A couple years back, an old friend from college whom I had almost but not quite dated explained to me why we hadn't. She said she'd decided she wanted to play the field, and didn't want to hurt my feelings.
To which I wanted to say, hey! I was out there in the field! You could have just said, "All I want is sex!" And I would have said, "That's fine!" I'm not proud.
Of course, it's funny now; I've been married 13 years, thank you, and the field no longer matters. But that doesn't quite change the fact that I was in that field for a long time, and it was bleak and grim and blasted with pits of despair—a kind of Mordor of interpersonal inadequacy. I know that college for some is a sexual cornucopia—David Heatley went to Oberlin around when I did, and screwed everything that moved, according to his comics memoir My Sexual History. That Oberlin wasn't my Oberlin, though. While at school, I dated no one; I didn't even kiss anyone, all through college and beyond...until I met my wife, in fact, in my late 20s.
This wasn't a matter of choice. I wasn't saving myself. I was just confused and shy and (I like to tell myself) a bit unlucky. And in some sense, my reserve worked in my favor. I had to wait for someone who was very sure of herself and very sure I was what she wanted. ("I guess I was maybe a little pushy at first," my wife commented. To which I could only reply, "At first?") Also, I got to tell my wife-to-be I was a virgin while we were in bed. She looked about as stunned as if I'd declared I had three penises. I wouldn't give that memory up for anything.