Take my virginity -- please!

I'm caught in a sexual Catch-22: Because I've never done it, no one will do it with me.

Published November 28, 2005 12:00PM (EST)

Dear Cary,

All right, so let's have at it.

I'm 24 years old, and I'm a virgin. I've recently moved to a new place and I'm really confused about what kind of situation I've put myself in. I am not abstaining because I'm religious, or even because I'm waiting for marriage. More than anything, I'm abstaining because it seems like every single time I try to have sex, something gets screwed up.

I have been in multiple situations regarding my virginity -- I've been in love with a boyfriend who turned out to be a cokehead and became abusive right before I was about to tell him that I was ready to have sex. I've been in situations where I was casually dating or fooling around with a guy, and I felt comfortable enough to sleep with him. Usually, in these kinds of situations, I will explain that I am not in love, but comfortable enough to have sex. Most of the time, this results in the guy flipping out, saying he cannot handle the pressure and saying we can still fool around but he won't be my first.

My virginity is starting to seem like more of a liability than anything else. I am tired of feeling like a child, or even a late bloomer. I almost feel like I have been waiting all of this time for something, but it just never shows up. I cannot tell if I am romanticizing the whole thing, or even what my expectations are at this point. Specifically, I'm just about ready to throw my hands up and become a nun.

The worst part is, I feel totally ready to have sex at this point -- but none of the guys I have dated seem to believe me. They think once we sleep together, I'm going to become some kind of psycho-stalker that picks through their garbage at night. I don't think I'm ugly or unattractive, but I feel like I'm forgetting how to date because it's become so frustrating and such a problem.

Do you have any words of wisdom for the girl who waits to have sex -- and isn't a Jesus freak?

Virgin in Virginia

Dear Virgin,

Why do you have to tell a man you're a virgin before you sleep with him?

I may be missing something here. There may be a good reason. I'd just like to get clear on what the reason is.

Perhaps you want to tell him so that this important event is a shared emotional experience. That's understandable. But does that mean you have to tell him? Is it mandatory? Do you have a choice about whether to tell him or not?

I think you do have a choice. I think it's your body and where it's been before is not necessarily his business. If your past sexual history presents no danger to him, then why must he know?

Sure, it would be nice to talk about it together. But if talking about it seems to bring nothing but trouble, then why talk about it?

I've known women whose very first time was a well-thought-out act, full of mutual caring and respect. And I've known women who just got tired of being a virgin and went out to get laid. Neither approach guarantees lifelong happiness.

What if you were not a virgin and felt you had to confess this to every prospective partner? What if every time you told a man you were not a virgin, you risked rejection? Wouldn't it seem cruel and sexist? Wouldn't you question the rule that said you had to confess your non-virginity? Wouldn't you want to be accepted for who you are, and not judged on your sexual history? Luckily, in our society, it's no shame for a woman not to be a virgin. So why should it be a shame to be a virgin? Why should that be an issue at all? If it's not necessary to reveal your non-virginity, why is it necessary to reveal your virginity?

It seems to me that the relevant fact regarding your sexual status is this: You are ready and willing to have sex. Why not just leave it at that and see where the relationship goes?

If a relationship should lead to sex, and you really feel you must tell him, why not tell him afterward? Just brush the hair out of your face and say, "So that's what sex is all about! No wonder people talk about it. Let's do this again -- soon!"

The look on his face will be worth photographing.

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