7 Important Pieces Of Advice For Dating As a Virgin
September 15, 2020
Navigating relationships can leave you feeling vulnerable even in the best of circumstances. However, being a virgin in your 20s or beyond can add an extra layer of complication to dating.
We consulted with psychologists and dating experts to narrow down some of the best ways to approach dating when you’re a virgin in your 20s.
Don’t feel like you need to immediately share that you’re a virgin
When you’re dating as a virgin in your 20s, the knowledge that you might have to “come out” about your virginity to a prospective partner can feel like a leaden weight. Though you might be tempted to blurt out this intimate information on your first date, that’s really not necessary.
“Timing around disclosure is important. This isn’t something you have to share with someone unless you are seriously considering having sex with them … soon,” licensed clinical psychologist Rebekah Montgomery, Ph.D, told us.
“Often, people feel as though this is something they just have to get off their chest and rush to share in a way that isn’t helpful for you or your new potential love interest. You can share this intimate truth with someone when you know they are someone you feel comfortable being intimate with,” said Montgomery.
Be clear about what you want out of a potential relationship
When you’re dating anyone, it’s important to be upfront and truthful about what you’re looking for in a relationship and this also applies to sex. If you want to wait until marriage to have sex, you may want to be clear about that. If you’d potentially be open to the idea of having sex, that could also be worth discussing.
“We tend to make assumptions about dating and sex, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach, so the only way to know if you and your date are on the same page is to be open about your beliefs, plans, and expectations,” Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Astroglide’s resident sexologist, told us.
There’s really no way to know how a potential partner will feel about your virginity until you have an open and honest conversation about both of your expectations.
Get comfortable with what virginity means to you
No matter the reason you haven’t had sex or don’t want to have sex, it can be really helpful to get comfortable with your virginity before wading into the dating pool.
“The more that you can feel comfortable, confident, and compassionate about the fact that you haven’t had sex yet, the easier it will be to navigate it with a potential sexual partner. It’s really important for you to get comfortable with this about yourself,” said Montgomery.
It’s also important to define what virginity means to you, as the concept isn’t as black and white. It can be defined differently by everyone, so it could be worth figuring out how you define it and how your partner does, too.
“Virginity is an odd and exclusionary concept. It simply doesn’t apply to everyone because it tends to refer to one specific sex act and discount all the other pleasurable and intimate acts that are also sexual in nature,” explained O’Reilly.
You don’t need to over-explain why you haven’t had sex yet
It’s important to have a conversation about your views on sex and its place in your relationship with any serious prospective partners. However, you shouldn’t feel compelled to justify your decision to remain a virgin or explain the circumstances that surround your virginity.
“If you’ve opted to delay or abstain from sex, that’s your prerogative. You don’t have to apologize and you shouldn’t have to explain yourself — just as someone who opts to have sex at an earlier age does not need to explain or rationalize their choices,” said O’Reilly
Being a virgin isn’t strange or unusual and you don’t owe anyone a lengthy explanation for why you haven’t yet had sex or don’t plan to have sex.
“There are many reasons you may not have had sex yet. You don’t have to over-explain it … You don’t have to justify why you’ve waited to have sex,” said Montgomery.
Be prepared to encounter people with different sexual needs and expectations
Dating is a process of finding a romantic partner who can meet most of your needs and expectations. For some people, a satisfying sex life could be an immediate need and that’s okay, too. It’s important to accept other people’s sexual choices while following your own. If your preferences don’t quite mesh and the person you’re seeing isn’t willing to respect your choices, you may not be a great match.
“Some partners may want someone experienced sexually, so being open about your lack of sexual partners will be appreciated. You and your potential partner will have information early on so that neither of you is wasting your time,” licensed marriage and family therapist Shirin Peykar told us.
All in all, if your potential partner isn’t accepting of your virginity, it’s worth sticking to your guns if abstaining from sex is truly what you want. “Stay confident in your decision. Make sure that if you do decide to have sex, that it was your intuitive choice,” she added.
If you’re ready to have sex, know what you want out of that first experience
Being comfortable with someone can make it easier to talk about sex. Samuel Goldwyn Films
If you feel that you’re ready to have sex, it’s important to have clarity about what you want from your first sexual experience. There’s no single right answer here — maybe you want your first time to be with someone you really care about and trust, but it’s equally possible that what really matters to you is simply having that first experience and starting to explore your sexuality.
“Think about how you want to feel afterward, as that is key. Pick an experience and a sexual partner that makes you feel comfortable, that you can be open with, and that you plan on having sex with more than once. First time sex is never perfect and it’s nice to choose someone where you can talk about it, and then do it more,” suggested Montgomery.
All in all, the important thing is that you and your partner have clear expectations about having sex and you’re emotionally comfortable.
Consider learning what feels good to you before having sex with someone else
If you’re comfortable with the idea, figuring out what gives you pleasure before having sex with another person can help you bridge the gap between virginity and sexual experience. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to take care of your personal sexual needs and becoming familiar with what feels good and what doesn’t.
“Just because you aren’t having sex with someone else does not have to mean that you need to keep yourself from experiencing pleasure and gaining experience with your own body,” said Peykar.