Real issues around virginity

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Post by Datelessman on Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:56 pm

Enail wrote:
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.

True, but confidence doesn't involve words like "try." Even though no one can objectively promise something like that, confident men carry themselves under the assumption that they can, or that it's highly likely they can. Even if that was only objectively proven (from their POV) even once, then that's at least fuel to the fire. It can build momentum. "Well, if I managed to convince one woman to sleep with me, why not another?" It was how I saw it play out with my chums and even a few of the older virgins I follow online who are not virgins anymore.

In theory I could carry myself under the assumption that I can please a woman romantically. The problem is it would based on not one scintilla of evidence or personal experience, and therefore would be a delusion. Now there are times when deluding ourselves can be beneficial, but I have never been able to pull it off.

inbloomer wrote: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.

I imagine DNL's loathing of the high school experience is carried from his life. He didn't lose his virginity until college, after all. And while I do dismiss it in comparison to a lot of older virgins, that still means his teenage years were not beds of roses. For me junior high was rougher.

I have made many friends, including many women on a platonic basis. Usually the keys to that are my sense of humor, my intelligence and to a limited degree the fact that I am not a jerk. That's been true since grade school; I am a very memorable fellow whether I want to be or not. I can make people laugh without intending to; I'm a natural and I have to concentrate to turn off my inner comedian.

That has never, not once, transitioned to anything romantic or sexual. It's made me feel like a genderless cartoon character. The few dates I have been on were usually from someone who didn't know me beyond that token attempt to date me, and then once it happened they decided I wasn't their speed, which is fine; it happens. I didn't do much to maximize those chances, but it's in the past.

It comes down to the fact that so far, those who approached me romantically rejected me once they began to know me better. And those who already knew me better had no interest in me romantically, nor ever attempted to introduce me to those who did. Which is where some of those "rigid conclusions" come from.

JP McBride wrote: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.

FetLife is for people with fetishes, I wouldn't want to apply under that. I do technically have a fetish but it isn't one I would want to lead with. I'm even more uptight about that than virginity, if you can imagine.

For full disclosure, the one date I got on OKC was on a profile that did bluntly admit my virginity. I was in my 20's, though, so the context is different. Given that, though, it is a little strange that my date still seemed put off by how shy and rigid I was; what, all virgins in their mid 20's are confident go-getters? But I digress.

Outside of forums with an assumed name, talking about my virginity may be my least favorite subject. I would find it absolutely humiliating to go into a first date where she already knows the most embarrassing fact about me. I would feel like a zoological specimen. Where I to date online again I would put in more effort for a better profile, but I would keep that fact to myself.
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Post by Hielario on Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:43 am

And here we have one of those real issues: the complete destruction of any sort of confidence, since there's no logical reason to have it.

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Post by Datelessman on Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:22 pm

Hielario wrote:And here we have one of those real issues: the complete destruction of any sort of confidence, since there's no logical reason to have it.

In fairness, the lack of confidence isn't universal, but it manifests in romantic (real, potential, theoretical, or imaginary) with women for me. While I am hardly the most confident guy with the best esteem in general (which is a larger problem), there are areas where I am confident. I am confident in writing, or being funny in a general sense, or various geeky knowledge, for example.

The paradox, for me and possibly other older virgins, is how to be confident in an area where one has never succeeded or even had much positive reinforcement before. The easy answer is to have faith in oneself, but that is harder than it seems.

For me I tend to be confident in the areas where I have demonstrated at least one instance of competence or success. And contrary to what DNL sometimes says, sex and relationships are considered more universal than riding roller coasters or knowing rocket science.

(Incidentally, while it is a sign of extremism for a person's choice of pizza topping to be a "deal breaker", someone seeing that someone past a certain age has little to no relationship experience is a fair "red flag" and making it seem like a judgemental thing I think is a little misleading. For the sake of safety alone, a man who hasn't gotten another woman to trust in him enough to be vulnerable with him is at least a fair thing to hesitate about. It's not just pepperoni vs. anchovies.)
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Post by inbloomer on Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:07 pm

So really it's about two different questions:

1) How can you feel any confidence in an area where hitherto you've had no success and a lot of failure?

2) How likely is any given woman to reason that "if there wasn't something seriously wrong with this guy, someone would have shagged him by now"?

On the first I don't believe unrealistic overconfidence helps anyone, and I've never liked the line that dating is all about confidence. I think in general confidence can improve gradually over time, sometimes not through direct success but through achieving success in related areas. Like, if you can't do V, W, X, Y or Z then you have no confidence, but if you can do V, W, Y and Z then your mind has less crippling doubt that you could potentially do X.

On the second, I can't speak for women but going back to the interviewing experience I think the biggest red flag is someone who has an inflated idea of their skills and capabilities, which is going to cause problems when it comes up against reality. I don't think it's a coincidence that real killers and rapists often seem to have been fantasists for a long time before they turned violent. Someone who is desperately shy and insecure - that isn't ideal, but it is more a basis to work with.

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Post by Datelessman on Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:18 pm

inbloomer wrote:So really it's about two different questions:

1) How can you feel any confidence in an area where hitherto you've had no success and a lot of failure?

2) How likely is any given woman to reason that "if there wasn't something seriously wrong with this guy, someone would have shagged him by now"?

On the first I don't believe unrealistic overconfidence helps anyone, and I've never liked the line that dating is all about confidence. I think in general confidence can improve gradually over time, sometimes not through direct success but through achieving success in related areas. Like, if you can't do V, W, X, Y or Z then you have no confidence, but if you can do V, W, Y and Z then your mind has less crippling doubt that you could potentially do X.

