Savage Love Letter of the Day: The 30-Year-Old, Not-Conventionally-Attractive, Cancer-and-Abuse-Surviving Virgin

Comments

1
While mentioned somewhat in passing by Dan - please don't set your sights on someone unattainable. Accept someone with perceived but over-emphasized "flaws" similar to your own and you are much more likely to find some success. Two-peas-in-a-pod, me thinks, will work best.
2
Dan: Great advice. However, perhaps you could have reiterated or included a link(s) from past answers as to how to go about and where to find safe and caring sex workers.
3
TVWBFAWLJNITGW, first bravo for asking that woman to get out of your bed and your home, and not taking any of that nonsense.

I'm interested to know whether you have consulted with a reconstructive plastic surgeon? Although your oncologist might not have thought it meaningful to discuss reconstructive surgery after your cancer treatment, its worth exploring now, given that you're focused on this aspect of you appearance. Also get moving and take care of yourself physically. When you feel that you're looking your best, you will feel more confident when meeting women.

I also have to second Dan's suggestion of getting out of your house and putting yourself in position to meet women. Take classes in things that interest you, like dancing, languages, art, or cooking, where you can meet people who share your interests and who can get to know without romantic and sexual overtones.

Lastly, consider getting a prescription for ED medication. You're likely to be anxious in the moments before sex, which can be serious boner killer. ED medication can help you retain your erection even if you get pre-sex jitters. Once you've been having sex with someone for a bit, you'll be fine without any medication.
4
Hey, TVWBFAWLJNITGW, just wanted to echo Dan, we are rooting for you.
5
"Presumably you've got a computer in your office, TVWBFAWLJNITGW. Use it to find one."

NO! Apparently, Dan is writing while high again. Do not, under any circumstances, look up sex workers at work. Use your phone on your off hours, do it from home, an internet cafe, where ever. Just not at work.
6
Great letter; great answer. Best of luck to you, letter writer. My advice would be to have a sense of humor about the situation as much as is possible. Your attitude will speak volumes about you as a person and that will help to attract or repel women.

There are caring people around who will be intrigued by the idea of an older virgin, who will find it charming. And as Dan said, just tell whomever when you feel the time is right that you had cancer and it altered things a bit down there and that you're somewhat self conscious about it. Again, there are people to whom this will not be especially terrible news or a turnoff.

As the first commenter said, be accepting of "flaws" in others. Everybody wants flawless supermodels with perfect bodies. Go after them if you can win them, but if, like most people, you can't, don't overlook the prizes in your own community who are less than a 10. I'd give this same advice to all men, btw.
7
Plenty of women who have been in this same situation would be happy to return the favor once paid them. You'd still have to screen for chemistry I'd think. Also a pretty high percentage, particularly of younger/inexperienced/been out of the game for a while guys but also just guys in general, have performance nerves the first time/ first several times w someone (this is also true for women, perhaps even moreso, it's just that our bodies kick in regardless - but orgasm out of the gate is less usual. First time you have sex w new partners has a tendency to be more awkward, like just about anything you do w new people, especially nude things). Not a big deal, definitely not a problem, probably the girl you were with was pretty inexperienced too or she wouldn't have been surprised.
8
I don't recall if Dan mentioned this and I have no idea re availability where you are but a sex surrogate is also an option, maybe more up your alley than a pro?
9
LW, if you're on the West Coast and an actual sex worker feels like a step too far, try finding a Somatica-method sex coach (I can recommend http://www.keeleyrankin.com, or you can find more at http://www.celesteanddanielle.com). The clothes stay on, but they work with you in a real hands-on way to build up your comfort with intimacy. I found it really helpful when dealing with similar anxieties.
10
BBC doc my penis and I (YouTube?) Worth a watch, ditto the sequel. Don't listen to the club girls, they are patently awful and also wrong. Size not an issue for most women, any more than pussy size is an issue for most men.
11
I have a question that I'm not brave enough to Google.
What's a taint?
12
๐ŸŒˆLW, you can't ask others to love you if you don't love yourself. This seeing yourself as grotesque, is you way back behind the starting line for attracting a mate. How are you deformed? God gave you two of them, right.
Your internalised dad has to be shut down in your self love programme.
The usual: hit the gym. Eat and sleep well.
Do some therapy, to shift how your mind sees you. Sorry you are so down, you can do this.

