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Member # 96191
posted 07-05-2012 02:30 AM
Iíve been scouring message boards both here and on other sites hoping someone else will have my problem, but I havenít found anything, so Iíve decided to post myself.
Here are the facts: Iím 19 (cisgender female, heterosexual) and Iíve never done anything with a man. No dates, no kisses, no sex. Nothing. I am not abstaining at all on purpose (I feel like I need to make that really clear because people always assume Iím waiting for marriage or facing social pressure when thatís completely not true). It never bothered me much in high school, but everyone told me things would change once I got to college (I attend a private university on the other side of the country from where I live). Needless to say, they didnít, and over the past year itís been affecting my mental and social health. Hereís what happens when I meet a guy I like. I get really nervous around him, and I feel like I have to always say something clever when heís around or heíll forget I exist. This puts a lot of stress on me, and flirting comes to feel like an obligation and I lose interest. Because of this, I tend to befriend guys Iím 100% not attracted to, so I donít have to worry. Basically, Iím the worldís worst flirt: I canít even do it seriously without feeling like Iím lying or ďselling myselfĒ to the man in question. This year, Iíve made the best friends Iíve ever had in my life. However, all my friends are in or were in relationships over the course of the past year, except one friend who identifies as asexual, so I feel like I canít talk to her about my issues because she might not understand or be able to sympathize. Sometimes I just feel so alone that I canít function, and I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. I can hardly watch romantic comedies anymore because Iím not even sure I believe in love. I feel like nobody wants me, even though my friends all tell me how wonderful and beautiful I am, despite my nonexistent boobs Additionally, I really want sex. No one is pressuring me into this; I was really horny all year. Everyone talks about ďchoosingĒ to have sex, but thatís kind of difficult if you canít find a partner. Iíve been masturbating since I was 15 (which is apparently pretty late based on what Iíve read here and elsewhere), but sometimes I think about how much better it would be if I could share the experience with someone else and then I donít want to anymore. Sometimes I want sex or a relationship so badly it physically hurts, and itís all I can do to put up a neutral front when my experienced friends talk about sex or their boyfriends. On a side note, is it weird that I wasnít actually interested in sex until I was 15? I feel like that may be why Iím so behind in the game. Everyone else seems to know exactly what they want and how to get it, except me. I know the way I feel right now is a terrible place from which to enter a relationship. I donít want a relationship where Iím dependent on a guy giving me cheap compliments so I feel wanted Ė there was a guy who did that once, and it made me feel sick. Sorry for the word vomit; I just feel like I need to thoroughly explain my situation so itís clearÖ. Help? I've talked about this with a counselor before, but I was really uncomfortable about sharing some of it.
Member # 79774
posted 07-06-2012 04:44 PM
Hi, BlueDahlia67, and welcome to Scarleteen!
So, it sounds like you're comfortable with making friendship connections, but not comfortable making romantic or sexual connections - do I have that right? I think the first thing I would ask is, do you feel comfortable with yourself being attracted to someone, and comfortable with those feelings? After that, I'd ask about your feelings about other people's thoughts and feelings. Do you feel like you have a handle on the concept of someone else finding you attractive - that is, do you consider that possible and reasonable? If you do, how do you feel about that - do you feel comfortable with it, or is there anything that worries you? And no, it's not "weird" that you weren't interested in sex before you were 15. For a start, there's such a range of sexual behaviour and desires (or lack of them) that it's not really of any practical help to call any of it weird - instead, the things that are important are how we feel about our own behaviour and desires, that we feel comfortable and positive before, during and after, that our behaviour seems to be positive and healthy for us in mind, body and soul, and that any sexual behaviour with anyone else has everyone's informed, enthusiastic consent. Also, the age at which people become interested in sex or start having sexual feelings and desires can vary a lot: for sure, there are people who are very familiar with their own sexual selves before they're 15, but there are also plenty of people who aren't until much later. What's important isn't so much age, but whether a person feels comfortable with themself.
Member # 96191
posted 07-07-2012 01:43 AM
Hi Redskies! Thanks so much for replying.
