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Your Call: What’s the Best Way to Tell a Guy I’m a Virgin?

Fri, Oct 15, 2010

Advice, Dear Em & Lo, Your Call

photo by Rafael Acorsi

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call by leaving your advice in the comments section below:

Dear Em & Lo,

I’m a 22-year-old virgin and have decided to wait for a committed relationship before having sex. Sometimes when I’m dating and the sex talk comes up, guys get very nervous when they realize I’m a virgin. I try not to make it such a big deal, I see it as only a part of my character, not the whole thing.

I’m dating a great guy now and I’m pretty sure the topic of sex will come up soon. Any advice about how to approach this? Am I kidding myself to think that guys wouldn’t freak about this? Any advice would be great.

– Virginally Yours

What should Virginally Yours do?

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31 Responses to “Your Call: What’s the Best Way to Tell a Guy I’m a Virgin?”

  1. Johnny Says:

    Not all guys will freak out about this, especially considering that there are plenty of 22 year old dudes who are similarly inexperienced.

    If a woman told me she was a virgin at 30, that would wierd me out. Sorry, it just would.

  2. philipp Says:

    Being aware that I literally post into a minefield here (I remember some of the last discussions on this topic all too well), I will go out on a limb and say the following: many guys will, in general, not as such be freaked out about you being a virgin. However, they will very abruptly learn that sex will not become part of your relationship any time soon. Hence, they will instantly lose interest in your dating, since it is going pretty much nowhere to them.

    This probably seems very unfair to you, but from a different perspective it may make sense. Everybody has expectations of how a relationship progresses, and for the vast majority of adult people (of both sexes) this includes sex after a relatively short time. A relationship without sex will simply not be what most people are looking for. While you are of course right that you being a virgin is just a small part of your character, it kinda dominates the course that a relationship can possibly go from there on.

    What I really want to say is this: the problem will not go away by finding the perfect way of /saying/ that you are a virgin. It can only go away by either (a) finding somebody who feels the same way about sex (which I am assuming is not the case here, otherwise the question would not really make sense), or (b) … well, you know what the other possibility is.

  3. Johnny Says:

    “… [guys] will very abruptly learn that sex will not become part of your relationship any time soon… they will instantly lose interest in your dating, since it is going pretty much nowhere to them.”

    I’m not sure I agree, Philipp… I mean, that statement might describe you, and it certainly describes me, but I think you’re over-estimating the average man’s “game”.

    Many guys out there are getting little or no sex ANYWAY. Most of these guys would see a pants-on make-out with a virgin as way better than no nothing. And if she’s a fellatious virin? Fuggedaboudit. Lots of guys would be down with that.

  4. philipp Says:

    Hmm, I think we have to agree to disagree then. I hang out with all sorts of guys, in different ages and from different social circles, and I can safely say none of them would be down with that, fellatio or not.

    From my sample of middle european men, I stand by my earlier statement that the vast majority of men will just run if they learn that there is no promise of sex and the near or at least medium future.

    I think the problem is also that the reasons for staying a virgin are usually hard to understand for most (including me, as you might have guessed by now). I guess many men could live with a no-sex relationship if they understand the reasons, for instance if they learn that the the girl has had a troublesome past and hence does not want to have sex until she feels totally secure. However, of course, what counts as an understandable reason is surely different from guy to guy. While ‘God does not want it’ seems to be a good enough reason for some, it would make me run only much faster…

  5. Johnny Says:

    “While ‚ÄėGod does not want it‚Äô seems to be a good enough reason for some, it would make me run only much faster‚Ķ”

    Oh man, me too. I guess we can agree to that.

  6. Georgina Says:

    My advise, as a girl who didn’t loose it until I was 21, I wouldn’t tell him.

    That’s not to say that you should be ashamed of it or it’s wrong, but men tend to jump to conclusions. I told a few guys and all that happened is they lost interest and I ended up hurt and upset. They assume that they’re going to have to wait months and months to sleep with you, that you’ll get too clingy too quick or that you’ll make a bigger deal out of it then he deems necessary. In my case none of that was true, but it didn’t stop any of them assuming it.

    Your sexual history is none of his business, and if he wants to know every details of yours, he should be equally willing to share every details of his.

    I told those guys I was a virgin because I’d decided I wanted them to be my first. Believe me, it hurts when you tell someone that and they run as fast as they can in the other direction because of all the virgin cliches they’ve heard.

    Keep it to yourself, wait until you’re ready and don’t do it before. The chances are he’ll have no idea and you’ll end up with a decent guy who likes you for who you are, not for who you have or haven’t slept with.

