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Sex + Relationships

I Lost My Virginity at 22 and It Was The Best Decision I’ve Ever Made

Sex is one of the biggest topics our generation is obsessed with, and oddly, one of the most misunderstood, too. The stereotype that everyone is having sex and has been for awhile puts an unhealthy, unnecessary pressure on our generation to have sex with the first person we lay our eyes on. And one of the biggest misconceptions about sex in today’s society seems to be one thing: the concept of virginity.

It’s a common myth that most people have had sex before their freshman year of college, but it wasn’t until I went into my own freshman year that I learned this was not even remotely true. And this was so surprising to me because it seemed like, again, everyone around me was having sex or losing their virginities just to get it over with. But after getting to know some of my friends I met in college, I was shocked to hear that almost all of them were still virgins, even those who had been in relationships in high school. So why was I, like so many others, convinced that people were losing their virginities left and right?

Most people knew how open I was about being a virgin in high school and college, especially when I was 19, 20 and 21. I was never really bothered by it because I knew that I wasn’t ready yet, and I hadn’t met anyone worth sharing that experience with. My friends would tease me now and then about it, but it never really bothered me, unless I was in a bad mood or if they took it too far. I knew they respected my decision and didn’t think anything was weird by it, because they all knew I wasn’t going to have sex with just anyone. I was unapologetic about this part of my life and encouraged those around me who were also feeling the pressures of ‘losing it,’ that there is no time or age limit on losing your virginity. Having sex for the first time is a big deal (at least for some people), and I always advocated that it’s better to wait than regret the decision with a lame hookup or a drunken one night stand.

However, it wasn’t until my twenties that being a virgin began to bug me. I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me because this time, the people around me actually were having all of this amazing sex and I wasn’t. Did guys not want to have sex with me because I was crazy? Ugly? Too much of a prude? All of these thoughts danced around my head and it began to eat at me, slowly ruining my confidence and the love I had for myself.

To make me feel better, my friends encouraged me to hook up with a bunch of guys, find the one that seemed right, lose my virginity to him and not look back. Plenty of people do it, they said, but truthfully, I’ve never been into random hookups. It weirds me out because, like, what if they smell? What if the guy has weird fetishes or gets too kinky? What if I change my mind and he’s someone who doesn’t take no for an answer? While I liked the thrill of making out and flirting with boys, there was something that made me very nervous about being that intimate with someone, especially someone I didn’t know very well. It took me a long time to realize it, but I soon discovered that basically, I just wasn’t ready to have that experience. Not yet, at least.

Whenever people used to ask me about anything sex-related and I told them I was a twenty-something virgin, their eyes would grow really big or they’d tell me how much they ‘respected my personal choice.’ I knew I didn’t owe anyone an explanation about why I hadn’t had sex yet, but I liked to be very transparent about this part of my life. A lot of people would say to me, ‘Wow, you’ve never had sex before and you’re 20? That’s crazy!’ Or, ‘Oh, are you really religious? I totally respect wanting to wait for marriage, but I could never do that. I don’t know how you do it!’ Or, my favorite one, said by a guy my friend was dating at the time: ‘You still haven’t had sex? But you’re so hot!’ (Spoiler alert: that one didn’t last long for her, for obvious reasons).

While I know they weren’t meaning it to sound rude, it lowkey kind of was. Essentially, they were saying only good looking people have sex, which is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard as if there’s a category of ‘pretty’ and ‘ugly’ people! I understood, though, that because I was so honest about being a virgin in my twenties, I was naturally going to get a lot of questions and even some judgment. But I honestly didn’t expect to receive some of the responses I did. Deciding to wait to have sex wasn’t because I was religious, or a prude, or ugly. It was for personal reasons and merely the fact that there wasn’t someone I found worth losing my virginity to yet.

The first time I did anything beyond just kissing a boy was during my junior year of college. I was 20 at the time and the guy I was experimenting with was 18. While it was fun and taught me a lot about what I liked (and didn’t like), we never actually had sex. Something about our chemistry was just off and looking back on it, I’m really glad I didn’t lose my virginity to this person. He was very nice and a really good friend, but we just lacked something physically that made my desire to have sex with him fade over time. And even though my friends kept telling me to have sex with him anyway to finally lose my V card, I knew in my gut that I couldn’t do it. It just didn’t feel right with him.

Fast forward to today and I am in a happy, healthy relationship with my boyfriend, who, before that, was one of my really good friends. Our relationship was definitely something I never saw coming, but also everything I never knew I needed. And when I told him I was ready to have sex, I immediately knew that it was true. Once I said it out loud, it was like it became real and everything clicked into place. I was finally ready.

Losing my virginity was nothing like what you see on TV or in the movies, which is a stigma that I hope is dying out. On the one end of the ‘losing your virginity experience,’ I didn’t see stars or hear fireworks going off in my head while I was having sex. On the opposite end, it wasn’t a painful, bloody mess, either. It was casual, stress-free and most importantly, fun! I was so comfortable with my boyfriend and he was the main reason I felt so at ease. He made me feel special, important, and heard, which I think is the biggest take away I learned from losing my virginity. He never tried to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with and respected all of my boundaries.

In the days after having sex for the first time, I realized that losing my virginity at 22 was the best decision I ever made. I was emotionally and mentally ready, which was the main thing I needed in order to be comfortable enough to have sex. And I can definitely see now that I was not even remotely ready when I was 19, 20 or even 21. There were things I needed to sort out and I don’t think without doing those things first, that losing my virginity would have been a possibility.

I’m not sure why our generation is obsessed with sex and other people’s sex lives, yet for some reason it is. Society seems to put an emphasis on sex and the fact that everyone is having sex, so eventually, we become so obsessed with it and feel like we have to dictate the rules about how people should go about having sex. But that should never be the case. Sex should be something that’s between you and your partner only, and all outside opinions shouldn’t even be things to consider.

The main thing I learned by waiting to have sex was that there really is a level of maturity you have to reach in order to be fully comfortable. Feeling safe and secure with the right person is so important and it really makes the experience way more memorable and special when this happens. Have sex at your own time, at your own pace and remember to only do it for yourself.


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Katie Short

Oswego '18

Katie is a recent graduate of SUNY Oswego, where she double-majored in Creative Writing and Political Science and a minor in Journalism. She was the Co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Oswego as well as a Chapter Advisor. Katie hopes to get a job in writing, editing or social media. 
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