Follow Dan

Facebook    Twitter    Instagram    YouTube
Savage Lovecast
Dan Savage's Hump
It Gets Better Project

Savage Love Podcast

Got a question for Dan Savage?
Call the Savage Love Podcast at 206-201-2720
or email Dan at

Savage Love Archives

More in the Archives »

More from Dan Savage

More in the Archives »

Books by Dan Savage

Want a Second Opinion?

Contact Dan Savage

Savage on YouTube


Virgin Escort

May 30, 2012

I'm a straight male from Southern California and I really want to be a straight male escort. The problem is the industry is shrouded with deceptive "agencies" that take advantage of the situation. Also, it's not like there's a Male Escort 101 course that I can take to learn how to avoid these traps. I don't know if you can help, but I really want to get into this industry, hopefully through a reputable agency. Do you have any advice, can you put me in touch with any male escorts (preferably straight ones) so I can pick their brains, and do you know of a reputable agency in my area?

Seeking The Upright Deal

"There is no gigolo industry," says Dominick, the former escort who writes Ask Dominick, an advice column for male escorts and male escort wannabes at, a gay escort listings site. While Dominick's column focuses on issues that gay escorts confront, STUD, it's the "Male Escort 101" course you've been looking for.

"What STUD is seeking is a fantasy—one that has been fueled by cultural products like American Gigolo and HBO's Hung," says Dominick. There are no reputable agencies in Southern California—or anywhere else—that book male escorts to see female clients, just as there are no websites like for straight male escorts. "The fact of the matter is, almost all clients for escorts are male—whether they're looking for male, female, or transgender escorts."

Dominick speaks from experience: When he was working as an escort in New York City, his ads stated that he was available for male or female clients. "Over three years, I went on exactly one call with a female client, an attractive older woman who seemed to be working through some intimacy issues," says Dominick, "and one call with a married couple for a cuckolding scene, which was initiated by the husband. During that same period, I averaged about 5.5 calls per week with men. That gives you a measure of the demand from female clients."

And no demand from female clients means no escort agencies and no websites—at least no legit ones—for straight male escorts.

"Because there are many more men clamoring to be gigolos than there is actual demand for gigolos," adds Dominick, "shadowy scam agencies come and go, 'guaranteeing' bookings with female clients to gullible young bucks—in exchange for monthly listing fees. That said, if there are any legitimate agencies out there, they are likely to be in New York or Los Angeles. A quick Google search produced two agencies in LA: One had dozens of females and just two men, the other had a stable of six straight male escorts, charging posted rates of $200–$300 per hour. I won't provide the links, since I have no idea how reputable these agencies are, but you can find them yourself in .25 seconds on Google."

Another option, STUD: listing yourself as a "sexual healer" at a new-age site like

"That site lists male and female sexual healers, for male and female clients, for such services as coaching, tantric awakening, and sensual massage. If this is a direction you are thinking about, have at it," says Dominick. "Otherwise, my advice to you is to pursue a profession with the potential to bring you into contact with a wealthy female clientele—business consultant, art handler—and be exceptionally good and loving to all the women in your life."

You can read Dominick's column at Dominick has also written for the Red Umbrella Diaries, a sex workers' reading series in New York City. It takes place on the first Thursday of every month at Happy Ending. Dominick is curating the October Red Umbrella Diaries, and sex workers—escort, massage, porn, phone, stripper—with stories to tell can e-mail him at

I'm a 22-year-old female and I lost my virginity in September 2011, but I had experienced everything else before that. My question is about when a guy goes down on me: How come I can never fully enjoy it? How come I find it hard to enjoy any aspect of it? Is the problem that I've never experienced oral with someone who knows what he's doing? Or is it my own mental block? What I mean by "mental block" is this: I personally think it's gross and I can't imagine why a guy would want to do that to me. So the entire time he's down there, I'm stressing out about whether he really likes it. I try to focus on relaxing and blocking those thoughts out, but in the end, I always end up pulling his head back up, since I don't see myself ever experiencing an orgasm during it and, frankly, I get bored.

Is it my mental block that's stopping me from enjoying oral? Or am I just having bad luck with guys in that area?

Erotic Anxiety Time

The only way to determine what exactly your problem is—your pussy-paralyzing insecurities? Their pussy-disabling ineptitude?—is to work on conquering your insecurities while at the same time allowing the guy(s) you're seeing to go down on you once in a while. If you get over your insecurities about your genitals, and then oral—even inept oral—is suddenly awesome, well, then the problem was your insecurities. If you don't get over your insecurities but find yourself coming like crazy with a new boy between your legs, well, then they—all the other boys who ever ate your pussy—were the problem.

And it's fine for you to think eating pussy is gross—you're a straight girl, after all, and you're not attracted to women. But guys who dig women dig pussy, EAT, and you don't have to like the idea of eating pussy to enjoy having yours eaten.

I am a 26-year-old straight girl and a virgin. I could delve into the reasons why (shy, late bloomer, average-looking, conservative family), but I will spare you and cut to the chase: I really, really want to lose my virginity. It's driving me crazy! All I want is a safe, anonymous one-time thing so I can move on, and I'm not outgoing/flirtatious/pretty enough to meet men at bars. My question: Straight male escorts—do they exist? How would I find one? Some people were talking about escorts as an option in a recent column, and being with someone understanding, experienced, and professional sounds like exactly what I'm looking for. Honestly, I've thought about this for a while. I don't think people who develop normally can really understand the sort of desperation I feel.

Very Concerned About Retarded Development

Wannabe straight male escorts exist, VCARD, as STUD's letter proves. But there aren't enough straight female wannabe clients out there to support a straight-female-specific website or agency for straight male escorts, as Dominick's response to STUD proves. However, a lot of the male escorts on gay-specific escort websites are bisexual; some are even highly heteroflexible gay-for-pay straight guys. Spend some time dinking around on a gay escort site, VCARD, and it won't be long before you run across an ad posted by a male escort who identifies as bi. The guy could be lying—some gay escorts will claim to be straight or bi to attract gay male clients who get off on sleeping with straight guys—so you may not hear back from the first bi or straight escort you send an e-mail to. But keep looking, e-mail any guy who strikes your fancy, and be up front about who you are and what you're looking for.

@fakedansavage on Twitter


Comments (306) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Well the second one was a no brainer, but I'd add that you can talk about your insecurities with a guy, not to be verbally reassured beforehand but to ask that he show some wild enthusiasm during the act (making lots of happy noises, getting a little crazy-go-nuts with the technique), then put your hands on the back of his head and try not to care why he's doing what he obviously wants to do.
Posted by Sifu on May 29, 2012 at 5:13 PM · Report this
VCARD, what exactly are you looking for when you say you want to lose your virginity so you can get on with your life? That you just want to know what sex is like, but the emotional part of finding a partner (whether boyfriend or hookup) is too overwhelming and so you want to decouple them? That you feel it's something you need to cross off your list and once will be enough? That once you've crossed it off Things Will Be Different?

I think it's helpful to be with someone the first time who likes you enough to care how it is for you and how you're doing the next day. I suppose with judicious interviewing you could find a bi male escort who would fulfill that. But figure out what you want from him first: a teacher who will see you through your first several times and be willing to provide some 'best gay boyfriend' type advice on what men do and don't like? A first time that feels in your control and that's it? A trial run at a boyfriend? (e.g. You guys go out to dinner and a show, you practice the flirting thing, the dating thing, the sex thing, and then you're more confident moving onward?)
Posted by IPJ on May 29, 2012 at 5:32 PM · Report this
@2 she wants to be able to get with a guy without her virginity hanging over the experience. It's really not that big a deal, but some people will treat it like it is.
Posted by Howlin' Jed on May 29, 2012 at 6:13 PM · Report this
@2(IPJ), I was going to say what @3 above said. It's usually boys who obsess about losing their virginity in this way (so that they can claim they have 'experience'), but I've noticed this being increasingly the case with girls, too.

I suspect this means it's pretty likely that VCARD's first experience with a male escort won't be very deeply fulfilling; but if said escort is a good person and has experience, he may at least help her get the mechanics of sex under control and show her some techniques. Which is better than nothing. Besides, not very many people have a first time that is really stellar, even when no escorts are involved.
Posted by ankylosaur on May 29, 2012 at 6:25 PM · Report this
mydriasis 5
re: eating pussy

Most women who "don't like it" are just insecure about having someone in that area (or insecure about getting off in front of someone or getting to the point in front of someone).

But some of us aren't insecure about our bodies or our sexuality and still just don't really dig people going down on us. I'm one of those people, maybe EAT is too. From her letter it sounds more like she's just insecure and distracted but there's a minor chance things are going the other way: she doesn't enjoy it and THAT makes her self-conscious/distracted while if she did enjoy it those things might be pushed out her head.

Just something to think on.
Posted by mydriasis on May 29, 2012 at 6:37 PM · Report this
VCARD- Woman to woman: Women never, never, never have to pay for sex or seek it out. Men are so easy and most of them do want to get into your pants whether you know it or not. For safer sex, try to meet someone online so that you can exchange a few emails and make sure they're stable, employed, and can at least fake being sane. You don't want to hire some escort who has sex with like, 5 different dudes a week (not that there's anything wrong with that. haha). Some of those guys go bareback for extra dollars, which means that it's really high-risk sex. Just try meeting a few non-escort guys on a regular dating site and you'll find that no matter what their profile says (seeking tender loving relationship, blah blah blah), a good number of those guys are just looking for sex and they will try to hook up with you right away.

My advice would be to look for someone on the rebound or find an older guy who's recently divorced. That way you meet someone who is unlikely to want something serious. You can be honest that you're not looking for a serious relationship, but you don't have to tell them that you're only doing it to lose your virginity. That puts too much pressure on the guy and he might just bail. No matter how big of a loser you feel like, paint yourself in a positive light and when the time is right, say something like, "I'm interested in exploring my sexuality with the right person, but I'm not looking for a relationship at the moment." Most guys would be thrilled to hear that. Don't say anything that makes you sound clingy or crazy and as Dan always says- don't act like it's cancer. Act like you've got this amazing fun time to offer, b/c really, you do have that to offer. You don't even have to admit you are a virgin if you think it will freak the average guy out. Just put your cards on the table and have sex with a half-way decent normal guy who's also not looking for anything serious.
Posted by women never pay for it on May 29, 2012 at 6:38 PM · Report this
@LW2: Are you taking any medications (like hormonal BC, or antidepressants)? They both make it much harder to come, even if a lovely skilled guy has been going down on you for ~10 min. If that's the case, try another BC, like progestin only, or another SSRI, like Wellbutrin.

Also try keeping a diary. If it is much easier to come or much more enjoyable at some times of the month than others, then it is hormonal and perhaps perfectly normal. I am not on hormones, so I experience these fluctuations. Vibrators FTW.

Finally, what are you thinking while he's down there? For me, the hardest thing is keeping my head in the game. I don't know why, but it can be difficult just to focus on the sensation and not think (that is, worry) about other things. Worrying that I'm not going to come is the worst. What happens if you smoke some weed first?

Good luck.
Posted by wxPDX on May 29, 2012 at 6:47 PM · Report this
@2: Have your guy read "She Comes First" by Ian Kerner. Changed my life.
Posted by anon101 on May 29, 2012 at 6:48 PM · Report this
I bet VCARD could easily find what she's looking for, for free, by advertising online and being totally up front about what she's looking for. That way she could interview candidates, do a little background checking, and find a non-pro straight guy who would love to show her the ropes.
Posted by bluebutterflygirl on May 29, 2012 at 6:53 PM · Report this
@2: Have your guy read "She Comes First" by Ian Kerner. That plus working through insecurities completely changed my (sex) life.
Posted by anon101 on May 29, 2012 at 6:53 PM · Report this
I disagree with Dominick, STUD. Check out Cowboys 4 Angels and Garren James.
Posted by T_T_T on May 29, 2012 at 8:09 PM · Report this
Lilliable 12
STUD should become a personal trainer and work at a gym with a wealthy clientele.
Posted by Lilliable on May 29, 2012 at 8:20 PM · Report this
Not that I really have a stake in this one, but why are people retaining this silly attachment to the artificial and highly patriarchal concept of virginity? Shouldn't we be better than that by now? And really, "losing" it? Good gravy Marie, as Brett Somers would have said; it's not a puppy or a purse.

I don't blame Mr Savage for this. After all, as he so eloquently points out, it's not his fault that the Christianists keep producing "virgins" with extensive experience on the anal side. I am a little less sanguine, though, about a future run by such junior Pharisees-in-training whose approach to the Bible is to figure out how to win by rule-sharking and gaming the system.
Posted by vennominon on May 29, 2012 at 8:36 PM · Report this
Meh, I don't know about the answer for EAT. Do think it can be all those things -- her insecuritis, unskilled guys and just not being able to orgasm like that (at all or easily)-- but is it really normal to think it's gross just because she's not a lesbian? How many women who think their genitals are gross have great sex lives, are able to ask for what they want and need in bed, or are even happy with themselves in other ways? And how many men, really, even the homophobe, think their dicks and blow jobs are gross?
Posted by Shazaam on May 29, 2012 at 8:45 PM · Report this
My first thought for VCARD was that she might ask a trusted girlfriend to recommend a man who would help. That's not because I've tried this, and it worked out well. It's because I've thought of recommending men I thought were good in bed to friends who were going through a dry spell. But then I remembered how the man I clicked so well with might not be great for someone else. It really is a matter of learning what you like through some trial and error and practice and self-exploration.

My next thought was that she doesn't need to hire someone; she needs to hire herself out. She could get what she wants and pick up an extra hundred bucks while at it. But then I thought of the nightmare that would be. Someone totally inexperienced trying to gage who's a good guy and who isn't. She'd probably pick up a cop on her first try.

So then I thought of how she ought to pretend she's not a virgin and just start dating and see where things take her. I reread her letter and am stuck on "so I can move on." Move on to what? It's hard to advise without knowing. Move on to a solid enjoyable relationship? Move on to rampant promiscuity? Move on to having had your first sexual experience be a horrible one that scars you for the future? That's not to say that everyone's first experience is automatically wonderful. It's usually not. But it's not usually scarring either.

I'm afraid that we have at present a shy, late blooming, average-looking, not-outgoing, unflirtateous virgin who thinks she's not very pretty from a conservative family, and after she picks up someone in a bar or from a classified ad, we're going to end up with a shy, late blooming, average-looking, not-outgoing, unflirtatious ex-virgin who thinks she's not very pretty from a conservative family. She apparently thinks the latter will be an improvement. I don't.

I'd work on helping her put to rest the idea that she's not pretty, and help her get over her shyness while coming to terms with her conservative family and the lies they convinced her of. When that's done, the rest is likely to follow in short order.
Posted by Crinoline on May 29, 2012 at 8:54 PM · Report this
mydriasis 16



Yeah, I'm actually with you on that one. When I was younger I used to give a little speech whenever people asked if I was a 'virgin'. About how it's totally homophobic (back then I had never heard of 'heterocentric') and crazy that a certain sex act has all this weight and is not only something you do (have sex or not) but something you are (a virgin or nonvirgin).

Anyway, I actually waited until a pretty reasonable age to lose my "virginity" but was sexually active for a few years before that. Most people just assumed I wasn't a virgin, though. Unfortunately there's a lot of weird shaming around being a virgin, especially past a certain age (that age varies depending on your culture/subculure, etc).
Posted by mydriasis on May 29, 2012 at 8:59 PM · Report this
13, 16--I could be wrong, but my take on VCARD's letter isn't that she's done kissing, petting, oral, and/or anal but has just missed PIV sex. I got the idea she has no sexual experience. So while I agree with what you've both said about virginity and the relative unimportance of its technical meaning (where a woman could have given a hundred blowjobs and had anal sex with a hundred guys while remaining a virgin), I don't think it applies to VCARD's dilemma.

(For the record, I am one for whom PIV sex was a huge big deal in a positive way. I felt terrific for days after I lost my virginity, like there was a brass band playing behind every tree, and like I could high-five everyone I met. I'd joined the best club in the world. All that and the experience itself wasn't all it was cracked up to be, but at least I'd started the journey.)
Posted by Crinoline on May 29, 2012 at 9:33 PM · Report this
One of the most useful things anyone ever told me about "losing one's virginity" was that becoming sexually active is a process, not a single watershed event. I've never understood the "get it over with" feeling (about the specific event, I mean -- I can understand wanting to get started!).

I think Dan missed a lot of nuance on that answer. I immediately wondered, hey, is she actually concerned about the state of her vaginal corona, or is that not important (it's often out of the way by this age anyhow, according to Emily Nagoski)? Because if *that's* the deal she could get a hymenectomy or break it herself. And what has her solo experience been like? Surely that's relevant? If she hasn't even masturbated (gawd, I hope that's not the case, but one hears such stories), I think she should start with that.
Posted by Eirene on May 29, 2012 at 9:57 PM · Report this
nocutename 19
I could be misreading VACARD, but I don't think she's talking about technical virginity alone, although I think she has a lot of anxiety around that particular first act.

I remember feeling this way: that lack of experience seemed paralyzingly huge. I was sure that my inexperience would render me ridiculous and undesirable. I saw my virginity, and all that it seemed to represent, as a burden I wanted to be relieved of so I could "start" my sexual life.

VCARD's acronym says that she's worried about her "retarded" development, so I'm guessing that she's had very little sexual experience.

The thing is, VCARD, you don't need an escort to do this. If you're not dating (and you might not be dating because you're too anxious and uncomfortable about your inexperience), take out an ad in the personals. Be honest, and say what you're looking for: someone who will help you explore your sexuality. So you're a late bloomer, so what? Offer yourself like a prize to be won (which you are) and cull through the responses until you find someone who is offering exactly whatever it is that you would hope to get from an escort.

The very first time have intercourse, it's likely to be disappointing, so a one-time get-it-over-with deal is probably not the best idea. Try to find someone who is thrilled to be the guy you try sex out with, understanding that "sex" includes lots of different activities and a certain amount of growing familiarity to feel comfortable. I know you want to jump in, get it over with, and move on with your life, but you may discover that you enjoy treating it less like a one-off and more like a learning unit lasting several sessions spanning several weeks.

Good luck. Take your time in finding the right candidate for the position, and have fun.
Posted by nocutename on May 29, 2012 at 10:25 PM · Report this
Sounds to me like EAT's just got some common insecurity about this.

Culturally, women are kind of made to feel like their vaginas are gross and smelly and need to be douched, deoderized, waxed etc. But frankly, that's bullshit.

To most people that're into women, a healthy, freshly washed (soap and water only, plz) vagina smells and tastes just fine. And once you get the hang of it, eating pussy is pretty fun and sexy too. :)

So relax! The guys that are eating your pussy are probably loving it, or at the very least are turned on by seeing a woman get off that way.
Posted by notfromvenus on May 29, 2012 at 10:36 PM · Report this
Advice to relax didn't work for me; just made me more tense. What worked for me was reading erotica to distract my brain from worrying. Also, I enjoy oral after I've already had an orgasm through masturbation -- though I gather some women are too sensitive afterward. Assume that your brain is getting in your way, and give it something fun to think about instead.
Posted by EricaP on May 29, 2012 at 11:07 PM · Report this
I agree that it sounds like EAT is thinking herself out of pleasure. The brain is a powerful thing, and it doesn't take much emotional distraction to completely derail sexual performance. Men do this too - while feeling self-conscious I have managed to think myself soft. Mental feedback loops like this can be hellishly hard to break.

So, what's going on in your head? If you have access to a nice, understanding guy, I strongly suggest asking him to go down on you while you just let yourself feel however you happen to feel. Pay attention to what's going through your head, and see if maybe you can work out where it's coming from.

There are lots of reasons you may feel like a guy going down on your is "gross". Do you fear you smell bad? Do you think vaginas in general look weird (or yours in particular)? Are you self-conscious because you think you get too wet? Has some insensitive guy in the past told you you're dirty or smelly or germ-ridden?

If you can track your feelings to their source, you may be able to deal with it and work on changing your feelings. *shrug* Or you might not. If you're enjoying sex but just don't like receiving oral, then what you really need to do is learn to accept that fact about yourself. :)
Posted by DexX on May 29, 2012 at 11:25 PM · Report this
'And it's fine for you to think eating pussy is gross — you're a straight girl, after all, and you're not attracted to women.' How many straight men think getting head is 'gross' because they're not attracted to men? I think cultural anti-pussy propaganda (that pussies are innately smelly, dirty, disgusting, etc.) might be a factor here ...
Posted by lovethepussy on May 30, 2012 at 12:22 AM · Report this
I've had a weird journey with oral. I had a terribly boring experience with it at the tender age of 13 and wrote it off as something I didn't want to do. It took me about 5 years to get over that and I really enjoyed it while I was younger. Nowadays, I'll let a guy do it if I know he really enjoys the act, but it doesn't do much for me.

But seriously, if a guy says he likes giving head, it means he LIKES GIVING HEAD! Just relax and don't be afraid of being bossy if you don't like what he's doing. It's all about experimenting until you find what you like.
Posted by carrot on May 30, 2012 at 12:28 AM · Report this
STUD check out I was surprised no one mentioned this site for you. They are a straight male escorts agency with guys all over the country.
Posted by Royalty19 on May 30, 2012 at 12:45 AM · Report this
Three things for VCARD, which Dan forgot:

1. Make sure you get reliable birth control, like the Pill, and use it consistently. You don't want to end up with an unplanned pregnancy.

2. Practice safer sex so you stay healthy.

3. Being "average-looking" does not mean you will have trouble finding a guy to have sex with. Guys like a wide variety of people, not just the Barbie-doll types.
Posted by Ashley Amber on May 30, 2012 at 3:44 AM · Report this
Crin @15 phrased my point much better: I think she's expecting things to be different afterward and they won't be. (I also agree she is completely inexperienced, not just a PIV virgin who's shed all the other forms.)

And what @18 said, that becoming sexually active is a process. That's why I asked if she wanted someone to 'get it over with' in a one-time way that's more in her control than a random guy from a bar, or if she wanted to practice the how to flirt and be on a date parts with sex as a sort of bonus. If she finds the right escort I would think the latter would be much more helpful.

And 15's last paragraph, that working on feeling more confident and at peace with herself is probably what she needs. Cashing the VCard isn't likely to make anything different and could be crummy enough to make it worse.
Posted by IPJ on May 30, 2012 at 4:23 AM · Report this
STUD should rent "Midnight Cowboy".
Posted by houstontreehugger on May 30, 2012 at 4:24 AM · Report this
Ms Crinoline - True enough, as far as that goes, but actually I'd contend that VCARD is just the sort of person who might benefit most from general reduction of the V-inflation. An interesting column in that we're seeing it cut both ways.

I don't think I even entirely took in the letters, just the V-emphasis. VCARD, one could wish, might have a slightly less dreary outlook on the post-initiation future.

As for EAT, while I don't get a sense that Mr Savage really thinks his second scenario is the more likely, I don't know that he's entirely correct. Having read two or three long accounts of women trying to get over their sexual blocks (and I fear I could not, if cross-examined, give any satisfactory reason, as I am not satisfied by my propensity for finding the storage drawers of my memory full of facts or data for which I shall never have any use), I am going to paraphrase Charlotte Lucas' early comment on mutual fulfillment in matrimony and say that, for many women with difficulties, climactic sex is entirely a matter of chance.
Posted by vennominon on May 30, 2012 at 5:47 AM · Report this
AFinch 30
@12 Nails it.

@6 also nails it for Virginity loser.
Posted by AFinch on May 30, 2012 at 6:08 AM · Report this
VCARD's and EAT's letters remind us that despite all the good information on sex and variety in sexual attractions and practices (or maybe because of), there's still a lot of misconception out there. Sometimes we lose sight of the basics: Straight men are attracted to women, and the majority of men are straight.

VCARD thinks she's not pretty enough to attract a man. Unless she has some major birth defect, something that would get her a place in a circus sideshow, men are attracted to her. They're attracted to thin hair, crooked smiles, big noses, broken out skin, small breasts, and a few extra pounds. Look around. Everywhere you go there are non-perfect women who have managed to attract men perfectly well. That's not to say that every relationship is exactly what these women might want, but the advertisers' idea that men will be turned off by her unless she uses their product is patently absurd.

And EAT. There are men who don't particularly like oral sex on women, but they're not the ones who are trying to go down on you. If they were disgusted by the natural smells and lubricants of women, they wouldn't be trying to get so close to them.

I wonder if this is a broken loop problem. The way you hope it works is that he's excited by the idea of eating her, and she's excited to be eaten. Her excitement feeds his excitement which, in turn feeds hers. If you break any segment of that loop, it falls apart. Perhaps some acting can help build it. By that, I mean that he makes it more obvious that he's thrilled to be doing what he's doing. Even when she says he doesn't have to, he says that he's been looking forward to it. Even if she's bored, she writhes and squeals anyway. It's worth a shot.

The other exercises to help one get over a distaste for one's own body include:

-Exploration in the bathtub or shower. Call it washing.

-A good look at yourself with a hand mirror.

-Touching yourself in a non-sexual way when alone and with the lights out. Touch and massage your own feet, legs, underarms and your own ass.

-Find a weekend when you can be alone. Experiment with not washing for a few days. (Except for your hands. Continue to wash them after peeing and pooping as usual.) You may be surprised by how little you smell.

-Photographs of women in non-porn, non-sexual situations. Think medical journals. It can do a world of good to discover how ordinary vaginas and vulvas can be. Remove the sexual element, and compare. They're not particularly ugly or anything else when you remove the mysterious element.
Posted by Crinoline on May 30, 2012 at 6:40 AM · Report this
32 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
VCARD, I know where you're coming from. I was 31 when I first kissed someone. Up until that time, I had absolutely zero sexual experience, and I felt like it totally inhibited all of my dating and other interactions. I wasn't confident, I was sure I was unattractive.

It was an ad on Craigslist that ended up solving my inexperience problem. Met a guy, chatted, became friends, (I had to tell him I was a virgin, and that scared the crap out of me), and then we moved on from there. It wasn't earth-shattering, but it was a huge relief.

I actually became kind of a slut afterward, which is fine, except I wasn't totally comfortable with my own choices. If I could do it over again, I'd be more discriminating. Once you get laid, you figure out just how easy it is for a girl to get laid. (I NEVER believed this before I had sex, but holy fuck it's easy.) Just because a guy wants to sleep with you doesn't mean you have to go along with it.

Good luck and be safe!

Posted by craycray on May 30, 2012 at 8:17 AM · Report this
16-myd-- I'm thinking back to my college bull sessions and know we talked about some wild stuff, but I can't think of any times when someone asked if I was a virgin. I suppose if people did ask, your answer about how it's not important is as good as any, but the subject really came up?

But more to the general point-- I'm putting myself back to my virgin days, and I do think there's a divide. Before I was used sex in my daily life, I thought sex was mysterious and had to be life-changing. Afterwards, I didn't understand what the big deal was. Now, it's easy for me to say that virginity isn't important. Before, I thought it was. It seems so stupid now, but there was a time when I thought each new sexual activity was a sort of hurdle to be jumped over: kissing, a boy's hand on my breast, his hand in my pants, some clothes off, a man going down on me, PIV sex, orgasm, fantasy play. Even things like taking a bath together or having sex outside. Each one was new and exciting before and quite normal and lovely afterwards.

Which is to say that a part of me knows where VCARD is coming from when she wants to get her virginity over with, while I simultaneously want to tell her that it's no big deal. I understand why she might think that PIV sex is the end all, while I simultaneously want to tell her that it's not, that it's only thing that she might like to do and try, and not necessarily the activity that she likes best.
Posted by Crinoline on May 30, 2012 at 8:49 AM · Report this
Re the second letter: it depends why she thinks it's gross. If she really thinks tongue-on-genitals is inherently gross (not just something that doesn't press her buttons), that seems quite off to me, and likely to affect other aspects of her sexual experience. I agree with 23 there. You don't have to want to do it yourself to think it's not gross.

If she's just worried, say, that it's impossible to eliminate every trace of urine and feces (I mean as in worrying that there might be some fecal smell no matter how clean she was), that seems a more ordinary thing to have to get over. I can remember thinking that way, and I'm pretty sure I thought the idea of oral sounded fabulous almost the first time I heard about it (I may have blocked out early "ew, gross" reactions, but they would have been when I was pretty young, anyway).
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Registered European 36
guys who dig women dig pussy

I don't know. I consider myself hetero (only ever fallen in love with women) but I'm not really interested in pussy. I'm probably an outlier. I have heard more or less the same thing said by self-identified heterosexual women about penises, though.
Posted by Registered European on May 30, 2012 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Sea Otter 37
@7 Wellbutrin is not an SSRI, it's an atypical antidepressant. But you're right that it doesn't have the reputation for causing inorgasmia that SSRI drugs have.
Posted by Sea Otter on May 30, 2012 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Crinoline@34: yeah, I remember having the idea that every "first" was a big deal, that if even a doctor touched me in a certain place it was taking the bloom off, so to speak. And of course deflowering the virgin tends to be a big scene in lots of old-fashioned porn. It's a kind of superstition, really. As the teacher whose advice I referenced in 18 said, the first time MIGHT be really important to you, or it might be more of a false step, and that's okay. It was an extremely liberating idea to me.
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Chelydra_serpentina 39
VCARD, if you just want to be "technically" not a virgin anymore (the way you "technically" didn't eat all the cookies if you leave a chocolate chip with some crumbs clinging to it in the cookie jar), you're not going to get much pleasure out of the experience. And that may be fine with you.

And if you want to turn in your v-card because you think that once you've done that, everything else will be so much easier, it probably won't end up working that way. If your real goal is to get on a path that will ultimately lead to fulfilling relationships (emotionally, or sexually, or both), I really doubt a one-time "just to get it over with" thing is going to help.

The only way to get on that path is to actually start at the beginning. I know it's hard, but that's just the way it is. How do I know it's hard? I was older than you by several years before it happened for me. Like craycray @33, I had my first kiss/boyfriend/all-the-sex-stuff at an age so advanced I'm still embarrassed to say the actual number. I'll just say it's somewhere between you and craycray.

If fulfilling relationships are really what you want, I'd recommend finding a decent guy whom you can be honest with early on, spending time getting comfortable, and trying new things at exactly the pace you want. I've found if you get the guy off, he's fine with not getting PiV right away. Mouth and hand techniques are valuable skills to know and refine. And if you're not completely comfortable with a dick-sized dildo in your vagina, use one (carefully!) on your own until you are. It will make things a lot easier.

Try to find the positive part of having your first experiences at an older age. If you feel awkward and uncomfortable doing all this for the first time now, try to imagine how much more awkward you would have felt doing these things as a teenager. Remember the ways you've grown as a person and how you've gotten to know yourself since then. It's not just sexual experience that makes you good in bed, it's life experience too.

You're an adult now, and you have far more ability to know what you really want and to make things happen the way you want them to. You're better able to say no to things you're not comfortable with, ask for things you want, and set firm rules for condoms and birth control. And even if you don't feel very comfortable, confident, and in control right now, just keep remembering teen-you.

As for finding the right guy in the first place, I'm afraid I don't have any advice about that, because that's always been my stumbling block. Still is. *Sigh*
Posted by Chelydra_serpentina on May 30, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Report this
My question for EAT is: Why is it important to you to learn to love receiving oral?

If it's because you are trying to please the person administering it, then I'd say never mind. It's supposed to be for your pleasure. You don't have a responsibility to learn to like receiving a particular activity that does nothing for you. (Give it a try, yes; toil away at learning to like it, no.) By analogy that's like your friend the fabulous baker insisting that you learn to love cardamom in your apple pie, when your favorite dessert is chocolate cake. Sure it's great, but it's not your thing. Your friend should learn to take pleasure in giving you what pleases you.

If, on the other hand, it's because you think you are missing out on something awesome, then by all means go for it. I just don't think you need to make yourself jump through hoops in this case, unless it's for your own benefit; so being clear on your motivations is a good place to start.

