Today we are venturing outside of the rather PG-terrain that I like to stick to. Nothing too untoward, but this is your heads’ up. I tossed in a few video links here and there to keep it enticing. (Not that kind of video. Perv.)
A friend and I met for food and beers recently. He was feeling rather glum about his relationship prospects, or that week, his lack of. He thought his situation was rather dire, so I felt I should offer some information to soften the blow. I looked around, checked the booth behind us for potential eavesdroppers, and revealed a rather private piece of information about myself.
I am a thirty-six year-old virgin (so close).
Here is some basic information should you expect I have some Frog Prince/ Quasimodo issues. I am tall and thin, with average facial features. I am reasonably in shape. I have barely any emotional baggage. I try to be a hugger of many, hater of none. I am capable of social interaction and verbal cleverness.
There is not anything freakishly wrong with me. I have it on good authority (i.e., I asked), and it has been verified that I am not creepy. No heroic struggle against life’s hurdles. Just a normal (-ish) guy.
My cohort had decided to start having sex as a teenager. Naturally he had a few responses (it played out like a scene from Friends) that I am guessing many others would share.
How… I mean, if you… HOW?
-I am a rather solid introvert. My idea of a good time is three days in my apartment with a cat and a stack of books. Socializing does not rank as my prime priority. I am hardly a shut in, but the opportunities for sex are lower for me than with others.
-I am not famous. I have no groupies, no people putting me on their “Famous Five” exception lists, and no magazines touting me as the Sexiest Man Alive. Simply put, there is less in the way of temptation or opportunity for me.
-The ladies and I do quite well as friends. Just friends. I hug quite a bit, and I offer backrubs/ massages as warranted. However I would hardly categorize our interactions as “frisky”.
Okay… but WHY?
-I am not married. The Bible says do not have sex with someone unless you are married to them. I try to do what The Bible says. In this area, I have been rather obedient.
-I am not a fling type of person. One-night stands would not sit well with me. I care more about sleeping next to someone I care about than sleeping with them. My understanding is that sex is for deepening the bond between couples. I already fall in love rather easily. If I slept with someone, I would want to spend more time with them. Prostitutes, strip joints, one-night stands; they all sound like quick fixes that would lead to long-term frustration. So I avoid those choices entirely.
-I was taught that when you are falling for a woman, you should treat her respectfully. Once the connection is established, then you might get a bit more physical. Slow and steady, not bed ‘em and leave ‘em.
-Want a fun little internet search? Go to your favorite search engine. Type in “CDC” and “STD”. You will see pages upon pages of government sites dealing with treatment, awareness, and descriptions; more information that you would ever want to sift through. Guess what? Not my problem. I do not have to worry about any of that.
-Speaking of which. Have you ever been to a doctor’s office when you have never had sex? The checklist they give you becomes a cakewalk. “Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, and…. Nope. Done!”
(My favorite doctor-patient interaction went something like this:
“Now, cases like these often come across when patients have sexual intercourse”
“Well, that’s not really a factor here.”
“Now, some people define intercourse differently. There can also be—“
“Well, lots of people say that they haven’t, but you really haven’t, have you?”
-While I would categorize myself as heterosexual, the world tends to view me as asexual. Boyfriends are not intimidated by me. Sometimes I wonder if my preference to have female friends has neutered me a bit. Whatever the reason, I quite often hear; “I just do not think of you that way”. There is still plenty of intimacy in those relationships, but not in the sexual realm. Two different women have told me that “Your arms are sexy”, and that is as far as ogling me goes.
-Having kids is not currently a life-goal for me. If I never have anyone to carry on my legacy, I am fine with that. I do not have the urge to crank out a litter. Once in a while, I will think fondly of a female and see how she reacts to small children. I may think to myself, “If it would make her happy, I could see myself having kids for her.” Would I have kids all by myself? Nope. I have five nieces and nephews. My best friend has two kids; I am covered. I get all the reading out loud, all the wrestling, all the cute antics, but with no need to stay longer than two hours if I do not wish to.