  7. Madamoiselle L Says:

    I have to agree with Phillip.

    Georgina, they guy is going to figure out there is NO sex happening in a short while anyway. He’s either going to figure she’s into playing games or she doesn’t find him attractive. IMO, the relationship isn’t going to progress (most of the time) without sex coming up sooner rather than later. She’s best off, IF she intends on staying with him, letting him know. IF she feels he’s “the right one” she needs to let him know that, too. But, only if sex IS going to happen in a short period of time. No “I want you to be the one, but I need a year (or more) of Love and Commitment for you to prove it to me, before we have sex.” That is not going to fly with too many men.

    Again, like Phillip said, for some reason talking about virginity is a minefield on this site. I don’t really get why.

  8. hannah Says:

    Hey! I was about the same age, btw. Really nothing wrong with that!

    The truth is, when you get a little older, your sexual history has less and less significance than it did in earlier relationships. True, maybe you talk about it with your partner, just out of curiousity, but I’ve also had a three year relationship where we never discussed our “number” or how old we were when we started, etc. You especially don’t need to disclose those things at the beginning of a relationship, if you choose to disclose them at all.

    So honestly, maybe you are rushing into being open about that a little sooner than you should. It seems like it just makes you feel pressured and judged, and you ultimately end up feeling bad because of your partner’s reaction. It’s totally fair to just say, Listen, I don’t want to rush into having sex. Period. You don’t have to explain why. And then, once you are a little more comfortable and maybe have a bit more commitment to each other, you might want to talk about it.

    But just keep in mind that, later in life, it’s just not that big a deal how many people you’ve slept with. It is a big deal for some people if you’re never going to want sex in a relationship, that’s true, so if you intend to not have sex at all, then there are some people who might not be a good match for you. But any guy who is worth your time will be willing to stick around for a while until you’re ready, and once he gets to know you, knowing your lack of experience isn’t going to change how he feels about you! Plenty of people wait until they know each other really well before having sex. It’s not like you have an STD! So you don’t have to be upfront about that until you are truly ready to start having sex with that person.

    Though it would be good for you to tell them at that point! You definitely want them to take it easy and let you control the situation and positioning as much as possible for your first time, so do at least tell them once you decide you want to sleep together!

  9. megan Says:

    This is my first time posting on a site like this so I hope I don’t stir any problems.

    The way I see it, if you’re with the right guy, he won’t care and it won’t matter. I’m 20, in my first serious relationship and it took us a very long time to have the talk, primarily because we are both very shy people. Because I was so scared he would judge me for being a virgin, I was the one that initiated the conversation by asking if he was one first. After spilling his story, he then returned the question. With my reply he seemed surprised, but explained that he had no problem waiting until I was ready.

    I really have to agree with Hannah, that if you still don’t want to spill the beans then just flat out say “I don’t want to rush into sex”. Good luck!

  10. Bill Hewitt Says:

    This whole issue is the same for the other side,men have a lot of issues regarding male development in the brain and body and performance is a large part of both of us and have to deal with as we grow up

  11. Tony Says:

    Sorry to say, but in this day and age:
    If by ‘committed relationship’ you mean ‘no sex until the first night of the honeymoon’, I think you you’ve really got your work cut out for you.

  12. Betty boo Says:

    If it’s just a case of not having met the right guy/had the right moment (as opposed to waiting for marriage or major issues) what’s wrong with saying something like ‘I fancy the pants off you but I’m kinda inexperienced so we’ll need to take it slow but I want you to be the one who helps me widen that experience’;0) Good for the guy’s ego, lets him know you’re into him whilst letting him know that you may not jump into bed on the third date.. ;0) He’ll probably find it pretty sexy that you chose him and that he’s the experienced man tutoring you in the ways of lust.. ;0)

  13. Pillow Says:

    I waited until I found my Mr.right before making love (after a year). He was happy that he was my first! :D But I will admit we did other “things” rather than intercourse over the first year. :P

    Waiting to have sex until you find the right person is a very sensible idea IMO, and also means you’re not filled with STD’s! Plus, you’re not going to have any high end expectations and compare your lover to past relationships. Also, you don’t run the risk of having sex with someone who is only interested in you because of your body.

    Having a purely physical relationship is not only shallow, but will not last (what’s going to happen when your body changes?). If you are looking for a long term relationship with someone, sex should not be the first priority. Build up a strong friendship first. Then move onto the physical. Sex will be so much more meaningful.

