No matter how long ago it happened, every guy on the planet can tell you the vivid details about how they lost their virginity. Of all the firsts you’ll experience in your lifetime, your first time doing the deed truly a marks a clear before and after.
One minute, you’re a guy who’s imagined what it would be like to penetrate a woman by way of lots of P0*n and s*xual daydreams. And then next minute (or hopefully more), you’ve got the experience under your belt and you’re ready to start uhh, honing your craft so to speak.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Because losing your virginity is a pretty big deal, we want to make sure you’re going in there as prepared as humanly possible.
That’s the great thing about cashing in your V-card in the digital age – you’ve got a world of information at your fingertips to make sure that you nail it (see what I did there?). Ready to delve into the dos and don’ts? From what it’ll feel like on your first entry to when to do it, what to bring and what happens after it’s all over and done, here’s everything you need to know about losing your virginity.
1. What Does Losing Your Virginity Mean?
Here’s a fun fact about virginity that you probably didn’t know: It’s not real. “It’s most important to understand that virginity is a social construct and nothing more,” Anne Hodder, certified s*x educator explains.
“There is no medical or scientific definition of virginity. Some cultures believe that ‘virginity’ means man-hood-in-v**ina s*x, which causes some people to believe that other kinds of s*x simply don’t count. But that’s not the case for everyone — we get to define what we consider ‘s*x’ to be and treat our s*xual desire and s*x lives accordingly.” Because really, if you’ve given a woman an climax using just your mouth or hands, it should count for something, right?
The fact that the term “virginity” is up for interpretation has definitely caused some confusion over the years – especially where oral s*x is concerned. It has also managed to work its way into a few iconic films (if you’re a male virgin who has never seen the movie American Pie, there’s no time like the present.) But as far as the majority of society defines it, in order to for a man to lose his virginity as a heteroS3xual guy, he would need to penetrate a v**ina with his man-hood.
2. The Average Age To Lose Your Virginity
Before we start taking a look at v-card statistics around the world, let’s get one thing straight: the best age to lose your virginity is whatever age you feel ready – whether that’s 13, 14, 15, 22, 25 or beyond. “What matters is that you’re choosing to do it because you want it, not because you feel you ‘should,’” Hodder says. “And of course, you must have enthusiastic affirmative consent from our partner to assure you’re both on the same page.”
But if you’re still curious about how old the rest of the folks around the globe are when they first do the deed, here’s an overview. “In the U.S., the average age for a man to lose his virginity varies from 17.1 to 18 depending on which study one goes by,” says self-development educator Tony Naemi. “This age makes sense, as the age of consent is 18 in most states. The U.S. ranked 24th out of 44 countries that were surveyed about this topic, with Malaysian men having s*x on average later in life at an average age of 23 and Iceland being the youngest at an average age of 15.6.”
If that number surprises you, you’re not alone. “Often, we believe that people around us are having a lot more s*x than they actually are,” says Hodder, “and sometimes these social pressures can influence our decisions. s*x is tough to navigate – especially if you haven’t had much s*xual experience – but there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Having s*x for the first time certainly differs from country to country mostly as a result of cultural or religious value systems more so than simple geography.”
3. Things To Know Before Losing Your Virginity
As far as what your first time will be like, it can really run the gamut. “It depends on a variety of factors,” says Naemi, “such as nerves, who your partner is, your familiarity with each other, your s*xual desire, her s*xual experience and desire, and where you’re having s*x at.”
Even though women typically experience more pain than men when losing their virginity, Naemi says it can happen to guys as well. “There might be some soreness depending on the tightness of your partner, the length of s*x, and having worn a Cond0m,” he says. However, with a few preventative measures (which we’ll get to), you’ll be able to avoid most of the factors that would potentially cause pain.
What will your body feel like afterward? Likely, pretty awesome, since there are plenty of post-coitus endorphins that going to be running through your body. But as far as physical changes go, your man-hood will be the same as it was before you had s*x. But according to Hodder, you’ll probably stand a little taller, psychologically speaking. “Some men might feel a sense of ‘matureness’ after having s*x for the first time,” she says, “because s*x is so often associated with being a ‘man.’ That, of course, is simply a social construct and the amount of s*x someone is having has no effect on one’s gender identity.”
4. How To Lose Your Virginity
Before we get to the action, there are a few questions you should ask yourself beforehand to know if you’re ready. A few Hodder recommends kicking things off with: “Why am I doing this? Am I trying to prove something to myself or someone else?”
