Never been kissed: Learning to accept my unsexy love life

By CATHERINE PALMER | February 15, 2018



I’m a 22-year-old college senior, and I have never kissed anyone. It’s not for lack of attraction or for any kind of religious reasons. It just never happened.

Generally, I’m a fairly shy and reserved person. From an early age, I learned to process my emotions on my own instead of relying on others. Fortunately I now have several close friends in my life. But given my natural tendencies, I have to make a concerted effort to really put myself out there and talk to people. It often takes me a while to break through the ice. 

As I started writing this article, I realized that I’ve always expected a guy to make the first move. I couldn’t contemplate the humiliation of telling a guy how I felt, let alone kissing him and then finding out he didn’t feel the same way. 

I had my first real crush when I was about 13 or 14 years old, and it was on my only real guy friend in middle school. I had never been sure how he felt. But just before eight-grade graduation, my best friend told me that she’d heard that he liked me. I was thrilled, but I wasn’t going to say anything to him. I wasn’t sure if my friend was right. 

I remember kissing a pillow for practice as I was getting dressed for our post-graduation-dinner dance. I figured if something was going to happen, it would happen that night. It didn’t. 

We kept texting, though, and the next winter, I invited him to my freshman formal. I would never have made the first move, but I went to an all-girls high school, so you had to ask guys to dances. Once again, nothing happened. I told myself that if he liked me, he would’ve done something or said something, so I didn’t say anything, and we drifted apart. 

As time went by, I started to feel like I was falling behind even more as compared to my peers, 95 percent of whom, I was sure, had already had their first kisses in middle school. 

As a result of my insecurity and shyness, I became a “crush slut” (that’s what I called myself in my head). Almost any guy who talked to me, was nice to me or even smiled at me, I was instantly attracted to. I would almost unconsciously picture myself with them. I guess I figured if they wanted to talk to me, maybe they’d eventually be willing to make the first move that I knew I couldn’t. 

Junior year, I asked a senior at my brother’s high school who I had a crush on to winter formal. I’d known him for years, but I’d always been too intimidated to really talk to him. I got to know him a lot better in high school, though, while he was dating one of my friends. He was always nice to me, which only made my crush worse. But of course, I wasn’t going to interfere with my friend’s relationship.

She broke up with him early junior year. I figured since she’d been the one to break up with him rather than the other way around, it would be okay for me to ask him to the dance. He agreed to go, and I eventually nervously told my friend. She was incredibly supportive and even invited us to her house for pre-formal pictures.

Once again, I got my hopes up that something would happen. It didn’t, but I still had a nice time. About a month later, I asked him over text if he wanted to go to prom with me, figuring that he would definitely say yes, barring a scheduling conflict. Instead, he replied that he had enjoyed himself at the formal, but he didn’t really want to go to any more dances. 

I immediately knew that it was a cop out to avoid saying that he didn’t like me. I’m sure he was trying to spare my feelings, but it actually hurt a lot worse knowing that he didn’t have the decency to at least be honest with me.

The closest I ever came to being in a relationship was during my senior year. It all started with a friendly text from a friend of my brother’s who I had never met. When I asked my brother about it, he said the guy had asked for my number.

At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. He was a year younger than us, and I didn’t really have any guy friends. I figured it would be fun to get know him. He started texting me a lot, and I would respond eagerly. I wasn’t used to getting that many texts. 

He also wanted to start snapchatting, so I eagerly downloaded the app. Eventually, warning bells finally started going off. He had begun texting and snapping me almost nonstop. Nothing explicit, but the attention was starting to make me uncomfortable.

I finally asked my brother why he had asked for my number in the first place, and that’s when I found out that he had seen a picture of me on Facebook first and said something about me being cute. My brother didn’t think it was a big deal, but I felt uneasy. He could’ve asked my brother to introduce us in person first. Why hadn’t he? 

I told him that I didn’t feel comfortable talking to him anymore, or something to that effect. He got mad and accused me of leading him on, but he did stop contacting me shortly thereafter. I deleted Snapchat, and I haven’t re-downloaded it since.

For senior prom, I went with one of my brother’s friends who I had met in person. For once, I didn’t have any expectations, and I had the most fun I’ve ever had at a dance. I finally had a big friend group to go with, and we basically danced in a circle the whole time. I didn’t even slow dance with my date. 

I’ve never felt like I “needed” a guy, but I’ve always felt awkward about missing out on the life experience of kissing someone, not to mention being in a relationship.

I have had some typical college experiences. I’ve been to a handful of frat parties, but I never enjoyed them. Maybe I would’ve had my first kiss by now if I’d gone out more, but I don’t regret my decision. I don’t want to chase someone else’s idea of what a college experience should be.

In the past few months, though, as I prepare to enter the real world, I realize that I could stand to be a bit more bold, but vulnerable too. That’s partly why I’m writing this article.  

I’m also writing this say to anyone who might be in my position: You are not alone. To some extent, I’ll probably always feel uncomfortable about not having experienced my first kiss yet, and I’ve accepted that. But I am no longer embarrassed or ashamed of myself, and you shouldn’t be either.

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