I have a confession to make: I have yet to have my first kiss. I have also never had a boyfriend, nor been on a real date. (I did have dates for both of my proms, but they don’t technically count in my mind.) Yes, I am 21 years old and my life is completely devoid of any romantic experiences.
So, you may be wondering why my “lip virginity” has remained intact well past the age when many girls go through this awkward and thrilling rite of passage. Well, I certainly didn’t plan on it. I had my first crush in Catholic school at the age of ten on the boy who sat next to me in fourth grade. His dad owned a popular restaurant in our town, and he had a different pair of sneakers for every gym day. He was cute, sweet, and popular, but I was so shy and young I never actually made a move. Once eighth grade graduation rolled around, we parted ways.
My first few years of high school were pretty uneventful. I developed a crush on a guy in several of my classes. He was mysterious, smart, and looked a lot like Keanu Reeves. During my junior year of high school, I finally worked up the courage to ask him to prom. At first, he told me he wasn’t sure, so I gave him my phone number. He called later that night and told me prom just wasn’t his thing. At first, his rejection stung, but he was so sweet about it that I couldn’t really be mad at him.
However, I still didn’t have anyone to take to prom. Somehow, I worked up enough courage to ask a guy in my AP Government class. I’d only met him at the beginning of the year, but he was funny, good-looking, and had an awesome personality. Much to my surprise, this guy said yes. I was on cloud nine.
The night of junior prom was awesome. We danced together all night, hung out with friends, and went out for breakfast at one in the morning. As he walked me up to my front porch, I started thinking this was my chance. I leaned in, and…he gave me his cheek. It was a little disheartening, but I wasn’t too disappointed. I realized we were better off as friends, and next year I would have that whirlwind romantic prom experience that every girl dreamed of, topped off with a goodnight kiss at the end.
During my senior year, I discovered a glimmer of hope when a guy I had several classes with started flirting with me. We had known each other for almost three years, and he was good friends with Keanu Reeves guy. Even though I wasn’t as into him as he was to me, I tried to make myself have feelings for him. In hindsight, it seems pretty crazy, but time was running out on my high school years. I was desperate for something to happen.
I decided to ask him to prom. He said yes to me in front of a bunch of my classmates, and I started fantasizing about my dream night, complete with a chaste kiss on my front porch. However, it all came crashing down when he told me via email that he really didn’t want to go to prom a week before the tickets went off-sale. I ended up taking my uncle’s nephew.
I would have to say this was probably the lowest point in my romantic life. While I did have fun at prom, I started questioning why guys didn’t want me in a sexual way. Was I too innocent? Was I not pretty enough? Was I just not good enough for any guy? It didn’t help that almost all my friends, even the younger ones, were all at least somewhat experienced. Sometimes, some of my girlfriends would joke about my inexperience when they would start talking about their sexual escapades. I would laugh along with them, but, deep down, I felt slightly inferior. Here I was the girl with great grades and acceptance letters from every college and university I applied to, but I still couldn’t get a date.
As graduation loomed, I told myself college would be a brand new start. I would reinvent myself, and become a completely new person. I would meet an awesome guy, who would be more sophisticated than any guy I knew in high school. He would wear flannel, love post-modern writers, and listen to a cool, eclectic collection of music. We go to the campus café for coffee, have deep philosophical conversations about literature, the arts and politics, and spend hours making out in one of our dorm rooms.
Well, things didn’t turn out exactly the way I planned. Sure, I had a merry-go-round of crushes. Most wore flannel, loved literature and alternative music, and three were writers. However, there were no coffee dates, long conversations or dorm room make-out sessions. Whenever I would get around one of them, my nerves would get the best of me, my throat would close up, and my mind would become completely void of anything to say that would be remotely coherent. Plus, it didn’t help that most of these guys were usually attached to someone else. Every semester, I pored over magazines for tips and tricks to flirting, and, every semester, I’d come up short.
However, my feelings started to change towards my “lip virgin” status as I watched my friends go through their own stressful relationships. It always seemed like their boyfriend played a role in how they reacted around other guys, and I started to see how nice it was to be string-free. I could dance with whomever I wanted to at parties. I wasn’t a slave to my cell phone, anxiously waiting for a call or text. While some of them were considering marriage and kids, I was busy planning what amazing city I wanted to live and work in after graduation.
It turns out my situation, while uncommon, isn’t exactly rare. Emily, a 2010 graduate of Adelphi University, shares a similar experience, having only received her first kiss at the end of her freshman year.
“One of my best friends tried to help me get some alone time with Charlie, a guy I'd had a bit of a crush on for a while,” she says. “I ended up inviting him to hang out in my room and watch a movie. I realized this could be my chance to make something happen, so during the movie, I nudged him in a flirty way and told him I was freezing and needed him to warm me up. He put his arm around me and things went on from there until he finally asked if he could kiss me. It was wonderful, but also weird and kind of sloppy. It turned out that I was his first kiss too!”
However, the fallout wasn’t at all what she expected.
“I thought this would be the start of my first real relationship, but before I could figure out how to deal with everything, finals week came and our so-called ‘relationship’ spiraled out of control,” she shares. “We didn't speak all summer. This year, Charlie is in some of my classes, and it's been quite frustrating to face him after everything ended so quickly and so badly. Ultimately, I learned that I had really unrealistic expectations about getting my first kiss.”
She adds, “I wish I waited to meet someone who I had real feelings for instead of trying to rush everything.”
So, what’s a girl to do if she wants to cash in her “lip virginity,” but finds herself getting overly nervous around guys or feels overwhelmed by the whole dating scene? The folks of DatingTips.com offer some very practical advice for ridding yourself of those butterflies:
- Be sociable. You can’t meet anyone if you don’t take the first step and talk to people.
- Cleanse your life of people who bring you down, and surround yourself with those who will support you and be there for you.
- Take a risk and do something outside of your comfort zone. Who knows? You might meet someone new.
- Be proactive. We live in the 21st century. It’s okay to ask the guy out. He’ll be relieved that he doesn’t have to do all the work.
- Love who you are. The more you celebrate who you are, the more confident you will become.
However, Emily advises her fellow un-kissed collegiettes™ to not get caught up in trying to force things to happen at an unnatural pace.
“Though I'm sort of glad it happened, I'd honestly advise anyone else not to worry so much about getting her first kiss over with, because there's so many other amazing things about college that were ruined for me while I wasted my time trying to make something happen,” she shares.
As for me, I’ve come to terms with being a “lip virgin.” I’m at a point in my life where I would rather focus on getting into graduate school, building my career, and working on my first novel. I have even started channeling my sexual frustration into my writing, which has actually made me a better poet.
Does it suck that my younger brother has more dating experience than I do? Yes, and I have to admit I still feel a twinge of jealousy whenever I see a girl on campus holding hands with her boyfriend. However, even though I have days where I wish I were more experienced with guys, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d rather wait for the right person than simply give away my first kiss.
Emily, Her Campus reader, Adelphi University ‘10