Dear Em & Lo, How Far Should I Go to Keep a Guy?

Dear Em & Lo,

I’m a young adult in a new relationship with a guy a year older than me. I have never done anything besides kiss with a guy, and I know that he is definitely not a virgin. I don’t think I am ready to do anything with him, and I know he is going to try something soon. How do I address the fact that I am not ready to do anything sexually with him? I’m afraid that if I tell him I don’t want to do anything, he might get mad and breakup with me, but I’m hoping he’s not that kind of guy. I need help!

Under Pressure

Dear U.P.,

Do NOT to do anything you don’t want to do–it’s that simple. Just tell him you really like him and like hanging out with him, but you want to take things slowly and you’re not ready to do anything beyond kissing at this point. If he gets mad and wants to break up with you, then you should break up with him! If you know you’re not ready to get physical, he should respect that. If it’s a deal breaker for him, so be it. You’ll feel better if you stay true to yourself without him than you’ll feel if you get pressured into betraying yourself WITH him. And don’t buy any lame excuses from him about everyone else doing it, blue balls, doing it for love, or doing it for your country. You have plenty of time to explore things sexually as you get older, become more mature, and find the right guy(s) to experiment with in your adult life. Don’t let some jerk rush you into anything before then.

Good luck!
Em & Lo


  1. But how long can a guy reasonably wait until you are ready?

    And how will you know when you get to that point of being ready? Until you say I love you? Marriage? …

    I’m a young female virgin and everything I’ve heard and read about thoughts on virginity is so confusing, I feel overwhelmed :S

  2. To Under Pressure,

    I think you need to start thinking of not what your potential boyfriend will think of you but instead of what you want in a boyfriend. You sound like a great woman and you should be holding potential boyfriends to your standards. Not trying to fit into theirs.

  3. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not, if he doesn’t know you’re inexperienced, tell him! If he’s a good guy he’ll appreciate the chance to be the one that broadens your experience, at your pace, if he gets pushy or stroppy or dumps you for it then it’s totally his loss and you’ve dodged a bullet :0)

  4. Good point Johnny. Women get away with groping and all sorts of sleezy, too. Without being called assholes. Men aren’t meant to feel uncomfortable about it, so nobody talks about this touchy subject. Nor about the ‘sort of rape’ scenarios where sex is consensual, kind of. The situations where you are the one (drunk or not) pressuring for sex and the other compromising themselves even if they don’t really want to, and you are more or less conscious of their reluctance. Or situations where you are the one agreeing to sex for the wrong reasons, and that way raping yourself. We violate others and ourselves without even realizing it. It happens all the time. And it’s a greyzone nobody talks about because sex is suppose to be awesome and never aggressive or semi-douchey.

  5. I was a virgin until my mid twenties and I have had mixed reactions from men when they found out, from shock to disbelief to admiration. The shock for men is not so much because you are a virgin but because disclosing this information automatically changes the status of your relationship. A woman who is a virgin is usually looking for a serious relationship and absolutely NOT looking for casual sex. However, if you are an attractive woman this man will no doubt be shocked as he will just assume you have already had plenty of sex, so bear this in mind. Just saying you want to take things slow is perfectly fine at first but eventually the subject is going to have to come up, but any man who can’t handle this is not worth your time. However, I do believe it is best to open up sooner rather than later before your feelings can get hurt. Good luck to you.

  6. It might be a deal-breaker, but only the biggest assholes react with anger when they get denied sex. It’s a massive red flag.

    If it’s a man getting angry, that is. Women seem to have no problem with aggressively pressuring a man into sex.

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