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V-Card Diaries: Emily Dickingson "Is there anyone that could love me for me enough that my extreme involuntary virgin status wouldn't turn him off?"

Writing from: Cleveland, Ohio

Age: Late 30s

How I define virginity: My definition seems to align w/society's definition: not having engaged in sexual intercourse of the baby-making variety.

But really, MY definition of virginity for myself is MUCH broader and encompasses many more issues. I read an article in Psychology Today that was a review of research on involuntary sexual virgins, and I very closely identified with what the research describes: adults who are virgins not of their own choosing.

The research studies showed that for involuntary virgins, there were often signs of this fate far back in childhood. Here, the author of the article highlights some of the "tells" of eventual involuntary adult virgins: children who are isolated, have a hard time making friends, are made fun of by their peers, children who feel strongly socially awkward and therefore prefer to play alone.

All of these descriptors applied to me. As such, I never was asked to a school dance, or asked to dance, or asked out on a date. I've never been on a date. I have never been kissed. Forget rounding the bases, I've never even been invited to the game. I have zip-zero-nada experience with anything related to love or romance or flirting or dating or sex.

I am very lonely, and I crave companionship. I yearn for a sexual partner, but only if we are in love with each other. Sex with strangers just for the sex frightens me; I'm scared of all the ways it would go wrong because of my lack of knowledge or experience. On the other hand, sex with someone I love and who loves me is also scary because of all the pressure that would be put on both of us. Is there anyone that could love me for me? Love me enough that my extreme involuntary virgin status wouldn't turn him off?

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. Find The V-Card Diaries here on most Wednesdays.

Only Connect...

The other day I was re-reading our V-Card Diaries stories, and I was reminded that people who have never had sex are sometimes dealing with personal issues that go beyond the lack of physical experience. So I was struck by this excerpt from Vivian Gornick's New York Times essay on British author E. M. Forster, author of Howards End, as well as A Room With A View, A Passage to India, and Maurice:

Forster was 31 years old when “Howards End” appeared, at which time he was a closeted homosexual and a virgin who knew nothing of how erotic relations worked — with any combination of partners. His ignorance weighed on him, and in his imagination sex achieved a mythical power that became symbolic of all in human existence that one could feel but not express, imagine but not realize. His fearfulness was such that until now he had known neither passion nor love; what he did know was yearning. This yearning energized his work but also limited it. In time he lost his virginity, but sex alone did not provide experience. Anxiety — that frozen sea within — still made it impossible for him to dive deep into the kind of desire that leads to self-knowledge; and without self-knowledge all remains murk and isolation.

V-Card Diaries: Christine "My social anxiety kept me from forming intimate sexual relationships."

Today we're highlighting Christine in Wisconsin, who feels she'll be single for a long while and hopes to experience a fulfilling sexuality even without a partner. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I'm a 29-year-old female living in Wisconsin. I'm a librarian.

How I define virginity:

I don't like the word "virginity" or all that it entails. I think it's an outmoded term. I like what Betty Dodson has to say on the matter, that if you've experienced orgasm or any kind of sex (including masturbation), you are not a virgin. By this standard, I have not been a virgin for quite some time. I unfortunately also operate under more conventional definitions of virginity, which is not having experienced male-female vaginal penetration. I have not done that. And moreover, I consider myself a virgin because there are so many levels of sexual and romantic contact that I have not experienced.

Here's my story: 

I grew up in a home where my parents required all my emotional resources and there wasn’t much space for me to seek relationships outside the family. I developed social anxiety over the years and got used to not spending much time with peers. I’m finally free of this dynamic and it is taking time and considerable effort to redirect my energies to creating fulfilling relationships.

I am a very sexual person who enjoys masturbating frequently and sometimes uses books, porn, and toys. For about two years, I had extremely strong sexual desire that led me to engaging in online sex (chatting, phone sex, exchanging photos) several times a day. I will probably be single for a long while and my hope is to experience my sexuality as fulfilling and real even without a partner.

I’ve been on a total of four dates, none leading to a second date or a relationship. At the end of one date, I held hands with him and we kissed and it was very nice. That is the extent of my in-person sexual contact with a man.

I know that I want to eventually get married and have children and that all of this requires sex and intimacy. I believe that I am capable of it but I just need to keep building my life and working towards these relationships. I feel deep shame about my lack of experience, but I also understand the reasons why and I am working to create a more engaged relational life.

V-Card Diaries: James "My valedictorian medal had a big V on it, which could have also stood for virgin"

Today we're highlighting James in Canada, whose romantic encounter with a woman at a bonfire ended in disappointment, but also reassurance that someone found him attractive. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I'm a 19 year-old boy from Canada who is a second year university student. I was also my high school's Valedictorian and was given a medal with a big "V" on it. It's funny how the "V" could also stand for "Virgin."

How I define virginity:

Never having consensually caused an orgasm though physical contact with another person. Also a patriarchal construct used as a reference to self-value, commodifying women and stratifying men; engrained into consciousness so well that it has become a dominant part in some people's lives. Heck, even I have trouble letting go of the idea that it something special.

Here's my story:

All throughout middle school and high school I have never had a girlfriend, due mostly to my lack of social skills. I remember feeling different and slightly alienated from my peers as it seemed everyone else I knew was able to easily acquire a boyfriend or girlfriend. Me being a guy, I rarely got asked out. I remember the first time I was asked out was in grade 7. I was really nervous being young and less familiar to the whole "dating game" and ended up saying neither "yes" nor "no" to her. I now regret that.

The farthest I have ever gone with anyone was with this girl I met at a late night bonfire beach party. She was a year young than I was and I remember how she would frequently come to talk with me and seemed interested with everything I said, which I thought was just her being freindly. She started getting cuddly with me and I cuddled her back since I thought she was cute. The party ended when the tide came in and the fire was put out. We were the last to leave and we ended up getting lost while walking; to where, I don't remember. It was dark and we were alone so we went back to my car, which was parked by the beach. When we got to my car I remember us standing there and staring at each other when it just happened, we kissed!

We then ended up cuddling and making out in my car and talked to each other about various things. She told me that she had had a crush on me for a while and even viewed my Facebook profile a few times. She even told me that she was attracted by my social awkwardness. I eventually addmitted to her that I was a virgin and that I never really had a girlfriend before and she told me she too was a virgin, which was nice to know. I found out we had quite a few things in common and we ended up crashing for the night in my car. I remember asking her jokingly if this meant we slept together.

Thinking I had a new girlfriend, I messaged her a few days later. She responded by telling me how drunk she was that night and how she didn't really want a relationship with anyone and how sorry she was. I was deeply saddened and disappointed but got over it after a solitary walk through town. I am still a virgin who has never been in a relationship but it is nice to know that there are others in my situation. It is also reassuring to know that there is at least one person out there who finds me attractive.

V-Card Diaries: Jen "When a guy said I was cute, I freaked out and couldn't breathe."

Our latest V-Card Diaries comes from Jen in St. Louis, MO, who believes God has a great love out there for her, and she should wait for him. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. We'd love to run it in this blog. A little about myself:

26 years old, Female, St. Louis, MO

How I define virginity:

One who has never had a penis inside of her.

Here's my story:

I'm scared of being in a relationship. When men show interest in me, I get anxious. I went to dinner with a guy who said I was cute. I freaked out, couldn't breathe, couldn't swallow my food. Because of my fears and insecurities, I'm afraid I'll never have a real connection with someone to have sex. I just hope and pray that there is someone out there for me. I think that God has a great love out there for me and I should wait for him, wait for love. Some think I'm naive to feel this way.