Real Future

Male virgins seek more than just sex online

Flickr/omnia_mutantur

For male virgins, talking about sex isn’t easy.

Female virginity has been upheld as the sacred ideal since the dawn of time. For just as long, male virginity has largely been viewed as shameful, embarrassing, a failure for any “real man.” Add to that relentless pop culture moments and a disproportionate number of Judd Apatow scenes (see: here, here and here) that conspire to enforce the stereotype.

Both ends of the gender-divided spectrum are problematic in a variety of ways, but the shame and embarrassment associated with being a male virgin has pushed some to seek support online.

Whisper, the anonymous secret-sharing app, is a destination for male virgins searching not just for sexual partners but also for advice and a sense they’re not alone. Here’s a look at what people are posting:

I'm a 22 year old male virgin. How messed up is that?!?

17 year old male virgin, makes me so ashamed

Literally I'm so ready to release all this sexual tension I have built up but I don't want to waste it on someone who doesn't want to stick around. I'm 21, a male, & a happy but unsatisfied virgin.

I'm 27, a guy and a virgin, I feel like if I had sex it would be to awkward, or my partner thinks I'm not good enough...

Travis McKnight can relate to the shame and confusion expressed in the above Whispers. McKnight, who wrote recently in The Guardian about his experiences as a 23 (now 24)-year old male virgin.

“I didn’t become comfortable with my virginity until recently,” McKnight said. “It got to the point where I just got tired of feeling ashamed. It was exhausting to finally keep up this facade of, ‘I’m not a virgin.'”

McKnight would lie to friends to make it seem like he was more experienced. With American culture so saturated with sex, he found it hard to escape the topic.

“Just think about how often that subject comes up, explicitly or offhand,” he said. “And you’re stuck backtracking, trying to keep your story together.”

Is it natural for a 18 year old guy to have a purity ring?  Or should I lose my virginity?

Im saving myself till marriage but i think i just need a head job to calm me down asap....

This so embarrassing but fuk it. YOLO... 20m virgin... I'm tired of being virgin, just got rid of my purity ring, any hot lady wanna take it?! No bs... Promise.

 Please tell me I am not the only male saving his self until marriage

It’s no wonder that male virgins like McKnight grow weary trying to maintain the facade of sexual experience, says Therese Shechter, director of the documentary “How to Lose Your Virginity” which re-airs on Fusion in September.

“There’s such a lack of honest conversation about sexuality in young peoples’ lives,” Shechter said. “So what rushes into fill this vacuum? Inaccurate, sexist and judgmental pop culture items.”

It’s also no wonder that male virgins are turning to forums like Whisper to seek a sense of community. Since the rise of online chat forums in the early 1990s, men and women struggling with intimacy have created online support networks.

Along with Whisper, forums like Reddit, You’re Not Alone and Shechter’s own V-Card Diaries are destinations for men to find camaraderie from the anonymous comfort of their home computers.

“Becoming sexual is a long and gradual process,” Shechter said. “It’s not some race to the finish line where the money-shot is the end goal.”

Shechter and McKnight agree that anonymous Whisper confessions could help male virgins overcome the most challenging obstacle: the feeling that they’re all alone.

34 year old virgin male. I fail at life no one will ever love me

For more confessions on sex and virginity, try Whisper here.

*Required reading: everything from Jessica Valenti