I am seemingly at a crossroads in my romantic life and would like your help in deciding which path I take.
I am nineteen and have never had a girlfriend. I’ve never had sex and Hell; I’ve ever even been kissed. I have trouble getting myself out there and have wondered if online dating was the way to go. Perhaps I would find other people like me, who have trouble with this sort of stuff.
My friend is a similar age and has found good results with “OK Cupid”, while many other people my age are on “Tinder”. I am looking for a real relationship, and don’t know if Tinder is the way to go. But maybe all its stigma is clouding my view of it.
I really want a relationship. I long for companionship, someone to love, someone who I can be physical with, someone who loves me. This may sound overly dramatic, or even pathetic coming from a nineteen-year-old, but it’s true.
Any advice you all have would be very much appreciated. Thanks.
Hello friend. There are a few questions that we are reading in your letter and we are going to do our best to answer each of them. In fact, we decided to split them up and give them out to the people that have the most experience in those areas.
To start with, we are hearing that you are feeling sexually inexperienced at your age. We want to let you in on something. There is no correct age to have your first kiss, first sexual experience, or first romantic partner. Society is very sexualized, and at times it really can seem that everyone except for you is more advanced than you are in this area of life. We understand that wasn’t the main point of your letter, but it is something that needed to be addressed.
The next part that we are seeing is that you are the type of person that we would consider to be demisexual. The yearnings that you are speaking about are specifically for a companion, someone to love that also loves you, and someone to be physical with. For someone your age, when you are putting the same emphasis on the emotional as the physical, it would lead us to believe that for you those feelings are as important for you to be sexually attracted.
Demisexuality and sapiosexuality are holding ground as some of the fastest growing topics when we talk about human sexuality. Just like we might have a physical type that we are attracted to, sometimes we may need for the emotional side or to be mentally stimulated by someone for that initial attraction to occur. There is no shame in this. It’s just more part of complicated interpersonal relationships that we as humans must deal with.
Speaking of shame. If you have anyone that is shaming you for the lack of experience that you have, or the type of relationship you are looking for, explain to them what they are doing is bullying. Prude shaming is just as damaging as slut shaming, and both are just another form of abuse. You do not need that kind of people in your life.
Now, on to dating apps. The statistics don’t lie. Everyone is doing it. 40% of couple now first meet online. For same sex couples that number goes up to 60%. Since percentages aren’t really that impressive, this means that there are 40 MILLION Americans using dating apps. It is absolutely the most common way for American couples to meet, so we are going to say that it’s probably the best way to get yourself out there. There are also more than OkCupid and Tinder. Facebook even just launched it’s own app, and some of us have found what we are looking for on Bumble and Plenty of Fish. There are even specific apps for Farmers and people of faith. (We are looking at you Christian Mingle.) You just need to find the right app for you.
You asked specifically if 19 was too young to start using dating apps. Absolutely not. You are a year past the age of consent, and this is something that is important to you. We want to throw a couple more statistics at you, however. Back in 2016 Match.com interviewed over 2000 people about their relationships and found that it was reported that the average age for women to find their “soulmate” 25, while men reported being around age 28 when they found the person they wanted to spend the rest of their life with. Most participants in the survey reported finding their person while they were in their 20’s. We have a hundred theories on why this happens from a psychological perspective, but that is another column entirely!
However, we would like to put out one of our theories. Most people start dating during their late teens and early twenties. It is rare for the first person that you date to be the person that you end up with for the rest of your life. It usually takes a few times to get it right. If you start dating now you will be able to learn a few more of the specifics that are involved when looking for a partner. You will meet more people and get to know your likes and dislikes beyond just wanting a girlfriend and wanting someone to love and be physical with. Your wish list will look more like “looking for a woman who is motivated, that likes dogs, prefer a woman that enjoys video games, but that isn’t a deal breaker. Someone that likes camping in the summer moves to the front of the”……. Oh wait (That’s our Tinder profile).
One last word of warning before we sign off. Our fear for you is that your desire to be in a relationship may overtake your good senses, and that isn’t a good thing. You need to be clear in your boundaries, limits, and desires when you are entering a new relationship. Do not allow a partner into your life that is going to take advantage of you or cause you any sort of abuse; emotional, physical or otherwise. Being in love is awesome. Being in love with the idea of love is a dangerous path. Good luck, we honestly hope you find what you are looking for, and if you have any more questions feel free to write back.
The Alaskans all started their romantic and sexual careers at different ages, in different places, and a couple of us, with each other! If you have queries and questions in that are, feel free to drop us a letter at firstname.lastname@example.org