There may be other factors involved, but your thinking it's gross down there is sufficient all by itself to spoil the experience for you. One fairly simple way to start getting over that one would be to make a bath part of your game plan. Coming to bed all squeaky clean on the outside (leave the inside alone; it's fine, and frankly you don't want to wash away your natural lubrication) hopefully will go a long way towards easing your fears about being gross. It's not gross, it's just some freshly cleaned, soft, pliable, wonderfully sensitive skin -- kind of like your lips, and those aren't gross, are they?

I'm not saying a bath is always necessary. Just suggesting it as a way to start getting used to the experience, to placate certain fears the first few times. Later, additional experience of undiminished enthusiasm by her partner under less than freshly bathed conditions should continue the process of getting over that fear. He loves it down there. Trust that.
Posted by avast2006 on May 30, 2012 at 10:57 AM · Report this

At college, when we were drunk, the question wasn't so much if we had been kissed or fucked, but more how old we'd been the first time. The others just assumed everyone had done IT already. Or they at least pretended.

Posted by migrationist on May 30, 2012 at 11:09 AM · Report this
Great job commenters. You are echoing a lot of my thoughts on these letters. Giving/receiving oral has done almost nothing for me. I have a small mouth and it gets super boring for me to give oral, and uncomfortable especially when it takes too long. Some women experience some kind of power trip, but I don't care about that kind of thing. On the receiving end, I am too sensitive to enjoy it and -no pun intended- I think a lot of guys suck at giving it. I'm always disappointed when a guy seems to enjoy receiving oral better than PIV.

The men ALL seem to be able to convince themselves that I enjoy giving oral, when I have never said anything to that effect. So maybe that is what EAT has to do. Be like these men and convince yourself that your partner enjoys it. If you are actually experiencing any pain or discomfort though, maybe receiving oral is just not for you.
Posted by whiteorchid1 on May 30, 2012 at 11:17 AM · Report this
It really depends on the college. I went to a small liberal arts college (not religious) where it was VERY common to not have had sex yet. I dated more than one guy who'd never previously had a girlfriend. (Never underestimate really, really smart guys, by the way. They can be very quick studies.)
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Oh, I am reminded of a good line in the movie 50/50, where the lead character's girlfriend has stopped having sex with him, and even stopped giving him BJs. His friend tells him he should dump her, even though the friend can sympathize with her not wanting to give BJs. He says, I mean, who wants a dick in your mouth?
Posted by whiteorchid1 on May 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Regarding VCARD, I think another thing to experiment could be dressing up to go out and getting comfortable with male attention. To be honest, the young women in my city going out at night look like strippers and/or prostitutes, and you better believe they get male attention. You could try dressing provocatively and just try getting used to getting some male attention as a first step.

Because of your young age alone, you are sexy. Believe it. If you have any cleavage, use it. Or whatever your best feature is, show it off. Short skirt, tight skirt whatever. It could be an interesting experiment and would show you don't have to be pretty to be sexual. I think if she has cleavage, then there would be no problem getting a one night stand; however, safety first! I have never really done any of this, myself but I am sure many, many women have in their 20s.
Posted by whiteorchid1 on May 30, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Rereading the letter, she says she is not outgoing, flirtatious or pretty enough to meet men at bars. I guess what I am suggesting is that she let the clothing do her talking for her, and then the men will come to her and all she will have to do is be able to tolerate that. Probably more like at a club than a bar though.
Posted by whiteorchid1 on May 30, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this
I've had direct experience with two of the topics in this Savage Love. I'm female. I used to date a guy who had had a successful career as a gigolo, only servicing female clients. You would NEVER find a website for something like that. It's all word of mouth. Oddly enough he said that most of his clients were gorgeous bored trophy wives.

I know that sounds like he was lying to me, but I don't think so, as the experience really fucked him up, sexually speaking. Those guys are NOT allowed to come until the woman has had her fill, so he had lost the ability to orgasm during sex. Also a superhuman tongue and submissive personality are needed.

But personal trainer, etc., is probably a better way. The woman needs to get to know the guy (as in regular life).

Also I once hired a male prostitute (wasn't sure I could commit adultery--my ex refused to give me a divorce and I wanted to show him I was serious). He said he was bisexual but didn't turn out to be. Got a great massage and lots of orgasms from his hands though--close enough to qualify as adultery so I was happy. On the other hand, it would have been a sucky experience for VCard loss.

So Dan's wrong on two of these. Male gigolos do exist but they are tricky to find. His advice on becoming a personal trainer is good though. And hooker is not the way to go on a woman losing her virginity. I think a better way would be for her to ask a trusted friend for recommendations on old boyfriends who might be up for the job, someone gentle and skilled. Just about ANY nice guy would be willing to help a lady out with that.
Posted by Marrena on May 30, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
I think it's just as crummy to assume a personal trainer will put out as to assume a massage therapist or a UPS truck driver or a nanny will.
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
I'm sort of in the same position as VCARD, but in some ways I feel in worse shape - I'm 27, a virgin, and terrified of having sex, partly because of the first-time pain factor (I have the lowest pain threshold in the world, apparently, and am a bit of a coward) and partly because it would be so embarrassing to have to explain to some dude that I don't know what I'm doing in the bedroom. I wasn't raised as a religious conservative or anything that would be almost a socially acceptable excuse, I've just never met a guy who made me want to tear all my clothes off - it's easier to run away, I suppose.

I've pretty much come to grips with the fact that I'm not going to have sex (the idea of a male escort is too extreme for me, at least right now), but it is a little sad watching friends get married, have babies, etc. I don't even know what question I would ask anyone reading this - I guess it just feels good to get this off my chest.
Posted by Miss Dashwood on May 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
@45: in the days when I was that shy, I would NEVER EVER have gone out with any cleavage or anything if I wanted to be able to look anyone in the eye at all. It was just not me, no matter how nice other people thought I looked dressed that way, and it would have triggered any amount of flashbacks to being harassed on the street. She should dress however SHE feels most confident. About ninety percent of looking sexy is being able to relax enough in what you're wearing to be able to move naturally.

I tend to assume that covering up a bit is also something of a twit filter, but it's a very personal (and situation-dependent) thing.
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
The first time doesn't need to hurt. It really depends if your hymen was that strong to begin with, and if you did any sports during which you might have stretched/ ripped it anyway.

Just ask your gynecologist about it.
Posted by migrationist on May 30, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 52
@49 - In the heteronormative world (I finally used that word!) its not uncommon for women to let men take control in the bedroom. No one would know you are a virgin unless you announce it. But don't give up on sex - it is an essential part of the human experience.

To EAT - Ask your next boyfriend to touch himself while giving you oral (climb on top of his face). Once you see his erotic response, it might help convince you that 99% of straight men love giving for its own sake. I would have thought it was 100% but see @36.

Posted by Tim Horton on May 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
Miss Dashwood, I'd just like to say that whether women have pain the first time with PIV sex is really, really variable, and it seems to me you could pretty much do away with that anyhow by practicing self-penetration. The vaginal corona is often (not always) not an issue any more, as it lessens naturally with age even if you don't have sex or masturbate with penetration. According to Emily Nagoski (see…), in post-adolescent women the rim of the hymen averages only about a tenth of an inch wide. There's a lot of personal variation, though. If you have a septate hymen or something, I'd consider getting your doctor to deal with it.

Getting used to the friction of sexual penetration (especially with condoms) is a separate issue, but can generally be handled with more lube. See also….

I think there are plenty of people your age around who either haven't had sex at all or have had relatively little. It doesn't make you a hopeless prospect by any means.
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
@48--I'm not assuming all personal trainers put out, I'm assuming almost all MEN put out. There's a difference. The nice thing about a personal trainer is that they are generally focused on their clients, it's a one-on-one relationship conducive to intimacy and physical contact, and it's a service position.
Posted by Marrena on May 30, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
Miss Dashwood@49: I know exactly how you feel. I turn 27 in a few weeks, and I haven't had a successful go at the big PIV. I have done pretty much everything else, though, but mostly with guys I never saw again, or with guys who were only interested in the sex. Couple that with a bunch of insecurity (I've dropped a ton of weight in the last few years), a bunch of interpersonal betrayal (issues, blah, blah, blah), I have reached a point where I am terrified of getting close enough to a person where they could hurt me. So, I keep having these rather anonymous, risky encounters, hoping to get enough sexual experience so that it won't matter. Within the last few months of my life, though, I'm realizing that I would rather have a real connection, a relationship with someone, than just have semi-hot anal or something in the middle of the day, because he's married, and he can only take time off during his lunch hour.

So I guess my response to you is this: I am in the same boat, but even though I am extremely apprehensive of the pain thing, I am working with myself, and with toys, getting used to my body, and my responses. I'm also trying to be more open to being in a relationship so that I can integrate the sex stuff with the boring, mundane, Tuesday-is-Scrabble-night stuff. There's no rule that says dating=sex. Stick with what makes you comfortable. And who knows- maybe someday, we'll both meet people who click with us, and who are understanding and wonderful, and we get through it and live mostly-happily-ever-after.

I have a lot more hope for that than I used to.
Posted by irina on May 30, 2012 at 1:02 PM · Report this
@49--the pain is a little exaggerated. As migrationist above said, you may have already lost your himen because of sports, biking, strenuous physical activity, etc. (my wife had; she was surprised to feel no pain the first time she had sex).

If having no sex is something you want, then go ahead. But it seems to me you would like to have sex, but haven't found the right situation yet. I suspect that if you talk to good friends (and again to your gynecologist), they will allay your fears and apprehensions.

Having sex for the first time is in many ways no bigger deal than doing anything else for the first time. Do you remember the first time you applied for a job and were selected? Your first paycheck? The first time you drove a car? The first time you traveled abroad? The first time you got on an airplane? The first time you lived by yourself, after leaving your parents' house?...

The only problem is that there's this concept of virginity in our society, and people are so terriblly afraid of being judged by their partners... 'What is he going to think if he finds out I have no experience and have no idea what I'm supposed to do in bed?' I suppose, if he's not an asshole or someone with his own issues and problems, pretty much the same thing that the first person who ever played tennis (or chess, or checkers, or cards...) with you would: try to help you, teach you the ropes, and make you enjoy it. After all, any shared activity becomes more fun when all participants enjoy it.

Posted by ankylosaur on May 30, 2012 at 1:11 PM · Report this
@54: I'm not assuming all personal trainers put out, I'm assuming almost all MEN put out.

So it's okay to sexually harass someone who's just doing his job? because there's this monolithic idea that "men put out"? ICK. Even presupposing that most men don't mind casual sex (and I've met plenty who would be horrified), that's not to say they want to hook up with just any random woman who hires their time for a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ACTIVITY. In any case, how the heck would you know that particular guy was even into women?
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 1:15 PM · Report this
@49, and yes, @55 above is right: working with yourself (masturbation, toys, etc.) does help a lot, by making you understand ('feel') how your own body works.

@55, indeed meeting the right person helps a lot. But I've noticed myself that being too afraid also makes us sometimes skip people who might be right (or at least OK) for us -- our imaginations are often better at creating worst-case scenarios than at doing realistic empirical evaluations.
Posted by ankylosaur on May 30, 2012 at 1:15 PM · Report this
@Crinoline, since you mentioned feeling elated after your first 'official sex act', I wondered if this was the result of having expected it to have this effect, or not. Did you feel similarly elated with other first times -- first job, first paycheck, first time living by yourself, etc.? Would you say that 'first-time sex' (be it PiV or whatever you'd rather define as sex) is really different from other important first times in life?

English (like Western languages) has a word for someone who has not had sex yet ('virgin'), but not for someone who has not yet been gainfully employed, or not yet traveled abroad, or not yet cooked a meal. I wonder if this simple fact -- the existence of the word -- doesn't contribute to the idea that there should be a mystique around it.
Posted by ankylosaur on May 30, 2012 at 1:21 PM · Report this
@56: I think the sports thing is almost totally a myth, unless there are more bike seats, riding saddles, etc., that come with dildos attached than I am aware of :-) I can't see anything about those activities that would cause the corona to stretch or break. I think it's just that it becomes more estrogenized and naturally gets out of the way over time, plus some girls do masturbate with fingers pretty vigorously (bike riding is a lot easier to admit to ...).

There are also quite a few girls born with little or no vaginal corona to begin with. I thought it was just a figure of speech for many years. I was gobsmacked to find out it was a real physical phenomenon.
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM · Report this
@57, I suppose the question could be put to this personal trainer more or less openly, and then he could decide whether or not he wants to pursue the additional activity his client is interested in. If he says no, it stops right there. If the proposition offends him, he can leave. If it doesn't, he can stay and do his regular training job. If he accepts the offer, they can discuss the price.

It doesn't have to be sexual harassment, it could be a simple transaction, which the man in question would be perfectly free to refuse.

But maybe what Marrena above meant was more akin to trying to seduce the personal trainer -- i.e., without explicit negotiation? That would indeed be a different situation.
Posted by ankylosaur on May 30, 2012 at 1:26 PM · Report this
Personally, I have some hangups when people go down on me, too, but that doesn't change the fact that out of the more-than-a-few men I've been with, exactly zero seemed to really know what they were doing down there. And unlike what I think Dan was suggesting, mediocre oral is boring and tedious and just awkward for both parties.

Easy way to kill two birds with one stone: start masturbating. Most of the women I know who think vaginas are "gross" don't or rarely masturbate, and can barely stomach It's amazing how many women don't masturbate, thereby continuing to allow themselves to think of themselves and their genitals as also disgusting. But if you spend a lot of time figuring out what's going on down there, then not only will you eventually get comfortable with that part of your anatomy, but you'll also know exactly what parts of you need to be stimulated, and in what way, and then you can give a good partner good pointers. And if you aren't entirely comfortable using your hands, go out and get yourself a toy! That makes it easier for a lot of women.

If you already masturbate, great! Then utilize what you already know to give your guy some pointers. If he's a good partner, he'll be receptive. If he's not (I've been with guys who inexplicably got angry when I tried to explain what I wanted), than I would recommend getting a new partner.

But with how little focus is placed on understanding female anatomy or sexuality in our culture, not much is going to change until you know what you want and can communicate that to your partner. Or, find a partner who has already been taught a lot by a woman who was comfortable. Even so though, in a healthy relationship, a woman still has to be able to communicate what she wants to her guy because women's experiences and preferences are all very different.
Posted by Pearl on May 30, 2012 at 1:29 PM · Report this
ankylosaur, if the guy's got to deal with a client because of his job, and she makes sexual moves on him of ANY type, that is the very definition of sexual harassment. It doesn't make it all better that he can say no. Because of the situation, it's potentially far more embarrassing and awkward than if she'd come on to him in an ordinary social situation. Plus if he gets jumpy about the possibility of other clients hitting on him, he'll be far less able to do his job well and enjoy it.

And how would offering to pay him make it better? I don't have anything against sex work, but in our society being treated like a sex worker when you're not one is generally considered a huge insult.

Marrena wrote: The nice thing about a personal trainer is that they are generally focused on their clients, it's a one-on-one relationship conducive to intimacy and physical contact, and it's a service position.

Those are all excellent reasons why you should RESPECT THEIR JOB, and not try to turn it into something it's not. Someone's in a service position, therefore they're quite likely to act like a sex worker? WTF?

If I wanted to use the services of a straight male personal trainer, I would particularly value their being able to work with my body in a specifically nonsexual way. That would be really, really important to their being able to do their job right. I would respect and honor them for it, just as I respected and honored the straight male coaches I had in high school who were able to work with me appropriately.
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 1:52 PM · Report this
If a guy propositions the waitress in terms of a simple transaction, it would be considered harassment. So why would it be ok if a woman propositions her personal trainer?

Posted by migrationist on May 30, 2012 at 1:55 PM · Report this
Pearl@62: in my admittedly limited experience, it shouldn't even take that much practice to perform acceptably if the guy's got any common sense. The only really bad oral I've had (well, not bad, just not that fun) has been with a long-time partner when we hadn't done it for a while and something didn't click at first. First time around has usually been just fine.
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 2:02 PM · Report this
Certain types of porn might help EAT. Watching male performers she finds attractive eating pussy with gusto and joy might help re-wire her brain to the notion that yes, plenty of straight men REALLY like going down on women.

Alternatively, EAT might just take her receiving oral off the sexual menu, at least for the first couple dozen times with a new guy. While yes, that would disappoint many straight male partners, there are also plenty of guys who would find it kind of a relief. After she's rather familiar with a partner, and they're both more relaxed, would be a better time to try to work cunnilingus into their sexual repertoire.

And I'm with those that suggest VCARD just be candid at a personals site about her lack of experience. Like others, I suspect her inexperience is not merely about penis-in-vagina sex, but is broader and deeper (I doubt she's done anal or oral, but that's just a guess). In any case, while there are certainly creepy guys who would be drawn to her, there are also plenty of nice men who would find her and her lack of experience charming and sexy. She should be super-selective when screening the flood of volunteers to be her 'first'.
Posted by Functional Atheist on May 30, 2012 at 2:11 PM · Report this
I'm feeling oooooooold with all this talk of anal before vaginal (fashions appear to have greatly changed in this matter). And the idea of first-time vaginal being scarier than first-time anal blows my mind.
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 2:25 PM · Report this
I understand where VCARD is coming from with the "moving on" because I've definitely been there. Also a late-bloomer here in many aspects but then I met my (ex-)boyfriend and even though the relationship didn't last more than a few months and I was heartbroken over it -- the positive thing about it all that I was no longer needing to feel so fucking self-conscious about my virgin status. Whatever anyone says, it's really a tough burden to carry to past age of 20+. For me it was tough because I have been interested in sex for as long as I can remember but never had a chance to explore it with someone who I trusted enough. Since then, I've definitely moved on; fooled around a lot and had sex with a few guys. Do selectively, it's worth it. Next step is to find THAT lover/bf/friend who will just want to explore the trust aspect of it all and who I can just feel the full intimacy. So yes, the "moving on" part makes full sense to me at least. But do it only for yourself, and no one else!

However, I wouldn't recommend having sex with someone who you do not know from before. Escort or someone one-night stander. Unless that is exactly what you are looking for .. that you don't want this person to appear anymore in your life. In my experience it's better if you have it with someone who expresses at least some level of respect for you and you can get at least some enjoyment out of the first time. Especially since you may be insecure already and adding a bad experience on top may not exactly help you in "moving on".

I also hope that you are more or less comfortable with your body and know the bits and tricks what make you hot and wet. And that you know how to express yourself in bed. If you cannot imagine asking the guy put a condom on, you shouldn't have sex.

And even though you may feel right now the most inexperienced person, you are STILL much better off being virgin at 26 than at 16 and trying then to figure out things. Make that to your benefit! Best of luck to you.
Posted by ruu on May 30, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
59- Ank-- Would I say that first time PIV sex was really different from other important first times in my life?


I realize it can be different for different people. I'm not putting anyone down if they experienced differently, but for me, it was as I described: substantially wonderful. Not the sex itself; that got better with time and practice, but that fantastic "I did it! Woot! Woot!" feeling was unlike any other.

I am unable to divorce it from societal expectation. Would it be different if Society had taught me to expect something different? Sure, probably, but what's your point? I may be one of the lucky ones who didn't attach shame to virginity loss. For me, it was joining the club of all the good things that come with growing up and getting out there.

Were there other good firsts? Sure, yes, but again, what's your point? I was elated the first time I gave a successful lecture in front of a large and appreciative audience. I also got a kick out of my first hollandaise sauce that didn't break. There are many things in life that one looks forward to with a mixture of anxiety and awe, but honestly, nu, it was a lot more fun than eating bacon.
Posted by Crinoline on May 30, 2012 at 2:41 PM · Report this
John Irving’s latest novel, In One Person, is a timely statement about men and women, the nature of sexuality, and society’s assault on the self. Although a work of fiction, the book faithfully reports the real-life struggles of certain people to become who they were destined to be; people different from the rest of us, people often labeled as “aberrant” and “deviant.” As e.e. cummings accurately observed, “To-be-nobody but yourself-- in a world that is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” The importance of becoming an individual in one’s own right, as expressed in Irving’s novels and in much of e.e. cummings’ poetry…

Posted by Jcarvalho on May 30, 2012 at 3:21 PM · Report this
I wanted to share this wonderful blog by Dr. Lisa Firestone on Huffington Post I thought readers might appreciate it as well.
Sexuality, and Society’s Assault on the Self
A commentary on John Irving’s new book In One Person
John Irving’s latest novel, In One Person, is a timely statement about men and women, the nature of sexuality, and society’s assault on the self. Although a work of fiction, the book faithfully reports the real-life struggles of certain people to become who they were destined to be; people different from the rest of us, people often labeled as “aberrant” and “deviant.” As e.e. cummings accurately observed, “To-be-nobody but yourself-- in a world that is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” The importance of becoming an individual in one’s own right, as expressed in Irving’s novels and in much of e.e. cummings’ poetry and prose, is the theme of a forthcoming book The Self Under Siege: A Therapeutic Model for Differentiation co-authored by my father Robert Firestone, Joyce Catlett, and myself.

Here are the links…
Posted by Jcarvalho on May 30, 2012 at 3:26 PM · Report this
@63/64 (Eirene, migrationist), indeed, you are right -- in America, such situations would be very awkward and constitute the very definition of harassment. (Brazilians -- of which I am one -- tend to view such situations more flexibly, but that is not relevant to a situation taking place in America.)

I suppose Marrena was thinking about seduction rather than sex work -- a situation that many people romanticize. But with the concept of sexual harassment, it would seem 'legitimate' seduction would have to happen in non-work environments like bars or clubs, which is again not the situation under which personal trainer and client meet.
Posted by ankylosaur on May 30, 2012 at 3:34 PM · Report this
@Crinoline, oh, I suppose that the point (maybe a rather obvious one) is that if society had taught you differently, you might have had a less strong positive reaction, and now think that the kick you got out of your first successful lecture or hollandaise sauce was stronger.

Because this is the difference -- intensity, right? Having the first sex was 'more fun' (not so much because of the sex, but because of the elation of joining the grownups club, if I understand you correctly), not 'a different, incomparable kind of fun'?

Just curious. (For me, having the first sex wasn't such a great experience, not only because the sex was average at best, but because it occurred in the context of a relationship that wasn't going to work and was already full of red flags that I was doing my best to ignore. So that first sex felt, in retrospect, like an attempt at making that relationship be something that it was not. Because of that, I wasn't so much feeling like high-fiving everybody the next day as I was trying to read the signs on her face, about how she felt and what that would mean for us.

As you say, it's a personal experience, with individual colors.)
Posted by ankylosaur on May 30, 2012 at 3:42 PM · Report this
The whole concept of seduction is pretty weird anyway, if you think about it. It only really works if you have one partner who has a reason NOT to have sex that has to be overcome. Depending on how what that reason is, it's either not that much of a seduction (e.g., waiting until you know each other better) or it's problematic (one of you is married, on the job, etc.). The general connotation is negative -- to lead astray, to induce to be disloyal, etc.
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 3:54 PM · Report this
that first sex felt, in retrospect, like an attempt at making that relationship be something that it was not

Same here. I don't much like remembering it for that reason. I'll also add that while in my case the sex itself was perfectly fine, considered as a physical experience, it didn't seem enough different from other sorts of messing around that it felt terribly new and special to me. So okay, I had an orgasm. It was -- not that different from hundreds of others in previous years.
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 4:01 PM · Report this
Mr Ank - I'll agree there could be cultural distinctions in play, though I think Ms Marrena was quite clear. Almost all men will put out. And almost any nice guy would just fall all over his Boy Scout uniform to be helpful. That's quite clear and direct - and, in a way, a step up from Mr Savage's saying that all men are s*s.

At least I know not to be full of regrets if I die without visiting Brazil; you have kindly shown me that the natives would probably not be much to my taste - not that there's any reason they should be. Very lucky that my one trip away from North America brought the Dutch to my attention - I was so pleased with them I missed my return flight.

I think I'm inclined to agree with Ms Eirene about seduction, and, still being in something of a point-giving mood, shall give her a point for registering and backing it up with reasonable commentary.

And I shall give Miss Dashwood two points for the obvious reason. Although I can offer her no technical advice, I do wish her luck in deciding and finding what she really wants, and will only say that it could have been rather worse; she could have been Miss Elliot (I shall not insult the assembled company by adding - [E], not [A]).
Posted by vennominon on May 30, 2012 at 5:14 PM · Report this
Was Dan hungover when he wrote this? He is usually very good at giving complete answers that cover all aspects of the question, even trying to give every possible answer. But this time, all the answers were short and oversimplified (with maybe the exception of STUD, but in that one he mostly relied on quoting Dominick). I was especially disappointed with his answer to VCARD; just a straight-forward answer about male escorts, while completely ignoring the issue of why she feels like she needs to pay for it in the first place.
This has to be the first time I've read most of the comments on a SL (let alone left my own), and that's purely because of how disappointed I was with the column itself. Sadly, most of the commenters did a better job than Dan himself.
Posted by CyberQuaker on May 30, 2012 at 5:30 PM · Report this
The first question is a product of many discussions and assumptions made on this site in the comments section. I think Dan is just trying to set the record straight: THERE IS NO DEMAND FROM FEMALE CLIENTS.


But, but, but...I thought from reading all the comments here that women were so sexually deprived and it was all the mean old men who are not putting out- or at least that women experience sexual denial just like men. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SEXES AFTER ALL!


Welcome to reality ladies. At least y'all are consistent- if you didn't complain about this it would be something else.

ANY woman can get sex almost ANY time she wants. Men do NOT have that option unless they pay for it or "get lucky." Case closed now STFU up and spread your legs.

On the second letter: "You don't have to like the idea of eating pussy to enjoy having yours eaten." I realized that long ago with gay sex- You don't have to enjoy sucking cock in order to......"

Continuing the theme, the advice to "concerned" was ridiculous. A 26 y/o virgin female does NOT need to see a male escort. If she just wants a one time thing she could have been beaten terribly hard with an ugly stick, be hideously fat, and smelly, with the overpowering flavor of wild berry scented minipads and bloody gash in the air- and she could STILL raffle off her virginity for several thousand dollars on e-bay. Put out a singles ad girl. Exchange some pics, follow internet safety and meeting protocols. The horny boys will be beating off down to your door.
Posted by Professor on May 30, 2012 at 5:38 PM · Report this
@63: "if the guy's got to deal with a client because of his job, and she makes sexual moves on him of ANY type, that is the very definition of sexual harassment. It doesn't make it all better that he can say no."

This is wrong as a matter of law, a matter of policy, and fails the test of reasonableness. First, a person who hires a service provider cannot sexually harass his employee- because the employee is a CONTRACTOR not an employee. Second, "a sexual move of ANY type" is NOT sexual harassment. Most people have sex with someone at work or school- in your ridiculous world of blazing feminists you would pathologize NORMAL HUMAN SEXUALITY. Third, if you ask and take "No" for an answer this is NOT hostile work environment sexual harassment. It was never quid-pro-quo harassment. You have NO RIGHT to stop my free speech in asking the question.

Nice try girls, but I have a right to ask the question: "Hey baby, would you like to wrap your spikes around my head, come on, I have a salami I've gotta hide?" This is crude and perhaps rude but it is NOT sexual harassment unless (at the very basic minimum) it is asked repeatedly. Keep that bullcrap in your women's studies classes and stop looking for some deep pocket to sue for your imagined grievances.
Posted by Professor on May 30, 2012 at 6:06 PM · Report this


Cut the brush away from the orchid.

Let his lips and tongue make love to your pink folds.

Your pussy will be as fresh as your panties.

Posted by Hunter78 on May 30, 2012 at 7:05 PM · Report this



The inherent sexual supply/demand imbalance stems from human biology.

Males are wired to be ready for sex at any time. Females are only truly sexual in the way males are when they are near ovulation. That's about one week in four. About 2 weeks in 4 they're more interested in relationships/bonding than driven by the sexual demand for reproduction. The last week they're not interested in sex at all (during PMS & early menstruation).

Females also have a shorter reproductive sexual lifespan than men (men are basically sexual from puberty until death ... women are sexual from puberty until menopause).

Understand that I'm not saying women don't ever have sex after menopause or when they're not ovulating ... I'm just saying that the drive is not as urgent at those times.

This is why human male demand for sex always outstrips the human female supply of it.
Posted by Robby on May 30, 2012 at 7:07 PM · Report this
Contractors may not be required to be covered under sexual harassment policies, but they often are: see, e.g.,…. See also http://violenceintheworkplace.lettercarr…
"Although not every instance of inappropriate sexual behavior may fit the legal definition of sexual harassment, such behavior in the workplace undermines morale and violates the Postal Service’s standards of conduct. Disciplinary action may result even if the conduct is not sexual harassment under the law. The Postal Service owes its employees a safe, productive, and inclusive workplace and can tolerate nothing less."

Seems to me there must be a term for an individual act that's the sort of thing sexual harassment consists of. I tend to call such an act "sexual harassment" as shorthand, as I think lots of people do, but if it's necessary to preserve the legal term of art unstained, well, there's clearly a need for a more general term.

In any case, I don't give a damn whether the guy would have a legal case. I'm talking about the morality of harassing him on the job, especially making the assumption that the line of work he's in makes him likely to do sexual favors. I don't think a decent person would do it.
Posted by Eirene on May 30, 2012 at 7:10 PM · Report this
@79: Nice try, "Professor", but I'm not buying any of your chauvinistic "salami that needs hiding" bullshit. Keep that crap in your men's locker room and stop being one of those Neanderthal assholes campaigning to keep women barefoot, pregnant, and voiceless when the reason for YOUR imagined grievences is because trolls like you CAN'T GET LAID. Do you ever wonder why?
Frankly, I'm with @63, Eirene, here, even if you aren't (I couldn't care less!), and would prefer to work with a personal trainer in a non-sexual way that focuses more on improving my own health and personal well-being.
Posted by auntie grizelda on May 30, 2012 at 7:18 PM · Report this
A question for those who were virgins past age 25-- Is there anything you'd have liked a friend to do for you?

A friend is in her mid-20s. She's confident, nice, pretty, smart. She's laughs easily and has no trouble making friends. She comes from a liberal family where she's had no nasty baggage attached to sexuality, quite the opposite in fact. Family friends have come in all stripes of gay to straight, married or not. Everyone has been accepted. The religion she was brought up in taught acceptance and kindness. They make fun of fundamentalists. She's had full sex education and has no reason to have learned to attach sex to shame.

She wasn't the most popular in high school or college, but she always had a circle of female friends to hang out with. She hasn't seemed interested in going out of her way to seek masculine attention. She wasn't interested in the immature boys in high school. She got a great education at an all-women's college. She's gotten along fine with whatever men she's worked with. She's got a job in this economy working with children. She seems happy.

So this seems like a non-problem, and yet I wonder. I don't want her to be desperate to get rid of her virginity in another few years. As near as I can tell, she's never been kissed. She could be asexual or lesbian. If she's lesbian, I wonder that she would have hooked up with a young woman at her school. There was certainly an obvious enough lesbian presence there.

Would a friend who wants only the best for her to something? What?
Posted by Crinoline on May 30, 2012 at 7:46 PM · Report this
@81: WHOA. Robby, your ignorance is really showing. Please do us girls a favor and DON'T try to tell us when or why WOMEN do or don't feel like sex, especially if you're a GUY. Guys DON'T experience menstrual periods, pregnancy or menopause and never will. So how could you possibly know? Sex drive is not a "One Stud Fits All" toss on bolero.
Sexual tastes vary from person to person and cannot be generalized.

Are you one of those heterosexual guys who feels he MUST be in total control of his wife / girlfriend / significant other at ALL TIMES, including when she reaches orgasm, otherwise---(shudder!)---perish the THOUGHT? Are you by any chance one of those so-called militant "pro-lifers" who violently protests Planned Parenthood clinics, and really couldn't care less about the health of an aborted unborn fetus, but instead would rather see all women and girls barefoot, pregnant, and voiceless?

