I had to get my birth control prescription refilled today, which always makes me a little sad and causes some nice anxiety attacks, because the one thing no amount of sex therapy and sexual information can tell me is how to find a sexual partner. (At 38, I am past Late Bloomer and into There's Something So Wrong With You We Don't Talk About You Unless You're a Joke.") In honor of that, I present reflections on comments I've read here, questions I've been asked or assumptions made.

"So why are you still a virgin?"

I've never been attracted to someone who also wanted to have sex with me. That's it. That's the only reason. Nothing here about waiting for marriage, religious reasons, or asexuality. Boring, but true. And that's after 13+ years of dating and going to bars, and 22 years after real sexual feelings kicked in for me. But, why are you a nonvirgin? Would you like to justify your sexual history to me? Because I'm not sure it matters to me much.

"Virgins don't understand sex or have any context for it.You don't get an opinion until you have it."

Well, I've had to explain flogging to men my age, and I've scared or disgusted men who don't like sex toys. Solo sex isn't like partnered sex of course, but is sex with toys real sex or not real sex? As far the understanding part, most people have opinions on all kinds of subjects they don't fully understand or haven't experienced: you name it - parenthood, death, how to cope with death, sex, feminism, addiction....the list could go on and on. Part of adulthood is beginning to understand what you don't know and you don't fully understand. Any GTer posting could be a virgin trying to understand sex.

Plus, I'm pretty sure virgins understand the difference between wanted and unwanted sex. Trying to force myself into sex with a meh partner has part of my online dating life for the past couple years, which makes me laugh because someone advised me that I expected it would be "perfect."

"Virgins don't have former loves or any relationship skills."

Not really. I've had several men I didn't really love and a few I did. I can tell you why if I had gotten together with the guys I was crazy about in my 20s, they'd all be exes by now. I just wasn't able to see some fundamental incompatibilities between us at say, age 22. Not having sex doesn't protect you from heartbreak, after all. ( I can still remember hating to sleep at night because of that drowning feeling.) And a peculiar part of dating for me is that it takes months to form any attraction to a guy, leaving me open to charges of stringing them along, so I've had to learn through some pretty awkward experiences when to just pull the plug. All of which is to say relationship skills come from all over the place, not to mention friends, family and just plain living in the world - and in my case, living through the drama of my teens and early 20s.

"A woman's first time is uncomfortable or painful/virgins bleed all over your sheets."

Oh, this ancient cliche. Pain? Haha! Why would you assume I don't know what penetration feels like? The only difference between me and any other straight sexually active 30-something woman is the kind of phalluses we've had in our vaginas. Also, why do you associate discomfort with virginity instead of painful sex?

"Virgins are bad in bed or not much fun in bed."

Possibly. We've been over this a thousand times. Anyone can be not much fun in bed. I've posted about this before, but I met a guy on OkC who was very experienced, had had several partners, and knew a few things about sex. He was sure every woman who slept with him had had an orgasm because he had a big penis, and figured it would be easy to get me there via oral sex. He told me I better like doggy style, and that 69 was as good as foreplay. It did not occur to him to ask me what I like or how I like it. If you make generalizations about virgins as a whole group, I will probably think of you as this guy.

"So you're asexual right? I can put you in the asexual box? If you're holding on to your virginity this long you must be looking for emotional rather than sexual intimacy."

Heh. I am as asexual as the rest of Groupthink. Nope. I can't go more than a couple days without orgasms or I start climbing the walls. If I had a partner I'd want sex about everyday (a challenge in itself, no doubt). It is true that visual sexual attraction doesn't work for me, so strangers and celebrities are not sexual to me, though I've tried and tried to get somewhat turned on by their looks. Being so horny as to fuck a stranger isn't a measure of sexuality to me; it's closer to asexual for me personally. Obviously, lots of people are wired very differently. More on that in my next post.

"Virgins don't know what they like sexually. And they don't evolve sexually, because how can they?"

Right. No, I'm pretty good on what I like, thanks. And my interests have changed a lot - in my lower-sex-drive teens and 20s, I only thought of vanilla-ish manual, oral and piv. These days I'm more open to anything short of group sex involvement, or feces, if I could get attracted to a partner.

So what happens if you try out partnered sex without the discomfort, without the melodrama, and without that lack of knowledge of your body? Somebody write me a manual for sex as an adult, please.