Would You Rather Have Your First Kiss & Sex Same Night?

KissI’m going to be 22 next month and I’ve never been kissed. In the past, it worried me a little, but now that I’m interested in hooking up, I feel like that’s something I need to do first. What if I meet a guy at a bar or party and he tries to kiss me?

I’m terrified that he’ll know I’ve never been kissed before. Or if I meet a really cute guy on Tinder, and want to hook up, wouldn’t it be weird to have my first kiss and lose my virginity at the same time? Please help me.

Last thing first: Yes, it could be a little weird—by which I mean more stressful than necessary—to have your first kiss and lose your virginity on the same night. You’re going through some absolutely normal anxieties, so why not take it a bit slower? Run a marathon the day you take your first step? Perform surgery your first day of pre-med? I’m teasing—but, really, you’ve waited this long. What’s the rush?

So what if you’re 22? Give yourself some time. Process one thing at a time.

Fact: Every virgin feels like they’re the only virgin in the world. Here’s another fact: according to the CDC, almost 18 percent of men ages 20 to 24 haven’t had vaginal intercourse. So you aren’t alone. It may feel like everyone but you is getting naked on the first Tinder date, but it’s not true.

Besides, you are always in control of your own timeline, no matter what anyone else is doing. This goes especially for dating: You don’t get into bed because someone expects you to. You sleep with someone because you want to and choose to.

Sure, you might meet a guy and feel totally comfortable and excited to have sex right away. But you can also absolutely meet a guy on Tinder, kiss him, and let that be it. You can meet a guy on Tinder and make out a little. Or get handsy. Fool around.

Or not. Make it to second or third base—and stop there too. There’s no right or wrong way to have sex as long as it feels right to both of you. You set your own limits. And if a guy just sees you as a potential conquest, then, ew. You don’t owe any guy anything. And any guy who can’t wait a while for sex is an ass who’s unworthy of your time, much less your body.

As for whether or not a guy will know that you’ve never been kissed? I think you are seriously overestimating the sexual intelligence of the average male who is just going to be so psyched to kiss you that they won’t really notice many other details.

Most guys will be too worried about what you think of them. The easiest way to kill the nerves is to say something as simple as, “That was nice.” And he’ll be so busy appreciating your compliment and thinking he’s Casanova that he won’t even remember any awkwardness.

Bottom line: Take your time. Feel free to kiss nine or ninety-seven guys before you find the one you want to have sex with. Don’t rush it—and not because of some old-fashioned morality, or because that’s the statistical average for some other group of people. My advice: Don’t do anything if it scares you more than it turns you on. Find a partner you trust (if only for that one date). Don’t let anyone else pressure you to move faster than you want.

My boyfriend gets a lot of attention on social media because he posts about his celebrity friends, but he’s never posted about me. I feel envious of friends who have boyfriends who post about them from time to time.

I am also jealous of the attention that my boyfriend receives from other women who may not know or care that he has a girlfriend. Why should these women care when he never posts about me? It is weird to ask someone to post about you and my boyfriend ignores my hints.

We go on vacations together, take photos together and attend events together but he has never once thought that he should associate himself with me on social media. If he attends an event with someone else, he will post about it.

We’ve been together for about three years now and I play an active role in his life outside of social media but it stings when I open an app and see another post about someone else.

Your relationship sounds like every other relationship in the social media era—only on steroids. Any reader who’s ever felt a pang of jealousy on social media has got to feel where you’re coming from.

Lately, social media-inspired relationship anxiety has gone viral—for completely rational reasons. And it’s only reasonable to be feeling all the anxieties every other couple is having about this stuff, and perhaps feeling it all more acutely. You’re living the extreme version of living in public, dating an Insta influencer with famous friends. You know lots of people are watching him closely, including a lot of women, and they’re not seeing him with you, so who knows what assumptions they’re making, or how people see him in the world.

I could just say “shrug it off” because, really, who cares what other people think? But the way we present our selves to the public is important, social media is evolving fast, and there are hardly any rock-solid rules for any of this. And you do need to talk this out with your boyfriend.

It’s easy to see why you’d feel jealous or protective: If women follow him because he’s hot and charming and don’t know he’s got a girlfriend, why wouldn’t they flirt online or slide into his DMs? If he won’t publicly acknowledge your relationship when he’s exposing so much else of his life, why wouldn’t you worry about what that might say about how he sees you?

On that note, I think the core issue here is not that your boyfriend won’t post your photo on social media. The problem is that you’ve been dating this guy for three years and you still don’t know why he’s keeping your relationship so private. That’s not a communication problem. That’s a lack-of-communication problem.

How do you get some answers? I get the sense that you haven’t actually talked this out. You only say your boyfriend “ignores my hints.” So stop hinting. (Hints are like passive-aggressive wishes and just as likely to improve your life.) Then start talking. And start asking questions.

Start simple: Why doesn’t he post your photos? You can be empathetic but direct at the same time. Does he think his Insta-celebrity is partly based on the image of himself as a desirable single guy—and does he think he’d be less popular if he was hashtagged in a relationship? Does he think his young female friends might not like him as much if he was part of a couple?

Does he just like to separate his public self from who he is in private? Or, and I hate to say it, is he keeping you a secret so he can flirt or fool around behind your back? On the other hand, maybe he knows you might get trolled or stalked if he made you a part of his social life—and he’s trying to respect and protect your privacy.

When something’s really bothering you, you’ve got to be clear. You can’t just hope that he’ll sense why you’re upset, or pick up the clues you’re dropping. I know it’s awkward, particularly because whatever he’s doing on Instagram is working and you surely respect that he’s worked hard to become so popular, but you’re not an anonymous follower or fan. You’re his girlfriend.

Tell him what you wrote to me: That you’ve noticed he never posts about you and you don’t understand why. You deserve an explanation. If he’s a good boyfriend, he’ll care about how you feel and he’ll try to make you feel more comfortable. Just don’t hide your feelings. Or, to put this in social media language, you stop subtweeting your relationship and move this conversation over to direct messages.

My boyfriend’s mother died recently and I have no idea how to console him. We haven’t been together all that long but I really like him a lot. He told me to move on and forget about him since we won’t be able to see each other for a long time or be able to talk, since he’ll want space and stuff. I told him I wasn’t going anywhere and when he needed to talk I’d be there. But I don’t know what else to do.

It sounds like you’re being extremely empathetic and supportive at an extremely difficult moment. That’s great. But I also think you’ve got to listen when someone tells you what he wants.

When you’re dating someone who’s grieving, it’s natural to put your own feelings on a back-burner, and get lost in all the particulars of how your partner’s life is changing. It can be so easy to overthink a relationship in the middle of a crisis like this. So I’m going to keep my advice here short and simple.

As a general rule, I believe this: If someone says they need time to themself, believe them. If someone tells you they needs space, give it to them. You haven’t been dating long. He knows himself better than you. And you’ve said the exact right thing: You’re still there if he ever changes his mind.

Maybe he just needs some time to clear his head. But he has other people in his life who can be there for him—and he has told you that he does not want you around. Believe him. Yes, it’s possible he genuinely cares for you and is pushing you away because he knows he can’t put forth the effort needed for a relationship when he’s grieving, but that’s not what he said. He didn’t ask for a little time to himself. He asked you to move on. Please don’t sit around waiting. Grief-stricken or not, it still sounds like a break-up, and the best thing you can do is be compassionate and treat it like one.

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