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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Virginity!

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Author Topic: Virginity!
fiveanddime
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I posted on another thread that I've been recovering from some trauma related to a past abusive relationship. I've been with my current boyfriend for a while, and our relationship has had a lot of ups and downs. I think we're both very shy (when it comes to intimacy) and very influenced by our emotions and stress. We had a period of sexual activity, but events of the past year have made him less interested in sexual behavior.

I have my own feelings on the dynamic of our relationship (generally, we're good for each other, but we're both dealing with a lot), but more pressingly, I'm insecure about being a virgin. I'm not going to make him do anything he doesn't want to. However, almost all my friends are having sex, and they talk about it with me like they assume everyone else is. I feel weird being nearly 21 and still a virgin, especially given that I'm in a longterm relationship.

I also feel weird because I worry that if I break up with my boyfriend before we have sex and then start seeing other people, they will think less of me because I'm a virgin. It's a terrible thing to say, but I can't imagine people not being judgmental if I'm a virgin at 22, 23, 24...

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Heather
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By all means, some people will be judgy about your lack of sexual experience just like some people are judgy about people having had some or a given amount of sexual experience. Ultimately, there's really no given kind of previous sexual experience, nor lack of it, or kind of sexual history anyone can have to assure they don't ever meet with judgment about it from current, future or potential sexual or romantic partners.

The only real way to do what we can to limit or avoid that isn't by trying to have X set (or lack) of sexual experiences or history, but to choose our partners in such a way that if people are shitty about whatever our past has been, we don't get deeply involved with them, but take a pass and move on, picking people who accept all of who we are.

You know that it's not actually that uncommon not to have had intercourse at 21 anymore, right? I know that can be hard to see if and when in a peer group, you're odd person out, but statistically speaking in the US over the last decade or so, there's a lot more of you than most people realize.

I'd suggest that trying to make sexual choices based on what unknown, unnamed people-in-the-abstract might think later isn't so sound. I'd say it's much more sound to base those choices much more on the here and now, about people you actually know, including how you know yourself.

It sounds like right now, you have some bigger issues in your relationship which also include your sexual life. How about maybe first starting with what you wan to do about this relationship you're in right now instead of focusing on relationships you may or may not be in later on?

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fiveanddime
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I didn't realize that. I guess my peer group makes a huge difference. And, yes, if I were interested in someone who judged me for lack of experience, I'd probably avoid starting a relationship with him.

re: relationship issues. I think I need some time away from the relationship (which is perfect because we have a school break coming up). I've had a really stressful year, which has had an effect on the relationship, but I don't think I've been good at recognizing that maybe something (like sex) isn't good for me right now because I'm so stressed out. I think my boyfriend knows this but isn't good at communicating it, which has led to unrealistic expectations and confusion on both our ends.

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Heather
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Sounds like you could also use that time to sort through some of these feelings about sex and virginity, too.

have you already talked about taking that time?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fiveanddime
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No, but we're going to be apart for the break (only a week), and when we're home we don't talk much. I'll talk to him about it.

And yes, I'll think about sex and virginity. As my friends have a) engaged in sexual activity and b) become more vocal about it, I've felt increasingly pressured to do it, as if sex were a race or a prize to be won. I've felt like there's something wrong with me for being a virgin and being with a guy who feels like sex is something we should do only if we're in a place to enjoy it, rather than to "get it out of the way." I actually think he has a responsible view; it's just very hard for me to reconcile with given the pressures I've succumbed to.

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Heather
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I think it sounds like it might help to think about what motivation you think you'd feel best about with sexual choices.

Generally, if and when people engage in sex because of people who aren't even involved -- friends, parents, etc. -- they don't tend to generally feel good about it and it also doesn't tend to equal the good stuff. What's usually a much better recipe for the good stuff one feels good about is making those choices on your own terms, not the terms of other people you aren't even sleeping with, you know?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fiveanddime
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Right. And I keep telling myself that, but it's still hard to accept. Which makes me think that it's not a good time for me to have sex.
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copper86
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I definitely hear what you are saying, fiveanddime. I think being a virgin or not is your choice; and you shouldn't let your friends pressure you or influence you by their "talks." I gave up my virginity at 22; and even by then, lots of my friends had had sex already and were talking about it and all kinds of other stuff. I felt left out; and it was annoying that they would almost rub it in your face (but often, that just seems or feels that way - they probably do not realize they are making you upset or uncomfortable).

I agree that you should engage in anything intimate when you yourself want to - when you feel that it is the right time and that you are ready emotionally as well as physically. I often felt like that too - like sex was a race or something - but it certainly is not; especially since we're all different and want different things. What's right for someone else might not be right for you.

Try and ignore your friends when they talk like that. Focus on your relationship and how it makes you happy. There is nothing wrong with going at your own pace. Your boyfriend sounds really nice and considerate of your feelings. Maybe plan a fun date with him or think about other cool things you could do together when your friends talk like that; and then plan something fun to do with him instead. [Smile]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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