Anonymous said: I just started dating this guy and he's perfect.. But I'm also pretty sure he is a virgin. He's very old fashioned and respects women more than any guy I've met. Ever since I found out I have hsv, I've stopped the one night stands and random hookups. I used to have them (how I got hsv) and I've been with 5 men total. I haven't told him about my past or hsv, and I'm nervous he thinks I'm a virgin since we talk about how our generation does dating & what not. I don't know when to disclose or if
(con’t) I should tell him about the guys I’ve been with. Obviously I want to tell him I’m not a virgin, but when should I do that? We’ve been dating for 3 weeks but we’ve connected to easily & are very comfortable with each other already. I always have this feeling I’m lying to him. Especially since he always talks about how lucky he is to have met a girl like me and that in flawless & all this other stuff.
Okay. So. Lots of things to address here. First of all, if this guy does respect women as much as you say he does, he should not judge you for having had sex before you met him (you existed before he came into your life, after all). Being old-fashioned and respecting women are not the same thing. Seriously, they aren’t. That’s a great patriarchal myth that’s been sold to us. Respecting women, as well as human beings in general, means respecting their decisions and life-styles as long as they are not harmful to anyone else.
Second, YOU CAN BE FLAWLESS AND STILL HAVE HAD SEX. Also, YOU CAN BE FLAWLESS AND STILL HAVE HERPES. It’s a stigmatized skin condition, it’s not murder. He is lucky he met you, and I can tell because you are being so thoughtful about this. We all struggle with shame at some point, but whenever you choose to have this conversation with this guy, don’t frame it by apologizing to him or putting yourself down. You have lived a life, you have made choices, shit happens, whatever. You are still 100% worth his time and his respect.
Third, you don’t have to tell anyone how many people you have slept with. You can if you want to, but it’s not information you owe to anyone (I even take issue with doctors asking their patients this, it’s based on an assumption of risk assessment and can make patients lie out of shame). Asking someone about their number is often a manipulation technique, and I had a partner ask me mine and then lie about their own to preserve the power balance they wanted.
Fourth, I won’t go on a rant about virginity and how it’s a bullshit constructed concept, but sex is fun and if he hasn’t had it yet, that’s fine, totally his call. But you have had sex and that’s chill to. Sex is great if it’s consensual and wanted.
It seems like you’re at a good point to disclose to him, just think about what kind of response you want to get. If he’s confused, worried, or afraid, those are all pretty reasonable responses. If he shuts down, doesn’t want to educate himself, is mean, etc? Nope. Bye bye. Be prepared to cut your losses if he winds up revealing himself to be a jerk.
Good luck, love, and let me know how it goes.