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V-Card Diaries: AH "There are so many ways to remind you that you're not having sex."

Today we're highlighting AH, who talks about insecurity, near misses and the message of Madison Avenue. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. What is your definition of virginity?I'm a 27-year-old male, and I'm straight. I always thought of the loss of virginity as vaginal penetration. In reality, though, I don't see losing your virginity as an all-or-nothing thing. There are different stages of sexual activity, and it's just my personal preference to put the virginity line there. I think the cliched baseball analogy actually works well, with the whole "second base/third base" progression.

Why have you decided to stay a virgin?I'm still a virgin for a few reasons. When I was younger, I didn't really want to have sex until I was in a relationship. As I got older, I decided to at least wait until I get to know someone first. Now, I'd have sex with a cute stranger if I wasn't worried about disease.

But all of this is moot, because I've never really had the opportunity to have sex. I've always been shy and withdrawn, and when I hit puberty I developed a serious case of depression and social anxiety. This turned normal teenage relationship angst into a terrifying feeling of paralysis. And it was at its worst during high school and college, when most people are starting to begin their sex lives.

I don't think I'm unattractive, but I'm also not particularly attractive. I was a skinny nerd in school and never really did anything to draw attention to myself. I asked a couple girls out in high school, and they said "Yes" but didn't mean it.

How have your dates/partners reacted?It wasn't until my second year of college that I had a sexual experience at all. I was studying in England and became friends with a cute girl named Anna. I noticed that she seemed to pay more than friendly attention to me, and I was mutually interested. I was too terrified to act, so she took the initiative and for my last two weeks in England, we slept together a few times. We didn't have intercourse, and I'm still not sure exactly why -- except that I wouldn't do it without a condom, and I didn't have one.

Going out and getting a condom would have seemed a natural solution, but I guess it just never occurred to me. As it was, I was thrilled with what was happening. My self-esteem experienced a surge from her. That, and she had a special talent for fellatio. I can't speak from experience, naturally, but I think I actually had multiple orgasms. I certainly had two back-to-back that I will remember until the day I die.

That's how it went. She went down on me, I went down on her. I tried to be especially attentive during oral sex, but then I guess most insecure guys are. It became obvious that she was just having fun, but I actually liked her. We were both American students in England, but when school started back, we'd be back together in the same city. I realized that she wasn't really interested in pursuing it. And she wasn't.

Since then, I've gone out on dates with four or five girls, but none of them have ever turned into anything. The closest I came to sex since then was one night I spent with a girl named Sarah. She stayed at my place and wanted to have sex, but she was having her period. A few months after that, I starting seeing a girl named Jen, but she had just gotten out of a relationship and didn't want any commitment at all beyond making out on my couch. She never really broke up with me; she just stopped calling, didn't return my messages, and I got the point.

Now I'm 28 and worried desperately that the clock is ticking for me. I know that people can have sex after 30, but I don't like my odds. I'm not in great shape, my social anxiety still keeps me from talking to people, and I'm going bald. I'm also insecure and desperate, and neither of things are considered turn-ons. It's funny, because I'm not insecure sexually, really; just the fact that I'm so inexperienced. I'm not hugely well-endowed, but I'm well above-average. My stamina seemed fine during oral sex, and I think I'm at least somewhat good at it myself, or else that girl Anna was a good actress. It's just the simple inter-personal things that you do to build a relationship -- or just to get laid -- that I can't master.

Anything else you want to say about virginity or our cultural attitudes towards it?There is just so much SEX out there in the world and so many ways to remind you that you're not having it. The perception is that everyone ELSE is doing it. It's a false perception, but it's still pretty convincing if you're insecure.

I dare not tell anyone that I'm still a virgin. Most people assume I'm not, since I'm freakin' 27, and if the topic does come up, I say that I did it once. But the worst thing is admitting it to myself. Because logically, I know that other people aren't judging me nearly as much as I judge myself. And that lack of confidence has a cyclical effect, decreasing my attractiveness and becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I'm sure things aren't as bad for me as they seem. All of my female friends assure me that I'm going to find someone someday (although that's just half a sentence; the other half is "but it won't be me"). But the fact that I've had such poor luck with women -- and been treated poorly even by those who didn't turn me down -- just makes me wonder if I won't end up as a 50-year-old "confirmed bachelor" who teaches literature at a small private school and then goes home and cries into his Chardonnay.

But thanks for the website; it's nice for us virgins to have somebody else to hear from. And it's good to know that there are more of us out there than Madison Avenue would have us believe. And maybe someday being a nerdy, but loving guy will be the new fashion. Or maybe there's a bigger touch of handsomeness in me than I could ever admit. But I'm tired of holding my breath. I'm hoping for the world to change. Hope along with me, won't you?

Tell us how you define virginity, how you lost/kept it, and anything else about the v-word. Email your answers to info*at*