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How to Date as a Virgin

April 20, 2014
I didn't kiss a girl until I was 20 years old. Although that doesn't seem very odd to me in retrospect, it definitely made me feel awkward at the time. From about the age of 16 on, I vividly remember being paranoid of admitting to my friends that I'd never kissed a girl. The fear was so severe that I used to rehearse in my mind how I would equivocate if I were ever asked about it.

I was much less ashamed about being a virgin, because virginity was something I actively believed in at the time. Not having kissed a girl, on the other hand, was just a product of my inability to attract the kind of girl I wanted to kiss. But anyway, the point is that I know how much pressure a girl (or woman) can feel to live up to what she sees as the socially acceptable level of sexual experience for someone her age. And even though my beliefs have changed a lot since then, I can also identify with the belief that sex should be saved for marriage, or at least for some significant level of feeling or commitment.

There is no doubt in my mind that female virgins feel this pressure. One of the most common questions I get from readers is "what will he think if he finds out that I am a virgin?" I've already written a post answering this question, but I also want to discuss the best way to go about dating as a virgin. And I will do that by answering the next four most common questions that I receive from girls about virginity, namely:

  1. Should you tell the guys you date that you are a virgin?
  2. When should you tell guys you are dating that you are a virgin?
  3. How should you tell guys you are dating that you are a virgin?
  4. How do you know when to give your virginity to a guy?

I'll address each question separately. But first, I want to take a moment to highlight what is perhaps the important thing...

One of the biggest problems virgins face is that they don't know why they want to be virgins. Their parents told them not to sleep around, and it seemed like a good idea for a while, but it isn't something they've ever decided for themselves - or if they did at some point, they're now starting to doubt that decision. Meanwhile, the social pressure to do otherwise is starting to increase, as is their hormonal drive - both of which they were warned against by their parents. The result is an internal conflict that makes both paths seem "wrong" and incredibly difficult to reconcile.

Let me be clear: I am not going to tell you that virginity is right or wrong, and I am not going to tell you whether or not you should stay a virgin. That is a normative decision, and not mine to make for you. I will say that Western society has undeniably pushed the normal marriage age beyond the years at which are bodies are prime for sex and children (few people will dispute this). And while this doesn't mean that you should or shouldn't have sex, it does mean that if you want to stay a virgin until marriage, it's going to be tough.

Without having a clear idea in your mind about the circumstances in which you want to lose your virginity, there is no way that you are going to be able to resist the social and biological pressure to have sex; and as I will explain, neither is there any way that you will be confident in your dating life. So the first thing you need to do in order to start dating successfully as a virgin is to decide when or under what circumstances you want to stop dating as a virgin.

With that said, let's get into the questions...

1. Should you tell the guys you are date that you are a virgin?

This seems like a simple "yes" or "no" question, but it isn't. The very fact that you feel the need to ask it betrays a problem much deeper than your confusion about whether or not to tell a guy that you've never had sex before. The problem is that you are treating your virginity like something that you have to admit, which is another way of saying that you are treating it like something that you need to hide. So the far more important question is "why do I feel ashamed of my virginity?"

Usually, the answer is that you aren't sure of your reasons for being a virgin to begin with. If you were really sure of your life decisions, you wouldn't be worried about what the guys you date think of them. You'd (rightly) disqualify guys who disapproved of your virginity because their disapproval betrays their incompatibility with you.

Once you are comfortable with your decision, you won't need me to tell you the answer to your original question, which is that, yes, you should tell him you are a virgin, but only if the topic comes up naturally. And this brings us to the second question...

2.  When should you tell guys you are dating that you are a virgin?

Telling a guy that you are a virgin should be no different than telling him who you voted for in the presidential elections, or whether or not you believe in god, or any other potentially divisive fact about yourself. You wouldn't feel a need to "confess" to him that you voted for Ron Paul on your first date; but you'd tell him if he asked - or if your political views came up in the course of conversation. Virginity, politics, religion, etc. - these are the kinds of things that you eventually need to know about each other because they reveal a person's values; but we don't immediately discuss them because a person's values aren't the only important thing about them. If you skipped the conversation about favorite movies, or family, or personal interests, you'd be missing a big piece of the picture. Likewise, if you only talked about how much you both love that one comedian, and never brought up those topics that make you a little nervous to discuss, you'd be missing out on important information about the other person.

Topics like politics and virginity make you nervous because they can be divisive, and you are afraid of losing him if you learn that each other have clashing values (e.g. if he doesn't value virginity, but you do). But by guarding this information about yourself, you are missing out. Not only will being open about yourself allow you to find a compatible man, it will be attractive because it will show that you are confident about who you are and how you choose to live your life. You need to be comfortable with the idea of losing a guy before you can be open enough to attract him. In fact, often when a man seems turned off by a girls virginity, it isn't her virginity that is the problem; it's her insecurity.

Since having confidence in your life decisions is more easily said than done, it can help to know that most guys won't think you are weird for being a virgin; and if a guy is put off by it, it is because he wasn't that into you to begin with.

