Not all of us lose our virginity by the age of 16 on the back of an old Camry. If you are still a Virgo later on, you may be the last person in the world who hasn’t had sex. But rest assured, you are not alone.

According to a recent CDC study, they are Americans Wait longer than before to have sex for the first time (30 percent of Generation Z respondents between 18 and 22 years old said they were virgins. 12 to 14 percent of men and women between the ages of 20 and 24 said the same). Whether you are waiting for your wedding or just haven’t found the right person, here’s what you should know about losing your virginity as an adult.

What to Expect

You probably know the basics of where everything is going, but first let’s talk about what to expect before, during, and after losing your virginity.

In front

First things first, what does virginity mean to you? Most people still think that P-in-V traffic is what defines loss of virginity, but it really shouldn’t be the default. Maybe you’re weird and there is no penis and / or vagina in the mix. Or vaginal intercourse may not be part of your desired repertoire. There may be other actions that matter more to you. It really is up to each of us to decide which act will result in the loss of our virginity. Aside from the logistics, there is also the emotional weight you place on your virginity: do you want to lose your virginity with someone you care about? Do you save it for a committed relationship? Or marriage?

With that in mind, many older Virgos struggle to lower their standards (one way or another) in order to “get it over with.” When you are clear about what your virginity actually means to you, you can hold onto your guns a little more. It’s understandable to be aware of your virginity, but do you really want to remember that experience when I was desperate and threw my standards out the door?

One of the biggest questions to ask with later virgins is whether or not to share your virginity status with a potential first partner. My advice is usually yes; Your virginity is not something to be ashamed of, so you don’t have to hide it. Virginity means different things to different people, so you should allow your partner to decide if he is comfortable being the one taking yours.

You also need to find out how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections and (if it concerns the male and female parts) pregnancy. Talk to your partner about their STI status and what barriers to use. Do this before you are naked and horny.

You will likely be a huge bundle of nerves before you lose your virginity. That’s okay! You don’t need to force yourself to act nonchalantly when you feel like a colony of butterflies is settling in your stomach. Let yourself feel what you need to feel before, during and after.


Let me be real with you: your first time is likely to be short, a little awkward, and not particularly fantastic. You or your partner may not achieve orgasm. It will feel like there are a lot of limbs involved and there isn’t a good place to put one of them. It takes time and practice to learn how to have good sex. You will eventually make it, but not your first time – and that’s okay! Try to concentrate the deeds you’ve already done and feel comfortable with to build your confidence.

Illustration for article titled The Adults Guide to Losing Your Virginity

When it comes to female parts and penetration, your first time can be a little painful and bloody too. Most people think that the hymen is responsible for these unfortunate side effects, but that’s not necessarily the case. The often misunderstood hymen doesn’t block your vaginal canal and doesn’t “pop” during sex. It’s a permeable membrane that probably already has a number of perforations in it. If you have a vagina and you are in pain, it is likely because the delicate tissues of the vaginal canal are not used to being penetrated this way. Bleeding can originate from the hymen, but it is just as likely that it originates from the tissues of the vagina, which in turn are not used to this type of invasion.

After this

Be prepared for cleaning. As mentioned above, some blood may be involved. There can also be a lot of body fluids that quickly slip out of your openings. Have a box of Kleenex or a towel nearby.

If you are a lady, you should pee afterwards! Bacteria can be forced into your urethra during any kind of sexual contact. You don’t want to celebrate that you lose your virginity with a nasty urinary tract infection.

Illustration for article titled The Adults Guide to Losing Your Virginity

Keep note in min

When my clients talk about losing their virginity, the phrase “I wish I knew that beforehand” keeps coming up. Here are some tips to avoid many of the most common pitfalls that result in losing virginity:

  • Talk about your expectations in advance. Simply saying it can ease your nerves and set more realistic expectations. Your partner might tell you that they only want to get over with the first time and focus on being more fun the second time. Or maybe you both agree to take your time and make it special.
  • It doesn’t have to be your wedding night. If you have made up your mind to wait until you get married, I highly recommend that you do so the day after your wedding. You will be so exhausted from the celebrations that you will be dangerously close to passing out the second your head hits the pillow. Sure, you could force yourself to have sex, but who wants that as the first reminder?
  • Be sober It is a bit of a hassle to navigate the first time, so you want all of your thoughts on you. When you’re drunk or high, you’re more likely to be in pain and less likely to enjoy yourself (or even remember the experience!). A glass of wine is good for calming your nerves, but try not to get too tipsy.
  • Spend a lot of time on foreplay. Some people are so excited about the “Main Event” that they forget that “Foreplay” is more than half the fun. Plus, you can relax and look forward to sharing this experience.
  • A handy tip for you right now, cis guys out there: Use your fingers to guide your penis into your partner’s vagina. The vagina is a little harder to locate than you might think, especially when you’re eager and nervous. If you let your fingers make the discovery, you avoid prodding your penis awkwardly.
  • Use lubricants. Lube can help ease the pain and make things feel so much better for both of you, especially the first time.
  • Keep it simple Remember, your expectations should be low so you don’t have to try and impress your partner with a ton of crazy gymnastics. Stick to simple positions that are comfortable to the touch and allow for an emotional connection (if that’s what you want).
  • Do not push yourself or your partner to orgasm. There are enough things to worry about without adding an orgasm to the mix. Instead, focus on enjoying the sensations.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t enjoy it. A lot of people didn’t particularly like sex when they first had it. Having a shitty first time isn’t a harbinger of sexual doom. Think of it as an excuse to try again soon.

Have fun and welcome to the wonderful world of a sexually active adult!

This article was originally published in 2015 and updated on January 29, 2021 to add additional context, include new information, replace outdated links, and revise the content to reflect the current Lifehacker style.