Dear Wendy: “Should I Lose My Virginity To A Summer Fling?”

I’m 22 years old and grew up moving around a lot so there was never a point in my life that I actually settled down in a place long enough to have a real relationship. In high school there was this guy that I liked and we were pretty close and remained friends even after I moved to another country. We are still frequently in touch and in the past three years our relationship has moved on from being friends to, well … maybe something more. Now I’m going back to the place we met for my summer vacation and he’ll be there. He’s not seeing anyone right now so I know that we’re going to fool around with each other. The thing is that I am a virgin. It’s not like I am waiting for my wedding night or anything, but I am waiting to lose my virginity to someone who would at least in that point in my life be “the one.” This guy isn’t going to be. We won’t even be together after summer. So, do you think I should just let go and go along with what happens or wait for someone who’s going to be there for me at least for some time? It’s not like I’m not ready, and he’s a great guy and we have shared a great deal (he was even my first kiss). But we’ll just be together for a month and go our separate ways again. Is life too short to wait for someone I don’t even know, when the perfect guy right now is right there in front of me at least for a month? — Restless Virgin

You can never really be sure how long someone’s going to be in your life. The person you thought would live next door to you forever may sign up for the Peace Corp and move to Africa next week. Or the guy you spend a month with over the summer may find a way to be in your life for the long haul. Being overly protective of your heart may spare you hurt feelings in the future, but it will also keep you from living life as fully and enjoyably as you could. And who’s to say your heart won’t still be broken even if you don’t sleep with this guy anyway? Sure, losing your virginity can be a big deal, but it’s not like keeping it is this magic line between “getting hurt” and “not getting hurt.” You can save yourself for “the one,” but that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily find him anytime soon or that he won’t let you down or break your heart when you do.

It’s not that life is too short to wait for the perfect guy; it’s that the “perfect guy” and the “perfect situation” don’t exist. Those are myths, and life is certainly too short to wait for a fantasy to come true. That said, you should only do what you feel comfortable doing. Go with the flow; see what happens. You might discover after years apart, you don’t even have the chemistry you used to have. Or you may find that a summer romance with the first person you kissed is a sweet and emotionally safe way to explore your sexuality. But be smart and safe; just because you can’t protect your heart doesn’t mean you can’t protect your sexual health.

I am a 20-year-old Christian college student and I have never been in a relationship. I’ve never been kissed or even held hands romantically with a guy. I have been interested in different guys in the past, but they were either taken or weren’t interested or we almost dated but I decided that they weren’t going to work out (for legitimate reasons). I haven’t been able to figure out what the problem is. I talk easily with guys, but don’t have any close guy friends. I attend school a few states away from home and will be graduating in a year. I feel like looking for a relationship here is just a waste of time since graduation is so close, but I feel like I need to be doing something since I’ve never even dated. I should also mention that my school is a big party school, however I do not party and don’t want to date someone living that lifestyle. Those men on my campus are few and far between. I’d really love to have a relationship but I don’t know if it’s possible for me to find someone here or if it would even be worth it at this time. What should I do? — Still Searching

When you say you “haven’t been able to figure out what the problem is,” I’m not sure if you’re referring to what you perceive as a lack of guys to date or your general lack of interest in dating. You say you’d really love a relationship, but at the same time you’re ruling out guys before you even give them a try and wondering if it’s even “worth it” to date someone when you’re going to be graduating in a year. A year is plenty of time to experiment a little, get to know someone or multiple someones, and perhaps even develop a long-lasting relationship. Besides that, what makes you think graduation has to be an end-point? Sure, it’s the end of school, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of a relationship. And even it is for some reason — even if you go off in one direction and the guy you might be seeing goes off in another — you’ll be that much better prepared for the next relationship. You’ll have a better idea of what you want and need in another person and what you’re capable of giving.

I suspect some of your fear may be general anxiety that you don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t know how to meet guys; you’re not sure how to behave on a date; you don’t know what it’s like to be intimate with someone. The unknown can be a scary place! But the only way it stops being scary — the only way it stops being unknown to you — is by, you know, just doing it. Jump in and get your feet wet! You’re in college! It’s the perfect place to meet potential dates. If you don’t like the party scene and you want to avoid those who do, look for guys you share common interests with. The best way to meet those guys? You guessed it: actually pursuing those interests you enjoy. You say you’re Christian, so I’m assuming you go to church regularly, right? If not, start going! It’s not my bag, but for you — for someone whose bag it is — it’s a great place to meet a like-minded guy. Take it a step further and join a group at church. They must have groups, right? What do they call it — Campus Crusade or something? What else do you like to do? Trivia? Join a trivia team on campus. The point is, there are tons are organizations on campus for people like you — people who aren’t into the party scene — and they’re filled with lots of singles looking to meet others with the same values and whatnot. You just need to be open to actually giving some of those people a genuine shot and stop letting fear close you off to a potential good time and some real dating practice, if not an actual relationship.

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at {encode=”[email protected]” title=”[email protected]”}.