Question: Hi Luise: I have an issue that has been bugging me for a long time. I am single, a virgin, and 21. My first serious boyfriend was a year older than me when I was 18, and we dated for a year and a half, and neither of us were ready for sex. We were fine with the relationship the way it was, and he said when we were ready it’d come (eventually broke up over other reasons). I then up until January dated a string of guys around the same age as me who were very pressuring when it came to sex. I’m not religious or anything so I don’t have an issue with sex before marriage, and it’s not that I don’t want to have sex, I just want to wait until I find a guy I’m comfortable with and someone who I love and know well. That is simply because I can’t relax around guys I’m not that familiar with due to trust issues, etc. The last few relationships I’ve had have all involved after a couple of weeks the guy pressuring me into having sex. I made it very clear to the last guy I dated that I didn’t want to rush into it because I wanted to get to know him better, but he would start making out with me, then get really angry and frustrated and say things like ‘I can’t see why you won’t just have sex. A few times he, and a couple of the other exs, were aggressive and it was very painful and they wouldn’t stop. That has made the thought of sex scary, which it shouldn’t be. This has happened a few times now, and I’m ready to give up on guys all together. Is there something wrong or not normal about me? I don’t care if there is, I just need to hear it from someone else so I can think about getting help. Thank you, R.
Answer: Dear R.: I was a virgin at your age but those were different times and that was “normal.” Marriage had to come first and when it did and the “mystery” was unveiled, I thought, “That’s it? That’s what all the fuss is about?” because he didn’t have a clue what it was all about, either. A later marriage to someone who was an experienced and adept lover changed all of that. I sincerely believe it’s an art form.
I’m saying this because I think counseling might help you a lot. You’re just fine but you’re dating guys at the peek of their hormonal surge and it’s usually not about moonlight and roses, long-term relationships and technique. A good counselor can help you through this maze.
Often in our current culture, sex comes first and getting acquainted comes after ”the elephant in the middle of the living room” is addressed and vanquished. Virginity can be a handicap. I’m not espousing sleeping around. I’m saying that these days, sexual expression is often a normal part of interacting with someone you’re interested in. Not everyone you meet…that’s pretty tacky. Blessings, Luise