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In this week's Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in for help: he’s a virgin who is having trouble getting close to others.

And it’s not just because of the sex part. But because when men find out he is a virgin they seem to want nothing to do with him. So, should he be quiet and become a hoe? Or is there hope in dating and easing into the sex/relationship-stuff? 

Well, Hola Papi! has some thoughts.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!


Hola Papi!

I'm a black boy in his early twenties who is still trying to work things out with my sexuality. Basically, I'm a virgin. I've had about two experiences with men that included making out and receiving oral. I've concluded that I need things to be a bit more intimate for things to move along.

With that being said, I've come to find most queer men who aren't about just having sex are apprehensive to pursue anything further with me due to my lack of experience and not really knowing if I want a relationship or not. I guess my question for you is: Is it possible to find somebody to be intimate with without getting into a relationship?

Should I just get over myself and build my portfolio in hoe-manship to see what I enjoy physically without the mess of emotions? I'm just really scared of wasting my time, as well as somebody else's.

Help, please!

Signed,

Like a Virgin

Hey Virgin!

First, let’s address your direct question: Is it possible to find somebody to be intimate with without getting into a relationship?

Honey, is it possible? If it weren’t, Grindr wouldn’t exist, and (perish the thought!) neither would Hola Papi!, the first column ever to be entirely composed by thousands of Chihuahuas walking on typewriters.

You don’t have to worry about whether it’s possible. It’s like Legoland out here. People are building all sorts of relationships: sexual and asexual, romantic and aromantic, monogamous and polyamorous, open and closed, tops and bottoms, Chutes and Ladders, War and Peace.

Maybe that’s not at all what’s happening at Legoland. Whatever. It worked in my head. The point is that it’s up to you and your partner (or partners) to create the dynamic that’s right for you. Just like you can make anything out of Legos! That’s where I was going with that. Launch your own column if you have a problem with it.

However, while I’m happy to report you have more options than you probably think you do, I have to disagree that this is the thrust of your issue. I think the bigger problem is your anxiety over your perceived lack of sexual experience and your view that you can’t really date anyone until you finally understand yourself after crossing an unspecified threshold of hookups.

I really enjoyed what you said about building a hoe portfolio, or hoe-folio. It suggests that gay dating is an industry like media, where it’s smart to start locally and build your clips before you eventually land the big gig with a 401k and vacation time.

But if this were really how it worked, I, for one, would be married to a human trust fund right now, probably named Roderick. I don’t know how, but I just know his name would be Roderick. He would have been on the Yale rowing team, and if we had met during college, we wouldn’t have worked because he’d be too snobby, but he “gets it” now.

Also, Virgin, it’s not the case that your true self gets revealed after you level up by completing enough hookups. Again, if that really happened, I would probably know ten of my true selves by now, past lives and all.

Take it from a professional hoe: What you enjoy physically is constantly evolving, regardless of your “experience” level. I discover new things I’m into all the time. There are times when I really, really like one thing, and then, out of nowhere, I’m not into it anymore and want something else.

It’s confusing, but so are human bodies. Have you ever looked in one? Who knows what’s happening in there! I don’t. That’s why I was kicked out of medical school.

Finally, it’s important to realize “virginity” is just a construct, one that was originally created to devalue women and discourage their sexual agency. We don’t need to induct that into the queer world. It is a crude invention of the heterosexual man, and what do they know about anything? Have you seen their clothes?

So, really, what you need to do here is figure out what you want. Do you want a steady relationship? Do you want to seek out pleasure, to experiment and see what all you like? If so, there are many resources online to help you do so with the knowledge you need.

But determining what you want is the important thing, because at the moment it sounds like you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to do things to make yourself more palatable to people who may or may not know what they want either, regardless of how much sex they’ve had.

Put some deep thought into that, and try to block out these imaginary voices that are telling you that you can’t possibly know what you want until you’re more experienced.

Sure, in time, what you want will change, and it will probably change often. But that doesn’t invalidate what you want right now. So go forth, experiment, be open to new things and don’t let anyone (or yourself) shame you for engaging in what it is you’re looking for at the moment.

Papi.


JP Brammer
John Paul Brammer writes the Hola Papi! advice column at INTO. His work has appeared in NBC News, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, and more. He is working on his first novel.