Leave your house, skip to the store, buy a hat and then HOLD ONTO IT, because it’s time for another…
Alle Malice has a B.A. in Psychology, which is basically a degree in seeing through other people’s bullshit. She also has a B.A. in English, but that’s not really relevant. Though she does not pretend to have it all figured out, she does have enough figured out to be helpful.
I’m a 26-year-old (female) virgin. Hell, I’ve never even properly kissed a dude. I want to start dating, but the little I’ve tried (online) just showed me I’m terrified. I have body issues (I’m a bigger girl…tall, and fat, with smaller boobs. Gah, nature is cruel) but I’m also scared because I have such little experience. To make matters worse, my default setting is “boys don’t like you!” so even if a guy is showing interest, I either don’t notice or don’t believe it.
How can I improve me confidence, and stop being such a scaredy cat? One of my guy friends told me I really needed to be more confident, but I just don’t know how to do it. I mean, I think I’m a pretty awesome lady in a lot of respects…I think I’m pretty funny, smart, and kind, but I still don’t feel great about myself. Is there a place I can go and have random guys tell me I’m awesome? ‘Cause that’d really be super.
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin, no matter what age you are. So put that out of your mind right away. Who you choose to have sex with and when is totally your call, and anyone who tries to change your mind about it or pressure you in any way is a dick.
But here’s the thing: I get the impression from this letter that the reason you’ve never been kissed is not really because you’ve made a choice, but because you’re scared to make one. The first thing you mention are your body issues, and dude, I totally get it. Every single person on the planet worries about their what their body looks like, especially when they’re naked, ESPECIALLY especially when they’re naked with someone else. Because whatever your feelings are about the other person and whatever the situation–boyfriend, girlfriend, one night stand, friend–sex of any kind is an intimate act. That kind of intimacy can be pretty terrifying, especially the first time around.
There are a lot of things to unpack here, so I think I shall do so bullet-point style.
- Body image. I say this as an expert: YOUR SELF-WORTH IS NOT SOLELY DETERMINED BY HOW MUCH YOU WEIGH. It is not dependent on being a certain height, a certain shape or a certain cup size. It is far, far more important to be funny, smart and kind (like you are!) than to wear a small size in jeans, and you are a worthwhile and awesome person no matter who wants to have sex with you. Now, the truth about cats & dogs: Some dudes have specific physical “types” that they prefer, and this is okay. The dominant message that we ladies receive, though, is that the only “type” guys have is blonde, buxom Victoria’s Secret models. This is a HUGE lie. Although some guys are really into that, I think you’ll find that there are other guys and their type is YOU. And like I said, being funny, smart and kind trumps everything.
- Being scared. It’s okay to be scared, but remember that YOU are the boss of your emotions. My advice to you is straight out of an eighth grade motivational presentation: Feel the fear and do it anyway. It’s okay to be scared of dating, relationships and sex, but you can’t let that fear be enough to stop you. Yes, inviting other people in to your life opens the door to potential pain, but the door is also open to AWESOME THINGS. Your fear is protecting you from heartache, yes, but it’s also keeping you at arm’s length from love. Know why there are so many songs about falling in love? Because it’s amazing!
- Sample size. Allow me to get statistical on your ass: let’s say you talk to two dudes and it doesn’t go with either of them. You COULD infer from this that you are totally unappealing and should be left alone to die, but that is a false conclusion. What you need to do is increase your sample size. Talk to twenty dudes and see how the outcome changes. You can also skew the sample in your favour (corporations do this all the time) and talk to dudes you already know you have things in common with. Friends are a great resource for this, and so is…
- Online dating. The double-edged sword. On one hand, you can pre-screen dudes to make sure they aren’t casting serial killer vibes. Everyone who messages you is (you can assume) interested in you. It’s a smorgasbord of single gentlemen! Yay! It also keeps you dating outside your social circle, which I recommend–dating exes of friends is hard. On the other hand, MY GOD can it be a creepy experience. Not everyone tells the truth, photos can be misleading, sometimes chemistry just isn’t there in meatworld. But again: FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY. You want guys to tell you how awesome you are? This is your best bet.
- Confidence! Repeat after me: “I am awesome.” Do not try to shrink or hide or be anyone different. Do not believe ads that sell confidence in bottles or jars, because it cannot be bought. Confidence comes from inside, from being at ease with yourself. Make peace with your body. Make peace with who you are. Be open to attention from men & accept it when it happens. Don’t immediately tell yourself that the guy isn’t interested; accept that he probably is, and with good reason. You deserve this. This is your due.
- Confidence II. Even though you can’t buy it, nobody on the planet is above enhancing what they’ve got with material goods. Find what makes YOU feel like the best version of you, not what Cosmo tells you is “sexy.” Do you feel great in a certain pair of heels? Sparkly flats? Boots? What dress makes you feel awesome? Or do you hate dresses and prefer well-fitted pants? Personally, I find that music makes me feel superawesome. Find your inner songs and listen to them whenever you need a boost. It’s almost impossible to feel anything less than bulletproof while you listen to “Respect.” I’m just saying.
- Experience level. Just because you haven’t gotten up close and personal with a penis does not mean you have to be inexperienced. Sex in real life isn’t about having a perfect figure or being an acrobatic porn performer; it’s about knowing what you like and feeling confident in showing that to your partner. So basically: Masturbate. Get to know your body. Check out some porn (there’s an amazing set of links here from LadyPorn day). Basically, learn as much as you can about what makes YOU happy. Nothing about it is gross, wrong or weird. Orgasms are one of the best things in life, and you should be having them whether you’re with someone else or not.
- Disclosure. Whether you’ve slept with no people or many people, there are always those who want to judge you for it. I guess this is why magazines and self-help books tell everyone to lie; guys cut the number is half, girls keep it under ten, etc etc. I call bullshit. If anyone makes you feel bad about your amount of sexual experience, they are NOT someone you should be boning. Be honest and open with whoever you decide to sleep with. If they are a kind, respectful person then they will be kind and respectful to your body, too. Accept nothing less than this, because this is what you deserve.
The most important thing about all this is that being single can be really fun. It can also be really horrible. Just know that on those days when you throw yourself dramatically onto your bed and scream “NOBODY WILL EVER HAVE SEX WITH ME EVER AGAIN! NOBODY LOVES ME! LEAVE ME ALONE TO DIE!” that somewhere out there, Donald Trump is having sex with his third (or fourth?) wife. I’ve said this before: Donald Trump is a horrible human being, yet even he has found several people who love him enough to marry him. If he can do it, YOU can do it.
And here’s the best part: You’ve done the hardest work. You already know that you’re an awesome, smart, funny, kind lady. Do you know how many people are totally convinced that they suck? LOADS. And it’s never the people who ACTUALLY suck (Donald Trump), which is criminal. All you need is a little push and some encouragement to show the rest of the world what was clearly evident to me in two paragraphs: That you’re fantastic. Consider yourself pushed. Get out there and be amazing.