THIS, not your Wrong-Way-Roger analysis, is why the sex drive among so many heterosexual women nationwide has dropped so historically low.
The hideous GOP "War on Women" has left many of us--ME, anyway---sexually disinterested and otherwise, happily inactive.
Posted by auntie grizelda on May 30, 2012 at 7:49 PM · Report this
mydriasis 86
@ 34

It came up in highschool, not college.
But I guess everyone sees it differently. Don't get me wrong, I had some excitement about my 'classic' loss of virginity and chose the person very carefully. But those hurdles were all cleared pretty fast and early and close together so I don't remember them.

There was someone I used to work with who I chatted about sex with. One time the subject of threesomes came up and I said I had only done it once when I was sixteen and didn't much care for it. Much later the subject of losing virginity came up and I said I was sixteen. He was surprised. "You had your first threesome the same year you lost your virginity?" And I stopped and thought "huh... I guess I never thought about it before but... yeah it was like 4 months later".


I am a big ole baby who does not like pain at all. But! I personally found two things

1. Hymen breaking didn't hurt for me, so it might not for you either.
2. Sex did still hurt for me because I'm built small BUT that pain signal gets overridden real fast in my experience, and totally worth it.

Best of luck. I am somewhat younger than you but I have several friends that are virgins and I have no doubt that they will be able to change that in the future if they want to.
Posted by mydriasis on May 30, 2012 at 7:54 PM · Report this
mydriasis 87

Um yeah... let me guess: you don't actually study science or physiology in any way. It shows, son.
Posted by mydriasis on May 30, 2012 at 8:05 PM · Report this
mydriasis 88
@ Crinoline

Have you never discussed the issue? I have friends around that age who are virgins and I've definitely talked with them about the reasons why. It seems unusual it's never come up even in a superficial way?
Posted by mydriasis on May 30, 2012 at 8:08 PM · Report this
@84: Crinoline: I don't understand your question. If your friend clearly isn't ashamed of her sexuality or still being a virgin, and already gets along well with everyone around her, ignores the immature creeps, and spends her time with the people who matter most to her---who taught her about kindness, acceptance and forgiveness---and she's perfectly happy, then what is her problem? I don't see one. Is she being pressured into dating when she doesn't feel the need?

Maybe she just likes being single.
Posted by auntie grizelda on May 30, 2012 at 8:16 PM · Report this
Your question implies that something is wrong with her being single and a virgin; because why otherwise would you think she needs help?

When I was in my mid-20ies, single and haven't had PiV sex before, I didn't discuss that with my friends because I was afraid to show my inferiority by admitting to that.

In the end, when I already had resigned myself to a single life forever, I met a guy who was just enough removed from my normal circle of friends that I felt safe enough with him to relax and show him I was also interested in him. I could be open and honest with him about my sexual past because I knew even if he was a gossip (which he wasn't at all), my friends wouldn't find out about my lack of experience.

So, for me the main problem with having limited romantical and sexual experience in my 20ies was that it made me feel judged by and inferior to my friends. (That wasn't my friends' fault: I lived in different countries and towns in my 20ies, and I always cringed when the topic came to sex wih a new set of acquaintances and friends.)

I blame my highschool years when having a friend trying to help me made me feel unattractive, inept and awkward. So, if your friend is in any way like me "helping" her would do the opposite.
Posted by migrationist on May 30, 2012 at 10:11 PM · Report this
@76(Mr Ven), Marrena above was indeed clear; I was wondering about what might underlie her opinion, though.

Brazil is of course more than its inhabitants, who, anyway, are as varied a bunch as any other group of 190 million people could be. But, since I myself (despite being Brazilian) am no big fan of Brazilians, I will not protest against your opinion. After all, many a Brazilian also comes back from the US with similarly negative feelings about Americans (as I was dismayed to find out in several of the get-togethers organized by the local Brazilian consulate).

Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 12:12 AM · Report this
@74(Eirene, also Mr Ven)-- The topic of seduction is in itself quite interesting, and certainly one in which Americans have changed (or are changing) their minds. It's not difficult to find movies from a few decades ago in which 'the art of seduction' is presented as a beautiful, romantic part of the game of love -- to say nothing of a long literary tradition making the same point.

Indeed seduction only makes sense if one partner has a reason not to have sex that must be overcome. But if you go back to earlier times, I suspect the romanticization of seduction comes from the fact that the reason in question was, even then, half assumed (perhaps rightfully so) to be really the wrong reason -- the fear of sex making you impure or dirty ('losing one's virginity'), social conventions, widespread stereotyeps about 'fallen women', the idea that self-respecting women weren't supposed to want or enjoy sex, etc.

The game of seduction has been a strong motif in literature, both with its good (Mme de Rênal) or bad (Anna Karenina) consequences. Whether or not it is beautifully described, one does wonder if the romanticization isn't simply a way to mask the fact that people were supposed not to communicate about it. In traditional seduction, the least the participants talk about what is going to happen, the better -- both can pretend that 'nothing is happening' until it is too late. Apparently even the libertines of yesteryear often thought that sex was 'bad' in itself, and that the best way to get it was to keep pretending that one was not going to get it for as long as possible... until it starts. Sex was seen as something that 'overpowers' you -- because no serious self-respecting person would actually plan it, this 'animal', 'base' activity, Satan's temptation; one could yield (!) only if the internal pressure (desire, 'Satan's temptation') becomes, against one's conscious intentions, so strong that one simply couldn't resist. Especially in the case of women.

Strange, isn't it?
Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 12:18 AM · Report this
@75(Eirene), indeed, same thing here -- with the added minus that I didn't have an orgasm. The one interesting aspect of the experience was how easy it was to give her one, though, via oral sex -- she was one of those women who orgasm quite easily that way, which was a good thing, since I had zero experience at the time (later on, after being with other women, I realized things aren't always that simple). Since she had never had oral sex before, she herself was surprised by how strong her reaction was (her surprised face is one good thing I remember about that night), and requested oral sex every time we had sex from then on.

I suppose I can forgive myself for having thought at the time that this would solidify our relationship and solve our problems. Of course it didn't. So, in retrospect, thinking about that first time makes me think of hopes that didn't materialize, which saddens me. It reminds me of how easy it is to cling to little facts ('but she liked oral with me so much!') and attribute them meanings they don't (and didn't) have, just because we, when we are young, so much want life to be like a fairy tale.
Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 12:34 AM · Report this
@84(Crinoline), have you tried talking to her -- in a friendly, no-pressure way -- about sex? The way you might talk to her about music or literature, in case she had a similarly low (perceived) interest in these things? By hearing her talk about herself and her attitude to sex in her own words, you might get an idea of where she's at and where she's headed for, and then figure out if you can (or should) help her and, if so, how.
Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 12:44 AM · Report this
Hi folks, VCARD here. Thanks for the thoughtful remarks; I was stealing myself for a slew of the usual "older virgins must be obese or have non-existent sex-drives" comments that usually accompany this topic.

A note about the word 'conservative' in regards to my family: it isn't really in relation to politics, but lifestyle (and I couldn't think of a better term). Although I feel close to my parents and siblings, we don't hug, or kiss, or say "I love you," - ever. My parents vote generally liberal, but I honestly have no idea their thoughts on issues like gay marriage and abortion, because love/sex/relationships were simply not topics of conversation in my house. So I guess maybe Puritan would be a better term?

Responding to some of the comments/questions:

Yes, all of you are correct in assuming that I have virtually no experience whatsoever. Kissed three guys. That's it.

I hate the term 'losing it,' too (but it's better than 'deflowering'! Eughh!), and I know logically that I shouldn't be ashamed, etc... but I still feel ashamed. Truth is, it's NOT normal to be 26 and a virgin in our society, and while being abnormal can be a good thing, I'd at least like it to be by choice. I think that's what I meant by 'moving on' - with each passing year, I just feel less and less like I can relate to my peers. It's a sucky feeling. Missing out on the usual teen rites of passage as a teen was one thing, but having STILL not done them ten years later just feels wrong/depressing. The confidence issue becomes cyclical.

Regarding what I'm looking for: believe it or not, I really am not looking for a relationship right now. Maybe I'm jaded and bitter (I hope not), but I honestly can't imagine meeting a guy that I care about, just because it's never yet happened. (This is probably the epicenter of the issue). I also really don't like the idea of any guy knowing that he was my first time and feeling proud about it, or something. I think it would make me feel inferior to him for the rest of our relationship. That's why the idea of a professional sounded appealing, because I'm sure they've dealt with worse cases than mine.

Crinoline - my first kiss at 18 sounds similar to your reaction to first PIV. I didn't like the guy, and it was not physically enjoyable, but I was so happy and relieved to have finally done it! So that's kind of what I'm aiming for here. (For the record, guys #2 and #3 were enjoyable).

Dating: I've gone on dates with dozens of men (mainly from online). I've only 'dated' two, and I didn't really like either. I do know I'm not asexual, though, because I like porn and fantasizing, and it's a lot of pent up frustration that's driving me to consider the escort route.

College: yep, I've definitely been asked if I'm a virgin, and I try to demure but they can always tell I'm lying. The tone of the question is either demanding, like they've discovered my 'secret,' or gentle and sympathetic, like I have a disease. I give off a very naive/innocent vibe - people are also frequently surprised to hear me swear and learn that I drink. It sucks. I've actually tried to swear more to combat this. Hah!

'Firsts': my point exactly. I want to get past this, so it isn't a big deal any more. But I'm sure it was a big deal for all of you BEFORE it happened.

Dressing up: Strangely enough, I have regressed on this one. In my teens I lived in short-shorts and tank tops and was largely oblivious to any male attention that might have garnered. Now a single catcall from some mangy guy makes me feel dirty and exposed. I don't get it, either.

Miss Dashwood - I'm fortunate enough to have an incredibly high pain-tolerance threshold. But I am worried that if there was blood or something, I would just be embarrassed beyond belief. Anyway, it's nice to know others are in the same boat - thanks for sharing :) (And Irina, too!)

Professor - your last paragraph is hilarious, but the 'any woman can get sex anytime' type statement has not been my experience at all.

Crinoline again - regarding your friend. Despite the way I described myself, on the surface I probably come across very much like her. I get along well with everyone, I have a great education, a few close friends, hobbies and work I enjoy, and seem very happy (and really, I am in other aspects of my life). So without knowing your friend, I'd say it would definitely be a good idea to broach the topic *gently* with her. I only have one friend who knows about my utter lack of experience, and it was because she was the one who initiated the conversation. I'm sure I was standoffish at first because I've NEVER talked about this with anyone before, but now I'm very grateful to have one person in my life that I can be honest with. Maybe she can find the same comfort in you.

mydriasis regarding Crinoline's friend: believe me, I am a master at keeping conversations away from sexual experiences. ;) Her friend could be the same.

I hope this was helpful in explaining things a bit better. Sorry I'm so long-winded :p
Posted by VCARD on May 31, 2012 at 12:55 AM · Report this
@VCard @95:

Your situation sounds very much like mine 10 years ago, just that I had "made out" with some guy or other every other year or so.

What helped me when I met the guy who I had sex the first time was that we didn't have a common social circle. If it hadn't worked out, we would probably never have seen each other ever again. So, I was save from gossip within my social circle.

He was a bit more pleased about me being a virgin than I liked. But then he told me he had had sex for the first time in his mid-20ies himself. It made me realise that a lot more people have little to no experience in their 20ies than popular culture makes us think. We stayed together for 6 years. Since then I have turned to Craigslist and I have had mostly good experiences.

For you, Craigslist might really be the best solution: one can be completely honest because it is unlikely one meets these people again unless one wants to.
Posted by migrationist on May 31, 2012 at 2:21 AM · Report this
@95(VCARD), "normal" is overrated, has always been. I'm a guy who (like everybody else...) is not "normal" in a number of ways, some good (I love foreign languages) and some 'bad' or at least impopular (I don't drink alcohol, I hate coffee). We all deal with our normalcy or lack thereof, and the best idea is to accept it without letting it define you.

The fact you're worried about your abnormal virginity is more a reflection of the degree of importance our society gives to sex -- it just can't be like everything else, it has to be this biiig thing that marks your official entry into adulthood or something -- which means people start wondering what is wrong with them if they haven't yet 'solved this problem'. I wished I could change the way you feel about it. Can you imagine what the world would be like if every person who hasn't yet tried to learn French (call them 'French virgins') felt the same way about this language that you feel about your virginity?

I can understand your reasons for prefering to make use of professional help. Dan's advice is quite good, and you can try to follow it. But, speaking from personal experience, it would probably be better to talk to friends, male or female -- friends who you can trust not to judge you just because of your 'abnormality' (there always are some friends who are good enough for that; the trick is to avoid the assholes) -- for help and advice.

Also, I hope you realize that you won't 'completely change' after your first sexual experience, with a professional or an amateur, just as people don't just start speaking fluent French after they've had their first lesson. The sex will probably be only about average, and there will be lots of things you still won't know or understand about it, things you'll discover only gradually as you go to bed with other people. But if you do get the same feeling of happiness you got after your first kiss, hey, that is worth it. Like someone who, after their first French lesson, goes around happily smiling and thinking 'I'm studying FRENCH! Oh là là!' :-)
Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 2:27 AM · Report this

On one hand, you state that the importance of sex is probably overstated by society.

But then you fall into the same trap by stating that the sex will probably only be average. Why do you feel it is necessary to warn her? Where does VCard say that she expects it to be great sex?

And this whole concept of "great sex" really annoys me (not your fault). I like sex, I enjoy it a lot. Sometimes it is better, sometimes less so. But even if it is one of the "worse" times, it can still be a good experience.

Same goes for masturbation. When I masturbate, sometimes it is better, sometimes less so, sometimes I orgasm, sometimes I don't. Still, it is almost always a good experience.

I have never been warned that "it is likely the first time you masturbate it is only average or even disappointing". So why do people do that when it comes to sex with another person?
Posted by migrationist on May 31, 2012 at 2:42 AM · Report this
You're right about it being a much bigger deal before than after. Though in terms of fitting in, a one time event probably wouldn't change anything in discussions of boyfriends, sex, etc. Married in MA isn't around, but his wife was older and a virgin, and it was a truth about her that wasn't the big thing of their early relationship at all. Some guys might flee, some might get more excited than you want, and some might just view it as a thing about you, and not even the main thing.

Re blood: that varies hugely, from none to bad period levels. Less is likely as you get older because the corona gradually widens. However--having been on the lots of pain, bad period end of the bell curve, and really not appreciating the naive assertions that I must have had an uncaring partner or no stretching or done it wrong somehow, because it SAYS a lot of women don't have pain and bleeding right here in the official VCard pamphlet--is this something a gynecologist would be willing to help with? I honestly don't know, but can't see why breaking the hymen with anesthesia involved should be a big deal.

The trend amongst older virgins in this thread is that they are no longer with their first lover, but that they did find someone, it worked for a time, and they had other lovers afterward. I think there is something to the figuring out, viscerally, how it all works (the relationship part, and how that led into sex) that makes the 'you're a woman, you can find sex partners' thing suddenly kick into gear. I think you'd be better off with the dating thing--most dates don't work out, until finally one does--but if you decide to go the escort route, consider whether you want a one-night just-sex thing that feels all in your control, or someone who will play act picking you up at the bar and having small talk (going on Dan's wondrous description of his night with a female escort here--he loved her jacket) so you get the whole date thing as practice. Completely anecdotal, but there were a couple of 'night with a porn star' stories and the one that worked out happily was the one where they had a lot of talking first, establishing more of a connection. They didn't see each other after, but the ramp up was talking, not 'okay, sex, go.' A good escort is good at making a human connection to people--I've heard of guys with a regular who wind up sometimes just hiring her for the talking part, as they finish working through whatever it was. So don't ignore that side of it.
Posted by IPJ on May 31, 2012 at 5:26 AM · Report this
Ankylosaur-- I disagree. You express yourself clearly so this may be one of those things where we go around and around saying the same thing over and over. I'll say this for the record and then try to make myself shut up and quit repeating. Sexual desire is not just another societal expectation on par with learning French or earning a paycheck. Sexual desire is cross cultural, innate, and tends to be strong.

That doesn't mean that there couldn't be an individual who doesn't have sexual desire. Also, sexual desire can't be entirely separated from other basic human desires for companionship, friendship, touch, validation. It may be fun as an exercise to think about what's a desire for sex and what's a desire for being cuddled, but ultimately, you're not going to get far separating them completely. The hormones kick in, and people want sex.

There's a huge amount of innate variation in what one likes; there is cultural influence on what we grow to like, and there is individual difference in our experiences that similarly influence what we learn to like. In that way, yes, sex is like playing a musical instrument, but it has the potential to be way, way more.

On the one hand, it makes sense to tell a newcomer (I'm searching for a word that doesn't have the baggage that virgin does) not to expect too much on the first try. On the other hand, that doesn't mean that it's not worth jumping in the game. Sex is not only as much fun as winning a ping pong tournament. It is in a class by itself.

If you do get that feeling of a brass band playing behind every tree after your first successful sexual experience (however that's defined for you personally-- could be PIV sex, could be orgasm, could be oral or whatever), glory in it. Run around with that smile on your face (the smile that you think is private and that some perceptive people will recognize right away). (And those perceptive people aren't judging you. They're happy for you and thinking of their own good memories.) Look forward to this with joy overcoming your anxiety. This is a good thing.
Posted by Crinoline on May 31, 2012 at 5:43 AM · Report this

How is "the importance of sex is probably overstated by society" and "the sex will probably be average" a contradiction? To me, these are two completely independent points.

VCARD doesn't say she expects 'great sex', but many people -- with their imaginations fueled by cultural fairy tales about SEX! -- do expect so. I added a cautionary tale just in case. (Did you notice how several people in this thread independently said their first time was not great sex, even when they -- like Crinoline -- enjoyed the fact that they now were past that milestone?)

Sex is a great experience. But cultural expectations make people expect a lot more than is really delivered, especially in the first time. There is a lot of wrong assumptions linked to it -- from the pain that the girl is supposed to always feel, to Cosmo-fueled techniques that are supposed to be 'great!' but often don't even work for you. (Have you noticed how many ladies here have said oral sex doesn't do much for them, or at least doesn't come easily -- while many a man's magazine will claim that going down on a woman is the One Guaranteed Way to make them see stars?)

I'm glad you had't been warned that the first time you masturbate it will be disappointing. I was. There were several things I was told about masturbation (by slightly older and supposedly more experienced boys) that I had to unlearn, because they turned out to be false (at least in my case).

Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 6:23 AM · Report this
sissoucat 102

Whenever you're not enjoying yourself during sex, you shouldn't be silently wondering whether the guy is really enjoying himself, you should be telling him that whatever is going on is doing nothing for you.

Being giving is A-OK - but you have to communicate that it's a "giving" scenario happening, that is to say, one where you are not enjoying yourself, and where you're participating in only because you expect him to be enjoying himself immensely. Communicating about it being a gift will make sure that it's understood that what's expected next is another "giving" sexual activity, but now for your own exclusive profit. If no "giving" scenario from him were to happen, after a pussy-eating session doing nothing for you, stop sex and dump him.

Another point : at least 70% of females orgasm through clitoridal stimulation, oral or otherwise. If you're young, you may have not yet figured what you like in sex. Experiment on your own (masturbation, vibrators) and then explain what works to your male partners. Having one's pussy eaten is not compulsory, even though a great majority of women orgasm from it, when it's done according to their likes and dislikes.

If you're not getting any orgasm out of sex while your male partner is having one each time - you're not sexually compatible. Dump. Try sex again with other partners, maybe more experienced.
Posted by sissoucat on May 31, 2012 at 6:32 AM · Report this
@100 (Crinoline),
It seems to me you think I'm telling VCARD not to 'enter the game' or that she won't enjoy sex. I think I am clearly not saying that; I am only trying to counter exectations that 'sex will always be a firework-like experience', which indeed happens but not every time (and often not the very first time). Also, I'm not telling her not to feel elated with having had her first sex -- I'm just saying that expecting this may lead to disappointment, since in many people's experiences this is not how it happened. But if it happens to you in the very first time -- by all means enjoy it. Just don't think there's something wrong with you in case you don't feel like that afterwards.

As for culture and sex... it's OK if we agree to disagree. But I hope you won't be bored if I address one of your points? If it seems we simply won't agree about that, I will also do my best to avoid just repeating stuff.

Sex and sexual desire are clearly not 'just an expectation of society'. But so are hunger, thirst, the need for security, speaking a language, having a culture. There are no human groups out without any of these, and you can measure how strong the impulses are that they cause in people by simply counting the number of wars that were started because of them.

All those things, besides being clearly cross-cultural and instinctive, are also strongly shaped by society. Which is why, even though we all instinctively feel hunger as a biological phenomenon, our cultures have developed so many kinds of food, so many cuisines, and so many taboos related to food (kosher, halal, etc.). The pain felt at violating one of those food taboos is very real (just ask a Tiriyó indian who was made to eat his "pïyai" [taboo] food while in his resting period after his wife gave birth [they think it's the husband who has to rest after birth, or else the baby will have a weak spirit]).

The emotions we feel because of social restrictions and rules are very deep, very intense, very strong. Which shows the extent to which humans, as the co-creation of nature and culture, can let their brains (= culture) after their bodies (= physically felt emotions). If you ever happen to see someone do a (to you) strange thing because of their culture -- say, something absent in your culture, so it seems strange to you --, I believe you will have a very hard time convincing said person that what s/he is doing is not dictated by nature. This person's reaction will be very similar to yours now -- whatever she is doing is 'deeply felt in her bones' as necessary and has to be that way, it's a simple direct experience, etc.

Note that I'm not denying that there are universals and direct experiences -- only that the way to tell them is not simply by checking how intense the feelings/emotions are that they generate in you. Non-universal, non-direct, culture-mediated feelings and experiences can also be very strong.

(By the way, why do people tend to react as if saying that something is culture-mediated made it bad. I don't necessarily think so. Language is clearly culture-mediated, and I would never say languages are bad. Even if people's feelings about sex were created by culture to a large extent, that wouldn't necessarily make them bad. Where does this immediate association -- culture-mediated -> bad -- come from?)
Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 6:47 AM · Report this
mydriasis 104

I'm glad you don't feel it's a secret you need to keep from all your friends. I have two close female friends who are both technical virgins and fairly inexperienced sexually. They're also both great people who are just naturally a little shy. So I would never jump to the 'oh there must be something wrong with her if she's that age and still a virgin' thing.

If you are interested in sex but not a relationship then by all means, go for it. But if you are at all open to a relationship I would hesistate to rule out "losing it" to your boyfriend. I know what you meant about him holding it over you but there's a few things. First, I think that you're likely to feel differently towards a real person vs. a hypothetical one (it's definitely happened with me), especially if he doesn't view virginity in that way. If he's not treating it like some kind of conquest or initiation then you might feel more comfortable. Lots of women also feel like sex is better when they love the person they're having sex with (I personally haven't found a difference but I'm also an outlier). Secondly, 'experience-imbalance' is really common in relationships, even among 'non-virgins'. You might find that even if you officially lose your virginity you might feel uncomfortable with the fact that your partner has had lots of experience and you've only had sex one time. I guess I'm just saying that losing the vcard officially might not change the way you feel in the context of a relationship even if it does in your everyday life.

I don't know if that matters to you, I was sort of rambling, sorry.
Posted by mydriasis on May 31, 2012 at 7:14 AM · Report this
The contradiction I meant was that you thought it necessary to warn her. She never said anything about expecting it to be great.

And by this warning you make a bigger deal of the first time than it is, like you already think she'll be disappointed. That's why I compared the warning from the disappointment of the first time to a warning of the disappointment of the first time masturbating. It's not necessary.
Posted by migrationist on May 31, 2012 at 7:31 AM · Report this
@Mig(105), oh, I can see your point. But considering the usual expectations about first sex -- either the pain, or the 'greatness' -- I think it worthwhile to mention it.

My point is, more succinctly: in case VCARD doesn't have the kind of elation Crinoline had, it doesn't follow there's something wrong with her. Judging by the number of people I met (even in America) who thought that there was something wrong with them because their first sex wasn't as they expected, I tend to disagree that the warning is not necessary in general (which is not to say that VCARD herself necessarily needs it -- she may be well aware of such things. But just in case...).
Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 7:46 AM · Report this
@Mig(105), by the way, that was you, not Mr Ven. Because of the Ank contraction, which he likes to use, I at first thought he had been he had been the one who wrote that post, not you. My apologies to both of you for the misidentification.
Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 7:49 AM · Report this
VCARD, please, please understand that "average looking" is largely a matter of style, not substance, as Stacy and Clinton have demonstrated repeatedly on What Not To Wear. You call yourself shy; there is every chance that your average presentation is a way of hiding from the world you fear.

No, two brilliant stylists are unlikely to appear with $5000 and great advice. But you can find a really good salon, tell them you want a makeover, and put yourself in their hands. Get not only a terrific hair cut, and possibly color, but makeup lessons.

The clothes are somewhat harder, but you could choose your most fashionable friend and ask her to go shopping with you. (I also recommend watching WNTW, especially when the contributor has a similar body shape to yours.) In general, clothes that fit, rather than are baggy and shapeless, and particularly clothes that mark a waist, will make you appear far more attractive than you think you can.

This is NOT superficial. This stuff can make a huge, huge difference in how you feel about yourself, and in your self-confidence.

I'm pretty average-looking myself -- short and stocky, short-waisted, with a tendency to overweight I've been fighting my whole life. Yet I can tell you that I somehow managed to convince some men, including my husband, that I was hot. Truly, any woman with the usual number of features in the usual configuration can do the same if she tries. It's just a matter of learning how, and of deciding it's worth it.

It's worth it.
Posted by DanaC on May 31, 2012 at 8:02 AM · Report this
VCARD, please, please understand that "average looking" is largely a matter of style, not substance, as Stacy and Clinton have demonstrated repeatedly on What Not To Wear. You call yourself shy; there is every chance that your average presentation is a way of hiding from the world you fear.

No, two brilliant stylists are unlikely to appear with $5000 and great advice. But you can find a really good salon, tell them you want a makeover, and put yourself in their hands. Get not only a terrific hair cut, and possibly color, but makeup lessons.

The clothes are somewhat harder, but you could choose your most fashionable friend and ask her to go shopping with you. (I also recommend watching WNTW, especially when the contributor has a similar body shape to yours.) In general, clothes that fit, rather than are baggy and shapeless, and particularly clothes that mark a waist, will make you appear far more attractive than you think you can.

This is NOT superficial. This stuff can make a huge, huge difference in how you feel about yourself, and in your self-confidence.

I'm pretty average-looking myself -- short and stocky, short-waisted, with a tendency to overweight I've been fighting my whole life. Yet I can tell you that I somehow managed to convince some men, including my husband, that I was hot. Truly, any woman with the usual number of features in the usual configuration can do the same if she tries. It's just a matter of learning how, and of deciding it's worth it.

It's worth it.
Posted by DanaC on May 31, 2012 at 8:05 AM · Report this
My thanks to Ms Card for the clarification. I worried from the original letter that you might turn out to be a magnet for the wrong kind of person, but now that seems much less likely.
Posted by vennominon on May 31, 2012 at 8:34 AM · Report this
Mr Ank - I don't particularly like the quintessential American, either. I was genuinely grateful to you, though. If not earlier, then at least from the post in which you mentioned that Brazilian women expect flirtatious attention from even gay men as a birthright, I knew to make an addition to my list of Countries to Skip.
Posted by vennominon on May 31, 2012 at 9:10 AM · Report this
nocutename 112
Thanks for writing in. Though I lost my virginity youngishly, I had a lot of the same issues that you and migrationst mention, and they made me not want to have my first sex with someone I already knew. In my case, people had assumed that I had much more experience than I really did, and I hadn't corrected the misconception initially, so was afraid to reveal my ignorance and inexperience. In retrospect, and with the perspective of middle age, I think that people would have said "oh. hmm." for about 15 minutes after the gossip came out, and that would have been that.

But possibly because sex is such a big deal in our culture, both personally, and as a topic of interest to others, and because I think there is always that "are you still a virgin?" or "when did you lose it?" question that comes up when we're young, I had convinced myself that I couldn't have sex with anyone who knew me or anyone I knew and whom I might ever meet again.

This was long before the internet and I was too young to know about the existence of male escorts for women, much less be able to arrange and pay for one, so my solution was to pick a guy up at a club--actually, to let him pick me up--go back to his place, have sex, and leave, never seeing him again.

I did this and it served the purpose of "getting it over with," although it was really bad sex. (He was so high on cocaine that he couldn't get fully hard and asked me to help him put himself inside me; I remember thinking, and saying "hey, I'm not the one who knows what we're doing, I'm depending on you to do stuff.") I had no birth control (this was before condoms were de rigeur and the only STIs on the radar were those that were still being called VD and could be cured with a dose of antibiotics), and remember covertly looking for his phone number (they were written on the telephones themselves in those days) and surreptitiously writing it down in case I discovered I was pregnant.

Needless to say, I didn't get anything out of it, pleasure-wise.

But it changed my attitude about myself; it gave me confidence. It conferred a status I had been anxious about on me, and no one in my social circle, nor anyone I would date thereafter would have to know. I had also been scared of pain (not the bleeding so much), and yes, there had been some (though I think I had done some hymen-tearing with a badly-inserted tampon--quite painful for a moment--years before), so now I didn't have to worry about that, either.

That defining act was in many respects so far from sex as I came to experience it that it's laughable to think of it as my first sexual experience. But it freed my attitude so that I was able to sally forth into the dating world, to stop feeling like a fraud, or someone with a guilty secret that I needed to protect. Most of all, I felt "normal:" I had done something everyone else seemed to have done. It was liberating.

I think the benefit of going the Internet route is that you can do a better job of screening than I was able to do with my method. Obviously, you should equip yourself with condoms, too. I would suggest being totally upfront and honest about what your needs and expectations are and the limits of your experience. Rather than consider the man someone who will feel superior to you because of the imbalance in your experience, think of him as a mentor. There will be a ton of men who would be happy to help you--it's your job to vet them carefully so as to find someone who meets your requirements.

Posted by nocutename on May 31, 2012 at 9:12 AM · Report this
Mr Ven -- that's perfectly fine by my book. But let me add -- defending my countrywomen's honor -- that it's not so much that they expect flirtatious attention as a birthright, it's more that they might get the wrong impression if you don't provide it in certain contexts -- say, that you don't like them personally -- since "everybody else" does. It would be like not smiling when meeting someone, or not tipping the wait(e)r(ess) in a restaurant: in America it would make it look like you don't like that person, whereas in other places (say, Russia) not smiling is just a default facial expression without any significance, and not tipping at restaurants is the default assumption.

Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 9:19 AM · Report this
whoo boy, I'm not very popular with the women in the comments here today. I still stand by what I said.
Posted by Marrena on May 31, 2012 at 9:30 AM · Report this
mydriasis 115
^ DanaC

Spot on!
I've done this for a friend of mine (actually one of the two who is a virgin) and she's been really happy with the results.
Posted by mydriasis on May 31, 2012 at 9:51 AM · Report this
mydriasis 116
@ Marrena

Yeah honestly, I shrugged at the comment.

Sure there's some men who don't put out at all, there's some men who don't like women, and some men who don't like casual sex (or cheating, some personal trainers have girlfriends/boyfriends/wives/husbands).

But I don't exactly shed a tear for men who get hit on at work, tbh. For the most part they're laidback enough to take it as a compliment and aren't threatened by it the way a woman might be. For example, I know a guy who teaches tennis, I asked him if he gets hit on by cougars. He said "all the time". I don't think he's ever slept with any of them, but I also don't think he considers himself 'harassed', or violated by the overtures, I think it's a little ego boost for him.

