Some days I wonder where it all went wrong. How I ended up here, alone. Missing out. A 32-year-old virgin. By accident. No grand pacts with deities were made. No overly sentimental illusions of saving myself for that one special person who would sweep me off my feet and free me of my hymen. Just your standard introvert with self-esteem and body image issues. (But hey, at least I don’t live in the Midwest – apparently dating SUCKS there.)
I have had no relationships to speak of, I’m too shy and insecure to figure out how to put myself out there. I’m far too insecure to even consider a one night stand, let alone how I’d go about it. I was left hoping that someone would finally see through all the neurosis and awkward turtle flirting and see something worth sticking around for. But I’m left watching as everyone else around me seem to have it figured out.
With each passing year it gets harder and harder, lonelier and lonelier. I must be doing something wrong. There must be some fundamental part of me that IS wrong, because everyone else is having sex. Animals do it. Most of the population does it. Hell, the kids I used to babysit are closer to having sex than I am at this point. What is it about me that is so unappealing to the opposite sex? Surely, there are plenty of people who are more insecure than me, more shy than me, weigh more/less than me that are having sex. With each passing year I stack more and more things on that list of what I must be doing wrong. And it must be me, right?
After so many years, I can’t tell any more if my insecurities and lack of self-esteem are a direct result of being a virgin or vice-versa. They’re all so tangled I can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. But having gone my entire adult life without someone wanting me? Desiring me? Needing me? It’s damn near paralyzing some days.
Dating, specifically the online variety, is made infinitely harder because how do I explain that I peaked sexually in junior high? That while I have plenty of sex toys and certainly know my way around a smutty book or video, I know that they don’t compare to the real thing. So every time I use/read/watch one, I’m left feeling just a tad bit more hollow knowing I’m missing out. It’s not true sex. It’s not real. How do I say that I have no idea what an adult relationship even looks like? Let alone that I’m 32 and technically an adult, but yeah, I’m a virgin.
I’ve had three dates in my adult life. The first I met on Match.com. Our first date went as well as could be expected. We talked for hours and at one point he brought up our past sex history. I don’t remember how or the wording exactly, but I ended up telling this guy, in a Steak ‘n Shake nonetheless, that I, indeed, was a virgin. I then explained further, while looking intensely at my milkshake, that I wasn’t looking for The One, I was just looking for a nice guy. He was lovely about it and reassured me that it was nothing to be ashamed of—that my virgnity was even sexy. Because whoever I did finally sleep with would get to be the first to discover my likes and dislikes and for a minute, I believed him. We made out for hours in his car in the parking lot (something I’d missed out on in high school and college) and hung out a few times after that, but then it just fizzled out. I wasn’t particularly broken up about it; I was more sad about missing out on the opportunity to finally rid myself of the adult virgin status that felt like it was blinking over my head like a neon sign.
The second date was a guy from OkCupid. We messaged back and forth and I ended up telling him before our date. He thought it was sexy. (It’s not.) We met up for dinner and within thirty seconds I knew: this was going nowhere. I’m not looking for explosive fireworks or a fat baby with an arrow hanging around my first dates, but I need at least an ounce of interest in the guy sitting across the table from me. There was none. It was the most awkward hour of my life, which says something.
The third date (also OkCupid) lived out of state, and we messaged for over a month—daily. We even sexted once. He knew about my virgin status and didn’t seem bothered by it. We ended up having dinner and vague plans were made about him possibly sleeping over. But just like the second guy, I knew almost immediately that the date wasn’t going anywhere. There was nothing wrong with him, per say, I just felt nothing. I could have lost my virginity to him, I’m almost certain. In the end, though, I sent him off with an awkward hug.
And despite what well-meaning friends may say about my virginity, it’s NOT fine. It’s not going to make it “more special.” I’m not going to be relieved to not to have any baggage hanging over me. And no, I’m not just being picky. NONE of those well-meaning things my friends say are true. What is true: It’s lonely. And isolating. I try not to be resentful of this thing—this damn near instinctual act that everyone takes for granted. But everyday it gets harder. And with each passing year—hell, with each passing day—I feel a little more resigned to the fact that it may never happen. That not everyone gets to experience love or companionship or sex.
And I try not to question why. Why don’t I get to feel wanted and needed and loved? Because questioning it won’t make it any less lonely.