Real issues around virginity

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Post by inbloomer on Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:18 pm

I saw there’s a discussion on the main site about what at the specific level truly bothers one about being a virgin. I don’t know if Ney, who started it, looks at things here, but independently…

For me I think there are several issues. In terms of what I actually want, a lot about relationships and sex in the generic doesn’t appeal that much, or I can at least see the downsides. However, it is a magical feeling when two of you together are truly more than the sum of your parts, and are sparking off each other and pushing each other to a higher level. I think that can only ever happen in short bursts and you need to know each other very well in the first place. I’ve had that feeling with male friends (though more in the past, when we had more time to hang out together), but never really with anyone female and it’s a shame.

But even if I hadn’t found the ideal life partner by now, received wisdom says I should have had some opportunities for sex and relationships. I just don’t think I’ve had any: although I’ve had plenty of friendships with women, very many outings that were effectively dates even if not explicitly called such, they’ve always stopped just short of that point – and when I have asked explicitly the answer has always been no.

That leaves the constant, spinning question of why. Is it literally that I’ve never met the right person? If so, that’s incompatible with all the messaging about abundance mentality and beautiful, brilliant women round every corner. Is it that I’m making some basic and obvious mistake? There’s pressure to believe it’s that, because it’s the least uncomfortable answer for society. But is that likely, given that I’m not stupid and have been trying at this for so long, and have been devouring dating advice for the past few years? Is it that there really is something wrong with me, some undiagnosed issue? It would have to be severe, given some of the people I’ve known over the years who have successfully found partners. Or is it that the proportion of sex and relationships which truly makes both parties happy is actually much lower than society wants to admit, and really it comes down to be lucky or have really low standards and expectations?

Additionally, I think it is fair to say that I’ve been a common target for women who are feeling a bit lonely and unfulfilled, i.e. they’ve just started a new relationship that they’re unsure about, or they’ve been cheated on, or they’ve just moved to a new city. Out of nowhere they suddenly want to have lots of deep communication and lots of meet-ups, without ever quite crossing into flirting. But as soon as they’re getting on better with the boyfriend or have found other friends, they ghost or fade. The effect is to leave me with the pain of a break-up – even if I absolutely saw it as no more than a friendship, it still hurts – without anything tangible to bank. You can’t refer to someone like that as an ex or as someone you briefly dated.

So yes, I think virginity touches on issues that go far beyond the importance of the specific act.

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Post by Datelessman on Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:46 pm

I saw that discussion, and it's one that has popped up on the main DNL page from time to time. Considering his mission statement and most of his audience, and those who write in, it's unsurprising that it does pop up. As an older male virgin myself, I'd be lying if I said it didn't occupy a lot of my head-space for years worth of time. I have a blog where I've opined about it many times, and I naturally would come out of the woodwork any time the topic came up on the main forum years ago. I don't know if Ney checks here either but it's a good conversation.

I've felt many of those same things myself, especially as I get further and further into my "mid 30's" and greater problems like the risk of homelessness make me think about past regrets. I wonder not only why I didn't manage to have a relationship, but why I was never even capable of attracting even some cheap lust from women I was into throughout my life. All of my friends seemed to cross that plane many times and none of then were Don Juan types or "racked up numbers" of different lovers beyond the "average" of 3-7. We all hung out in the same social circle, knew the same people, had many of the same interests. And it wasn't always a matter of them being any more forceful or persistent with "making moves" than I was to THAT drastic a degree. More period, yes, but not 25% more. Yet women in their orbits just seemed to "like" them, word would get back and things would happen. Most of them, at least in high school and college, would date in reverse. They might "hook up" at a party or after a pub crawl and then actually go on dates or hang out later on. And while I wouldn't say any of them drastically changed in demeanor and temperament after they'd had sex, but ALL of them gained at lease a smidgen more confidence with women after. None of them were quite as awestruck or hesitant or frankly awkward about dating as they were before (again, also without being any drastically different). Could some of them still be oblivious? Yes. I remember being at a bar during a Super Bowl and being stuck in the middle between a pal and a woman who was shamelessly flirting with him all night and he didn't catch on; I actually had to tell him.

But it wasn't just dating. Even women who were friends with me wouldn't seem to hug me or peck me on the cheek as easily or freely as my pals, just in general. They might all find me hilarious, or smart, or even a "good guy," but I just didn't seem to exist as any sort of romantic being to them. And I still don't to most women.

To cut to the chase a bit, I think DNL has the best of intentions, and he and many of the others on the forums genuinely care and want to help. They want to understand while at the same time encourage dudes to be optimistic and progressive, and not despair, which is not an easy feat. But my criticism of any time "the virgin problem" comes up on the forum is that I genuinely feel that DNL and the rest drastically underestimate its effect on the psyche of some dudes and work too hard to encourage them by diminishing that sense of loss or angst. I mean even in last week's article itself, DNL compares the lack of having had sex to the lack of having rode a jet ski, in the name of it being "just any old experience you haven't had."

With all due respect, not everyone jet skis. Society hasn't spent centuries grinding into men's minds that riding a jet ski is a sign of maturity. In fact, I imagine an extremely small proportion of the population has ever rode a jet ski. Yet literally single person on Earth is expected to have sex at least once in their lifetime, and a clear majority of them within the U.S. do so by age 21. It is a near universal experience. Past a certain age nobody expects anyone to have ridden a jet ski, but it is commonly assumed you've had sex or kissed someone or especially been in a relationship which lasted beyond a week. You can't say the same of riding a jet ski, or rocket science, or any other extreme act which DNL always compares "the first time" to. Back in the day DNL compared to riding a roller coaster, and while that's a far better comparison, even that isn't the same.

I also feel DNL vastly overstates just how many people sleep with each other for reasons not at least vaguely specific to the person they chose. Yes, some people have sex due to things like wanting a rebound, or a warm bed for the night, or money, or even to make someone else jealous. But they do NOT just go "eeany meany you the peenie". There has to be something about the person they chose beyond proximity. And that's hardly getting into the fact that most sex happens between people who like each other and feel safe with each other in a way beyond friendship. It may bud from friendship, but it's a plane which is different. There is a shift between, "I could talk to you about French painting for hours" and "I want to touch your lips to mine." And those who have never experienced that but have seen it in others can sense what they haven't had and it is easy to go, "why not me?" at least once. I think sometimes DNL doesn't realize how much some of his advice can seem like (not is, but seem like) it belittles or talks down to people who angst about virginity so much. "Oh you silly goose, it's no more concerning than your haircut. Trust me, I didn't get laid until, gasp, 19."

Finally, while I again know that DNL and the community there genuinely mean well and want to ENCOURAGE people to try no matter what (it's literally how DNL earns a living), I also feel he drastically underestimates how much harder older male virginity gets with each passing year or decade, and how a lot of the angst and pent up feelings about it can snowball. He's right when he says, "hard is not impossible." But hard is still HARD, and not everyone will succeed at "hard." It may seem cruel to pretend like it's not harder for a virgin who is 35 or 45 or 55 or 65 to finally "break the plane" as it were than someone who is 30 or 25 or 21 etc. But I argue it's almost as dishonest to just treat it like it's nothing different than a choice of t-shirt. A man who is 40 and has never ridden a roller coaster or a jet ski is hardly unusual. But one who has never had sex, or even been in any romantic relationship whatsoever, IS a red flag to women, especially in an era where male toxic rage against them seems like it rolls endlessly in newspapers, the media, and life. Many woman cannot afford to be terribly understanding about it, for the sake of their owns safety. And for the older virgins themselves, it can be very difficult to play that numbers game year after year when it only gets harder and harder and harder. Especially when much of the advice they get, if they seek it, is usually a mix of toxic PUA garbage from other sites, or well intended but frankly overly "Pollyanna" diatribes about how we all have to work on creating a better world where virginity doesn't exist and we all sing songs in circles and dance and nobody is mean or judgmental and society hasn't led most men in power to act like monsters which causes this sort of anxiety about virgins. And maybe one day that will be our world, but it won't be anytime soon, and the belief that any individual virgin can just spin around and act like Mr. Slick because hey, they haven't ridden a jet ski either is just lunacy.

I am not saying I have any better advice. And, for the third or fourth time, DNL and the group MEAN WELL. I love them for it. I'd rather take well intended but inaccurate encouragement than toxic PUA stews. But I suppose I wouldn't mind if he and the gang weren't a little more realistic. Not everyone will succeed at harder. And it IS harder. But the best you or I or anyone can do is be the best person they can be and live a fulfilling life regardless. At least as much as possible.
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Post by inbloomer on Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:31 pm

I absolutely agree that if you’re in the position of having been liked by plenty of women but never liked “in that way” the difference seems huge, and when others who don’t have that experience try to trivialise or minimise that it doesn’t help. A woman I once confided in kept going on about how she understood totally because she’d once been single for three whole years. That’s not the same.  

I get what DNL is trying to do in terms of destigmatising it and yes, being in the right place at the right time is clearly a major factor. But with any goal, even if it’s just getting to ride a jet ski, if most other people can achieve it relatively easily yet every single time you try it something goes wrong and you never even get close, that does burrow deeply into your psyche and it’s hard not to get twitchy, which other people easily then jump on and claim is the cause of your lack of success not a symptom.

Having said that, I don’t think finding sexual partners has ever actually been a universal; a century or so ago it was more generally accepted that some would, some wouldn’t. Since then a lot of barriers have been broken down, but no one could claim dating is a solved problem. Digital technologies – email, chatrooms, social media, dating apps – have all turned out to be ultimately rather disappointing, because even though you can technically connect with almost anyone at any time, very often the other person just doesn’t want to.

DNL’s focus has shifted a lot over the years. Originally he was all about cold approaches, but while there are times you can start a conversation with a stranger, it’s very unlikely to lead to anything major and women are now defensively primed against PUAs. Then he was all about online dating and gaming the perfect profile and icebreakers: I’m one of many people who has tried apps and found them very unproductive for finding people you might actually want to date - the reasons are complex but it’s a common experience. Now he says your best chance is through your daily activities and social groups.

Which I agree with, but he does put a lot on this one script of you march up to her and say “I would like to take you on a date this Friday”, and either she says yes and you live happily ever after or she says no and “don’t start no awkwardness and there won’t be none”. Which … for a start is not exactly new advice, Jane Austen would recognise the substance of that script, and I think it does underplay the real-world risks and complications. Like, it’s human nature to be extremely avoidant (i.e. say yes when you really mean no), to be bad at keeping secrets, and to be wary around anyone who has form for springing difficult conversations on you. And these days, pretty much any approach outside of a dating app could potentially be seen as inappropriate. (DNL himself has said no relationship is 100% equal, e.g. there’s always some power imbalance.) So you can kind of understand why people either get too scared to take any social risks, or decide they might as well go the whole hog and send a dick pic.

Everyone’s agreed that if you ever meet someone who is a slam dunk – there’s clearly mutual attraction and compatibility – then that’s all fine. But outside of that eventuality, I’ve yet to find any really solid, helpful advice for what you can do.

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Post by Datelessman on Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:04 pm

inbloomer wrote:I absolutely agree that if you’re in the position of having been liked by plenty of women but never liked “in that way” the difference seems huge, and when others who don’t have that experience try to trivialise or minimise that it doesn’t help. A woman I once confided in kept going on about how she understood totally because she’d once been single for three whole years. That’s not the same.

Intellectually I understand what people are trying to do when they do that. None of us have ever fully experienced everything, and usually when we try to empathize with someone the best we can do is try to come up with the closest situation in our own lives to compare it to. Lord knows I do that all the time when/if a woman tells me she's experienced things like sexism and/or assault. I try to understand because I know men and know many women who have gone thru that stuff, but I also know I'll never *fully* understand because I have never lived it.

I honestly get more irritated when men do this than women. It could be my own biases at play. Or the fact that men are ultimately responsible for these stigmas which effect us, including the same of being an older virgin.

I also prefer at least attempts to empathize, even if they may seem worthy of an eye roll on occasion, than people who go, "Oh, everyone has their own baggage, suck it up and get out there" which another segment of the community can be guilty of sometimes.

Come to think of it, I haven't confided in too many women about my dating woes for some time. The few times I do it rarely ends well. I usually focus on other stuff these days.

