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On what is not wrong with you, part 8: being a virgin

This week I got an email from a guy who is a virgin. In his words:

!’m 28, male and a virgin. I got brought up religiously. I so wanted to lose my virginity – but it didn’t happen. Let’s just say meeting girls wasn’t something I did. I went to university when I was 20 and well, it didn’t happen. Then I came home and it didn’t happen and… well, although I’ve never seen it, I’m like that 40 Year Old Virgin guy.

Long story short: he is worried that being a virgin makes him less attractive to women. A sticky problem, because if it’s true then being a virgin beyond a certain point means you fall into a vicious circle of not-getting-laid, making you less attractive to potential partners the longer it takes you to get laid, and so eventually diminishing your chances of getting laid to almost zero.

Scary stuff. Luckily, the world is not such a bleak and awful place that women will, en mass, refuse to sleep with you if you haven’t hurled your virginity away by your X-teenth birthday.

What’s the right age to lose my virginity?

The answer to this question is “literally any age you feel comfortable losing it.” Fun fact: this might mean ‘never’, if you never feel the desire to. Before I wrote this blog I Googled “ages to lose virginity by country” and came across this excellent map. The link to the original source is broken (if anyone’s got updated links do let me know in the comments) but I’ve no reason to believe it’s not true – it lists the average age for people to lose their virginity by country, with the ages ranging from around 15 to over 20. The overall average is 17, which would probably surprise the British teenagers I went to school with, who seemed to think that if you hadn’t rid yourself of your virginity by the age of 16 you were definitely frigid and/or ugly.

I digress.

The most important thing to note is that these ages are average: they are the age arrived at when, on balance, everyone’s experience is taken into account. If we all lost our virginities on or before the average these figures would plummet, so from this we can deduce that there are plenty of people losing their virginities much later than the average age, as well as people who lose it before.

Will girls not want to sleep with me because I’m a virgin?

Sadly I can’t answer for all girls, no matter how much I’d like to have an ‘official spokesperson’ badge. But what I can tell you is that there are definitely some girls who will want to sleep with you even though you’re a virgin. Moreover, there are girls who will find the fact that you’re a virgin a distinct turn on.

Over the course of my life I can count the number of virgins I’ve slept with on one hand. Or, to be more precise, one finger. The sex was stunningly hot. Absolutely, achingly, delightfully hot. His nervousness and desperation to do the deed combined to produce a tension that was utterly unique: never before or since have I felt someone trembling so violently as he touched me, or moaning with such beautiful, lustful agony as he slipped his shaking fingers into my knickers. You can read more about him here, or [SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT] buy my book for the full story.

So, in answer to your question, I certainly wouldn’t be less likely to sleep with someone if I knew he was a virgin. On the contrary, I’d be more likely to savour the moment, flattered in the knowledge that he’d probably remember me for the rest of his life. Not all women will think like this, of course, but those that do will appreciate you so hard they’ll make up for any other judgmental ones.

If all this is true, why do I feel bad for being a virgin?

Because some people (I like to call them ‘fuckwits’) speak and act as if your virginity is a troublesome mess to be disposed of. Like you’ve been carrying a used tissue around with you since you were born, and when you hit sexual maturity you must dispose of it as quickly as is humanly possible.

Whether it’s the arsehole kids at school calling you a virgin because you’re not behaving like a sex pest, to the adults who really should know better using ‘virgin’ as slang for ‘pitiable loser’.

Like those who think sleeping with more than the ‘average’ number of people makes you a reprehensible human, some people act as if ‘losing your virginity’ is a chore you need to get out of the way before you can become a fully functioning adult member of society. It’s balls, of course. I remember the night after I lost my virginity lying in bed thinking “huh. So that’s it. I’m not a virgin any more.” I expected to feel different: more grown up. I’m not sure how exactly – I don’t think I expected flashes of light or a tingling cunt or a sudden and comprehensive knowledge of the Kama Sutra. But I didn’t feel different at all: I felt like just the same slightly clumsy, neurotic twat that I’d been before, just with a new experience to hold onto.

