Oh sweet Lord the pressures of virginity when you’re in your teens is not something I miss whatsoever. There’s always been quite a strange duality surrounding virginity, especially in young women, where your first time must be some sort of mythical, magical experience doused in rose petals and ‘So…Kiss Me’ body spray while a white muslin curtain gently blows over your bodies as you fall into an eternal bliss of self-love and orgasm… But also you better lose it as soon as humanly possible so that you’re not some sort of frigid loser.

I remember even as early as my year 7 Design Technology class, an air of competition began when it came to the concept of sex and virginity. I remember in this very class being asked if I knew what a blowjob was by one of the most intimidating boys in my year, and as my flushing red face told everyone the real truth, I adamantly insisted “yes, of course I know what a blow job is”. What I was really thinking was that I had absolutely no idea what the fuck it was and oh my god it sounds awful. 

This theme of competition and peacocking continues well through school and even into college when you’re all supposed to be responsible grownups that have finally made the adult decision of which brand of tobacco you’re going to be loyal to. I was a bit of a late bloomer I suppose, and I remember my friends being absolutely desperate for me to lose my virginity, and in a lot of ways so was I.  So I did. And it was fine, but more importantly it was over and my friends left me alone about it.

The issues with virginity transcend gender; everyone has had that moment where you’re asked directly if you’re still a virgin, and nothing was mentioned in your sex education class about what to say. It also seemed to be very important to know every position, every element of foreplay and every sex toy available at Anne Summers. Yet at the same time, the hierarchy of school life dictated that actually being active within any of these things made you gross or a slut. It seems to me that these pressures stem around the taboo in sex education that sex is actually a pleasurable thing and that we all may end up doing it because... dun dun duuun we enjoy it.  

If everyone was actually just honest about the fact that we were all terrified at the notion of sexual activity, we would all have had an easier time. But that didn’t seem to be how it worked and as time wore on, the pressures developed and changed. If you entered college a virgin, you started getting left behind by your peers and it felt like you had a big neon ‘V’ floating above your head like a distressed Sim.

The truth was, which seems to be something only hindsight can give you, is that everyone takes different amounts of time to do certain things; I for example, am always the last person to finish my dinner, and that’s totally fine. There should be no shame surrounding your sexual experience or lack thereof, because, unsurprisingly, we’re all individuals with different sets of boundaries, likes and dislikes. Looking back now, it’s a really stressful aspect of being young, and it feels like it’s one of the most important things you should do in the world, second to not being the only one that forgets its non-uniform day. Whether you regret the timing of your virginity or not, luckily it was only the beginning; all it does is get better.


Annie North