It was something I never thought about. It became something I thought I should be thinking about. Then, it felt like I was too late.
There is an immense pressure on young people to have sex for the first time. Whether people like to admit it or not, virginity is sniggered upon the closer you get to adulthood. If you’re at university and you’ve not yet slept with somebody, prepare yourself for comments on how ‘pure’, ‘cute’ and ‘innocent’ you are as they talk of how many stats they’ve had since Freshers. It might seem complimentary at first to be seen as ‘sweet’ but trust me it isn’t. People ask why you haven’t lost ‘it’ yet as if it’s something you need to have done to be accepted in to the big wide world. Until you have, you’re still a child.
When it comes to sex and relationships, you could say I was a ‘late bloomer’. I didn’t know what would impress a boy and even though all of my friends were getting in to school relationships, I had no interest in being intimate with anyone. Even giving lingering eye contact with a boy made me nervous.
When my curiosity did eventually creep up on me, I felt that it was too late. I still didn’t understand my body or anyone else’s but most importantly I didn’t feel confident enough to admit my vulnerability. Sex was an area I felt I could never impress anyone in so I tried to fake confidence. I was an inexperienced girl who people expected more from. A girl who people would get bored with. I mean, who would want to spend the time waiting for somebody who didn’t know what she was doing? Someone who wanted to take things slow? No horny teenage boy, that’s for sure.
The average age for a girl to lose their virginity is 17. When I was this age I was surrounded by friends who were experimenting and had so much understanding of their bodies, in the meantime I became more and more insecure about mine. I was scared. I didn’t have the confidence to lose myself in the presence of another person because I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready and that was alright.
According to a survey of British sexual behaviour, having sex too soon is the biggest regret of young people losing their virginity. Researchers found that two in five women and one in four men said their first experience of sex had not happened at the ‘right time’.
Sex is absolutely everywhere. Walking down the street you’ll hear a group of lads laughing at their mate: “You’re such a virgin,” whilst bragging about their recent ‘shag.’ Switch on the TV at home and Love Islanders are sleeping with one another to prove the validity of their relationship in the villa. When you pick up any young adult magazine, they’re packed with stories telling you the best ways to spice up your sex life but none giving advice to those who haven’t yet had it.
There’s no wonder that as a result some teenagers feel isolated when they have nothing to relate to in conversations with their sexually-experienced friends, then force themselves to sleep with someone when they’re not actually ready. It takes a lot of willpower and self-confidence to wait.
In my case, I thought I was ‘frigid’ and unattractive to people because I hadn’t yet slept with someone. I was ashamed to tell some friends I hadn’t had sex because I thought it would make me seem strange. I felt insecure and shy in my own skin so I tried to make myself confident by being someone else. I would spend a night with a guy dreading the time we’d go to bed, knowing my body shut down in a panic because I was trying to force myself to do something I didn’t physically want to do. Finally realising my self-worth and waiting for the right time for me was absolutely the best thing I could’ve done.
Kaye Welling told the Guardian: “You might be 17, 18, 19 and not be ready” and I agree. There should be less pressure on people to have sex by a certain age. With more honest accounts in the media from people who aren’t sexually active, as well as from those who are, people would know it’s ok to be afraid or not even interested in sex yet. It’s ok to say no if you think you’re ready but realise that you’re not. It’s ok to wait for as little or as long as you want.
We need this awareness for people who, like me, have wondered if they’re abnormal because they’re doing things at their own pace.