I get what DNL is trying to do in terms of destigmatising it and yes, being in the right place at the right time is clearly a major factor. But with any goal, even if it’s just getting to ride a jet ski, if most other people can achieve it relatively easily yet every single time you try it something goes wrong and you never even get close, that does burrow deeply into your psyche and it’s hard not to get twitchy, which other people easily then jump on and claim is the cause of your lack of success not a symptom.

While there is some overlap into the realm of general "lack of confidence" and "dating anxiety" -- even people who had dozens of lovers can be anxious or awkward or lacking in confidence due to various circumstances, i.e. being "off the market" a while pending a long relationship, etc. -- I do agree that at times there is a sense of genuinely underestimating the unique experience that older virgins have. And I do think age is a factor. If someone is in their teens to early-mid 20's, yes, that angst is legitimate, but the challenge is not the same as someone over 30, 40, 50, etc. If I went into a romantic situation acting like I was a smooth operator who knew how to pleasure a woman, I'd be either a liar or delusional.

The challenge I know I face is attempting to have confidence in an area where I have literally never succeeded, in which I have watched other people succeed with varying degrees of effort, and for which I know I am in an inferior position via mainstream social opinion. There are ways to positively "spin" or explain plenty of social experiences, including prison stints and felony convictions, but no real way to do that for virginity outside of religious claims. Even my own mother encouraged me to lie about being devotedly religious more than once to "explain" it.

Now, one of the advantages of being outside of spaces like high school and college is that unless someone decides to reveal it, no one will ever know about someone's virginity. However, many of the resulting problems which arise from a lack of experience can come off as red flags to potential lovers, and without other frames of reference, it is only natural to assume the worst. A man who has never had a LTR past a certain age raises a red flag; period. A man who is awkward at best with kissing or even casual touching like hand holding earns only as much patience as a potential lover is willing to permit -- and for most people for understandable reasons, that patience is nil.
Having said that, I don’t think finding sexual partners has ever actually been a universal; a century or so ago it was more generally accepted that some would, some wouldn’t. Since then a lot of barriers have been broken down, but no one could claim dating is a solved problem. Digital technologies – email, chatrooms, social media, dating apps – have all turned out to be ultimately rather disappointing, because even though you can technically connect with almost anyone at any time, very often the other person just doesn’t want to.
There's also been "the double standard" which has existed since antiquity. Even in 1919 it was usually accepted that men could and would "get what they could" even if women were still massively controlled by their fathers and husbands. Heck, in 1919, even white women couldn't vote in most of the country. That said, there was still a tremendous social pressure to "only" have sex with marriage and many men married their first sexual lovers. "And the baby came early," was an old term for people marrying not long after having sex even into the 70's due to this. It produced a lot of loveless marriages and arguably a generation or two of messed up children. But even despite this, men still got a wink and a nod about their "conquests" so long as no one got pregnant or it was kept on "the down low." Lord knows the wealthy classes were always able to whisk some poor woman to another country for an abortion so long as Jr. Trust Fund had a reputation to maintain.

You are correct that sexual expectations and experiences have changed drastically over the last century -- or even the last quarter century. Online dating hardly existed at all in 1996, after all. That double standard has been chipped away, and opportunities in theory are growing. There'll always be people who just can't cut it, though, and I think sometimes that needs to be honestly addressed. And really, "the other person" should always have a right to "want to" date someone regardless of how they initially make contact. If she initially IM's and ghosts, its her choice.

DNL’s focus has shifted a lot over the years. Originally he was all about cold approaches, but while there are times you can start a conversation with a stranger, it’s very unlikely to lead to anything major and women are now defensively primed against PUAs. Then he was all about online dating and gaming the perfect profile and icebreakers: I’m one of many people who has tried apps and found them very unproductive for finding people you might actually want to date - the reasons are complex but it’s a common experience. Now he says your best chance is through your daily activities and social groups.
 To play devil's advocate a little, DNL has been at this since 2011. Things can change in 8 years and he's arguably flexed a little with it. In 2011 he was fresh off the PUA scene and that's almost exclusively focused on cold approaches. He was just starting to try to salvage the useful part of that philosophy and his experiences with his own "unique" spin on it. Online dating perhaps peaked about 3-4 years ago and he's had to adjust. Also, and this is not a knock, some years his focus will shift towards whatever book he is writing. Just thru the nature of writing, if you're working on a topic for a year or more, it's natural for it to be in everything you do. Not to mention many times his articles used to become chapters in his books, or drafts for them.

I think DNL has already stressed being a more well rounded person who has many options. There were years and eras where he may have focused relatively more on cold approaches or "online game" compared to now but that's always been the foundation. The difference is nowadays he's mostly quiet about cold approaches, because the times have changed and those usually were more difficult and less successful, and he's perhaps conceded quietly that the online game has changed since he wrote his book on it; OKC drastically changing their site was huge. And in theory, most people meet through warm approaches anyway, so he likely sees focusing more on that as more successful for people as well as a better way to move towards that whole life approach. The problem is that's harder after college due to jobs, schedules, and less proximity to strangers. In theory stuff like MeetUp is meant to do that.

But then again, there are plenty of boring dudes who only focus on a job and/or one hobby who can still be ravishing to women.

I really only get on DNL when he does virgin advice, because despite his genuine intentions he just doesn't quite get it as much as he thinks he does. He tries, and as a coach he'd never tell anyone to quit or not try. Heck, I'm not a guru and I'd never say that outright to someone, either. But anyone who seriously believes a virgin past a certain age has the same chances of a happy and successful love life than someone in their prime with at least some experience behind them is being at least slightly unrealistic.
Which I agree with, but he does put a lot on this one script of you march up to her and say “I would like to take you on a date this Friday”, and either she says yes and you live happily ever after or she says no and “don’t start no awkwardness and there won’t be none”. Which … for a start is not exactly new advice, Jane Austen would recognise the substance of that script, and I think it does underplay the real-world risks and complications. Like, it’s human nature to be extremely avoidant (i.e. say yes when you really mean no), to be bad at keeping secrets, and to be wary around anyone who has form for springing difficult conversations on you. And these days, pretty much any approach outside of a dating app could potentially be seen as inappropriate. (DNL himself has said no relationship is 100% equal, e.g. there’s always some power imbalance.) So you can kind of understand why people either get too scared to take any social risks, or decide they might as well go the whole hog and send a dick pic.

Everyone’s agreed that if you ever meet someone who is a slam dunk – there’s clearly mutual attraction and compatibility – then that’s all fine. But outside of that eventuality, I’ve yet to find any really solid, helpful advice for what you can do.
In fairness, there is a WIDE gulf between "too scared to take any social risks" and sending "dick pic[s]". Both are unhealthy extremes, but the difference is the latter hurts another person, which is never good or justified. This is also plenty to be said for having at least a little social awareness and knowing when and where certain things are appropriate and in what context. Crude sexual come-ons were never really acceptable; just in the past women were encouraged to ignore or indulge them, and these days they've finally said "enough." It is a fact that at least some notable amount of sex that many men have had has been due to at the very least capitalizing on context and times to pressure women. "Waring her down" was a common trope for a reason, and it still pops up in pop fiction. Who wants to be "worn" into dating someone?

There is also something to be said for not being ambiguous when asking someone out on a date. It's nerve wracking and tough, especially when you have little confidence in dating due to inexperience or any other reason. But it at least tries to circumvent mixed signals and misunderstanding. There's a difference, say, between inviting someone "to study" or "to hang out" versus outright making it obvious this is a date. And to be fair to DNL, he rarely says good relationships will be happy ever after. Heck, he usually winds up on the wrong side of his own audience for  being more forgiving of infidelity than many of them are.

I always cringe a little bit when DNL insists that there will only be as much awkwardness as someone brings into things. We can't control how someone will react, nor is context and circumstance irrelevant. At times, even during a recent podcast, he suggested older virgins essentially "live by example" and treat their own lack of experience as being as trivial as not owning an R. Kelly t-shirt and through the magic of shared experiences, other people will follow suit. And while there is something to be said for positive attitudes, it isn't a mystical elixir. Certain things are always going to be awkward, or come with risk. If you reveal to a woman, even at a perfectly appropriate time, that you are a virgin, there is a very real chance she will immediately lose interest and leave, because she just doesn't want to be someone's first or deal with that baggage outside high school. And while that's a legitimate decision for her and she's entitled to it, it's not so easy for a virgin to just shrug and go, "Ah well, she judged me by only one thing, it wouldn't have worked anyway." That could literally have been their only chance. They know that there's no guarantee that they'll entice another or get a second chance. And that is tough, and it takes a lot of soul searching for someone to decide whether they want to be honest with a lover and risk it all, or shuffle through and hope they're not her worst.

That said, you do have a point that some of DNL's advice at times can read as being awfully quaint. I think sometimes he comes close to essentially saying, "It will happen when it is meant to happen," which is the sort of platitude anyone can get from their own mother. There are also times when I feel DNL's advice, especially to older virgins, comes close to essentially admitting it's all luck. All they can do is attempt to put themselves into as many situations as possible so that they bump into that one person who may be gaga for them for whatever reason and then be ready to capitalize. The problem is that it can be hard to prepare yourself for a place you've never been. 

Just a few years ago I was in the city during the winter and I arguably had a potential "meet cute" moment with a woman. We happened to be on the same block heading in the same direction when I noticed a few rats scurrying from under some garbage boxes a split second before she did. I yelled out a warning out of reflex, and she saw the rats and was clearly startled by them. We shared a few mutual comments about it, and I'd made her laugh with some one-liners about the situation (which, not to brag, is not difficult for me. One of my few genuine social skills in meatspace is being able to make people laugh almost effortlessly in a conversation). It seemed obvious that I had helped calm her down about it. The problem is after a few moments we got to that moment where "normal" people might at least exchange a first name with each other, and I froze. I had never been in this situation before. I feared even that might seem too extreme for the circumstance. I could imagine no scenario where this worked out well, because I had literally never experienced one. So the moment passed, and that was that. In my defense, I was running an errand and had little time to spare. But in the rare times I have been on dates, I have also experienced this. I freeze up about flirting, or making interest known, not out of fear of being seen as a masher, but because I have no internal context which suggests it will lead to anything more than unrequited pain and frustration. I can't even psych myself up and visualize romantic success because I distrust my own imagination as unrealistic.

I fear in the name of being optimistic and encouraging, DNL comes close to offering unrealistic expectations. No, not having sex after a certain age is not just the same as not being a rocket scientist. It's an expected experience past a certain age (say, 25 and definitely after 30) and it's not unrealistic for the intertwined signs of that to appear as red flags and make things difficult. Even many people who claim to have seen successful "virgin to successful relationship" examples via hearsay rarely describe any experience beyond an older virgin marrying and/or getting into a very long relationship with their first lover. Even DNL once had an example like this (some pal of his was a virgin into his 30's and now is married and "has a few kids and is ridiculously happy"). They don't realize that can increase pressure; that an older virgin really does have only one shot at this. And that can be paralyzing.

Still, older virgins are a part of DNL's audience so he has to advise them sometimes. I guess I just wish he'd stress that there's a strong chance they won't be successful regardless of all they do, and to be able to live with that. To stress that they will literally have a tougher hill to climb than convicted criminals who can't pay their own bills or sign a loan. That while "hard is not impossible," hard is HARD and older virgins are people who didn't succeed by accident like most people seemed to. And that some of their "symptoms" of virginity may be understandably misunderstood as meaning other things and it's up to them how honest to be with dates about it. And that they need to be as patient and understanding, if not more so, than they expect the women in their life to be. And above all, that their problem isn't as trivial as having not ridden a roller coaster, for heaven's sake.
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Post by JP McBride on Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:59 am

The problem is after a few moments we got to that moment where "normal" people might at least exchange a first name with each other, and I froze. I had never been in this situation before. I feared even that might seem too extreme for the circumstance. I could imagine no scenario where this worked out well, because I had literally never experienced one. So the moment passed, and that was that.

Give her your number. If you want to be a pro, order some business cards and carry them around with you.

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Post by Datelessman on Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:37 pm

JP McBride wrote:
The problem is after a few moments we got to that moment where "normal" people might at least exchange a first name with each other, and I froze. I had never been in this situation before. I feared even that might seem too extreme for the circumstance. I could imagine no scenario where this worked out well, because I had literally never experienced one. So the moment passed, and that was that.

Give her your number. If you want to be a pro, order some business cards and carry them around with you.

