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I Feel So Lame Still Being a Virgin 

Dear Athena,

I'm a young gay guy going into my second year of college, and I have a problem. I met a guy and I really like him, and I have sort of avoided sleeping with him because I am still a virgin. Shouldn't I be in love with him? I'm nervous, and I haven't told him that I haven't done it. He seems experienced, and I feel lame for being so old and still a virgin. Should I sleep with him? Do I tell him I haven't had sex yet? What do I say?

Signed,

Afraid to Do It

Dear Afraid,

The question isn't should you do it, but do you want to?

There is no magic age to lose your virginity. It's a personal choice, and there are a few things to consider before you do it. Certainly, how you feel — not to be confused with how you think you should feel — is the first to address. You said you really like this guy — that's a great start! Having a solid connection and being attracted to him are key. And, if the feelings are mutual, you're in good shape.

You don't have to be head over heels in love to lose your virginity. But the fact that you ask tells me that it's important to you. Know this: It's always OK to wait until you are in love.

Either way, having a shared bond and feeling super comfortable and safe are imperative — whether it's your first time or your 20th. If you do decide to sleep with him, you'll be battling nerves. You may even be worried about feeling some pain — which, truthfully, can occur. These are common concerns and can be remedied with lots of lube and moving slowly and carefully with a partner who understands your need for gentleness.

To eliminate as much discomfort as possible, I suggest you tell your guy what's up. You want him to handle you with care, but he won't know that if you leave him in the dark. And if you really like each other and have any plans for a long-term relationship, you have to make honesty a priority.

If he's weird about you being a virgin, forget him! He doesn't deserve to share such a special moment with you. But if he's cool with it, he may be the supportive partner you need. I'm sure he can recall his own first time and will understand how you feel. So what if he has more experience than you? Don't let that get in the way of creating your own experience together.

Strong relationships take honesty, trust and a healthy dollop of faith for the moments that make you feel vulnerable. Talk to him. His reaction will let you know if he's the partner you've been waiting for. If he is, take a leap of faith ... and enjoy!

Yours,

Athena

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