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Ask Trixie: Is losing your virginity a big deal and should I wait to lose it?

Hey Trixie, I'm 18 years old and a freshman in college. In high school, I would never do anything with a guy and it even took me 6 months to make out with my boyfriend in 10th grade. I was always afraid that everyone would judge me so I didn't want to do anything. Now that I'm in college, everyone seems to not care about sex and I'm contemplating losing it. I just broke up with my boyfriend a couple days ago and we were only together for 2 months but I regret not having sex with him. My question is, Is losing your virginity a big deal and should I wait to lose it? –N

Hi N! Thank you so much for writing.

I get asked some form of this question all the time and I'll tell you what I tell everyone else: the choice is yours to make, and I can't make it for you. It's a very personal decision that has to do with a lot of things: how comfortable you are with sex and with your body, how much you trust and communicate with your partner, the beliefs and traditions you were raised with, and so much more. 

Many questions on the Ask Trixie section of my blog have to do with first-time sex, and I've tried to provide information, support and some advice for anyone in similar situations. Two to start with are here and here, and you can also scroll through the rest for more specific information.

Also, keep in mind that the idea of 'losing virginity' means many different things to many people. I invite you to read some of the stories in our V-Card Diaries project. You can search through the stories by different themes, including ones about waiting for the right person, getting it over with, and having casual sex. I think you'll find the stories relatable, and reading how others have dealt with similar questions might help you make your own decisions.

And finally, you can check out Scarleteen’s Am I Ready For Sex checklist. It's long, but has lots of questions you can ask yourself that might help you figure out what to do. 

Keep in mind that even when we consider carefully, it doesn't always work out as well as we imagined it would. Life is often unpredictable and imperfect. If that happens, forgive yourself and keep going. You will have many more opportunities to get it right.

Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking?  Ask Trixie here.

Ask Trixie: I want to have sex, but the guy says he's nervous that I'll regret it. How do I get him to understand I won't?

Hi! I've been talking to a guy & I want to have sex, but he's getting nervous. He says he doesn't want me to regret losing my virginity to him. I grew up in a catholic family that slut shamed but 75% of children in my family were born to 17 yr olds & I realized I don't care about virginity. I think of it as a way to pressure girls to save themselves for that *one lucky guy*. IDK how to get him to understand this but also how to be comfy with myself since I have gained a few pounds –fbgc

Hi fbgc!

I’m reading a few different issues in your question so let’s take them one at a time:

1. There are lots of considerations when you’re deciding to become sexual, and you’re the only one who can decide if you’re ready. Sex can be a part of our lives in different ways: maybe we experiment with different partners, or we wait until we get married and have sex with one partner. There’s no right answer to this, but it is important to think it through for yourself. It sounds like you’ve done that, but if you need a bit more to chew on, check out something I wrote called How Will I Know I’m Ready?

2. It sounds like your potential partner is genuinely concerned about your happiness, but he also sounds like he’s projecting his own ideas about virginity onto you. It would be interesting to ask him why he thinks you’ll regret it. Is it because of his own religious beliefs which you might no longer hold? Is it subtle slut-shaming on his part because you don’t buy into the ‘saving yourself’ messages? Or is it because he thinks his penis is so magical, that it has the power to irrevocably transform you simply by sticking it into your vagina? Knowing why he’s worried that you’ll ‘regret’ it, might actually affect whether or not you even want to do it with him. I mean, who wants to have sex with a guy who’s thinking you’re a slut the whole time it’s happening (if that’s the case)?

3. Let’s say you decide you want to have sex, and the guy you’ve chosen is cool enough to be worthy of you. I’m going to beg you not to get hung up on your body, and whatever pounds you feel you’ve put on. Our brains have been poisoned by toxic messages about what women’s bodies should look like, and the worst thing would be to get uncomfortable about being sexual because you feel like you don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Any guy who rejects you because of your body has done you a huge favor, saving you wasting your valuable time and energy on a total jerk. I know it sounds like a cliche, but please try to appreciate your body’s remarkable ability to give and receive pleasure, whatever size it is.