On the second, I can't speak for women but going back to the interviewing experience I think the biggest red flag is someone who has an inflated idea of their skills and capabilities, which is going to cause problems when it comes up against reality. I don't think it's a coincidence that real killers and rapists often seem to have been fantasists for a long time before they turned violent. Someone who is desperately shy and insecure - that isn't ideal, but it is more a basis to work with.  

1). I see overconfidence as the milk snake version of confidence; it isn't the same, but it mimics it close enough that it is mistaken for the real thing (much as milk snakes and kingsnakes have colorization which mimics the venomous coral snake). Or I guess fool's gold vs. real gold for people who don't like snake metaphors. Mimicry is common in lots of other species, i.e. butterflies whose wings deliberately mimic eyes of larger animals, etc., and it sticks around because of an above average ratio of success. Which is how I see overconfidence. The bragging d-bag may ware out his welcome once you know him well...but he gets the foot in the door. And to some people on the outside, it can seem like magic.

I do agree that true confidence ideally comes from a succession of smaller feats more than an immediate miracle. My problem is while I did have 3 dates, which is more than some older virgins out there, absolutely none of them came through my direct action. The last was a blind date; the first was a passed note in class from a classmate I'd barely noticed (in part because I was drooling over someone else in that class). The middle one from college arguably was the closest since it came from an OKC profile that I made, but it was a profile that was more about being brutally honest and self depreciating to the point of acting as a disclaimer more than it tried to attract anyone. And each time my reaction was some variant of "YeahbuhWHAT!?" more or less. I never had that success in the beginning elements to start piecing it together.

That said...I do think DNL should speak for himself when he occasionally claims that it's unlikely an initial sexual or romantic "conquest" or positive outcome can seriously change outlook. Sure, there are dudes who won't be satisfied or find reasons for why it doesn't count, but that is not universal. In my life I've seen it at the very least take the edge off and make subsequent attempts easier with my guy friends (who, again, none of which were studs; the stud of the group still hit that high average tally of 7 different lovers). "Hey, it worked once," sure beats, "I possess the Anti-Hormone thru which lust can neither enter nor escape". Even my last speed dating event from 2015, which as at the New York Comic Con, gave me a bit of a high since I genuinely felt that while it didn't yield results, I did as well as I possibly could and I had a decent time regardless.

The only way I have seen where people can be genuinely confident in an area where they have no successful experience is because they have enough confidence in themselves on the whole as individuals that they feel they can rise to any challenge. They know their own strengths and weaknesses so well they can universally apply them to anything, almost like metaphysical parkour runners can launch themselves at any obstacle and entrust their natural speed, strength, and agility to find its way. And some people can do this unconsciously, without willing themselves as much as others. But the rest do it because they either had a charmed life and rarely knew defeat, or went through harsh stuff and it didn't break them. None of this is easy.

2). I believe while there are many individual examples of women who would not necessarily connect older virginity to there being a deep seeded "red flag" in and of itself, that statistically a slim majority (51%) would see it as a red flag for precisely that reason. It may vary by region; for example the "bible belt" may have a different collective view on it than New York City or Los Angeles. And this is me being optimistic about it. And the hell of it is that this is NOT an irrational or illogical conclusion for women to make! I mean look at our discussion here. A man with a deep seeded confidence issue, regardless of sexual experience, can be a lot to handle, especially initially and without expecting to.

Sex and relationships involve vulnerability; and as much as I bleat, I know full well women have more to lose then men. They bare the risk of pregnancy, or assault, or murder, or being stalked, and so on. One wrong move on an OKC IM can literally lead to genuine pain and horror. They do not have the luxury to wax poetic as to why a guy may be giving off a vibe; a misjudgment can lead to death at worse or wasting their finite spare time at best. I was bullied pretty severely in junior high and my coping mechanism was being more introverted than I already was. It would be hypocrisy to blame women for doing the same, especially since I will never suffer as much as they have. It is a fair concern for a woman to wonder why another woman has never chosen to be that vulnerable with someone, and not wanting to be "the brave one." It is also fair to not want to be game for being "the first" who has to endure all of the growing pains of a relationship which have nothing to do with sex, especially at this stage in their lives.

Remember the coral snake and milk snake stuff? To me, a lot of inexperienced and/or virgin men have the misfortune of being mimics of more dangerous, predatory men. And that's without getting into the fact that even shy virginal men can themselves be dangerous predators or passive aggressive sociopaths too. Various serial killers, mass shooters, and rapists turning out to be men with "less than average" love lives who are featured in news stories, films, TV shows, etc. don't help that perception.

I mean I won't lie and pretend I am any better. I try to do my best and be the best version of myself, but I have a temper and can go off the deep end on occasion. Any time some murderous subhuman on the news who did some horrible thing turns out to be like me, a fellow virgin, a part of me is chilled about sharing something so closely in common with them. Knowing that we share the same link of loneliness, frustration, and yearning, and perhaps I am "one bad day," as the Joker often said, from being one myself. The line between hero and villain can be slim; both are linked in tragedy, but the former uses it as inspiration, while the latter uses it as an excuse.

The world is full of monsters. Some of them are real ones, and others just harmlessly mimic them, like Muppets. But initially they can look the same and I don't blame women for not giving me a chance once my crippling insecurity becomes obvious. Part of my disbelief even risks manifesting in genuine concern. I become fearful that a woman risks making a terrible mistake, and I fear taking advantage of that ignorance or lapse in judgement. I genuinely believe any potential attraction in me is merely a misunderstanding that I would feel like a cad for exploiting.

Outside of high school or college, the odds of a woman even suspecting that any reason why a guy seems "off" have anything to do with virginity are low. But it will mimic other factors, while overlapping with others (i.e. poor esteem, emotional issues, anxiety, awkwardness, etc.). And the amount of women who are going to change their minds and risk another chance if you tell them "the truth" is not zero, but very far from 100. Or 55. Or 43. Because our society as a whole views vulnerability as something to be repulsed by, or exploit, in my opinion.

