This corresponds to the story of “Joseph”, a 60-year-old man who wrote about his regret at missing out on sexual experiences until the age of 37. Many readers wrote to say that his story struck a chord with them – echoing his point that society aggravates the problem by unfairly portraying lonely people as strange or inadequate.
Here is a selection of their emails.
Robert: I am 61 and still waiting and I am probably too late to start now. I have always been too worried about being laughed at and ridiculed. I finally realised I was unlikely to get anywhere when turned down by a prostitute when in my 30s.
I particularly hate comments like: “It’s overrated, you aren’t missing out on much”; “You can’t miss what you’ve never had”; “Never had a woman! What are you gay?” If I thought it still possible I wouldn’t know how to find or approach a woman. While I would still like to lose my virginity it is the physical affection I miss most.
Joy: Reading this story, I felt many emotions. I recognised myself, as it is the story of my life in many ways. Only, I am female and 35. I have never even kissed a guy, never been on a date. What I would like to say is that people like me are not as rare as one might think. Popular culture will have you believe that everyone has a love life, and that is simply not true. Another thing to note is that no-one goes around telling people, “Hey I’m in my 30s and still wonder what kissing feels like.” On the other hand, people who do have a boyfriend/girlfriend, or are actively dating, are usually quite vocal about it. This adds to the impression that everyone dates. A part of the story I can strongly identify with is the strong sense of shame. I used to live in constant fear that people would find out that I have no dating experience. I felt I was living with a deep, dark secret. But as I got older I stopped caring about what people think. Also read:Sex and Relationship; Women enjoy casual sex more?
Alex: I lost my “virginity” – (a woman loses her virginity, I suggest – a man just has penetrative sex for the first time, but that’s another story) with a prostitute at the age of 47. I can relate to Joseph’s account of first-time sex – far from being fumbling and unsatisfactory it was actually really good.
I have suffered, and am suffering, all my life from debilitating love shyness, which has completely ruined any chances I may have had of having a satisfying and intimate family life and fathering any children. I’ve no doubt that love shyness is a real condition and is not simply a part of social anxiety disorder. I can be quite brave in many social situations but if there is someone I fancy I am completely clueless as to what to do to take it to the next level. It is as if some power has hijacked your brain and your desires and just wants you to stay where you are – single and lonely. Read:‘I’m sad that I didn’t have sex until I was 37’.