13
When I was thirty, I was a decent catch - a bit too tall and heavy from my perspective, but I regularly attracted very conventionally hot and/or cool guys so I must have been pretty sexy. Had a nonprofit job I loved, nice friend group, pretty good life except for not making much money. (Had a rocky past due to my mom's mental illness and our family's occasional homelessness, but that wasn't evident on first glance).

If I met a guy at some activity, and he was nice, decently groomed, and I was not turned off by him, then I'd say yes if he asked me out. And if I was ready for clothes to come off, I definitely wouldn't have been freaked out if he'd had some scars down there. Disability also did not stop me - I spent some great months with a blind guy before he moved away for a better job, and had a crush on a guy with a wheelchair for a while but it turned out he wasn't into me (Met the blind guy online, didn't know he was blind till right before the first date. I met the wheelchair guy on a local political campaign). My mom was in a wheelchair for a few years, I had a deaf coworker, and I had a roommate who was on disability for chronic stuff, so maybe that's why I wasn't fazed... but you know, there are plenty of women out there who have disabled friends and family.

I also wouldn't have been put off by a virgin. Might have been more cautious with how I proceeded, and would want to have a good talk to see if he had some weird religious hangups that could lead to slut-shaming me - but I would have been very likely to go for it as I always have been a sucker for a shy guy.

When I eventually met my now-husband, he told me that he'd had one girlfriend in his early thirties, but barely dated in his teens and twenties... whereas I started dating at 17 and had everything from a string of serious boyfriends to many delightful flings under my belt. His inexperience actually made me relax a bit and know I could be my dorky self. (Of course I did worry for second that he might judge me for my past, but that's something that can happen to a woman even if the guy is a big slut himself. But he firmly assured me that he thought I was great, so therefore he approved of whatever experiences had turned me into the cool woman I'd become. He also spoke highly of a female friend of his who had been pretty wild after her divorce, and that he thought it was a good thing for her, so I knew he was sex-positive).

He also warned me that he was always nervous with a new person, and the more he liked someone, the more trouble he had keeping it up. I just took this news as a fun challenge. I was very careful with his feelings, gave him a lot of (genuine) praise, didn't pressure him, and enjoyed some wonderful makeout sessions. Then I felt like a goddess of seduction after 4 or 5 naked encounters when things started working smoothly! It really is a fun memory to look back on now.

Oh, and for some reason he thought he was really small. I was perplexed at the reveal because he was completely average in my experience. I also informed him that although all of pop culture praises big ones, I HIGHLY prefer small ones. I don't know if I'm weirdly angled or small myself, but two of the best lovers I'd had at that point were 3" and 4" inches respectively. Any guys who've been larger than average could easily cause me pain, or at least disrupt my groove, with one careless thrust. I found ways to work with the big guys, but still, it has always been a pleasant surprise when I unzip the jeans to find a smaller package. My sweetheart did not believe me of course, but my continued enthusiasm and very successful orgasms eventually reassured him that I was being honest. And yup, one of the many reasons I married him is that he turned out to be the absolute best lover I've ever had - like, I thought I knew sex was good, but had no idea it could be THIS freakin good.

