Dear Molly, I’m 25. And I’ve never had sex. I’ve never been in a romantic relationship. Never even kissed a girl…
I’ve liked girls, but my feelings have never been reciprocated. I’ve even tried dating apps. I have no options for friends with benefits. My guy friends tease me. And some make me feel like I’m missing something very important.
It’s creating a lot of anxiety and I feel terrible. I feel like sex is so common these days and yet I can’t seem to make anything happen in my life. Any advice? ~ Lonely Larry
A few general things I want you to know before we get to the advice. First and foremost, sorry to hear you’re having such a bad time of it. Depression and anxiety suck, regardless of their cause.
Second, I want you to know that you’re not alone. I talked to someone recently older than you who was in the same boat. I know more than one person in their thirties who are virgins. It’s not as uncommon as people would like to believe. But few folks admit to it if they don’t have to.
Research actually shows that 12-14% of American adults 20-24 have never had sex. Between 25-29, it drops to one in 20. In other cultures, that number is sometimes higher. In India, the average age to lose your virginity is damn near 20. And in Japan, 25% of unmarried 30-year-old men are virgins. Hell, one in 10 straight Japanese men are still virgins at 40.
Third, casual sex is not as common as some would think. Most single people aren’t having sex with strangers and engaging in one night stands and hook ups, even when they say they are. And for those few who are, the sex is most often less than stellar.
Fourth, let’s talk about the reality of sex. Is it too hyped? That’s a hard one. Because, legit, sex is one of my favorite things. But it’s not the end all, say all. And if it’s mediocre sex, which a lot of sex is at your age, especially when it’s casual, then it’s often “eh.” So, yes, sex can be awesome. But you can have a good life without having sex. You can be happy without having sex.
Lastly, the whole concept of virgin is a stupid thing, a societal pressure that doesn’t really matter one fucking iota. It’s dumb. What does it even mean? If I’m a woman who’s only had sex with women, am I still a virgin because I’ve never had a dick in me? If I’m a man who’s had engaged in oral sex with 30 women, am I a virgin because I haven’t stuck my dick in one of them? Fuck that shit. It’s an archaic concept that does nothing but bring shame and guilt to sex.
Anyway. Moving on.
Here’s my advice:
Handle the Fear
It seems that fear is holding you back. Fear of rejection. Fear of a broken heart. Well, Larry, I’m a writer. I’ve built my career on rejections. I collect them like their prized possessions. Because if you work on you, become the best version of you that you can be, and the more rejections you collect in life, the more successful you will be. Whether that’s in business or basketball or love, it’s still true. So while rejection is scary, scary AF at times, it’s okay. Rejections are not bad things. Each rejection takes us one step closer to acceptance.
When it comes to broken hearts, I’ve had my fair share. And they hurt like hell. And they’re fucking horrible to go through. But now, years later, I wouldn’t give one of them up. I wouldn’t trade the love and lessons I gained to be rid of the pain I had to go through. Except, maybe, for that one guy who gave me an STD. I’d trade that. But, well, lessons and all that.
You need to manage your anxiety. I know that’s not easy, but it’s necessary. For this situation and every other stressful situation that arises in your life. Here are somethings to try:
- Exercise more.
- Do some yoga.
- Engage in some meditation.
- Spend time in nature.
- Color in an adult coloring book.
Learn about Sex
Whenever there’s something I want to do that I’ve never done, I read a book about it. When I wanted to run my first 5K, I read a book about running. When I wanted to raise goats, I learned about goats by reading a book. And when I wanted to have a threesome, yep, I read a book about that too (it was totally disappointing).
So take this lack of action as an opportunity to learn more about sex. Not from porn and erotica. But from sex educators. Sex bloggers (ahem). People who’ve spent their lives learning about sex and sexual function and desire and relationships and interpersonal communications.
Because the more you know, the more you understand, than the better you will be when the time comes.
I know you’re not going to like this next statement, but it’s very true. Stop looking. Instead of looking for someone who will make you feel “whole,” work on yourself. The better person you can be, the more attractive to women you become.
Plus, we often find what we’re looking for once we give up the search.
Lower the Standard
Now I don’t know you, Larry, so please don’t get offended by this, because no offense is met. But perhaps your standard is set too high. Sometimes I see men, women, too, but particularly men, who want a woman who looks a certain way or acts a certain way, and they don’t quite realize that no woman is perfect and going to hit all your checkmarks.
On this same line, people tend to form relationships with people who are on the same level as them. The same level of attractiveness. The same level of intelligence. Same level of social-economic status. And on and on. So… that means if you’re always trying to hit on the prettiest girl in the room and she’s never interested, maybe your playing in the wrong league.
Open Up Your Options
While I don’t normally recommend causal sex, maybe here it wouldn’t be so bad. While you said there was no option for friends with benefits, I’m going to push back there and say you’re probably wrong. Remember, friends with benefits don’t necessarily need to be friends. Maybe we should call them associates with benefits. Look around at the women in your world and look at them with an open mind.
If it’s the concept of virginity that’s got you caught up, if it’s the lack of sex that’s bringing you down (cue Green Day), there are professional options. And there is no shame in going to a sex worker. For real. It at least moves you past this “I’m a virgin” mindset.
While this wouldn’t take your “virginity” away, perhaps consider something like OnlyFans. Many women on the platform offer all sorts of virtual experiences and you may find something that quells your urge a bit. Some even offer “girlfriend experiences.” While this is of course not the same, it may give you the experience you need to gain confidence.
Find a Community
Lastly, perhaps seek out others in your situation. Whether that’s on Reddit or… Well, Reddit… listening to others’ stories and knowing you’re not alone may make you feel better about your own situation. At least you’d know that there’s nothing wrong with you (because there’s not) and that you’re not the only person in the world who’s never had sex (not by a long shot).
Hope this is helpful!