I'm going to lose my virginity tonight, but my boyfriend doesn't know that I'm a virgin.
I can't tell him because he already thinks I am, because I lied and said I wasn't. I wanted to sound cool.
He's really sweet but I'm nervous, super self-conscious, and don't want to make a fool of myself.
Lying is what’s not cool.
Had you told him you were a virgin, he’d know it was a choice. That would’ve told him more about you that’s real and interesting.
Instead, you gave him a false impression of yourself.
The obvious question now: Is having sex tonight what you wanted?
(By the time you read this, it either happened or not).
I’m hoping that you were not just caving in to pressure from him, that you’d decided he was the person with whom you wanted this first experience.
If so, you still have the right to decide whether you want to be sexually active from now on.
It means making certain you know how and when to have safe sex, regarding sexually transmitted infections and avoiding pregnancy.
It also requires your insisting on appropriate protection for both of you.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman whose son’s a drug addict and has closed herself off from everything. I wish to share my story (November 30):
“I lost my son, my only child, to suicide six and a half years ago.
“Society doesn't like suicides or bereaved parents; we make others feel uncomfortable.
“A good psychologist helped me and eventually I decided I was going to live, not just exist.
“It's been a long journey. I had to re-enter a world where people have children, grandchildren, and seemingly normal lives. It wasn't easy, but I can't expect society to change for me.
“One of the hardest things I faced initially was meeting people who didn’t know me and asked, "Do you have children?"
“Do I say no and deny my son's existence so as to not make people uncomfortable?
“I was envious of other bereaved parents who had a surviving child.
“I now say “Yes, I had a son, his name was Matthew, he was my only child, and he passed (X) years ago.”
“I say it kindly with a gentle smile. The response is usually shock and an apology. My reply is, “No worries, I simply can't deny that he existed.”
“If they’re rude enough to ask the details, I again reply kindly that I don't want to discuss it further.
“I have no shame, though suicide has many shameful aspects which society has imposed on us, from people who don't have a clue.
“My close friends know exactly how my son died, his number of attempts, and the hell I was in before he died, let alone afterwards.
“Of course I have guilt. No parent can escape that, but you can learn to manage it. To remind yourself that you tried your best.
“This woman who wrote you has shame, guilt, and is also suffering from society's expectations.
“She has to learn to accept what is, and gain the tools to manage it all.
“She has the right to look after herself, feel better, learn that she can laugh again and walk in the sunshine.
“I hope she takes your advice and seeks help. I cannot imagine how I would’ve survived these past years without support, without a friend to make me go to dinner after a year, without a sympathetic ear.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the writer whose parents are a drag at holiday dinners (Dec. 22 and 16):
Reader – “Her parents are probably lonely, and resentful that their daughter absents herself a lot, etc.
“It was only after my father died that I was able to see him as a totally separate human being from me.
“I saw his loneliness, I sensed his sadness at his failures, his struggles to provide for a wife and eight children. He did the best he could.
“It just took his whole lifetime and his death for me to see him as a human, with all the strengths and weaknesses as a human, and not just as my father.
“Divided Christmas” needs to assert herself, invite them out, get on with it now, and not wait until it’s too late.
“It’s up to her to start the changes that could make all their lives happier.”
Tip of the day:
Virginity is a choice every person has a right to make, lying about it doesn’t make you “cool.”