So, here's my point. These things that seem so big and awful to you will not actually be a big deal to a nice woman. And there are lots of nice women out there (look how many ladies read Savage Love). I think your chances are good, especially because you stood up to that immature woman and got her out of your bed. You sound thoughtful and grounded - I'm guessing your tough life means you're a bit more mature than others your age who've had an easier path. That is a HUGE plus for a smart woman, whether she wants a nice fling or a relationship. Dan's advice was good, follow that. But also have faith that your good traits may far outweigh anything you're insecure about. Are you kind? Do you have a meaningful life? Your friend group - do some decent people think you're pretty great? Do you have some hobbies or interests you're passionate about? Are you trying to make the world a better place somehow? Do you care about a partner's comfort and pleasure, in bed and out? Those are all MAJOR points in your favor.
14
The first big-time boyfriend of a good friend of mine had one testicle. He was incredibly self-conscious about it. About 6 months in, when they were having some deep reflective conversation, he talked about how he felt, the self-consciousness and such -- My friend (who had spent the majority of the previous 6 months with his face in the boyfriend's crotch) said "you only have one ball?" He seriously HAD NOT NOTICED. Clearly he'd been having perfectly good time.

Also, good on you (the writer) for not putting up with the woman who was being an asshole! It sucks that it happened at all, but it sounds like you have a slightly better sense of self-preservation than you give yourself credit for.
15
Add my voice to the chorus of those who know from experience that a guy with one ball can be a great sexual partner. Really, you can't tell the difference. Good luck!
16
@11 - the taint is the area between the asshole and the balls (on a dude) or between the asshole and the pussy (on a lady). because "taint an asshole and taint a pussy." :)
17
Concur with Collin @5.

Pretty much any company large enough to utilize an HR department or in-house tech support will fire you in an instant if they catch you doing porn or hookers on a workplace computer. Where I work, the tech people can literally track every keystroke I've made for the last year, should they choose to. If I looked for sex workers online at work, that would be grounds for immediate termination. This is an extremely common policy.

I fully agree with Dan's advice to find a sex worker to help you gain some experience and confidence in doing sex. But find one on your home computer or phone, not at work.
18
Good on you for kicking that jerk out! Having that level of self-respect is a really helpful starting point.
19
Wondering if someone will love you for who you are comes with the territory of loving people. But wondering whether your junk is going to work, in the absence of any experience that it will, has got to be a tough hurdle to clear. Put the two together, and you've got a tough nut to crack (sorry).

You sound like a good guy, though, and I think you'll make it through. Just be prepared for some of the same bumps in the road that the rest of us experience.
20
Just to add to the other commenters saying don't look stuff up on your computer at work. I got a call from IT asking for my name and employee ID while I was looking at books on Amazon, that were in the LGBT category. So yeah, someone has a job just to sit and monitor that stuff.

@16 Thanks. Never heard that word used in conversation. Hopefully never will.
21
Dear LW, all the things you listed as deficits are fixable.

If your weight is affecting your self esteem, join an exercise/martial arts/swimming/sports team or class. You can do this very inexpensively at a local community center or YMCA. You'll have opportunities to meet lots of people, and also get in shape and get the endorphin and dopamine boosts from being active, which will make you feel better about yourself. If you live in Seattle/King County, the Mountaineers Club is awesome. They have all sorts of activities for people of all ages AND abilities. There are sports teams here where you don't have to be conventionally athletic to do well in (dodge ball, I kid you not!). I've also seen groups of thirty-something (and older) men playing basketball, whom started out overweight and not so good, but improved markedly after a couple of months. You're not in high school anymore, don't worry about being bullied for not being super-jock! Or try swimming, everyone can become good at swimming, it's awesome exercise and FUN! Canoeing/Kayaking etc. are also great.

You've suffered a lot, can you get some counseling? It's very helpful to just talk to someone non judgmental. Since you're a cancer survivor, your insurance should pay for it. Also check with your employer, many companies will provide counseling opportunities also. If counseling isn't possible, join a cancer survivor support group, I've heard that they are very helpful, you'll meet people there too, who will understand some of what you went through and be your friends. Actually, join one anyway, even if you have counseling.

