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waiting for the right person

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.

V-Card Diaries: Sarah "I always thought I'd save my first time for my wedding night. I also always thought I'd get married in my early twenties"

Writing from: Knoxville, TN

Age: Early 20s

How I define virginity: For straight people, a virgin is someone who has never has penetrative penile-vaginal sex.

I always thought I'd save my first time for my wedding night. I also always thought I'd get married in my early twenties. I was engaged once to a guy (with whom I fooled around A LOT and did pretty much everything other than P in the V with) but he couldn't keep up with me and I decided to break up with him.

Now I feel like a totally different person. I'm very career-oriented now, and I consider myself a feminist (I used to think that was a dirty word). I'm only interested in casual relationships because I don't want anyone to slow me down. But now that so much has changed, I'm finding my attitudes toward sex are changing, too.

I'm 23, and I feel like I'm in virginity limbo. I'm dating a nice guy right now who is fairly experienced. I feel comfortable with him, and I like his sweetness and his sense of humor. I think I want to lose my virginity to him, but I'm a little nervous. I think it's time. I don't want to turn 24 still a virgin.

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: Emily Dickingson "Is there anyone that could love me for me enough that my extreme involuntary virgin status wouldn't turn him off?"

Writing from: Cleveland, Ohio

Age: Late 30s

How I define virginity: My definition seems to align w/society's definition: not having engaged in sexual intercourse of the baby-making variety.

But really, MY definition of virginity for myself is MUCH broader and encompasses many more issues. I read an article in Psychology Today that was a review of research on involuntary sexual virgins, and I very closely identified with what the research describes: adults who are virgins not of their own choosing.

The research studies showed that for involuntary virgins, there were often signs of this fate far back in childhood. Here, the author of the article highlights some of the "tells" of eventual involuntary adult virgins: children who are isolated, have a hard time making friends, are made fun of by their peers, children who feel strongly socially awkward and therefore prefer to play alone.

All of these descriptors applied to me. As such, I never was asked to a school dance, or asked to dance, or asked out on a date. I've never been on a date. I have never been kissed. Forget rounding the bases, I've never even been invited to the game. I have zip-zero-nada experience with anything related to love or romance or flirting or dating or sex.

I am very lonely, and I crave companionship. I yearn for a sexual partner, but only if we are in love with each other. Sex with strangers just for the sex frightens me; I'm scared of all the ways it would go wrong because of my lack of knowledge or experience. On the other hand, sex with someone I love and who loves me is also scary because of all the pressure that would be put on both of us. Is there anyone that could love me for me? Love me enough that my extreme involuntary virgin status wouldn't turn him off?

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: Felicity "I'm carrying a very heavy weight on my shoulders. Being a virgin at 21 is a very hard job"

Writing from: Yola, Nigeria

Age: Early 20s

How I define virginity: A state whereby one has not had any sexual intercourse

I grew up as the only girl at home so when i saw boys i thought of them as my friends or my brothers. on my final year at high school i met this really hot guy and i fell in love with him so we dated for six months then he cheated on me. i felt so stupid and i kept asking my myself how could i not see that this guy was just looking for a rebound coz he was very hot and definitely out of my league.

so enough about him. after that big heartbreak i never wanted to trust guys anymore and now i'm doing my second year in college and there is this guy i like very much. i feel like i'm carrying a very heavy weight on my shoulders and i don't know how to handle it anymore. being a virgin at 21 is a very hard job and i ain't enjoying it. everytime my peers talk about sex i just feel uncomfortable and its only a few of them who know my state.

i tell myself that i'm still a virgin because i wanna meet my Mr right and get married first but i'm not sure if that's really the case. i don't even date anymore because i'm afraid that i won't be sexually available to the guy and i know that most guys are just about sex.

i really don't know what to do and i don't have anyone to talk to. will i be single for the rest of my life? that scares the crap out of me. But all in all I choose God before anyone else, and i know He won't let me down.

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.

Ask Trixie: I find myself wanting to have sex but I don't want to sleep with the first guy that I meet just to relieve myself

I'm so glad I ran into your blog. First, I should start this by saying I am a feminist. I believe in a woman's agency ranging from her wanting to be a prostitute or a lawyer. Because of my cultural background (being Haitian), when I came to the US, I was very secluded from the American culture. My parents were over protective and in many ways this caused me to be a late bloomer. I've never been in a relationship and it wasn't until I turned 21 that I had my first kiss/sexual experience. At that point, I was tired of waiting for this "man" that was supposed to be the one and decided to be pro-active in my sexual life.

Now two years later, I find myself wanting to have sex. My dilemma is, I was always taught that my first time should be "special"- with a man I am in a relationship with and that I am in love with. Yet that is not the case for me. I've thought about this and I don't believe in waiting for this man but I don't want to go sleep with the first guy that I meet on the street just to relieve myself. So, I feel confused. What do I do?

