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Alabaster

35 yo male virgin. Feeling like I lost my only chance to break the cycle.

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Hi all.

I'm 35, male, straight, intelligent, not unattractive, introverted, Aspergerish (not diagnosed), wealthy (I'm stating this not because it's really relevant, but to remind everyone that it's not). Generally confident, though when things are stacked too heavily against me I lose my confidence; and also, I'm always trying to be humble, which often conflicts with seeming confident.

I have never engaged in sexual intercourse.

I can think of multiple reasons why that is. When I was young, I had unhealthy notions about sex, thought of it as something dirty that I shouldn't involve myself with. I snapped out of it eventually, but by the time I was more open to pursuing a relationship, I was behind in the relevant development.

In most of the years since then I've focused on my career, and objectively speaking I've got that part of my life covered; but it didn't offer many opportunities to meet women.

In what little time I did dedicate to pursuing a relationship, not much came of it, partly because I lack the procedural knowledge on how to start a relationship. I believe that most of my best qualities can only be appreciated after getting to know me, which can be a problem if based on first impressions I'm never given the chance.

Obviously, I'm not happy with this state of affairs. There's a physical sexual urge, of course. And going forward, I wish to form a long-term relationship and start a family.

But at the moment, what bothers me most of all is how the very fact I am a 35 year old virgin makes me feel about myself.

There's a stigma against virgins, and while I very rarely encounter it, when I do it hurts and stays with me for a long time (case in point, I vividly remember a minor incident from 3 years ago). Sometimes people deduce from my demeanor that I am a virgin, and make snide remarks to that effect. And it bothers me that they're right. I feel like I'm a walking cliche and worth less as a person. I imagine that even if I weren't a virgin, I would still seem that way to some - and in that case I would really like to be able to say, to myself and them, "haha, joke's on you. I'm not a virgin."

Furthermore, it seems being a virgin can hinder my attempts at relationships. Potential partners, once they learn of my status, might conclude that there's something very wrong with me, and that I'm less valuable and desirable. Regardless of what they think, my concern that they might think this - and that they might be right - hurts my confidence, which itself makes me less eager to pursue a relationship, and less attractive when I do. There's also the matter that if I ever do get into an intimate situation, I might be expected to know WTF I'm doing, mechanically speaking, when I really don't.

Needless to say, the longer this goes on, the greater the problem becomes. But recent events have really driven the point home for me.

There's a girl at work whom I've known for a few years. Recently I've asked her out, and she agreed. The fact we've known each other previously made things easier, because I could just circumvent the whole problem of first impressions. And it seemed promising, because if she wants to go on a date based on several years of knowing me, chances are she'll want more than one.

And things were going well... For a while. She ended things, mostly because she realized she was mutually attracted to someone else from work (whom we've also both known for a few years) and preferred to be with him. Can't really blame her - I must say he seems like a better fit for her than me.

For me it was devastating. To be completely honest, I was hoping that even if the relationship did end, it would be only after we've had sexual intercourse at least once. I imagined what it would have been like to do that - not in the physical sense (though I'm sure that would be great as well), but in the sense of how it would make me feel about myself. To know that I am capable of doing that. That I am desirable. That I'm not doomed to die a virgin, and I no longer have to carry the label. That even if this relationship didn't work, I can now approach relationships with new-found confidence.

But that didn't happen, and now I'm back to square one. I feel like I've missed my one chance to break the cycle, and who knows if such an opportunity will ever present itself again in my lifetime. This makes me despondent, frustrated and depressed - even more so since I know I was so close, and that if the timing was slightly different, my life could have been significantly and permanently altered for the better.

It's been a few months now. She and I were friends before all that, and we're still friends now, even closer than before... But when I see her (and also whenever I think about relationships), all these emotions rise to the surface. It's difficult. I now understand why people don't usually stay friends after a breakup.

So that's my story. I'll be happy for any concrete advice, as well as help in coping with my situation.

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Thanks for sharing your story.  Your disadvantage from lack of experience is real but not hopeless.  While i wasn't technically a virgin at 35, my experience up to that point was horribly meager and lousy.  Divorce in my 40s gave me a chance to try again at finding both sex and a fulfilling relationship as a wiser person than I was when I'd married.  Even though I'd been married for a long time and had kids, I felt like I truly lost my virginity only after that divorce, after 40 years of age.

The first sex i had after divorce was in a no strings attached relationship for a few meetings with a woman I  met through a dating site.  I did not want to pursue anything serious with her and she was lonely too and OK with having some much needed fun.  I met my current wife not.long after so I didn't go nuts playing the field.  My concrete advice would be, when in a first time sex situation with someone and you're both nervous, use touch and massage to establish a sensitive and easy connection.