When you've been abused so much as you had, it's going to be hard for you to trust, and it's scary to put yourself out there, but please do try. You sound like a good person who has a lot to offer others; it's very admirable that you haven't become bitter, hateful or abusive. Don't isolate yourself. Yes, there are mean and thoughtless people out there, but people as cruel and sick as your dad was are rare. And you're an adult now, you're not dependent and helpless anymore. You CAN walk away from abusive and evil creeps now.

Don't focus so much on the "Oh I'm 30 YEARS OLD and still a virgin!". Think: "I've faced all these horrific things, and beaten them! I'm STILL HERE, not dead, not in a psych ward!" Be proud of yourself, you're strong, resilient and capable. You have lots of time to live a good, fulfilling life. You don't have to prove anything to anyone! Start out slow, work on your self-love and self-esteem first. Build a supporting network, friends you can trust and have fun spending time with. Do things you enjoy, learn new things. If you're happy, that will show, and people will want to be near you. You'll meet lots of women, and you can find the one(s) who is/are the best friends and partner(s) for you. No one decent will care about your "disability". A missing testicle and some scars do not diminish you in any way.

Oh, and if your psycho dad is still alive, get a restraining order, and NEVER talk to him or allow him to be anywhere near you. This is very important. Forget the forgiving and reconciliation shit. He's a monster!
22
LW, you might want to consider psychotherapy as a way of getting a handle on your abusive childhood and working on your self-esteem. Going for therapy can be very helpful in working out issues that are standing in a person's way, and it doesn't mean that you're "crazy" or "broken;" it just means that some bad things have happened to you.

Psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists all do psychotherapy. The various professions have different strengths and weaknesses, but the most important thing in a therapist is how well you "click" with them -- how well you relate to them and how much you trust them. Interview prospective therapists over the phone to get a sense of how the two of you interact, and ask them about their experience in treating adults who were abused as children.
23
I'm a 19 year old virgin and I have an incurable skin condition which causes revolting scars all over my vagina area. It's called hidradenitis and I don't recommend you Google it. My advice is to give up forever and complain on the internet instead of trying.
24
Ugh, why did I write 19? I meant to write 29. Because that's my age. I failed at insulting myself and I blame my skin for this failure.
25
๐ŸŒˆ sorry to hear that,@23, last comment.
Have you looked into Chinese medicine etc. Aloe Vera, does that bring relief. Hugs.
Nice words @21 & @22.
26
Anyone else think Dan should just hook this guy up with the recent ex-virgin from Tuesday's SLLOTD?
27
SweetTree @13: Good point, I bet Virgin is comparing himself to porn stars and is therefore NOT "on the small side."
Also, good advice for Virgin (I'm not going to type all that out): before getting into bed with a lover, warn her that he is inexperienced and gets nervous and may not be able to get an erection on the first try. If she's not expecting a hard-on, she won't be surprised and say something stupid. If she's willing to be patient while you work through your nerves (top tip: use your fingers and/or tongue to get her off, even if there's no orgasm possibility for you), she's a keeper.

The technical term for "taint" is "perineum." You're welcome.

LastComment @23: There are men out there who honestly don't care what your vulva looks like. I promise.
28
"a penile lobotomy"????

oh good lord I hope you have found a way to recognize and dismiss that for the bat-shit crazy talk that it is. if it still pesters you I'd suggest a good therapist. or even a hypnotherapist.

an understanding sex-worker wouldn't be a bad idea to get you acclimated. they've surely seen far worse and would be glad of a respectful, clean (if nervous) client.
29
"a penile lobotomy"????

oh good lord I hope you have found a way to recognize and dismiss that for the bat-shit crazy talk that it is. if it still pesters you I'd suggest a therapist. or even a hypnotherapist.

an understanding sex-worker wouldn't be a bad idea to get you acclimated. they've surely seen far worse and would be glad of a respectful, clean (if nervous) client.

