Artwork: Tess Emily Rodriguez
She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
Like one of your followers who recently wrote you a letter, I’ve just turned 23 in January, and I’m still a virgin, which I believe is completely unacceptable in western society. I’ve tried so f**king hard to find a girlfriend and to no avail. I can’t find one. I don’t think I’m that good looking, even though people say I am.
It just consumes me, and I can’t stop thinking about it. And I’m tired of thinking about it.
I’ve tried everything to meet women.
I’ve tried taking classes, signing up for co-ed sports leagues, etc., but as usual, they are always filled with people my parents’ age in these activities — nobody my age.
I’ve tried online dating as well. That doesn’t work. It always seems women I’m attracted to don’t like me back, and women I don’t find attractive like me.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have no confidence in myself, and I don’t know what else to do.
I honestly believe I am going to be alone and a virgin for the rest of my life.
I’m jealous of my siblings, who are in relationships and live together. I don’t know if my standards are too high or what.
What else can I do?
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I really get your frustration. I know it feels like you are the last virgin standing. But I promise that is not the case. I have many friends — of all genders — who did not lose their virginity and/or have a relationship until they were in their 20s. And although it may feel like you are all alone, you are not.
People are waiting longer than they did in the previous generation. One in eight people are still virgins at age 26. Beyond the topic of your virginity, it’s important to unpack what’s at the core here.
This less about sex and more about the desire for intimacy.
And that intimacy is not just physical, but emotional too. Physical intimacy is much easier to come by, but emotional intimacy is much more rewarding.
You mentioned that you are worried that you are not good-looking enough or that the women you are attracted to are not attracted to you. “Good looks” are completely subjective. Although you’ve not been feeling super confident, I am certain that there are plenty of women out there who will find you attractive.
You mentioned that you’ve “tried everything” to meet women. I am curious if the classes and co-ed sports leagues you mentioned are genuine interests of yours, or if you tried them with the sole interest of meeting women.
One of the best ways to meet people we might be compatible with is by participating in activities that we naturally gravitate toward.
For example, if you always wanted to learn how to surf, take surfing lessons. If you love art, take yourself on a gallery tour. If your favorite writer has an upcoming reading, go to that reading.
The point is that when we relax and do things we like, we are far more likely to attract people, and the bonus is that we will likely have shared interests with them. Plus, you will take the focus off of meeting someone and put the emphasis on enjoying your life.
Picking activities that make you happy will naturally boost your confidence. That boost in confidence will make a world of difference in how you feel around women and how you come across.
Whether or not your standards are too high, I do not know. You’ll need to figure out if you are dismissing possible dates for superficial reasons or if you know what you want and need in a potential partner. But I do know this…
Being a virgin and lacking relationship experience does not mean that something is wrong with you.
You are so young. You have a lifetime ahead of you, one in which you will likely have plenty of dating experiences. I don’t believe you will be alone forever. Lastly, I want you to work on being kind to yourself. Finding some meditation practice would be beneficial. And speaking with a therapist — about your distress over the situation and feelings of jealousy toward your siblings — could really help, too. Maybe it’s as simple as letting yourself spend an afternoon doing what you love — hiking, reading, napping, or whatever it may be.
Go easy on yourself. It will happen.
The information within Ask Erin should in no way be interpreted as medical advice because I’m not a medical professional. But I am here to help — to share with you the wisdom I’ve gained after years of making mistakes. If you have a question for me about relationships, addiction, dating, friendships, depression, parenting, sex, consent, what I’m watching, what I’m reading, Tinaksite, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, your anonymity is golden. Lastly, I’m so excited to share with you my Ask Erin Self-Care Guide, free when you sign up for my weekly newsletter. xoxo