I've worked in telephone sales and customer service. I've learned a good enough presentation can fool people initially, but before long they see the genuine package, and if it isn't appealing they look elsewhere.
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Post by Datelessman on Sun Dec 08, 2019 8:48 am

So on December 6th's edition of "Ask Dr. Nerdlove," the second letter writer was a 22 year old "older male virgin." Between this and that video I linked before, that's been one "OMV" (older male virgin) a week for the last fortnight. That's a noticeable uptick even for a topic which seems perennial for him. I wonder if it's just the volume of his asks, or a trend for his readers, or maybe because he's planning a book along that theme soon.

Link is here: https://www.doctornerdlove.com/ask-dr-nerdlove-why-doesnt-he-like-me/

I have noticed a little trend for DNL replies to writers of this type. If they're under 25, he usually makes an effort to indicate that even according to national statistics, they're not far from the "bell curve" of people who have had sex (in which something like 80-95% of people get laid at least once by age 21). But for anyone older than that, especially over 30, he skips any statistical jargon and leaps straight into his usual advice (which is some version of, "It only matters as much as you let it matter, Dorothy. Just click your heels three times and say, 'Virginity is a false construct'."). Now in a very realistic sense I get why he does this. As he's mentioned before, it's not unheard of for teens as young as 15 to be fretting about this stuff, so for people within the "normal" range (and age 22 is still a grad school student in theory) it serves as a fair reality check. But the problem is his advice is usually 21 flavors of "it only matters as much as you make it matter," yet I am sure revealing to an older virgin that they're well past that bell curve right off could be seen as counter productive.

That said, this letter writer's experience was a bit different. Beyond still being pretty young (although I began freaking out about my older virginity by age 20, so I could relate), his issue was more nerves than his own lack of opportunity. By his own account, he was a catch who had little trouble attracting women. He even had an opportunity to lose his virginity at age 19, which sadly traumatized him to the point of anxiety about it now. He also brought up the idea of hiring a prostitute to "get over the hump" (pun intended), which usually adds another element into this.

DNL went into his usual schtick, but this time I more or less agree with him. As a former 22 year oldd, I can understand the angst, but there's a big difference between age 22, and 32, or 42. His odds are very good at a normal, healthy, and successful romantic life if he gets out of his own head and plugs on. I guess I would be a little more at ease if DNL was more honest when he gets letters from far older virgins and would tell them that regardless of their attitude about it, it IS more difficult at an older age (and more of a deal breaker than a difference in pizza toppings, which was another awkward comparison DNL made recently. I have literally never heard of any woman dumping a man over anchovies).

I have two thoughts about this one. The LW brings up an incident where he was 19 and he told the young woman about his status as they were getting into bed, and she literally laughed at him, called him pathetic, yet still offered to sleep with him because she thought "no one else would." DNL called her an a-hole and congratulated the LW on his willpower not to bed her, and that he'd dodged a bullet and deserved a better partner for his first time. It sounds horrible and I can easily imagine how the young man would be gun-shy about being honest ever since. It was barely 3 years ago for him.

Overall I agree with DNL; what LW experienced was cruel and he deserves a better potential partner. However, I thought back to when I was 19 (which would have been under 2 years from my first date) and I wondered how I would have reacted were I faced with a similar situation as the LW. My college years were arguably my peak in terms of attempts to interact with women and enter relationships, due to classes and friends' social circles (as well as opportunity, spare time, and less relative stress in my life). If I had gotten close enough to a woman at 19 that we were in her bedroom and I chose to be honest with her about my virginity (which at that age was more likely than now), and she'd reacted exactly as the LW described. If she'd called me "pathetic," laughed at me, but still offered sex anyway as an act of self righteous "pity" or even a lark, or out of sheer boredom. Would I have resisted as the LW had, out of dignity (even if the LW may not see it that way)? Or would I have accepted those terms to not be a virgin anymore?

My honest answer? At 19 if I'd faced that situation, I would have accepted the offer and slept with her. Heck, at the age I am now if I faced a similar circumstance it is very likely I'd accept her offer. If I'd gotten to the bedroom with her that'd have meant I liked her enough, right? And the irony is that with my low esteem, especially at 19 when I was more actively depressed, my suspicions would have been put at ease. I'd probably have agreed that I was pathetic (and at 19, I probably would have apologized for it). I wouldn't be overthinking her motives or questioning the circumstances, looking for a shoe to drop; the shoe would have been off. She clearly is not into me and only wants to sleep with me on a whim, or pity, or to have a cool story for her friends. But I can accept that; it fits my esteem. I wouldn't be fretting that she'd made a horrible mistake or this was a misunderstanding that I would feel horrible for taking advantage of. This was a woman who saw me as a circus freak, and wanted a novelty act. That I could live with. And while I imagine the romantic interlude wouldn't have been so hot, getting over that hump at 19 could have helped me. I would have become a regular guy who'd had a less than ideal first time out. It would have been something to build on. That all said, though, I respect the LW for standing up for himself and being stronger than I was at 19; although he at least knew women desired him by that age. I didn't, because none did.