and as Dan said - we ARE rooting for you.
30
Hey OP- I just wanted to add a few things, because people might have some misconceptions about your disability. You don't say what it is, and a lot of people are suggesting you do things that are expensive- therapy, ED meds, plastic surgery (why?!), gym memberships. It is possible you have the money for all that, but most people don't. If I were you, I would look into free group therapy options for people with disabilities. That could help you build your confidence and meet friends, and wouldn't cost anything. It would be great to meet some people who will probably think you are also beautiful. Also, along that same line, stop using Tinder and Bumble, and join a dating site for people with disabilities. There are several out there. At the very least you may meet friends. Watch out for catfish as well, they tend to pray on vulnerable people who are too shy to meet in person, and you fit that bill.
And finally, for everyone on this comment list who keeps suggesting he lose weight- he may not be able to exercise because of his disability. I have an auto-immune disease (invisible), but there is almost no exercise I can do for long enough to make me lose weight. I could swim, but I am a professional singer, and the chlorine bothers my voice. The only thing I can do is recumbent bike, and even then not for too long. Also, the medicines I am on make me gain weight. I gained 50 pounds since I was diagnosed. That is lucky, I have friends who gained 100. If this is the case with you OP, then focus less on exercise, and more on diet. Becoming vegetarian can really help, or having like a once a month only meat policy. Also it is better for animals and the planet. If you aren't in too much pain, then opt for small things, like walking to work and taking the stairs, if that is possible. Park as far away as you can from the supermarket entrance. You could also look into joining a class at your community college- like beginning dance or yoga for seniors and pregnant women. I know you aren't a senior, but these classes will not push you physically, and you will meet new people.
And finally to reiterate what Dan said- be kind in return! Don't judge other people by their appearance. I doubt you do this, you seem like a nice guy, but I have seen countless guys who are not conventionally attractive demand that the women they date are. So look for the beauty in everyone. Chances are, if you can see the beauty in someone who is not "attractive," then they can see the beauty in you! And don't get plastic surgery on your balls- who the hell cares. I dated a guy with only one testicle once. No one cares, seriously. And fuck that girl who shamed your penis- she was an ugly person, and you dodged a bullet. 30 also isn't that old. Go find a nice sex worker to teach you the ropes- some of them specialize in people with disabilities. I knew a guy in a wheelchair who did it once a month. He was a happy dude.
31
For anyone feeling insecure or unattractive, seeing a sex worker is ideal (but as with all service providers, the more research you do the better odds of finding the most suitable for you, and if someone isn't a match, move on to someone else until you find one). We literally do not need you to be confident - you don't have to woo us - and do not care if you are attractive - people don't need to be good looking to be a good client. We are experts at putting people at ease.

One note of caution for 'beginners' (at sex and as clients) to always keep in mind that you don't know the worker, you only know their persona which they are working hard to cater to you. After years of abuse, neglect and a lack of affection, it can sometimes be tempting to fall for the first person providing intimacy for you, especially when nothing (but cash, hygiene and respect) is asked of you.
32
@23 Ugh, you have my sympathy; HS sounds miserable. Have you read The Hidden Plague? It's by a woman who experimented with a lot of solutions for her HS, finally figured out something that really worked for her.

@LW agree with all the comments: you seem to have more going for you than you realize! And like many others, I would recommend increasing your fitness level or just moving (more) in a way that works for you (if you're not already - it's hard to tell from your letter). Physical activity can be incredibly powerful in helping you be stronger/feel stronger/feel better about yourself. And of course it generally means being out there and meeting more people, which is a nice bonus.
Good luck! And please keep us posted. I would love to hear an update from you.
33
@32, "I would recommend increasing your fitness level or just moving (more) in a way that works for you".

Yeah. This. Set up stupid-easy goals: Up and down a flight of stairs* on the first day. Up and down twice on the second day, etc. And if you go over, fine, but don't raise your goals. Then you succeed every day, often you overachieve, and over time, you'll be burning significant calories and building more muscle.