I’d rather be a virgin than a bastard

In my experience sex is a very nice thing to have, and if you want to have it and haven’t yet then I understand your desire to hump things, in the same way as I understand why people want to go to Disneyland, or stay at the Ritz. I’m not going to patronise you and assure you that “it’ll definitely happen one day” or that you just have to wait for the “right” person – these things will depend utterly on how you feel about it, what you do, and who you end up meeting.

What I will tell you, though, is that not everyone is going to think badly of you for being a virgin. And I can assure you that the people who make you feel shit because you’ve missed out on a life experience they happen to have had are probably not worth fucking. They’re like braying gap-year-ites who tell you you’ve ‘never lived’ because you haven’t been to India, or got off your tits on mushrooms at a beach party in Thailand. Like arrogant city boys who brag about their salary in front of lower-paid friends. They are the the cool kids from school who never grew up, and remain convinced that happiness can only be measured in comparison to other people.

There are plenty of people for whom your virginity will not be an issue – there are many who will actively find it a turn on. There will be a few – and I suspect it’s only a small proportion – who will judge you for it. Don’t worry about whether these people will fuck you: if they judge you for being a virgin then they don’t deserve to have nice sex.


  • Dm7 says:

    I helped a friend lose his virginity when he was 25. Apparently he got a round of applause at work the next day!

    I was pleased to help him out, and he gave me the best fingering I’d ever experienced in my life!

  • Fiddy says:

    Heh. My wife has easily fifty virginities taken under her belt. And that’s just among the women, I’m certain she would hit triple digits in terms of guys.

    Anywho, my wife (and me, to a certain extent) do not care if you are a virgin or not. If someone is desirable, most likely they’ll end up with my wife bouncing on top of them a few hours later.

  • !’m 28, male and a virgin… although I’ve never seen it, I’m like that 40 Year Old Virgin guy.

    Spoiler alert: the guy in The 40-Year-Old Virgin is 40.

    • Girl on the net says:

      As we try to build a brave new world in which everything we write or say is literally and absolutely true, we can hold no truck with these wishy-washy comparisons. Good work, soldier.

  • PatSharp'sTragicHouseFire says:

    I’m a 23 year old (male) virgin! I started writing a blog about it but then I felt sad and stopped.

    Anyway yeah, I’m certain that there are FAR more 20+ virgins out there than any fucking Channel 4 conducted survey would tell you. Male and female. As it’s not something people tend to openly talk about. Once you get past 20 it’s assumed it’s either a choice or that there’s something wrong with you.

    I was considering online dating for the New Year, then went into one of my usual bouts of over-thinking and now the prospect just terrifies me. When are you supposed to bring something like virginity up? Obviously I don’t mean as soon as you meet them at the tube station or something, but when exactly is the right time to tell someone that? And if they ask why, what do I say? SO MANY QUESTIONS. At least your emailer has got a religious upbringing as an excuse – I’m just rubbish.

    Good luck to that guy though! It is tough. And GONT is right – any potential sexual partners who would consider never having sex as any sort of a burden or turn-off are fucking idiots and not really worth sharing your virginity with in the first place. It’s as simple as that.

    • Girl on the net says:

      It sounds like you’ve got a healthy way of looking at it, although that’s an interesting question: when do you broach the subject? I don’t think you *have* to mention it by any means – it’s not vital that you tell someone, unless you think it would fundamentally change whether they’d want to have sex with you (which it probably won’t). Although I can see why you would want to tell them.

      I think I’d go with telling them shortly before you first had sex – far enough along that you know sex is going to happen, but not so far along that you’re mentioning it as an aside just as you slip a condom on. That gives you the chance to have a proper chat about it if you want to, or simply get on with it if you’re both super keen to go quickly. If it comes up during dating, I’d probably mention it, but I’d be righteously pissed off if it put the other person off future dates. Although I guess if it did I’d at least have found out they were an arsehole *before* spending my first time with them.

  • Steinbeck says:

    It’s stupid but reading this really made me feel relieved. Last two girls I told about it seemed to instantly friend-zone me. To hear this from you Girl on the Net really made me feel that I really shouldn’t be so closed about it and that I can still be lusted after! Keep up the good work!