My second thought revolves around some of the discussion, between DNL and the LW, and then a tad in the forums, about utilizing a prostitute. Back during my days on the main forums I was a bit of a zealot against utilizing sex workers. Not because I disagreed with the profession, but because I thought it would still mean keeping a secret from potential lovers. Public opinions on sex workers is still low and it would still mean keeping mum about my love life, or lack thereof. DNL and others also advise against it because it is unlikely to improve esteem. But now I am older, and my life has gotten more bleak. If for no other reason I have reconsidered a prostitute more than in the past. If I were to do so, I would visit Las Vegas where it is legal, not only so that it is safer and I am more likely to meet a worker who is not a trafficked "rape slave", but because the distance from home will mean it can remain my own secret. It might be nice to have a positive experience with a woman, and to hear her say certain words to me, without the anxiety of second or third guessing everything. I mean in this circumstance, I know if she says something like, "You're a cool guy, I'd love to get it on with you," I know it is because I am paying and not an ax killer, which would satisfy me. I can mentally accept that a woman who I am paying for sex would act like she likes me; having accepted that, I could be free to be myself more. Otherwise there is no way I could go on a date with a woman and accept any positive feedback at face value without thinking she's either out of her mind or grossly mistaken about me for some reason. I am not saying I would or will seek out a prostitute; just that I am more willing than I used to be.

For some perspective, I also found this article from this June, from Salon. It is about a 38 year old man who lost his virginity to a Vegas prostitute the year earlier, and it positively changed his life to the point that he recommended it for his fellow untouched: https://www.salon.com/2019/06/01/i-lost-my-virginity-at-37-what-a-trip-to-the-bunny-ranch-really-taught-me/

In a way, this Salon writer is on the same page as DNL; he stresses that he didn't change in any way as a person after his sexual experience. What he does stress is that with the pressure of having that label removed from him, he was free to be the person he always could have been but never was. It also taught him that sex could be a fun experience with someone who cared about him, and he wanted more of it, and deserved it. Now of course I suppose it's possible to liberate oneself of the self limiting label of virginity without flying across the coast to sleep with a sex worker, but it could also be argued that the best way to get over the stigma of virginity, self imposed or otherwise, is to not be a virgin anymore.

In a way I imagine this is how I could be, too; that I don't see having sex with someone as drastically changing me as a person (because it won't), but that it would help me settle into my own skin more and get that hump off my back. Sure, that still means I still haven't had an actual relationship (which in some ways is as much of a red flag), and it still means not talking much about my sexual past. But the line between "employing a sex worker" and "sleeping with a rando at a bar" isn't as vast as it seems; if anything, the bar rando may have a greater chance of having an STD. And sure, it would be great to not have to pay for it and meet someone who, despite my best efforts actually thought I was cool enough to sleep with and that it could be a brilliant experience for both of us. But in the real world, we deal the hand we're given, and my hand has a big joker in it.
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Post by inbloomer on Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:53 pm

It is the case that many people who self-identify as incels are actually very young, some to the extent that it would be more worrying if they had had sex. It’s also the age at which women are also more likely to have distorted and black and white ideas about what’s normal. So I can see the thinking behind bringing out the bell curves for these people, although personally I don’t think it’s actually helpful at any age. Statistics on sex are notoriously unreliable, even if they are true they may have no relevance to you and the circles you move in, women want to be treated as individuals not as representatives of an observed species,* and as you say telling someone they aren’t too far behind right now simply kicks the anxiety a bit further down the road.

*I once quoted the one about women deciding whether they’re attracted to a guy within the first few seconds of meeting him to a female friend: it went down like a lead balloon.

In terms of opportunities we might have had in our late teens, ultimately the past is the past and we can only do what seems right at the time. I personally am pleased that I wasn’t an accessory to someone cheating on her partner, which is what some of the semi-chances I had back then would have involved. (That would have been a definite case of not treating other people as I’d like to be treated.) There are two moments I do think back to every so often. One was the only woman who has ever shown absolutely unmistakable and undeniable romantic interest in me, though there were several reasons why reciprocating wasn’t an ideal option. The other was a woman a few years older than me whose family I stayed with twice. The first time I think she was single and was flirting with me, though then decided I was too immature for her. If I had been the person then that I am now, it’s probably not wild fantasy to say we would have slept together and it would even have been good. But, well, I wasn’t.

I have zero interest in sex workers because I’m just not that interested in sex for its own sake, and there’s the highly capitalist nature of it, i.e. their incentive is to maximise money they get out of you and minimise time they spend. If someone decides that’s the right thing for them then fair enough, but I’d be dubious about anyone who genuinely thinks that’s what all older virgins should just get on and do.


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Post by Datelessman on Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:34 am

inbloomer wrote:It is the case that many people who self-identify as incels are actually very young, some to the extent that it would be more worrying if they had had sex. It’s also the age at which women are also more likely to have distorted and black and white ideas about what’s normal. So I can see the thinking behind bringing out the bell curves for these people, although personally I don’t think it’s actually helpful at any age. Statistics on sex are notoriously unreliable, even if they are true they may have no relevance to you and the circles you move in, women want to be treated as individuals not as representatives of an observed species,* and as you say telling someone they aren’t too far behind right now simply kicks the anxiety a bit further down the road.

Yes, that is true. The general reason is men tend to over-report how many partners they have, while women under report, even in anonymous studies. And of course it is due to the framing of the questions. For some, oral sex "counts," and for others it doesn't, for example. I imagine as social taboos relax slightly, maybe in the future some studies may be more accurate, but the double standard remains. You do have a valid point about the general age range of incels and DNL perhaps wanting to rebut that.

DNL never tells anyone it's too late. In fact he's often gone to the extreme, literally claiming that until someone is dead, there's always an equal chance. That's right, a 22 year old virgin  and a 62 year old virgin all have the same chances, appeal to the same groups, have the same social dynamics, etc.  Shrug

*I once quoted the one about women deciding whether they’re attracted to a guy within the first few seconds of meeting him to a female friend: it went down like a lead balloon.

Intellectually, and in general, I know this to be true.

