Last week I received the following letter from a reader named “Bo” asking me for help:
I am a 19 year old virgin male. Now, to me, this seems pretty sad since it seems like people are fucking all around me. I'm almost certain, I seem pretty pathetic to you, as a woman who is sexual and had young experiences. But through my entire youth, I had been shielded and protected by my parents and therefore missed out on my teenage fuckfests. I was homeschooled, which also has a lot to do with it. To help complete the picture, I also fell into an online relationship with a girl. I ultimately was forced to end it for reasons I'd rather not get into….Regardless, I had to end it and it killed me. (as far as I know she is moving on slowly, but she was not isolated like me, she has friends and school etc.) I hope I don't seem so pathetic, but surely I do... This brings me to my question. I feel myself going crazy with loneliness and I need sex. How can a man find a girl who wants casual sex? I don't really think I am ready for a girlfriend again, because I am too emotional. But I would like find a fuck buddy. I considered prostitutes and massage parlors, but I'd rather not run the gambit of getting caught and jail... How should I ask a girl if she wants to have sex no strings attached? I know there is not a single way to handle this, but I was wondering if you could give me some advice please.
I thanked Bo for his trust in me and told him I’d get back to him after I thought about it for a couple of days.
Now that I’ve thought about Bo and his situation for a few days, I still feel a bit inadequate in my ability to respond to him with any kind of authority, so I’m going to do my best and hope that you, my readers of my pretty dumb things, will add your bits of wisdom in an effort to help young Bo out.
As I see it your issue has the following components: a gap in socialization due to being isolated by your parents, a raging hormonal need, and a sense that what you’re experiencing is somehow not merely abnormal but wrong, and therefore worthy of derision.
And all of these things are complicated by the human condition of loneliness. Which makes for a whole lot of no fun for Bo.
Ok, first, I don’t think you’re pathetic. Furthermore, I think anyone who thinks you’re pathetic feels that way to make him or herself feel better. We all have crap portions to our lives—no matter who we are—and some people choose to cope with the crap by looking down on what they perceive to be other people’s crap. Feel free to wave the big Fuck-You finger in those people’s general direction.
I also don’t think you’re pathetic because there are no hard and fast rules about when a person should become sexually active. I wish I hadn’t done things the way I did. I did them the way I did in no small part to deal with my adolescent life crap. It wasn’t the best way, but it was my way, and so I’ve had to learn to accept and forgive myself for my mistakes and celebrate my joy in my own way.
My boyfriend, for example, didn’t lose his virginity until the spring semester of his senior year in college. Donny was 21 when he first fell in and then made love. My roommate and her sister, who is one of my best friends, and their sister are all virgins. They range in age between 24 and 32. On the other hand, one of my other best friends lost her virginity when she was 14. It’s not the amount of sexual experience that puts the “adult” in “consenting adult.” So don’t judge yourself against totally arbitrary cultural standards.
And even more importantly, I don’t think you’re pathetic because you admit you have emotions. Men who admit they feel are the gold standard for masculinity. They are not the aberrant sports who should make other Steve McQueen Mitchum men embarrassed to share their XY chromosomes; they are the people who give thinking women and feeling men hope for the future.
So you hurt. So you’re human. Everybody hurts. Don the marigold Buddhist robes for a moment and accept that life is suffering. Now ask, so what am I going to do about it?
Great question, I have a few suggestions.
Rock Your Body: You need to find some physical activity you enjoy and you need to do it with passion. It can be Judo, weight-lifting, spelunking, running or white-water kayaking—it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you love it for as long as you love it. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you can do it regularly, or train for it regularly. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it keeps you moving your body.
Moving your body does a few things. It gives you an appreciation of your physical self that you can’t have sitting on your ass. It gives you confidence. It makes you healthier both physically and emotionally. And it makes you more interesting to women. Women don’t care so much how a guy is moving; we just care that he is.
We like men of action, and whether that action is hitting a ball, a bag, a gym, or a metaphoric wall, we appreciate it. So get out and move in a way you enjoy.
We Are Family: Group-feed your head. Learn something new with new people. If you’re not in college, join a reading group, a writing group, a model plane society, a historical reenactment society, something. It just can’t be online. Find a group of real, live human beings with real, live bodies who actually breathe the same air on a regular basis. Learn how to socialize, which you need to do, while you’re doing something you’re interested in.
Go Your Own Way: You didn’t give a whole lot of information about your family relationships, but from the little you did give, it sounds as if you need to set yourself apart as an adult, and this is something everyone your age needs to do. I can’t really tell you how to do this—because I don’t know you or your situation—but you need to find a way to claim your own world. You might have to move away. Or you might just need to have a really difficult conversation. In any case, you need to learn how you are your own man in addition to being someone else’s son or brother. You will find this all a lot easier once you’ve spend some time engaging in the first two activities.
Ok, Chelsea, great, you say, where’s the sex? Buck up, li’l buckaroo, I say, I’m just getting to the sexy parts.
New Toy: Accept that in all likelihood you’re not going to get laid any time in the next few weeks. So explore your options in the wonderful world of masturbation. Granted, toys for men are kind of lame. Your genitals are sort of self-evident and they don’t seem to lend themselves to creative silicone alternatives to the mouth, the hand, the pussy, and the ass, all of which require an inward motion for penile satiation. It might be that in the grand scheme of gender inequality, women come out on top in the sex toy department. But you still have options.
First, get lube. If you don’t have proper lube, you’re doing it wrong, whatever it is you’re doing. Second, explore objects like the Fleshlight or other equivalents. It might be the best $60 you ever spent. Third, you have an ass, enjoy it. Buy an ass toy. Whatever it is that intrigues you, do some reading, see what there is, and spend your disposable income wisely. If you live at home, get a P.O. box, or its equivalent.
And then change your attitude. You’re not condemned to a land of onanism; you’re exploring your own sexuality. The more you know about what you like, the better able you’ll be to express that your future lovers.
Girls, Girls, Girls: Meet some in low-pressure environments. You want to meet a girl? Go where they are. Real live girls are known to populate places such as gyms, restaurants, libraries and malls. Go there. Even better, get a job there. You need money; you need to meet a chick; work where there are chicks or where chicks go. I know of more than one busboy who dated a waitress, hostess or customer. I know of more than one guy who worked at the Gap and found a girlfriend. I know more than one couple who met in the library stacks. Plus, you’re not meeting girls; you’re working out or working. It’s win/win.
Wookin’ Pa Nub: Don’t. Not just yet. Look, it would be really easy for me to give you advice about how to write an ad for Craig’s List or any other Internets hook-up site that would get you laid quicker than Jamie Foxx in a strip bar. But I’m not going to because it seems to me the problem you’ve got is one of being isolated, not one of getting fucked.
It would be immoral for me to counsel you to experience NSA sex. You need strings, lots and lots of strings, to lots and lots of people, the vast majority of whom you will neither fuck nor will you want to. Once you have that stringy network of people, then you can decide whether or not you want to have meaningfree sex—something that I do believe has real value in people’s lives—because if it goes badly, and it might, you’ll have people you can rely on to help you.
Friends first, sex later. And don’t put yourself on anyone else’s timeline. It’s not a race. Donny was twenty-one when he had sex for the first time, two years older than you are now. He always says he didn’t lose his virginity because he knew exactly when, where and to whom he gave it. I hope that when you lose yours, you will have as happy and memorable an experience.