I'm sure there are SOME guys who might go home and cry if they get hit on by their clients, but I think they're vastly in the minority. The power dynamic of "this person could force me to have sex with them" has a huge contribution to why I think sexual harassment tends to feel different for women as opposed to men.

For the most part.
Posted by mydriasis on May 31, 2012 at 10:09 AM · Report this
@116, and as long as the statistical tendencies aren't translated into "if you happen to be one of those minority men, then you don't have the right to feel bad since most men wouldn't", i.e., as long as you find what they feel equally legitimate (and as deserving of empathy as it is in women's case), I also have nothing against your opinion, or Marrena's.

Just as the women (no matter how many or few they happen to be) who see getting hit on often the same way your tennis instructor friend sees it are also in no need for pity or empathy.

Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
VCARD - contact Tucker Max.

If you've read his book "Assholes Finish First" you'll know he's pretty experienced in taking virginities.
Posted by implexadyth on May 31, 2012 at 10:31 AM · Report this
mydriasis 119

Not at all, but everyone pulling out the fainting couches because someone suggested that a male hoping to get paid for sex might want to look into a personal training job - that seemed woefully out of touch to me.

And indeed, I work a service job where I get hit on. I don't need anyone's pity because it doesn't faze me whatsoever.


Um. Ew.
Seriously, that man should be on any woman's "won't" list.
Posted by mydriasis on May 31, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
mydriasis 120
*and by 177, I meant 117 ank
Posted by mydriasis on May 31, 2012 at 10:46 AM · Report this
@119, OK. Sounds fair to me.
Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 10:48 AM · Report this
EAT- it's okay, some of us just aren't into getting oral. I'm not self-conscious about 'down there'- it looks and smells like pussy, and most straight guys LOVE looking at and smelling pussy. So, no concerns there. And I've gotten head from someone really good at it, and orgasmed that way. But still... Whenever it's happening, I find myself bored and waiting for the next position/act. I would MUCH rather be giving him head! I just try to be honest with my lovers about my (mildly embarrassing) sexual quirks, and they are happy to oblige. If a guy loves eating pussy, of course I'll let him, but those that don't appreciate knowing they don't have to for my sake.

VCARD- It's totally okay to be a virgin. It's totally okay to have standards for dating that take longer to fulfill than 'average' (which seems to be around 13-14, which is actually quite disturbing). It's totally okay to continue to wait for someone specific that you have a desire for. Most guys will find it endearing that you are inexperienced (if anything, it might make them feel self-conscious that they may have the honor of being your first), and the 10% who don't are the kind of assholes you want to avoid, anyway.

You first time only happens once. Make it count. It doesn't have to be 'Prince Charming', or your life-long love, but it should be special for both of you. Their should be genuine affection between you both. If you're in a hurry, take out a Craigslist ad explaining your situation, and find someone who you can connect with to help you out. There are PLENTY of men who will sleep with you, this is the one arena in life where women hold all the power. You can be selective, and you can take your time 'shopping' for the one you like.

Just remember- losing it is easy, getting it back, impossible. Choose wisely. And good luck.

(Also, I want to reiterate what DanaC said about 'What Not to Wear' and taking the time to make yourself look your best. You would be surprised what a hottie you can be if you take the time to present yourself as one. I know it's intimidating at first, but high heels and make-up make a HUGE difference in how you are perceived and how you carry yourself.)
Posted by PrettyLateBloomer on May 31, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
mydriasis 123

Um, I was under the impression that average was still around 16/17.
Posted by mydriasis on May 31, 2012 at 11:09 AM · Report this
I lost my virginity at 26 and felt very similar to VCARD. I felt that after a certain point I shouldn't be a virgin anymore, and I was too embarrassed to lose it on a one night stand in case I bled, and they would know it was my first time. (As it turns out I bled a lot, so that was wise.) In the end I met a really great guy who I trusted enough to tell the truth to, and who I had a lot of non-penetrative sex with before I was ready. When we finally did it, it did hurt, but it was also lovely and I felt cared for and safe and I started enjoying myself very quickly. I wish I had met that guy earlier, but I don't regret waiting.
Posted by girlinUK on May 31, 2012 at 11:11 AM · Report this
John Horstman 125
Re: the vaginal corona (hymen) and painful first-time intercourse, please see (fair warning: anatomical drawing potentially NSFYW) these articles on Scarleteen. (Eirene's been pretty accurate, though the corona can't really 'break' or 'rupture' - it's not a rigid membrane.)

This is the price we pay for a combination of centuries of male-centered, male-run medical/anatomical research and a lack of comprehensive, evidence-based sexuality education. I love Dan's column, but it seems like he has to deal with one hell of a lot of Sex Ed 101 questions and pervasive misconceptions. Sometimes I miss the days of non-stop columns about furry sex, ethical/financial obligations with respect to sex-soiled bedsheets, and debunking rainbow party myths.

Scarleteen is your friend, everyone. VCARD in particular sounds like she could benefit from exploring their site. If you're looking for evidence-based information instead of advice, check them or similar sites out (and even if you ARE looking for advice, it might be a good idea to check them out first so that you have a good working knowledge of things like 'virginity' or the anatomy of the vulva and vagina - potentially NSFYW anatomy drawings, duh - when asking Dan questions).
Posted by John Horstman on May 31, 2012 at 12:45 PM · Report this
While Scarleteen seems to be very thorough, I don't see how it would have helped VCard with her question.

Her problem is not that she is uneducated about sex, but that she wonders how to get to the practical part.

She shouldn't feel so self-conscious about it. But one doesn't stop feeling self-conscious just because other people say so.
Posted by migrationist on May 31, 2012 at 12:59 PM · Report this
mydriasis: The power dynamic of "this person could force me to have sex with them" has a huge contribution to why I think sexual harassment tends to feel different for women as opposed to men.

Sure, it's by no means as scary for a guy. It's still annoying and still a rotten thing to do to them. I was addressing it mostly from the point of view of how the potential harasser should feel about it. Naturally we all get some unwanted attention and have to deal with it, and it's not necessarily a big deal on any particular occasion, but for my part I still think the people who do it are being assholes.

And if it becomes so common that it's a standard condition of employment in a particular kind of workforce, yeah, I think that's a huge problem. Look how difficult it used to be to be a massage therapist, back when everyone assumed there was about a 50% chance you were actually a sex worker. It wasn't even that easy to figure out from the other end where to get a legit massage.
Posted by Eirene on May 31, 2012 at 1:00 PM · Report this
mydriasis 128

The idea of me hitting on a personal trainer is as ridiculous as the idea of me having a personal trainer (I have a fast metabolism so I have zero motivation to exercise) - but like anything else, context and tone matters.
Posted by mydriasis on May 31, 2012 at 1:11 PM · Report this
Oh, and I wasn't talking about the commenter who suggested the would-be sex worker become a personal trainer, but about the advice to VCARD that she hire a personal trainer and proposition him.
Posted by Eirene on May 31, 2012 at 1:21 PM · Report this
mydriasis@128: posts crossed there. I certainly wasn't supposing that you would do any such thing.
Posted by Eirene on May 31, 2012 at 1:24 PM · Report this
mydriasis 131

Oh! That makes so much more sense. Yeah I wouldn't really reccomend hiring a personal trainer with paid sex in mind.
Posted by mydriasis on May 31, 2012 at 1:49 PM · Report this
@129 actually that wasn't my advice to VCard, if you read my original post. I was commenting on the two different posts, and for her I suggested asking a friend to recommend an old boyfriend for the deed. But with you conflating the two, I don't see much of a problem with it as long as it's clear the training will continue even if he says no if she tries to seduce him. But seducing a personal trainer is more of a cougar move than a virgin move, so a friend's ex would be better.
Posted by Marrena on May 31, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Marrena@132: your original comment @47 started with the gigolo friend (apparently directed at VCARD's letter), then went to "But personal trainer, etc., is probably a better way. The woman needs to get to know the guy (as in regular life)." Did you really not mean that as further advice to VCARD? It sure sounded like it.
Posted by Eirene on May 31, 2012 at 1:59 PM · Report this
No, I meant that a woman who wants stud service will be more comfortable with someone she gets to know first, as in regular life for finding a booty call. I wasn't talking about VCard. I was trying to explain why most women wouldn't be comfortable with an online escort service, and STUD would have better luck finding the wealthy ladies he seeks by becoming a trainer.
Posted by Marrena on May 31, 2012 at 2:09 PM · Report this
Eirene@127, I suppose a lot depends on how the propositioned person sees the situation. If a personal trainer reacts to sexual propositions/seduction attempts the way mydriasis' friend -- the tennis teacher -- did (an ego boost), then it wouldn't be a big deal. If, however, s/he felt either (a) threatened ('will I be forced to sex if I say no?') or (b) offended ('we're supposed to be doing something else here!'), then it would be.

I suppose the safer way is never to try these things. Considering, however, the number of actual successful relationships that may very well have started with such situations (no stats here, just a few friends who are still married), the reality seems to be that they sometimes work to the satisfaction of all parties involved. It certainly is a risk, though.
Posted by ankylosaur on May 31, 2012 at 2:52 PM · Report this
"could force me to have sex" refers to more than physical coercion. Losing your job, losing your client, someone else getting the promotion/raise, having to deal with trouble being stirred up against you, because you said no to a sexual advance? That's the equal opportunity side of harassment.

On the other hand, the letter writer is looking specifically to go into the field of gigolo-ing, so that shouldn't be an issue for him. Of course, he's making life harder for the rest of those personal trainers who don't want to be hit on at all, let alone for money.
Posted by avast2006 on May 31, 2012 at 3:04 PM · Report this
"Look how difficult it used to be to be a massage therapist, back when everyone assumed there was about a 50% chance you were actually a sex worker. It wasn't even that easy to figure out from the other end where to get a legit massage."

Still seems to be hard for some. I am a legit massage therapist, and the two most profitable words I've ever put in an ad are "Strictly non-sexual." People don't want to have to ask; I take all the worry out of it.
Posted by DanaC on May 31, 2012 at 3:10 PM · Report this

Deflower yourself with toys. Start small and work your way up to big dlldos. That'll get you over the physical part.

As for the hook-up, as others have said, that's easy. Just look at some guy, smile, and see what happens.
Posted by Hunter78 on May 31, 2012 at 3:11 PM · Report this
@85 grizelda

> Sexual tastes vary from person to person and cannot be generalized.

Over large numbers of people they can & must be generalized or they cannot be discussed at all - which would clearly be your preference.

I'm not talking about any one specific female. Clearly there are a some females with larger sexual appetites than most males. On average though, over large numbers of people, the male drive is higher.

I don't need to experience PMS, menstruation, or menopause directly to know the effects they have. It's sometimes better to observe these experiences from outside to see them clearly ... or maybe you think (for example) that anyone who wants to study heroin addiction needs to get hooked on heroin first to really understand it?
Posted by Robby on May 31, 2012 at 3:16 PM · Report this
mydriasis 140

When I say "force" I mean force v. "to bring about or effect by force" and by force I mean force n. "physical power or strength possessed by a living being".

While there is an additional financial element (fear of losing your job) which is shared by both genders, that is not what I was referring to. I'm not saying it's not bad, or that it's irrelevent, just that it's not what I was referring to.

I think if someone is looking for a sex worker and fires you because you're not a sex worker, that's unfortunate, but that's one client you wouldn't have even had in the first place if the misconception isn't there. Does that make sense?

I've faced sexual harassment myself, and I've faced real force myself. I can tell you that they are not the same experience at all.
Posted by mydriasis on May 31, 2012 at 3:18 PM · Report this
I don't see anything wrong with a general societal expectation that you don't hit on people who are trying to work ... especially people who are in jobs where they need to maintain a nonsexual demeanor while they work with clients physically. Also, the situation proposed (or that I thought was proposed) was not one of a naturally arising attraction, as I assume happened to your friends. I saw it as a suggestion to exploit someone because of the type of job they had.
Posted by Eirene on May 31, 2012 at 3:18 PM · Report this
I want to steer VCARD towards online dating. Set up a profile on a free site, contact the men you think might be interesting and tell them what you are looking for (whether you want to mention your virginity or not is up to you, it may help you weed out the creeps earlier).
Correspond til you're comfortable, set up a meeting somewhere in public. If everything feels alright, then set up another time to go for it and keep a friend apprised of where you plan to be and when you will call him/her to confirm that you're alright. Make sure your suitor knows you've done this, it's pretty easy to make this funny if you want to do that.
If at any time in the process you are icked or uncertain, there are plenty of guys who will not make you feel that way. I've had a good amount of luck online meeting, for the most part, nice and nice-looking guys because I take the first step, messaging people whom I find interesting. When I was looking for casual hookups rather than dating, they were pretty easy to find. Good luck!
Posted by tobesthewonderdog on May 31, 2012 at 3:22 PM · Report this
Sorry, 141 was meant as a response to 135.
Posted by Eirene on May 31, 2012 at 3:27 PM · Report this
@142: VCARD@95 says she's done the online dating thing. "Dating: I've gone on dates with dozens of men (mainly from online). I've only 'dated' two, and I didn't really like either."

I take it that meant she had single dates with dozens and multiple dates each with two, but it wasn't totally clear.
Posted by Eirene on May 31, 2012 at 3:37 PM · Report this
@139: Robby: You can think what you want, but it's obvious you've never gotten past "The Professor"'s Neanderthal Studies 101 correspondence course.

How would you like for me to perform prostate surgery on your penis?
That makes as little sense as your claiming to be an "expert" on women's bodies. GIve it up already, son; it's way over your head and foreskin.
Posted by auntie grizelda on May 31, 2012 at 3:50 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 146
The escort idea is hardly the worst ever. If VCARD has as much trouble meeting men as she claims, the most likely outcome of not hiring an escort is that she gets desperate enough to "lose it" to some random that she can't stand. (Not that anything like that happened to me. *cough*) With an escort, at least, she has control over the situation.

Everyone wants their first time to be with someone they care about and who cares about them, but how many actually get that? Virtually none?

Escorts are often presented as the best option for men who have trouble getting laid, not the least because it takes the pressure off when looking for a long-term partner. If the guy is obsessing about sex if he's never had it, he'll make dumb decisions like dating women he's not attracted to or pushing for sex too soon in the relationship. Why is everyone here getting all faux-romantic when the writer is a woman?
Posted by keshmeshi on May 31, 2012 at 4:53 PM · Report this
I always thought the idea of a sex mentor was cool - someone older, perhaps a family friend that cared about you (or even, -GASP- a relative). Someone you could learn from without the pressure of a "relationship" or all the hollywood BS of the 'one' true love or your peers finding out you don't know anything (as if they do anyway). Sort of a sactioned campsite rule relationship that young people could initiate when they are most interested in learning.

Can you imagine if we taught people to swim or drive the way you are expected to learn about sex! take the keys kids-you'll teach each other! Sure, niether of you can swim but we'll just throw you off a bridge and you can learn together.
Posted by Mthrfckr on May 31, 2012 at 5:19 PM · Report this
Ms Driasis - Thank you for clarifying that it's the force involved and not some piece of gender essentialism that makes the difference for you. I'll certainly grant that anyone faced with the possibility of force is likely to have much the worse of things. But your tennis instructor acquaintance sounds rather slithery. I wonder how much of that is self-selection, people like that gravitating towards professions likely to provide what they'll see as a fringe benefit.

Mr Ank - For your countrywomen, it's a distinction without a difference. That is no particular biggie.

Ms Marrena - Would you be willing to change the "Just about ANY" in the concluding sentence to post 47 to "Many" and specify straight men in posts 47 and 54? Those posts originally came across as rather nasty, which does not seem to be the sense of your subsequent posts. I'm sorry your male acquaintances aren't of higher character, but I'll assure you it's not universal.
Posted by vennominon on May 31, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
I'm shocked that nobody recommended EAT conjure up a fantasy scenario that really turns her on to think about while the guy is going down on her. For me, while I have no shortage of experience or lovers in my history, I still find it easier to cum while thinking about a really hot scene in my head -- it lets me separate myself from that stupid-ass female guilt of thinking unsexy misogynist things like "I'm taking too long; he must be dying to end this," "how can he be enjoying this?" or even, "do I look stupid in the position?"

She could watch some female-fantasy porn or read some erotica if she needs some ideas for sexy scenes to play on the tape in her head.

Good sex does not demand you be "present" and thinking only about your partner at all times in bed, just that you are Good, Giving and Game.

Also, it helps if you have a skilled partner, but this probably requires that you train him by telling him what you like: "don't stop!" "yes, right there, baby," "Mmmm... that feels good. Keep doing that." Etc. Trust me, this little bit of direction can work wonders.
Posted by ProudToBeASlut on May 31, 2012 at 6:06 PM · Report this

I can totally relate to her situation and I wonder why everybody tries to persuade her that it's better to "losse your virginity" with a partner. She feels insecure and the great benefit of booking a sexworker is that it frees you from the pressure of having to be attractive, seductive etc. It gives her the possibility to focus on her own body and how piv sex feels like without having to worry about pleasing the man, will he call me again etc. It's perfectly legitimate if you want your first time to be about your emotions and not about a relationship.

Plus, it's not like NICE relationship material guys are around every corner, in particular if you are shy and don't know how to initiate a relationship. Waiting for a relationship might mean that she has to wait much longer for sex than she wants too.

And having sex and having the experience that you can enjoy sex, that you are "normal" can give your confidence a great boost. Sure, it's a good idea to work on your insecurities and it's a good idea to work on your social skillls, but it might not be a necessary prerequisite to enjoy sex: many people who have difficulties and feel shy in verbal communication can enjoy nonverbal or sexual communication perfectly well. I should know ;-) And many people feel less inhibited with people they don't have too strong feelings about, casual connections CAN mean much less pressure.

And I would feel MUCH safer with a sexworker than with a random dude from Craigslist
- safer that he'll pay attention to my needs
- safer to go at my pace
- safer to accept a no when I change my mind
- no arguing about safer sex
- it's much easier to state what I want and how I want it
- I have realistic expectations concerning the emotional side and know what to expect

And I would definitely not want a friend's friend to "helpt me out", I would waant to be in charge myself.

Some extra advice:

Do separate the breaking of the hymen from the first intercourse. You can do it yourself or have the guy do it, but the sex will be much more enjoyable without the recent pain.

I would recommend usind fingers or small dildoes on yourself first.

Book a guy who seems nice and not too intimidating, not like one of the big penis-superstuds on cowboys4angels etc. ;-) But do book someone whom you find hot, obviously and if you meet the guy and don't feel comfortable, walk.

And I would really recommend you to set aside not one but two or three meetings until you "lose your virginity" and possibly also one or two meetings after that.

And, I guess it's obvious, but I'm still adding it, do stop the piv sex when it starts feeling uncomfortable or painful. You can have longer sex the next time ;-)

Oh, and maybe obvious too,but I'm also adding it: Don't feel ashamed or unusual to have your first piv sex with a sexworker. Lots and lots of men have done it, it's one of the most common things and nobody would bother if you weren't a woman. And many women who experience the first times "the natural way", i.e. in relationships, didn't exert the control they needed and were far from satisfied with the results. So if this is, what your mind, heart and body crave, go for it! :-)

Good luck!
Posted by Moran_Laguna on May 31, 2012 at 6:23 PM · Report this
Re: My own comment in 84 on what a friend might do.

Migrationist-- In 90, you say that any concern I try to show as far as helping her would do the opposite. I get that. I do understand. That's why I haven't breathed a word of this to anyone except in this anonymous column. But is there nothing I might do? Just sit back and watch?

VCARD-- In 95 you suggest I might broach the question gently. But what might I say? Ask her if she'd like to meet someone? Set up a blind date? There's a generation difference in our ages so, while I might set something up with someone her age, I have no way of knowing whether he'd be good for her sexually. Anyone I've slept with is my age, and I can't imagine she'd be interested in someone 30 years older no matter how experienced, gentle, patient, and responsive he might seem to me.

I guess I'd like to explain to her that she's got to jump in and start taking some calculated risks now so the problem doesn't compound later. In other words, tell her to start going on some dates that might turn out to be bad ones with guys she might not be interested in for the sake of learning about dating and getting better at figuring out who she is interested in. At the same time, I don't want to be responsible for the possible negative outcome. What kind of a friend pushes someone towards something that she knows has a fair chance of turning out badly?

(Ankylosaur, Auntie G, and Mydriasis-- Thanks for your responses, but I'm lovingly ignoring you. I wanted to hear from folks who were virgins well into their 20s and were concerned, as VCARD is, with getting into the game.)
Posted by Crinoline on May 31, 2012 at 6:36 PM · Report this
147, your idea of the young person initiating the relationship when they want it doesn't go with the power dynamics of that relationship. Or with the likely pool of lovely and considerate campers eager to show all these inexperienced young people a non-exploitative good time: there's a reason the sort of people who go after 15 or 16 year olds are stereotyped as liking the power imbalance, or stymied by the tendency of partners their own age to see through their bullshit. (Dan has written about the problem with telling young gay men about how awesome the whole gay community of your insta-peers is, rather than advising them to watch out for exploitative creeps.)

If someone meets the "over 18 out of high school" standard, then I have absolutely no objection to them trying to initiate such a relationship. (In general. I might think individual people are dumb.) But a lot of people view sex as something tied to a relationship that isn't just fun-no-emotional-strings, and that hardly counts as weird. Virgins by definition don't know how sex is going to affect them in terms of the whole 'must emotionally bond to closest person after orgasm' effect, and requiring young virgins to sign off blindly on not getting any romantic ideas is unfair.

Sex is not like swimming or driving. There is another person involved, and how you relate to them is extremely important in a way that the Pontiac is not. It's a lot more like developing and maintaining a relationship with someone (even a one night stand, or a friend with benefits), with the blend of emotional/physical/mental and the whole interaction and responding to what the other is doing aspect. Or like dance. But we say people can learn to dance quite well, at the level needed to have fun on a night out, by practicing with their peers or alone.
Posted by IPJ on May 31, 2012 at 6:56 PM · Report this
Crin, I would go with the advice to leave her alone, based on so many older virgins explaining that feeling left out and judged and omg what's wrong with you was the thing they feared most. There is no way to bring it up without implying you think it's a problem.

I don't know if she was a virgin, but probably: a friend of mine appeared to possibly be asexual. She was smart and had many friends, average looking, never dated, no flirtatious vibe in the slightest. Then she met a guy. At their wedding one of the toasts was about how the two maintained they were friends and not dating for a long time: in fact, the toaster thought they might still not be dating. It worked for her, and there is not a thing I could have asked that would have made it happen faster: she had to meet this particular guy, whom she liked enough.

Though of course, take the word of Mig and any older virgins in the thread as gospel.
Posted by IPJ on May 31, 2012 at 7:09 PM · Report this
mydriasis 154
@ ven

It may be possible that some people gravitate towards those jobs with that in mind, but I don't really think so. I work in the service industry and where I work we're all well aware that sex appeal and flirtation can sometimes play a subtle or not-so-subtle role.

I know that most of the (gay or straight) males know that when they get a table of cougars they are going to make bank. I know that when those same guys get a bunch of business men they're going to get the girls to go by and drop things off instead. And vice-versa.

I know it's a lower-pressure, smaller-scale version (your tip is at stake rather than a whole client) but it's a similar situation. I find that most guys are more likely to either take advantage of the situation by flirting or let it roll off their backs. They're typically less likely to be offended. (I've worked in the service industry for a while now and I've never seen a guy get upset about being hit on or asked out etc). Again, smaller scale than being offered money for sex, but still.
Posted by mydriasis on May 31, 2012 at 8:20 PM · Report this
Ms Driasis - I can see your case, but tennis is a much more specific skill, as it were, in addition to a field where an ongoing relationship is generally established as the rule and not the exception. Maybe that sort of thing is more of a disincentive; people who consider becoming tennis instructors (I could have at one time) might be put off. I actually ended up in something equally specialized but much less physical, and with a higher average age of clientele. Happily, I have never been hit on by anyone, although occasionally people have confided in me about their love lives.

I don't think I'd have chosen your line, as tip culture would not be congenial to me. Although I'm not offended when someone mistakes me for female, I am offended when someone mistakes me for straight, and being in a position of having to mask that for the sake of the tip would grate.
Posted by vennominon on May 31, 2012 at 9:30 PM · Report this
@145: "How would you like for me to perform [cervical] surgery on your [vagina]?
That makes as little sense as your claiming to be an 'expert' on [wo]men's bodies. GIve it up already, girl; it's way over your [clit] and [labia]."

If some guy had written the above, I would see it as pretty disturbing and suggesting toubling feelings regarding the opposite sex. Don't you agree, Ms. Grizzly?
Posted by Snowguy on May 31, 2012 at 9:44 PM · Report this
BTW, leave your personal trainers alone, people.

They are just trying to make their way in the world, and they don't need clients thinking they are sex workers. If you really are attracted to them, and you think they are attracted to you, find a new trainer, and then ask them out.

That is called simple courtesy. But don't pull your sex drive into a professional relationship and pawn it off as "well, he/she can always say no!"

That bullshit line is exactly what every fat-bellied, bald 50 year old says to justify pestering the pert-breasted 24 year old receptionist, who just wants to be left alone.
Posted by Snowguy on May 31, 2012 at 9:49 PM · Report this
@Crinoline @151:
In my case, I'd have been mortified if an older friend had made helpful suggestions. (Funnily, at the moment I am single again, and an older male friend worries about that. Now I think it's sweet, 10 years ago I would have felt horrible.)

So, my advice would be to leave it alone.

The suggestion to offer an ex just sounded condescending to me. Apart from the fact that my taste in men is very different to that of my close friends.

Not every fantasy is as good in reality as in theory.
As IPJ @152 mentions, in sex other people are involved which makes it different to driving. I would compare sex more to friendships: you are not teaching children about friendship by giving them an older friend who knows how to do friendship. You let them find their own buddies (e.g. in creche) and maybe give advice when they argue. Some kids like to have lots of friends, others are content with one BFF; some only have friends in their own age group, others have more varied friendships. You let them figure all of that out with just a bit advice.
And further, technique counts less in sex than in driving, etc. Communication between partners is more important (while talking to my car has never gotten me where I wanted).

Posted by migrationist on May 31, 2012 at 10:15 PM · Report this
@156: Snowguy, unless you're really Robby again, thinly veiled under a new registered post, read Robby's post @81. Then you hopefully might understand my point in post @145 a little better.

I have no antipathy towards the opposite sex, but I DO
get pretty damn pissed when men claim to be "the decision makers"
on what is supposed to go on with women's bodies when they don't have a fucking idea where the CLIT even is!
If you find the idea of MY clueless messing with YOUR body disturbing and troubling, how do you think women feel about popes, Republican politicians, and right-wing Supreme Court Judges---all MEN---dictating
what goes on inside OURS???
Posted by auntie grizelda on May 31, 2012 at 10:18 PM · Report this
VCARD here again.

Ankylosaur - Believe me, I wish I could change the way I feel about it, too. For a brief period in college, I had a few friends who were just as inexperienced, and for once I actually felt comfortable being honest with people. Then within the next few years, they all outgrew their issues and got laid, and I didn't, and I felt worse than ever.

Also, a number of people have mentioned that my first time would be better and more meaningful if I find someone I care about. That advice is thoughtful and smart, but the only thing is... that is exactly what I have been trying to do for the last decade or so. It hasn't worked. I have a very hard time growing close to people (that includes platonic relationships). The shame that I have regarding my sexual history feels like yet another barrier, so I'd like to demolish it.

Regarding the quality (or lack thereof) of first time sex, that is actually another reason why seeing a professional appeals to me. I'm fully expecting the first time to have an unfavorable awkward to pleasurable ratio. I'd like to be able to mitigate that enough by the time I meet someone I care about (if that ever happens... sigh) so I don't have to worry so much about nerves and feeling self conscious. I think it's really an equality/power balance thing. There's a big difference between more vs. less experience and more vs. none. So I'd be open to meeting a male virgin and learning together, but I think they'd be harder to find than an escort! (And I know there are great guys out there who wouldn't view it as a power balance situation, but I still would).

RE: IPJ and those who've mentioned the bleeding issue: uh, I feel dumb saying this, but is there an easy way to know if your hymen is broken or not? I do have a small silicone dildo that I have used (gently and nervously) a few times, and there was no blood or pain involved. Do I need to be rougher or go bigger to find out?

DanaC and mydriasis - that is actually a good point regarding the makeup/heels thing, and you've guessed correctly that those items aren't really a part of my style. On the rare occasion I do dress up, I get so much attention from undesirables (dudes on the street corners, skeevy middle aged men, etc.) that I feel *very* uncomfortable and swear to never dress for attention again. Plus, my female friends always make such a big deal out of it ("OOH, girl, look at you flashin' some leg! Look at you in your sexy little heels! Are you actually wearing eye liner?!") that I just feel like a big doofus. How do you handle that sort of thing mentally? What do you recommend?

migrationist and nocutename - thanks for sharing your experiences; it's nice to hear from people who had the same general feelings about their first time. You are correct that I'm not looking for rainbows and butterflies, just the simple satisfaction that comes with the accomplishment.

Hah, I actually think Tucket Max is hilarious and own one of his books. That said, NEVER EVER!

Mr. Horstman - sorry for my boring Sex Ed 101 questions ;) With any luck, this time next year I'll be back with questions about orgies and bondage and all that. Sound good to you?

Tobes and Eirene: Sorry that comment wasn't very clear. Yes, I've gone on many, many first dates with men, but only two have I ever seen more than once. Again, I think this has a lot to do with my trouble connecting with people at first meeting. It's usually a pleasant evening (I'm good at making conversation), but there's never any spark on my end, and they don't call me back either.

keshmeshi - you make an excellent point, and I hadn't even thought of that. It's true that if men have sexual quirks or issues, they are often advised to see a pro. But this pervasive idea that all women can get laid in a snap creates a big double standard. And it certainly doesn't make me feel any better... I mean, if that were really true, there'd be something seriously wrong with me, right? I don't like thinking that.

Moran Laguna: "Waiting for a relationship might mean that she has to wait much longer for sex than she wants too." BAM. Yes.

And then a more specific question for all of you: besides the site Dan mentioned in the first letter, any other recommendations of legit, reputable online places to find boy sex workers? I am really 100% new to this scene.
Posted by VCARD on May 31, 2012 at 10:58 PM · Report this
@159 Um, I think you're kind of misdirecting your energy in this case. Write letters/e-mails and make calls to your senator, congressmen, and representatives- hell yeah. Yell at people expressing ideas (however disagreeable) on the comment section of a sex advice column...not very productive and a little too deja vu for anyone who has msn for their homepage.
Posted by mygash on May 31, 2012 at 10:59 PM · Report this
Crinoline and your friend: well, I can obviously only speak for myself in this case, and I appreciate that you don't want to make the person feel uncomfortable, but in my own opinion, I'd still talk with her.

I guess what I meant is that you should try to get a sense of her motivations. It may be that she IS genuinely happy being single and non-sexual, and if so, great. But again, I am someone who is very good at presenting a happy face to the world when I feel like shit inside (too many years in customer service, I suppose!) and there is always the chance your friend is the same.

I wouldn't necessarily leap into setting her up with someone. What helped me was that my friend spent just as much time talking about her own first time awkwardness as my own experiences, and to be honest, it just had a lot to do with her personality and the tenor of our relationship. I have other close friends who would not have been able to successfully have that conversation with me. Only you know how the two of you mesh.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we can never overestimate how much people need someone to care about them. Personally, I would LOVE to have a friend set me up on a date, but no one's ever even hinted at it. To me that would say that someone cared about me finding a relationship, or even that they'd considered my personality and the fact that I might work well with Mr. Setup. And I think the age difference would actually work in your favor, because I know I'd feel less judged by a well-meaning older friend than a peer.