Oh, that incident was from 2015 I think. It was just a for-instance.

That isn't a bad suggestion in general, but I wonder how well having custom made business cards for the purposes of circumstantial cold approaches will work nowadays. Especially since most people outside of professional business settings (and even some within) find them old fashioned and corny. Only attractive and charismatic people can get away with being corny. For the rest of us, we're just dweebs.

At the time there was about 25% of me that was nervous that even asking to exchange first names would be misunderstood as being pushy, sleazy, and cheesy after that lady and I had just basically had a shared moment in regards to a rat scurrying past us on a block. I feared I would be seen seen as a lounge lizard creep for "hitting on" her after that. I suppose simply exchanging names isn't "hitting on" someone, but c'mon. It's the easy assumption. Most people (myself included sometimes) rarely think beyond assumptions.

But the other 75% of me was hitting that invisible wall due to inexperience. I'd never done such a thing before and had no positive frame of reference. I was in a rush and didn't think that was the time to buck a trend.

Cold approaches from random encounters seem to have dwindled in popularity in general. Most woman, for understandable reasons, tend to find them confusing, annoying, and even frightening.
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Post by JP McBride on Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:53 pm

Datelessman wrote:That isn't a bad suggestion in general, but I wonder how well having custom made business cards for the purposes of circumstantial cold approaches will work nowadays. Especially since most people outside of professional business settings (and even some within) find them old fashioned and corny. Only attractive and charismatic people can get away with being corny. For the rest of us, we're just dweebs.

Unless you follow my advice, which, by your logic, would automatically make you attractive and charismatic.

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Post by Datelessman on Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:51 pm

JP McBride wrote:Unless you follow my advice, which, by your logic, would automatically make you attractive and charismatic.

Those would have to be some business cards, then. Cool

Again, that example was a for instance from years ago. I don't do cold approaches, and the success rate for those is low. Heck, I've realized bars and clubs are too overwhelming. I work better with either warm approaches or online dating, historically. Were I to try again, of course.
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Post by Werel on Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:54 pm

Hmmm. Maybe I will actually wade in and say some things borne of experience with intentionally dating older virgins (or dudes with extremely limited experience), in case it's at all useful to get that perspective:

Datelessman wrote:I guess I just wish he'd stress that there's a strong chance they won't be successful regardless of all they do, and to be able to live with that. To stress that they will literally have a tougher hill to climb than convicted criminals who can't pay their own bills or sign a loan. That while "hard is not impossible," hard is HARD and older virgins are people who didn't succeed by accident like most people seemed to. And that some of their "symptoms" of virginity may be understandably misunderstood as meaning other things and it's up to them how honest to be with dates about it. And that they need to be as patient and understanding, if not more so, than they expect the women in their life to be. And above all, that their problem isn't as trivial as having not ridden a roller coaster, for heaven's sake.

I think it is worth acknowledging that the problem isn't as trivial as not having ridden a roller coaster, for sure. But to take another angle on it: it IS as trivial as not having ridden a roller coaster, in a context where you are trying to meet people to regularly go to Six Flags with. What if it turns out not that you suck at riding roller coasters, but you hate roller coasters and they make you puke, and you only set out to try it because everyone else talks about Space Mountain?

Yes, virginity is a major impediment to dating, but for somebody like me, the impediment is not because of the stigma, or the disinclination to teach, or anything like that. It's a fear that a dude actually doesn't want to have sex. Virgins are scary territory for some women not because they may be unskilled roller-coaster riders, but because maybe they've never ridden a roller coaster cause they don't really wanna. Dudes with criminal backgrounds and unstable finances or unpleasant laughs or whatever else? They have probably demonstrated, through doing sex, that they like to do sex, which is a pretty relevant factor in "hm, is this a person I could do sex with?" Conversely, a superb person with a stable and fulfilling career and social circle may well be someone you want around in your life. But if he has never done sex, it's unclear whether this is someone you could even do sex with.

One thing I have noticed among the older (let's say, like, 27+) virgins I have spoken with or gone on dates with is that they are often generally uncomfortable with physicality, and not just in the "I'm not used to it" way. There is often pretty deep-rooted discomfort with human bodies, serious discomfort with the concept of letting go of some modicum of physical control, and more than a little shame/aversion/disgust around the idea of sex. For these dudes, I often wonder whether they actually want to have sex for the sake of the activity itself, instead of just doing it in order to play along with social roles/expectations. I wonder how many are a-/grey-a-/demi-sexuals who advertise themselves as So Totally Horny! because they think they have to perform masculinity that way. Whether they'd actually be perfectly happy as sexually inactive people, if not for the social pressure to shed the label "virgin". In a world where being low-to-no libido isn't seen as unmasculine, could they live much happier lives just not worrying about sex at all?

And the thing to fear with older virgins, in my admittedly niche experience, is not that a guy will be lousy in bed, or not know what to do, or not last long, or whatever women's commonly portrayed objections are. It's that he might get so tangled up in the cognitive dissonance of not wanting sex, but also not wanting to admit that he doesn't want sex, that he can go into cornered-animal-biting mode when presented with the opportunity to have sex. That in his scramble to come up with ever more convoluted reasons he cannot have sex, instead of just saying "I don't think I actually want this," he will panic and start lashing out because his self-perception as "A Real Man (i.e. constantly horny)" is under threat. People can get real mean when they feel their identities are being challenged!

All that is to say, I think one of the most reassuring signs a person can get from an inexperienced dude is not only the normal set of good-person things--respect for boundaries, kindness, demonstrated interest in one as a human being, etc.--but an honest self-awareness, and ownership, of his own libido and sexual interests. A dude who's like "uh I dunno I just totally want to, uh, bang babes?? *sweats profusely* HOW DARE YOU ASK IF I HAVE A LOW SEX DRIVE OF COURSE I DON'T" is a bigger red flag than someone who's like "yeah, I have a weird kink, I am not ashamed and will tell you calmly," or someone who can say up front "I am not a high-libido person, but I still want to hang out and cuddle." Then you know what you're getting into, and can proceed accordingly while setting yourself up for less disappointment or confusion.

tl;dr sometimes the issue is that virginity is symptomatic of a secret un-horniness, and if unhorny virgins could simply own this fact, there might be fewer women (or other people) who were nervous about dating virgins? (Don't worry, #notallvirgins, I know there are plenty of dudes out there with extremely robust desires to have partnered sex who simply haven't had the opportunity yet.)
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Post by inbloomer on Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:38 pm

Thanks for your thoughtful contribution, Werel. I think the short answer is that this is right - up to a point. I think it's legitimate to judge that the ideal amount of partnered sex for one to be having might be much less than average, but still greater than zero.

I recognise that I am relatively squeamish about several of the key aspects of sex, and the kind of intimacy I most desire is quite intellectually-driven. However, I think the conflict of wanting it and not wanting it comes primarily from within me, and isn't just about not being able to let go of societal messaging. That may of course have been the same for some of the women I've semi-dated before things fizzled out.

I don't have time for a longer answer now, but will mull over and reply again if more thoughts come up.

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Post by Datelessman on Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:59 pm

I really appreciate your perspective on this, Werel. You bring up a few things from your experiences that I genuinely hadn't thought of. That's a feat considering how much I have thought, and written, about my lack of a love life and virginity in general. So that you very much for that! I'm just going to chop up your post a tad because it is easier for me to reply, and so there are gaps in walls of text.

Werel wrote:Hmmm. Maybe I will actually wade in and say some things borne of experience with intentionally dating older virgins (or dudes with extremely limited experience), in case it's at all useful to get that perspective:
I think it is worth acknowledging that the problem isn't as trivial as not having ridden a roller coaster, for sure. But to take another angle on it: it IS as trivial as not having ridden a roller coaster, in a context where you are trying to meet people to regularly go to Six Flags with. What if it turns out not that you suck at riding roller coasters, but you hate roller coasters and they make you puke, and you only set out to try it because everyone else talks about Space Mountain?

But there's more to do at Six Flags than roller coasters. There are other rides, and there is just hanging out and taking in the sights or chowing down on junk food. There's also a variety to roller coasters; there are medium ones and then there's "MOUNT KILL'EM-MONJARO" coasters. And I still think sex in the context of dating is a far more universal experience than even theme parks and roller coasters. I just really hate the metaphor every time DNL brings it up.

I think at least one reason why so many men compare dating to jobs, besides the obvious reasons like our capitalistic society that encourages us to compare all of life to consumerism and competition, is that it feels similar. Unlike roller coasters, having a job really is a universal experience -- at least for the post-Baby Boomer generations. Like dating, experience compounds on itself even if not all of it was good. And past a certain age, no one really wants to take a risk with you for the first time unless you are REALLY dazzling or they are really desperate (or predatory). Or even if you're "off the market" for too long. I am not saying I ascribe to that comparison, but I wonder if that is why it keeps coming up.

Yes, virginity is a major impediment to dating, but for somebody like me, the impediment is not because of the stigma, or the disinclination to teach, or anything like that. It's a fear that a dude actually doesn't want to have sex. Virgins are scary territory for some women not because they may be unskilled roller-coaster riders, but because maybe they've never ridden a roller coaster cause they don't really wanna. Dudes with criminal backgrounds and unstable finances or unpleasant laughs or whatever else? They have probably demonstrated, through doing sex, that they like to do sex, which is a pretty relevant factor in "hm, is this a person I could do sex with?" Conversely, a superb person with a stable and fulfilling career and social circle may well be someone you want around in your life. But if he has never done sex, it's unclear whether this is someone you could even do sex with.

One thing I have noticed among the older (let's say, like, 27+) virgins I have spoken with or gone on dates with is that they are often generally uncomfortable with physicality, and not just in the "I'm not used to it" way. There is often pretty deep-rooted discomfort with human bodies, serious discomfort with the concept of letting go of some modicum of physical control, and more than a little shame/aversion/disgust around the idea of sex. For these dudes, I often wonder whether they actually want to have sex for the sake of the activity itself, instead of just doing it in order to play along with social roles/expectations. I wonder how many are a-/grey-a-/demi-sexuals who advertise themselves as So Totally Horny! because they think they have to perform masculinity that way. Whether they'd actually be perfectly happy as sexually inactive people, if not for the social pressure to shed the label "virgin". In a world where being low-to-no libido isn't seen as unmasculine, could they live much happier lives just not worrying about sex at all?

You raise a very fascinating point about your experiences, and wonder how many older virgins are essentially asexuals/demisexuals in the closet. One of my closest friends (who is a woman) came out as asexual within the last year so I totally get it. I also get the idea of wondering if someone who hasn't had sex or acts (consciously or not) as someone who hasn't had much if any sex past a certain age even wants it at all, and how that can create mixed signals and confusion. I genuinely doubt how many people seriously ponder why someone offers confusing mixed signals as opposed to just shrugging and moving on to the next swipe/warm approach, but I imagine it is a factor beyond the other things we've mentioned before. Confusion isn't as negative a reaction as others but it is still not conducive to solid communication, and naturally sex.

Speaking for myself personally, I'll easily admit to a lot of awkwardness with tactile touching in general. I can do handshakes fine but I have rarely been into hugs since childhood. And this came off in body language because even friends who were women rarely ever gave me the "friendly hug and peck on the cheek" that they would give others pals or associates during my time growing up. The irony is that I think I would very much like to. I used to literally fantasize about cuddling. Like not anything sexual, just laying down on a bed with a woman and just being in each other's arms. My own fantasies about what I would like sex to be for myself are very slow and tactile. I want to touch, and not just obvious erotic zones. But the very idea of trying fills me with dread. Part of it is a fear of a negative reaction, which is always blown out of proportion in my own mind. But a lot of is also fear of the unknown, I guess. I don't know how I would react to taking off my shirt in front of a woman, since I am not terribly fond of my own body. I am not buff or lean, I have a wart on my chest and a deformity on my back. I essentially have a red mole on my face. I imagine in casual conversation this sort of shyness doesn't come off, but I don't think it is because I don't want to. It's just that I don't know how to, and have nothing to encourage me that any effort will be fruitful.