    Don’t conform to what “society” says women should do.

    But that’s just advice. ;)

  14. Christina Says:

    Honestly,
    My boyfriend and I lost our virginity to each other both at 21. We’ve both had chances to before that and turned them down because we were waiting to be in love. We know ourselves and we’re aware that neither of us could handle the emotional implications of a long sexual history with other people. I think the answer to this question is pretty simple: do what you feel is right for you. Relationships don’t have formulas, they’re different depending on who’s involved, timing, etc.
    Obviously this is all just based on my own experience, but you should know that it definitely can work out for you, you don’t necessarily need to rush into anything just to say you did.
    Maybe I just know a group of exceptional guys, but I know plenty of men who are willing to wait (albeit a little impatiently) for women they really like.

  15. heya Says:

    it’s not always sex. but love and passion. if he run away because you’re a virgin then that guy is not worth dating for.

  16. Heather Says:

    I was 22 and my boyfriend never made me feel bad for being a virgin. I didn’t tell him until we had been dating for a month and then he waited another four months until I was ready. He was frustrated sometimes but respected my choice. I’m so glad that I waited until I was with someone who I knew I could trust

  17. Realistic Opinion Says:

    Ok. I’ve read the posts and I want to offer my opinion. I waited. I had just turned 23. I sort of felt like the last virgin left alive, but was also ok with that. I had been raped just after turning 18 and honestly if not for that I probably wouldn’t have waited quite so long. I’m not saying I would have slept around, I always knew I wanted to be in a serious relationship. I’m just saying that had I not been raped, I probably would have been more comfortable with myself and wouldn’t have pushed every guy that tried to get close to me away.
    To the girl that suggested just not telling him. Don’t. He needs to know. I made that mistake and trust me, he knew and was upset because I wasn’t honest with him. I had been honest with him about my rape and everything else in my life. I had told him I hadn’t had any serious relationships and had major trust issues, but never came out and said I was a virgin. We got past that, eventually, but he was hurt. I don’t want to see someone else go through this, so I recommend just being honest. Tell him your reasons for remaining a virgin. Assure him that you are interested in him and that sex isn’t out of the question, but that you aren’t going to jump in to having sex immediately. If he bolts, then it wasn’t meant to be. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. Don’t expect him to wait forever though. If you believe in waiting til marriage then I suggest you find someone that believes the same as you or it won’t work.

  18. Erin Says:

    I was twenty-three when I lost my virginity. There’s nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t make you a freak, it doesn’t make you not worth dating, etc. Any guy who would think so is a certifiable creep. I waited until my twenties not because I was super-religious or holding out for a magical honeymoon or anything of the sort–I just didn’t date much in high school and college and I wasn’t interested in a random hook-up. Sex was more important than that (and, health-wise, it’s smarter).

    My point in all of this is that it is YOUR choice when you want to have sex and no one should criticize you for that. And I think the right kind of guy would be happy with someone who is honest and perhaps a little “inexperienced,” than the village bicycle. :)

  19. Leette Says:

    1. Its not bad to still be a virgin. At 23 I still have my v-card (no oral sex either lol) and I am proud of it. Most of my friends are very much aware I am a virgin, which includes a guy I like. You should have no worries or concerns about your choice to wait. Its smart for your body and heart.

    2. I am choosing not to preach to you, because it would be wrong to push my religious beliefs on you, but even if you find yourself passionately in love with this guy you are dating, but find you are still not quite ready for sex, its okay to say no. If he feels the same way he WILL wait for you… impatiently, but he will do it. That makes him worth your time.

    3. Tell him you are a virgin when the time is right. You don’t have to say it right out like I do, but there is nothing to keep a secret about. And if a deep and trusting relationship is what you are waiting for then its best you set the precedent by being honest with him.

    4. Don’t feel pressure from others to give it up just yet. Your sex life is YOURS. It is not yours to loose either, its yours to share with someone. The world as you may have noticed is not always good at making good choices, but is good at going along with the crowd… how often has that lead to destruction. Following your heart, your conscience and needs even if they are different from everyone else is good. This is about and for you… and hopefully the guy you share your first time with.

    5) I will pray for you. And I hope your first is your only for a lifetime.

  20. Velundra Says:

    Hi, i’m also a 22 year old virgin, not through religious choice but similarly to you because i have not met the right partner.

    Though i have been with many men, from my first encouters with them i’ve always been honest and opened with them, and all of them have never run away from such a news.