In practice, during the very small sampling that it is my life, I've noticed that the few dates I had were with people who did not know me long, or well. Those women who did know me for a long time never developed those feelings for me. Which is not to discount or diminish the great friendships I have had, and do have, with women in my life. But it is what it is. My male friends could claim a different experience, though; all of them had a few lovers who began as friends or loose associates who crushed on them over time.

I was never someone's crush, in long or short term. I was usually the wacky friend to their crush.

In terms of opportunities we might have had in our late teens, ultimately the past is the past and we can only do what seems right at the time. I personally am pleased that I wasn’t an accessory to someone cheating on her partner, which is what some of the semi-chances I had back then would have involved. (That would have been a definite case of not treating other people as I’d like to be treated.) There are two moments I do think back to every so often. One was the only woman who has ever shown absolutely unmistakable and undeniable romantic interest in me, though there were several reasons why reciprocating wasn’t an ideal option. The other was a woman a few years older than me whose family I stayed with twice. The first time I think she was single and was flirting with me, though then decided I was too immature for her. If I had been the person then that I am now, it’s probably not wild fantasy to say we would have slept together and it would even have been good. But, well, I wasn’t.

Aside for the two dates I mentioned from high school and college, which I admittedly handicapped greatly from the beginning by acting in disbelief before, during, and afterward, there's only one incident I regret and feel was a lost opportunity. It was a young woman who I was loose associates with via my social circle who I hung out with sporadically at gatherings during high school. We rarely were alone together but we knew each other about as well as associates did. I had a crush on her which I never revealed, because she either was often dating someone else I knew or was pals with (I had a rule against revealing feelings to someone who was obviously dating someone else) or because revealing a crush I had on someone was not something I would ever do unless I was about 99% sure I would not be rejected. During a 2000 new years eve party I was one of the only sober people at our party and she, among the rest of my pals, were quite wasted. One of my friends was pawing at her and I hung around a lot sort of making sure nothing happened which someone didn't consent to. I saw it as being good and noble; perhaps an observer might have saw it as "c**k-blocking". The fact that I had feelings for her myself was complicated; would I have been so eager to not want to take advantage of a drunken crush if it were me she was making slurry passes at and not my pal?

The party ended and not long after she wound up dating that pal, at least for a very brief period (4 months or less). During that time and not long after the party, I was playing video games at another friend's house (the setting for the party) and she dropped by, and she continued to ask me why I was so concerned at the party. I could have read the situation wrong but I got the feeling she was trying to get me to admit that I liked her. Due to the fact that she was now dating that pal, and due to the fact that I saw revealing a crush as the first step towards rejection and social awkwardness, I did not give her the answer I thought she was looking for. We remained friends, thought for quite a few years (after which she got married and had some kids) after she occasionally commented about there being "an awkwardness between us." What could I say? "Oh, that's because I crushed on you in high school but I was too chicken to make a move, and now every time I see you, you are literally a manifestation of my romantic futility even if I still find you cool to talk to on a platonic level"?

It didn't help that at one point about 6 years ago when I was new to Facebook, one of my guy friends attempted to "help me out" by talking up this "friend" of his who was a virgin and needed, to paraphrase, "some drunken slut with no standards to hook up with." No names were tagged but nearly everyone in my social circle, from their replies, seemed to know exactly who he was talking about. And the lady in this tale commented, "if it hasn't happened by now, it probably never will."

There was also another friend of mine who was also the childhood friend of one of my best male friends. Beyond my own issues, the reason I never admitted crushing on her was because according to rumor (and my best friend), she was religious and waiting for marriage to have sex. Since I was not, I thought it would be unfair or lead to a misunderstanding to reveal a crush to her when I had no intention of waiting until marriage myself. To this day I have no idea if it was ever true or not, and she's long since been engaged. Every few years she messages or calls me to keep in touch and she remains as sweet as she ever was; I only regret not telling her because even if she didn't feel the same way, she was likely too nice to humiliate me or spread it around as gossip, and it would have been a good experience for me. I was more afraid of gossip as a teenager, due in large part to the fact that I was a bit of a bitter hypocrite and sometimes made fun of my pals for their crushes. Dudes rag on each other for various things, and I took as well as I got. I just didn't want to give them more ammunition, which was hypocritical and stupid, but it's youth and it's over.

Come to think of it, "and then I didn't make a move for reasons" was usually how all of my crushes ended. Romantic feelings were always unrequited and frustrating for me. I grew to hate myself for having them, among other reasons. It felt like being Mr. Freeze, "in a world I could see but never touch."

I have zero interest in sex workers because I’m just not that interested in sex for its own sake, and there’s the highly capitalist nature of it, i.e. their incentive is to maximise money they get out of you and minimise time they spend. If someone decides that’s the right thing for them then fair enough, but I’d be dubious about anyone who genuinely thinks that’s what all older virgins should just get on and do.

Well, our county and world is highly capitalistic. It's seeped into the foundation of everything we are. The "new world" was only "discovered" for profit, and it was taken from its original inhabitants through deception, theft, and bloodshed. We only thought it acceptable to own other people as property for a mere half of our existence. I suppose I just see reviling prostitution as the straw that broke the camel's back in that regard as strange.

I do feel there is more social stigma against prostitution than virginity; after all, the former is usually considered a literal crime at any stage of the "transaction."

DNL and most of the people on his forums rarely recommend it since they feel it likely won't cure the crux of the problem for many virgins. For most of them, it isn't so much the virginity itself, but the shame, esteem issues, and trauma it represents. Simply having sex alone may not "cure" it, especially in a way which involves little more social grace than purchasing a fast food meal (i.e. tip well, don't be rude or nasty, don't be violent, express the bare minimum of social conversation). It could also lead to getting an expensive habit, and still not resolve the inability to communicate with or seduce a woman without needing cash to do it. I often add that the social stigma, for some, could be seen as worse than being a virgin.