  • Alistair says:

    I was 20 when I lost mine, but she was also a virgin so it was a pretty big thing for both of us and we had built up to it over several weeks. When to mention it is a a tricky one. I would definitely go with GOTN’s advice. If, by that stage, the other party is turned off by the thought, then you have had a lucky escape from someone who is not worthy of sharing the experience with.

  • Max says:

    I’ve somehow made it as far as 25. I’m just too inept to realise when it’s coming my way and grab the oppotunity! I think there’s probably alot more of us out there than those surveys suggest. Is it a thing alot of people really, truly, want to be honest about? Looking back I know I’ve missed a two, if not three times I could have easily lost it but didn’t even realise at the time!

  • Sean says:

    This is a map illustrating age of first sex by country which claims to be based on a more recent Durex survey (link to source also broken). Durex’s page on their sexual wellbeing survey seems to have only a little bit of data on frequency of sex.

  • A says:

    As a girl yet to find the person I want to sleep with, who is sick and tired of being told to “get it over with” can I just say a huge THANK YOU for this post! Xx

  • Bob says:

    Being a virgin at 33, I also noticed that most of the women on dating websites expressed a displeasure for the idea of dating a virgin. And, being an analytical kinda guy, I used the awesome dating engine that is OkCupid to sample (as randomly as possible) 127 profiles belonging to women between the ages of 21 and 38 within 25km of London (my target audience, in other words).

    As I (and, by the sound of it, many guys in the same position) suspected, the majority of the sampled profiles (78.69% in fact) expressed a negative attitude towards a potential date being a virgin. And, given the sample size, I calculate that the population proportion is very probably [99% confidence interval] somewhere between 65% and 93%. So virginity is definitely not a boon when looking to win dates in London. In fact, the only other traits which proved to be as unpopular in my sample were “never been in a relationship” (unpopular with somewhere between 67% and 92%) and “low self-confidence” (unpopular with somewhere between 69% and 90%).

    Mathematics aside, there is a happy ending. I decided to just come clean and splash my undesirable attributes all over the front page of my dating profile in “here I am, this is me” kind of way. A number of women (and even one guy) contacted me, full of pity, tell me that negatives don’t belong on a dating profile. And I figured they knew what they were talking about, so I was all set to take it down when, to my eternal surprise and gratitude, an incredible, beautiful, warm, intelligent, polyamorous, wildly sexual woman sought me out specifically because she liked the idea of being my first.

    We got on so well online that when we met in person for the first time we did so with a hotel room already booked. The anticipation we both felt while waiting for the check-in hour to arrive was an awesome buzz, and once we had entered the hotel room we didn’t emerge again until after seven hours involving numerous sex acts and more than half a dozen orgasms (most of them hers). Given the choice between this experience at age 33, or an early, awkward, brief fumble in my teenage years, no way would I change a thing. It was absolutely worth the wait.

    So, very probably you’re right: most women will be put-off by the fact you’re a virgin and you might be wasting your time trying to connect with them. But if you focus on finding a woman who, instead of being apprehensive, is excited by your innocence then it might prove to be a unique selling point which marks you out as someone of interest amongst the horde.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Wow – this is an amazing story – thank you so much for sharing it! Being a bit nerdy about data, I’d be really interested to know how you collected your sample – did you directly ask your randomly selected people? Was it as one of the OKC questions?

      Congrats on your experience, though – it sounds fantastic! All hail OKC (I’m a massive fan, having met some truly amazing people on there)

  • Some chap says:

    I think I was 25 when I lost mine. Possibly 26. What does it say that I don’t even remember? I remember *it* though, and her. Nicely enough, she’s also the last person I had sex with. But there have been others along the way.. but not many, and not often. In some respects, I miss being a virgin because there’s no pressure the first time (you think there will be, but if you get there and there is then you’re probably doing it with the wrong person). Now I’m mid 30’s and I’m even-more-supposed to know what I’m doing.. and the same confidence issues that kept me a virgin until my mid-20’s are compounded. When I come here I usually feel better about it.. it’s not like I don’t know that it doesn’t *really* matter, but it doesn’t usually feel like the world is full of women who think like our host.. whereas, actually, it probably is.

