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I'm an 18 year old girl looking for advice to give a (just-turned) 26 year old male. That sounds odd, but my best friend is 8 years older than I am, and we're both virgins. While I'm proud of my decision to wait, my friend has become increasingly insecure with his. As our friendship has progressed I've found that my words have become less comforting, I suppose because of the difference in age and gender. There is so much unspoken pressure on girls and their sexuality in our society- but with males it is so much more overt, and his increasing age only increases his shame. I can't go to an adult sexuality site for an answer because those are irrelevent to me, and you're my favorite internet source of advice and information, so I hope you can help me deal with my friend. How can I let him know that nothing is wrong with him, and how can I build his confidence? How can I avoid seeming condescending (especially with someone so much older than I am)? All of his friends have had sex, so there's a significant wall in the conversation whenever he tries to talk about it with them. I'm scared that that wall is growing between us, not because of a difference in experience, but, again, in age (and possibly gender). How can I approach him with this topic without him becoming defensive? How can I make sure he knows I'm there for him? In college he saved himself for a girl that led him on because she was afraid of her own sexuality, she's now a proud lesbian and they're close friends, but I think it makes him feel worthless and incapable of a real relationship. He's so good to his friends, how can I get him to let me be the friend he is? How can I protect him from self-destruction and stop the label "virgin" from ruling his life?
I quit cutting a couple months ago, and I still find it really hard to control myself. I also sometimes find it hard to be happy. What can I do besides therapy to get better?