And the thing to fear with older virgins, in my admittedly niche experience, is not that a guy will be lousy in bed, or not know what to do, or not last long, or whatever women's commonly portrayed objections are. It's that he might get so tangled up in the cognitive dissonance of not wanting sex, but also not wanting to admit that he doesn't want sex, that he can go into cornered-animal-biting mode when presented with the opportunity to have sex. That in his scramble to come up with ever more convoluted reasons he cannot have sex, instead of just saying "I don't think I actually want this," he will panic and start lashing out because his self-perception as "A Real Man (i.e. constantly horny)" is under threat. People can get real mean when they feel their identities are being challenged!

Yeah, at this stage I'll cop to being hostile when someone threatens my status as Virgimus Prime sometimes. I've had too many meltdowns on forums for me to admit otherwise honestly.

For me it isn't so much that I would not want to have sex or touch a woman at all, but because I genuinely would have a hard time believing any positive experience at face value. My standard reaction is disbelief. I went on two dates in my late teens/mid 20's in which the woman herself did the asking out and each time my reaction was stumbling, bumbling disbelief. That was a large reason why I didn't bother to pursue dating efforts during a few years in the recent past, including when I was on the main forums from 2015-2017. Beyond the doubt I would get any success was the doubt I would capitalize. My inner, Id reaction to a woman replying with, "I'd love to" is "By god, WHY!?" or some other not so nice snark. Which invites the point that is raised sometimes that it isn't so much the inexperience which is a problem but the identity. My point is that both can feed into each other and intersect.

That is usually why DNL often stresses the dangers of embracing the identity of "The One Who is Not Good With Women" too sternly for many men. The problem is when that identity doesn't quite arise due to the desire for it but for the lack of evidence to the contrary. And older virginity is the ultimate symbol of that.

Speaking for me personally, I do not believe I am asexual. Without getting graphic I feel I perform self-sex too often for that to be the case. I am nowhere near as horny as I was in my teens and 20's, but that's due to hormones and life. I have also experienced a lot of circumstances which put notions of pursuing romantic efforts beyond occasional unrequited warm approaches which had nothing to do with romance and occupied a greater space in my mind. My mother became handicapped by the end of high school; grandma took years of our lives towards the end to care for as her health deteriorated, and for stretches of time I have faced things like unemployment and recently, an impending eviction trial. In my mind perhaps those are fair reasons, but to the outside world all that results is is a guy who may be charming enough with telling jokes or conversation on a casual basis who won't even so much as flirt or attempt to hold a hand during a date or elevate things beyond small talk or functional trait discussion. And the outside world doesn't usually have the time or desire to learn why, because to outsiders it is irrelevant why I am romantic lame duck. The fact is that I am.

All that is to say, I think one of the most reassuring signs a person can get from an inexperienced dude is not only the normal set of good-person things--respect for boundaries, kindness, demonstrated interest in one as a human being, etc.--but an honest self-awareness, and ownership, of his own libido and sexual interests. A dude who's like "uh I dunno I just totally want to, uh, bang babes?? *sweats profusely* HOW DARE YOU ASK IF I HAVE A LOW SEX DRIVE OF COURSE I DON'T" is a bigger red flag than someone who's like "yeah, I have a weird kink, I am not ashamed and will tell you calmly," or someone who can say up front "I am not a high-libido person, but I still want to hang out and cuddle." Then you know what you're getting into, and can proceed accordingly while setting yourself up for less disappointment or confusion.

tl;dr sometimes the issue is that virginity is symptomatic of a secret un-horniness, and if unhorny virgins could simply own this fact, there might be fewer women (or other people) who were nervous about dating virgins? (Don't worry, #notallvirgins, I know there are plenty of dudes out there with extremely robust desires to have partnered sex who simply haven't had the opportunity yet.)

That one hits a little close to home for me because I do have a weird kink and I am absolutely ashamed of it. It's probably not as weird as I think but I would never reveal it publicly under any circumstances, not even on my own personal blog where I have an alter ego like here. Even if a woman admitted being into it of her own volition I would seriously hesitate to commiserate, at best. Part of it is that I imagine it doesn't go well with the virginity thing. In theory someone could have some sympathy for a dude who hasn't had sex due to "legitimate" reasons like family or health, or even shyness or poor luck. But add in a fetish and suddenly I imagine being seen as a perverted monster, with the fetish being explained as the primary reason why no one would touch me. I'm hardly obsessed about it, and to be honest I think some deeply personal things shouldn't be blurted out right off. I.E. I don't believe a first or even second date would be the place to even hint about being a virgin. And I don't think even a first or second sexual encounter would be the time to roll out the kink, should I or anyone choose to. I can be provocative with humor, but not so much with romance. I see it as riskier, I guess.

You have a brilliant point, though, about things being easier if more men were self aware enough to know how much or little sex they do want, and accepted that decision, or were better at communicating it in saner and more rational ways. Honestly I think if men were just not jerks so much of the time dating and life would be a lot easier.
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Post by Glides on Thu Oct 17, 2019 2:00 pm

I'm wading into this too, I was practically made to talk about this particular topic.

First of all, do not use business cards. Not for that. Do not do not do not.

I do not say this as the Universal Expert Of People, I am hardly that.

However, I have an alternate theory towards the entire debacle that I think I serve as a sort of indirect control group for. This is not to say that our collective desire for sex as a species is bullshit. I'm not a man, so I can't really approach it from that perspective.

That being said, I would like to venture an argument that it is not necessarily sexual contact that we're all collectively desiring so much, but rather just intimate touch in general. Sex is included in that, but intimate touch is something that pretty much all of society, regardless of where you live or what gender you are, are deeply deprived of.

I'm going to use probably the best example as I can think of relevant to the whole virginity discussion, using one of my friends (who will not be named) as reference. She is a person who would be described in some circles as "promiscuous," because she is a very sexually active person. On the surface level, it absolutely seems like she's got it made, right? She's got the status, she's got the pleasure, she's got all of that shit. Everything. Had I known her five years ago, I'd be so deeply jealous of both the status and validation she gets from being able to engage in that physical act so frequently.

The two of us get piss drunk on mimosas and she makes a couple of confessions. The first is that she has never once enjoyed the physical act of sex, despite having a relatively simple time being able to find people to engage in the act. Engaging in it with strangers or people she knows leaves her feeling empty and spent. The only advantage she gets from it is a brief distraction and respite from her own suicidal ideation (something we have in common). She is very much the sort of person intentionally engaging in a very transactional sort of relationship very briefly with people for any kind of relief from it. I don't say this as a judgement of her character, there's nothing shameful about that.

Now, of course, I've told her before not to date or get with anyone unless she actually wants to, and of course, she tends to intentionally ignore this advice because the loneliness gets to be that overwhelming for her. Now, us in the not-so-experienced range tend to view this with some derision, and perhaps a teeny bit of that is earned. That's still more intimacy than any of us have gotten to experience, right?

So she should be happy and fulfilled right? Not nearly crying over mimosas talking about how much she wants to kill herself as I explain the same for the opposite reasons. And yet, here we are, meeting in the middle, both very badly wanting to be dead for very different reasons.

now not to be crude, but i hardly think her tinder hookups were, shall we say, the most understanding sorts of people. they're fuckbois. i met a couple of em (not like when shit was happening). they are very much the types that think in base-level terms of other people being only things to hit or things to empty themselves inside of. all the Chad memes, you get the idea. But then again, to be a Chad is to only ever fuck under the most manipulative of all possible circumstances. I highly doubt these dudes are getting their rocks off and then feeling particularly good about themselves. Nobody feels good about themselves. And this is not to say, of course, that this is only a man/woman thing. Every configuration of people together can end in pure emptiness. The majority of my own experiences were more or less nonconsensual on the part of the other person. Mainly being pressured into it. When you become a receptacle for other people's distractions, that shit stops being fulfilling and validating real fucking quick.

i have been treated in this context by both men and women, so i would like to politely say to anyone currently freaking out about the whole lack of touch thing that the opposite end of the extreme are the millions of sex acts being committed with VERY dubious lines of consent. i'd go so far to say that every person you've ever been jealous of has never done anything consensually sexual in their entire lives.

key word: jealous, the ones who always brag.

the moral of the story is not "if you're a virgin, don't complain," because I remember what an empty pit those days were. guess what, it's still an empty pit and i'm not a virgin. but that being said, it's still an empty goddamn pit. the pit does not stop. you are valid as shit for feeling the pit, and for feeling lonely and empty and having your biological imperative to want to be touched override yourself at every moment. absolutely valid as all hecking heck. it is as biological a need as eating. and that's actually where i'm sort of going with this vague thingie.

male-presenting persons, of course, sort of fall into the odd rubric where the only acceptable displays of intimacy are sex and violence. literally so. in every event you see two people beating the shit out of each other, and all bloodied up, they start holding each other up in the middle of fights. that's that.

so this is not me saying "wanting sex is stupid, either you had it for the first time at *socially acceptable age* or you never will," this is me saying that jumping straight there is like going to the deep end of the pool all at once. hello, it is i, person who had sex before even proper cuddling a person for the first time. trust me, that is not the way you want to start out your journey. is that to say that if you wait long enough, that person will magically appear? no, of course not. nothing is guaranteed in this life. i can't promise jack shit. but i can promise you that being patient to yourself will hurt you a lot less in the long run.

so just a word of warning i was given numerous times and my stupid ass did not listen, and i am overall a much dumber fuck than any of you will ever be: the pit does not go away, and no living human being can make it go away. if you have a partner, the pit stays. if you're single and alone and miserable like my stupid ass, pit. if you have frequent hookups or hook up with one person, pit. nothing gets rid of it. nothing stops the void.

how does one learn to live with the pit? your guess is as good as mine, i'm still learnin how to do that shit. it is the toughest thing to dig yourself out of the patriarchal hole, so to speak, no matter who you are. as someone who has made multiple attempts on their own life, dying is a hard thing to do on purpose. a radical acceptance of suffering is key.

but honestly, do not jump all the way into the sex when given an opportunity. get used to being touched first. and if you think the people who lost their virginities at "acceptable" ages don't have this problem too in a big way, they do. i have been with both virgins and people with lots of experience (out of like three partners so i am by no means Le Sex God), and by far the best i had was with another virgin. My most experienced partner was just an unbelievably selfish person who did not communicate in the slightest. When I was a virgin myself, that shit made absolutely no sense. It made so much sense to treat sex like any other pursuit, and if you do it enough times, you get good at it. Sex doesn't work like that.

Sex makes no sense, folks. It cannot be quantified or given statistical measurements. Everything I ever assumed a factor means nothing in the moment. For a person on the lower end of the sexual desire spectrum (if at all), it matters jack squat to me.

Does this mean you don't have the right to feel insecure? No, you totally do. All those awful sinking empty feelings. Trust me, those feelings are still there and I'm a person who has had the fabled sex. But the feelings you have are particularly awful. We all want to be touched and held and feel close and intimate with other people. We are slaves to our biological drives. It's the biggest bitch in the world.

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Post by Datelessman on Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:03 am

Glides wrote:I'm wading into this too, I was practically made to talk about this particular topic.

First of all, do not use business cards. Not for that. Do not do not do not.

I do not say this as the Universal Expert Of People, I am hardly that.

However, I have an alternate theory towards the entire debacle that I think I serve as a sort of indirect control group for. This is not to say that our collective desire for sex as a species is bullshit. I'm not a man, so I can't really approach it from that perspective.

Don't worry, I was FAR from sold on the business card idea. Laughing

As for the rest of your reply, I do have to genuinely thank you for sharing it. You bring up a lot of valid points about this matter. I am actually glad I replied in the first place and I am even more glad this has budded into the conversation that it has with so many points of view offered.

Naturally the points you brought up for older male (or any) virgins are:
- To be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it
- That even people who get "all the sex" can be just as miserable if not more so than the untouched masses for various or similar reasons
- That two people shoving their bodies at each other isn't the cure all to misery or genuine trauma

I also am genuinely sorry for both you and your friend for experiencing what you two have. As much bleating as I and my fellow "older male virgins" do online, it often does pale in comparison to what many woman go through. Statistically, 1:4 or 1:3 women are raped or molested in their lives, which often means their "first time" or one of their first times was not fun or willing. Un-statistically, nearly every woman I have ever met who I got close enough to to begin sharing deep memories with would eventually reveal to me a time when she was raped or molested, or a time when someone tried to rape or molest her and was not successful. And I don't just mean friends; my mother went through it, as did my grandmother and likely my aunt, so I have "skin in the game." One of my best friends (who is a woman) actually had a similar life to your friend. Her father died young and her uncle molested her, and her mother took his side when she told. From there she earned "a reputation" when we met in high school where she usually found comfort in the arms of many men (and some women). She's very dear to me and we've never dated (mostly due to bad timing and me genuinely feeling that I do not offer what she needs right now), so I could relate a lot to your example.