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Hi, Alabaster, welcome!

Sorry for such a late reply. 

I hear your concerns and I understand your longing for a relationship. Also, it must be difficult to be around a person who reminds you of something so disappointing :( . However, it seems to me you're overestimating the problem that virginity might pose and you're seeking a proof of being desirable and lovable although you already have it - the woman has chosen someone else just because he was there and she happened to like him more; that doesn't mean you're not desirable etc.

 I think it would be better to concentrate on meeting some new (and/or 'already known') women and forming a nice relationship, just by talking, flirting, kissing, ... and taking it slowly so that you first really like each other and then, when you're already sure, you can try 'the next level'. I think that thinking "virginity is a handicap / disadvantage" is not useful at all and can only unnecessarily make yo nervous. I suppose it's always "new" with a new person (because people have different preferences, ...), so any past experiences don't make it much easier. You don't need to think it's such a difference. I'm sure there are guys who aren't virgins and can get nervous when they are with a new partner for the first time; it's normal. And I presume most (/many?) people don't have too hight expectations of 'first times'. All you need it to be attentive (not overly, in a weird way) to the needs and desires of the woman you're with and let her "guide you". Also, she even doesn't need to know in advance that you're a virgin (you may tell her afterwards). 

What do you think?

BTW; I imagine you're probably rather lucky to be friends with the colleague, despite the fact that she reminds you (so far - it will end one day, surely at least when you'll be in a relationship) of what happened. What would yo say that her friendship brings you?

Good luck and take care!

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Hi Alabaster and welcome.

Just 2 things I wanted to add - try to put yourself in situations where women go to improve the odds of meeting someone - who knows, you could meet the woman of your dreams at a yoga class 😉

Also, about your friend - I can understand how that is a painful situation,  don't endure torment if it is too much to be friends with her - think about distancing or at the very least boundaries about topics you don't want to hear about.

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Thanks for the replies!

On 5/17/2019 at 5:28 AM, u.r.what.u.is said:

Thanks for sharing your story.  Your disadvantage from lack of experience is real but not hopeless.  While i wasn't technically a virgin at 35, my experience up to that point was horribly meager and lousy.  Divorce in my 40s gave me a chance to try again at finding both sex and a fulfilling relationship as a wiser person than I was when I'd married.  Even though I'd been married for a long time and had kids, I felt like I truly lost my virginity only after that divorce, after 40 years of age.

The first sex i had after divorce was in a no strings attached relationship for a few meetings with a woman I  met through a dating site.  I did not want to pursue anything serious with her and she was lonely too and OK with having some much needed fun.  I met my current wife not.long after so I didn't go nuts playing the field.  My concrete advice would be, when in a first time sex situation with someone and you're both nervous, use touch and massage to establish a sensitive and easy connection.

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. I should note, though, that while the technical experience (for lack of a better term) is one of my concerns, it's probably the smallest among them.

 

7 hours ago, jazz said:

Just 2 things I wanted to add - try to put yourself in situations where women go to improve the odds of meeting someone - who knows, you could meet the woman of your dreams at a yoga class 😉

I might try that; I guess it's a matter of finding an activity where I could fit in and enjoy it for its own sake, where there are also women, and where there is an opportunity to actually get to know your peers, so it wouldn't be too creepy if I come on to people.

7 hours ago, jazz said:

Also, about your friend - I can understand how that is a painful situation,  don't endure torment if it is too much to be friends with her - think about distancing or at the very least boundaries about topics you don't want to hear about.

That makes sense. However, distancing seems extreme, probably wouldn't help that much, and difficult in practice due to work relationships. The issue with establishing boundaries is that, since I'm quite sensitive, they would have to be impractically restrictive to be effective. A single word said has the potential to trigger me and give me something to obsess about for a long time. For example, she has recently told me that things are going well with [that other guy]. As a friend I think its completely legitimate for her to tell me such things. And because I care about her, I wish I could feel genuinely happy for her. But I can't. It's too painful a reminder for what I've missed.

 

18 hours ago, LaLa said:

However, it seems to me you're overestimating the problem that virginity might pose and you're seeking a proof of being desirable and lovable although you already have it - the woman has chosen someone else just because he was there and she happened to like him more; that doesn't mean you're not desirable etc.

