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V-Card Diaries: Mark "Even thinking about telling a girl how I feel sends me into a full-blown panic attack. Any advice?"

Today we're highlighting 22-year-old Mark, who emailed us for some advice. So we decided, with his OK, to share it with the How to Lose Your Virginity community. If you have any thoughts or advice for Mark, please leave him a comment. Thanks! If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. I am a 22-year male virgin. Not only am I a virgin, but I have never been kissed or asked a girl on a date. Not that there haven't been girls that I've liked, quite the opposite; but even thinking about telling a girl about how I feel sends me into a full-blown panic attack. I often feel that drugs and booze are the only way that I can express myself, but those sometimes turn against me; I simply don't know what to think.

It might worth adding a few things: I didn't come from a religious or repressive household; on the contrary, I have always been able to discuss sex and relationship issues openly with my family. I'm not a hopeless romantic either, and although I certainly would like to find a special someone, I'm not naively hung-up on saving it as something major; at this point, I'd rather just get it over with so if and when I do find someone I'm not completely awkward and inept.

Lastly, I have no problems talking to girls on a friendly level, and I cherish having female friends who lend balance to the testosterone circus (and though they are female, they will always be my 'dudes'). It's only when I find myself developing more-than-friend feelings that I panic; I'm currently looking into therapy for that.

I discovered [this blog] couple of months ago, and it has since been a source of comfort for me. It's helpful to know that I'm not alone, or a bumbling freak of nature like I'd be thought of by many. Most of my college classes are populated by males who feel that burning male need to talk endlessly of their 'conquests'; as you might imagine, being surrounded by that in my position can be rather embarrassing, not to mention annoying.

Do you have any advice for me?