Search Menu

Auntie SparkNotes: I'm Going to College and I'm Still a Virgin

Auntie SparkNotes: I'm Going to College and I'm Still a Virgin

Kat Rosenfield

Dear Auntie,

I guess I'm what you would call a Mankler...I don't come here that often. I've been looking through your past posts and haven't found advice that I feel fits my situation, so I hope you can help me with this.

I'm going to be a freshman in college this fall, and I haven't done the HND yet. I had a girlfriend up until a month or so ago, and she was also a virgin, so I figured I would probably lose my virginity to her, and that way we could both suck at it and it wouldn't be awkward. However, she's a year behind me in school, and literally everyone says that trying to maintain a long-distance relationship in college is futile, so, for that reason plus a few more I broke up with her. Now I'm going to a new school with new people, and I'm honestly scared that I'm going to leave in four years before I lose my virginity.

For one thing, I'm a music performance major. My schedule is packed. Everyone else has all this free time in their schedule, but my schedule is completely maxed out to the point where I'm not even allowed to add more, plus I have to account for sleep and individual practice and homework and eating and a bunch of other things. I'm going to be spending most of my time in the fine arts building, and I've heard that dating within the department is a bad idea. If I date someone else in my section and the relationship ends badly, I still have to see that person for the next four years, and no one wants to deal with that.

The other thing that worries me is that I am super awkward and uncomfortable in social situations. I don't like parties, and even the thought of asking you for help makes me want to throw up a little, let alone talking to an attractive girl face-to-face with no knowledge of her current relationship status, age, or sexual experience and somehow getting her into bed. If orientation is any indication, most of the girls at my college are very attractive and probably a) taken and b) way the hell out of my league. I have bad skin and I'm skinny as a twig. Basically I don't have a lot going for me.

On top of all this, I kind of feel like the idea of actively pursuing sex is kind of douchey to begin with, and my whole mindset about all this is probably completely wrong, and feel free to call me out if I am. I just feel like if I wait for it to happen on its own it won't. Am I being a complete wuss about all this? Am I looking at this all wrong? Do I need to rethink my priorities? Basically I'm completely clueless and I have no clue where to start with this, and any help would be fantastic and greatly appreciated.

Well, let's put it this way: You're not even at college yet, and you've already preemptively rejected the possibility of a relationship with every single girl who is or ever will be at school with you, because you're worried that physical intimacy might interfere with your eating schedule.

So yes, darling, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that you might be jumping the gun just a bit on assuming that your entire college experience will be a sexless, loveless desert.

And just for the record, the fact that you haven't done it yet means absolutely nothing about your prospects of doing it in the future, near or otherwise. The average age at which people become sexually active is 17, which means that statistically speaking, about half your college class will be in the same exact boat as you are. And since college classrooms and dorms are not rigged with giant whooping Virgin Alarms that go off every time one of you enters a building, none of you will ever be able to tell who's done it and who hasn't.

Meanwhile, you're onto something when you say that actively pursuing sex is obnoxious—in that yes, it is, if you're pursuing it indiscriminately, purely for the sake of losing your virginity, and without any consideration for the person you're trying to sleep with. Even in a casual hookup, you can't treat girls like they exist solely to serve as potential human parking garages for your boner (and girls, for their part, will want nothing to do with your boner under such unflattering circumstances anyway.) But that doesn't mean you can't pursue a purely physical relationship, if that's what you want or all you have time for; it just means that you need to shift your perspective so that you're not looking at hookups as a means to an end, but rather an activity in which you are joyfully, consensually, thoughtfully engaging with another human being.

Here's the thing: To do that, you're going to need to a) stop obsessing over your virginity, and b) to stop treating the act of first-time intercourse like it's any sort of a worthy or meaningful goal.

And I know, I knooowwww, that this goes completely against the overall cultural narrative that sex, and particularly first-time sex, is this momentous, transformative, big-deal event that will alter the very fabric of your being. But dude, it isn't. It just isn't. Your first time is one isolated moment on a vast, lifelong spectrum of physical intimacy that includes everything from handholding, to kissing, to groping, to erotically-charged foot massages, to going downtown, to spanking your beloved with a waffle while dressed in a latex Spidey suit* (*may be illegal in certain U.S. states.)

As life-defining sexual experience goes, all of that stuff is so much more important and valuable than the single, solitary moment at which you go from being a person who's never done the HND to being a person who's done the HND once. For all the bizarre emphasis people place on virginity, it isn't a significant measure of anything; not your value as a human being, not your desirability as a romantic partner, not even your overall level of sexual skill or experience. And the sooner you stop prioritizing one specific act over the whole wide wonderful world of physical and/or emotional intimacy, the better and easier and more rewarding intimacy will be for you.

And also, incidentally, for anyone you end up being intimate with.

Which brings me to this: In all likelihood, if you want to be sexually active in college, you'll find someone—maybe even multiple someones—with whom to make that happen. You're going to spend the next four years surrounded by a constantly-rotating cast of hundreds (if not thousands) of eligible ladies, and under those circumstances, even the awkward, busy, and pimply among us usually manage a requited crush or two. But whether or not you end up putting your P in a V sometime before the year 2019, I can guarantee you that you're going to have feelings and experiences and relationships and ideas during that time that you cannot possibly predict right now. Maybe you'll strike up a sweet flirtation with a girl who lives on your hallway. Maybe you'll meet a fellow music major who makes all your concerns about awkward breakups and scheduled meals fly right out the freaking window. Maybe you'll fall hard for an old friend from high school who makes it worth it to try a long-distance relationship. Maybe you'll have a wild one-night stand with a sexually-aggressive and opportunistic upperclassman. Or two. Or five. Or hey, maybe you'll lose all interest in your chosen course of study and drop out to enroll in clown college!

Some of this stuff might be more likely, and some less, but you just don't know what your future holds. Nobody does. But the more you let your worst fears lead you to sweeping declarations about what you will and won't be able to do, the less likely it is that you'll be engaged or aware or courageous enough to prove yourself wrong when the time comes. So please: Stop worrying. Stop fretting. Stop planning. Trust that the opportunity to connect romantically will present itself to you, as it does to everyone, without you frantically trying to manipulate or predict its coming. All you need is open eyes, and an open mind.

And, y'know, maybe some condoms. Just in case.

Got something to say? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at
Want more info about how this column works? Check out the Auntie SparkNotes FAQ.

Topics: Life, Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, going to college, hnd, virgin alarms, goodbye high school sweetheart hello freshpeople

Write your own comment!

About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email