Pillow Talk

I love joking about what a prude I am, but as they say: many a truth is spoken in jest.

I had my first boyfriend at the age of 14. The largest point of contention in that relationship was that I was not comfortable getting intimate with him. A few make out sessions and a really bad hand job later, we broke up because I wasn’t willing to go any further.

A significant pattern has developed in my life – every single person I have slept with and the vast majority of people I’ve even just kissed have been my friends.

At 14, I had my first kiss. It was with my best friend and first love — unrequited and toxic love, but love nonetheless. I lost my virginity at 17 to my boyfriend at the time. We had been dating for four months. As a matter of fact, we didn’t even make physical contact until we had been dating for an entire month. When I’m not in a relationship, I am — almost — entirely celibate; not by choice, but by pure avoidance.

So yes, one could say I’m a prude or that I have high standards. However, I think my apprehension toward sexual intimacy comes from deep anxiety. Whether that’s self-consciousness, insecurity or a mental block, I don’t know.

My observation is that I choose to not become intimate with someone I don’t know on a relatively deep level.

Since the dawn of the Tinder age, this anxiety has only grown. I’ve been on one Tinder date in my three or so years using the app on and off. I swipe left about 95 percent of the time. It’s not that I’m selective, I think I’m just scared.

It’s not a fear of rejection or an inherent fear of intimacy, but more so a fear of allowing someone close to me. Once someone is close to me in one way, I can allow them to get close to me in another.

The thing is, no matter how many men have made me feel guilty for not putting out, I’m pretty content. I admittedly have walls up and am generally guarded. I am seldom pursued by men, presumably because I give off prude energy. But this does me no harm.

I tend to be an all-or-nothing person. I either want a relationship with all the nuts and bolts — no pun intended — or nothing at all.

I often feel guilty, like I’m not experiencing my late teens and early 20s the way I should. Or I’m shutting myself off from the world. When it comes down to it, men and sex with them intimidate me unless I can humanize them on a deeply emotional level.

Or maybe men just intimidate me. Either way, I’d rather just sleep with my friends.