I recently found this person that I'm really attracted to at work. He is definitely interested in me sexually but I'm nervous to tell him my situation. Let's not even add my reservation with being involved with someone from work!

I should add that I do NOT want a relationship with him. I just want to explore myself sexually but I worry that I am just so far in with losing my virginity that I am not seeing the risks in pursuing this relationship with this co-worker. Another worry is that I will not be able to handle this type of relationship with this young man if we o engage in sexual intercourse as he has no idea I'm a virgin.

I do feel as if I'm over analyzing this but I really need a fresh feminist perspective on this. Please, PLEASE offer me some advice. –Anne

Hi Anne!

First of all, congratulations on deciding to be pro-active with your sexual life, and that this is coming from what you yourself want and need. It sounds like you're ready for sex and want to have sex and are trying to figure out the best way to do it in the near future. So I'm here to help you with that goal.

First, let's demystify sex a bit. You write that at 21 you had your first sexual experience, so congratulations, you've already had sex! Does that take the pressure off? No? OK, I'm going to assume that what you haven't done–and at 23 are ready to do–is intercourse.

I was in exactly the same situation as you at 23 and the weight of waiting was overwhelming. I ended up having sex for the first time with a guy I had dated a couple of times. He made his moves, assuming I was an experienced woman-about-town, then figured out his mistake as soon as he discovered my utter lack of skills. We did it anyway, and you won't be surprised to hear that it was very anti-climactic and super-duper awkward. It was very helpful for me, though, because it blew away the mystique and stigma, and that was very liberating.

So, if you're raring to be liberated as well, it's on to the next challenge: Where do you find a lucky gentleman?

I won't lie. If all a woman wants to do is have sex, it's not that hard to find it. But I agree a random dude on the street isn't a good idea for so many reasons. The thing is, doing it with a co-worker may not be a really great idea, either. Are you in a big corporation where you'd hardly see him, or is it an intimate office where you'll keep bumping into each other by the Nespresso machine? Are you cool with him talking about you in intimate detail with other co-workers or hearing about his other liaisons? If none of that bothers you, go for it. Otherwise, wait for someone else to come along at a party, on a trip, or after some casual dating. All safety rules and common sense apply, naturally, so please don't do anything that feels unsafe or that makes you really uncomfortable. Trust me, there are lots of options out there.

You can also take it slower and not dive in all at once. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that if the first time is a little awkward, messy or otherwise not what you always dreamed of, that's pretty par for the course. Far more important is the long sexual life you will likely have. The beauty of it is the more sex you have the better it will be–and the better you will be at it. Go forth and start somewhere and let us know how it goes.

You might also want to read how other women handled a similar situation: MMRelena and Ferrette, and also you can use our search filters to find a lot of similar stories on our The V-Card Diaries site.

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

V-Card Diaries: Audrey "I was bombarded with judgments of being a 'virgin' and misinformation about sex"

A little about myself: 

I'm 21, Park City Utah, female, I'm a baker and environmentalist, I've never had sexual experience beyond kissing and massages between my kind ex. from high school and I.

How I define virginity: 

A concept that's overrated, outdated, used to scare people into not having sex (sex can be healthy for you). People should define virginity for themselves, but it's abused by businesses, religion, and media.

Here's my story: 

I don't like the word "virginity." It's abused and overrated. I'm 21 and I've never had sexual experience beyond kissing, snuggling, and massages between my nice ex from high school and I. Neither of us were emotionally or intellectually prepared. In college I did not trust the guy I was dating to respect my sexual boundaries. He was trying too hard to get me to have sex with him, so we broke up. I was born and raised Utah, but my parents are Midwesterners.

The culture here strictly practices abstinence only education, but I'm not a mormon. I went to the Unitarian Universalist Church which has a nation wide liberal and informative sex education program known as OWL. I attended OWL in 8th grade and 11th grade. There are 4 stages of it each designed for a different age group starting with 10&11 year olds. Unfortunately I didn't retain much of what I had learned. 

In college, in Oregon, I was bombarded with judgments of being a "virgin", myths and misinformation about sex, and stories of other peoples' sex in the dorms. It scared me.
I'm now a baker at Deer Valley Resort. Just a week ago I started watching Sex + by Laci Green and it was amazing, re-informing, liberating and so great with the positive look on sex. I binge watched for hours. All I have to say is Thank You Laci.

I look forward to having a sexual experience that is safe, informed, and not dreaded. I live with my parents and I'm looking for a place to buy closer to down town Park City. Whether It's masturbation, intercourse, or another for of sex, I don't feel comfortable having sex in my parents' home, and I'm happy to wait for the right place, person, and time. Not that I expect it to be perfect.

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