You probably have a clear story about how, when and to whom you lost your virginity, but do you wish you had done things differently, or waited a bit longer? Or are you still a virgin, like my friend James?
James is not his real name, but his story is real. He’s turning 38 this summer and is not afraid to admit that he’s a virgin. I appreciate his honesty and that he took the time to answer some questions about his experience (or lack of) when it comes to dating and intimate relationships.
I think we could all learn a thing or two from his responses.
Interview with a 37-Year-Old Virgin
How do women you date react to the fact that you’re a virgin? Do you tell them right away? How do you tell them?
I try to go as long as possible before telling a female that I don’t put out. It really isn’t a good ice breaker. I don’t want to scare them away, either. Each case is unique, but eventually I have to break the news.
Sometimes I feel like I need to tell them right away, so as to temper their expectations. Other times it never needs to get to that point. I have found the older I have gotten, the more upfront I need to be about it.
When I tell a female, their first reaction is typically, “You are lying.” They don’t believe me. Once I have them convinced, I can either tell they are no longer interested, or sometimes it makes them more interested. When it is the latter, I can sometimes tell they feel more relaxed around me, knowing that I’m not just trying to take advantage of them.
Is this a faith-based decision, or born of your own volition?
I don’t really remember exactly when I made the decision. It definitely stems from my faith, but mostly I think it was being taught/told by my parents when I was growing up, that I was supposed to wait until I got married to have sex. It became innate to me. As I grew up, and my faith became more my own, I saw spiritual, health, and emotional advantages to waiting.
Do you regret waiting?
The simple answer: no. I have strong feelings that it is the right thing to do. That isn’t any sort of judgment on anyone that doesn’t abstain. To each their own, in my humble opinion (IMHO). We all make choices in our lives for our own reasons.
I consider myself a sensual person, and so there is a layer of me that wishes to experience a deeper physical gratification. I grew up envisioning getting married in my early-mid twenties, so I didn’t think I would be waiting as long as I have.
Being single in my mid-thirties now, is sexually frustrating. It raises silly (yet serious) questions such as: Will I need Viagra my first time? Will I have the energy and stamina needed? But it also helps me to resist changing my mind. I think to myself, “if I give into my desires now, I will have wasted all those years saying no.” It would be like running a marathon and then giving up in the last mile.
What are you waiting for? Marriage?
Yes, my plan is to wait until I am married.
We live in a world where losing your phone is more dramatic than losing your virginity.
— Megan Fox (@RealMeganFox) August 24, 2013
What’s the closest you’ve come to losing your virginity and how old were you?
Honestly, it wasn’t until I was into my thirties that I loosened up on some of my self-set physical boundaries. With each boundary change, I felt a stronger pull and desire to go further. Was this a slippery slope or just the natural occurrence of allowing my desires more freedom?
The closest I mentally got to having sex was a scenario where I was in love with someone that placed high value on sexuality. Our relationship was getting very serious, and the abstinence was becoming a strain. I was in the process of moving across the country to live with her, and I was contemplating how long it would be possible to hold out. I didn’t think I would last more than a couple of months before going further. That move never happened, and I didn’t cross that bridge.
What is your expectation of your ‘first time’ and are you at all worried that it won’t live up to your fantasy of it?
I do a decent job of tempering my own expectations, in all aspects of life. So frankly, I really don’t know what to expect, nor do I have a fantasy about it. I am worried for her sake, that I may not perform up to her hopes or expectations.
If you could lose your virginity to anyone, who would you choose?
Are you wondering what sort of celebrity or sex symbol piques my interest? Ultimately I want to lose my virginity to someone that I could not imagine loving more. To someone that knows and accepts me for all that I am. To someone that is full of grace, humility, strength, and honesty.
Do you have any advice for young men on abstinence? Or their parents?
We all make our own choices, so if a young man is choosing abstinence, I would say hold strong, take luck, and be truthful to yourself. Recognize your desires. I think that last sentence is important. Resisting sex is very difficult. Sex is instinctual, natural, and I’d imagine it is a lot of fun, too.
I primarily made my decision based on spiritual reasons. In some religious circles they might say that having sexual desires is wrong. I don’t think that is 100% true. I personally had to go through a transition from this layer of thinking it was wrong to feel sexual, to accepting that I had these strong desires.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but it became easier mentally to resist sex if I recognized that it was ok to want to have sex. Part of this change from guilt to empowerment occurred when I read a book by Henri J.M. Nouwen called Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life. He writes:
To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it is the movement from the restless senses to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward-reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.
This helped to teach me that there is empowerment to accepting my desires, rather than running from them. When I accepted who I was, and what I craved, it cultivated courage to remain abstinent.
For young men that are deciding if they should have sex or not, I would say that it is harder to wait, that it takes courage to be abstinent. That it is difficult. But it is safer. You don’t have to worry about getting someone pregnant, you don’t have to worry as much about getting an STD, you don’t have to worry as much about being burdened by the consequences that may occur beyond pleasure. The desire for sexual pleasure and the peer pressure that comes from its prominence in society is difficult to deal with. It takes more courage and strength to abstain, than it does to not.
For parents, if you desire for your child to remain a virgin, teach them the value of sex. Teach them the advantages of waiting. Teach them that there is nothing wrong with waiting. Teach them the value of integrity. Teach them about having a moral compass.
Would you be ok with losing your virginity to someone who is not a virgin?
There is a part of me that hopes my first time having sex is with someone who is not a virgin. There is always a layer of fear in the unknown. Ergo, there is part of me that is fearful of having sex. Having sex for the first time with someone more experienced will alleviate some of that fear, as I will have a teacher to learn from.
Don’t get me wrong — If I was to marry a virgin that will have its advantages too. Any chance of jealousy of previous partners or experiences would be gone. There would be a fresh canvas to paint together.
Our experiences help create the people we are. I will love my wife for everything she has done or not done, everything that makes her wholly herself.
Do you think your decision to remain a virgin has affected any of the relationships you’ve been in?
Yes! I was in a relationship with someone that placed a high value on sexual interaction. I think most people do, so that isn’t an issue. Going into the relationship she was aware that I abstain from sex. She thought that she could handle that. It eventually became one of a few issues that lead to our demise.
Is it harder to approach women / date as you get older?
As an introvert, it has always been difficult to approach women. The club and bar pick-up scene has never been one that I was into, or good at. The internet has made meeting people easier, as the ice breaker is often done with writing. There is still something weird about this too.
Are you on any dating sites?
I have been a member of Match for the last 8 or 9 months. I have gone out on many first dates, a few seconds. I haven’t met anyone through the site that felt like it had future potential.
I look at it as an opportunity to get out of the house, share a drink with someone, and meet someone new with new stories. I don’t know if I will find a soulmate there, but I am not opposed to looking, either.
Oh, and I play with Tinder too. But that app is more just like a game to kill time. Though, I have gone out on a few dates from there.
If you have more questions for James, please leave them in the comments below. I can’t guarantee he’ll answer them, but I know he’s eager to learn more, especially if you happen to have a friend (or sister) you’d like to introduce him to.