But for a rare few, it does bring some sense of pleasure or closure. And as my own options dim with age, I have made peace with certain things. For one, by this stage the only people who are virgins this long are considered to be clergy, serial killers, or circus folk. Even a handsome pro NFL player on "The Bachelor" was routinely mocked for it; it's how society views it. Were I to ever employ the services of a sex worker, all I am doing is living down to expectations. For the moment I don't intend to, but I am not morally opposed to it anymore and realistically, it will likely be the only way I ever have sex at some point within the next decade or two. It is simply too much work for a determined woman to bare with my insecurities, and if she did, I am in no way worth it. I am nowhere that smart, funny, cute or kind enough. I'd feel bad for her for wasting so much effort, honestly. I'd gain way more out of it than she would despite my best intentions or efforts, and that's lame.
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Post by Enail on Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:20 am

Dude, I understand why you feel that way, but you're doing a lot of treating your negative views of yourself as fact here, and I don't think it's either true or doing you any good. You're also sometimes walking pretty close to the line between acknowledging and venting about existing stigma and tearing down virgins in general, as well as veering close to making claims about women want to justify your own self-image.  This seems like it's becoming less a discussion and more a way for you to go around and around in circles about your issues with an audience. This isn't a mod warning or telling you not to post, just a friendly suggestion to keep an eye on your thought patterns when you're posting and when it's helpful or healthy vs. when it's just reinforcing rumination, angst and harmful mindsets?
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Post by Datelessman on Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:23 pm

Enail wrote:Dude, I understand why you feel that way, but you're doing a lot of treating your negative views of yourself as fact here, and I don't think it's either true or doing you any good. You're also sometimes walking pretty close to the line between acknowledging and venting about existing stigma and tearing down virgins in general, as well as veering close to making claims about women want to justify your own self-image.  This seems like it's becoming less a discussion and more a way for you to go around and around in circles about your issues with an audience. This isn't a mod warning or telling you not to post, just a friendly suggestion to keep an eye on your thought patterns when you're posting and when it's helpful or healthy vs. when it's just reinforcing rumination, angst and harmful mindsets?

Very well.
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Post by Hielario on Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:50 pm

And the giant reveals his feet of clay...


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Post by Enail on Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:54 pm

Hm?
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Post by Datelessman on Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:59 pm

Hielario wrote:And the giant reveals his feet of clay...


Enail wrote:Hm?

I assume it's because I usually write novella length replies until I get a moderator semi-editorial statement. Laughing I actually thought it was clever.

I mean from an outside perspective, it seemed to go down like this:

Datelessman: *writes increasingly lengthening rants to all replies*
Enail: "Hey, knock it off a little."
Datelessman: "k."

I can see the comedy in it. I see the comedy in a lot. It's how I keep from screaming. Razz

Anyway, I thought about adding this to the discussion but didn't want to reply to myself again, so thanks for the breakup in posts. Naturally in this topic we discuss "real issues with virginity" and naturally that comes from an American (or possibly Canadian) perspective. That's a given, since I imagine most of us here are. But maybe it might be interesting to glimpse at how these things come up in other countries?

By that I mean Japan. Over the past few years there have been many articles spread online about the seeming rising numbers of "older virgin men" over in the land of the rising sun. I mean, here in the states we have guys like me and Reddit foaming at the mouth, but it's still maybe 1-2% of the population at most. Over in Japan, some studies claim it is 10% of all men over 40, and about 25% of all men over 30. That is staggering, and some of the reasons are similar to some pitched in America. A strict society with rigid gender rules regarding masculinity brushing up against an underwhelming economy that has hit men hardest. Many people forced to attain certain "life goals" later due to debt or poverty. Of course it is not all similar. Japan is still a more homogeneous country than America or much of Europe, and have their own culture quirks. Weapons of war and crime are not as rampant (i.e. guns are not as easy to get). Still, considering a society which has many historical examples of what could in theory lead to a lot of dudes becoming desperately violent, we don't see it on the scale as we see a lot of untouched men in other lands, such as here. I am sure it happens sometimes, but to lessor degrees and lessor frequency. Meanwhile in the states, we barely make it a year before one mass shooter turns out to be an older male virgin who blames women for everything, if not many times a year.

I mean one thing Japan has done is literally create a new word for it. "Yaramiso" is their term for it. DNL talks all the time about the stigma of using the V-word sometimes and about how to carry it or talk about it. Would the generation which seems to be suffering it giving it in its own word help here in U.S.? I mean to a degree we've done this, with "incel," but that's become a militant term. I mean even that abbreviation implies "in cell," as if in prison. It could be ignorance, but is "Yaramiso" so blatantly hostile or aggressive a term in Japan? Or just a word people came up with instead of "virgin," because that could mean anything from a priestess to olive oil?

It also could be wrong, but I don't see legions of "Yaramisos" in Japan going on chest thumping quests to slam on women or breed hate in quite the same way, nor encourage each other into endless sex to catch up. Instead it seems as if nude art classes are a thing in Japan; "yaramiso" classes where nude models get sketched by artists who may never have seen a naked woman's body before in an appropriate setting. Art schools do nude drawings all the time, after all. Expression through art is something I have always been a firm believer in; I write because I can't draw, basically. When I first read about it, I thought it was a brilliant idea.

I am not saying Japan is a utopia or anything or a model for how to deal with it. Like any culture, they have their troubling elements (especially involving women). But as someone who has tried, and clearly failed, to attain a monk-like Zen about this (where it's just water off a duck's back), there is a part of me that wonders if maybe it were possible to emulate what may not be so bad in other lands and integrate it.

