time to time. I just don’t understand why I can’t find someone willing to wait until we get into a serious relationship and fall in love. What am I doing wrong? Should I just go ahead and put out so that
I’ll find love? Or should I not tell guys these things until well into the relationship? I guess I’m upfront right away because I don’t want to waste their time. I also might have a high sex drive and get help but get into hot and heavy make out sessions in which I blurt out that I’m waiting in order to stop it. I know I must be doing something wrong to have spent pretty much my whole life single – would appreciate some insight. Thanks!
Age: 33
City: Savannah
State: GA

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28 Responses to “Should She Tell Men She’s A Virgin?”

  1. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    The fact that you’re a virgin isn’t the issue. Personally, I’ve dated 30+ year old virgins before (some of which are no longer virgins.) And, that’s in NYC. The problem? You’re announcing up front that you are not going to do something that most guys (normal, desirable, heterosexual) are interested in doing. They do not think you are worth the effort. Or, at best, after a few dates, they don’t know if you are worth the effort and it is not worth the effort for them to try to figure it out. Most likely they have other options.

    This is in some ways just like the other post on mental illness. In dating and relationships, no one is obligated to suffer your peculiarities, whatever they might be. It’s not about compassion and understanding. You can have compassion for someone and still not want to date them. In any event, if you CHOOSE to be unique in a negative way, then you live with the consequences and you don’t get to complain.

    • ATWYSingle Says:

      Well, to be fair, nobody chooses to be mentally ill. But I agree that there’s no need to announce your peculiarity (as you put it) upfront, whatever it may be. That was one of the things I said in the post.

      There’s something developmentally off with this letter writer.

      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        “nobody chooses to be mentally ill.”

        That’s what I meant, actually. There is no Americans for Disabilities Act for dating. Some people have actual challenges in life. Some people invent challenges for themselves. The first group, I suppose, gets a pass to complain (though, for their sake, they should find a way to adapt rather than whine about it.) The latter group get’s nothing. Neither group is entitled to a date or a relationship.

  2. D. Says:

    Gotta agree with DrivingMeNutes here. It’s not the “I’m a virgin” thing. It’s the “I’m not going to have sex with you unless we’re in love” thing.

    The guys the OP is meeting are definitely not jerks. A guy can be absolutely looking for something serious, and still want to have sex around date 3 and bail if that’s not happening.

    It’s entirely commonplace for men to want sex, or at least an indication that sex will happen very soon, by about date 3. Sometimes guys will wait longer (e.g., until dates 4-6), but it’s far more common that they’ll simply move on after date 3 happens and there’s no indication of sex happening any time soon.

    This is for two reasons.

    1. Most people aren’t waiting around for love to have sex. You can find people like that in certain religious communities, but outside of that, most people like sex and have it outside the context of marriage or even love. Love is not the threshold for sex; actually the reverse is often the case where sex has to happen before someone’s gonna fall in love. Plus, many, many people — men and women alike — do not want to enter into a serious relationship with someone, only to find out that they’re sexually incompatible.

    2. For most people, the difference between platonic close friends and a romantic relationship is sexual activity. When a woman doesn’t want to have sex, this comes across to many men as a kind of keeping them at arms’ length. This can actually get in the way of a man developing any kind of deeper feelings because it’s like imposing this barrier. “I like you, but not enough to do XYZ.”

    The OP has chosen a path that significantly limits her options. That’s fine, but she needs to recognize that and accept the likely consequences of her choice. Most men are not going to stick around and wait until she falls in love with them to have sex. They’ll want to do that sooner. When that doesn’t happen, they’ll just move on, even if they really like her.

    The guys who will wait are an extreme minority, I’d guess. Some will be religious. Others, though, may have other kinds of issues regarding sex that make them happy to wait (e.g. STDs that they’d prefer not to reveal until everyone’s already in love; intimacy and/or performance issues; discomfort with the concept of sex itself for whatever reason; etc.). I point this out not to make these guys out to be monsters or anything, but to give the OP something to consider. Within the population of guys who are willing to wait until love to have sex, some will include guys like that. It won’t all just be the strictly religious types. If the OP is fine with that, then hey, go for it. If not, though, then she may need to reevaluate how she wants to approach this issue.