Also, Dan has recommended exercise to others to get their blood pumping on a regular basis. When the time comes, it will help in getting blood flowing to your dick.

*or walk a city block, then two. Or park one, then two then three rows from the office building. Something. Something easy. Increasing slowly over time.

34
Great advice by everyone, I just wanted to add my personal experience: I've been with a guy who had cancer and only had one ball and I never noticed. I only know because he told me!
35
@1 wrong advice. The most important thing for this guy is confidence. Worrying about who is in his league is only going to erode what little confidence he has.
36
My first boyfriend lost one testicle when he was hit by a fastball in the nuts when he was 14. It ruptured and it was removed.

I had no idea that he had only one ball. And it didn't matter one bit. We had 4 years of great sex until I dumped his lazy stoner ass.
37
Hey Virgin, kudos to you for getting through all that crap. You are awesome and stronger than you think. I just want to tell you a little story: a few years ago a young kid (27) contacted me on an online dating site. I'm not monogamous, I'm a bit older than him (ha!), and I like sex. He admitted he was a virgin and fairly inexperienced with women, and was basically looking for someone to go out with a few times and get his nerves under control. I decided I was up for the challenge, and we had a great time. We had a few dates, some super fun sexytimes, and he is no longer a virgin. He messages me every now and then to tell me how he's doing or some new interesting kink that he's trying out. I'm super happy for him, and so glad I could help him out. There ARE people out there who will be decent humans to you. Really. Good luck!
38
Most guys assume that inexperience is going to make them unattractive. The truth is for that a lot of people (women and men), inexperience, if you're honest and friendly about it, is a really big turn-on. There's something REALLY sexy about helping someone through their first time(s).

Furthermore, a lot of people are attracted to overweight guys, and tons of people are wandering around with histories of abuse, and when they hear about yours they'll feel comforted, knowing they're not alone, and they'll want to comfort you too.

The idea that everybody wants a partner who's a Disney prince causes so much damage. Frankly, there are a lot of things in your letter that make you sound quite appealing to me. (And yes I mean like physically, I-would-totally-go-to-bed-with-you appealing.) You're not a walking list of problems, you're an intriguing person. Go find some people smart enough to be into you.
39
Anecdotally this is how little stuff like this can be noticed LW: I was with my husband for a year before I noticed he only had one testicle. He'd had cancer as a child and had one removed, never mentioned it because he never thought about it. His lack of concern about it meant I just never thought to check and I, like Dan with his boyfriend, was spending plenty of time in the area. So while most people are probably not as unobservant as me you'd be surprised how easily people overlook things that aren't treated as a concern.
40
Dear Virgin(+): I get that you're anxious to be rid of your virgin status, but it appears you want to go from ZERO to ex-virgin in one step. What about getting used to being touched first - with respect and kindness? How? By booking a few therapeutic massages with a masseuse (I'm suggesting a woman rather than a masseur as you're trying to become comfortable being touched by a woman). I have a friend with CP who gets regular massages at a school where the rates are cheaper for services performed by students. You may even find that the massages relieve pain and discomfort associated with your particular disability. You're also less likely to feel exposed as the masseuse will cover you with a drape, then rearrange it as she works on different parts of your body. In any case, that's a slower way to ease into accepting good touch.

Another thing is to stop thinking that you must be naked with a lover. You can wear something that eases your nervousness and tension (I'm thinking of a very soft shirt, cuffs rolled up, unbuttoned). Wearing something like that will give you a unique style.

Others have also mentioned they've had partners with only one ball. Same here. I even had a diabetic lover who'd had a mechanical pump implanted so he could get an erection. Coincidentally, the button to activate it was where one of his balls should be.