Again, I can only speak for myself on this matter, but I know that in my case, having my friend push me out of my comfort zone ended up being a very good thing.
Posted by VCARD on May 31, 2012 at 11:14 PM · Report this
@VCARD: I tried to read all the comments to see whether mine would be redundant, but I gave up! I didn't realize the thread would be so long. So, here is my $0.02 for you, for what it's worth. Spoiler alert: I'm not going to give you any advice. I'm just going to share my own story, which is similar to yours in some ways.

I am 32 years old. I had PIV (penis-in-vagina) sex for the first time when I was 29 years old.

I waited for a lot of reasons. I was recovering from abuse issues, I had hangups about The First Time and was having trouble committing to any one scenario, I couldn't find any more compelling reason to have sex than because I hadn't had it and was waiting to feel more convinced.

I'm self-aware, well educated, culturally and socially alert, and relatively literate in gender issues and the troubled sexual history of women. It took me a while to separate out my own issues from the media and people around me, but ultimately it came down to the fact that I found staring 30 down while still PIV-inexperienced impossibly fraught. Ultimately, I think, I decided to 'take care of it' mainly so that it would stop nagging the back of my mind constantly.

I knew one guy that I really wanted to share this with. It would have been emotional, beautiful, romantic. Unfortunately, again for lots of reasons, it wasn't really possible. So, fairly pragmatically and without anxiety, I turned my attention to my immediate surroundings. At the time I was an active volunteer in a couple of places, and there was one guy with whom I shared drinks and racy jokes on our days off. We were friendly acquaintances, not much more than that; I hadn't known him for long, I had no investment in him, but I was comfortable with him, so I decided he would do. I informed him of my intentions in a joking way; he took it well, was appropriately respectful, and agreed. In essence, it felt like me asking a favor. We didn't turn it into a big deal (maybe you can understand that I was pretty tired of the Virgin trope); I didn't "honor" him with my "gift" and he didn't, oh, whatever men do.

He was in bed as he'd been out of bed: friendly, gentle, talkative, interesting. It was nice that there weren't any big surprises.

We've only talked a few times since. I stopped volunteering at 'our' place shortly afterwards and we really never had that much in common. I run into him from time to time and our interactions are always cordial.

For what it's worth, I've gone on to have a sex life that I really, really enjoy. I've tried to use each intimate encounter to teach myself about my own body; what I react to and what I don't, what I like, how to communicate with partners. This self-education has been my favorite part about sex, because it means that it's only gotten better with time. I'm now monogamous with a man for the first time in my life; we've been together long enough for the 'honeymoon' period to be over, and the sex is still fantastic, and I expect it to stay that way.

I guess I lied, and I will give you some advice. And that is: do what you want. Trust your instincts. And know that this experience is just one of many you'll have; whatever it is, it's mainly just a coincidence that it's your first.

Good luck, have fun, rock the house! :)
Posted by sexyjess on May 31, 2012 at 11:30 PM · Report this
Eirene@141, indeed the situation proposed did sound bad. And there is indeed something to be said in favor of not troubling a person's desire to work with uncalled-for sexual propositions.

Yet human beings aren't simple. If you do call on a professional because you wanted a certain task done, yet see yourself being aroused by this person when s/he shows up, I can see at least some people trying to find out if this attraction can be translated into something else. With all the accompanying risks -- including the risk of hurting the person you're suddenly interested in.

I suppose the latter risk is why America is now so much against sexual propositions, no matter how mild, in the workplace, the assumption being that the other people are there to work and won't react well to anything other than work-related interactions. Humans being, however, humans, and not in full control of who they are attracted to and when, I wonder how often this assumption fails to be true.
Posted by ankylosaur on June 1, 2012 at 5:00 AM · Report this
@keshmesh, who wrote: Why is everyone here getting all faux-romantic when the writer is a woman?

That's a question I also asked myself. Maybe because they think that, as a virgin, VCARD is likely to be hurt by 'bad' or 'rough' or 'insensitive', 'it's-all-just-for-money' aspects of the interaction with an escort (or what most people imagine interaction with an escort to be). But since VCARD gives signs that this is exactly what she wants, and even gives her reasons for that, this is probably not a necessary assumption. Maybe it's just the stereotype that women (especially virgins) are like little roses that would be heartbroken by a commercial sexual transaction.
Posted by ankylosaur on June 1, 2012 at 5:06 AM · Report this
@Mr Ven -- it's just that your wording of the situation made my countrywomen look conceited, perhaps a little arrogant -- as if they consciously thought lowly males had the duty to make them happy with frivoulous flirting, no matter what they (said lowly males) felt. When in fact they (my countrwomen) were simply born in a place where things were already like that and simply adapted to the situation as they grew up -- as everybody does (including Americans). So did the boys, by the way, who are also sometimes surprised at the different reaction they get from American women.

Not that this means you should enjoy it, of course. American football is a similar phenomenon -- I don't blame Americans for it, I know it was already there when they were born, it's not reinvented by every new generation, and those who like it simply learned to like it as they grew up; but of course I don't have to like it myself.

Posted by ankylosaur on June 1, 2012 at 5:16 AM · Report this
@152(IPJ), indeed power imbalances do complicate the issue, but perhaps not as much as (or in the direction that) you think.

It may be that most people who look for younger lovers are 'unduly' attracted to the power imbalance, but I wonder how much of this is the result of stereotyping, plus a social climate that is against this kind of situation. It reminds me of the times (and even today, many parts of the mainstream) in which BDSM relationships were supposed involve a 'sadistic' partner (consider the vibes associated with the word 'sadistic'), some sort of mustache-twirling villain (always a man, apparently) who enjoys making his partner suffer.

(The funny thing being that the dom does enjoy making his/her partner suffer... but in a sense very different from the stereotypical one.)

If that stereotypical view was in full power, you might similarly claim that BDSM relationships attract the 'bad' kind of person -- the mustache-twirling villain who really likes to manipulate and use the poor subbies, not simply as part of a negotiated scene -- and that this was the reason for the stereotype. Whereas in fact maybe it's the other way round.

Of course sex, being a plural activity (involving more than one person), is more complicated than swimming. But so is the mentor-apprentice relationship, in all situations in which it arose in society. It might be a beneficial one for people who are now learning about sex -- though admittedly not in the current social climate.
Posted by ankylosaur on June 1, 2012 at 5:30 AM · Report this
@152(IPJ), a final thought on power imbalances. It always seemed interesting to me how BDSM is apparently an attempt at bringing back, at least in the area of play and under negotiated circumstances, precisely this power imbalance that we try to get rid of at all costs in romantic relationships. As if we (or at least some of us) did indeed want that power imbalance to rule at least some aspects of their lives. I wonder what that means about us, and our relationship with power imbalances in general.
Posted by ankylosaur on June 1, 2012 at 5:33 AM · Report this
@157, it would be indeed a much simpler world if all personal trainers agreed with you.
Posted by ankylosaur on June 1, 2012 at 5:36 AM · Report this
But these BDSM scenarios are clearly defined power imbalances. The participants control when and how they are not in control.

Very different to a power imbalance in "real" life.
Posted by migrationist on June 1, 2012 at 5:40 AM · Report this
migrationist@158, re:@147 -- I'm curious; would you propose the same course of action if the person who is totally ignorant about friendships happened to be an adult, rather than a child? Or would you in this case see it possible for yourself (assuming you liked the person) to become his/her friend so as to show him what friendship is like, and help him/her then discover what s/he wants in a friendship so as to become capable of getting friends by him/herself?

If every friendship we have somehow develops our skills on 'how to friendship', I suppose friendships with more experienced, more 'friendship-experienced people' who might play the role of mentors on at least some of the more paradigmatic, friendship-skills aspects of the experience might be beneficial.
Posted by ankylosaur on June 1, 2012 at 5:45 AM · Report this
@170 -- sure: that's what makes it safe. But it's the power imbalance that makes it interesting. We want it -- not in a way that hurts us, but in a way that kinda looks like it might.

Maybe you could compare it to liking roller coasters: the adrenaline rush is appreciated, especially the adrenaline rush caused by a situation in which 'looks like danger', as if 'we might die'. We of course want it to be safe -- we don't really want to die -- but if the appearance of danger weren't there, it just wouldn't be fun. And that tells us something about people, and their relationship (not always negative) to danger -- or to power imbalances.
Posted by ankylosaur on June 1, 2012 at 5:49 AM · Report this
Either I like to be someone's friend, or I don't. I wouldn't become someone's friend to teach them how to be a friend.

Of course, if I have a friend and s/he displays behaviour that I feel is detrimental to our friendship or to his/her friendships with other people, I talk to him/her about it.

But someone who is completely ignorant of friendships as an adult has some serious issues and would probably benefit from professional help, i.e. therapy.
Posted by migrationist on June 1, 2012 at 5:53 AM · Report this
@170, or to put it in a more general way (with apologies for the rather hasty use of EvPsy): we may have evolved in environments in which we had to take real risks, risks that involved really bad consequences -- which is why we have adrenaline. This means we also developed positive feelings associated with the idea of winning against the odds, of triumphing over the danger. And if we now live a life that is 'too safe', the desire to have these feelings of triumph over danger and risk leads us to want to play pretend scenarios in which they again become relevant. Or, in other words, there may be such a thing as 'too safe': 'too safe' may make us feel unfulfilled. So when certain risks disappear (say, power imbalances, or actual risks of death), they tend to reappear in fantasy scenarios or vicarious experiences (BDSM, action movies, etc.).
Posted by ankylosaur on June 1, 2012 at 5:56 AM · Report this
169, I really want to shake this idea some posters have here that a person should go hire a fit, physically-attractive trainer ostensibly for the purpose of getting in shape. But the real reason is to provide sexual release. The big reveal will come after the client-trainer relationship is established, and the trainer works the client into a schedule and business budget. Why is this all okay? Well, because you all know that personal trainers are, heh heh, you know...easy. /cue porn music in background

Imagine hiring any other service provider with that same intent. You wouldn't, I hope, because it is pretty scummy.

Hot about simply engaing with the person honestly, treating them like a full human, rather than a person to be duped? Rather than hiring them for a service that is their business and livelihood, and then later on revealing that you actually simply want to purchase their sex, tell them! Oh, that is right, because the latter approach is likely to get a big fat fucking "NO!" from the majority of trainers. Rightly so.

Because amazingly, fit trainers are often not willing to have paid-for sex with their plain, out of shape clients. Much like hot secretaries don't come crawling into their big-bellied, middle-aged bosses' offices to give BJs and demand anal, contrary to all the anecdotal stories and porn videos to the contrary.

But hey, you are right. Since not all secretaries agree with me, and some will sex their bosses, let's not get too down on bosses who hire secretaries with the hope that after the big reveal, it will be all BJs and anal from that 24 year old typist.

If you want to get laid, go about the business of getting laid. But step one is not, or at least should not be, "lie to service provider about why I am hiring him/her...."
Posted by Snowguy on June 1, 2012 at 5:57 AM · Report this
Ms Card - You really ought to register and comment on a regular basis.

I'm a bit dismayed by the way your female friends treat you. They may mean well, but the net effect seems to be that it keeps you in your place. It's possibly unlucky you don't have more older friends, as your comment to Ms Crinoline seems to suggest you might do better with more friends less inclined to see you as a supporting player, if that's what's the case to some extent.
Posted by vennominon on June 1, 2012 at 5:59 AM · Report this
@173, but there might be people who would -- are they wrong for that? (I don't like teaching, for instance, because I much prefer to learn new things than to teach things I already know; but I know there are people who love teaching.)

Besides, if you did want to become someone's friend, would that make it impossible for you to also want to help him/her learn how to be a good friend? Just as you might also want to help him/her learn, say, how to dance, in case s/he doesn't know?

(I guess my point is I don't see a big wall here. Being someone's friend is, in many ways, also teaching someone how to be a friend. Or how you think friends should be. A Brazilian poet once wrote that love is learned by loving; one might say this is also how it is taught.)

I'm sure an adult who has never had friends would benefit from therapy. No doubt about it. But s/he might also benefit from friendship with a person who likes him/her and is interested in being his/her friend. Why not?
Posted by ankylosaur on June 1, 2012 at 6:00 AM · Report this
@Snowguy, who wrote:
Hot about simply engaing with the person honestly, treating them like a full human, rather than a person to be duped?

But why do you think I had anything other than that in mind?

The fact that you hired a personal trainer and later on felt sexually attracted to him/her; worse, even the fact that you hired a personal trainer because you wanted to feel sexually attracted to him/her and thought it would be highly likely; doesn't imply that you intend to treat them like anything other than "full human beings with full human rights", that you don't intend to "engage honestly" with them, or that you see them as "a person to be duped".

I think part of this comes from the idea that sex is, if not inherently, then at least very often about someone using someone else. So if I manifest sexual interest in someone, especially someone who is meeting me for some reason other than sex, this is often taken to imply that I think less of this person, or that I want to use and manipulate him/her.

But this doesn't have to be the case.

It is usually the default assumption in America, which is why I agree with Eirene above that it is probably safer in your country to not do these things. You'll avoid misunderstandings, you'll avoid hurting people; and that is a certainly a worthwhile goal. But this is not a human universal.
Posted by ankylosaur on June 1, 2012 at 6:12 AM · Report this
Mr Ank - Still a distinction without a difference. I never implied they weren't socialized into it, but the effect is the same. Men are certainly socialized into enough arrogance and conceit. Besides, this isn't something I'm calling universally bad, just saying it isn't the style of interaction that's right for me.

And I am not going to defend any of the big four US major league sports.
Posted by vennominon on June 1, 2012 at 6:18 AM · Report this
@163 SexyJess:
Not too late, and I'm sure VCARD will go through all the letters. And your tale is different from the others in the thread.

Sometimes at Dan's you learn that there is a whole subset of people into something that would never have occurred to you. (Thursday's SLLOTD: clowns.) And sometimes you learn that there is a whole subset of people who did not have their first kiss in high school (I didn't), or who had sex for the first time in their late twenties or thirties, and we all eventually fit into normal.

@158 Migrationist: Thank you, learning to work out how to do friendship is a great analogy.
Posted by IPJ on June 1, 2012 at 6:20 AM · Report this
mydriasis 181

I'm sorry to hear that, it sounds to me like your friends are a little immature themselves. In the case of my friend who is both a virgin and also clueless when it comes to dressing herself nicely, I definitely don't try to make a big deal out of it when she does dress up, because I know it embarasses her. I say 'oh you look great!' they way I'd say to anyone, but I feel like doing this whole 'omg look at you, dressing up' thing can make the person feel bad about how they look the rest of the time. And there's just no need for that.

So unfortunately part of it is just that your friends need to get their acts together. The other part of it is what what I was suggesting (and I think what Dana was suggesting) is more of a subtle day-to-day change in your clothing, and less 'dress it up like you're going out all the time'. I find that girls who dress down get a ton of attention when they're dressing up and that's probably what you were getting (also this may not apply but I also find they tend to overdo it just because of unfamiliarity).

My suggestion would be more about adding some sexiness to your everyday look which will likely attract less attention - but it may attract some. That's sort of the trade-off. There's also subtle and obvious ways to do it. Showing more skin is what most people think of when they think sexy but there's less extreme ways to do it too.

Off the top of my head and without knowing you or your style/body type... sheer things is a great way to do sexy in a way that's subtle. Sheer tops are really popular right now, they're great for summer and they run the gamut from just a little tiny hint of see-through to full-on peep-show, so you can adjust to your personal comfort level. Plus you can adjust what you're wearing under depending on your comfort level, if you're not comfortable wearing just a bra (depending on how sheer it is) you can wear a tank. I could go on and on, but I'll spare everyone.

The other two things I'll point out quickly is 1. form fitting clothes. That's another great way to show off your form while pretending you aren't. 2. Tights can be a good way to do shorter hemlines while dialing down the attention you get to a more tolerable level.
Posted by mydriasis on June 1, 2012 at 6:46 AM · Report this
VCARD-160-- The easy way to find out if your hymen is broken is to bring up the subject with your gynecologist. If you're about to embark on your first PIV sexual experience, you need advice on birth control anyway, and even if you don't need that, every adult could use a medical check-up now and then. So go get a pap, and while you're there, ask the rest of your medical questions.

The rest of your comment in 160 sent me running to check on the old Games People Play book, specifically the game of Yes-But. The truth is that you have a sticky problem to unknot, and the only way to unknot it is to start somewhere. Not every attempt is going to be successful, but you have to start. Our suggestions are not going to be magic solutions, but they're worth a shot.

Take the example of dressing up. Too much heels, make-up, and revealing clothes, and you get unwanted attention/cat calls on the street. Too little, and you feel unpretty in bars as no one will pay attention to you. The What Not To Wear idea was a good one as Stacy and Clinton never recommend clothes that look cheap or slutty, and they don't dismiss any particular body type. They just tell you to wear pretty clothes that fit well, flatter your figure, and are in style. But you have to go shopping and give it a try. You're not going to get it right on the first try, but whatever the unwanted response isn't going to be that bad. That's how you deal with it mentally. You try. You fail. You realize the failure wasn't that bad. You try again.

It's the same with the big question of finding a guy to help you lose your virginity. As Dan made clear, you're not likely to find an agency that offers this service. Even if you did, the man you hire might not be any better than someone you chose and vetted online. Many here have suggested that you go with someone you've gotten to know a little. It turns out that you've met many men in that category. You've gone on lots of internet dates. I'll bet you even still have the contact information for some of them. Choose someone you liked well enough, tell him the problem, and ask him to help.

Will this guarantee a perfect result? No, but if you follow basic safety advice, it's not likely to be a total disaster either. Everything in life is a risk. Take one. It's better than bemoaning how nothing works for you.

And now, I play Green's move: Gosh, losing your virginity later in life sure can be difficult.
Posted by Crinoline on June 1, 2012 at 6:53 AM · Report this
VCARD and co:

I just wanted to jump in and say hi as yet another mid-twenties very-inexperienced-woman. I resonate with SO MUCH that VCARD has said in her post and subsequent comments. Mostly I'm just saying thanks for reminding me that there really are more of us out there than I often imagine. Feels good to not be so..."abnormal."

Re Crinoline's friend: I'm a quite a bit more open about my lack of experience with my close friends than your buddy seems to be, but I do appreciate their help in social situations that to me are confusing-- as a result, I think I'm improving at reading flirting and such. i.e. nudging me to respond to a girl who approaches me at the bar, or reiterating that yes that guy was into me, I'm not imagining that. Your friend might not have the same particularities as me, but that's what's working so far.

Still got my VCARD, but feeling way more confident, and less desperate than I did 6 months ago.
Posted by vcardstwin on June 1, 2012 at 6:58 AM · Report this
EAT, it's probably both. I could have written your letter 15 years ago, just change the deets on the dates of losing the V card. I eventually thought I just wasn't into oral and preferred fucking.

Boy was I wrong.

My hunch is you've been having sex with 22 year old boys. One day you will look back and realize they're pretty fucking worthless in the sack for the most part except a few rare gems. I strongly suggest dating a guy for some fun sex who is a good 10ish years older, go for about 20 if you can. Don't pick some guy who has slept with his wife and his high school girlfriend. Get a guy who has had a variety of experiences, is a confirmed bachelor, feels comfortable in his body, and genuinely loves sex and loves women. Not as objects to be consumed but as a social class. You want to be respected and get your brains fucked out. You will likely come away feeling you knew very little about sex and be grateful for your new education. :-) Oh and you don't want the perv, or the guy who is going through women like doors. Ideally you want the guy who has been there done that and is bored with it and just wants some nice dating and good sex. Have fun!
Posted by wendykh on June 1, 2012 at 7:18 AM · Report this
mydriasis 185
^ wendyk above is proof of how different people's tastes are. An older man is the LAST thing I would suggest. Some people really just don't enjoy oral. It's not a matter of 'oh you just haven't found someone who does it right yet'. That line reminds me of straight men who think that they'll be the one to turn the lesbian. Incidentally, the best person to get with if you want oral done right is a woman, IMHO. I've had great oral that way - it just isn't for me.

A friend of mine once said that whether a woman prefers oral or fucking has something to do with degrees of sensitivity in the clit vs. gspot. I don't know how true that is but it kind of made sense for me and my preferences.
Posted by mydriasis on June 1, 2012 at 7:35 AM · Report this
My good friend was a virgin well into her 20s. she decided she wanted to have sex, she went to a party, found someone attractive, flirted, found attraction mutual, went home with him, and had really great respectful sex. During the walk home she decided she should inform her of her V card status. He tripped a bit, and they sat in a park and talked for a good two hours so he could chill and make sure a) she was REALLY sure she wanted to lose it to a guy she met a few hours earlier (she was, and explained her thought process to him) and b) that she wasn't fucking nuts/stalker material. She wasn't.

She unexpectedly started her period the next morning (no, not hymen bleeding) and he was super completely chill about it and told her to relax and take a shower and he'd clean up. Then he made her a wonderful breakfast and they ate on the patio and toasted to her new status.

She never saw him again, but they still write each other letters to this day nearly 15 years later. Not love letters, just life and catch up.

But the big difference for my friend I think and others is she wasn't waiting for it to happen to her. She made a decision, and went after it. One thing I've noticed in women who say things like "I never get hit on, guys don't notice me, I don't feel comfortable in sexy clothes, but I really want to have a relationship/sex, but I don't know how" is they haven't really made the decision. They say they have and may even believe that, but they're not confident in it at all. It's like they're saying it because they think they're supposed to not because they actually have come to a stage that this is what they want. These are just my observations. When a woman wants to have sex, and really owns it, she will go make it happen. If she's having problems making it happen, or getting that confidence, I don't think it's a bad idea to talk to a therapist a few times to build up that confidence and get rid of the "girls who do that are SLUTS bad evil SLUTS" and aversion to being sexualized mentality. I'm not talking the "whaaaa my childhood!" kind of therapy. I'm talking someone to basically life coach you into this. Ideally this would be your girlfriends but if your girlfriends act like 12 year olds when you put on some makeup they may not be the best candidates for this.

Finally, I have told my own daughter (and step daughters) repeatedly the best person to lose your virginity to is a nice person who is more experienced and who you are NOT in love with but repsect, like, and are attracted to. The likelihood of being with this person forever or the relationship lasting are extremely low. Why tie it all up with losing your virginity as well? What if they become a complete ass later? Why give that gift to someone like that? Friends tend to last longer.
Posted by wendykh on June 1, 2012 at 7:43 AM · Report this
@VCARD: I wrote above about my experience (#163; 32yo, first PIV @ 29). I accurately described the facts, but they weren't the whole story. This has been weighing on me since last night, and I think I'd like to tell you a little bit more. This isn't comfortable to talk about, even anonymously to a stranger whom I will never meet (and those hardy enough actually to read all of these); but I can't help feeling that a dry recitation of the facts was a misleading half truth.

My misgivings about having my first PIV experience ranged from superficial to serious and were all legitimate. I could recognize that fact but it still drove me crazy EVERY DAY that it wasn't an experience I shared with apparently every single other person I knew. I don't know what bothered me more; that no one else was like me, or that I wasn't like everyone else. It didn't matter. They had had PIV sex and I hadn't.

For me, it meant always wondering whether I was making the right punchline in naughty jokes or laughing at the right places in others'. I was *exquisitely* uncomfortable watching sex scenes in movies with others; even if I was just quietly watching I'd feel like my gauche awkwardness expanded to fill the room and that everyone was breathing my ignorance in.

I wanted to know what I would be like: would I need to cuddle after? Was I a 'talker'? Would I need an emotional connection with partners or would I enjoy the experience in its own right? As I mentioned in the last post, I'm fairly self-aware. This felt like an appalling blind spot about myself, and it was exasperating to the point of pain that I couldn't find those things out on my own.

I have many close friends, but not one single person knows the things I've told you. (PIV guy #1 knew the parts that pertained to him, but I elected not to share my emotional journey with him, deciding instead to hug that to myself; a decision I unquestioningly reaffirm now.) I probably won't change this. I think lots of people do PIV later than they think they "should" or than "everyone else" does; but not many people wait as long as I do, and I choose not to make it a potential subject of pity or disconcert or even a topic of discussion. I don't know that I'll ever change my mind about this. You're my one exception, VCARD et al.

My intent in writing this second post was to affirm all of your preferences to date. Unemotional? Sure. Not sharing your business with friends? Go for it. Creating and controlling the situation? We do it in all other areas of our lives; to treat one experience any differently is tantamount to psychosis.

I also wanted to clarify one statement I made before that may not have been entirely clear. I said this:
"[K]now that this experience is just one of many you'll have; whatever it is, it's mainly just a coincidence that it's your first."
What I meant is that, whether it's awesome or sucky or somewhere in between, it doesn't matter. It means nothing about your or your partner; it says nothing about your sex life in the future. (And to those people who "decided" what their First Time was going to be like, and then had that experience: I don't care what you decided. Experience coinciding with preference was just that - coincidence. You got lucky.) I see no reason to assume First Time will be anything extraordinary; mine was less uncomfortable by far than a period, I bled a little but mostly on him. The chances that it will be 'magical' or even anything but awesome, mildly uncomfortable, and a little bit weird are pretty small. That's okay. :) Let it be okay. It sounds like you will.

One more thing, and then I have GOT to do something besides think about this. I've read a few of the descriptions above from people who felt like they were late to the game of how they felt after first PIV. Here's what I felt: no different. No bands followed me around. I didn't want to high five everyone. (I do now, after good sex. :) I know that feeling. I didn't have it then.) I wasn't bursting to share it with anyone and I felt exactly the same in my body. What was different was that I knew. I had lain with a man and had him inside me; our rhythm was awkward until it wasn't; after a lifetime of tortured silence during locker room stories I finally, finally, finally had a before- and a during- and an after-sex story. THAT, Vcard, was awesome.

Try not to overthink it. Sounds like you feel good about setting up a situation with which you're comfortable. Do it! Get first PIV out of the way and then figure out where you want to go from there. I'm excited for you to get this out of your brain.

I wish you the absolute best.
Posted by sexyjess on June 1, 2012 at 7:44 AM · Report this
@148 WTF? What's "nasty" about saying that most men are chivalrous enough to be willing to have sex with a woman who really wants it? That's one of their more charming qualities. I thought straight was implied by the context, but I will qualify with saying almost any available man would be willing to do that. Men already in a relationship are certainly able to be loyal.

Enough about personal trainers! God, I'm sorry I mentioned it. Although if you look at the way girl royalty marries and famous female celebrities hook up, it is happening out there. That and choreographers (although who knew there were straight choreographers?)

If VCard wants to find a straight male escort and a friend of a friend won't do, the way to find one is to go to a very expensive hotel near a busy airport and get a room. Dress up nice, hang out in the hotel bar at a table for two and keep checking your watch. Get a crestfallen look after about an hour, and voila--you will have company. Or so I've heard.
Posted by Marrena on June 1, 2012 at 7:55 AM · Report this
I think you are going off tangents this week.

Let me try to re-capture it: The hitting on a personal trainer thread started with someone suggesting to get laid by a personal trainer, then you suggesting to make it less awkward by keeping to a strict business-like transaction (paying the trainer for sex), then a lot of people got upset about sexual harassment, and you say what is wrong with being attracted by someone at his workplace. Did I get it right?
Nothing is wrong with being attracted by someone who works for you and respectfully expressing that attraction. But hiring someone with the purpose to suggest sexual transactions is plain wrong.

Re friendship: of course I learn from my friends, and they learn from me. Exactly this is why I think it is very similar to a sexual relationship: with every new partner I learn from him and he learns from me. That's why I don't think a mentor/ mentee sexual relationship would work. Even when I was a virgin, my partner needed to learn from me what I liked and disliked (btw, mydriasis, you might be pleased to hear that a lot of that learning was nonverbal). And sometimes, we discover together something that we didn't know one or both of us liked.
Posted by migrationist on June 1, 2012 at 8:24 AM · Report this
I thought I didn't care too much for oral until my last partner. He got so turned on by giving me head that it turned me on in return. I still prefer a bit of fingering in addition, but now I can come only by oral as well.
Posted by migrationist on June 1, 2012 at 8:29 AM · Report this
This note is for EAT: You said, "I can't imagine why a guy would want to do that to me," and Dan's answer to that was right: Straight guys dig it.
How much do they dig it? Well, I haven't asked around so the data sample is small here, but I, a straight guy, can actually come while eating out; that's how much I like it.
Posted by PS_Seattle on June 1, 2012 at 8:36 AM · Report this
nocutename 192

I think you should dress in a way that makes you feel sexy and pretty (mydriasis had some good suggestions) and learn to deal with the reactions by pretending you are an actress in costume and makeup for a role--the role of sexy, pretty you--until the unfamiliarity of the feeling and the unfamiliarity of people's responses wears off and you feel natural with the way you look and the way people respond to you.

As far as men on the street corners or "skeevy" middle-aged men making comments to you, unless the comments are really insulting, take them as compliments--which doesn't mean you have to respond to them. Think of yourself as beautiful and recognize that even middle-aged men have a right to appreciate beauty and are capable of it. Van Gogh's "The Starry Night" is allowed to appeal to old people, ugly people, unpleasant people. People who see a reproduction of it at a garage sale aren't any less deserving of appreciating its beauty than art collectors who would pay big bucks to own it or people who wait in line at the museum to get the tickets for the special exhibit. When you look attractive you don't get to specify that only young, beautiful men who display their appreciation for your looks in ways that you approve get to admire you. You also don't need to acknowledge responses that you find unwanted. They're only demeaning if you let yourself be demeaned by the comments of strangers. (Obviously, if you are really harassed or feel threatened, that's a different situation, and I don't suggest that you treat a threat to your personal safety as benign.)
But try to feel flattered by that display of male attention, even if it comes from someone you don't intend to interact with. Get used to being someone men react favorably to.

As far as the people at your workplace or your friends go, assume that their comments are a reflection of the novelty of your appearance. Once it's not a new thing, once they get used to the fact that this is just the way you look (flashing some leg, wearing cute heels, using eyeliner, etc.), the annoying comments should stop. In the meantime, I would suggest that you employ humor at first, then transition into an attitude that doesn't acknowledge the implied referendum on your previous self-presentation.

For example, your friend or co-worker says, "ooh, look at you showing some cleavage." You say, "yeah, I'm incognito." Or better still: "Now that I'm out of the witness protection program (or out from deep cover), I can finally go back to dressing like myself again." In short, use good humor and a bit of self-awareness to move past the moment, and then continue to dress the way you want to dress. (And I'm assuming you want to dress in a more explicitly sexy, pretty way; if you don't, that's fine, but if the goal is to step up your sex/dating game, it's definitely worth considering.) If someone says, "ooh, look at you in your kitten heels," say, "aren't they cute? And they were on sale at J.C. Penney." In other words, ignore the condescension, and just pretend you received a straight-forward compliment that was also a question about where the other person can get the shoes in question. Soon enough, the message will get through. When you have been presenting yourself in your new way consistently for a few weeks, people will no longer react that way; it will just be the way you look.

Posted by nocutename on June 1, 2012 at 8:48 AM · Report this
mydriasis 193

Actually I find it offputting when a guy's really into oral. I also find that being really into oral correlates with a sexual style and personality type that isn't really compatible with mine. I've had oral that was pleasant, I just would rather have sex 100 times out of 100.

In the context of a monogamous LTR, it's not off-limits if my bf wants to do it. But in the context of casual sex it's a no-fly option because people tend to do oral unprotected and the virtual absence of payoff paired with the small presence of risk works out to "no".
Posted by mydriasis on June 1, 2012 at 9:03 AM · Report this
VCARD @160:

On blood, my boyfriend figured my hymen was already broken because there had never been any resistance fingering. Boy was he wrong. I'd go with the gynecologist. I mean, in theory you could look at some medical drawings, and get a hand mirror, but I think this would only work if you were a virgin gyn nurse or doc and had seen a lot of real life examples to compare to your own anatomy.