While your point is a fair cautionary tale, though, it is not a universal experience. There are plenty of people who have "average" dating lives and things sort out alright. All of my male friends, and most of my lady ones, by and large hit their 4-7 lover average and settled down as they got older. And while none of my male friends became drastically different people after having sex for the first or second time, they ALL got at least a slight ego and confidence boost from it. One of my pals literally told me that it got easier for him to talk to women and try to date them because "he knew he could please them" in that way. So while I certainly take heart with cautionary narratives from you, DNL, and others that the grass isn't always greener, I also see other examples where things sorted out alright. Where other people stumbled and bumbled their way thru, but I never did, or could. And that window for it hasn't closed, but gotten so narrow that I may have to be Plastic Man to fit now. And instead of support a lot of advice is platitudes about how it's no better than roller coasters and I should just strut like I'm just the same as Study Goodnight. I can't go into a date or a romantic flirtation with any genuine confidence that I can please anyone unless I am deluded. I cannot guarantee anything beyond a genuine attempt to try my best, but outside of boy's anime that is rarely very appealing.

I am very aware, though, that sex alone cannot "cure" internal misery or even provide more than a short term "magic feather," at best, in regards to long term lack of self confidence. That is part of why I haven't bothered in years. I have been going through things, like taking care of my sick mother and fighting our eviction, which have nothing to do with dating but sap a lot of will, and time, from it.

I do hope things get better for you and your friend. And I do thank you once again for sharing those sorts of unpleasant memories with us.
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Post by Glides on Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:32 pm

Datelessman wrote:

While your point is a fair cautionary tale, though, it is not a universal experience. There are plenty of people who have "average" dating lives and things sort out alright. All of my male friends, and most of my lady ones, by and large hit their 4-7 lover average and settled down as they got older. And while none of my male friends became drastically different people after having sex for the first or second time, they ALL got at least a slight ego and confidence boost from it. One of my pals literally told me that it got easier for him to talk to women and try to date them because "he knew he could please them" in that way. So while I certainly take heart with cautionary narratives from you, DNL, and others that the grass isn't always greener, I also see other examples where things sorted out alright. Where other people stumbled and bumbled their way thru, but I never did, or could. And that window for it hasn't closed, but gotten so narrow that I may have to be Plastic Man to fit now. And instead of support a lot of advice is platitudes about how it's no better than roller coasters and I should just strut like I'm just the same as Study Goodnight. I can't go into a date or a romantic flirtation with any genuine confidence that I can please anyone unless I am deluded. I cannot guarantee anything beyond a genuine attempt to try my best, but outside of boy's anime that is rarely very appealing.

I do hope things get better for you and your friend. And I do thank you once again for sharing those sorts of unpleasant memories with us.

Yeah I should've specified that much. There are plenty of people who have the "average" sex life and experience no anxiety regarding another human being and intimate touch, ever. I know plenty of people like that. Dating is ridiculously easy for them. They have absolutely no hangups in this department and sex is simple and great and fun and they never worry. Some of them have been abused, some have not, that hasn't affected how simple it is for them. When they complain, it can come off like bragging because the concept of being too ugly or too shy or too whatever simply does not occur to them. They certainly get insecure about their looks at times, they get insecure about finding "the one" or whatever, but compared to those of us with severe anxiety, it makes them come off as unbelievably shallow. Nobody is truly shallow, of course, it's just that a lot of people suck at expressing themselves so it comes off identical to the way a lot of other people put it. Regardless, I get jealous of those types all the freakin' time.

I think this is why DNL's analogy of sex being like skiing doesn't quite work, because there is no sense of social status or validation or intimacy that comes with skiing. You will not have your biological needs fulfilling with fucking skis.

But I think the reason why people tell you stuff like that is because the novelty has largely worn off for them. With a person you're only with because you're lonely, it's a lot like a roller coaster. Brief thrill, then emptiness. The second it's over, everything you hate about yourself comes washing back in.

Also, a lot of people who claim to be good in bed usually aren't, from my experience, so I wouldn't take a single person at their word as far as that goes. The people who tend to be the best are those who don't talk about it publicly unless it's relevant. I would not be too disheartened by the kind of stuff you've heard (because they're usually talking out of their asses). Not to say that the feeling isn't valid, but people lie. The single instance in which a partner bragged beforehand about their "skill" at Le Sex, they turned out to be awful. But I am also inexperienced as hell.

Like personally speaking, I've sort of internalized the idea that the brief dating spell I was in was all I was fated to have, and eventually all there is to gain is a 50% chance of divorce no matter who you end up with. They do get to have a bit more fun till they get to the same misery. Regardless of how your life turns out, I'm willing to bet you're a lot more resilient than any of the frequent sex havers. That shit hits them like a sack of bricks in my experience.

But also I have a really low sex drive so the not-having-of-it doesn't quite hit the same way. Should you be strutting? Well, yes, but not because you're trying to get laid. Probably the only smart thing DNL has ever said is to remove all expectations from people. Will it happen naturally? Who the fuck knows what naturally is. I guess a better way to put it is "if you spend entire interactions trying to figure out how to get that person to have sex with you, you'll never have sex with them. So might as well so the chance goes from 0 to 1%."

I'm in therapy now and the big thing is radical acceptance of suffering. Doesn't mean that you should never strive to do better. Nor does it ever make you feel "happier" to radically accept something. I am not asking you to radically accept that you'll die alone or anything awful like that, the only one guaranteed to die alone is me Razz

The worst part of it all is that the only way to guarantee connecting with anyone in that way is to meet lots of people. I'm willing to gather than you don't do that often (no judgement, I don't either), so your chances of meeting someone go down with it. Of course, proper hygiene and a somewhat relaxed demeanor help greatly in increasing the odds. You've heard all the advice. But we fixate on another person as a cure for the gaping empty voids inside us all (whether we have sex or not). You talk about all the people who got more confident with people after gaining experience, and that's certainly true. Did not fill their voids though. The void is the price of existence.

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Post by JP McBride on Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:48 pm

They’re just pieces of cardboard with your contact information on them, FFS.

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Post by Werel on Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:04 pm

Some interesting points raised here, thank y'all for your thoughtful replies!

Datelessman wrote: But there's more to do at Six Flags than roller coasters. There are other rides, and there is just hanging out and taking in the sights or chowing down on junk food. There's also a variety to roller coasters; there are medium ones and then there's "MOUNT KILL'EM-MONJARO" coasters. And I still think sex in the context of dating is a far more universal experience than even theme parks and roller coasters. I just really hate the metaphor every time DNL brings it up.

True! And I think there are plenty of people, to torture this metaphor further, who'd love to find a Six Flags buddy who just wants to get cotton candy and people-watch. There are many more, though, who assume any Six Flags buddy will also be down to go on some kind of roller coaster together. In fact, that's sort of the default when you go looking for a Six Flags buddy, and without clear indications otherwise, a "no thanks on roller coasters" once you're already there can be confusing and disappointing. My utopian vision is that everyone feel comfortable internally assessing, and then clearly communicating, what number and type of roller coasters they're looking to ride, even if that number is zero. Or even if that number is "one to see if I like it, then maybe none ever again, TBD."

Datelessman wrote: I genuinely doubt how many people seriously ponder why someone offers confusing mixed signals as opposed to just shrugging and moving on to the next swipe/warm approach, but I imagine it is a factor beyond the other things we've mentioned before. Confusion isn't as negative a reaction as others but it is still not conducive to solid communication, and naturally sex.
I think when it's a truly warm approach, when someone is invested in another person, there's likely to be quite a lot of time spent attempting to decode those mixed signals. (And quite a lot of room for the would-be decoder, not just the inexperienced person, to get hurt.) And that's also a good reason many people advise having your first sexual experience(s) with someone you've got some sort of existing bond with: not only does it take some "AAHH A STRANGER" stress off the table, but it provides a solid motive for people to power through confusion/awkwardness and do the work to decode your signals, even if that takes a little time.

Datelessman wrote:Beyond the doubt I would get any success was the doubt I would capitalize. My inner, Id reaction to a woman replying with, "I'd love to" is "By god, WHY!?" or some other not so nice snark. Which invites the point that is raised sometimes that it isn't so much the inexperience which is a problem but the identity.
I say this with zero snark and intend it kindly: this is almost certainly the largest factor leading to your continued inexperience. Inability to take yes for an answer, because you think so little of yourself, is a surefire way to stay stuck in a place you don't want to be in, whether it's in dating, creative endeavors, friendship, whatever. It's essentially a form of disregarding other people's stated experiences, thoughts, and feelings - and that is very poor form in any kind of interpersonal interaction. If ever therapy does become an option for you, it may be worth working through the fundamental question, "why do I think I know what other people want better than they do, if what they profess to want is me?"

Datelessman wrote:Speaking for me personally, I do not believe I am asexual. Without getting graphic I feel I perform self-sex too often for that to be the case.
Science win! Well, not necessarily...
AVEN wrote:AVEN FAQ: A significant portion of asexual people experience some level of arousal and libido, which can include fantasies and masturbation. Some academics have referred to that as “autochorisexuality” but it’s up to you how you choose to identify.

Some asexuals who masturbate do not have a sex drive motivating them, but they just do it because it feels nice or relieves stress. Other asexuals masturbate because they have a personal libido that they wish to take care of privately. They may experience arousal as a biological response to outside stimuli that they feel a need to relieve themselves of, but without any connection to wanting partnered sex.

I think y'all both raise a supremely important point, though:

Glides wrote:That being said, I would like to venture an argument that it is not necessarily sexual contact that we're all collectively desiring so much, but rather just intimate touch in general. Sex is included in that, but intimate touch is something that pretty much all of society, regardless of where you live or what gender you are, are deeply deprived of.
Datelessman wrote: I used to literally fantasize about cuddling.

This is so, so, so important and true. I am one of those people whose sex life started at a "normal" age, proceeded almost entirely positively with no trauma, and has a pretty strong libido. And even for me, affectionate nonsexual touch is a million times more important and sustaining than sex. Skin contact slows down my brain's tendency to anxiously gnaw through its own legs like a coyote in a trap; a warm hand on my shoulder puts the breath back in my lungs if it's been knocked out; a hand in mine keeps me from falling down into that pit sometimes. I wish there were a way for more people to have access to affectionate touch without being forced to package it with sexuality, because folks forcing themselves to have sex they don't want just so someone will hold them is so sad it's hard to think about.

Someone I loved very much was a much-older virgin. He never was able to sort out his fear and shame around sex. Sex, even contemplating or talking about it, made him miserable and hostile and cruel. But he was one of the most touch-hungry people I've ever known. We spent nearly every minute together wrapped around each other like baby monkeys. He couldn't get enough skin contact or body warmth. He only slept well with my body pressed to his. He wanted to hold hands even while we were eating or doing dishes. It made him feel calm in a life where he rarely felt calm. I wish he could have just acknowledged that's what he wanted, not the other thing. That we lived in a world where there was no shame in openly saying you want kind hands on your body, but never in a sexual way.

And I think that in addition to touch, people are thirsty to be seen, to interact with each other's deeper selves in some fashion, like what inbloomer says about their desire primarily for an intellectual connection. These are lonely and disconnected times for most of us, this era. Like Glides says, the pit is there for everybody. So I'll just highlight and underline this advice:

Glides wrote:but honestly, do not jump all the way into the sex when given an opportunity. get used to being touched first.

Yes. And more than that, get used to being touched by someone whose conversation doesn't make you feel lonely, who you feel some kind of comfort in intellectually connecting with, who makes you feel like they give a shit about you as a human being. Where touch is an expression of something that's happening in your brains and hearts, even if what's happening is only friendly fondness. That's the thing that makes the pit recede into the distance, for me. (YMMV, of course. I think plenty of folks can enjoy casual or even anonymous sex very much as something entirely unrelated to personal connection. But I also suspect that many/most people who get into their late 20s or 30s as virgins aren't that kind of person, or at least aren't that kind of person yet, not without a fair amount of ice-breaking and practice.)