I think the first thing you said is right -- I guess I'm not comfortable making romantic or sexual connections. I've always been really introverted, so it used to be hard for me to make friendship connections too. It took me pretty much the whole first semester of college to make friends, and I didn't have very many good friends in high school. I think I'm comfortable being attracted to someone, but I don't really know what I would do if that person was attracted to me back. It's never happened before to my knowledge. I wish I didn't do this, but I tend to assume by default that that person doesn't like me back. I had some body image issues growing up, mostly because of my small chest but also somewhat because I'm tallish (5'8"). I did theater in high school and between not being considered for "romantic" characters of my height and not getting placed into any of the more sexy dance numbers because of my chest, I came to see myself as not very desirable from a sexual standpoint. I also consistently saw guys at my school choosing short, larger-chested girls - basically, not me. I guess the flip side of this is that when I think a guy might be interested in me, I assume he just wants sex and doesn't care about me. That seems to be what a lot of guys (and girls) want in college, the whole "hookup culture" thing, but I'm afraid of being used. Which is strange because I can't think of anything that's happened to me that would make me afraid of that. I know I want a relationship, and I know in order to have a successful relationship you have to open up and risk getting hurt, but I'm afraid to do that. I know rape culture is an issue at my school, as well as many other colleges, so I'm afraid of being objectified too.
Member # 79774
posted 07-08-2012 07:27 PM
Sorry it's been a little wait on a reply here.
I think that in a way, some of the difficulty you feel around making romantic/sexual connections is something to not be surprised at, as it sounds like it's only fairly recently that you've found your way with making friendship-y connections. If making connections generally with people is something that we've not been comfortable with previously, or not been able to do or had much opportunity to do, then it will be a bit of a learning process for us, and like any learning process, we're not going to figure it out all at once but instead a bit at a time. So, it sounds like body image might be a part of this for you. Just to get a sense of where you're at with it now, have you done any particular work on your body image or any reading around the general issue? Also, I read you describing some experiences and how you felt in high school - which for sure can be very relevant and formative for us - but I'm not sure how you feel about your body image now. Would you like to say anything about your current body image? I hear you saying that you're afraid of being hurt if you open up. It sounds like you've begun to negotiate friendship-relationships successfully, and I'm wondering how you felt about the risks of opening up and being hurt in those relationships, and in what ways a romantic/sexual context might feel different to you? I'm seeing that in your first post, you write that you want sex, and then that you want sex or a relationship, and in your second post, you write that you want a relationship - I'm wondering if you feel that there's any conflict here, or whether I'm not understanding something correctly. I'm hearing you express how very important this is to you. If I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying that the lack of a romantic/sexual connection makes you feel very alone, even with your friends? What do you feel a romantic/sexual connection would bring you? [ 07-08-2012, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: Redskies ]
Member # 96191
posted 07-09-2012 02:04 AM
Thanks for getting back! I really appreciate it.
I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "work" on my body image, but I did take a class last year about sex and gender in society (not purposefully to work on body image, but because I was interested in sociology) and I realized that I really did have body image issues I hadn't confronted. For example, I said something in class one day about how I loved wearing heels and was unhappy that one of our articles had a negative view on them. I realized that while I now wear heels because I like them, I started wearing them because I thought they made my feet look smaller. Now I don't care about that, but there were some body image issues that I was not aware of. I guess my body image now is not perfect, but I think it's better than it was. Though I'm still not 100% happy with my chest, now I feel like it's a part of me and I would feel weird if I, say, got a breast augmentation. I recognize that people with small chests do, in fact, have fulfilling relationships and can have fulfilling sex lives as well. Besides, I wouldn't want to be with someone who didn't like me as I am. I really like my height, but I do feel like it puts me at a disadvantage because I still feel like a lot of guys prefer short girls. I guess what scares me more about getting hurt in romantic/sexual relationships than in friendships is that I feel like adding sex or intimacy automatically raises the stakes, in a way so it can only hurt more if the relationship goes sour. If I were to get rejected, it would just confirm all the body image/personal issues I'm