On Horstman, I'm familiar with Scarleteen and think it's a great site. It does not cover any of the questions you asked, though, so it wouldn't help at all. If you're trying to figure out such questions as "what exactly is the hymen? and where exactly is it? and how does the menstrual blood get out if there's a barrier?" it is wonderful. Or if your question is "Fine, I want to pay attention to my partner's body language about how far to go. Umm, what exactly would they be doing?" If you were 16 and wanted to just get things over with, our advice to you would be very different.
Posted by IPJ on June 1, 2012 at 9:19 AM · Report this
Oral and PiV are not mutually exclusive during the same session.

From the top of my head, I am also not sure how high the risk of any STI is for cunnilingus as long as he has no cold sores.
Posted by migrationist on June 1, 2012 at 9:23 AM · Report this
mydriasis 196

No, they're not, but the former offers nothing that the latter doesn't. Which is why I'll let my boyfriend do it as foreplay but I wouldn't let a casual partner do it.

A good friend of mine got herpes that way. Herpes is transmissible without any visible sores, last I checked.
Posted by mydriasis on June 1, 2012 at 10:06 AM · Report this
mydriasis 197
*I didn't say it was a high risk, but the small risk is more than enough to offset "nothing" in terms of benefit.
Posted by mydriasis on June 1, 2012 at 10:08 AM · Report this
kitschnsync 198
Marrena, your comments are always good for a laugh.
Posted by kitschnsync on June 1, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
VCard, thank you for asking your question - my situation is similar to yours in some ways (female, in my twenties, V-card hanging over my head, little relationship experience, tend to dress a bit unflatteringly to avoid attention, parents who never kissed or talked about relationships). I'm interested in women, though, and a general lack of self-awareness and a bit of internalized homophobia have probably contributed heavily to my awkwardness around relationships and sex. So thank you times a million for asking so eloquently! It's impossible to have an un-fraught discussion about this topic with friends (I've always been there to help my friends through their bad experiences with relationships and one-night stands - but when the talk turns to me and my sex life, I want to curl up in a hole and die). I'm amazed at the wisdom and solid advice to be found in the comments here! Savage Love commenters, you are awesome!
Posted by Anonymous_4 on June 1, 2012 at 10:48 AM · Report this
As far as men on the street corners or "skeevy" middle-aged men making comments to you, unless the comments are really insulting, take them as compliments

Y'know, I don't recall ever getting such a "compliment" that wasn't rather obviously an attempt to intimidate or humiliate me. But then 85% of such harassment happened to me before I hit 17 or so, even though by any reasonable measure I was FAR better looking in my late teens and twenties. Once I was really comfortable in my own skin, the skeevy guys almost stopped bothering me.

I think what the kind of guy who'll yell "nice tits" is really after is a scared deer-in-the-headlights look, which is why I got way more such attention when I was 14 than when I was 16, and more when I was 16 than when I was 18, 20, etc.

That's not to say I've never had a pleasantly flirtatious encounter with a guy on the street, but they tend to be way more subtle: the slightest of stares, a smile and "Gorgeous day, isn't it?" kind of thing. Sometimes it's obviously sexual interest, and sometimes it's probably just "hey, you look like a nice person" kind of friend-flirting.
Posted by Eirene on June 1, 2012 at 11:10 AM · Report this
@184: My hunch is you've been having sex with 22 year old boys. One day you will look back and realize they're pretty fucking worthless in the sack for the most part except a few rare gems.

Wow. If this is true I must have had awfully good luck. Maybe the "rare gem" thing correlates with something else I like, such as a particular sense of humor? Or maybe a whole swath of guys are getting really badly socialized about sex and it messes them up for years. I suspect it's some of the former and a whole lot of the latter.
Posted by Eirene on June 1, 2012 at 11:42 AM · Report this
@161 mygash: Thank you for commenting. I already have been signing petitions, writing letters, submitting emails, and support representatives who care about women's health issues.

Yes, I agree that I heatedly went a bit off topic in Dan's Savage Love column. But my previous posts (@83, @85, and @145) were responses to other comments that indicated glaring cluelessness, trolling, or both.

Okay. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 1, 2012 at 1:13 PM · Report this
I've so often heard about young men who, wanting sexual experience, have their first time with a sex worker. I wonder if they get what they wanted. The sex worker was the kind, patient, teacher they wanted? Or it was just something they could say they did without learning anything-- or learning the wrong things. My knowledge of this comes from the movies, not first hand testimony. I know little enough of what it is for women to get their virginity over with this way. What's it like for men?
Posted by Crinoline on June 1, 2012 at 4:07 PM · Report this
alter boy 204
VCARD - Craigs list;it's the best.
Posted by alter boy on June 1, 2012 at 4:13 PM · Report this
Ms Marrena - I've seen enough arbitrary Rules of Chivalry that don't take orientation into account not to infer such things.

Far be it from me to concern troll on behalf of straight men; any available one who makes it a point of duty to provide stud service on demand is certainly free to do so. I'd simply say that anyone who made this a requirement for being a nice or decent person would not be a lady.
Posted by vennominon on June 1, 2012 at 7:10 PM · Report this
EAT- My advice as another chick is: get comfy with your own body. You probably think it's "gross" because you're anxious about how you smell and taste, so do a couple things: first, groom your pubic hair. I'm not saying shave necessarily (it's your body, it should be how you want it!), but body odor is often caused by bacteria in sweat, and body hair of all kinds traps that sweat/bacteria combo. Tidy pubes often mean less odor. The second thing (and probably more important thing) is, do you know what you taste like? Because that can be HUGELY comforting. If you've given it a try and realize "oh, actually that's not offensive at all!" then that knowledge will make it MUCH easier for you to relax during oral sex. Try showering, and then masturbating afterwards. Once you're aroused, stick a finger inside your vagina (if you're not comfortable enough with your body to do this, that's probably indicative of where your no-O issues are coming from. Getting to that point might be a good first step), and then smell/taste your finger. You'll probably then realize you're totally fine all the way around. If you're not comfy with this, you could also figure out how you smell/taste by kissing your guy after he goes down on you. But really, EAT, I'm sure you're totally fine.
Posted by happycamper on June 1, 2012 at 7:13 PM · Report this
@160, Ms Card: I can honestly relate to what you are feeling. I was quite a late-comer to partnered sex--I lost my virginity when I was 30. You appear to be suffering the same self-reinforcing shame-cycle that I did--I thought I was a freak, I thought I was unattractive, and with each passing year of virginity, those feelings intensified. My self-esteem, never that strong to begin with, suffered, and my sexual self-confidence, always weak, became worse and worse and worse.

And here is the other painful truth--finally getting it over with, and having my penis in a vagina, was not a cure-all. It was awkward and weird, and I wasn't able to orgasm (too self-conscious, and too-used-to the death grip right hand problem). So finally losing my virginity was not actually that helpful in itself--I still felt like a sexual failure.

So watch out for the trap of thinking "getting it over with" will solve your problems. Like you, I'm good at interacting with people in a rather superficial way, but have a hard time connecting with a new person, especially romantically. Like you, I have a pleasant family--but a rather cold, and emotionally detached and sexually repressed family. So losing my virginity, especially in the 'failed' manner in which I perceived it, was not the solution. It might open the floodgates for you, but be emotionally prepared to STILL feel weird and detached, even after you lose your virginity.

What was the solution? Well, to tell you the truth, I'm still struggling with intimacy and romance and sex. I would suggest, cautiously, seeking a shy-but-kind-and-smart man who can relate to your feelings. We do exist. Go slow, and mutually acknowledge that meeting new people, especially when there's the possibility of romance and sex, is not terribly fun. It is stressful and scary and it is easy to run away to the safety of what is familiar--which is being alone.

Remind yourself that you're both feeling self-conscious about everything, and that laughing and relaxing a little bit might be possible, but it will take time and patience to reach that level of comfort. Once you can make each other laugh, and you can enjoy one another as friends, you can go slow on the intimate things like kissing and touching. And once you both are enjoying that, you can start to think about sex. Low-expectation, low-stress sex: think shared laughter at the weird and surreal quality of the experience, rather than joy or anything resembling ecstasy. Maybe watch each other masturbate. Laugh some more. And maybe actually, eventually, having sex might be fun, and not so damned surreal.

Good luck to you. At 26, you still have plenty of time, so give yourself a little bit of a break, and consider my suggestion to find another late-bloomer and go very slow. Whatever you decide, try to remember--there's no crime in being awkward and uncomfortable with emotional and romantic and sexual intimacy. It is learned, and complicated behavior. Your repressed family combined with your own personality contributed to you being behind the curve--but assigning blame is pointless, so forgive them, and forgive yourself.

Treat yourself with compassion--beating yourself up, deprecating yourself, is a real and relevant and major part of the problem, so knock that shit off--it is NOT justified, and it is NOT helpful, to think badly of yourself.

As to your friends: speak to one of them about your feelings. Tell her specifically that being teased when you try to work your girly game is NOT helpful--that you're already self-conscious about your lack of romantic experience, and that gentle encouragement and suggestions would be much more helpful (and friendly) than mockery. Also tell that friend that pity would be even worse than teasing--friendly encouragement is NOT the same thing as overly-dramatic concern. You want your friends to chill and relax and give you a break--no weepy pity, no catty teasing. If they have any sense they'll try to find that medium-ground where they are helping you with kindness and support and calm, but not going overboard into the humiliation of a pity-party.
Posted by Functional Atheist on June 1, 2012 at 8:05 PM · Report this
Vcard: My husband took me to one of the male strip joints in Vegas. At first, I was uptight and embarrassed, but soon I was very turned on. You can get dances from different men and I imagine that there will be some chemistry with one or two. A couple of men offered their services and I already had an idea wether we were compatable. I never did have any experiences outside the club, but did kiss, pet, ad cum right there in the club. Who knows? It could breaks few barriers.
Posted by Cougarrrr on June 1, 2012 at 9:49 PM · Report this
For vcard - I can't say much about the hymen issue as I don't recall my first time all that well but I can say that if you are using a toy when you masturbate it's likely that yours may be stretched. In my case, it must have been because after having a regular partner then finding someone new I bled for the first time (he was much bigger). Not a typical occurrence I'm sure but maybe helpful in knowing that there isn't a definitive experience to expect. Some women bleed the first time, some don't, and some (like me) apparently have hymens that only really break under certain size conditions. And for the record it only hurt for bit when it happened and later when I was a bit sore from all of the fucking.
Posted by PenguinGirl on June 2, 2012 at 12:40 AM · Report this
Registered European 210
I've so often heard about young men who, wanting sexual experience, have their first time with a sex worker. I wonder if they get what they wanted.[...] I know little enough of what it is for women to get their virginity over with this way. What's it like for men?

In my case, not very good. I didn't learn anything useful and I did not manage to come. (see also Functional Atheist @207). I still don't really enjoy PIV sex and I usually cannot reach orgasm that way.
Posted by Registered European on June 2, 2012 at 5:54 AM · Report this
My boyfriend had a diabolical idea for VCARD. Try talking the problem over with a clergyman, preferably one with strict and public views about virginity before marriage. He might not be terrific in bed, but he'd have every reason to keep his affair with you secret, and you'd be able to break it off whenever you wanted and never see him again.
Posted by Crinoline on June 2, 2012 at 5:58 AM · Report this
nocutename 212
@200 (Eirene): Looking back at VCARD's post @160, she doesn't say that men are yelling things like "nice tits" at her. Here's what she says: "I get so much attention from undesirables (dudes on the street corners, skeevy middle aged men, etc.) that I feel *very* uncomfortable and swear to never dress for attention again." She gets "attention" from men she doesn't want to attract, including "skeevy" middle-aged ones, and that makes her retreat to dressing drably.

Now, perhaps it's because I'm middle-aged myself, and therefore protective of the middle-aged (and around here, mydriasis does a lot of middle age bashing already)and don't think that a 40-something or 50-something year-old showing obvious attraction is such a terrible thing simply by virtue of his age (or because at my age soon I'll be happy to be the recipient of admiring attention from someone of any age), but I interpreted VCARD's statement, along with the rest of what she has said, as a problem that lies in her discomfort with attention being paid to her, especially as a potential sexual being, more than a problem of men being "pigs." But sorry, VCARD, a beautiful woman doesn't get to choose to be attractive only to those she herself finds attractive. If you want--and get--attention from good-looking men in their late 20s, you have to also be prepared to get it from people you aren't interested in sexually. Part of being a beautiful woman means learning how to deal graciously with attention or expressions of attraction from people you aren't interested in. If they are being polite and acting in a socially acceptable way (smiling, offering polite or respectful compliments, etc.) you can just smile back, or thank them, or make a pleasantry yourself and be on your way.

As for men attempting to intimidate or humiliate through catcalls and the like,
indeed, it's possible to take even such socially inept or rude (or hostile, as eirene would have it) statements as "nice tits" and turn them into compliments (*in your mind*; they don't deserve response). So if I hear "nice tits"--and yes, I've heard such a delicately-worded phrase--I've never chosen to think of it as intended to "intimidate or humiliate me." Such a statement would do neither to me, anyway. Instead, I've thought to myself (while not giving the slightest indication that I even heard the man) "yes, I *do* have nice breasts."

Making lemonade or pulling silk purses from sow's ears? Perhaps. But I tend not to get insulted easily, and as long as the man isn't a threat to my person, I don't feel intimidated by almost anyone. As for feeling humiliated by a man's observation on whether or not he finds me attractive, well, I don't see what's humiliating about what is essentially a complimentary attitude; if he called me an ugly dog (and I've heard that, too), I would have been inclined, when I was younger and less self-confident, to be humiliated by that. Nowadays, it rolls off my back more easily.

Now this doesn't mean that I think a comment like that deserves a response. It's boorish and ill-bred. But if VCARD, who seems sorely in need of some confidence-boosting can come to take that attention as a confirmation of her sexual attractiveness, and internalize that attractiveness, then I don't see what's the problem.

For the record, once as an 18-year-old, I was walking down the street when a guy leaned out his car window and shouted: "You need to wear a bra." To which I shouted back: "you need to wear a muzzle!" So I understand the attempt to intimidate and humiliate, but my response was not to change the way I dressed.
Posted by nocutename on June 2, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Report this
nocutename 213
For the record, I am a feminist. I'm also in favor of civility in public discourse.

Posted by nocutename on June 2, 2012 at 10:09 AM · Report this
nocutename 214
Shoot: I hit "submit comment" when I wanted to hit "edit comment" in my last disclaimer. I want to clarify that my comments @192 and 212 were meant to address VCARD's need to strengthen her self-confidence and thereby become more attractive to herself and others. I am not in favor of catcalling on the street. I can see why it's a product of the patriarchy and dismissive of women's subjectivity, and so forth.

I was responding to a very specific woman with a specific dilemma.
Posted by nocutename on June 2, 2012 at 10:15 AM · Report this
mydriasis 215
For the last time "I don't want to fuck middle aged men" is not "bashing".
Posted by mydriasis on June 2, 2012 at 10:38 AM · Report this
mydriasis 216
Re: compliments/leering/catcalls/etc

I am similar to cute in that I'm not intimidated by men hitting on me, although I think my opinion lies somewhere between cute's an Eirene's.

I get that shit a lot, especially in the summer because I dress with comfort in mind, not modesty. It's very hot and humid in the city in the summer and I'm very comfortable with my body. I think there are two kinds of comments - some are meant as an actual (if desperate) attempt to hit on a woman with an actual end to something happening. Some, on the other hand appear to be an attempt to offset a feeling of impotence. I think when an older, unattractive man sees a "pert breasted 24 year old" as someone called it, he knows she's not interested in him, and makes comments like that to regain some small feeling of power.

When skeezy middle aged men hit on me as I walk by, I roll my eyes and keep walking. I don't say anything rude, but I definitely don't smile as if it's okay for them to do that. Because it isn't. (Again, I live in the city, so if it's someone who's homeless/mentally ill, etc I'm very polite and will smile and respond while still walking)

I'm generally polite and clear when people hit on me but if they are persistent I can be quite harsh in making myself clearer.
Posted by mydriasis on June 2, 2012 at 10:51 AM · Report this
nocutename 217
Mydriasis, you don't just say you aren't interested in middle-aged men; you've repeatedly written versions of (I paraphrase) 'middle-aged men have nothing to offer but money,' which I think has a scornful ring to it.

As far as the "skeezy" or "skeevy" middle-aged thing goes, my issue is the way those two adjectives were combined. Is VCARD (and are you) suggesting that the middle-aged men are skeevy (her word) *because* they're middle-aged, or were they skeevy in their youth, too, and now they're *both* skeevy *and* middle-aged? (I wish my mac would let me make italics on this comment thread!)
THAT is my issue.

I also think that despite my attempting to be as clear as possible in my post @212, that you misunderstood me a bit. I don't suggest that VCARD smile at a "skeezy" man (of any age) who hits on her as she walks by; I said that such an action doesn't necessitate a response (I don't smile at obnoxious come-ons; I don't roll my eyes, either. I just ignore them).

I suggested smiling if the come-on was subtle and not disgusting, but merely came from someone VCARD isn't interested in and took the form of something friendly, non-threatening, and complimentary.
For example, I see a man I don't consider dating material all the time on the street. He always smiles at me; I always smile back. Once he said, "Pardon me, but I have to tell you I think you're beautiful." I thanked him for the compliment. He was respectful and polite, not obnoxious. Since then, he has occasionally said "hello," and "gorgeous day today" and once or twice complimented me on my shoes. I am always friendly and polite. I am sure that if I showed more interest, he would try to strike up a conversation and it would likely lead to him asking me out. That is not the same thing as being hit on in an obnoxious way.

It was my reading of VCARD's post that any kind of attention she gets that indicated the person finds her attractive makes her uncomfortable if she's not likewise attracted. But I did say that one never should respond to an unwelcome and crude come on. Like you, though, I don't let the response of creeps keep me from dressing as I want or doing what I want.
Posted by nocutename on June 2, 2012 at 11:21 AM · Report this
nocutename 218

It seems to me that you (and maybe VCARD, and doubtless others) resent the fact that a middle-aged man would find you attractive or that you are insulted that he would think that he actually has shot at you. "The nerve! Like what could he possibly offer besides money? How presumptuous of him to think I would ever be interested in a middle-aged man?"--this is what I imagine your mental response is based on your comments here.

But I suggest that people's attractions don't necessarily change so much as they age. The men I find attractive when I was 20, I might still find attractive (when I was 20, I was attracted to 30-year-olds).

Now, I don't necessarily think they'd be interested in me, so I wouldn't come on to them, and that may be the difference that you're lamenting. These guys are so clueless that they think and act as if they actually have a chance with a woman so much younger. But those age-imbalances have happened before and happen a lot, and it's not always because of money.

As long as they aren't obnoxious about it, you can't really blame a guy for wanting what he wants and trying to get it. (Doesn't mean you have to date him; just not sit in judgment on him for trying.)

For what it's worth, I am no longer interested in 30-year-olds, except as eye candy. I like people my own age; I want shared cultural references. When I was young, I only liked older guys, as 20-year-olds were often too immature. As we age, some of the significance of a few years drops away, so that now my window of interest spans from 5 or 6 years younger than me (I would have NEVER felt that way when I was younger) to 10-12 years older than me. When I was 19, I dated a man who was closer in age to my mother than to me. At 20, I often dated men who were 30, 31, 32. I once briefly dated a man who was in his mid-late 40s when I was 22. I almost never dated any of them for their money, and the only time I did that, I broke up with the guy because the age difference manifested itself in ways that were too problematic for me, so yes, he was "too old" for me.

Recently, a guy in his mid-70s came on to me really blatantly, and I confess that I had a response similar to yours. I told a friend about it, who said: "I'm 47, and I'm interested in women aged 22-62. When I'm 70, I imagine I'll still be interested in those same age ranges, but I don't expect that a 22-year-old would under any circumstances be interested in me by then. So I'll limit myself to asking out women who are older. It doesn't mean I wouldn't still be interested and you can't a blame a guy for trying."
Posted by nocutename on June 2, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
I was adding my experience for context, not assuming VCARD's was necessarily the same. I can't recall ever getting much attention on the street that wasn't either subtle and respectful OR downright harassment, hardly anything in between that I could decide to call a compliment or not. (I guess very occasionally I used to get something like a "Hey, pretty lady" from someone who was going to ask me for money. I don't really count those in the same category.)

It might have something to do with my particular appearance. I was, I think, quite good-looking, but not in a specially fashionable way. (I'm not entirely dull and drab now, but I've reached the age of invisibility all the same. It's quite interesting. One overhears a lot.)
Posted by Eirene on June 2, 2012 at 1:09 PM · Report this
nocutename 220
Sorry, Eirene.
I guess I was overreacting to what I thought you'd said, not really looking at what you wrote.
My focus was much more on helping VCARD feel more confident, and I suppose I was aware that my comment could be read as some sort of non-feminist-internalized-objectification-and-sexism attitude. I was preemptively striking back, but I suppose it came off more as a lashing out.

And like you, I had a couple of unpleasant experiences when I was quite young--under 18 or so. It seems to me that developmentally, VCARD is about that level. I don't want her to stop dressing prettily just because some jerk says something that embarrasses her, which is kind of where's she is right now, but to find another way to deal with unwanted attention and to not let it get to her. Hence my advice to consider such statements or come-ons compliments. (You may recall I suggested that she think of it as if she were an actress playing a role.)

I'm entering invisibility, too. But erratically.
Posted by nocutename on June 2, 2012 at 1:46 PM · Report this
Chelydra_serpentina 221
VCARD - Re your worries in 160: I'll repeat the advice that was at the bottom of my long comment @39. I imagine you didn't get that far down because the middle was irrelevant to what you're looking for.

Get yourself a dick-sized dildo or vibrator and lots of lube, and carefully use it until you're comfortable with it inside you, and you can comfortably - better yet pleasurably - move it in, out, and around. Start with a smaller one and work your way up if you need to. If you experience pain, stop for a day or two and go again. It gets easier each time.

I discovered through experience that the hymen isn't always the the issue. Sometimes it's a matter of stretching your vagina and the entrance to your vagina. I really wish someone had told me that, so I could have done something about it beforehand.

Maybe it's not a common problem, and my bajingo is just a freak of nature. I even need to re-stretch if I'm having sex again for the first time in a long time (I go years between partners. Goddammit.) Regardless, the right prep will eliminate the pain and reduce the awkwardness of the first time.

Bonus with the pre-stretching - orgasms baby!
Posted by Chelydra_serpentina on June 2, 2012 at 1:48 PM · Report this
@221 -- Vaginas are really weird sometimes. I think Cliff Pervocracy had a post about how at the doctor's office they had to get out the pediatric speculum for her, and at home her boyfriend had gotten his whole hand in there.

@220 -- No worries, I think you came across fine. It was actually empowering to me in my teens to realize that those guys were trying to humiliate me, because I was afraid this was what men being attracted to women was just LIKE (even if other guys didn't say those things so openly), and if I didn't like that, well, obviously I was going to have to be celibate or something.

And of course there isn't much you can say to a teenager about their being sexually attractive that isn't skeevy, coming from an older person, while people my age were too shy, so the people who respected me didn't acknowledge my sexuality in any way for a long time. It does really weird things to you to have your sense of yourself as a sexually attractive person defined largely by those who harass you for it, at the same time as lots of other people are studiously treating you like a little girl.
Posted by Eirene on June 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM · Report this
I just wanted to say, as someone who's been reading this for a while but never felt the desire to comment, that I am very pleased VCARD wrote in and all the responses. I am in much the same situation, except I'm even older -- 29 1/2 -- and except for the fact I don't really have any reasons not to have had sex except that it's never really come up as an option. My family isn't shy of physical affection, I'm religious but not really that conservatively so.

I think it's that I haven't been interested in very many people, haven't been able to tell if anyone is interested in me, and haven't known what to do about it if a friend points out that someone is.

But I'm getting to be interested. I'm not so eager as VCARD seems to be -- I think I'm still willing to wait for a relationship. For a little while, at least! But I have gone so far as to ask a friend about how to do things like use a condom. (I'm a woman, interested in men; I feel that I ought to know how to do this. For when it comes up.) I plan on going to a sexual health centre near me and asking.

The advice on dressing and presenting oneself better is helpful, too. The recommendation to "The Dirty Normal" website was also well received -- thank you whoever made it. (It was a while up thread.) I think the advice about getting to know one's body first is good, and, frankly, terrifies me. Probably shows I should get on that one. (It's not that I dislike my body; I'm self-conscious about a couple of things, but I have much healthier body image than most of my friends. They mention this. I'm told it's just that I don't give off 'I'm available' vibes, as I think Venominon pointed out earlier.)

Anyway, I always learn a lot from Savage Love and especially the comments. Usually it's about things that I never realised people did (some intriguing, some not so much). But I am glad to hear such respectful, kind, and -- I hope -- useful advice on a topic so relevant to me. Thanks everyone.
Posted by Another Hesitant One on June 2, 2012 at 3:31 PM · Report this
Hey all, VCARD again. I will get to some other items in a bit, but first I just wanted to address my 'skeevy middle-aged men' comment. I didn't really mean any very particular thing by the word 'skeevy,' other than the usual sketchy/creepy. Sometimes I just make up words that make sense in my head :p

And I would like to clarify that my meaning of that phrase was 'middle-aged men *who are* creepy,' not 'middle-aged men *are* creepy.' (I also wish I knew how to do italics!)

When it comes to these men, I'm not really talking about catcalls so much (that was the 'dudes on street corners' comment) as in venues. Here's a typical situation: I'll be at a bar with a friend or two, usually a place where the crowd is mostly 20's and 30's. Sitting in the corner alone, drinking moodily, will be a creepy-looking middle-aged man. Lo and behold, as my eyes drift past him, I will notice that he is staring at me intently. Ok. So I try to not look at him. But later either my friends will go to the bathroom or I'll go up to the bar to get a drink, and all of sudden he'll be right next to me. My only guess for why I always seem to be a magnet for these men is because, like I said earlier, I give off a very innocent vibe and I rarely get any other attention from men, so they probably put these together to view me as an easy target.

Even that alone wouldn't be so bad, but on three occasions, they've come up and directly started touching me, and twice I've been followed home (one of those was the only time I've ever truly felt unsafe - he started banging on my door and yelling at me to come back). And it just sucks because it feels like it's ALWAYS me that they go after. I rarely see other girls dealing with this.

Oh, and clubs, I forgot about that. Just when I finally, finally start to feel comfortable enough to start dancing (I'm not really into clubbing), I'll suddenly feel someone grinding up behind me. Turning around, I'll see one of the same type of men I described above. I'll push him away and move to another part of the floor, but no matter where I go, he'll be slowly sidling in my direction! I mean, I know people grind in clubs, and I'd be cool with that IF I had been flirting with the guy or had at least made eye contact! I mean, I don't know, is that really normal? Do regular, non-creepy people just walk up behind a stranger and start rubbing their pelvis against them? I don't go out enough to know.

I would like to point out that I would still be uncomfortable with all of this behavior even if the perpetrator was a hot 20-something guy, but quite frankly, it's usually someone much older. So those are the kind of guys my comment was directed at, not normal, nice, (and sometimes even hot) middle-aged men. Sorry for such a long post on one topic, but I really felt it was necessary to explain.
Posted by VCARD on June 2, 2012 at 4:02 PM · Report this
nocutename 225
@224: Holy Cow, VCARD! That is definitely NOT normal club behavior!
That is extremely disturbing.

Are you with friends when the club things happen? If so, ask them to

A) stick by your side like glue, including on the dance floor and going to the bathroom (tell them what has happened in the past, if they don't know it)

B) observe and tell you honestly why they think you are being singled out. Maybe you're doing something that seems natural to you, but is sending off a weird signal.

As far as the touching on the street goes, and all other non-club reactions, I think you need to become assertive to the point of hostility, unfortunately. We're talking about your safety, after all. Raise your voice. Be a confrontational shrew. Make it clear that you won't put up with the harassment. I don't think you're giving off "innocent" vibes as much as "victim" ones, somehow, and sickos are moving in for the kill. This isn't your fault or responsibility, but I think it might be time to channel a "don't fuck with me" attitude a la that mydriasis says she knows how to turn on when necessary.

Good luck, honey. But whatever these creepy molester-wanabeees say, don't let them deter you from living your life fully.

Ask a trusted friend to evaluate your "dressed up" look; consider going to different clubs.
Posted by nocutename on June 2, 2012 at 4:29 PM · Report this
nocutename 226
By the way, I am a magnet for lonely, depressed old women, usually foreigners with hard-to-understand accents. I will talk to every/any body, and once they start, I don't know how to stop them without being rude, so I'm trapped. It happens all the time. And the only other person I know that it happens to is . . . my sister! Clearly something about the way we were raised.

But I have been stalked and followed, too, in my youth. One time a guy in a crowded metro car in Paris bothered me so much I left the car at a stop and then ran into the next one. And I watched him through the train window as he searched the train for me, and then saw me in the next car. And then he got out at the next stop and came into my car, but it was so crowded he couldn't get close to me, and at the next stop I got out and left the station, doubling back later. I may have overreacted, but he was seriously frightening me.

My sister and I were clubbing once a zillion years ago and some guy attached himself to her and wouldn't back off. Eventually she said she had to go to the bathroom, grabbed my hand, and off we went. Safe! Until he showed up in the bathroom! Which turned out not to be a women's restroom, but a unisex one . . .

I guess my point is that you're not the only one. But you shouldn't have to put up with it.
Posted by nocutename on June 2, 2012 at 4:37 PM · Report this
Ok, I'm glad to hear you say it. If mydriasis is still around, I would love to hear her thoughts on how to develop said "don't fuck with me" attitude.

Sometimes my friends are around when these things happen, but part of the problem is that I've had a pretty bad example set by my parents in 'how to sense creeps and get rid of them,' which I will illustrate for you in this little story here:

When I was 17, we took a family vacation to Japan. In a fancy mall in Tokyo, a man approached me when I was a bit apart from my parents, and I quickly called them over. Mr. Creep rebounded immediately, with a tale about how he was a professional traveling solo, and lonely for some English-speaking company. Then he turned on the charm full steam, and joked that a young lady like me must be bored with her parents and kid siblings, and might prefer to check out some trendy clothing stores with him. And my father responded by saying how thoughtful that was, and asking where we should meet up in a few hours!

I immediately nixed this idea and elected to stay with my family. He decided to join us, and my parents didn't seem to mind. As we all wandered around a big department store, he kept suggesting he and I split off and go look at the young women's section, and my parents were completely confused as to why I wouldn't (because usually I would have on my own). Then when we all went to that section together, they were similarly confused as to why I wouldn't try on the tank tops and mini skirts he kept picking out for me (because normally I would have wanted those myself).

Eventually, finally, we headed off to our next destination, and he slipped me a paper with his phone and email on it, and told me to call him, which of course I never did. My parents spent the next little while chatting happily about what a nice man he was to spend all that time with us, and asking me why I hadn't been more polite when he was being so friendly to me. To reiterate the most important pieces of this story: I was 17, and we were in the middle of fucking TOKYO.

The crazy thing is, I didn't even realize quite how fucked up this whole situation was until years later. At the time, all I knew was that my instincts were screaming alarm bells, and fortunately I listened.