Although,
Glides wrote:i'd go so far to say that every person you've ever been jealous of has never done anything consensually sexual in their entire lives.
Wait bro WHAT Laughing
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Post by Datelessman on Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:38 pm

Glides wrote:I think this is why DNL's analogy of sex being like skiing doesn't quite work, because there is no sense of social status or validation or intimacy that comes with skiing. You will not have your biological needs fulfilling with fucking skis.

Also, a lot of people who claim to be good in bed usually aren't, from my experience, so I wouldn't take a single person at their word as far as that goes. The people who tend to be the best are those who don't talk about it publicly unless it's relevant. I would not be too disheartened by the kind of stuff you've heard (because they're usually talking out of their asses). Not to say that the feeling isn't valid, but people lie. The single instance in which a partner bragged beforehand about their "skill" at Le Sex, they turned out to be awful. But I am also inexperienced as hell.

Like personally speaking, I've sort of internalized the idea that the brief dating spell I was in was all I was fated to have, and eventually all there is to gain is a 50% chance of divorce no matter who you end up with. They do get to have a bit more fun till they get to the same misery. Regardless of how your life turns out, I'm willing to bet you're a lot more resilient than any of the frequent sex havers. That shit hits them like a sack of bricks in my experience.

But also I have a really low sex drive so the not-having-of-it doesn't quite hit the same way. Should you be strutting? Well, yes, but not because you're trying to get laid. Probably the only smart thing DNL has ever said is to remove all expectations from people. Will it happen naturally? Who the fuck knows what naturally is. I guess a better way to put it is "if you spend entire interactions trying to figure out how to get that person to have sex with you, you'll never have sex with them. So might as well so the chance goes from 0 to 1%."

The worst part of it all is that the only way to guarantee connecting with anyone in that way is to meet lots of people. I'm willing to gather than you don't do that often (no judgement, I don't either), so your chances of meeting someone go down with it. Of course, proper hygiene and a somewhat relaxed demeanor help greatly in increasing the odds. You've heard all the advice. But we fixate on another person as a cure for the gaping empty voids inside us all (whether we have sex or not). You talk about all the people who got more confident with people after gaining experience, and that's certainly true. Did not fill their voids though. The void is the price of existence.

I get the feeling that you actually may be more critical of DNL than I am, which is kind of interesting.

I know that people (and when I say "people," I really mean "men," especially "men who brag about it to other men") tend to be less than truthful about their sexual performances. But in the context of my pal's brag, it was back in college when we were still teenagers, and he wasn't the type who bragged about that often (I had pals who bragged about that more often and it wasn't him). He'd also had the misfortune to reveal his below average penis size during high school and had to dog insults about it for years. Ironically, out of all the angst I have about dating and women, I never had much angst about that. Of course, I did have that one pal who bragged about his, and it got old.

Come to think of it, I've had friends who were women and I can't recall any of them bragging about their own sexual performances. They might reveal some stuff they were into but never brag about how good they were. I imagine a lot of that is social, of course; women are not encouraged to do that due to the dreaded "double standard."

But the long and short of it is that even if he/they were lying about all that, what were the results? They all had 4-7 lovers in their lives, sowed some wild oats as teenagers and young adults without having to be master social butterflies or lounge lizards, and now they're all in committed long term relationships. Married, engaged, or with someone long enough that either is inevitable. None of them did half the stuff that DNL seems to believe are essential to dating success. Yet it all worked out for them, and I wonder why I have to be the most interesting man in New York just to get what they got while drunk at 19. We had the same social circles, were into a lot of the same stuff. People just never crushed on me to make warm approaches happen, and the success I had after was extremely limited. I had one woman hand me a note in high school. I got one date off OkCupid in college. And I got one blind date from my mother's friend who, it turned out, had a creepy and unrequited fetish for me. And that has literally been it. The tea leaves were never right for a whole host of warm approaches throughout my life, and I've done about 3 speed dating events, the last at NYCC 2015.

Meanwhile, my pals did their thing, lived their lives, heard someone liked them and went toward it. So it can get hard to not see (or believe) that something is pathologically wrong with me, and while older virginity may me the effect and not the cause, it becomes an easy thing for some like me to focus on.

You mention percentages, and that's another thing where I wonder if DNL explains things right. As he and others note, no one goes 10 for 10. Nobody gets 100% of the lovers they try for, not even pro athletes or famous actors. And that is very true, but context is key. While no one goes 10 for 10, there are many people who go, say, 7 of 10 or so. Even if someone goes 1 out of 2, or even 1 out of 10, it is easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But if you're going 0 for 500, it can get extremely frustrating to hear or read someone say, "well, just change your dress and attitude and it will all get better, you're no worse off than anyone else and none of us have it easy." The term "easy" (or "hard") is relative. And at this rate I doubt I will add more relatives to my family.

You are also very right that "the void" is something which dating or warm bodies can't cure; at best it can offer a band aid or placebo or distraction briefly, and true confidence and change have to come from within. I am glad you seem to be doing well with therapy. I agree that older virgins who think "Le Sex" is a cure all are deluding themselves. But on the other hand, assuming that we'd all have DNL's "so now what" reaction when he first got laid at the "ripe old age" of 19 might be equally as inaccurate. Many of us fall somewhere in between.

Werel wrote:Some interesting points raised here, thank y'all for your thoughtful replies!

I think when it's a truly warm approach, when someone is invested in another person, there's likely to be quite a lot of time spent attempting to decode those mixed signals. (And quite a lot of room for the would-be decoder, not just the inexperienced person, to get hurt.) And that's also a good reason many people advise having your first sexual experience(s) with someone you've got some sort of existing bond with: not only does it take some "AAHH A STRANGER" stress off the table, but it provides a solid motive for people to power through confusion/awkwardness and do the work to decode your signals, even if that takes a little time.
You're very welcome. This conversation's certainly gone to some interesting places!

That is very true. However, I think it is fair to say that for many older virgins, myself included, those options either never arose (pun intended) or for a variety of reasons various ships sailed. Without getting into details what few opportunities I had in that regard either fizzled due to poor timing or knowing what was best for another party, or in one instance just plain old misunderstanding from me. The problem is that it was easy to dismiss some of them thinking I would have another chance with someone else when I was younger, not knowing that some of those were the only chances I might ever get, and I blew them.

And in fairness, unless someone goes for a one night stand, there usually is some degree of "getting to know someone" before the deed happens, just for the sake of compatibility. And while that may not be the same as a warmer approach, it often is what most people work with and navigate in the dating scene.

Trust me, I have had quite a few friends who were ladies. 99.9% of them had no interest in peeling back my layers or wondering about anything more. I was just not the type they crushed over. I was usually the wacky pal of someone they crushed over.

I say this with zero snark and intend it kindly: this is almost certainly the largest factor leading to your continued inexperience. Inability to take yes for an answer, because you think so little of yourself, is a surefire way to stay stuck in a place you don't want to be in, whether it's in dating, creative endeavors, friendship, whatever. It's essentially a form of disregarding other people's stated experiences, thoughts, and feelings - and that is very poor form in any kind of interpersonal interaction. If ever therapy does become an option for you, it may be worth working through the fundamental question, "why do I think I know what other people want better than they do, if what they profess to want is me?"

Technically, larger factors are my inevitable eviction, caring for my handicapped mother, a lack of time, funds, and will, and not adhering to social norms. But you're right that wasting a rare potential positive reaction is a major factor in why I haven't bothered for a good long while. My immediate reaction on 2/3rds of the dates I have been on was disbelief that I was even on the date in the first place. It was my immediate first reaction, which now I realized likely led the other party to read it as either disinterest or "playing hard to get" which were not helpful. A major source of the disbelief is because of how rare it is, and having been tricked into thinking someone liked me in the past as a kid. While I am mostly past the fear that I am being punked (which was more likely in high school or college), the disbelief remains.

For the record, I was in therapy during the last third of high school. And while it may be an option for me, the answer to that question you ask when I first read it came fast, and definitive. I do have some belief in "association" style techniques in that many times what a person blurts out without thinking often can carry their true feelings, because they don't have the time to edit their own script. And my answer to "why do I think I know what other people want better than they do, if what they profess to want is me?" is that no one knows me more than myself, and I know they would not want me if they knew me well. I know all my faults, I know what I look like without a shirt, I know about my little fetish, I know how inexperienced I am, and I know that no one else has desired me that way if they knew me even modestly well. I know the kind of "persona" I put off and that it can potentially lead to others thinking I am what I am not, especially as I have gotten older. I am essentially a deadpan snarker who sounds like I know more than I do because I am well spoken and have moderate intelligence. But I know the real truth behind me, and if I capitalized on someone's ignorance I would feel like I misled them.

I would feel better if dating came with disclaimers we could offer at the start. "By signing this decree you hereby acknowledge that said party is not 'all that' and you surrender all right to potential compensation for inevitable disappointment." That way if she goes, "I thought you were cool, but you're really just lame and pathetic," instead of feeling horrible out of the belief I led someone on, I could instead note, "I understand your frustration, but you did sign the LAMENESS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT DISCLAIMER. I at no time deliberately misled you into thinking I was worth dating. However, I will happily validate your parking for your inconvenience." But unfortunately we can't do that, and the few times I tried doing online dating profiles I didn't create the best ones because I was more or less trying to figure out said disclaimer.

I mean, how can I, in good conscience, knowing myself as well as I do? How can I profess to be capable of pleasing any woman romantically when I know darn well I can't back that up? How can I advertise all of my strengths and none of my faults without feeling like a used car salesman? A woman who chooses me is basically a STAR TREK captain; boldly going where no one has gone before. And I can't promise it will end with hand phasers and a roll in the grass with at least one of us in a lizard costume. If it is out of ignorance I would feel duty bound to make her an informed customer, which is not the best way to go about dating. And if it isn't ignorance than I am in disbelief, which is where we began. At work I "sell" and "push" products or do "public relations" or "diplomacy" with clients all the time. But dating isn't supposed to be a job, right?

And for the record, I am more than aware I am not the only person with faults and anxiety. Especially in my age cohort of women I should be dating (aged about 27 at the lower end), that many women have their own things they fear revealing, like kids, divorces, stretch marks, etc. And I do imagine somewhere in the Internet a woman rolling her eyes at my text and thinking, "The guy who wants to cuddle thinks no woman would want him. Go figure." But that doesn't really change anything in my eyes. And when I am risking going into online dating or any kind of dating with the above 0 for 500 odds, I cannot afford to risk botching a fluke good reaction to disbelief. So I don't bother.

I kind of hate bringing up my past dating experience sometimes, what little of it there is, because in many ways I am not the same person I was then. I do think I am better socially calibrated now, I can read people better and more easily carry conversations. The problem is being too far behind the 8-Ball to proceed. And then there's the risk of playing out that scene from THE LAST UNICORN. "Where were you 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago? How dare you come now...when I am like this."

And yes, the fact that I weave in contractual jokes to references to Star Trek and the Last Unicorn are among the many reasons I am not romantic material. I'm interesting in terms of conversation, but romance is different. There is a definite "shift" between "he's a funny guy" to "I want to touch my lips to his" and I have never inspired the crossing of that plane. I genuinely don't know how.

Some asexuals who masturbate do not have a sex drive motivating them, but they just do it because it feels nice or relieves stress. Other asexuals masturbate because they have a personal libido that they wish to take care of privately. They may experience arousal as a biological response to outside stimuli that they feel a need to relieve themselves of, but without any connection to wanting partnered sex.

That is interesting but I very much doubt I am asexual. I would not want to tarnish the idea of "coming out" as something if I am not sure I am. There are too many individuals who are genuinely hurting who make the tough decision to come out every day. I would not want to glom onto such feelings unless I was absolutely sure. I am not. I don't think I am asexual. I just think I'm a virgin who wouldn't be touched even if my hormones eliminated student debt. Life isn't always so complicated.

I think y'all both raise a supremely important point, though:

This is so, so, so important and true. I am one of those people whose sex life started at a "normal" age, proceeded almost entirely positively with no trauma, and has a pretty strong libido. And even for me, affectionate nonsexual touch is a million times more important and sustaining than sex. Skin contact slows down my brain's tendency to anxiously gnaw through its own legs like a coyote in a trap; a warm hand on my shoulder puts the breath back in my lungs if it's been knocked out; a hand in mine keeps me from falling down into that pit sometimes. I wish there were a way for more people to have access to affectionate touch without being forced to package it with sexuality, because folks forcing themselves to have sex they don't want just so someone will hold them is so sad it's hard to think about.

