Ask Em: Smoochless in Seattle (and New York)

Is there a deadline for when you should have your first kiss?


Dear Em,

Am I weird for not having had my first kiss or relationship before college? I feel like everyone around me, especially in college, has experience with sex and love, and I don’t. Should I start pursuing someone or wait for fate to bring love to me?

Sincerely, Scared Sophomore

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Dear Scared Sophomore,


There is absolutely no set timeline to start dating. Whether you have your first kiss on the playground at nine years old or in NYC at 29 years old, you are moving at your own pace, and that is your right. You are your own person, and you will move forward with your sex and love life whenever you feel ready. Don’t rush yourself to meet some imaginary deadline that you convinced yourself exists. 

It’s not easy or fun to feel like you are behind schedule, especially in the sex and love department. Watching your friends get into relationships and talk about their sex lives can be a reminder that you don’t have anything to contribute to the conversation yet. But don’t let that fear and shame build up. You have nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to fear. 

In terms of sex, remove the word “virgin” from your inner dialogue. Virginity is a social construct, and anyone you want to be with in the future will understand and embrace your lack of sexual history. There is absolutely no shame in being inexperienced and refraining from engaging in hookup culture. Your sexual experience and pursuits are entirely your own business and completely under your control.

Likewise, you can’t force yourself to fall in love — that happens in its own, weird ways and on its own schedule. If you don’t fall in love during or before college, that just means that you get to experience the joy of that feeling in the future. Good times are ahead. Use this time, as cliché as it sounds, to focus on yourself. College is one of the only times where it’s expected that students will put their own interests first. Embrace that freedom and use it to do great things. 

Now, if you feel ready to start dating and there is someone that you would like to pursue — by all means, pursue them. Don’t let fear of rejection or inexperience keep you from something potentially beautiful. With that said, don’t force yourself to have feelings for someone or date someone simply to get it out of the way. You’re doing the other person a disservice by pretending to have feelings for them, and you’re doing yourself a disservice by wasting your time. 

In college, it can feel like everyone you know is going out on dates and hooking up with people at parties, but I can promise you that is not the case. There are tons of people who are waiting for the right person or taking this time to focus on themselves. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, trust yourself and your decisions. When you are ready, you’ll be ready. Until then, enjoy your life here at Fordham. New York City is right outside your door. 

all my love, emily