He said he's learned that he needs to better understand what it means to be "born in white privilege".
Fairfax is one of three top Democrats in the state engulfed by scandal this month.
If all three men resign, House Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican, would be next in line for the governorship. He said an accusation by a second woman that he raped her when they were both students at Duke University in 2000 was "demonstrably false" and has demanded a full investigation.
"When I was confronted with the images yesterday I was appalled that they appeared on my page", Northam said during a press conference on February 2, "but I believe then and now, that I am not either of the people in that photo".
Another possibility: Fairfax simply hangs on as he disputes the allegations. Fairfax released a statement on Saturday acknowledging both interactions with the women, but said both instances were consensual.
Northam, a pediatric neurologist, said that he considered quitting, but has decided he's "not going anywhere" because the state "needs someone that can heal" it.More news: Inside Jennifer Aniston’s Star-Studded 50th Birthday
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"I can only imagine that it must take tremendous courage for women to step forward and - and talk about these things that are just so hurtful", Northam told CBS.
During the same press conference, Northam admitted to darkening his face for a costume.
"I know he wants to rehabilitate his reputation and even his sense of what he called his moral compass", Democratic Representative Don Beyer of Virginia said in a separate interview on "Face the Nation".
Lawmakers on both sides of the political divide have called on him to step down.
Virginia slid deeper into crisis on Wednesday, when Attorney General Mark Herring acknowledged wearing blackface at a college party in 1980, and Fairfax was publicly accused of sexual assault for the first time.
Northam was roundly attacked for his reaction to the yearbook revelation: a confused sequence that saw him first admit, then deny, appearing in the photo, only to apologize instead for wearing blackface on another occasion while imitating the late Michael Jackson.
"We are confident that once the Virginia legislature hears Dr. Tyson's harrowing account of this sexual assault, the testimony of many corroborating witnesses, and evidence of his attempts to mislead the public about The Washington Post's decision not to run a story in 2018, it will conclude that he lacks the character, fitness, and credibility to serve in any capacity", the statement said.
"Yes", Northam replied, continuing, "And while we have made a lot of progress in Virginia-slavery has ended".
If Fairfax were to leave, it's unclear who could replace him as lieutenant governor.
Embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is blaming his white privilege on recent accusations of racism.