Male virgin wants to be normal

Dear Alice,

I am a twenty-one-year-old male student and still a virgin, I am very shy and do not have any girlfriends. I masturbate almost every day, but desperately want to have real sex. I have thought about paying a prostitute, but I am not sure. Are there any groups for people in my situation, i.e., people who want to lose their virginity and be normal?


Dear Virgin,

Right off the bat, it is important to know that being a virgin at twenty-one (or any age, for that matter) is completely normal. In fact, the percentage of university students who are sexually active is lower than many people believe. However, peer pressure and social norms may lead you to feel otherwise. For example, some men think that it is not socially acceptable to be a virgin. These men may feel an obligation to be sexually knowledgeable and experienced. Rather than giving in to stereotypes, you have every right to decide what virginity means to you.

If you’re concerned about your lack of coitus, try to think about your virginity in another way. How would your life change if you were no longer a virgin? What would be different? It seems more important to you to no longer be a virgin than it is to have a girlfriend. Is that true for you?

In regards to your first sex partner, perhaps you might find someone you can get to know better. This might be someone who you enjoy spending time with, and someone you feel comfortable with. Feeling relaxed can really up the satisfaction during your first time. Rethinking what your first sexual encounter might be like can also help you refocus your goal. In the end, you might even find that you are looking for a partner, rather than a single fleeting experience.

It is great that you asked about a group to join. There are a multitude of social, political, and/or community service organizations where you can meet others with similar interests. Perhaps you can meet individuals through these types of groups and cultivate quality relationships. In fact, you might even find that the more time you spend building relationships with others, your intense feelings about losing your virginity will subside.

When you finally do choose to “devirginize”, it is always good to have read up on the topic. This can help you learn how to be a good lover not only to yourself, but to your partner as well. For more information, you can check out the About Virginity archives.

In the meantime, you may want to rethink your ideas about masturbation. Although different from partner sex, masturbation is real sex. Masturbation can relieve the tension of sexual energy, and even loneliness, temporarily. Clearly, you can still masturbate as you go on your search for a larger social network, and, ultimately, a partner with whom to share your feelings, activities, closeness, joy, humor, and sexuality as well.

Finally, many people masturbate even when they have a partner. It is a part of their sexuality, not a partner replacement. So, as you search for a partner, enjoy yourself every step of the way.

Last updated Jul 14, 2015
Originally published Jan 26, 1996

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