Perhaps the most important reason is that I have seen what sex has done to some of my friends. The following are certainly strong arguments for me to treat sex cautiously and seriously:
-I have heard women share about older male relatives taking advantage of them as little girls and scarring them. To this day, those adult women are uncomfortable being close to someone they love because a disturbed individual wronged them when they were far too young.
-I have also heard about overly aggressive boyfriends. They are supposed to be in a loving and caring relationship with a woman. Then they force themselves onto the woman in what was once the safety of her residence. The darker part of me understands the temptation, but could never condone the act. Rape is rape, and I think it is about the worst thing you can do. Especially to someone you claim to love.
-Then there are the women that have a child with a guy that they end up resenting. They love the kid, sure. However they get tied to exes that they would sooner forget forever. They struggle to maintain shared custody with people that they really do not want to be in the same room with. There may not be a good guy or bad guy in the situation, but the conflict remains.
Are you sure you’re even capable of having sex?
-Mostly, I tend to trust biology. No matter how much restraint I have in waking life, I do have “those kinds” of dreams. I imagine that I will be fine. I know people that choose to, “navigate their joysticks in one-player mode”, often several times a day. However, I have my religious reasons to avoid that, along with my preference for self-control. Everyone needs a release from stress, but that is not my escape of choice.
How do you know you like women?
-I have no trouble being attracted to the fairer sex. When I go jogging in the summer, I am surrounded by ladies in curve-hugging pants and sports bras. (In the winter, the apparel is still rather clingy.) It is appropriate athletic attire. But the temptation is remains.
Plenty of lovely women patronize the place where I work. A woman once came into my comic shop, pulled out a comic, and asked, “Do you think I could pull this off?” (Yes, she would have looked pretty great in spandex.) I believe I choked out an answer akin to, “Oh, I think you would be fine.” Attraction is not a problem for me. Maintaining control is.
Do you expect the person you date to be a virgin too? Are you going to be okay if the woman you fall for is experienced?
-I do not harbor any beliefs that a woman I end up with will be a virgin. For one thing, I really do not have a say in the person they were before I come along. Life takes us all down different roads. The older they get, the more likely that sex will have entered the picture. My belief is that it is more important to focus on who the person is in the time that I know them, not who they may have been in relationship with before they knew I existed. At this point, I assume folks have had sex and leave it be.
-I do not rank specially for not having sex. I am a statistical oddity, sure. But I am definitely not “better” than anybody. I am all for having sex. If I were married, I would be happy to engage in that carnal activity. I am sure it would be quite fun. Once I am eligible for membership, I will eagerly sign on. If my spouse signed up for the club before I did, then so be it.
And then the climax.
(Oh come on. This much discussion about sex entitles me to at least one climax joke.)
To wrap up, I would point you towards the under-rated film, Keeping the Faith. Perfectly normal fellow lives in the city, has people he cares about, and just happens to not be sexually active. Plus, the movie is pretty great too.
I feel that I am a complete and whole person even though I lack a sex life. If Quakerism had a sect of people that forsook sex and went off and lived in the hills like monks, I might look into it. Apparently I can survive without sex and if God called me to abstain, then I reckon I would be fine.
I would rather not keep at this for the rest of my life. There are times when it can be incredibly frustrating. I have urges and desires that I do not follow through on. Instead of engaging in perfectly normal activities, I must find some sort of distraction. Consider the words of Ben Fountain:
“How wonderful, how absolutely holy to be appreciated for yourself, to be handled, petted, groped, pawed, and generally hungered over.” –Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Each and every part of that description sounds great to me. However, if my current status is how it is supposed to be, then I will keep doing what I am doing. I am pretty excellent at being a bachelor. I will keep trying to have romantic relationships with women, yet try not to worry if nothing comes of it.
I still have no idea what the sam hill Tinder entails. I am quite fine having never dialed a 900 number. I am glad that women do not have to worry about me trying to get them drunk and naked. I have logged a few complaints about my fully-clothed situation over the years, but I imagine the same could be said for those who are sexually active. The lifestyle I have chosen has been the right one for me. Especially when it causes people sitting across from me to do a spit take with their beer.