“It might also help to ask yourself how you feel about the person you might be having s*x with for the first time and if your intentions for the experience are coming from a genuine place,” says Hodder, “not influenced by any social pressures we might be feeling.”
Also, because this experience is going to stick with you for the rest of your days, Naemi suggests taking a hard look at who you’re deciding to do it with. “Ask yourself: Is this the person I want to remember for the rest of my life as having given my virginity to?’ If the answer is no, then don’t have s*x with that person,” he says.
Even if you’ve already been through “Health 101” in high school, Hodder also says to make sure you’re protecting yourself against S3xually transmitted infections, aka STIs — especially if your partner isn’t a virgin. “Risk management is essential when you choose to have s*x,” says Hodder.
“It takes only one act of s*x to transmit an STI or, if you’re having man-hood-in-v**ina s*x, to cause an unintended pregnancy, so it’s important for both partners to know their status (get tested!) and use a barrier method to reduce the risk. Fortunately, Cond0ms are super easy to get; you can buy them almost anywhere, and if you’re hard up for cash, health care offices like Planned Parenthood often provide Cond0ms free of charge with no questions asked.”
Also, make sure you know how to put a Cond0m on the right way before you have s*x for the first time. “Anticipating putting on a Cond0m in the heat of the moment can build a load of anxiety that can get in the way and risk mistakes being made,” Hodder says.
“I suggest men and women go through the steps of opening and putting on various barrier methods in the comfort of their rooms or homes and get the kinks out ahead of time so that, when the time ultimately comes, using these safer s*x methods can feel like old hat.” A little lube can go a long way in helping this process (and keeping your man-hood pain free afterward). Put a drop in the Cond0m before you slip it on, and if things start to get dry while you’re doing the deed, don’t be shy about using more to help keep things moving smoothly.
How well your first time goes really depends on whether or not you and your partner are on the same page as far as your expectations — so make sure you have a conversation about it beforehand (and preferably not right before you’re about to do it, when nerves are high). “Talk with your partner way ahead of time, before any clothes are even close to coming off, to see if you’re both on the same page about what you want, what you like (and what you don’t), and how you’re feeling about it,” says Hodder.
“Often, the fear or anxiety about having s*x for the first time can make the whole experience feel a lot more nerve-wracking that it needs to be. It can help you feel even more connected with your partner to share how you’re feeling – because chances are, you’re both feeling something similar, and sharing about it can help build an even stronger intimate connection.”
In terms of the positioning of the actual act, you need to be able to walk before you can run. Instead of trying to finagle both your bodies into difficult positions, S3xologist Dr. Megan Stubbs recommends starting with the basics. “The missionary position is a classic for a reason,” she says.
“In this position, the guy is able to control the depth and the thrusting, finding a pace and speed that works for them. If he has a partner who is willing to be on top, this can be a more passive position and allow them to let someone else take control.”
5. Women Losing Their Virginity
According to a study done by the Kinsey Institute, the difference between the average age that men and women lose their virginity in the U.S. isn’t that far off — 17.4 for females, and 16.9 for males.
As with male virginity, what technically constitutes the loss of a woman’s virginity has often been misconstrued — from using tampons to D!ld0s and even getting fingered. “The simple act of putting something in our v**ina does not equal s*x,” says Hodder.
“Using a tampon is a necessary part of many menstruating people’s lives and has nothing to do with s*xual pleasure and everything to do with managing menstrual flow. Self-stimulating with a D!ld0 (or any other object) while self servicing is a common and healthy way to learn about our own s*xual desires and is absolutely not the same experience as engaging in s*xual intercourse with another person.”
Even though men and women tend to lose it around the same age, changes in the female body after having s*x for the first time are very different, and can sometimes (but not always) include bleeding. “Some women may experience spotting, most often the result of friction from lack of lubrication,” says Hodder.
You may have heard the term “popping her cherry” thrown around in reference to a woman’s first time, which refers to a woman’s hymen. “Most hymens cover only a portion of the v**ina, almost forming a ring around its opening, which allows passage of tampons, penises, s*x toys or other objects,” Hodder explains.
“Tearing, ripping or other scary verbs do not usually happen to the hymen during first time P in the V s*x. Hymens can stretch to accommodate whatever’s being inserted, and many women’s hymens actually stay intact long-term, regardless of how much s*x they have. And while it’s still possible to tear them, many hymens actually heal, and tears often happen naturally during everyday life.”