One final thing. I don't know where you carry your weight or where you're the largest. But I remember a couple of movie stars (decades ago) who were large men and the only thing that came to mind when I saw them was the farthest thing from disgust. Instead, I felt instinctively that they could protect me with their solid bulk. Try to find some pictures of large men who exude confidence. Tell yourself you too can be like them ... even though you've had a far harder road than most people.
41
@maeggyn - good catch! Too many folks don't realize that even walking up stairs is laughable depending on the disability. I have a friend with a circulation condition in her legs, and she got a lot of unhelpful advice until she finally found something that worked for her - a seated aerobics class for seniors, where most of the movements were all upper body.

@Bouncing - I agree, some of this guy's so-called "flaws" would have made him more attractive to single me.

@ Helenka - your advice about finding pictures of confident bigger guys is good. I gained a lot of weight after an accident and it really shook my self-image. I haven't been able to lose the weight, but I'm back to enjoying my body again partly because I started following some "fatshionista" blogs, just to look at pictures of happy big women in pretty clothes. It took a long time, but with repeated exposure I started to feel less disgust and more admiration for soft parts, on both myself and others. There are definitely similar blogs about larger mens' fashions.

I will also echo you in saying that larger men turn me on because I feel more protected by their bulk. I'm guessing that's because I'm a tall girl, and during my formative years I felt like a freak show surrounded by smaller boys. Actually, Virgin, keep that in mind - many tall girls eventually become open to dating shorter guys, but they retain a weakness for a heavier man, regardless of his height!
42
Added to tonight's To Do list: count boyfriend's balls.
43
Hell, virgin! I'm a 48 year old recently separated woman who has just escaped a long, sexless marriage and I think you sound absolutely DELIGHTFUL!
You're articulate, funny, modest and self aware. All of those things are massive turn-ons to lots of discerning people. The person comes first and the package comes second. Get out there and knock'em dead.
44
Sportlandia @35: And where is this confidence going to come from? How about experience? One cannot simply will oneself to be confident; that comes from positive feedback. And what better way to get this positive feedback than approaching women who are roughly the same level of attractiveness, or even lower (for their gender, obviously), than he is, and therefore far more likely to respond positively than the hottest girl in the room?
45
LW, try to keep in mind that the older you get, the more your emotional honesty, maturity, and financial stability will be large assets in your search for a mate. Based on your story about that asshole woman, you seem like an assertive guy who doesn't have too much trouble standing up for himself - add that to the list of things that will make you attractive also.
46
I agree with Dan in spirit, but hiring a sex worker can easily become a quick trip to a sex offender registry. He should amend that advice with "go somewhere sex work is legal and hire a sex worker".
47
@44 it's not a real life RPG where he needs to level-up first. Confidence does not come from bedding women, it comes from feeling self-worthy. He's going to get shot down by attractive women and shot down by "not conventionally attractive" women all the same. Flip it the other way around: What could be worse for someone's confidence than getting rejected by someone at his same/low level?
49
Just wanted to reinforce the notion that people who aren't assholes won't mock one's scars or humiliate one about them (unless you're into that and discuss it), mostly becasue people tend to be WAY more self-conscious than other are conscious of them, and partly becasue even if they do notice, people who aren't assholes don't mock others' physical features, especially not people they supposedly care about. I had one girlfriend who had a very large, rough birthmark (yes, she was regularly screened for skin cancer) about which she was initially anxious (possibly reinforced by an abusive partner - I know her previous partner was abusive, though not if her used that as a vector of attack), and while I certainly noticed it, I didn't find it unattractive, it was just how she looked. As Dan notes, scars tend to be even less noticeable than that: I have facial scarring from someone driving a car into me, and a lot of people are very surprised to hear it when all the times people driving cars have hit me on my bike come up and I point it out - they literally didn't notice.

