About sexual inexperience and virginity

This website is meant for people of all genders and orientations who have little or no experience with dating, sex or relationships. The site is for you if you want to be in a relationship, but you have difficulty finding suitable people to date, or you don’t have the confidence to initiate a relationship, or you have been rejected a lot. These dating difficulties lead to long-time singlehood and thus to loneliness and other consequences.

Maybe you have no experience with romantic physical affection, such as holding hands or kissing. Maybe you have no experience with sexual activity, such as naked touching, playing with breasts and genitals, or having oral, anal or vaginal intercourse.

Or maybe you’re a long-time single person who has difficulty starting a relationship, but who has some sexual experience. This might be because you found a willing partner in the past, perhaps for a relationship, perhaps for physical intimacy. Or you might have some unwanted sexual experience, due to abuse, assault, or feeling pressured into it. Perhaps you are enjoying sexual activity with sex workers or friends-with-benefits, but you haven’t found an emotionally intimate dating relationship.

I’ve been using the term “inexperienced” to refer to all of the above situations in a respectful, neutral way. But the more common word people use is “virgin”. Often combined with the person’s age, or the word “loser”. There’s a stigma!

The word “virgin” doesn’t have a single clear definition. Traditionally it refers to a person who has never had heterosexual vaginal intercourse. I would define “virgin” more inclusively, as a person who has not had any kind of sex. Either way, there are grey areas such as people who have gotten sexually intimate but not achieved penetration or orgasm. When you are first experimenting with sexual activity, there is a lot of awkward fun to be had in these grey areas!

That traditional definition of virginity is quite problematic, as explained by Erin McKelle and other authors. One reason is the social pressure for men to be “studs” who lose their virginity early in life and keep having lots of sex. I wonder if the stigma against male adult virgins is making inexperienced straight men even more anxious about dating: so much pride is dependent upon finding a girlfriend, that it’s hard to relax and be casual in the early stages of meeting potential partners.

Meanwhile, straight women get mixed messages in today’s Western society. Some still have a traditional expectation to preserve your virginity by abstaining from sex until marriage. Some denigrate women for being “sluts” if they enjoy sex too much with too many men. Some expect women to be liberated and sexually active, and might stigmatize a female virgin. It’s pretty frustrating for a woman who wants to be dating and having sex to not find a partner.

If you’re queer, the concept of virginity gets even more complicated. I first had sex with a woman in my 20s, and started having sex with men in my 30s. Did I lose my virginity twice?

So, this website is for you the inexperienced person, regardless of whether you are a virgin, or you’ve lost your virginity, or you reject the concept entirely. We are talking about the challenges of finding people who want to be intimate with you, both physically and emotionally.

Check out Zawn Villines’ article Yes, It’s Okay If You Are Still A Virgin for the reality of how many young people have had sex, and why you might want to see a counsellor for therapy about virginity stigma or related concerns.


Alana is the organizer of Connect2Hope.net, the founder of the Love Not Anger project, and the creator of the original "involuntary celibacy" support website in 1997. This post expresses her own views; she is not a mental-health professional or dating expert.

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