    Personally, I think the OP would be better off focusing on religious guys. Meet guys through church or service organizations connected to local churches. There may be online sites for religious folks (I wouldn’t know), but I’d think the more common sites like OKCupid and Match will not be a good place for her to look, since most of the guys there will want sex way sooner than she’s ready for. Either that, or she needs to shift her attitudes about when to have sex (but I see that as far less likely to happen).

    • fuzzilla Says:

      I agree that it’s more the approach than the facts of the matter. It doesn’t make me “broken” that my dad died 15 years ago (or if it does, it’s not my fault/nothing to be ashamed of). Bursting into tears about it on the first date and talking about medical treatments and how horrible it was would be kind of a deal breaker, though.

      I usually want sex pretty quick myself, so I’m not really sure how to finesse the whole putting off sex thing. Certainly, don’t drop it like a truth bomb that: (a) Makes men uncomfortable and (b) Tells them they’re not gonna get what they want/the likelihood is extremely low. There must be a way to enforce a boundary like that in a cool, “Oh, by the way” manner. The OP needs to get right in her own head about what she wants and why. She might be giving off vibes that she wants a man to “fix” her.

      • fuzzilla Says:

        **I guess I’m upfront right away because I don’t want to waste their time. I also might have a high sex drive and get help but get into hot and heavy make out sessions in which I blurt out that I’m waiting in order to stop it.**

        So she gets into “hot and heavy make out sessions” and abruptly stops them, or thinks she “might,” so she won’t even give a guy so much as a peck on the cheek?

        A lot of guys here say they don’t mind waiting a bit for sex as long as there’s some kind of affection and escalation that makes it clear they’re appreciated and sex will happen eventually, that they’re not wasting their time on someone uninterested. So…maybe try that advice; i.e., stop thinking of it as so all or nothing?

        • fuzzilla Says:

          **I also might have a high sex drive and get help**

          Everyone else seems to have interpreted this as getting hot and heavy and then abruptly pulling the plug, which makes sense and would certainly explain the reactions she’s getting.

          She thinks she “might” have a high sex drive because she really enjoys the making out, and that if she did, that’s something she needs to “get help” with?

          She seems to have some real hangups about sex. No, you’re not necessarily “broken” if you’re a virgin or want to take it slow, but she’s giving seriously mixed messages, which would drive anyone batty. Her comments indicate she has a lot of shame and self-loathing around the topic of sex. Most people can understand not wanting to be used for sex, but she judges her own sexual feelings, too. She’s never even had sex, but fears she’s a sex addict who needs professional help..?

          Seriously, WTF happened in your childhood, OP?

    • J Says:

      When I was dating I told men up front that I was religious and involved at church rather than saying “I’m not going to have sex with you”. Unfortunately they couldn’t connect the dots. They said they were religious too but were very eager to get me naked and actually acted affronted when I said no. And no wasn’t enough, there was an uncomfortable level of persistence that made me lose respect for them. I met my boyfriend on okcupid. He’s also religious and waiting for marriage. We clicked instantly so when we found this out about each other it was a huge sigh of relief on both our parts. There ARE people out there who share your view. You just have to be tough enough to wade through the waters and handle those who don’t.

  3. Snowflake Says:

    DMN is right, the fact that you are a virgin is not an issue. Its that you tied your virginity to this impossible idealistic of love in a romcom way. That ideal is unattainable, not realistic and I can bet you anything all the guys you have gone on dates on are picking up on that right away. I highly doubt they are all assholes. The commonality is you in this and your lack of dating experience and your lack of relationship experience is what is coming through pretty strongly. Its also coming through in your letter.

    None of us can tell you how to give up your virginity, that is completely on you to decide, however its how you see that in relativity to dating, the ideal of love etc. Coming clean with the guys you have just started to go on dates with on something like this is putting them all off so that is one of the reasons why they all vanish/don’t stick around.