4. You might think it all through, feel great about your decisions, have sex, and then still regret it. Because life is like that: not everything works out the way we think it will. Then you need to learn from the experience, and try to make the next time better. The ‘first time’ is just that, the first of (hopefully) many sexual experiences you’ll have for the rest of your life. If you want to read some stories from people who had similar experiences, go to our V-Card Diaries project, click on ‘enter, and then click on ‘It Gets Better’ in the left-had column.  And let us know how it works out!

Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking?  Ask Trixie here 
Find Ask Trixie here on most Mondays.

V-Card Diaries: Keith "Not every first time for men is positive"

Writing from: Queens, New York

Age: Early 40s

How I define virginity: Not having had penetrated or been penetrated by another person sexually.

I can't remember which New Year's Eve, but it was either 95 or 96. We had been dating on and off for nine months. She had said she was seeing others. I hadn't. I later realized I was depressed the whole time, because things had changed at home over my senior year of college. However, that didn't matter much, as Tracey and I prepared to see comedy, and then stay over that night. She would drive to the Howard Johnson's, and take me back to my car in the city where we saw the comedy.

I never saw her again. She contacted my family's house later, when I was dating my now wife. I told her that I was dating somebody else when I spoke to her again, and said I'd meet her, but she never agreed to those terms.

I like that she eventually realized that we could've spent our lives together, but it was too late for her. I, however, am not without blame here. After I lost my virginity to her on New Year's Eve, which was very short for me, as I'm sure it is for many men, I asked her if I was good. I don't remember if she said yes or no, but after that she said, "You'll get better."

Because of the depression I referred to earlier, I didn't realize I was in love with her for a few days. By then, all I wanted to do was write to her, and I wrote too many letters, so I may have seemed creepy, though none of my letters had threatening content. I was sure of something; it turns out I was right. Her father, a very unassuming man, had to tell me to leave her alone. That's when I stopped writing.

Because of how women must be careful around men, I totally understand what she did. My childhood was too long in some ways, so I just expected to be trusted. Luckily I found my wife, who instantly trusted me, but maybe that's how love is. Either way, I'm still glad that she did get back in touch with me. I remember the message she left for my father: "I'm sorry our relationship ended badly." Some of that was my fault, of course, because I didn't know how to express my feelings. However, she could've realized them sooner.

I have tried to locate Tracey, to find out how her life is going, not because I want to leave my wife, but because I still wish Tracey the best. I was never angry at her. I just was certain that at some point she would look at the picture I was in with her and her family, and say, "I really did love him, or, maybe I should give him another chance." I think either was the motivation of her contacting me again, while I was in grad school, and dating the woman to whom I'm now married.

I guess the morals of this story are: men should be aware of how their behavior is interpreted by women, and not every first time for men is positive. Thank you for asking for this story. I don't tell it often.

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. Find The V-Card Diaries here on most Wednesdays.

 

V-Card Diaries: Liz B. "He invited me over to his house and I of course went knowing what 'Netflix and chilling' meant"

A little about myself: 

I'm 17-year-old female student, born and raised in Houston, TX.

How I define virginity: 

I define virginity as a metaphor for one's innocence that is lost when one participates in sexual intercourse.

Here's my story: 

I was 16 when I was dating a guy from the soccer team. We barely had a month together, but there was something about him that completely had me hypnotized (maybe it was the whole bad boy thing?). Well one day he invited me over to his house and I of course went knowing what "watching Netflix and chilling" meant.

We started making out and of out no where we jumped right to it. It was Horrible! There was no foreplay, no nothing. The pain that Ii felt during sex was unbearable and we had to stop a couple of times. He finished fairly quick and then looked back at me shocked claiming " i didn't know you were a virgin" ... like really? My first time can be summed up to painful, akward, embarrassing. And pissed me off. i regret losing my virginity simply because all my friends were sexually active.

Check out Liz B. on Tumblr. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.