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V-Card Diaries: Mark "From hindsight, I consider the experience a freak accident"

Today we're highlighting 49-year-old Mark, who talks to us about pagan Greek female mathematicians, cryonics, and why skydiving is like sex. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.

Tell us about yourself: I’m 49 years old, white, male, atheist. I grew up in a state on the periphery of the American South. I own way too many books. I work in the hospitality industry in a Southwestern state. I live with a cat named after a pagan Greek female mathematician who was murdered by Christians, though I can’t tell if she’s my cat or if I’m her human.

I’m also well known in a couple of fringe tech subcultures called cryonics and transhumanism, but not for anything notable I’ve accomplished; just for hanging around for a number of years, expressing partly-baked opinions online and coming up with a neologism on one occasion which has apparently “gone viral,” as they say.

What's your definition of virginity? In my case, I consider myself a virgin because I’ve never ejaculated inside a woman’s vagina, either with or without a condom. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had other kinds of physical contact with women, however. (More on that below.)

Why have you decided to remain a virgin? I haven’t “decided” anything of the sort. One, virginity is the default state, just like not having ever gone skydiving is the default state. Okay, that’s not the best analogy; but you wouldn’t find it odd to meet a man my age who had never jumped out of a plane wearing a parachute. You need the opportunity first, before you can exert yourself to lose both your sexual virginity and your skydiving virginity. That is hard to do if you don’t have either a cooperative woman or the plane and a parachute available.

Two, women serve as the gatekeepers. They have to consent to sexual contact. My sexual desires don’t give me a right or an entitlement to the use of any woman’s body, especially in such an intimate and emotionally complicated way. In other words, women have decided for me that I remain a virgin.

How have your partners reacted? I’ve had a few dates in my life which didn’t lead to anything. I suppose I’ve had only one attempt at a “partner,” whom I met in 1994 (when I was 34) through the tech subcultures I mentioned above. She advertised for men interested in cryonics and possibly marriage in a real paper newsletter that was still published and delivered by mail back then. I contacted her because she seemed a better candidate than any woman I had ever heard of as a plausible girlfriend, and during our long-distance courtship I mentioned my virginity, which intrigued her, I suppose. She agreed to fly out to visit me for sexual relations, which didn’t go well at all because I couldn’t get an erection to save my life despite our best efforts. I didn’t, and don’t, have anything medically wrong with me in that area; it’s just that I lacked the conditioned responses to try to start an adult sex life without practice or preparation at age 34.

From hindsight I consider this experience a “freak accident,” because if I had met this woman in more socially common way, she probably wouldn’t have sexually offered herself to me. A few years later I visited a psychotherapist and told him about my virginity and my sexual dysfunction with this woman. He tried to sell me on a course of treatment with a surrogate and I declined, not only for financial reasons and the distance I’d have to travel; but also because I find the thought of having a strange woman touch me, even in a “professional” capacity, distasteful.

Any general thoughts on virginity? I conjecture that boys growing up into men have a developmental window from their mid teens through their early 20’s to have their first sexual experiences. If they miss that window, they might have problems trying to initiate their adult sex lives later on.

For example, the sex therapist I mentioned above told me that a lot of his clients are ultra-orthodox Jewish men who don’t start having sex until they get married well into their 20’s, and then discover that their penises don’t want to cooperate. I have to wonder if adult male virgins in other abstinence-obsessed cultures like radical Islam or fundamentalist Christianity also encounter similar problems if they have to wait too long before they gain their community’s approved access to sex in marriage.