  4. maria Says:

    Maybe LW should try to find religious minded men for whom a woman waiting is not out of the norm? maybe join some church groups, ask friends to set you up or try christian mingle or eharmony if you want to online date? I have a friend who is extremely religious, in her late 20s early 30s never had a boyfriend or even a kiss I don’t think but she ended up getting married in her mid thirties and just had a baby. they met through their very active church group–her group did a lot of activities and charities so meeting someone wasn’t very difficult. she is a very sweet and loving person so its no surprise she met someone. being a virgin is defining you right now and you have to try to not let it. you can meet someone, you just have to look in the right places.
    if you are trying to date on okc and on tinder then you will not have much luck. it is normal and healthy for men to want to sleep with you after dating you for a few weeks, and there is nothing wrong with them, it doesn’t mean they are bad people and not compassionate its just a normal part of dating, especially in your age group. so you have to try to find people who understand where you are coming from, and understand the concept of waiting for marriage or love to have sex.
    also, I don’t think you can stay a virgin for this long and have a “high sex drive” especially since you are no longer waiting for marriage, if you are not waiting for marriage then there is not much point in waiting. you woulda kind just done it already to get it over with.

  5. jlady Says:

    I’m really interested in getting to know this answer. I’ve never had a bf not had hot and heavy makeout sessions, but I’m still single (not really looking, though to be fair) and a virgin. I’m going to be 30 in July and I feel as if I just graduated from highschool. I live in a large Canadian city, with my parental units, and finishing up graduate school, and although I’ve “accomplished” in life, at least academically, I feel that my social life is dead. Dead and dead. Sigh. I have a lot of anxieties; first if I tell a potential guy that I’ve never dated, I’m afraid that they’ll think that I have some issues (which I may have…I don’t know), and if it ever comes to sex, I’m really afraid that I would not know what the h3ll to do…I mean…losing your v-card at this age is painful, no? Ugh…

    • maria Says:

      You don’t owe anybody an explanation of your past choices. If you want to just “get it over with” just go on okcupid, meet somebody decent and get it over with. you don’t have to tell them you have never done it. don’t expect fireworks but at this point, this is something that is defining your life and who you are. until you just get it over with, its going to be a cloud over your head that you’ll never be able to shake. You’ll never be able to just let go and meet somebody and be happy. Unless you are religious and MUST wait for marriage, I don’t see the harm in doing it with someone you probably won’t see again.

    • mindstar Says:

      jlady moving out of your parents home and getting a place of your own might help the process. At a minimum it would make the logistics easier and give you a sense of maturity and personal accomplishment.

    • Julie Says:

      I highly encourage you to drop phrases like “living with parental units” and “losing my v-card”. Its juvenile terminology that just doesnt sound right coming from an adult woman.

      To your question, its actually easier to lose your virginity when you are older because you are more emotionally mature and have enough perspective to not be as invested into it as the typical post adolescent. Dont worry about not knowing what to do when you have sex. The guy will do most of the work and you just need to follow his lead. Theres really nothing magical or transformative about losing your virginity. Once you “get rid of it”, if you are anything like me, you’ll still be the same insecure, socially awkward goofball who still has little dating experience, no relationship experience and who still doesnt really know what to do in bed (one time wont teach you much). What worked for me was to go online and just go on a ton of first dates. Learn how to get dates, how to be a fun date and enjoy yourself on dates. From there, you’ll be in a better position to both learn about sex and relationships and pick better guys for both.

    • HammersAndNails Says:

      you sound like a 14 year old.

  6. bbdawg Says:

    It seems that the OP’s only viable option if she wants to keep her virginity is to go for Christian dating websites. Other than religion, I find it very hard to find a context where virginity is appreciated…

    My sense is that you just have to date normally and if you find someone you have a strong connection with. Don’t make a big deal out of it. I have a hard time imagining being a virgin in your 30s, because IMO if you’re not sleeping with somebody you’re not in a relationship with them… In other words, try to have sex sooner rather than later or you will never be in a relationship.

