I’m 21 and still a virgin – and it is starting to get me down

I have had difficulties with eating disorders and struggled with friendships in the past. Now I’m at university and in a better place, but the idea of not having had sex is troubling me

I am a 21-year-old woman and still a virgin. I have had quite a lot of difficulty in the past with eating disorders. After leaving school, I found it very difficult to form friendships because I isolated myself. I am in a better place now, but am still quite lonely. I have just finished my first year at university and being a virgin is really starting to weigh on me.

Try not to let peer pressure make you miserable. You deserve far better. Have faith that your sexuality will develop in its own good time. Your struggles with eating disorders, isolation and loneliness already make you feel “different”, and I am sure you long to feel more of a sense of belonging within your university group. But developing an ability to safely connect sexually with others is never easy, and absolutely should not be rushed or forced. Contrary to common mythology, sex is not easy and natural, but requires first learning how your own body works, and then learning to transfer and share that knowledge with others. Your best course of action is to focus on simply having social fun with others – male and female – in nonsexual situations. As you get to know people, you are far more likely to notice desire arising. At that point you can make a smart decision to act on those feelings – or not. This needs to be a true choice rather than blind, anxiety-based desire to tick a rite-of-passage box.

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Alex Vidal