This sounds reasonable, but I have a few issues. If I look at the hard evidence so far, there's plenty of evidence that I'm not desirable (no meaningful relationship in 35 years), and not enough evidence that I am (one semi-serious relationship that got nipped in the bud). And regardless of logical arguments, the important issue is whether I feel desirable, and I can't shake the feeling that I'm not. I wish I had something a bit more tangible to show me that I am. And though I might be a bit blowing things out of proportion, in my mind, having sex is exactly that - the ultimate, conclusive proof. Not "close to sex". Not "maybe sex if circumstances were a bit different". Sex.

18 hours ago, LaLa said:

I think it would be better to concentrate on meeting some new (and/or 'already known') women and forming a nice relationship, just by talking, flirting, kissing, ... and taking it slowly so that you first really like each other and then, when you're already sure, you can try 'the next level'.

I'm fine with that. But here's the thing... Normally, I'm focused on my work, and I don't spend time and energy on the idea of dating; so I don't think about how miserable I am. When I do try to date more actively, this just opens a Pandora's box and brings all those negative emotions to the surface. Which, in turn, makes me less eager to try to date. It's a vicious circle I have so far been unable to break.

18 hours ago, LaLa said:

I think that thinking "virginity is a handicap / disadvantage" is not useful at all and can only unnecessarily make yo nervous. I suppose it's always "new" with a new person (because people have different preferences, ...), so any past experiences don't make it much easier. You don't need to think it's such a difference. I'm sure there are guys who aren't virgins and can get nervous when they are with a new partner for the first time; it's normal. And I presume most (/many?) people don't have too hight expectations of 'first times'. All you need it to be attentive (not overly, in a weird way) to the needs and desires of the woman you're with and let her "guide you". Also, she even doesn't need to know in advance that you're a virgin (you may tell her afterwards).

I'm sure that it's not useful to think that virginity is a handicap. But merely knowing this is not sufficient for me to not think that...

If I ever do have sex, I'm pretty sure I will let the partner know in advance it's my first time. I can understand what you're saying that it is always challenging with first-time partners, but this really can't match my current level of cluelessness. To be a bit blunt and use the words of Samwell Tarly, I won't know where to put it. And there's an emotional component to the event beyond the mechanical one. I think it will be useful for her to know exactly what we're going into.

18 hours ago, LaLa said:

BTW; I imagine you're probably rather lucky to be friends with the colleague, despite the fact that she reminds you (so far - it will end one day, surely at least when you'll be in a relationship) of what happened. What would yo say that her friendship brings you?

Well, she's a cool person, and being friends with her is advisable regardless of anything else.

Also, in a sense, she is the only close female friend I've ever had. I think it's healthy to have friends of the opposite gender, who are not romantic partners, or partners of a male friend.

And I think it strengthens me as a person to be able to remain friends with an ex. The thing here is, that I might be biting more than I can chew. I'm not really that strong emotionally, and internally, I'm not handling what this friendship entails all that well.

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Alabaster, I see what you are saying re. friend, but as you were both involved and she probably has more than an inkling how you feel I don't think it is 'completely legitimate' for her say it's going well with the other guy. Say you'd rather not hear if you want, test her sensitivity - because if she is a close friend she'd understand.

This is cheeky but why not ask her if she has any cool female friends you could double date with!

Also, when crunch time arrives with a girl, I'll bet that you will know instinctively what to do, especially if she is the right one 😉

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1 hour ago, jazz said:

This is cheeky but why not ask her if she has any cool female friends you could double date with!

I don't mind asking that at all, but I'm sure that if she did have any relevant friends, she would have made the introduction already.

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12 hours ago, Alabaster said:

I don't mind asking that at all, but I'm sure that if she did have any relevant friends, she would have made the introduction already.

Maybe, I can't know what your friendship is really like - but I do know friendship is a 2 way street, something that should make both parties happy.

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I agree with Lala, and I think i chose poorly when i used the word disadvantage.  Difficult situation is more like it.

You are in an emotional situation that I'll admit i haven't really experienced.   I was able and eager to move thing along swiftly after my divorce.  It sounds like therapy with the right person could be of great help.  For what it's worth, i hope things work out for you and i don't think you're crazy... You have some real issues to work through, and it's really good that you're talking about it.

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Just an update (since I don't really have anyone else to talk to about these things other than here) that so far there has been no change in either my status, or in my ability to cope with it. I keep going back to obsessing over the gravity of the situation, the pain over the "near miss" I've mentioned, and the lack of faith that things will ever improve.

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Hello again, Alabaster! Thank you for the update!

I'm sorry I haven't replied to your previous post - I wanted to but haven't found the time and then I forgot :redface:... Now I only have a minute, but I hope I'll find more time to write soon enough... Now I just wanted to say 'good to see you again' and 'sorry'.

 

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