    I do know that I wasn’t a virgin until my mid 20’s because I was a twat, or because all women were repulsed by me. I just lacked (and still lack) a bit of competence in the field of connecting with people. I don’t tend to let my current lack of experience weigh me down.. because on the rare occasions I get fumbly with someone it’s always fun.. it’s making the right connections that are the issue. Get a few of those right, and the rutting bit is all surprisingly fine.

  • Rachael says:

    I was a virgin until 26… I did have a religious upbringing, but honestly I just didn’t feel that I was really a sexual being at all until I was 25, and mostly identified as asexual. Anyway, I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at 24, and once I’d actually settled down into my own mind, I found that my sexuality developed naturally. So, you know, 26 happened to be the right age for me, and that was fine. I’ve not felt pressured or judged by any of my friends because of that, so I’ve been lucky.

    The one thing that really pissed me off, though, was the ‘pull the other one, love’ look my (female) GP gave me when questioning me about my cervical smear history. Apparently if you say you’ve never been sexually active at 25 then you clearly must be lying. *fume*

  • Amelia says:

    I’m 20 and I’m a virgin, althought I’m still fairly young I’m the only virgin out of everyone I know. Even my younger sister!!

    I’ve been single for just over 2 years, and my last boyfriend was the only guy it *could* have happened with. But I knew he was never going to stick around very long so I didn’t feel like he deserved a part of the me that I respect so much.

    What makes things harder though is my job revolves a lot around sex and how sex sells, and not one person there knows about my situation. So when a guy finds about my job he instantly thinks I’m this sex mad fiend, then when things get more serious and I admit to him it’s not like that they just leave.

    Friends say they respect me and even guy friends say the same. But it does get me down sometimes, I feel like it holds me back when it comes to dating. I’m still terrified of ever letting myself be that close to someone and share something so intimate. But I know when I meet someone who deserves it, I’ll be fine :)

  • SP says:

    Bob’s story is really an inspiration.

    Mine’s a bit different, but I haven’t tried online yet. I’m a middle aged though not yet 40yo virgin. I have exactly nothing in common with either Steve Carrell or the guy in Channel 5’s virgin school. It makes sense to me that it hasn’t happened for me but it doesn’t for most people who haven’t known me most of my life. Some people who haven’t known me most of my life even think I’m a womanizer because I hang out with women a lot and flirt a lot.

    So, I by and large agree with your assertion that most people, including most women, will not make fun of virgins of an unexpected age. I was extremely worried about that until I was about 30, and lied to everyone, but at some point I decided that it was time to come clean to my friends and since then I’ve decided not to advertise the fact but to not hide it either. I can’t remember anyone who made fun of me.

    Telling women I’m attracted to, though, is a tricky thing, because it frees *me*, as it explains my lack of experience, but it does change entirely how they perceive me. It’s not easy to be perceived as a *man* after that admission, and most women want *men*, not boys. I look like a man, I usually act like a man, but when it comes to this, I’m really about 17. A scared teenage boy. And that’s usually a sexual turn-off. Most women will still like me, as friends, occasionally in a wingman-y way, but usually, the admission is the end of their sexual attraction to me.

    There’s good reasons for that – and I don’t blame them. The odds of being psychologically normal as a virgin in your mid-30s are not that high. Why run the risk, particularly when they were interested in more than sex; and why run the risk for a bad one night stand when there’s not a lot to gain? I understand, but I’m also afraid to not tell them before and have my inexperience show. I’ve literally had women tell me: go have sex with some other woman, then come back to me.

    To be fair, two women offered, literally, to help me out of the predicament, but those times I was simply too scared to follow through because I didn’t know them enough to trust them. Both were situations that happened near closing time of bars, both with women I had met that night. One, I had told about my situation before we had started kissing, the other one had simply started to kiss me without even saying hello, so I felt the need to tell her she may be expecting something from me I won’t be able to deliver when she was already riding my right knee outside of her apartment building after the bar had closed.

    I’ve been thinking about trying kink online communities to find women I can get to know and trust before doing it. But I’ve been afraid of that, too, until now. Maybe Bob’s story is what I needed to try this. Thanks!

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