And now that I think about it, it makes me worry that it's not just me, apparently my whole family has the word 'SUCKER' stamped in giant letters on us. Oh geez. Man, everytime I really delve into my issues, it seems like they're worse than I realized. And now I'm officially off-topic on this thread, next post I will try to be back on target!
Posted by VCARD on June 2, 2012 at 7:01 PM · Report this
Oh, and your train story is definitely scary. I don't think you overreacted at all.
Posted by VCARD on June 2, 2012 at 7:23 PM · Report this
You're not off-topic at all, VCARD. And that is a really weird story. It shows how even very nice people (as your family presumably are) can have issues with perceiving normal boundaries. You're going to have to do some of that educating yourself (well, you've done a bunch of it already). But in a way, if I'm reading the situation right, you're fortunate that your family's problems are mostly negative (things they didn't do enough of) rather than positive (doing bad things to you). That kind of deficit is much more easily made up, in my experience. Sometimes it's harder to deal with because it's not seen as a big problem (what? my family's fine! they didn't abuse me, they love me and everything, they just don't talk about it much!), but once you acknowledge that yes, there are deficits to be made up here, it's not that bad.
Posted by Eirene on June 2, 2012 at 7:30 PM · Report this
nocutename 230
@227: I don't know that your family has "sucker" stamped on it so much as "naive."
How come you didn't tell your parents after the creep left what he had done? You had the piece of paper with his number on it as "proof."
It sounds like your instincts are good, at least.
Posted by nocutename on June 2, 2012 at 7:31 PM · Report this
nocutename 231
Actually, VCARD, I haven't been clubbing in a long time, and I'm too old now to be a target of men's creepiness, so what you're describing might be more common than I thought.
Here's Jenna Marble's take on what to do about it:…
Posted by nocutename on June 2, 2012 at 7:38 PM · Report this
I've heard of the grinding thing as being par for the course for clubs. I still say it's sexual assault, but y'know, I be fuddy-duddy (never been in such a club, not recently, not twenty years ago, not ever). I think at any rate there is no question whatsoever that not everyone should be expected to be into that kind of thing just because they're in a club.
Posted by Eirene on June 2, 2012 at 7:44 PM · Report this
EAT: For the record, guys who really love going down on girls are not uncommon. It will help if you smell right to us--if there's chemistry anywhere, there'll probably be chemistry down there.

Two specific pieces of advice: (1) take a shower beforehand just so _you_know_ you're fresh--it'll give you one less thing to think about (shower alone if you would be embarassed washing your ladybits in his company, or recruit his help to get you as clean as he likes, but do not use soap in orifices). Some guys care more than others, but if you are as clean as can be then you might have one less thing to worry about while you learn to trust him. And (2) trust him! If he says he's enjoying the experience, acknowledge that he's an adult capable of making his own choices and deciding what he enjoys.

In fact, I'd worry that you're too, um, controlling--in a good, generous way, but still controlling. When a guy chooses to do something that you don't understand, you need to acknowledge his agency: he can make decisions, and you need to trust that he's telling you what he really thinks. Trust him even if you don't understand, for FSM's sake!

(And speaking from experience I can say that a good psychiatrist/counsellor can work wonders with this. And a bad one won't work any wonders at all. But do keep in mind that the stigma is bullshit.)
Posted by something on June 2, 2012 at 7:51 PM · Report this
Eirene: I love your comments this week!

"I tend to assume that covering up a bit is also something of a twit filter, but it's a very personal (and situation-dependent) thing."

I'm a straight guy, which already means I am a bit ignorant, but I'll wildly speculate and await corrections. But I'd posit that cleavage serves as the better twit-filter: if the guy is looking down too much while talking to you, he's a twit. Without the cleavage, you don't offer that twit-revealing trap :)
Posted by something on June 2, 2012 at 8:17 PM · Report this
Ms. Cute@231-- I can't stop laughing. Thanks for posting, though I'm a little afraid to go to sleep, in case that face shows up.
Posted by EricaP on June 2, 2012 at 8:48 PM · Report this
Eirene - you're definitely right about that. My parents are ultimately good people, and there's a lot I'm grateful to them for (adventurous eating habits, intellectual curiosity, uh, financial assistance XD). But I guess there's no such thing as normal or perfect, is there?

nocutename - I really don't think I was consciously aware of how creepy the situation was at the time. I was just so relieved it was over. As for the little piece of paper - I felt strangely embarrassed by it, but I actually hung onto it for a long time. I would take it out and look at it occasionally, even though it made me feel uncomfortable and confused and I had zero intention of contacting him. Eventually I ripped it up and threw it away. And oh my goodness, that link is hilarious! Thank you!

something - I was under the impression that even non-twit males might get distracted when presented with some voluminous cleavage at close range (not that mine is - I wish!). No?
Posted by VCARD on June 2, 2012 at 8:59 PM · Report this
Ok, now I'm working through and giving proper responses to the other items people mentioned, but first I just want to pop this here since it was stuck wayyy down at the end of my other post: Besides the site Dan mentioned in the first letter, any other recommendations of legit, reputable online places to find boy sex workers?

sexyjess - I really, really appreciate your candor. From your first post, I particularly liked this line: 'I didn't "honor" him with my "gift,"' and of course this one: 'I've gone on to have a sex life that I really, really enjoy.' From your second post, I just want to say that I can completely relate to feeling uncomfortable about sharing very personal thoughts (as you may have gathered from some of my posts). It definitely feels weird to be blathering on about my sex life in a public forum. Such is the internet, I suppose!

Your paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 from the second post are almost unreal in the way they mirror my own concerns. The noise factor is something that troubles me a lot, in that I live with roommates in a big old house where sound travels with clarity and purpose. (Who's having the best sex in this place? Ding ding ding, roommate #2 is the clear winner!) I just have this gut feeling that I might be loud when I come (both because I'm a singer and because I tend to unconsciously moan when I eat good food, and I've been told there's a correlation) and I would be self-conscious about being heard. But then I worry that my fear of being loud would keep me from being able to relax enough to orgasm.

And then, oh gosh, mays well go for it at this point: people describe orgasms as 'toe-curling.' Is this just a figure of speech, or do your toes actually curl? I ask because I have some sort of strange issue with my left toes, where they'll suddenly curl under violently, and it's excruciatingly painful. I have to drop what I'm doing, take off my shoe and brace them against the floor for a minute or so to make the muscles stop spasming. In summary, please tell me it's a figure of speech! Hahaha, this is so bizarre.

Lastly, sexyjess, this line: 'What was different was that I knew.' You understand me. That's all I really want :)

(I think I'll post this before continuing on, or people will get too intimidated by my tomes to read through them. I would, too.)
Posted by VCARD on June 2, 2012 at 9:40 PM · Report this
Wow, the grass really is greener. I live in a state and culture where 26-year-old virgins are no big deal. I feel myself falling in love with a guy whom I know has had no sexual experience whatsoever, and I've felt nervous that my having had sex before will come up, although given the presumption of no-sex-until-marriage, it might never come up.
Posted by DC270 on June 2, 2012 at 9:55 PM · Report this
merchantfan 239
I registered just so I could say something about some of these comments to VCARD. There seems to be a lot of pressure and guilt here on her just for wanting to go to an escort. "Dress up" and "flirt with boys" just don't work that efficiently with some women and I wish people would accept that. Heck, the stigma against women considering paying for sex is probably a reason they don't exist. And she seemed pretty happy with the idea of a professional.

Nobody shames Dan when he suggests going to a professional to men. Why all of this negative energy for a women that just wants a sure thing? Heck, maybe she doesn't even have time for a relationship right now. Internet dating can work, but it's also kind of scary and gross and someone without much sexual experience probably doesn't want to deal with that. Maybe she wants the option to find someone nice (possibly out of her league), not spend forever dressing up, and still get laid. She might even continue visits if she likes it.
Posted by merchantfan on June 2, 2012 at 10:23 PM · Report this
Wait, VCARD -- are you saying you've never had an orgasm? Oy. ("Oy" as in "This changes things," not "Oy, that's terrible." It's actually really common.) That's DEFINITELY something to work on before you get to the partnered sex. Lots of women have partnered sex for years before they get to come. You don't want to be one of them.

I've never experienced anything I would describe as literally toe-curling. Definitely had sensations down as far as the feet, though. I think most women, or maybe most people, start out silent (especially if you grow up sharing a room with a sibling, followed by college roommates) and get louder once they have more privacy.

I have never quite understood how anyone entirely KEEPS from having orgasms for years -- why wouldn't they just show up in your dreams? But I am apparently wired more like a guy (guy-wired?) in that respect, as most women report very different experiences.

@234: thank you for the compliment! Yes, you're quite right, the twit filter thing can go both ways. But someone who'll pay attention to me even when I'm more covered up than the other women around probably does really like the look of ME, in general.
Posted by Eirene on June 2, 2012 at 10:39 PM · Report this
ankylosaur and others - very intriguing thoughts on power balances. The whole instinct vs. intellect discussion is one that I don't think we'll ever satisfactorily figure out.

vennominon - I will take that as a compliment, so thank you! I've actually been reading Dan's column for about 10 years, and I included a little Confidential to Dan in my original letter thanking him for being possibly the biggest sex-positive voice in my upbringing. The thing is that I tend to read multiple columns in bursts, rather than weekly, so by the time I get to a comment thread, it's already kind of died out. But if I can come up with a good screenname (I think I've set the bar quite high with my acronym - am pretty proud of it ;) ) I will definitely consider it.

mydriasis and others, regarding clothes - you'll be pleased to know I actually took some of your advice already last night. I generally feel pretty good about my legs (they're big, but it's all muscle), so I pulled out an old favorite pair of short-shorts that still fit fine, but I just hadn't worn them in ages. Matched them with a boxy shirt and my trusty flip-flops so I didn't feel too extreme all at once. At first I was very self-conscious, but as I realized that a) people weren't giving me weird looks, and b) lots of other girls were wearing short-shorts, and they weren't necessarily that much younger or skinnier than me, I relaxed and started to feel pretty good! Will keep working on it - thanks for the encouragement!

Crinoline - ooh, sorry, really wasn't trying to play the Yes-But game. That's such an easy one to slip into, isn't it? We're all convinced that our problem is so special and unique and no one can possibly understand us! And you've really hit upon a great point. Sitting at home, philosophizing and strategizing is all nice and fine, but it really amounts to nothing if I'm not going out and giving my conclusions a test drive in the real world. If only it were as easy to do that as it is to say that!

vcardstwin, anon, and others - I'm glad to hear from you! I agree, every other person who writes in and mentions that they were/are in a similar boat makes me feel a bit better.

wendykh - I really like the story you shared about your friend. I would be happy to have a similar one! Also really appreciated this line: 'When a woman wants to have sex, and really owns it, she will go make it happen.' I need to work on that.

Marrena - Too funny. Or perhaps I should find out where Obama's Secret Service staff hang. I wouldn't even complain about not getting paid! (Did you read that, Big Brother? I'm expecting my phone to start buzzing in t-minus 12 seconds. I'm sure you have ways of finding out my number.)

IPJ - I will check out Scarleteen, just out of curiosity. I also discovered Betty Dodson (thanks to Dan, as usual), and have enjoyed a lot of the material on there.

Functional Atheist - thanks so much for your post (I know I keep saying that to people, but I mean it - there are a lot of great contributions in this thread). I had been quite curious about the male perspective - I would imagine it's even more difficult for a man to open up to people about being a late bloomer? Or are there fewer male late bloomers? I feel like it would be unhelpful to just go through your letter saying, "I liked this, I liked that, etc., etc.," but suffice it to say that a LOT of what you wrote was good for me to hear. I'm sure you know that. But I do have a question for you: any recommendations on where/how to meet other late-bloomers? I forget if I said this somewhere already, but I'd be very happy to have my first time with another first timer. And how would recommend I have the "So, you a virgin?" conversation? I know there are guys out there who are into the virgin thing and might lie and say they were inexperienced if they thought it would help them out. Being duped is definitely not what I want my first time to be, and I don't have the best bullshit detector. Also, if you don't mind me asking, who was the girl in your situation, and was she also a virgin? Did you try again with her with more success?

Cougarrrr - interesting idea, and not one that had occurred to me! And I kinda like it. I have actually been wanting to go to a strip club for a while (male or female, just for the experience)... this will give me a new reason. So, uh, how does one find out about strip clubs in one's region? No, I swear, I really AM 26, folks!

PenguinGirl - good to know! So, worst case scenario (I lie and say I've had sex, but not too much - which is currently my back up plan) I can just say he must be wayyy bigger than my previous lovers, right? Haha.

Crinoline and boyfriend - Thanks for the laugh! Now then, who has the contact info for some of the sexy priests in Calendario Romano?

Chelydra_serpentina - I did read the whole thing, promise! I actually do own a small silicone dildo and good lube (heard similar advice about starting small... plus, some of those things are giant! Yeesh!) but I need to get more comfortable with using it. I've never experienced actual pain, but it just feels kind of weird. Not good or bad, just... odd. Unusual. I guess that's probably natural, right?. Do you think I am being too nervous mentally to relax and start to feel pleasure?

Another Hesitant One - I agree! Savage Love has expanded the boundaries of my mind far wider than my vagina ever will be.

DC270 - Really? Where do you live? I want to come visit, if only for the novelty of looking around a group of adults and not having to assume I'm the only one there who isn't having sex. Grass is greener, spot on.

merchantfan - I appreciate that. Time is definitely a consideration, because 27 is coming up this summer, and I know it's silly, but there's something about being in my mid-twenties vs. late-twenties that's kind of driving me into a frenzy. (In other areas, too - I'm not in the career field I want to be in, either). The speed of a professional encounter is a big part of the appeal for me.
Posted by VCARD on June 2, 2012 at 11:18 PM · Report this
Azul 242
I'm late to this thread, but it looks like people are still posting -- and VCARD, you sound like an interesting and intelligent person. I have so much I want to say to you! I’ll break it up into a couple comments.

Firstly, I wanted to offer a different point of view from Eirene @ 240; I am one of those women who didn't have orgasms for years of partnered sex. This wasn't because I was having bad sex (it was actually really good) or because I was inhibited -- I just had to learn how to use my brain in the right way (I'm sure this won't make much sense to people who orgasm easily). Personally, it is much harder for me to orgasm by myself than it is to do so with a partner -- alone, I have to be aware enough to keep my hand moving, whereas with a partner I can completely relax and sort of slip into another state of mind, which is necessary for me to orgasm (it took me lots of years of great sex to learn to let my mind do that!). After a couple years of orgasming with a partner, I was finally able to do it alone, although my orgasms alone are rarely very satisfying.

For many people, sex does not have to involve orgasms for it to be pleasurable. In fact, I've had *amazing* sex that didn't involve orgasms. I just wanted to mention this in case you are one of these people who can enjoy sex without orgasm -- you shouldn't feel inadequate or defective if you don't orgasm (I felt that way when I first realized I was supposed to be having orgasms with sex, and I wasn't).

Not sure about the toe-curling analogy... I've never noticed my toes curling, but I'm in another world when I come, I'm not sure I'd notice...
Posted by Azul on June 3, 2012 at 12:36 AM · Report this
Azul 243
Wrote this before I saw your latest post, but:
On style -- I haven't read most people's comments cause there are just too many, but I like what nocutename said @192. I'd also like to suggest another approach -- instead of going from polar fleece one day to heels and short skirts the next, why not try a gradual approach that you feel more comfortable with. Start with a daytime look of fitted business casual clothes, cute flats, mascara and lip gloss. After a month or two of that, add a natural looking (you know, brown if you're fair, black if you're darker), thin line of eyeliner just above your lashline, and either small heels or a slightly lower neckline... I think if you go in small steps, your friends and coworkers may be less shocked by the change and react more positively, and be more likely to boost your self esteem rather than make you feel uncomfortable.
Posted by Azul on June 3, 2012 at 12:40 AM · Report this
Azul 244
Last comment, on attitude and confidence:
When I was 17, I moved from a small New England town to NYC to start college. It was a huge culture shock for me; I arrived as the sweet and innocent virgin girl. I also got a lot of attention from creeps on the streets and in clubs... I think there was maybe a learning period for me in which I tested out how assertive I had to be to keep these guys away -- sometimes I'd error on too nice and an insensitive guy wouldn't get the message, and sometimes I'd be too mean and see that I'd hurt a well-intentioned guys feelings. Telling someone to leave you alone is hard at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets -- and it will help your confidence grow. Feeling confident and sexy and in charge of your self and your dating life is the best way to raise your nice-guy-to-creep ratio. Try to adopt the attitude that men would be lucky to be with you -- even if you don't believe it, act that way... but with a smile and a sideways glance. Confidence and playfulness are hugely sexy. Think of someone you know whose attitude towards men in clubs you admire -- someone confident, flirty, and sexy -- and imagine you are that person the next time you go out. Practice makes perfect! And a glass of wine of two doesn’t hurt either :)
Posted by Azul on June 3, 2012 at 12:48 AM · Report this
Azul 245
Ok, I guess my comment @ 243 was pretty much what mydriasis said @ 181... in reading through a few more comments I see there is lots of good advice!
Posted by Azul on June 3, 2012 at 1:10 AM · Report this
Sorry, Dan, I have to take points for your answer to the would-be male escort.

Women DO pay for sex. Not many (some studies suggest about 0.5% of women versus 13% of men), but they do. There is a cloistered but present body of discussion between women online looking for male workers. They usually do not want a sex worker who markets himself as a for-males sex worker; a worker willing to see both should have a separate website for each. By basically telling this guy there is no market, you've ensured there are STILL not enough escorts for those women who do hire them.

The fact that women - usually - can get it for free is beside the point. Women have all sorts of reasons for wanting to avoid the potential complications of a "free" encounter, including personal safety and discretion (especially if married).

My husband has almost zero interest in sex; once a month is about all he can manage, and even then he needs to work up to it psychologically for about a week (well after my most "interested" period has subsided). For my part, I'd have it twice a day if I could. Other aspects of the marriage are good enough that I wouldn't leave it, and we have children. Believe me, the sex-starved male is not the only variation on that theme.
Posted by deedeedee on June 3, 2012 at 1:24 AM · Report this
Re 240:
There are women who never have orgasms, but still love sex and have a great time. There are women for whom they're a small thing. ("Like a sneeze" was one memorable comparison.) There are women for whom they finally happen after years of sex, and that's not a tragedy, it's just the way their bodies and minds worked. "Relax HARDER" wasn't going to make it happen on an earlier schedule.

Nor is climaxing in dreams something everyone does. (In my case, I have to be pregnant.)
Posted by IPJ on June 3, 2012 at 5:17 AM · Report this
246, a "cloistered online discussion between women looking for online male sex workers" is really far from a "thriving business community of male sex workers with female clients."
Posted by IPJ on June 3, 2012 at 5:20 AM · Report this
mydriasis 249
@ cute

"Mydriasis, you don't just say you aren't interested in middle-aged men; you've repeatedly written versions of (I paraphrase) 'middle-aged men have nothing to offer but money,' which I think has a scornful ring to it."

I'm sorry, but I believe this is simply untrue. There was ONE time I commented that money was a significant motivator for young women to date older men (if not explicitly, then subtly. whenever older men hit on younger women online they almost universally cite how 'classy' older men are as compared to younger men).

If I remember correctly, you took this to mean that I was saying 'older men have nothing to offer but money' and then again, this was several weeks ago so I'm working from memory, I said that I felt that in my case with my preferences and needs:

a. older men offer me nothing younger men don't
b. older men lack things that younger men DO offer me

which is why I have no interest in older men. Personally. The points that I've brought up repeatedly are not about money, they're about biology.

Recently, a guy in his mid-70s came on to me really blatantly, and I confess that I had a response similar to yours.

So you do at least understand where I'm coming from! Haha

Honestly, yes, I'll admit that sometimes when especially undesirable people hit on me I do take it a bit as an insult - and I can't really help that, all I can do is try not to express that to the person hitting on me. But it's never because I'm thinking 'you have nothing to offer but money' although sometimes I think: 'what, do you think I'm a hooker or something?'. But look, I get a bizarre amount of attention from men in middle age and always have and I'm honestly fucking exhausted by it at this point in my life. A decade may not seem like much to you but that's nearly half my life. When I was in highschool I was more likely to be hit on by a teacher than a student at school, for example. I've always looked young for my age and still do so I think I must give off some sort of lolita vibe.

ANYWAY to be clear, I don't think that middle-aged people have 'nothing to offer but money' and if I gave that impression I was miscommunicating and I apologize.

One other fun fact though - I certainly have nothing against middle-aged women. I don't deal with many in my life, though.
Posted by mydriasis on June 3, 2012 at 7:34 AM · Report this
mydriasis 250

If mydriasis is still around, I would love to hear her thoughts on how to develop said "don't fuck with me" attitude.

I wish I knew! But I'll try.

First off, I'd say that having a friend who's able to step in can be a great help during the time you're still having trouble. One time I was sitting at the bar with a coworker and this guy came over and was talking to her. She wanted nothing of it and was trying really nicely to tell him she wasn't interested and hint that she wanted to just hang out with her friends. He was basically ignoring that and forging forward. I was just about to say something to him when one of our kitchen girls stepped in and said "excuse me, but I think it's time for you to leave her alone now. She's asked you nicely, and now it's time for you to go." He was sort of stunned, and tried to say "oh well, I was just trying to -" "that's fine. But now it's time for you to move along, go back to your friends." He did. And my friend thanked her.

And if she hadn't been there, I would have done the same thing... but probably much bitchier.

If you know someone who can do this if needed, that's who you want to be going out with.

In terms of the don't-fuck-with-me attitude. I do have some people try to fuck with me, still, but they usually don't get too far. I wish I knew what it is but I think it's too subtle to be taught. The best advice I can give is to learn to be firm with people, do not be afraid to honour your feelings and if they continue to push after a certain point they have thrown politeness out of the window, and you should as well. Most predatory/pushy guys operate under the idea that no matter what they do, you will still try to play nice. Don't. Maybe through being assertive and having those experiences you will start to give off a different vibe. If not, at least you will have a way to deal with the people that do try to get pushy with you.

Finally, this is something small I do, but it's a reflex so I don't know if you can intentionally do this. For me, it's largely about eye-communication. I told my friend once that when guys on the street or in clubs hit on me (and I'm not interested), I respond in the same way, I'll smile (I'll even respond politely, where appropriate) but my eyes will say "I'm being polite to you because I'm a nice person but don't fuck with me". I don't really know how to coach that but you can give it a try.

Anyway it sounds to me like your instincts are probably just fine (despite your parents, holy moley!). Maybe next time a guy is staring you down from the other end of the room, try giving a 'don't come over here' look and see if it works. Eye contact and body language can say a lot.
Posted by mydriasis on June 3, 2012 at 7:51 AM · Report this
mydriasis 251

Actually to be clear, the reason people suggested dressing differently (if you read carefully through the comments) is because she made a comment about how she didn't find herself especially attractive. Feeling more attractive is a positive thing that affects your sex life whether it's paid sex or not.

If she wants to go to an escort for her first time or regularly, more power to her. That's absolutely fine in my books and I'm not judging that whatsoever. But she may want to also have sex with someone who isn't an escort at some point, and feeling confident will help that.
Posted by mydriasis on June 3, 2012 at 7:57 AM · Report this
Following up on the good advice in 250--

When there's a disconnect between the words spoken and the body language/tone, most people will hear the latter. So in the example of the woman trying to tell a man nicely that she doesn't want to talk to him, all he hears is the nice tone. He hears "she's talking to me!" so he doesn't leave. The fact that her words said "go away" is irrelevant.

For this reason, many women say that martial arts training or other self-defense workshops work wonders. It's not that they end up getting into fights. It's that they've learned the right postures and the right ways to tense here and relax there, a sort of aware body posture that makes their body language in sync with their words.
Posted by Crinoline on June 3, 2012 at 8:19 AM · Report this
@237: If your roommates a) know your situation and b) are having noisy sex themselves, they will probably give you a standing ovation when you come out of your bedroom. No, not literally, but they will be totally supportive of you. At very least they have no leg to stand on regarding noise complaints. So go ahead and let loose with your breathing (and vocalizations, if they happen), it makes the orgasm a LOT better when you don't hold back.
Posted by avast2006 on June 3, 2012 at 9:47 AM · Report this
nocutename 254
VCARD, My toes curl in orgasm. But not painfully. I've had toe cramps and the orgasm-toe-curl is nothing like cramps or charley horses.

It's not unusual for you to not have orgasmed at 26. But I'm wondering if you masturbate at all. (You don't need to answer this, as it sounds very prying, and I'm not trying to pry, just make an observation.) Another Hesitant One would also appear to not masturbate.

The thing is, conflating PIV sex and orgasms is a bad idea. You may have an orgasm during it, but it's by no means a guarantee. I think expecting men to "give" you an orgasm is a wrong expectation and attitude (and I hate that phrase much more than I do "lose your virginity"). One needs to be responsible for one's own orgasm, and know what gets her there. To that end, experiment and masturbate.

I'm sure you've heard the cliche "the brain is the biggest sex organ." Well, it's true: orgasms are largely mental--that is, many people have to have the "right" thoughts going on to come (coupled, obviously, with direct, focused genital stimulaton). But what are your right thoughts? If you've never orgasmed, you may not have found them yet. So work on that. I hesitate to suggest porn (though I'm sure to hear from a bunch of porn-loving women now), because a lot of women don't find it particularly arousing (I happen to find most of it off-putting). But you might want to try it. Or erotica. A lot of women find it helpful.

I think you should let your mind wander to the idea or image that most excites and titillates you, even--or *especially*--if that thought seems wrong or shameful or embarrassing. Then push and develop that thought while you masturbate. If you've tried that and it hasn't worked, I'd suggest different kinds of vibrators, recognizing that different people need or prefer different kinds of stimulation. So if one kind of vibrator (say, the Hitatchi Magic Wand) doesn't do it for you, try another kind all together.

You don't need to have had orgasms on your own before hoping to have them during partnered sex. And once you have partnered sex, don't stop masturbating, even if you have a regular partner with whom you have ongoing sex. (Unless you are having sex three times a day, every day and orgasming every single time with your partner.)

Sorry if you're already doing all this, and I'm being redundant. And if I'm coming off condescending, I apologize. It's not my intention. I may have mis-read.
Posted by nocutename on June 3, 2012 at 10:08 AM · Report this
@218: You are very sensible regarding attraction as one ages. Your description meshes reasonably well with my own internal experience. I was once 22. I was painfully shy at the time, and considered pretty much everyone "out of my league at the time (though years later I am informed by various sources that many of the young women in my social circle thought I was the most eligible of all the young men -- oh the irony!) It took me well over a decade and getting married to get a truer gauge of my attractiveness (including having to fend off advances by one or two women who really should have known better), and now, approaching 50, feel more attractive than ever.

Now, I am not only aged out of the younger leagues, but also happily married for 21 years, so the whole question is moot. Bottom line, however: you don't magically lose attraction for people as you age out of their category. (I remember discussions here within the last year or so where someone described a 40 year old being attracted to an 18 year old as pedophilia. That is offensive to everybody. It makes a predator of the man, and it makes a child of the woman. Either 18-year-olds are adults or they aren't; there is no middle ground.) I agree that it is usually sensible to keep it to yourself, in that the whole "you're young enough to be my daughter" thing can feel a bit uncomfortable on either side -- but the reality is, you AREN'T my daughter and you AREN'T a child.

@249: Remove the two words "besides money" from the description of the internal reaction, and consider again. "The nerve! Like what could he possibly offer? How presumptuous of him to think I would ever be interested in a middle-aged man?" To consider it an insult that he would dare to find you attractive, money or not, still comes across as rather high-handed. Apparently older men should know their place.

Perhaps one should carefully reconsider which choice truly constitutes an insult, when the choices are "I find you attractive" and "What temerity, you presumptuous, revolting old person."
Posted by avast2006 on June 3, 2012 at 10:24 AM · Report this
@VCard via 254, nocutename:
I agree that masturbating is important. However, you don't necessarily need a vibrator at all. Why not start with your fingers to really touch and feel yourself? If you then realise that you need stronger stimulation you can test all the different vibrators.
In some ways, masturbating with a vibrator as a woman might be similar to the death-grip for men: you condition yourself to needing a very strong stimulation. Also, experiment with different positions and different kinds of touches when you masturbate.

I usually take it as a compliment when someone hits on me. I am not attracted to men very far from my own age (apart from viewing them as eye candy). Even in highschool when the girls of my year wanted to go out with older boys I didn't see the appeal. However, this whole concept of "man must be older, woman younger", usually supported by some pseudo-scientific argument of boys slower maturing, or something similar, got pushed at me so often that I am really fed up with it, and I sometimes over-react.
It's not that I don't think that older men and younger women can't be or shouldn't be attracted to each other. It's rather that for *myself* I find it gross.
Posted by migrationist on June 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
mydriasis 257

You might not find the distinction between attraction and expressing that attraction to be relevent but I certainly do. I'm not offended if someone finds me attractive, but I do (illogically) sometimes find it offensive if they think I'll go for it. I do also find that it has a sliver of creepiness (you're young enough to be my daughter) especially because I do look quite young. I have literally had a man tell me I looked 'just like [his] daughter' and I can tell you that it did wig me out.

As I said, I know that it's not fair, but we can't control the emotions we feel when someone treats us a certain way, the best we can do is respond politely in spite of those emotions. And I do.
Posted by mydriasis on June 3, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
mydriasis 258
@migrationist (re:vibrators)

Here, here!
I've never used or needed a vibrator and though lots of women love them and swear by them, they are by no means a universal necessity in order to masturbate.
Posted by mydriasis on June 3, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
For me, vibrators work, kind of, but I don't like them. The buzzing noise is the least sexy thing ever; makes me feel as if I were at the dentist. (Incidentally, you can't hear most of them from a little distance. Set one going under your covers and stand outside the door of your room -- it's really unlikely you'll be able to hear it.)

But the stories I've heard of women like VCARD orgasming for the first time in their 20s have all, or almost all, involved vibrators. Whether that's due to their ubiquity, or due to vibrators being a really good tool for people with that sort of sexual response, or both, I don't know. I would think it would be one more thing about which to say "Try this, but don't worry if it doesn't work for you: it's not a universal panacea."

VCARD, I would like to mention that you have already done things that I would have found quite overwhelming, so it's clear you've got guts. Just because some other things were easy for me but not you doesn't mean you are more messed up than I was. Different circumstances.

I wouldn't say orgasms are the be-all and end-all of sex necessarily, either, but that's when I have a CHOICE which way to go. (And actually I might well feel pretty odd about sex where my partner didn't come -- the vicarious enjoyment of my partner's orgasm is usually what makes it up to me that I didn't come.) Seems to me the vast majority of women I hear about who don't get orgasms from partnered sex are not having great sex all the same. Sure, it happens, but I don't think that's the way to bet.

I have to admit that I can't personally imagine what it must be like to go through adolescence with a high libido and without any sexual relief. It boggles my mind. But people are very, very different (yeah, profound of me, I know :-) ).
Posted by Eirene on June 3, 2012 at 12:57 PM · Report this
A suggestion for avoiding some creeps, based on personal experience -

In my early twenties, I was traveling around Europe alone. Early in the trip, I had a scary experience of a guy trying to follow me at night, which put me on the alert. Unfortunately, my resulting behavior was exactly the wrong thing. I'd scan for potentially problematic guys, eg on the subway. After accidentally making eye contact with one, I'd then nervously keep checking back to see if they were still there. Unfortunately, this looked like encouragement.

What you want to do is avoid eye contact, in fact avoid looking like you register that these men exist at all. This means curb your people watching!

Of course, if they do approach you, like others mentioned above, a direct, firm, confident, and non-smiling response is best. Followed by enlisting the help of others if they don't go away.

Other than that, I'll add that I was 26 when I first had sex, so again, you're hardly alone.
Posted by lmr on June 3, 2012 at 2:00 PM · Report this
nocutename 261
@260: I did exactly the same thing, and learned exactly the same lesson.

Regarding using vibrators vs. manual masturbation: I didn't mean that someone who doesn't masturbate skip over the hand and go straight to the vibe. By all means, try using your fingers first. It's also a good idea to be comfortable touching your genitals, and knowing what's down there and where it all is (a problem men don't have!).

I'm just applying my own experience. I need more stimulation than a human body can produce in terms of rpm. But when I first explored vibrators, they didn't seem to do it for me, either, until I discovered that a different style of vibrator (unfortunately not at all discreet or able to pass itself off as something non-sexual) was the ticket. It's the sexual version of "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
Posted by nocutename on June 3, 2012 at 2:29 PM · Report this

I know I'm new to this discussion, but a lot of what you said rang true with my life and I wanted to chime in. I was a lot like you at one point (lost my virginity long after all my friends, came from a naive and sheltered background, got a lot of creepy male attention due to looking very young) and I am now happily married, have a great sex life, and know how to get even the creepiest men to leave me alone. I just wanted to tell you not to get discouraged or depressed, or to compare yourself to anyone around you.

