Dear Darla: Forever Virgins and Desperately Sexy

Photo by  Ewan Phelan

Photo by Ewan Phelan

Hello Wussies!

Dear Darla here. Thank you for all of the initial responses to our call for questions! I'm excited to share my responses with you and look forward to more.

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Dear Darla.
I’m a 27-year-old queer man who has never had penetrative sex. Technically, I’m still a virgin, and I’m pretty ashamed of it. On the rare occasion I’ve discussed it with my friends, I get a lot of shit for it. In the past year, I’v tried to hook up with a few tinder dates, but somehow I always end up telling them I’m a virgin (I guess because of anxiety) and they just think it’s weird, and so it never goes anywhere. I don’t really know what to do. I feel like I’m still not comfortable with the idea of sex. I spent most of my 20’s focusing on school and friends and so experience is really the one thing I lack. What should I do?
-          Forever Virgin.

Dear Forever Virgin:

First of all, I would like to tell you that you are totally validated for feeling the way you feel. In today’s culture, it is sadly considered out of the norm for a 27-year-old man to be in your situation. The truth is that we live in sexual society where if you are an adult not partaking in the experience of sex you are somehow considered not a “whole” person. Unfortunately, this toxic mentality is perpetuated by many queer circles where it is believed that, because sexual deviancy is what sets them apart from the majority of the world, not having any sex makes you an oppressed queer, and that’s not true.

Having said that, you obviously do not like your current status and would like to change that. From what you wrote it sounds like you are capable of dating, and even taking it as far as disclosing that you are a virgin, which means that you have all the tools necessary to break your virginity.  You are confident (or at least you can fake it enough to date), and the fact that you have disclosed such a deep secret many times also tells me that you have no issue being vulnerable, which is a main component to sex, scratch that, making love. If you keep trying what you have been doing, you are bound to find someone who will not judge you for it, but that’s only the ideal situation.

You say that what has prevented you in the past from having sex is disclosing your virginity because of anxiety. That is a coping mechanism. In moments of anxiety, we often times give what I call “burden-releasing statements” in order to make us feel better (for example: “I’m a virgin”, “I’m inexperienced”, I’ve never blah blah blah”), but oftentimes these statements do not release burden, but actually transfer it to the receiving person. When you tell a potential hook up that you are virgin, their mind automatically starts thinking “are they just using me?” “Am I special enough?” “what if they want something more than this”. Congratulations, you have successfully transferred your anxiety to the person you are trying to get with, consequentially pushing them away. Not to say that there not people out there who will understand your situation, but human nature is thicker than empathy. My advice? Don’t tell them. I know it’s hard to be disingenuous, but sometimes the snowball will not start running unless someone pushes it down the mountain. Swallow your shame, hide it as deep as you can. It might make your first sex experience awful and awkward, but hey, your next time you will no longer a virgin.

Good Luck



Dear Darla.
I’m 23 year old queer woman who has dated a lot in the past three years looking for a partner. I really really want one, but it just seems like I just end up in these situations where I hook up with a person I find attractive, we date for like three months, and then the magic dies. My last girlfriend, for example, amazing sex right of the bat, really pretty, we would bang like every day, I really liked her, but suddenly the sex stops and then it all goes to shit. This has happened like 3 times in the past 2 years and it really bothers me. I really want a partner, what can I do.
-          Desperately Sexy

Dear Desperately Sexy:

First of all, you are still 23 years old. No need to find a life partner yet. These are the years to explore yourself, as well as other people. However, you seem to want a partner really bad so let’s talk.

I’m gonna give you an advice that might not be generally popular with your generation, and in fact, you might just look at these words and walk away from your computer, but listen. A good and healthy relationship is made up of 4 intimacies. Emotional intimacy – does your partner open up? Experiential intimacy – does your partner spend time with you? Intellectual/cognitive – can you and your partner talk to each other without neither of you feeling stupid? And finally, sexual intimacy – the one you seem to be acquainted with the most it seems like. I really hate to sound like a prude Baby Boomer when I say this, but you seem to have fallen victim to the dangers of hook-up culture.

The problem that you are having is that you are sleeping with people right away and putting too much emphasis on sex (Please don’t walk away and listen up). In today’s culture, we have developed a manner of dating in which we hook up first, and then we let that be the catalyst for the relationship. When we have sex with someone, we become chemically bound to them (no matter who they are). When you hook up with a stranger (or even someone you don’t know well), your body tells you that you want to be with them, that you are in love, and everything is great. BUT, the thing is that this phase is just a phase. The butterflies will fly away, the sex will diminish, and the rush of magic (oxytocin and vasopressin) will slowly leave your body, and it will force you to take a real look at your relationship and see if you are actually compatible. Don’t take me wrong. Many couples start healthy relationships by hooking up first and later developing those intimacies, but that’s usually a game of gambles. If you are tired of heartbreaks and giving yourself to someone for empty promises, the general consensus is that if you start dating someone, do not have sex with them for the first 90 days. Date them, get to know them. Hit all the intimacies first – experiential, cognitive, emotional, and then save sex for last. It can be really hard, but give it a try and see what happens.


Good Luck


Darla is the pseudonym of an Atlanta-based queer licensed therapist. Please send us your questions to or you can send us messages anonymously through

Check out more work by Ewan Phalen here and at Do More Wear Less