I'm 19 and a junior in college. I'm also a virgin (not for any reason other than the opportunity hasn't presented itself. I think if I was with a guy I liked and it felt right I wouldn't have any problem doing the deed.)
So, here's the problem; I lied to my friends about having had sex.
I didn't plan it, the words just came out of my mouth before I could stop them. The first time, I was having a few drinks at a bar with a girlfriend; she asked, and before I knew what had happened, I told her I lost it two years previously. I have always thought that sex has nothing to do with worth so I cannot understand what came over me, I think I was intimidated by the experience she had. She didn't ask for details and I just let it go. But then the other day I lied to another friend about the same thing after she mentioned my being a virgin (loudly) in a very public place. I had never told her I was, and I think I felt affronted by the assumption and the volume at which she announced such a private thing. (She brags incessantly about her sex-life and it’s tiresome, particularly when I think she does it to make the rest of us uncomfortable.)
I feel awful about the whole thing. I'm not ashamed of being a virgin but I don't like that people assume its because I'm a prude or excessively innocent; I'm just shy and an introvert. Regardless, a person's reasons for having sex or not having sex should be entirely their own, right? But what I have done is let people think I'm something I'm not. I can't tell them the truth, I would die of embarrassment, and a part of me wants to just let it go because its none of their business. But the other little voice in my head is telling me that I'm letting myself down. I guess I'm wondering what's right and wrong when it comes to these things? Is the truth pliable when you're too self-conscious/intimidated to own something that goes against the crowd?
Oh, Sparkler. So you lost your nerve, lost your wits, and told a couple of impromptu and totally-unintended lies about your sexual experience?
Hey, welcome to the human race!
Because pretty much every person on earth, whether they’ll admit it or not, will end up telling a Sex Lie at least once in their lives. They’ll claim to have done it when they haven’t. They’ll claim not to have done it when they have. They’ll claim to be wild-and-crazy sexual adventurers when their only definition of “kinky” is to do it with the lights on, and they’ll profess to be vanilla as a milkshake when, in reality, they fantasize daily about dressing up in head-to-toe latex and doing terrible things to their cat. In fact, at this very moment, there are something like a million people out there claiming to have had sex they actually haven’t—and most of them are doing it for reasons much more obnoxious and self-serving than yours. (I’m looking at you, Dude Who Is Claiming To Have Scored With The Girl Who Actually Rejected Him Last Night. You’re awful!)
Which is to say: please, please stop beating yourself up for feeling self-conscious, and fudging the truth, about a topic that’s notorious for inspiring less-than-honest claims on the part of the population at large. You’re human. It happens. And since the whens, wheres, and whether-or-nots of your sex life are nobody else’s business to begin with, lying about them only matters insofar as it matters to you.
Of course, in this case, lying about your sexual experience also made you feel terrible—which is why it’s something you should try to avoid in the future, and vow to find a better way to deal with any future intrusive questions about your sexual experience. Maybe that means developing an honest-but-vague standard response like, “I haven’t dated much.” Maybe it means answering any questions with, “That’s private, sorry.” Or maybe it means telling the truth to people you trust—and for the people you don’t, raising an eyebrow and saying something like, “If I were you, I’d be a little more careful about making assumptions about other people’s personal lives.” (Followed by a mysterious smile and wordless shrug in response to any further questions or comments.)
But once you’ve got a strategy in place for handling this topic in the future, please give yourself permission to let it go and move on. Because while the truth isn’t pliable, per se— there’s only one truth, and it is what it is—that doesn’t mean the world deserves to know it. And when it comes to your virgin status, it’s nobody's business but yours whether to reveal it, be it to your friends, or the world at large, or even the person that you eventually have sex with.
And hey, when that happens? You’ll never have to worry about this particular problem ever again.
Have you ever told an oopsie lie about your level of sexual experience? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related post: Auntie SparkNotes: Secret Sex Records