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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 17 February, 2019
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Dear Fifi: I'm still a virgin, how can I get it over with?

Back at it again.

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I’m a week in Vietnam! I’ve rented a studio hang out in Hanoi for the Tet holiday period and just to take a bit of a break from constantly moving. February will be a nice month, everyone – I can feel it.

Since I’ve got a bit of breathing room and an actual desk for a few days, this is an ideal time to send me your problems. Get at me right here.

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Hi Fifi, 

I’m 20 years old and I’m still a virgin. I am comfortable with the idea of sex and I am ready but (here’s the predictable twist) I have a deep distrust for men because of my relationship with my father. Any time I find myself close to a man (even in a platonic context) I get paranoid, flustered and I panic. I also haven’t had feelings for anyone in 2+ years. 

I really want to get this shit over with, I feel inadequate and as time goes on my anxiety increases as I feel like I’m missing out on something great – people do this everyday why do I find it so hard? 

Bonus points if you can answer without saying “it will happen when it happens”, “wait for the right person” because I’m sick of waiting and I’m certain this ‘person’ does not exist. I’m sorry if I came across angry I am feeling very undesirable and unaccomplished at the moment. 

I think you’ve actually written to me with two issues – firstly, your discomfort with your virginity, and secondly the lingering after-effects of your relationship with your father. Let’s tackle them separately, because I don’t think they are as closely linked as you have presented them. 

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, but cliches are cliches for a reason – well-trodden wisdom that gets trotted out like “it’ll happen when it happens” is actually a lot wiser than it appears on the surface. There is no set time to lose your virginity. 

And the concept of virginity is outdated, I think. It harks back to a time when P in V sex was the only thing considered intimacy and women’s worth was rooted in chastity. I promise you that no one else is as concerned with your virginity as you, and it should almost go without saying that 20 is extremely young. Plenty of people your age (and older too) are not having sex. And that’s fine. I think you might be focusing on this too much, is what I’m saying. Being a virgin does not make you inadequate. I mean that. Being a virgin does not make you inadequate.

I strongly advise you stop viewing your first time as having sex as monumental, as this will inevitably lead to disappointment, or something to be rushed into getting over, as this is putting undue pressure on yourself. Your first time will, most likely, be one of many first times. Don’t build this up in your head, because although sex can be an important part of life for many of us, losing your virginity isn’t really so much. 

Now, for what I think might be the real heart and other side of your problem. At the moment, you say that you’re still dealing with the results of a strained relationship with your father. Rushing into something sex-wise to get your virginity out of the way, like it’s an unpleasant chore or shackling you in some way, may wind up giving yourself more issues to be dealt with. Be careful with yourself.

By your own admission, you have some things to work through. Why not shift your concentration there? I feel certain the rest will follow when you start to take care of yourself and give yourself some space to figure out what these emotions means and where they’re based.

You won’t suddenly feel accomplished or desired the moment after you have sex for the first time, I’m afraid. It’s just not that simple. Are you sure it’s really your virginity you want rid of, and not just some closeness with another person? Is this about sex – or is it about a label, a feeling, intimacy, a relationship, love, connection, fitting in, comparison with others, what you assume friends are doing, what you see online? These are things worth asking yourself.  

What you describe as paranoia and panic around all men, even in platonic situations, is something that I think you could benefit from exploring with a counsellor to get to the root of how your dad has shaped your view of male intimacy. 

Good luck and please be kind to yourself. The most important thing is your happiness and contentment with life, not whether or not you are having sex. Try to remember that if you can.

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