    Adriana Lima if I recall correctly was a virgin until marriage (she’s now getting divorced…) she managed to get engaged to lots of men like Lenny Kravitz and Pharell but even those dudes did not stick around for marriage if they could not sample it before hand. No matter how incredibly attractive she might be.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      I guess she’s okay with losing her virginity but “only if she’s in love” (which, as D said, is kind of the cart before the horse – sex is generally required first before the falling in love part can happen).

      This isn’t really relevant to the OP, but this is why I think FWB situations have their value, even if it’s not my first choice. And that value is in learning not to take sex so damn seriously that it messes with your critical thinking and it’s pretty much impossible to enjoy it.

  7. Yvonne Says:

    “I guess I’m upfront right away because I don’t want to waste their time. I also might have a high sex drive and get help but get into hot and heavy make out sessions in which I blurt out that I’m waiting in order to stop it. ‘

    This. Not every man is going to want or insist on sex by the third date. But most men want to know that even if it’s not going to happen by the third date, then it will happen at some point in the near future. Many people who are dating would like to fall in love, but it’s not realistic to insist on it on your terms only.

    First, people don’t fall in love that quickly. Really falling in love – as opposed to lust – takes time to build. So if a man feels that it might be months before you’ll sleep with him (IF you happen to fall in love with him), he’s not so likely to wait around. That’s different from wanting to invest a few dates getting to know someone before sex.

    Second, getting into hot and heavy make-out sessions with men and then announcing that there won’t be any sex before love or marriage sounds rather manipulative to me. If you don’t want sex right away, then you’d have to find someone who is willing to let a relationship build very slowly, and semi-platonically at first. You’re getting guys hot and bothered, and then putting on the brakes, so it comes across like you’re teasing them.

    I think there is more to it anyway. If waiting for “love” is that important to you, why are you engaging in heavy make-out sessions in the first place? Clearly, by this point, you know exactly where that is going to lead. I have to wonder if this is more of an issue about a fear of giving up control than a desire for true love.

  8. Julie Says:

    The way the OP made it sound, she invites hot and heavy makeout sessions pretty early into dating then when the guy tries to take things to the next level she blurts out “I cant do this! I’m a virgin and I’m waiting for love!” I hope my impression is wrong as thats a pretty darn unpleasant and awkward way to end a what otherwise was probably a fun date.

    Even so, if you have model looks, I would think at least some guys would stick around for at least a few months even if you do break out the bat shit crazy on them in the first 3 dates. Something really weird is going on here.

    For starters, dont go home with any guy you dont intend on sleeping with that night, and dont tell men you are a virgin either at all or at least not until you’ve dated them for at least 2 months or until he explicitly asks “Are you a virgin?”

    • Mandy Says:

      I interpreted it the same as Julie did. It seems like there’s a big disconnect with having a high sex drive and getting into hot and heavy makeout sessions and then blurting out “I’m a virgin and I’m waiting for love” and stopping things cold. I’m wondering if this disconnect is coming across in more ways that just that as you’re dating, and this could easily be a reason guys don’t stick around.

      I have 2 suggestions. First, figure out why you admittedly like sex but then deny yourself it, and why you draw what is really an arbitrary line between hot and heavy making out and sex. What are you afraid of?

      Second, why don’t you try being more consistent in terms of less physical intimacy and just getting to know a guy? If you are taking it slow, but still escalating it to show interest over time, it should make a lot more sense to a guy. You may have to look a lot harder, and definitely don’t go for the typical alpha-male-playboy types, but you can find a guy that will date you for few months with ever-escalating physical stuff until you’re ready to have sex with him.

      One more thing to clarify, however. You say you’re waiting to be in love. What does that mean to you? You just want to have those feelings and trust the guy, or do you want you both to have said “I love you” and discussed where the relationship is going and all that. If it’s the former I think that makes sense. If it’s the latter, then it sounds more like you’re using it as some kind of test they have to pass to get to the sex, and you should examine your motives there.

  9. Dan Says:

    You might want to think about taking your biological clock out of the picture by getting your eggs harvested and stored, if you think you might ever want children while continuing to maintain your current sense of values about sex.