Someone I loved very much was a much-older virgin. He never was able to sort out his fear and shame around sex. Sex, even contemplating or talking about it, made him miserable and hostile and cruel. But he was one of the most touch-hungry people I've ever known. We spent nearly every minute together wrapped around each other like baby monkeys. He couldn't get enough skin contact or body warmth. He only slept well with my body pressed to his. He wanted to hold hands even while we were eating or doing dishes. It made him feel calm in a life where he rarely felt calm. I wish he could have just acknowledged that's what he wanted, not the other thing. That we lived in a world where there was no shame in openly saying you want kind hands on your body, but never in a sexual way.

And I think that in addition to touch, people are thirsty to be seen, to interact with each other's deeper selves in some fashion, like what inbloomer says about their desire primarily for an intellectual connection. These are lonely and disconnected times for most of us, this era. Like Glides says, the pit is there for everybody.

Definitely. I imagine if I did ever have sex I would want to do it slowly. The way I see it I waited my whole life for it and I would not want to waste it in three minutes. My own orgasm is inevitable and easily attained; I want to explore and kind of live the experience. More than once, even. But, you know, I certainly wouldn't be opposed to cuddling or foreplay once the initial awkwardness and nerves were over with. The problem is when we initially face awkwardness and nerves with another person, most people just go for a less awkward, less nervous option. Trust me, my jokes aren't that good to compensate.

Yes. And more than that, get used to being touched by someone whose conversation doesn't make you feel lonely, who you feel some kind of comfort in intellectually connecting with, who makes you feel like they give a shit about you as a human being. Where touch is an expression of something that's happening in your brains and hearts, even if what's happening is only friendly fondness. That's the thing that makes the pit recede into the distance, for me. (YMMV, of course. I think plenty of folks can enjoy casual or even anonymous sex very much as something entirely unrelated to personal connection. But I also suspect that many/most people who get into their late 20s or 30s as virgins aren't that kind of person, or at least aren't that kind of person yet, not without a fair amount of ice-breaking and practice.

I imagine it is something that most people prefer happens gradually, which is perhaps where the whole "bases" thing came from (that and because men have to be men and compare EVERYTHING to sports metaphors). Sex was only the end after kissing, touching, etc. and once upon a time that was okay if that process happened over more than one date (and I imagine it usually does).

I don't think "casual or anonymous sex" would shatter me or anything. If anything it might hinder a lot of the disbelief to have a blunt, honest explanation. "I'm just horny and you looked like the easiest option" or "I'm rebounding from an actual MAN and you're the closest approximation to fill my own ego that I can still literally get any scrub" would actually ease a lot of my own tension. I would respect such candor and relax. It's hardly an ideal situation, of course. But as I have learned, life rarely offers ideals, and most of us are lucky for whatever we can get, how much or little of it it may be. And that life rarely offers easy win or lose, good or bad options.

There's also the theory, that I think a lot of older male virgins especially miss, that their "quantity" years may very well be over, but that such desires are really just male posturing anyway, and to focus on "quality" instead. Even the "studs" usually have at least one or two relationships they regretted or chalked up to pressure, or inexperience. And it goes without saying that many women have had experienced with men they'd like to take back. Some older virgins need to sort out not only whether or not they want sex versus touching, but whether they want one or two great lovers or if they want to chase the phantom belief of "making up for lost time" so they can better fit in with social expectations (of men). And I don't exclude myself in this either.
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Real issues around virginity Empty Re: Real issues around virginity

Post by inbloomer on Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:01 pm

Werel is on the right lines here. I think quite a lot of people actually fall between the two extremes of being totally stone-cold asexual at one end and being highly sexed, tactile and non-squeamish at the other. If you’re between the two there is tension, a cognitive dissonance where you maybe want some aspects of sex but are repulsed by others. It wouldn’t surprise me if that often results in mild kinks. It also wouldn’t surprise me if the opposite-sex people you end up spending time with are often dealing with similar, because like attracts like and people more different tend to filter each other out at early stages.

This article suggests that quite a few women feel that way (and one of the comments mentions kinky games):

https://captainawkward.com/2014/02/07/psa-for-the-shy-sexually-inexperienced-maybe-queer-maybe-bi-maybe-asexual-ladies-who-send-me-letters-about-finding-someone-to-snuggle-andor-date/

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had “Schrödinger Relationships”, which is where the nature of your relationship seems to be closer to dating than to friendship, yet you aren’t officially dating and there’s no sexual component. It’s a very fragile entity that will never last for long. It seems these are quite common, and are subtly different from the Friend Zone, which is where one person is setting clear friendship boundaries but the other wants to renegotiate the terms. After a Schrödinger Relationship, it’s tempting for each to feel the other was being deliberately sneaky and misleading, but I think now it more comes from people who don’t know in their own minds what they want to ask for.

From what Werel is saying, in theory it’s perfectly legitimate to want to try sex, with someone who you have a good rapport with and find reasonably aesthetically appealing, while being clear that this is an experiment that might not actually prove that successful but is nonetheless worth a go. However, that strategy seems to hit problems in practice. Over the years, I’ve been surprised by how little sexual experimentation actually seems to be going on, e.g. I’ve been in groups where there was a lot of talk before and after about skinny dipping or strip poker or something, yet what actually happened was incredibly tame and anticlimactic. Maybe it’s all going on under my radar, but I doubt that. Maybe it’s as DNL suggests, that women would in theory be up for a lot but the risk/benefit ratio the guys in front of them are offering isn’t good enough. Or maybe it’s that, at least in the circles I’ve moved in, there is still a very strong cultural trope that respectable women (and even men) do sexual stuff only when they are deeply in love and believe their partner to be marriage material. If it is that last, I frankly think that favours very heart-on-sleeve types who go in quickly with lots of emotion and either they get shot down or accepted, while being much less favourable to more reserved deep thinkers of either sex.

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Post by Datelessman on Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:43 pm

There are times I like Captain Awkward more than DNL if only because she doesn't have the baggage of being a former PUA who admits he used to be a jerk to women at times who has essentially made a business out of self redemption. But I digress.

I don't think I am asexual and I would be extremely hesitant to even consider attaching a label to myself that is undeserved when there are plenty of genuine asexuals out there suffering or taking the courage to come out. I am not asexual. I am just a cis, straight, white man (technically I have a mix of Latin blood in me but it doesn't show) who is shy, inexperienced, and would need his hand held as if it were an alien or artificial intelligence. It really is that simple. I can accept it, why can't the world? Razz

I would be down with "cuddle sessions" in theory; in fact the concept seems rather nice. I probably would be a bit petrified if I met a woman in a bar or a single date who just wanted to tear off my pants and ride me right then (just as I imagine women are when men act like that). Beyond the fact that I'd assume that she must be at least legally blind. My only problem is that requires a lot of vulnerability and like many straight men, I have a big problem with displaying that. Suffice it to say, most people in my life haven't been too kind to me once I let on how sensitive I could be. I would have a very difficult time being so vulnerable to a complete stranger running a business. I might be more willing in a clinical setting with a "sexual surrogate" if only because I do believe in therapy, but that option is expensive and legally on shaky ground. Of course, if I had friends who I was comfortable enough to want to snuggle with, or were willing to do so with me, I probably wouldn't be a virgin.

I've never had a "Schrodinger Relationship." I will say that I probably went on two "Schrodinger's Dates," at least from the woman's perspective, due to my own disbelief that I was on the dates themselves. I've gone on 3 dates in my entire life, and the last was a blind date that I barely count. One was in high school and the other was off OkCupid in college. Both times the woman initiated and due to disbelief, and, in my defense, some justified belief that this was some attempt at pranking since I'd been bullied and teased many times in my youth, I barely acted like I was on a date during the dates themselves. It actually took me a long time to realize that it was my initial reaction to the date offers which essentially tainted the entire experience and made the lack of results on them more or less determined. In fact I imagine the women themselves were probably surprised that a guy who from their perspective, at best, played hard to get and at worst just acted like he was disinterested but willing to coast along wanted another date. Having learned all that, would I act in almost as much disbelief if a woman said, "I'd love to go have coffee with you" now? Yes, absolutely. I'd maybe fake it better, but it would still be there. Like I said above, I know myself better than anyone else possibly could, and I don't believe anyone would actually want me if they knew me that well. Any positive reaction to me I sort of assume is an honest misunderstanding and I feel like a cad taking advantage. Not that such opportunities have happened often. Between the 2 aforementioned dates and one bit with someone from high school I figured I had 3 potential opportunities between 1998-2006 and blew them all. And that's been that, mostly.

I will say that in my youth (high school thru college) my entire strategy was the "Friend Backdoor Gambit" at best. Rather than just take a shot and admit I liked someone and ask them out, I would be friendly and whatnot and sort of hope either they'd admit feelings or I'd read enough tea leaves that they liked me. In practice, as unbelievable as it sounded, I found I genuinely liked being their friends and the position of mutual trust enough that with all of the women I did befriend with these original intentions, I just continued to be their friend. I saw no reason to taint things or admit original intent, especially after they got serious with someone or got married. I valued that friendship too much to risk it. I have befriended women without such a gambit, of course, and these days I realize what a folly that strategy was. But none of us get to do high school or college over again, and I am not one of those creeps who deliberately tries to date "barely legal" women or women under 25 for such reasons.

My circle of pals weren't studs by any means, nor were they dating wizards. But they seemed to navigate the social circle, land a handful of lovers, survive some mistakes and break ups and settle down. I just never did, and I don't think my inability to do so is simply bad luck or pretending to be confident. There's something different, and people don't like difference much beyond a novelty. People may want to find the Last Unicorn, but no one wants to ride it. I just haven't sorted out entirely what it is, and know time is against me. And that I have bigger worries now.
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Post by Datelessman on Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:34 pm

So as a way to bump the topic as well as repost about something relevant, DNL released a bonus Q&A this week which tackled our subject head on. He's done that many times in videos, essays, and letter columns, but it naturally keeps coming up for him and I imagine a notable segment of his audience are older virgins (or older barely not virgins). I remember once another dating coach, Frank Kermit (who I do NOT recommend because he has way more regressive views than DNL does, but who I am aware of because contrary to belief I actually have tried to work on myself and done a lot of help seeking) once admitted that older virgins took up so much of his "business" that he started gearing towards stuff for them specifically for the sake of time (and profit).

It's a good video even if it does restate a lot of DNL's views on "older male virginity" which longtimers know already. If anything, he's consistent.


FYI, the Q&A covers two questions, and the second, about dating co-workers, comes in after 9 minutes.

I do think the most practical advice that DNL gives is waiting until at least the third date to "reveal" such knowledge to a date. He leans heavily in favor of telling a date about the inexperience, but by waiting until someone has "come back for more," it increases the odds that it will go down smoother versus scaring someone off before attraction begins. After all, if a woman has been willing to go on a return date with someone two more times, she's genuinely interested. IMO if a woman is willing to go on a third date with you, anything short of admitting to an STD, a criminal history, or a disgusting fetish is going to dissuade her. Which is usually why many women, for a variety of legitimate reasons, cut bait on a dude they're not feeling after date one (or at best two). Life's too short for the maybes.

I still have some disagreements, which just come down to philosophical and practice differences of opinion with DNL, which is in part built upon the fact that I've been a virgin longer and therefore it's where I've lived. DNL lost it at 19; perhaps above the "national average" but nowhere near that unusual. That is not the same as being a virgin well into your 30's and older, and I still find it disingenuous that he considers it "value neutral" or uses a borderline strawman argument such as bringing up getting anxious letters from 15 year olds. Yes, "virginity" is a social creation which is baloney and self serving to elitist men, but it is here and not going away. Whether DNL wants to acknowledge it or not, the chances of, let's call it "negative stigma," towards a revelation of inexperience increases with age (for either gender). Yes, it is hilarious and a sign of the times when 15 year olds fret about it. But there simply is a difference between 15 and 25, and 25 from 35, and 35 from 45, etc. A 15 or even a 25 year old has less social expectations to "have their own damn selves put together" than someone 30 and up.

While DNL rightly feels that acknowledging the virginity is an exercise to dissolve anxiety, he may underestimate that simply admitting it out loud to someone else, especially a relative stranger, is itself anxiety inducing. I have never spoken about my virginity to another live person outside of Internet typing. And the number of people who I have discussed it with online without the disguise of an online alter ego is less than 4. And by "discussed" I mean "actually talked about it more than a face saving gripe".

