When to Lose Your Virginity

Defining “Losing Your Virginity”

When should I lose my virginity?  This is the question that has been on the mind of countless young men and women across time, cultures, and borders. Virginity is defined in different ways according to your location, beliefs, and culture.  Losing your virginity is commonly defined as engaging in penetrative sex, including oral sex, manual stimulation, and anal sex for the first time. In many cultures, once a female’s hymen is broken, she is no longer considered a virgin. In others, a person is no longer seen as a virgin once they have engaged in any sexual activity, including oral sex, and manual stimulation. In some cultures, females are seen as “pure” until they lose their virginity.  Losing one’s virginity at a young age can lead to slut shaming, especially for females.  Yet no matter the culture and traditions, people all over the world sometimes feel the pressure to lose their virginity. 

Losing Your Virginity in Today’s Time

It seems like in today's culture, sex is everywhere. Countless television shows, music videos, songs, and advertisements contain references to sex, or are extremely sexual in nature.  Yet mass media is increasingly targeting younger and younger audiences, therefore adding to the pressure to have, or at least think about having sex at a young age.  In the United States, the average American loses their virginity at age 17.2   However, this should not be used as an indicator for when you should have sex. It is important to note that there is no "right answer" to lose your virginity because everyone is different. Some are bound by religious beliefs, while others have their own differing beliefs on what the appropriate age is to first have sex. Some may wait until marriage, while others may enjoy casual one-night stands.  The bottom line is that everyone should strive to have a consensual, fun, and positive experience when they decide to have sex for the first time. 

Questions to Ask Yourself

While there is no right age to lose your virginity, there are some questions you can contemplate to determine if you might be ready to lose your virginity:

  • Are both partners consenting?
    • Are you being pressured to have sex?
    • Are both partners above the legal age of consent to have sex in your state or country?
    • Are you having sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
  • Are appropriate contraception available and being used if pregnancy is a concern?
  • Does it break the law?
  • If your partner breaks up with you soon after having sex, will you regret having sex with them?
  • Does it go against your moral or religious values?


Answers to the Questions

The answers you give to the questions above may help to guide you in the right direction to see if you are ready to decide to lose your virginity.  Both partners must give affirmed consent when having sex.  This means that each partner must clearly communicate verbal or nonverbal consent that explicitly and positively expresses their permission and willingness to participate in sexual activities.  Any lack of resistance or silence does not count as consent

If you and your partner do not want to become pregnant, it is important that you use the best contraceptive method for you.  The condom is most popular for males, while birth control pills, IUDs, contraceptive patches, implants, rings, and shots are available for females. Most contraceptives do not protect against STIs, as the male and female condom are the only contraceptive method that protects against STIs if used properly.

Each state and country has a legal age of consent, meaning that citizens must be older than a specific age in order for the sexual activity to be considered legal and consensual.  Individuals that are under this age of consent are not able to consent to any sexual act according to the laws.

Consuming alcohol or using drugs prior or during sex can nullify the consent because the alcohol and drugs compromise the clear state of mind one needs to consent to sex.

If your religion or moral values encourage you to wait until marriage in order to have sex, you may want to consider what your current situation entails. 

Pressures to Lose Your Virginity

Unfortunately, there can be a lot of pressure to lose your virginity, especially in ongoing romantic relationships.  However, it is important that you decide to lose your virginity because you want to, not because you feel pressured to do so. There are many ways that a partner can pressure you into having sex.  For example, your partner might say, “But I love you, and if you loved me too you would have sex with me.” Please be careful in this situation and do not feel pressured to have sex with someone just because they use the express their love for you.  If they truly loved and valued you, they would not pressure you and respect your decisions.  Other common tactics used to pressure someone into having sex is threatening to leave, comparing your relationship to that of your friends, and various forms of blackmail.  No matter the pressures that a partner gives to encourage you to lose your virginity, it is important to keep in mind that this is ultimately your decision, and you should do what you want and what makes you feel good, not what your partner desires. 

Mass Media

Mass media has increasingly become more sexualized, thereby subtly and perhaps unconsciously pressuring teenagers all around the world to lose their virginity.  In many popular television shows and movies, it is not uncommon to have the main characters engage in casual sex, even at a young age.  Many young people who watch these forms of entertainment look up to and even imitate those they see on the big screens.  Yet again, it must be stressed that everyone has their own “right” time to lose their virginity and it should not be influenced by anyone, even the people you look up to.  Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that just because your favorite actor or actress is engaging in sex during the film, it does not mean that they are encouraging you to do so as well.  This is not limited to movies, it is also present in books, music, and fashion.

Sex and the Law

Before losing your virginity, there are a number of laws that you must be aware of depending upon the and country that you live in.  Most states in the Untied States have the age of consent at 18 years of age.3  Therefore, having sex under the age of 18 in some locations is considered illegal and can lead to prosecution.  However, the laws vary depending on the state, country, and situation, so it is best to check with your local laws.  If your partner is under the influence of alcohol or drugs then they are not able to give consent.  In this situation, it is crucial that you do not engage in sexual activity until your partner is sober. 

Thoughts on Losing Your Virginity

Losing your virginity is often seen as a milestone in a person’s life.  If after careful consideration you feel that you are ready to have sex for the first time, here are some things you can consider that may help you enjoy your first time even more.  First, do not worry if your first time does not go as planned or is not how you envisioned it.  Many people spend a great deal of time dreaming about the moment they lose their virginity, and it is important to keep in mind that it is normal if your experience does not live up to your expectations.  Second, it may be awkward and that is normal as well!  Your first having sex will not be the best. Losing your virginity inherently means that you are having sex for the first time, so it is normal if you do not think you preformed well.  Instead, make your first time fun, playful, and lighthearted.  Keep the pressures away, and embrace the fact that this is your first time engaging in one of the most intimate activities possible.  Finally, be in the moment and enjoy yourself.  Each person will have a different experience when losing their virginity, and just remember that it is normal and healthy if your experiences differ from others.  If your first time having sex is not all that you hoped it to be, you should not worry.  With more experience, sex becomes more fun, pleasurable, and comfortable. 



  1. Fortenbury, Jon. "On 'Late'-In-Life Virginity Loss." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
  2. "Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth - S Listing." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Aug. 2015. Web. 22 May 2016.
  3. "Legal Age of Consent for Marriage and Sex for the 50 United States." Global Justice Initiative (n.d.): n. pag. Legal Age of Consent for Marriage and Sex for the 50 United States. Global Justice Initiative, 2011. Web. 22 May 2016.

Last Updated: 22 May 2016.