trying to get over. I should mention that over the past year I've had a hard time getting over being rejected by some "friends" who decided at some point I wasn't clever or funny enough for them and cut me off, while staying friends with my sister. I spent a good period of time trying unsuccessfully to win them back, but it didn't work, and I was pretty depressed for a while. I wish I could hate them and move on, but I can't hold grudges. I talked about this a lot with a counselor. So I guess rejection in a romantic/sexual context would still feel like a reflection on my personal failings, not the other person's. It's my fault for not being clear about the whole sex vs. relationships. For me right now, I see a solid relationship with sex as the ideal situation, so I've interchanged the two words without being clear. I know casual sex is a valid option, but that just doesn't seem right for me right now. I would like to have sex with someone I care about first, and then if I just want sex later, I can go to the frat parties and hook up with people. I've met a lot of girls at my school who do that and don't feel judged for it at all, so I know it's an option. Maybe I'm just placing too much significance on sex. On the other side, part of me feels like I've passed the opportunity for a relationship without sex -- I'm past the point of awkward movie dates and holding hands in the hallways, and I wouldn't expect anyone my age to move that slowly with me. I can't say for sure because I don't have the experience, but I don't think I'd want to move that slowly. I do often feel alone. Romantic comedies make me sad, and last Valentine's Day was hell because all my friends were getting things from their significant other and getting asked out on dates except me. I guess I just feel like there's this great aspect of the human experience that I'm completely missing out on. I suspect it's too late for me to ever experience "young love," because everything's more complicated when you're older, but just once I'd like to experience going on a date and falling in love and having meaningful sex with someone I care about. Sometimes it's easier to just be cynical and think that love doesn't exist and people just pair up because they're sort of compatible but don't really care about each other, but that also makes me sad and I pray to a god I'm not sure I believe in that it's not true. I would like to get married someday, but that's never going to happen if I can't ever build a relationship. Sorry this is so long.
Member # 3
posted 07-09-2012 02:02 PM
BlueDahila: I agree that, for sure, when a relationship becomes more intimate, the stakes are higher.
That said, intimacy isn't just something that happens with or through sex, and sex also doesn't always mean more intimacy. I wonder if you've thought about your sense of what you and your body are for in regard to all of this. In other words, if a sexual rejection seems like it'd feel bigger to you, or hit you and your self-image harder, than say, a friend deciding not to be friends any more, why do you think that is? How much value do you think you put on your body as having a sexual value? Does whatever that is feel sound and balanced to you, and balanced within the framework of you and your body as a whole person, a whole person about much more than sex or sexual value? Know what I'm getting at? Too, I don't think there is a time limit on romantic pr potentially romantic relationships advancing to sex within a certain time period. People of every age experience wanting different paces at different times or with different people. So, if you find you want dates to be platonic for a while, you get to have that, whether you're 50 or 15. If you don't, and the other person wants to move along more quickly in that department, you get to have that pace, too. pacing really isn't about age.
Member # 96191
posted 07-11-2012 01:44 AM
I've been thinking about your response a lot over the past day or two. I think the reason I see a sexual rejection as hitting harder is simply because it's never directly happened to me before. It's like because I've never had anything close to a relationship or partnered sexual experience before, it all seems so far away that my imagination has exaggerated its significance. Having experienced multiple friend rejections, I've learned how to choose better friends... I think. But besides that, when I enter a friendship, I don't automatically fear rejection, though I do tend to keep my guard up until I feel like I can trust the person. But I feel as if I have been indirectly sexually rejected many times. I've turned down a guy only to have him stalk me for months, where he implied he was the best I was ever going to get. This was happening at the same time as the major friend rejection. Also, every time I've had a crush, he turns out to have a girlfriend or he gets together with someone else. I'm trying to find answers to your questions in the 3rd paragraph, but I keep getting confused. There's just so much going on inside my head that I can't think straight, and I keep second guessing myself. I've been experiencing depression for the past year and a half, and while I don't mean that as an excuse, I can't always distinguish between my actual feelings and those altered by depression.
Member # 79774
posted 07-19-2012 03:24 PM
BlueDahlia, just checking in to say that if you need anything or feel like posting, you're very welcome to.