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Sex Talk with Chalk: How do I feel comfortable with my lack of experience?

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In “Sex Talk with CHALK,” Emerson Karsh-Lombardo — CHALK’s sex columnist — answers your questions about sex, sexuality and the culture of sex. 

Dear Emerson, 

I am 22 and I've never kissed anyone, never been in love, never dated and never had sex. I sometimes feel like I'm behind others or like I'm not a real "adult" because of this. I honestly am just not that interested in being in a relationship and sex seems kind of scary to me, but it sometimes seems like it's all anyone talks about. 

I don't think I'm asexual, but that just confuses me more. If I'm not asexual, shouldn't I be more interested? Do you have any advice on how I can feel more comfortable with my lack of experience/interest?


 

First and foremost, you are valid and your experiences are valid. You do not have to do anything you don’t want to do, and that doesn’t make you any less than those who are engaging in sexual activity. 

Sex doesn’t make us whole. 

This may be a bold opinion, but I honestly don’t think anything truly makes us an adult in life. We are all trying to figure things out and we all have our own journeys. Contrary to the societal concept that having sex for the first time makes us a new person immediately, sex is not something that changes a person or makes someone an adult. 

Your feelings are valid because being in college is hard.

It can seem like everyone is having sex all the time with all new people. In the media, there is this narrative that college is the only time to let-go and experience things like one-night stands, blacking out and pulling all-nighters until the four-year clock runs out. This narrative makes it seem like entering the “real world” closes the door on new experiences, which shockingly, is a very false narrative. 

You can experience new things whenever you please, it does not have to be in the confines of college. You may be in a better place once you leave college to experience and explore many things, including sex and your sexuality and that is OK! 

You are also not alone. The CDC reported in 2011, 12.3% of females and 14.3% of males aged 20 to 24 in the United States have not engaged in sexual activity. Based on the population, that is more than 2 million people who are in the same boat as you. 

There is a lot more to life than sex and relationships. The most important thing is that you are happy and content with your life and what you are doing. Being in a relationship is a lot of emotional and physical energy and so is college, so I truly don’t think it’s a bad thing that a relationship is not a top priority for you.

Your priorities may be using your emotional and physical energy to better your studies, hang out with your friends and family, engaging in extracurricular activities, working a job or taking care of yourself. These priorities are just as legitimate as being in a relationship and thus you are not behind others for having different priorities. 

In regards to asexuality, if that is not an identity that feels right to you, then that is also OK.

Sexuality is fluid and always changing.

Within the realm of asexuality, there is also aromantic and demisexual. Aromantic refers to the idea that someone may experience little or no romantic attraction to others, while demisexual refers to a person who cannot experience sexual attraction without an emotional connection. These may be other terms that you feel may fit you better. 

Similar to most non-heterosexual sexual orientations, asexuality, aromantic and demisexual are not pervasive in the media so it is not commonly known. Asexuality.org has some amazing resources as well as chat forums covering a range of topics that could help for this journey! 

In terms of comfortability, I suggest setting boundaries with those around you. If talking about sex and relationships continually is not something that is of interest to you, no matter your reasoning, you have every right to create those boundaries for your well-being. There are so many interesting things to discuss besides intercourse and who knows, maybe these new topics can lead to some amazing conversations!

All in all, my biggest piece of advice is to continue to be yourself. 

Your lack of experience and interest does not make you any less of a person than any of your peers. Your lack of experience and interest also does not make you behind your peers in any way, shape, or form. The experiences you have had — in college — whatever those are for you — make you a college student, and will one day make you an adult. Having sex does not. 

You are an amazing person, and sex and relationships — whatever form they take or don’t take in your life — will not change that. 

Love,

Emerson

Have your own question for Emerson? Ask here

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