    Also, please do whatever you can to turn down the volume on whatever romantic fantasies and expectations you have about what sex is going to be like. You’ve had about 20 years since puberty to build it up in your mind to something that is so precious and holy that it’s going to be the most valuable gift you could ever give to any man, when in reality it’s more likely to be like making pancakes: The first couple are so bad you throw them away; practice improves things dramatically. My first wife insisted on waiting until we were married to have sex, and when we finally did, on our wedding night, she told me, “If I had known that *that* was all it was going to be, I wouldn’t have waited.”

    You didn’t mention anything about how well you know yourself sexually, except to say you suspect you might have a high sex drive (which seems kind of an odd thing not to be sure of), but you will improve your chances at a satisfying sex life greatly the more you know about what kinds of touch really do it for you. So please, masturbate, in many different ways, with many different fantasies, and go into your first sexual relationship willing and able to tell your partner *exactly* and precisely what kinds of touch work best for you. Don’t expect him to know without being told; he cannot possibly be the expert on *your* body.

    Lastly, here’s a thought experiment for you: Imagine that you’ve dated a guy for, what?, six months? a year?, and you and he are truly in love with each other. You’re finally willing to take that all-important step of inviting him into your body… And you find out you two are *completely* sexually incompatible. What then? You’re *in love*!! Do you dump him? Go ahead and get married hoping something will change for the better? (It’s utterly foolish to count on that happening.) Explain to your friends and family, “Yes, we loved each other deeply, but the sex sucked.”

    This is not just a theoretical idea. Two of my best friends in high school, Kathy and Rick, were both deeply religious and deeply in love. They married as virgins. Unfortunately, it turned out that Rick was gay (which went a long way toward explaining why he was willing to wait), and the divorce was devastating to them and everyone who cared about them.

    Remember my first wife, who was so disappointed with our first sex? I finally discovered, after five miserable years, that she was a very serious masochist, whose hottest sexual fantasy was being abducted by a motorcycle gang, dragged to an abandoned house, tied to a chair, burned all over her body with their cigarettes, and gang raped. I had been begging and pleading for years for her to tell me how I could be a satisfying lover for her, and all she would say was, “If I have to tell you, it spoils it.” I’m on the submissive side of the spectrum myself, so I was utterly incapable of doing for her anything near what she needed, even if she had told me. So please do not delude yourself into thinking that if only you keep sex precious and special, that will make it the wonderfully fulfilling experience you’ve probably been imagining. Nothing can substitute for actual, real-life *knowledge* of how your own and your partner’s sexuality actually work.

  10. ATWYSingle Says:

    According to the letter writer the “get help” part was a typo.

  11. JulesP Says:

    Dear OP,
    Consider dating via dating sites for virgins… yes, they exist I’ve just had a Google for you.. :-)

    Otherwise you need to be realistic about your dating opportunities with ‘regular’ guys.

    Good luck

  12. Ben Iyyar Says:

    I would suggest that the OP tell her partners up front that she is a virgin. I feel this way for the simple reason that if she should break her vow and decide that sexual intimacy is on the table, her partner will at least take more care and be aware that she may suffer distressing pain on him entering her and that she may bleed afterwards. In my case, I dated a girl whom I believed was experienced, and even though I felt I was being gentle enough, she did not let me know she was a virgin and I fear I did cause her pain, which I might have avoided had I known she was a virgin. I was only nineteen at the time, and I was left very upset, almost shocked that I had hurt her, rather than the pleasure I intended. I made it a point after that to ask my partner if I was in doubt about her virginity.

  13. jenny Says:

    From experience, any man who is willing to wait for sex is hiding something himself. As soon as a guy says, “I can wait for you” I start wondering, “how small is his penis?!”

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      Guys are insecure about a lot more things then their penis size, like not being exciting enough or not having dark hair or not being rich enough.

      But women, and men too, feel pretty safe these days in insulting men’s penises. How is that different from slut-shaming? Seems like the same thing to me.

      No, I’m not an MRA and my own is merely average as far as I can tell. I’m just seeing a huge double-standard here.

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