Couple sitting on brick wall in sunshine

I am 22 and still a virgin. I know this is not anything too out of the ordinary but it is not as a result of not having the opportunity but because I can’t bring myself to show my body to another person.

When I was 4 I fell into a bonfire in my Grandparents garden. Luckily my Grandfather was swift to rescue me and rush me off to the hospital. The burn was all my left leg and despite lots of surgery and skin grafts I still have a horrible ugly scar all around my knee and particularly across the front of my thigh. The skin is all rippled and puckered. In some places it is a shiny red and in others a pale white. For the most part I just ignore it. I never look in the mirror unless I have my trousers on and I rarely go naked. I wear pajama bottoms to bed so that I don’t have to see it or even accidentally feel it in the night. The only people who have ever seen it are my parents and brother. I did an amazing job of hiding it, even at school. You would be surprised the lengths I went to to avoid situations where someone might see it.

Now I have met a girl. She is not the first girl but she is the first one who has ever made me think about sharing my scar with her and yet I am completely and utterly terrified at the prospect of doing so. I think it is the most ugly horrible thing I have ever seen so I can only assume that she will think the same and the thought of seeing that repulsion on her face makes me feel physically sick and yet, unlike all the times before when I have driven them away so as not to face this moment I want to do it. I want to show her, I want her to be OK with it, I want to be brave enough to trust that she will not destroy me with one look but I have absolutely no idea how to go about doing that.

Should I tell her before hand, warn her about what she will see or should I just let her discover it and treat like it is nothing important? I feel like I should warn her but every time I have contemplated saying something the words just won’t come out, but just letting her discover it feels even more terrifying. There is a third option, which is to reject her like I have done others in the past but unlike before, that thought also scares me too. I like her a lot.

7 thoughts on “Scarred

  • Let her discover it and ask what happened and tell her your story, it is your story and it is important. This is how you build trust and intimacy with someone. And trust me, the scar is not as bad as you think, we are all our own harshest critic. Please do not let it prevent you from opening up to another and loving.

    This is one of my favorite pieces on beauty, you’ve earned your beauty

  • My suggestion is to tell her about the night of the bonfire, about the burn, about the hospital, instead of focusing on the physical results of that experience. Then she will be more prepared when she does see it.

    No one can make promises about how your girl will react. It may be the first time she’s ever seen something of the sort. She may be shocked, she may ask questions. But not everyone finds scars off-putting. They are the badges of surviving.

    Ask yourself this question: If her clothes came off and you discovered a similar scar across her abdomen or her thigh, would you be repulsed, or would you want to know all she had suffered and worship at her body still? Would you be proud of her or somehow blame her for whatever terrible thing had befallen her? Would you want to kiss it and her until she never thought a terrible thing about it again, or would you break up with her?

  • As a guy that was a post teen ‘virgin’ and had my own fear issues and has had a few decades from my twenties to gain a bit of wisdom, this is my suggestion for what it is worth…

    Tell her. The next time you have a private conversation tell her. Telling her has nothing to do with any sexual/intimate future you may or may not have with this woman. Rather, your scar is one of your demons and it is already trying to get in the way of any deep happiness you hope to have with this woman.

    Telling her will do multiple things:
    1.) If she is worth her weight in salt, she is not going to care in the least.
    2.) If #1 is true, it will free you of it being a obstacle in the relationship, and something to fret about while it is a ‘secret’.
    3.) Once you let her see it, she will be prepared for it. She may still ‘flinch’ at seeing it, but not because it is ‘ugly’ but because she cares enough about you to feel the pain it causes you.

    End of the day if she likes you in a way that can lead to loving you, letting her know is the kindest thing you can do for the both of you.

    Imagine this scenario. This woman is actually head-over-heels into you. You are always on her mind, the whole gamut. You don’t tell her. So not telling her eats at you, because it is something you hate about yourself (which I hope you get over that feeling in time. I hope you get to that day where you just see it as a scar and nothing more). But, you brave through that and finally get to that day where you are being intimate.

    She discovers it when each of your defenses are COMPLETELY down and she DOES flinch. It is her natural response. That will cut you deep, even though she doesn’t think less of you.

    In her mind will be, “OMG! What happened to him? How did he get so hurt? Does it still hurt? Shit! I flinched seeing it and now he has become distant. I didn’t mean to hurt him…and he is not letting me in. We were right there and now the moment is gone…”

    You do not want that! If she is as special as you believe she is, you definitely do not want anything like that.

    Hang in there! Tell her and feel the demon lose a bit of its power. You and her both deserve it.

  • I’ll tell you a short story about a situation of my own.
    The first time my ex came to see me (we met online,) therefore the first time I saw him naked, he had terrible psoriasis. Really bad. Plaques covering his thighs, and all over his arms. He hadn’t told me about it. It didn’t bother me one little bit. Why should it? I was sexing him, not his skin.
    If anyone is disgusted by anything about your body, would you really want them in your life anyway?
    I know I wouldn’t.
    Don’t let your scars define you x

  • I agree wholeheartedly with everyone before me (especially vivibene1, who has hit the nail with her wise thoughts on intimacy and beaten me to the punch with the Cubitt quote).

    Tell her, show her. Trust yourself in that moment. Take a leap of faith with yourself and with her.

    The body, your body, tells a story, a unique narrative, of your life, your will, your vulnerability, your desire, your hopes. Of you. Every freckle, every scar, every laugh line, every beautiful inch of skin is the road map of where you have been, how you have felt, how you have lived. Let her trace those roads, marvel at the places they have taken you. Let her see your past, let her imagine your future. Let her show you your body through her gaze.

    And remember this – your scar is one part of you. Just one part. Don’t allow it the force to reject another soul, another being, another body who undoubtedly desires you because of your inner as well as outer beauty.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    • I’m unsure if this has come a little too late in the game but I’ve just stumbled across the most incredible and beautiful video about scars via Twitter. The imagery and narration capture so much of what’s already been said here but with a moving and mesmerising nuance, experience and “intimacy”:

      I hope it helps you see the breathtaking beauty of every unique mark and trace.

      Best wishes,

  • This breaks my heart a little bit.

    Tell her beforehand, share your story. It is a part of you, as is your scar. Be open about how you have struggled with it. Sharing difficult things is part of how we create intimacy.

    I loved what one of the commenters said above: Imagine if you discovered that she had had some terrible accident and carried the scars of it on her body. Would you be repulsed by it? By her? I suspect your response would be ‘Of course not!’ Trust her with this part of you.


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