Some links:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/11662500/Rise-of-Japans-middle-aged-virgins-a-quarter-of-over-30s-have-never-had-sex.html

https://www.tokyoreporter.com/japan-news/tabloid/introducing-japans-yaramiso-man/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2019/04/07/a-quarter-of-japanese-adults-under-40-are-virgins-and-the-number-is-increasing/#21c3a4ca7e4d

https://www.cnn.com/2016/09/20/asia/japanese-millennials-virgins/index.html

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-04-national-virginity-japan-adults-30s.html
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Post by Hielario on Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:14 am

It was about how I was seeing your defects for the first time. But I'm happy to bring some enjoyment to you with my mistakes.

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Post by Enail on Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:25 am

Ah, sorry, that wasn't meant to be a "knock it off a little" so much as a not-at-all modly "uh, is this good for you?"
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Post by Datelessman on Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:59 am

Hielario wrote:It was about how I was seeing your defects for the first time. But I'm happy to bring some enjoyment to you with my mistakes.

Ah, I misunderstood that. Sorry.

We all have feet of clay somewhere, I guess.

I have a sarcastic, sardonic way of looking at things sometimes.

Enail wrote:Ah, sorry, that wasn't meant to be a "knock it off a little" so much as a not-at-all modly "uh, is this good for you?"

I exaggerated a tad, but I got the message. It's an open wound and sometimes I pick at it too long.
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Post by Enail on Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:04 am

Okay, cool, sometimes it's hard to be a not-mod when you're a mod Wink
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Post by Datelessman on Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:20 am

Enail wrote:Okay, cool, sometimes it's hard to be a not-mod when you're a mod Wink

"Four or five moments, that's all it takes to be a mod. Everyone thinks it's a full time job. Wake up a mod, brush your teeth a mod, go to work a mod. Not true. Over a lifetime there are only four or five moments that really matter..."

Eh, the Colossus speech fit to me.

(Full disclosure; a lot of my life in meatspace is waiting for the right moment for a reference or a pun, and not wasting it.)

I get it, though. Elsewhere I have moderated a message board RPG for about 17 years so I know what it's like to wear the hat at all times.

I was genuinely serious about the Yaramiso thing though, and a curiosity about the Japanese situation. Maybe if there was a way to define it or frame it in different contexts than what usually comes up, which is usually some variation of dominance or angst about not being so.
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Post by Enail on Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:26 am

17 years, damn!
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Post by Datelessman on Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:40 am

Enail wrote:17 years, damn!

Yes, started in 2002 when I was still in college. The troupe is much smaller, at one point peaking at maybe a dozen players and now it is down to about 3-4, but that's how life goes. I used to do live action tabletop (to the point of creating my own games), but not so much after the start of college when my pals' schedules changed. I did do a D&D campaign a few years back though.

I've never lacked for imagination. I can come up with a whole plot and dialogue based on a simple premise in almost no time, and it impresses people but for me it's just standard. I can plan out an arc years in advance and leave it loose enough so the players are not limited. But, yeah, there were many times where I just wanted to hang out, not be a storyteller.

That is part of what I guess frustrates me a lot about the whole virginity thing. For a great deal of my life, wanting to have a relationship was something I really wanted, and despite all of my dedication, imagination, or creativity I could never figure it out. I could never crack that code. I could never outwit or gloss over my own lack of any natural romantic charisma. I can steer a plot fine if it involves robots or mutants or aliens or whatnot, but in convincing a woman why I am not a bad catch? Suddenly I am at a loss for words. And when I don't see a terribly positive ending for my story it can get very frustrating. But ironic, I suppose. Many great artists were pretty miserable privately. It's tough to be creative without pain, I think.
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Post by Enail on Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:57 am

Well, I don't think "convincing" anyone is a great way to date in any case, but I assume when you tell stories, you believe in them - not literally, obviously, but within the story, it holds together and feels believable, right? So if you don't believe you're not a bad catch, it seems pretty obvious you're not going to be able to tell that story (not that I think it's a story in the sense of fictional/not real, just in the sense that any perspective or thing you could convince someone of is a narrative).
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Post by inbloomer on Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:04 pm

I think all of us should bear in mind that while it's one thing to moan about past events we regret, or current facts, it's not healthy to go too far into what might happen in a hypothetical situation.

The British comedian Harry Enfield did a series of sketches called The Self-Righteous Brothers, which was basically two men in a pub who talked about what would happen if they met a particular celebrity. Initially admiringly, but then they would imagine the celebrity doing something disrespectful, and they would get worked up into a frenzy about this elaborate fiction. (Example here, though the references are now very dated.)

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Post by Datelessman on Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:52 pm

Enail wrote:Well, I don't think "convincing" anyone is a great way to date in any case, but I assume when you tell stories, you believe in them - not literally, obviously, but within the story, it holds together and feels believable, right? So if you don't believe you're not a bad catch, it seems pretty obvious you're not going to be able to tell that story (not that I think it's a story in the sense of fictional/not real, just in the sense that any perspective or thing you could convince someone of is a narrative).

You're right, "convincing" was a bad word. What I meant was there are some people who manage to attract lovers without relying on either physical looks or natural charisma. Or at least so I am told. And I didn't want to use the word "seduce" in that context.

You're also right that I don't "believe" much in my own story. The caveat is that I've been in sales and "sold" pitches to people many times before. Admittedly, it is over the telephone, which is way different and does not allow for key things like body language or facial expressions. But it isn't as if I haven't lied or at least embellished things in person before. I mean, none of us are nakedly honest in all job interviews or classes, or social situations. I suppose it helps that when I am working, there is less personal attachment and more mandated "technique" with method. And of course, numbers. 1:20 was a good day in sales. In dating I doubt I could hit that even if my sheer presence lowered interest on student debt. Then again, even in sales, the pitch usually ends with a "close" which is usually entangled with previous success. It is hard to do that when I have none. "I'd like to take you where no woman has gone before," only sounds hot if George Clooney or William Shatner said it.