@TheLstComment #23: I'm sorry to hear it - I did look it up, and it sounds like it can have direct quality of life impacts plus impacts resulting from social stigma. That sucks. That said, while the inflammation might prompt things like STI concerns for a new partner, and I don't exactly think the inflammation or more advanced symptoms are attractive, I can confidently say that the resulting scarring alone wouldn't bother me, and there are plenty of people for whom that's true. If it's been holding you back from trying to date, and you're otherwise interested in doing so, you might want to consider that as long as you're having the inflammation drained, which it sounds like can be a necessary or at least desirable treatment for your own comfort and functioning, there really are plenty of people who won't consider the scarring a problem (and there is likely some subset of the population that won't be deterred by any of the symptoms, maybe a large subset given how many people apparently don't like performing cunnilingus at all, with that being the activity I can see being most impacted, unless the inflammation makes any/all vulval/vaginal contact unpleasant for you).

Ditto liberal_liberosis @45 - standing up for yourself in that anecdote is a good sign that your self esteem hasn't been (completely) trashed by everything you've been through (or it has and you've managed to build it back up), and that's both a useful and attractive thing.
50
There is great advice here. The only thing I'd add is that people who lack confidence and have suffered humiliation in the past are sometimes very defensive, and this can cause miscommunication. Just keep in mind that some people are assholes, but others are also just nervous or inexperienced with a situation like this as well. If you can't maintain a hard on and a woman says something to the effect of, "Well, I can't do anything with that, now can I?" she could be a real asshole and good for you for showing the door. You were there so you know by her tone, her response, if she was being an asshole. But I just wanted to point out that some women might also be nervous about what to do when a guy doesn't get an erection- if that's a new experience for her she might also be nervous, and while cruelty or insults or humiliation or other asshole behavior says more about her than you, it's normal that she might say something unskillful that was well-intended. It's the "said something to the effect of" that caught my eye. Some things similar : "What should I do with that?" "What do you want me to do now?" "What do you expect me to do?" all of which could be asshole statements if the tone of voice or body language is ridiculing OR they could be honest inquiries about how to deal with the situation. (Do you want her to leave? Do you want her to try to help you get hard? Do you want to jack off with her there? Etc). If you are already very defensive and worried about it and triggered by past abuse and humiliation, you could perceive insult where none was intended. I'd advise that you openly discuss this with a sex worker. But if you are hooking up with a date, it might be a good idea to think about what you could say to bridge the awkwardness ahead of time in case it happens that you can't maintain an ejection. Having something in your mind to say/do already ahead of time should help you relax (you have a back up plan) and should help you past the awkwardness of the event (a joke or an action is better than just awkward premature wrapping up of any fun) and should help a well-intentioned woman know what to do/say. Assuming you are with a woman who is not an asshole and you can't get an erection, I'd suggest just being honest and saying "I'm nervous" which can be endearing (you should not be misrepresenting yourself as a skilled experienced lover in the first place) and "let's just make out for a while" or as BDF says use your hands and focus on her. One more thing. It's perfectly fine if you are with a date to just say up front that you are nervous and would rather not have PIV sex but just make out and get off in other ways. This might take some pressure off of your first time getting down with someone since maintaining an erection would not be necessary so you could relax more. Then the chemistry could grow between you and you could do PIV the next time. This might work with a more experienced woman (as she would know other ways to get off) AND also with a similarly inexperienced woman (as she might also feel less nervous taking is slow). The lack of expectation and pressure might take away any performance anxiety you have, and if the making out is hot and pleasurable, you might build some confidence this way.
51
Erection, not ejection and certainly not election, ha ha ha
52
Another sex worker chiming in to recommend seeing an escort if you can afford it! Our job is connection and to help you feel comfortable and confident during our time together (and in your own skin). The only traits I personally require are respect and good manners. A session or two will relieve the pressure of being a first-timer, and might be plenty to boost your confidence for approaching other partners.

Do your research before choosing providers to contact. Many of us now have a social media presence in addition to a website, so you can get a sense of our personality. It also provides a look into our reputation and legitimacy, especially if we have a history of interactions with other reputable providers.

Good luck!
53
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