DNL also goes on about owning older virginity not only because it supposedly will help individuals but out of the goal of creating a better society, which is a lofty goal but also a bit ludicrous. It will take at least another few generations at best for that to be considered no big deal, and by then most of us will be underwater due to climate change. Suggesting that people open themselves up to embarrassment for the greater good of society is a worthy long term goal, but is in the realm of the abstract for most of us.

It's actually Jimmy Two-Hammers, ironically, in the comments who acknowledges that women being concerned about learning a man is a virgin past a certain age doesn't make them "bad people" but is a reasonable reaction to be prepared for. As the saying says, the worst case outcome for a woman dating is getting assaulted, raped, and/or killed. Therefore, she has to listen to her "spider-sense" acutely and err on the side of overreacting for the sake of safety, and sanity. And a man who hasn't had relationship experience (not just sex itself, but ANY relationship experience) is itself a red flag. Unless you are dating women way younger (which I don't recommend, and consider gross personally), most women have no time or will to place much investment in a man who ticks off any red check mark for any reason, especially since most of their experiences have taught them that such blind faith isn't rewarded. Almost every woman I have ever known has had at least one, if not a dozen, stories that go like this: "I met this guy and something was off about him. But I didn't listen to my instincts and gave him a chance anyway. I regretted it and wish I hadn't, and I never will do that ever ever again." And men who lash out at such a logical reaction are just unfair and don't understand.

DNL tells a story about dating an anxious and inexperienced woman himself, and it is very cute. The problem is that social expectations are different and if someone drops too much information at once on a first date, or even a text reaction/farewell, it can read like desperation. I am sure if on the post-date follow up to the woman I met on OKC if I'd went, "Look, I am sorry I was a block of wood on our date, but it was literally the second date I'd ever had and I was not used to dates where women call me 'cutie' and drop things like nude photography in conversation, especially because a lifetime of bullying made me unfairly suspicious," it would not have changed a thing. Again, life is too short for the maybes of life. Honesty is not rewarded in life; just look at the impeachment proceedings.

I would only recommend telling someone, "I just never found the right woman," if it is genuinely true; otherwise it is a lie and it is sleazy. I would never say that personally, because I'd give it up to any woman who was into me enough and "my type" physically enough. She doesn't have to be the "right" woman; it's not marriage. Heck, I rejected one of my mother's friends who creeps me out and openly flirted with me many times solely because I tick off her "younger white men" fetish and I still occasionally question my decision. Long term romance? Yes, the right personality has to fit. But just to "lose it" initially? I am not expecting perfection, and I worry too many guys who are close to where I am will misunderstand DNL's line.

Finally, DNL's line about people taking cues from us is not universal. There is no way to drop certain things so casually. Imagine it's date number three and I've someone flimflammed someone with my "charm" because they're blind or desperate or trying to win a dare or whatever and then I roll out, "Just for the record, I don't have much experience so if you want to go a little slow I wouldn't mind," it's going to be counter to everything else until that point. "Here I expected this halfway intelligent funny dude would be a nice roll in the hay and now I'll need to explain where to lick like he's 14," or "Why does a man his age who doesn't seem like an obvious ax killer have little experience" are the most logical reactions from her no matter how coolly I roll it out. I mean I could throw in some details like, "I want to savor the experience" or "I want to make sure I can do it right for you" but the odds of a woman buying that are not favorable. It is tough to explain to an older male virgin who may be 0 for 5000 to play the odds even further.

I think DNL explains the anxiety of the experience well, and he has great points about the social impact of it, and the aim to improve things in the future on a grander scale. But in terms of meat and potatoes advice for what to do or what to say...I guess it depends on the viewer, at least on this topic.  Lord knows if I rolled out such a revelation and found a woman I was into who reacted positively, which itself is one out of a million, my Id reaction would probably be some variation of, "Baby, you're as mad as a hatter," or "Wait a second, can you actually see me or are you using echolocation right now?" or even, "Really? Okay, I get it. You just came from Themysciara and I am the first man you have ever met. Don't worry, Wonder Woman, I won't spill your secret to anyone. I still feel you can do much better, though."

Is admitting you are a virgin to a date a way to take some of the edge off and offer the potential for a better first experience? Yes. But practically, for people who want to actively lose their virginity within a century, I wonder whether it is best to be so honest and vulnerable against your best interests rather than just trying to go with a flow. I used to be in the "honesty at all costs" camp, but ironically, time on the forums convinced me that since I am not a hypocrite who judges women for how much or little sex they have had, I am under no moral obligation to be so honest without it being in immediate context. At worst if things go well enough, she'll think I am a fumbling moron; as DNL notes, fumbling morons get laid all the time. It's possible to ask a woman what she likes and how she'd like it (and where) and be receptive to that without outright admitting, "Hey, show me some mercy this really is my first rodeo," right? Just err on the side of "gentle," which would be my advice. If you touch too softly and she wants it firmer, she will say so; it's less awkward (and painful) than coming off like a pawing farm animal and then having to tuck back, IMO. I mean that's just common sense; none of us like to be touched roughly initially.

TL:DR - should you admit being a virgin to a date, even on date three? At best I would say that it really does depend on the context and individual, but at worst it could risk ruining a sure thing. A first experience can still be good without all the cards being on the table. A woman who has a harsh reaction to a virgin shouldn't be misjudged as "someone not worth having sex with anyway" because such hesitation is fair in context from a woman's perspective.


Last edited by Datelessman on Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Enail on Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:41 pm

Why would it be ironic that time on the forums has made you think you have no moral obligation to make sure potential partners know you're a virgin? as far as I recall, that's generally been the dominant position here. (Personally, I'm against lying to someone who's asked in a context of planning to have sex together shortly, but that's in general for most questions, not specific to virginity, and otherwise, it's like any other level of experience, it's not in any way something anyone needs to know unless you want them to know).

You've got some good thoughts there, but your general assumption that a woman would have to be insane or fooled by a completely fake, smooth persona to be interested in you is really messing with your hypotheticals.
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Post by Datelessman on Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:50 am

Enail wrote:Why would it be ironic that time on the forums has made you think you have no moral obligation to make sure potential partners know you're a virgin? as far as I recall, that's generally been the dominant position here. (Personally, I'm against lying to someone who's asked in a context of planning to have sex together shortly, but that's in general for most questions, not specific to virginity, and otherwise, it's like any other level of experience, it's not in any way something anyone needs to know unless you want them to know).

Once upon a time on the other board there was the impression that I didn't learn anything from various discussions. That was one area where I can say my opinion changed due to various interactions.

I'm against lying to someone about sexual experience, too, as well as general things, period. One of the advantages, if there is one, about being an older virgin is that you're outside of the peer environment where that sort of term is going to be thrown around by someone you're trying to date. In the peer pressure stew of high school and college, a term like that might get thrown around, even as an insult. But in older adult life, to be honest the only times I heard it being banded about like an insult, it was in environments dominated by (if not run, or managed) by men. Even if you are a nervous wreck who never makes a move and is so awkward that you literally wear a t-shirt saying it, the odds of a woman outside the realm of college or high school asking flat out if you're a virgin or have ever had sex before aren't exactly zero, but are very very close. I imagine at best the question, "Is something wrong?" is most probable. And even that question would be an interesting one, wouldn't it? A man in my position could give an honest answer which isn't admitting virginity but something close: "To be honest, I haven't dated very much and I get absolutely nervous around people I really like a lot." Or the alternative male answer could be, "Nope, nothing's wrong" and blaming it on work or a sports injury.

Since the topic of lying has come up, I wonder if for some virgins, like myself, who have confidence issues, part of the problem is that presenting their best selves or making earnest attempts to promote or position themselves to love interests can feel like lying. Not that it is lying (because it isn't), but that it feels like it. Could even constructing a positive and attractive profile on an online dating site seem like lying under that context? From my perspective, I can't truthfully promise that I'll fulfill a woman's sexual desires. I can't promise I'm the best dude of the night. I can't promise her a good time (beyond platonic conversation and jokes). There is no positive experience to build from to allow myself to do so. At best I can promise to try, but that's worth less than nothing in the real world. And even in trying to frame inexperience in the rights, much like a resume, it may come down to technicalities. Even the phrase, "I haven't had much experience" could seem problematic because "much" implies "some." And for some people, who maybe had some make outs or even certain forms of intercourse, that may be honest. And I wonder if part of this is why some people fret about just using the v-word and admitting to the whole unicorn, or just burying it, without imagining a middle ground.

I WILL say that those dudes who judge women for their sexual histories for their own gross, sexist reasons, ARE under 100% moral obligation to admit being a virgin themselves to women they date in my eyes. Otherwise they're hypocrites.

I suppose the other advantage is that through the lack of options, an older virgin has the opportunity to trade quantity for quality. For a lot of people, perhaps even a slim majority, their first sexual experience is far from ideal to say the least. For many, including my own mother, it was the result of rape or incest, for one. But for most others it was often an underwhelming experience bred almost as much by nerves and social pressure than any genuine feelings. In theory an older virgin has an opportunity that some others might be envious of -- being able to tailor their first sexual experience to a truly "worthy" individual under more idealized context and maturity. You may not be able to have as many sexual partners as those peers who had a more "normal" sexual history, but it could be said many of them made some mistakes and were trying to get to some of the partners the older virgin, in theory anyway, is chasing currently. Most people, if given the choice to erase one sexual experience or partner from their lives, would usually take it.

I personally don't subscribe to that philosophy, though. I'd like to lose my virginity to a genuinely special and honorable individual. But as someone about to be evicted, I know life rarely works with ideals. So I am willing to compromise vastly. Not absolutely, but vastly. I just haven't had the opportunity. But I thought in a topic like this, that potential advantage was worth mentioning.

You've got some good thoughts there, but your general assumption that a woman would have to be insane or fooled by a completely fake, smooth persona to be interested in you is really messing with your hypotheticals.

That is very probable. Unfortunately, considering my own lack of experience, assuming a woman would be interested in me for more genuine reasons feels more like the realm of science fiction.

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Post by Enail on Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:54 pm

Datelessman wrote: From my perspective, I can't truthfully promise that I'll fulfill a woman's sexual desires. I can't promise I'm the best dude of the night. I can't promise her a good time (beyond platonic conversation and jokes). There is no positive experience to build from to allow myself to do so. At best I can promise to try, but that's worth less than nothing in the real world.

Literally no-one can truthfully promise this, and an awful lot of people who think they can are wrong and their partners have been faking it or they just haven't cared enough to find out. Trying is about as good a promise as anyone can truthfully make.
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Post by inbloomer on Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:25 pm

A couple of thoughts here … (I do try to keep up with these threads, but I’m very busy and it takes me a long time to think out any post)

I think having anxiety over how an escalation situation might work and what could go wrong, having never been in one before, is absolutely rational and natural. I do think that while dating coaches say open communication is the solution to everything, in practice everyone, including them, has certain things they are a bit weird about. DNL, for example, really detests high school, to an extent I find excessive, and also is a bit strange and inconsistent on the topic of alcohol, i.e. how responsible people are for their actions while under the influence. And then there are these perennial topics that come up over and over again, such as age gaps or dating co-workers, and every time people have very different but entrenched views. So I think questions around what to state asap, what to bring out once you’ve got to know someone, and what is best left as don’t ask don’t tell, are legitimate.

Having said all that, you (Datelessman) do seem to have built up very rigid views on how women think and what their performance expectations are, including that for someone to like you at all she can’t possibly have guessed that you’re sexually inexperienced. I can’t draw on much dating experience for examples, but one thing I have done quite a bit of is interviewing people for jobs, and in that context I’ve learned that the factors which make the difference between accepting and rejecting are not what you’d necessarily expect.

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Post by JP McBride on Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:12 pm

I have my lack of sexual experience openly posted on my Fetlife profile, and I've still managed to go on multiple dates so far. I put it on there for my own sake, it doesn't really matter if it make me more appealing or not. I figured that if I hide it, sooner or later I'm going to start feeling ashamed about it.

I've had one person turn me down because my inexperience was a turn off, but she had already given me a rant about how all of her prior partners were so convinced that they knew how to please her that they never paid attention to what she was actually asking for.

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