    Its an acceptable (and despite the ignorant men out there an understandable)choice you’ve made, if hes worth it and appreciates your choice he’d stay and as long as you feel comfortable with him. he’s right for you.

  21. Candice Says:

    Some people wait to have sex because they are not terribly interested. Being less interested or even asexual is fine, but a marriage will not be happy if libidos are mismatched, so it is good to be at least aware of your level of interest and try to match with someone compatible. We all think we are normal, but there are really big differences between people and you need to take care with that. OK…there are really sincere men out there that are very understanding. If they don’t want to wait – they are not worth it! You don’t have to advertise your number of partners – talk about it it seems like the right time and then indicate your reasons and level of interest. :-) good luck and don’t worry too much!

  22. DuskyBeloved Says:

    Hi,

    I know the last comment was a little while ago, but have just stumbled across the discussion and have found it quite helpful for myself as yes I am a virgin.

    This has never bothered me previously as it is only a fraction of who I am but having recently started dating a guy who I feel extremely comfortable with and after getting very intimate on our last date (he was fine when I told him I wasn’t quite ready). Was wondering the best way to tell him that I am a virgin (as at 26 I’m assuming this is a little unusal) and his possible reaction as I definately want to take it further but not at full speed ahead.

    But after reading this I feel much more confident, so thanks. And Virginally Yours – Good Luck!

    :)

  23. 2011 Says:

    Speaking as someone who lost her virginity at 21, not all guys are freaked out by it. The first guy I slept with was a bit older and certainly not a virgin, but he was fantastic about it, and not weirded out at all when I told him, just a little surprised. With him, and the guys I dated before him, I made sure to quality the “virgin” comment by explaining that I wasn’t waiting until marriage, just until I was in a committed relationship and ready to have it. I also explained that I had done “everything but” sex. I think the reason they run is that they figure they won’t be getting anything physical at all; a lot of guys wouldn’t be willing to go 6 months without any intimacy at all, but I know plenty of guys who’d be able to wait 6 months or a year if you were willing to uh, satisfy them in other ways.

    Also, ignore the previous posters who told you not to say anything: You’ve GOT to tell him. There’s a pretty good chance your first time will be messy and pretty painful, and it’ll be easier for him to adjust accordingly if he knows.

  24. Liz Says:

    Hey, I am also 22, a virgin, and have run into this problem myself. From my own experience, the guy is either shocked, or already figured I was a virgin. In either case, I have a very “open information” policy, and I always explain that It’s not for any crazy reason, It just hasn’t happened yet. I tell him that If he doesn’t think he can wait for me to be comfortable, and continue to be in a committed relationship with me, then that is fine, but he needs to be honest about it so that I don’t wind up hurt. If it isn’t something he can do, the (as hard as it is) you should try to have no hurt feelings and be thankful that he was honest with you. If he does want to continue the relationship, then yay! one step closer to being in that “comfortable” situation where you can relax enough to have sex.

  25. Liz Says:

    also, to the early posts,
    would you chill out a little? Just because a woman wants to wait for a “committed” relationship does not mean she is waiting for marriage or looking for her “one and only” sex partner. It MEANS we are waiting to be with someone who we trust, and who will not turn around and run the next day leaving us to try and deal with the emotional and hormonal changes that having sex for the first time will induce. Having a partner for your first time as opposed to a one night stand is much more appealing for your FIRST TIME, regardless who you partner up with later in life.

  26. hayley Says:

    Lo and behold … I have found the right guy. I am 21 going on 22 this summer. We’ve been together for about 2 months and haven’t had sex yet, but physical things have progressed. And I’m telling you … wait for the right person. I’m very glad that I have saved myself and he is the only one I want to have sex with now. It’s weird … in the past, when I’d even ponder having sex with a guy I was with, it scared me and all I could see is him leaving me in the morning or not calling for a few days. It seemed so risky. But with my boyfriend now, I don’t see it that way at all. sex seems like a natural progression for us. I undoubtedly in my heart and mind know that he cares for me and loves me and we root further than just physical relations and I know he’d still be around after sex, and I know sex for us would deepen our relationship if we do it when it feels right and we’re comfortable, as opposed to making things awkard. I think you just know when something is right. So wait for that person and do NOT give it up until then. And no matter what any of these dudes say on here or anywhere … don’t trust the internet so fully. Or Cosmo. Know that it’s all about finding the right guy, he will truly value you for more than sex. And sex with him will be meaningful and bonding and not empty. And hey … just because we’re virgins doesn’t meant we’re little angels. Chances are we’ve done other things, at least to some extent. It doesn’t mean we don’t have sex drives or masturbate. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found it more and more respectful, smart, and attractive on my part. I’m std free, I have self control despite being an attractive girl and having had PLENTY of chances to have sex, and I, out of multitudes of girls, actually believed that love would come my way and decided to wait for it instead of giving it up to someone who didn’t love me, and who decided to mature and build myself up instead of giving it up to a puppy love when I was younger. (Not belittling teenage romance, it is real sometimes, definitely! Just for some it’s not.) Not to get graphic here, but who are you NOT to keep your vagina free or random penises just for “experience” and to meet a guy’s “time frame” and “expectations” until you find the right guy? Only he should be allowed to enter you in the most intimate way and bring you pleasure and bring pleasure to himself by means of your body. And I don’t care what anyone says, it’s got to be easy enough to catch onto sex. Especially if you’ve waited long enough and had other sexual experiences with guys that weren’t sex, it will come naturally. And I think it’s much better to build up your sexual experience with ONE person instead of switching it up and getting used to someone new during every single new relationship. So high five to being a virgin and wait til it’s right. Screw media, screw the internet, even screw some things cosmo says as much as I love that magazine, haha. When you find that right person what you share rules out every “rule” or “law” or “expectation” the world seems to set for its people. Things fall into place and sex takes its place, too, and there are many other components in the relationship, thus sex isn’t weighing so incredibly heavy that it is all that matters.

  27. Caitlin Says:

    I’m 22 and still a virgin. All through high school I was picked on because of this reason. They couldn’t understand why I was a virgin.
    I did have a boyfriend for almost 5 years of high school but we didn’t think we were mature enough to do it. Plus I didn’t think it would make me feel any different if we did have sex. I’m no longer with him and still have not found the guy I trust enough to be my first time. Especially when I tell a guy I’m a virgin, they stop talking to me. So I would either be honest straight away or wait until the topic comes up in conversation.

  28. Jade Says:

    Well in 5 months I’ll officially be a 30 year old virgin. I can’t wait to have to tell the guys I start seeing :-/

  29. Jane Says:

    Hello,

    what I wanted to ask is this: if a girl is a virgin at a certain age, 20, 25, 30 etc… and she is with a guy, in a new relationship, and WANTS to have sex with him… why would a guy assume that sex won’t happen anytime soon just because she is a virgin??

    I mean, if being a virgin was a fault, a mistake… and a girl finally WANT to put an end to her state of “virginity”, obviously she has to have sex with a guy. But if all guys react this way and ran away… she sill never have the chance to have sex..

    Being in a new relationship and being a virgin means: “I’ve never had sex BEFORE”, but from the moment a girl, a virgin, finds a boyfriend, it hust means she WANTS to have sex. She tells the guy she’s a virgin because she wants him to be delicate when they do it and not expect to have sex in all the kamasutra positions on the first night…

    So what is it that scares guys?
    Is it actually the lack of sexual experience, rather than not expecting sex to happen anytime soon?

    I think that’s really the problem. Nowadays, with the porn industry being so mainstream, every guy wants to have sex with a girl who “knows her ways”. So to me, that’s really what scares guy. The picture having sex with a virgin as laying in bed with someone cryin all the time and not moving… And that’s just a prejudice! Someone who has never had sex before, but decides to do it, could be as passionate and hot as the guy wants… but by ranning away, he just gives her no chance to prove it. It’s all a prejudice.

    I do think that the word “virgin” recalls so many more “ghosts” than what it actually means…
    So, my advice would be: don’t tell the guy, because the mental aspect of what the term virgin recalls would be way more harmful to him and your relationship than your lack of experience.

    It probably will dump you. But if you tell him, he’ll dump you anyway. The downside is you’ll be heartbroken. the upside is, you won’t be a virgin anymore…

  30. Elsaas Says:

    Jane,
    It is the both reasons. Actually you should be honest about everything – not only about the virgin part but also if you are really willing to do it.Because even me,as a girl,I couldn’t wait a year or so only with the phrase:I Am not ready.You should tell the guy what you really want from him to feel “safe” and also If you really want to have sex.
    I don’t understand these girls who want a boyfriend but only for the hanging hands part and “no sex” before the wedding.And if the sex is bad or someone don’t like the sex in the couple?

  31. lartoya Says:

    I’m a 25 years old virgin just thought I found love and he run away because I told him I’m a virgin is sad because we still didn’t connect and I can’t say ok take my virginity just like that.so I’m a bit upset at the moment I think he never loved me anyway.


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