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Monday, October 29, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: 60-Year-Old Virgin

Posted by on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 4:16 PM

I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back November 1st, when the book is finished. —Dan

Originally published July 30, 2009:

I'm a 60-year-old white male, securely retired from a successful professional career. I own a nice home that's paid for. I ought to be happy, right? There's just one catch: I'm still a virgin.

Growing up, I suffered the outcast status to which class brains are routinely assigned. So I fell behind socially. Then I went to an elite, all-male university and fell even further behind. The sexual revolution passed me by. So I retreated into my career. I never learned how to date. I considered paying for sex, but I decided that was the equivalent of admitting that I was a failed human being. Now I spend my days consumed with loneliness, resentment of the past, and a constant longing for a hint of intimacy. Longevity is a family trait, and I expect to live into my 90s. Is there any plausible way to salvage something from this mess?

Stop The Parade, I Want To Get On

My response after the jump...

You've got a big advantage over ALONE, STPIWTGO, in that you're financially secure. That's something that many women look for in men—women are sex objects, men are success objects, blah blah blah—and you could leverage your professional success to your personal advantage. You wouldn't be the first man who was paying for sex but, since he was careful to launder the money through a relationship, wouldn't have to admit to "paying for sex." So, STPIWTGO, why not sell the house, move to a retirement community where single women outnumber the men, wear nice clothes, and drive a nice car?

But first: See a doctor. Reading your letter, I wondered if you don't suffer from an undiagnosed case of mild-to-moderate autism. There's no cure, but a diagnosis might make you feel like less of a failure, STPIWTGO, and it could give you a better idea of the obstacles you need to overcome to make a personal and romantic connection with a woman between now and death. And I know you're opposed to "paying for it"—no conveniently located and economically priced sex workers for you—but you also might want to consider seeing a shrink who can refer you to a sexual surrogate. Then your insurer will pay for it, STPIWTGO, not you.


Comments (9) RSS

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Max Solomon 1
hell, just take out a personal ad, lay it all out there, and watch women line up to fuck you.

Posted by Max Solomon on October 29, 2012 at 4:26 PM · Report this
I wish there was a follow up to this one.
Posted by I Got Nuthin' on October 29, 2012 at 4:38 PM · Report this
Jesus. That is depressing.
Posted by tkc on October 29, 2012 at 4:51 PM · Report this
I completely understand how one can come to a situation of being a virgin at 60.
I'm gay and not a virgin but haven't had sex in 8 years and never had a boyfriend.

It's just that you cease to bother with it and it becomes a normal mode of functioning. You forget how to talk to people let alone how to talk to people in an effort to become intimate.

This is far more banal and often than the occurrence of autism or any specific pathology.
Posted by Falcor on October 29, 2012 at 6:34 PM · Report this
rob! 5
I suspect there are more people like this out there than you might think, perhaps even especially among the ostensibly promiscuous gay population. If you didn't feel safe coming out in any fashion until you were securely employed and on your own in your early twenties, and you were scared (and scarred) early in the AIDS epidemic by the loss of people you knew and loved, it could be pretty easy to keep putting off a first relationship "just a little longer."

I know; I was headed that way for a number of years. I remember being shocked into a change of behavior after hearing a radio interview with a man in his eighties. It was long enough ago that his orientation wasn't discussed, but he said that he was trim and active and in good health, got along well with people and others seemed to enjoy his company, but he had "never been touched intimately by another human being" and despaired of ever having that experience. He said, "I never intended it that way. It just happened."

That's kind of an extreme case of a "How'd That Happen?!" scenario, but I can see it. With every milestone that passes—30's, 40's, 50's—it just seems more and more unbelievable and ridiculous. Broadcast standards being what they were at the time, I guess, there was no mention of counseling or sexual surrogacy, and the story just kind of ground to a halt with the unspoken implication that his goose was cooked.

If you think you'd be embarrassed opening up to somebody else now, just imagine admitting in your eighties to yourself, if no one else, that you were too afraid to risk rejection.

Worst-case scenario, however mortified you may be, you'll live to be smitten by another person on another day.

Also: never gossip about someone like this who takes a chance on you. There are few higher compliments than being asked.
Posted by rob! on October 29, 2012 at 6:37 PM · Report this
Registered European 6
I can easily see how this would happen. I am almost fifty and while I have been touched intimately by another human being, that happened late, did not last very long and is now almost twenty years ago.

I do pay for sex as a substitute, though. If I did not I would probably go crazy.
Posted by Registered European on October 29, 2012 at 9:59 PM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 7
I'm so relieved you advised the LW to go to a doctor first. Whether it's a form of autism or simply a rigid case of stick-to-his-guns stubbornness, it IS depressing to know that he would object to getting over the hump (or lack of humping) simply because he had to pay for it. A kind, older surrogate would do wonders to open his eyes to the possibilities that still lie ahead of him. And, if he doesn't think he owes it to himself, he certainly owes it to his future partner(s).
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on October 30, 2012 at 10:10 AM · Report this
@4 I agree. I'm far from a virgin and I'm not clueless, but I had a traumatic experience and didn't get out much for awhile. Then, when I did start going out again it was hard to pick up where I left off. If you don't use it you lose it. That's why I've joined a few groups, such as a book club- just so I don't become a shut-in and forget completely how to make new friends. It might not get me laid tonight, but it will pay off at some point.
Posted by getting out more on October 30, 2012 at 3:27 PM · Report this
You should also consider that you are depressed. That seems far more likely than autism (sorry Dan).
Posted by MJJ on November 3, 2012 at 8:29 AM · Report this

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