Also I wanted to mention the "fuck off" attitude since it took me a LONG time to figure that out. Only after living in foreign cultures where men constantly harassed me did I learn the stuff I know now. Just a few tips:
Posted by the_spiral on June 3, 2012 at 2:42 PM · Report this
nocutename 263
Hey, the spiral, the "tips" aren't there!
Posted by nocutename on June 3, 2012 at 4:08 PM · Report this
Chelydra_serpentina 264
VCARD @241 - I don't know how small your small dildo is, so it's tough to judge. It sounds like it might be a good starting size. If you go to a good sex shop and tell them you're looking for something that's a more realistic size, but not porn star scary huge, they'll be able to help you.

If you're embarrassed to tell the sex shop person you're a virgin, I always found the phrase "I don't have a whole lot of experience" to be a good cover. It's not a lie, and it lets them know what your needs are. ;-) If you're not embarrassed to tell them, go for it.

And not feeling pleasure with a dildo inside you may not have anything to do with how nervous you are. The pleasurable sensations usually come from stimulating the clit, not the vagina. Except for the g-spot (I've yet to find mine), there really isn't much feeling in there at all. I love those "rabbit ear" vibrators, because you get clitoral and vaginal action in one nice, ahem, package.

I want to clarify - the toes question leads me to believe you haven't experienced an orgasm before. Is that correct? If physical stimulation alone isn't getting you there, I'd suggest reading some erotica. I had my first orgasm at age 19, reading Nancy Friday's Women on Top. But that was pre-internet. Read, enjoy, read some more, get nice and worked up, then touch.

I have to say I admire you for the club and bar visits. I hate loud, crowded places. Plus, I have to get to know someone pretty well before I'm at ease (even when I'm making women friends). If a guy who chatted me up at a bar asked for my phone number, I'd think, "What the hell is wrong with this guy, he doesn't even know me! Go away creepy person!"

And yes, this is the reason I have a terrible time meeting guys and had my first kiss at twenty-(embarrassingly high number) years old. The guy was a set-up by a mutual friend, so he was kind of pre-vetted for me.
Posted by Chelydra_serpentina on June 3, 2012 at 6:32 PM · Report this
I shall interrupt this interesting discussion with Ms Card for the most heterocentric thing I am likely to say all year:

Richard Dawson has died.

Had I not quoted Brett Somers so recently here - I think either in this very thread or one quite like it - it wouldn't have struck me so forcibly.

I could be fair and balanced and mention how many of the posts in this thread lately remind me of Broadway Damage, but I won't.
Posted by vennominon on June 3, 2012 at 7:20 PM · Report this
Oh, I was never able to do that kind of bar socializing. I don't think I even have any friends who ever did. I've gone drinking with friends or relatives (socializing only with each other, not with the intention of picking anyone up), or with established boyfriends, or (later in life) on my own purely for a drink, but never, ever have I met a new guy at a bar. I think there's a whole swath of people for whom that behavior is kind of mythical. (Not saying it doesn't happen, or that it's a bad thing when it does, at all -- it's just not the norm for everyone.)
Posted by Eirene on June 3, 2012 at 7:48 PM · Report this
nocutename 267
Richard Dawson! Remember Match Game? Although really, that show belonged to Charles Nelson Riley.

But my mom quite loved him kissing everyone on Family Feud. My childhood is becoming extinct.

Survey says, Rest in Peace, Richard Dawson.
Posted by nocutename on June 3, 2012 at 8:16 PM · Report this

I'm rarely moved to comment, but I just had to ask for clarification about this:

"I am offended when someone mistakes me for straight"

Do you mean when someone assumes that you're straight and behaves boorishly, in a way they might not if they knew you were gay? That's offensive as hell, but I can't see how the offensive part is the assumption that you're straight. To me, the insult would be the assumption that you're okay with hate speech or bigotry.

Other than that, I have no idea how one even goes about "mistaking" someone for straight/gay/bi/poly/whatever in an offensive way. In the last twenty years, I've been assumed to be (going by remarks and actions) straight, lesbian, bi, poly AND (in my early twenties at softball practice) mistaken for a teenaged boy. If the situation called for my correcting the error, I did. If not, I didn't.

Now, if someone, anyone, pursues you sexually after you've made it clear that you're not interested? That's offensive - but it's certainly not due to an honest mistake.
Posted by monkeywhoforgotherpassword on June 3, 2012 at 10:21 PM · Report this
As a young woman I was concerned about the same thing as EAT now is. It was unimaginable that anyone would willingly stick his tongue between my legs and actually enjoy doing it. Now, of course, I know better. Most men do love eating pussy and some of the ones that don't love it will be so turned on by their partner enjoying it that they learn to like it. By the same token I didn't really like giving head at her age, but watching my partner get so aroused caused me to feel the same and in time I learned to love going down on a man.
Posted by susanmarysunshine on June 4, 2012 at 3:33 AM · Report this
@VCARD: being with a partner, coming with a partner, coming noisily with a partner - you're ambitious. Slow down, girl. :) In my experience - let me reiterate: in MY experience - 1) I am able, with a couple of extremely memorable exceptions, to monitor my own noise level; and 2) I can do so without any interference in ecstasy (and in fact the feeling of holding back kind of intensifies the experience I'm having). Please know that every single person will have a different experience, and I'm sure twelve people are already quivering with impatience to contradict me. That's fine. But if you're worried about noise, don't. I also reiterate whoever's comment above, that if your roommates have noisy sex, they are likely to give you a standing...ahem...O. :) People having good sex are generally wonderfully generous about other people having good sex.

I mean all of that. And you know what? I think if your worry can shift from whether you're having sex to how loud you're going to be when (NOT IF) you are...I applaud and encourage that shift. :) Do be careful not to get ahead of yourself, though. Let yourself clear some of your self-imposed hurdles, and then feel good about having done so! And _then_ look for new opportunities to grow.

Toe-curling: I like that you brought this up. For me, and see above Orgasms are toe-curlingly good, but they don't physically do so. Having said that - there are a couple of positions I get in where they DO curl, by which I mean cramp. But that has less to do with pleasure than that I'm focusing on the experience of one body part at the expense of another. It's an easy correction. And the few times I've had to pause activities to work out a cramp, my partner has been unquestioningly understandable and patient, so no worries about this happening "during".

I understand your reticence in bringing up something that's not a part of usual sex conversations ("who talks about the literal-figurative spectrum of toe curl???"), and your last comment was that it was 'bizarre' to have brought it up. I gently encourage you, VCARD, to shake everything about sex and your body loose from a value judgment. What I mean is--nothing related to either topic is "bizarre", or "bad", or "weird". There will be things that you do like and things that you emphatically don't, but that's way different; it implies a personal relationship with information rather than a broad indictment. Right now, you may or may not be sure about where you stand on things you might think are weird like toe-sucking, nipple squeezing, sitting on your partner's face; but let that be okay. You might not know your opinion about Ethiopian food either, but you'd never call it bizarre or criticize yourself for eating it in advance of actually doing so. Awkwardness about sex is a purely social imposition. It has been inflicted upon you by every divergence, small and large, between your own still small voice and the opinions of everything and everyone around you. The media. Your parents. Your friends. Those horrible men. Don't let those divergences register internally, _even in joking_, as judgments on yourself. Toe-curling is an AWESOME thing to be thinking about! ALL parts of your body are on the table in terms of intellectual and physical curiosity - nothing, but nothing is more natural than sex; and we as humans are uniquely prepared to be infinitely entertained by all our bits and pieces. You may discover a heretofore unknown elbow-licking fetish, which would be tough to take seriously because elbow is such a funny word. But hey, if it does it for you, it's legitimate! And, looking a little ahead, the less judgment and more frank evaluation you can do about the things you're doing and that are happening for you, the easier you will find it to orgasm. Nothing gets in your way nearly so much as, you know, you.

Short version for that long-winded paragraph: examine your language for clues to stumbling blocks between your mind and your body. I would argue that clearing that path will address a lot of the uncertainty you have about admitting someone to physical intimacy with you.

The roared response to your post has been overwhelming, and I'm just a bystander; I hope you have an even more positive outlook on your prospects than you did before you wrote Dan. The next question is, what's next? :) Be fearless about getting yours. DO take the next step. As you can see, you have an enthusiastic and approbatory peanut gallery. I know you're not interested in programming a "perfect PIV First Time"; but don't make all the decisions in advance. How much experience he's had, how long you'll talk before, how you'll interact after. Things like that are nothing but analysis paralysis. Nike had it right. Just do it. :) Then you'll have the fantastically fun task of figuring out how to do it even better.
Posted by sexyjess on June 4, 2012 at 6:28 AM · Report this
mydriasis 271
* Also VCARD

I've never been one for the bar/club scene so much but where I come from, clubs tend to bring out sleazier guys. Bars tend to have a better crowd.

I avoid both because I work in the industry and the last thing I want to do on my precious day off is go to another loud, crowded room with a bunch of drunk people.
Posted by mydriasis on June 4, 2012 at 6:28 AM · Report this
mydriasis 272

jess, lovely post and I fully agree with you.
which is why I'll contradict you :)

The great thing about your post is that it reminds VCARD that if her first time having sex isn't pleasurable, doesn't make her orgasm, or doesn't make her shake the walls then there isn't anything wrong with her and she can still go on to have those things, maybe gradually.

But I'm also going to point out that there is also the possibility that things might go the way she hopes.

I was around 'average' age when I first had sex (16). The guy was a really great pick who I had other sexual interactions with (and that continued to be how I vetted who I would have PIV with) with great results (very toe curling). Now, I had to hold back on making a lot of noise because (oh nostalgia) his parents were home, but some of the noisiest sex I ever had was with that same guy. Most embarassing thing ever because I thought none of my roommates were home. Turns out all of them had come home during the time we were at it and one of my roommate's mothers even dropped by. I'm sure the neighbours got an earful too.

So. Embarassing.
But entirely worth it.
Posted by mydriasis on June 4, 2012 at 6:47 AM · Report this
VCARD -- As a former bar owner I can assure you that all you have to do is find a watering hole that you like and sit there drinking for awhile. You will find a man who will have sex with you soon enough. Probably more than one so you can pick the person you find most amusing, attractive, sane-seeming etc. You don't have to be outgoing, charming, lovely, etc you only need to have a pussy.

#204 Appreciate your recommendation of craigslist combined with the photo of Charlie Manson creeperific!
Posted by EastCoastDude on June 4, 2012 at 7:31 AM · Report this
Ms Monkey - To say I feel offended would be more accurate than to say I take offence. The reason is usually highly unflattering. Because it's only too clear that I'm not on the chart for "straight" attractive, anyone who thinks I look straight generally lets slip the attitude that I'm not good-looking enough to be gay. (I've been told that in almost those exact words.) I also place a distinction between assumed and mistaken - running into a default assumption is too common for serious annoyance, but whenever there's a specific reason it's (almost) always unflattering. Your phrasing of the situation is perhaps more accurate, but I'll live with any misunderstanding I might cause.

Thankfully (ugly privilege, yay!) I've almost forgotten what unwanted sexual interest is like, but recall it as being of the disrespectful variety (the Cure Attitude, mostly).
Posted by vennominon on June 4, 2012 at 8:03 AM · Report this
mydriasis 275
Re: ven's "ugly privilege" comment.

Whenever a person describes themselves, even in passing, I always get very curious as to what they actually look like. Half the time I can't even keep poster's genders straight, let alone get a mental image of what they look like. It's not that it matters, I just wonder.
Posted by mydriasis on June 4, 2012 at 8:39 AM · Report this
Why in the world would VCARD want to hire a gay or bisexual escort? Just go on craigslist and see what you can find a 100% straight amateur gigolo wannabe or just a horny guy who wants to take an average looking girl's cherry. If she's really that desperate.
But how hard can it possibly be for a woman to get laid? My take is that she is being WAY too picky or negative or something.
As for STUD, I doubt there is such a thing as a career in escorting women for straight guys. But I have met a few young guys (early 20s) who were into older women (40's and 50's). And part of their thing with older women was they expected nice gifts from their ladies (who were often married women). Maybe they have mommy issues. Maybe they just hate the usual M/F sexual dynamic of the guy always having to chase after any girl, like a male pigeon. Sometimes guys want to be the persued rather than the persuer. I don't know where or how they would find their cougars, but apparently if that's what you like, you will find it/it will find you, and you might get a nice watch or nice clothes in the bargain. But you'll still be waiting tables and living with roommates at the end of the month.
Posted by jussmbdy on June 4, 2012 at 9:09 AM · Report this
nocutename 277
Mr. Ven,
A little self-deprecation is one thing, but I don't even understand this.
You aren't attractive enough to appear straight, but you're too ugly to appear gay?

I have a hunch that you're not movie-star handsome, like the vast majority of us. And while my gaydar isn't all that good, I never thought that I could assess a person's orientation by how beautiful he or she is.
Posted by nocutename on June 4, 2012 at 9:14 AM · Report this
mydriasis 278

I think he's saying that people assume he's straight because they don't think he's attractive enough to be gay.

I assume he's exaggerating too, but I don't know.
Posted by mydriasis on June 4, 2012 at 9:40 AM · Report this
I have to say that Dominick speaks from a place of just his life and the understanding of just that. Because he doesn't speak for a world that does exists where straight men are paid by very rich and powerful women for way more than a few hundred bucks. Sounds like Dominick just wasn't invited to the party. I myself know of a few high priced gigolos who to this day are on speed dial for socialites, heiress and women whom are the heads of fortune 500 companies, politicians as well as the principal of your child's school. In reference to the HBO show HUNG, it of course was cancelled. Because just like this article it pretended to be based on facts. Not sure about this gay sites. That there says it all. Why would anyone with class go to anything .com for hired companionship. My guess is all their doing is having sex for pennies with the same clients that Dominick saw. My advice to you is if you have what it takes to be a high priced gigolo, go to Vegas (hint*hint) and that world will find you, no need to look for it....
Posted by Ormondo12in on June 4, 2012 at 10:49 AM · Report this
I have to say that Dominick speaks from a place of just his life and the understanding of just that. Because he doesn't speak for a world that does exists where straight men are paid by very rich and powerful women for way more than a few hundred bucks. Sounds like Dominick just wasn't invited to the party. I myself know of a few high priced gigolos who to this day are on speed dial for socialites, heiress and women whom are the heads of fortune 500 companies, politicians as well as the principal of your child's school. In reference to the HBO show HUNG, it of course was cancelled. Because it pretended to be based on facts. Not sure about this gay sites. That there says it all. Why would anyone with class go to anything .com for hired companionship. My guess is all their doing is having sex for pennies with the same clients that Dominick saw. My advice to you is if you have what it takes to be a high priced gigolo, go to Vegas (hint*hint) and that world will find you, no need to look for it....
Posted by Ormondo12in on June 4, 2012 at 10:58 AM · Report this
askDominick 281
@ Ormondo12in
Hello friend, I will say that I submitted a much more detailed response to the good folks at Savage Love- and it was edited for brevity and focus. Here's some of what didn't get published:

Although there are some trend stories out there about busy professional women hiring non-sexual male escorts for social occasions, I wouldn’t expect this to be your primary income. Most male escorts available for such describe themselves as moonlighting professionals. There are certainly some men who book occasional ‘paid dates’ with women, between gigs as actors, models, strippers, personal trainers, bodyguards, limo drivers, massage therapists, etc. There are certainly some men who indirectly profit from their relationships with wealthy women as “walkers”, i.e. discreet, socially presentable ‘plus ones’ for important functions such as charity balls. (I met a few such men in New York in the late Eighties, while accompanying my sugar daddy to various social functions). But it’s unlikely that you’ll earn a living, either as a non-sexual companion or as a gigolo; the occasional booking is the most you can realistically expect.
Posted by askDominick on June 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
askDominick 282
@ Ormondo12in
Hello friend, I will say that I submitted a much more detailed response to the good folks at Savage Love- and it was edited for brevity and focus. Here's some of what didn't get published:

Although there are some trend stories out there about busy professional women hiring non-sexual male escorts for social occasions, I wouldn’t expect this to be your primary income. Most male escorts available for such describe themselves as moonlighting professionals. There are certainly some men who book occasional ‘paid dates’ with women, between gigs as actors, models, strippers, personal trainers, bodyguards, limo drivers, massage therapists, etc. There are certainly some men who indirectly profit from their relationships with wealthy women as “walkers”, i.e. discreet, socially presentable ‘plus ones’ for important functions such as charity balls. (I met a few such men in New York in the late Eighties, while accompanying my sugar daddy to various social functions). But it’s unlikely that you’ll earn a living, either as a non-sexual companion or as a gigolo; the occasional booking is the most you can realistically expect.

So yea, I was invited to the party, and I did very nicely for myself, thank you very much :)
Posted by askDominick on June 4, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
askDominick 283
@ Ormondo12in: Oh and one more thing: I find it comical that you offer up Las Vegas as a place to find a gigolo scene "with class"- ha! Las Vegas, where class goes to die.
Posted by askDominick on June 4, 2012 at 1:15 PM · Report this
mydriasis 284

My thoughts exactly
Posted by mydriasis on June 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Mesdames Cute/Driasis - Sorry I was so fuzzy. To the sort of person who thinks that straight good-looking and gay good-looking are different, I'm not anywhere near in the running for straight good-looking and I fail at gay good-looking. I have been told I'm not good-looking enough to be gay more than once.

As for Ms Driasis' speculation, "ugly privilege" might be overstating it a bit, but, as my only really good feature - good legs - generally goes unseen, I have low expectations. Back when I had good hair as well, I reminded some people of John Lennon without particularly resembling him, just seeming that type.
Posted by vennominon on June 4, 2012 at 3:30 PM · Report this
mydriasis 286

I actually wasn't aware they were different, maybe that's because of where I live?

I am going to picture you as John Lennon from now on!

I picture Erica as something like an older, slightly slimmer version of the friend she reminds me of. I picture ankylosaur as an older, more bookish version of a guitar teacher I had in highschool (who was also from South America). Most people I can't even remember what their gender or age range is until they remind me. If I'm remembering correctly both Crinoline and nocutename are in middle-age and are women? But I don't have a clear picture of what I'm imagining.

I wonder what place-holder people have in their head of me. I've had several posters address me as if I were male, so who knows.
Posted by mydriasis on June 4, 2012 at 5:18 PM · Report this
@283 Say whatever you want, Las Vegas has heart and people willing to go down to the pits of hell for her. I wouldn't be surprised to hear you never made it past the Strip or Fremont. I can assure you there's a wealth of dedicated (if not very well coordinated) groups and individuals working feverishly to make Las Vegas the art and culture capital of the Southwest, if not the entire Western States.
Posted by mygash on June 4, 2012 at 11:42 PM · Report this
@ 263 - Ok, here are the tips for VCARD (as per my promise in 262)! They might be overly obvious to people who can adopt the "fuck off" attitude naturally, but I really needed time to figure them out myself:

First, you have to differentiate between nice but socially awkward guys, and threatening creeps. If a guy touches you at any time in a sexual way without permission (i.e. grinding, groping) or attempts to follow you anywhere, he's a CREEP. Skip #1-3, and go straight to #4 with no hesitation.

1) Body language and demeanor are the most important elements in deterring unwanted male attention, and sadly also the hardest to teach. Predatory men look for women with vulnerable or uncertain body language, which is why you're being targeted. True confidence begins as an internal state, but luckily most men aren't the most subtle readers of body language so "fake it 'til you make it" does work. Some elements involve looking away, crossing your arms, and "closed off" body language toward men who disinterest you. Watch confident friends or even movies with strong female characters and copy their body language. Get books about interpreting body language and practice different scenarios alone. It sounds silly but it works.

2) If a man approaches you to flirt and you aren't interested, be polite but firm and direct. Don't smile or giggle. Something like "I'm flattered, but I'm not interested in meeting anyone right now" or "Thanks, but I'm just here to dance with my friends" or even "Sorry, but I have a boyfriend" - anything to communicate clearly he will not be getting any further.

3) Most decent guys will back off after step 2. If he persists, he's breaching the social contract and moving into creep territory, and you're no longer obliged to be polite. If you're alone, look for any way to get the fuck out of there as quickly as possible. If you're in public, raise your voice and say "Did you hear me? I said I'm not interested. Please leave me alone!" so other people can hear you. Walk away immediately.

4) If he bothers you again after that, he is a creep and either dangerous or stupid. At this point all social niceties are gone and you need to take steps to protect yourself. If you're alone, pull out your phone and yell "LEAVE ME ALONE, I'M CALLING THE POLICE!" Make a scene. If you're in public make a scene as well, and threaten to call the bouncers or club security (that's what they're on staff for!) There are very, very few men who will continue past the point of public embarrassment and if they do, they deserve to get arrested or beaten up and thrown out of the club.

I know this stuff sounds tough or even intimidating, but sticking up for yourself even a few times is very empowering and helps to build the innate confidence that makes it easier next time. It's not so much a "fuck off" attitude as an "I'm not the girl to be fucked with" attitude, and after some practice the creeps will sense it on you and leave you alone. Good luck my dear!

Posted by the_spiral on June 5, 2012 at 4:22 AM · Report this
One more thing: the hardest part for me was actually verbalizing "I'm not interested, please leave me alone" while also subcommunicating STRONG disinterest through my body language. Many women are conditioned to adopt submissive or open body language as a social strategy, but it DOESN'T WORK in these cases. If you say "Sorry, I have a boyfriend" but you're giggling and twirling your hair, many men will not 'get' that you're just nervous and will interpret this incorrectly as a sexual challenge. Much research has been done on men's inability to detect extremely subtle social cues, and I've found it to be true in general. You have to voice your disinterest in a clear voice WHILE closing off your body language. It takes practice, but over time you'll find most men will get the picture and you'll only be left with the serious creeps who need stronger methods.

Another big fear some women have is being labeled "mean" or "a bitch" - and rest assured some men will call you that after being rejected. That's why you only escalate AFTER he has ignored your polite request and/or touched you inappropriately. At that point he has breached your personal space/agency and disrespected one of the most fundamental social norms. Remember HE is the rude one and YOU are merely doing what's necessary to protect your person. Also remember it's far better for a potentially threatening man to call you a nasty name and leave rather than continuing to harass you or follow you home.

Best of luck!
Posted by the_spiral on June 5, 2012 at 4:33 AM · Report this
mydriasis 290
@ spiral

Interesting to hear from someone who learned it.

I can tell you I've never had to escalate to that point in public, hopefully that will make VCARD feel somewhat better.

It's not so much a "fuck off" attitude as an "I'm not the girl to be fucked with" attitude, and after some practice the creeps will sense it on you and leave you alone.

That's dead on.
Posted by mydriasis on June 5, 2012 at 6:04 AM · Report this
EAT needs to use the power of imagination and think of something that she normally uses to get herself off! Forget about the guy and what he's doing down there and whether he likes it--if necessary, put the pillow over your head and close your eyes and imagine yourself doing whatever you find exciting. Maybe it will be uncomfortable or embarrassing at first, but it sounds like she just can't unwind and turn off her self-regulating worries about what other people think long enough to enjoy herself. I suspect her concerns are not uncommon.
Posted by Suzy on June 5, 2012 at 8:41 AM · Report this
Amen to what 157 said: leave your poor personal trainers alone! Leave anyone alone who is simply trying to do a job and be professional! It's especially important to do this when you're paying someone to do work that brings them into close or personal contact with you. A basic respect for boundaries and for the other person's dignity demands that you NOT treat them as a potential sexual interest. If you happen to fall in desperate love or lust with your personal trainer, masseuse, doctor, or anyone else who needs to contact your body without any sexual connotation, then contact them at a time when you're not using their professional services, and ask to have coffee or lunch or their personal phone or email, like a decent person would. If they're interested, great. If not, they can decline without disrespect to their professional responsibilities.
Posted by Suzy on June 5, 2012 at 8:48 AM · Report this
I've rarely had to escalate that far in the U.S. even in dangerous areas, but in parts of the Middle East and eastern Europe, making a loud public scene can mean the difference between guys just cursing at you and walking away, or kidnapping you.

One thing I noticed was when I returned to the U.S. after living abroad, American men left me ALONE. Nothing had changed about my physical appearance or dress style, but my demeanor was completely different. Before that I could've worn a burka and I'd be harassed; afterward I could walk around in a tube top and miniskirt and men would WALK PAST ME to harass other women. I do believe men with predatory intent target women whose body language suggests vulnerability or lack of confidence. If they see a woman who looks like she's *prepared* to escalate the confrontation into a public scene, 99% of the time it isn't necessary. They just don't bother.

My advice was aimed more at VCARD since the behavior she described was extreme (a guy following her home and pounding on the door? She needs to get rid of him LONG before that point!) Normal interactions, even with the most clueless men, rarely require that level of escalation.
Posted by the_spiral on June 5, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
P.S. I'm not sure where everyone got the idea that the commenter was suggesting people harass their personal trainers. I think it was the other way around - that the wannabe escort become a personal trainer to find clients.

It's not any less inappropriate though. If I hire a personal trainer and find his attention toward me becoming sexual, commercial or otherwise, I'd fire him quickly and report him to whatever agency licensed him. That's not what I paid for. And I'm not even sure how a trainer could broach the subject of "by the way, I'm available for sexual services too" without skeeving out most of his clients and losing more money than he makes. Even women looking for paid sex wouldn't likely be interested in a gigolo who announces his services by showing he is sneaky and has no professional ethics.

I'd say he should just try advertising his services through the appropriate venues. If he finds no demand, oh well. Broaden your target demographic or find a new line of work.
Posted by the_spiral on June 5, 2012 at 9:04 AM · Report this
VCard, I too waited a longer time before having sex, at least relative to my friends and acquaintances. I completely understand why you'd like to remove the emotional concerns about a relationship from your first sexual experiences. That worked very well for me and I have only happy feelings about it in retrospect. I was able to learn about sex from a friend I trusted, we're still friends, if anything went wrong I knew it would be ok, and I didn't have the lingering emotional hangups that afflicted so many of my friends who were in love with the guy they first had sex with, only to have the relationship end or the sex be disastrously bad.

So, my advice is simple, though I don't know if it will work for you as it worked for me: make friends with a lot of guys, without worrying about sex, if you haven't already. Hang out with them, get to know what they're like, be comfortable around them. I'd say that's your best bet of finding a guy you like and trust enough to inquire about a casual fling (I would tell him up front why you're doing it).

I would also put something inside yourself, yourself, whether that be a finger or toy or whatever, and get comfortable with that before doing it with someone else. That takes the fear of pain, blood, whatever out of the equation.
Posted by Suzy on June 5, 2012 at 9:04 AM · Report this
mydriasis 296
@ spiral

Exactly my point, I agree.

I think the reason why I've never had to exacalate in public is because guys can tell that I'd have no problem doing it if I had to. I also tend to used bitchiness/meanness if someone persists more than yelling or making a scene. Most guys like that actually have very fragile egos and I'm a pretty good ball-buster when I have to be - but I've always been that way, it's not something I deliberately learned. When we're subject to unwanted attention we all learn to cope in our own ways.

I think your advice was great, especially for someone who didn't learn a way to cope that got men to leave her alone.
Posted by mydriasis on June 5, 2012 at 9:52 AM · Report this
the_spiral@294: see comments @133 and @134 for how the misunderstanding re hitting on personal trainers happened.
Posted by Eirene on June 5, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
Hell ladies, I hope all is going well for every one. I just wanted to drop a little knowledge for every body interested.I have recently come across some reading material on giving earth quaking,oral sex climaxes to the ladies. I know alot of guys all think they know exactly what they are doing, but the truth is we can all learn something new. To the ladies this is great material for your man,im sure there is room for improvement,LOL. And to the guys, this can really help you devastate your woman (in a good way)in the bed room or where ever you may be. Hope it helps and enjoy.
Posted by eagleeye72 on June 5, 2012 at 2:05 PM · Report this
An interesting perspective:…
Posted by Crinoline on June 5, 2012 at 3:20 PM · Report this
The "hysteria" thing is almost totally wrong, by the way: see….
Posted by Eirene on June 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM · Report this
mydriasis 301
@ Crinoline

There's also the exact opposite side of it.

Have you heard of the tenga? A guy friend of mine was talking about it and it's basically the male equivalent of a vibrator. It's pretty new. He was totally fascinated by the whole concept while my reaction was along the lines of "and?". Then I realized that as a female, vibrators are sort of taken for granted. I've personally never used one (I'm the super sensitive type who can get herself 98% of the way there with muscle tensing so a vibrator for me would be like using a chainsaw to cut through butter) but I have shopped for them with friends and have long been aware that they were an option to me. They're part of the sexual landscape for women.

In some ways I think guys have been jealous. Sure, society gives them cart blanche. We assume they masturbate, while many women are eager to deny that they do. I have friends who made it into their late teens without trying it - which would be pretty unusual for a man, I think. And yet despite all this, they seem to have gotten the short end of the stick in terms of technology.

Kind of a weird tradeoff, I guess.
Posted by mydriasis on June 5, 2012 at 5:21 PM · Report this
Guys use vibrators. My husband had one before he'd ever had sex.
Posted by Eirene on June 5, 2012 at 8:10 PM · Report this

Opposite problem here. I find it practically impossible to come unless my husband eats me out. It's just the way you're wired, there is nothing wrong with you.
Posted by sbollinger1986 on June 6, 2012 at 5:13 AM · Report this
Hydrated 304
Virginity is a jealous lover
Each attempt to leave him makes him harder to slough off
Quietly he lays await, shows up at odd times
and scares the other boys away.
The strain of his competition kills their ardor

I abuse him, lock him in a closet, and close the door.
I resolve not to mention him to company.
Somehow they discover him knocking for release.
They run, thankful to have escaped hearts intact.
I pray to discover someone with the courage to help me
defend myself from his choke hold.

The clock ticks.
I wonder at this pre-arranged companion
Will I marry Viginity as he insists?
Should our home be a convent, our coupling everlasting?
He is becoming part of me.bring you intimacy.
Posted by Hydrated on June 9, 2012 at 1:43 PM · Report this
Hydrated 305
Virginity is a jealous lover
Each attempt to leave him makes him harder to slough off
Quietly he lays await, shows up at odd times
and scares the other boys away.
The strain of his competition kills their ardor

I abuse him, lock him in a closet, and close the door.
I resolve not to mention him to company.
Somehow they discover him knocking for release.
They run, thankful to have escaped hearts intact.
I pray to discover someone with the courage to help me
defend myself from his choke hold.

The clock ticks.
I wonder at this pre-arranged companion
Will I marry Viginity as he insists?
Should our home be a convent, our coupling everlasting?

VCARD, Your post reminded me of a poem I wrote at age 28. What people may not get is that men, even men who love sex, can get pretty freaked about having sex with a virgin female, especially if she is sweat, shy, and they aren't in love. You'd be surprised how a guy looking for a good time will run from a virgin.

So... that being said, I'd agree, posting on craigslist "virgin wanting sex" will get you a slew of offers, believe me. It also creeped me out.

In the end.... I say choose intimacy over sex. Intimacy will bring you sex, but sex won't necessarily bring you intimacy.
Posted by Hydrated on June 9, 2012 at 1:45 PM · Report this
I too am a 26 year-old female virgin (from the other side of the Atlantic). I'm a big fan of Dan, so was a bit disappointed that he didn't also suggest finding someone you don't have to pay for. While I too am keen to pop my cherry, I've come to the realization that if I really wanted to get laid, I could find someone. But as I've waited so long, I'd rather wait a few months more to find someone who I like (I don't think I need to love them for this)
Posted by Nibbles on June 27, 2012 at 11:37 PM · Report this

Add a comment