I think that is why virginity becomes a big deal to a lot of people, myself included. It becomes a symbol of the lack of dating success, as an ultimate example of the futility of previous efforts. I once compared it to Sozin's Comet from AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. It's temporary, but when it is active, angst about dating can become briefly more potent. Short of amnesia or self delusion it becomes hard for me to psych myself up so long as I recall that.

inbloomer wrote:I think all of us should bear in mind that while it's one thing to moan about past events we regret, or current facts, it's not healthy to go too far into what might happen in a hypothetical situation.

The British comedian Harry Enfield did a series of sketches called The Self-Righteous Brothers, which was basically two men in a pub who talked about what would happen if they met a particular celebrity. Initially admiringly, but then they would imagine the celebrity doing something disrespectful, and they would get worked up into a frenzy about this elaborate fiction. (Example here, though the references are now very dated.)

That is very true. The problem is when there is a lack of experience, a hypothetical is all I have. And that is where some of the angst and frustration begins, perhaps not only for me. The very idea that positive romantic reactions from women have to be hypothetical, especially past an accepted age. And as Japan shows, even other countries raise eyebrows once it's past 30.

The reason why I brought up the Yaramiso thing was because I was curious if a rebranding of older male virginity might help. I mean it seems the only people willing to do that are the mouth foaming woman hater "incels", and that sucks. They don't have anyone's best interests at heart; they're a circle jerk cult. But at the same time DNL would likely advocate to just abolish the term anyway, as if virginity and the social stigma that comes from it can be wished away with enough willpower. I actually disagree with him that any person who rejects a virgin man is "an a-hole." Are they a-holes just for making what society has taught them part of their set of opinions and desires? That's unfair. Just as it's unfair to judge a virgin by one thing, so it could be wrong to judge someone who just doesn't want to sleep with them for reasons (and women have fair ones, as I discussed above). So maybe we need a term in the middle, you know? It acknowledges it as a thing but doesn't sound as hostile as the woman-haters have made it.

I suppose it risks delving into Shakespeare. Is a virgin by any other name any less chaste? But I don't think it would hurt, especially since that scarlet V word seems to upset people.
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Post by KMR on Thu Dec 12, 2019 10:28 am

Datelessman wrote:
You're right, "convincing" was a bad word. What I meant was there are some people who manage to attract lovers without relying on either physical looks or natural charisma. Or at least so I am told. And I didn't want to use the word "seduce" in that context.

The word I always think of in these contexts is "connect." People attract lovers by finding/developing a connection with other people. For those who don't have the natural charisma to forge a connection with a wide range of people, the way it usually happens is by finding that smaller subset of people who you click with on a personality/values/lifestyle level, where that connection will develop more naturally.

Datelessman wrote:
The reason why I brought up the Yaramiso thing was because I was curious if a rebranding of older male virginity might help. I mean it seems the only people willing to do that are the mouth foaming woman hater "incels", and that sucks. They don't have anyone's best interests at heart; they're a circle jerk cult. But at the same time DNL would likely advocate to just abolish the term anyway, as if virginity and the social stigma that comes from it can be wished away with enough willpower. I actually disagree with him that any person who rejects a virgin man is "an a-hole." Are they a-holes just for making what society has taught them part of their set of opinions and desires? That's unfair. Just as it's unfair to judge a virgin by one thing, so it could be wrong to judge someone who just doesn't want to sleep with them for reasons (and women have fair ones, as I discussed above). So maybe we need a term in the middle, you know? It acknowledges it as a thing but doesn't sound as hostile as the woman-haters have made it.

I find this interesting, because here you're advocating for a societal shift in how virginity is perceived. I fully agree that shifting perspectives on virginity and lessening or abolishing that stigma would certainly help many people. But DNL's advice about not letting your virginity define you by thinking of it as not a big deal (advice which you have said is unhelpful and frustrating to you) is basically the same thing, but on an individual level. You're essentially rebranding yourself internally. And while, no, that doesn't eliminate the stigma coming from society, and yes, it's important to acknowledge that such stigma does exist... ultimately, an individual can't bring about broad societal change. And just sitting around wishing for society to change is unproductive.

So I think the purpose of such advice isn't just to say "if you don't treat it like a big deal, it won't be a big deal." I think the bigger argument is that change has to start on an individual level before it can add up and become change on a societal level. And that making that individual shift in thinking at least gives you the power to change SOMETHING, even if it's only yourself. And then, if you can truly embrace the mindset that it isn't a big deal, other people you meet will sometimes also be convinced that it's not a big deal, and maybe their attitudes will shift a little bit. And that becomes a ripple effect that eventually pushes toward the kind of broad-reaching change that you would like to see in our culture (admittedly in a slow and gradual and you-may-not-even-notice-it-within-your-lifetime kind of way, but that's how most societal change happens anyway).
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Post by inbloomer on Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:38 pm

Those articles on Japan are an interesting case study in themselves. Some only talk about men, which casts the whole issue in terms of being a failure of masculinity, and it's that which I think leads to anger and despair. The ones that give the full figures show that women are just as affected: start from that point and late virginity seems to be more about a complex mix of factors that aren't any gender's fault.

Recognition that sexual privilege exists does seem to be gradually gaining ground. That is simply the understanding that some people never have to try particularly hard to find willing partners, while others try and try and struggle to get any opportunity. In itself that's not at all hateful or misogynist - what's dodgy is blinkered and over-simplified explanations.

Societal attitudes can actually change surprisingly fast, but as KMR says it first requires some people to stand up and model the behaviours they want to see from others.

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