What age do people lose their virginity?

If you were to believe all the raunchy teen shows as well as the gossip going around school, then EVERYBODY is having sex. But don’t believe everything you hear. Despite all the talk, it turns out many people lose their virginity later on in life. And those who do rush into it tend to regret it.

Two young women are standing by lockers. They are discussing losing their virginity. This is a wide-angle image.

Disclaimer: the concept of ‘losing your virginity’ is completely out-dated and also pretty problematic (you can google reasons why if you want to learn more). But for the sake of ease and to avoid over complication, it’s the phrase we’re going to be using in this article.

Dealing with peer pressure

The pressure to be sexually active by a ‘socially-acceptable’ age is huge. So much so that by 18 everyone is boasting about their various conquests. School probably makes it worse by assuming that you’ve done it and telling you to be safe in sex education. Meanwhile, you’re nervously panicking on the inside thinking ‘when will I lose my virginity’. But being a virgin really isn’t as abnormal as you think. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. So ignore all the outside voices for a few minutes whilst you read this article and get clued up on the reality of first times.

People lie about having TONNES of sex

Seriously, your friends might be lying about this. A lot. And you’re probably lying to them too. And so the cycle continues. The truth is, everyone feels the pressure to talk about people losing their virginity in secondary school. That’s most likely what’s fueling all this deceit.

It may take years to discover your mates were fudging the truth, but try keep this in mind whilst they’re detailing their latest sexual exploits.

“If you’re still a virgin, you’re definitely not alone. I couldn’t tell you how many emails I get from older virgins who think they’re the only one,” says Kate Monro, author of The First Time. “Having sex for the first time is such a personal thing and you should do it for the right reasons. Young people are under such pressure to shag just to conform, it’s honestly really disheartening. I truly believe that they should trust their gut feeling instead.”

What is the average age to lose your virginity?

If you’re googling ‘what is the average age to lose your virginity’ STOP. It honestly doesn’t matter. But since you’re curious, we’re gonna give you the answer right here.

It’s difficult to say for sure what the average age is for having sex. As we’ve seen, people tend to lie or exaggerate when talking about it. Plus, if you attempt to survey people on the subject you’ll only get answers from those who are happy to talk about it in the first place, which also skews the data. That said, most studies in the UK put the average age at around 18-19.

But don’t worry if that’s not you, this is an average. There’ll be many people who lost theirs when they were much older. And do you really want to be average anyway? Not to mention that you’ve avoided sexually transmitted infections all these years.

Am I too old to be a virgin past 20?

There comes a time and age where everyone stops lying about having sex and actually starts doing it. Your first time is no longer discussed. And you’re stuck there wondering ‘When will I lose my virginity?’

Now the pressure’s really on. And you’ve got the added worry that if you do finally get to sleep with someone, you won’t know what to do. Do you tell them you’re a virgin and perhaps scare them off? Or keep quiet and risk a potentially mortifying sexual experience?

You’ll probably find people aren’t actually that fazed by your virginity. Once you’re all adults (surprise, surprise) people have a more adult approach to sex. Phew. Whether you disclose your non-sexual status or not is completely up to you, but chances are the other person will find it sweet, and maybe even a bit sexy. Or they might run a mile in terror at the responsibility. But, rest assured, that’s their problem, not yours.

If you’re still worried about how someone will react, why not try telling them you’re ‘inexperienced’ instead of saying you’re having sex for the first time? That can explain any potential physical hiccups without putting a label on it. This has the added benefit of preventing you (or them) from googling ‘what age do people lose their virginity?’.

Don’t let being a virgin define who you are

It might seem like you’ve got the word VIRGIN tattooed across your forehead, but people really can’t tell just by looking. Although the way you act may be putting off potential partners. Being an ‘older’ virgin can be damaging to your ego. If you’re too busy worrying about being crap in bed, it’ll probably show in your flirting.

“If people insist on labelling themselves a virgin then it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” says Kate. “Don’t let being a virgin define who you are.”

Sex, and being sexy, is largely a mindset. So stop thinking “I’m a virgin” and start believing “I’m an attractive decent person anyone would be lucky to sleep with”. The change in your self-esteem and the way potential partners see you will, most likely, be instant. By that point ‘what age do people lose their virginity?’ won’t even be a question in your mind. 

Have sex for the first time for the right reasons

You may be desperate to slide into bed with ANYONE to get it over with but we promise, it’s not worth it. The last thing you want is to regret it afterwards. You’ve waited this long, and if you want it to be a special experience you might just have to hold out a little longer.

The right person won’t mind. Remember to ask yourself if you’re ready – both physically and emotionally before diving into anything. If you’re not, it doesn’t matter if you’re 16, 22, or 58 – it’s fine and perfectly normal to hang on until you are. For some more reassurance, just watch the 40 year old virgin.


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By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 30-Dec-2021