3.  How should you tell guys you are dating that you are a virgin?

In order to answer this question, we need to look more closely at what I mean by the topic "coming up naturally." This could happen fairly directly - for example, over dinner on a first date, if he is bold enough to bring up sex and the conversation takes a natural path towards sexual experience. But more than likely, it will happen when you are in bed together and you shut him down when tries to take things to a sexual level. The first few times this happens, he will probably just attribute it to you not being ready for sex. But eventually, he is going to start wondering and he will probably ask you about it. At that point, here is a good way to navigate the conversation that is likely to follow:
You: "No, that's going too far, we need to slow down."
Him: "Really? I mean, we've been through this several times, and we've been dating for three months now... Are you... are you a virgin?"
You: "Yeah"
Him: "I thought so."
You: "Yeah, I mean, getting close to having sex makes me a little uncomfortable, just because I've never had sex before, so I am not surprised that you noticed."
Him: "Wow, so you've never had sex before?"
You: "Haha nope."
Him: "Haha never?!? That's crazy - why not?"
You: "[insert your personal reasoning here and - if it is true- explain that you aren't opposed to having sex with the right guy]"
Him: "Yeah well I respect that" [Note: Almost every guy will say this. Yes, as you suspect, it's at least half bullshit. If he really respected, it, he'd still be a virgin himself. He says this to make you feel better about the situation, which he probably suspects is a little awkward for you.]
You: "So, umm... can we continue making out now? I was kind of enjoying that..."
Otherwise the conversation could come up somewhat randomly - say, while you are sitting on the couch together watching TV. If he brings up something related to sex, for example, the conversation might require you to point out that you are a virgin. In that case, go ahead and do so. I'll use a "tough" example. Assume that you are 23 and he is 24:
Him: "Haha today at work me and the guys were talking about sex, and this one guy, Paul - actually you know him, you met him at Jessica's party - anyway, he's kind of a ladies' man, but somehow it came up that he didn't lose his virginity until he was 23!"
You: "Wow, that's pretty late..." [your heart starts beating a little faster, sensing that the question might come up any moment now. The gears in your head start spinning, thinking about how you can avoid it. Try to ignore both reactions.]
Him: "Yeah, I couldn't believe it. I mean, I am pretty tame when it comes to sleeping with girls, and I lost mine when I was 19. Actually, I even thought that was late..." [your nerves kick in even more, knowing that he considers 19 "late." But this is also where you choose to engage the topic, in spite of your fear.]
You: "19 isn't that late, but 23 definitely is later than normal... Haha you don't know this about me, but I am actually still a virgin."
Him: "Wait, what - really? You're kidding. You're 23; how are you still a virgin??"
You: "Well, see... in my teens I was super horny and I didn't want STDs or a baby before getting married, so I had my doctor sew up my vagina."
Him: "Haha WTF?!?"
You: "I'm kidding! No, ok, I mean, I don't know, I guess most of the guys that have been interested in sex were clearly only interested in sex. I am not waiting for Mr. Perfect, but I am too proud to let a guy bang me when I know he is just going to take off afterwards. I mean come on... So yeah, my criteria are a little higher than most girls' and it just hasn't happened yet."
Him: "I guess that makes sense. I really respect that."
You: "Good. So anyway, what else happened today at work?"
The point is that, even if it feels like a big deal and you are nervous, just "jump in" and tell him. Even if he reacts as if it's a big deal, your reaction will set the tone more than his. No matter what he says, maintain a tone of voice that says "yeah, I am a virgin... So?" Also, if you need the motivation to "jump in," know that it's better to be the one to say it first (as in the example above) than to only "admit" it after he pries it out of you. This looks insecure, and as we discussed earlier: insecure < virgin.

4. How do you know when to give your virginity to a guy?

This is another question that betrays somewhat of the wrong attitude. If you have to ask it, it suggests that you don't know why you are a virgin. If you knew why you are a virgin, you would also know under what circumstances you are willing to stop being a virgin. The two go hand in hand. If you don't want to have sex until you fall in love, then have sex once you fall in love. If you don't want to have sex until marriage, then have sex after you get married. If you don't want to have sex until X happens, have sex only after X happens. Not having had sex until X happens might be a little counter-cultural, but it beats the hell out of losing your virginity before X happens and living with the knowledge that a culture bullied you into it.

It isn't complicated. In fact, it is too simple to be the real issue behind the question. The danger, and the real reason girls ask the question, is that after several months or years of holding on to a principle (whether that be meeting an ideal lover or a moral code), you become frustrated at your inability to meet the criteria you set out for yourself. Maybe you haven't met the kind of guy you're willing to give your virginity to, or maybe you haven't gotten married yet. When this happens, the temptation is to either 
(a) blame that inability on the fact that you are a virgin, or
(b) convince yourself that your requirements for sex were exaggerated, and then sleep with the next guy who comes along to prove to yourself that you really believe it. 
Both are weak attempts to hide from the truth, which is that you failed to reach the situation in which you'd be comfortable having sex. That failure might not have been your fault, but it is the disappointing reality nonetheless, and this is where questions about "how do you know when..." creep in. So my advice is this: don't compromise your ideal; figure out what you have to do to live up to that ideal, and start working towards it. Rise to the challenge. Yes, there is such a thing as having unrealistic expectations, and you should give some thought to this, but be careful of falling into situation (b), above.

Related Posts
1. What Men Think About Your Virginity
2. What Men Think About Your Sexual History
3. Never Tell a Guy When You'll Have Sex With Him

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