What age do people lose their virginity?

Everyone is having sex. Everyone is having amazing sex, every day, with everyone else. Except you. Think you're the only virgin left on the face of this earth? Think again. Despite all the talk, it turns out many people lose their virginity later than they might have you believe. 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 to lose your virginity

The pressure to lose your virginity by a supposedly socially-acceptable age is huge, so everyone is boasting about their various conquests. Meanwhile, you think you’re the only one who still hasn’t done it and you’re nervously worrying ‘when oh 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 peer pressure for a few minutes whilst you read this article and swat up on some virginity home truths.

People lie about losing their virginity

Seriously, your friends will be lying about this. A lot. And you’re probably lying to them too. And this whirlwind of cherry-popping fibs just reinforces everyone’s insecurity. The truth is, everyone feels the pressure to lose their virginity but nobody ‘fesses up.

“I was determined to wait ‘for love’ and always felt like a loser around my more experienced friends,” says Annie*, 24. “I eventually lost it to a serious boyfriend aged 20 and thought that was pretty old. It was only recently some friends admitted they’d lied all those years ago. And others said they were jealous of me for having a meaningful first experience.”

It may take years to discover your mates have been exaggerating, but do keep this in mind whilst they’re mouthing off about their alleged sexual exploits. Remember, a lot of people who rush into it tend to regret losing their virginity.

“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. “Virginity loss is such a personal thing and you should do it for the right reasons. Young people are under such pressure to lose it just to conform when they should trust their gut feeling instead.”

What is the average age to lose your virginity in the UK?

Most studies say the average age to lose your virginity in the UK is around 18-19. But don’t worry if that’s not you, this is an average, which means there will be many people who lost theirs when they were much older. Remember, people tend to lie or exaggerate when talking about it, and 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, so don’t look at those figures as some sort of goal or measure of success.

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. Virginity loss is no longer discussed, it’s assumed.

But hang on, you’re still a virgin. 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 fumbly sexual experience?

You’ll probably find people actually aren’t that fazed by your virginity. Once you’re all adults people have a more adult approach to sex. Phew. Whether you disclose your virginal status or not is 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 that’s their hang up, not yours.

Roger, 23*, has slept with several girls and says he wouldn’t be put off by a virgin. “I wouldn’t mind if the girl was a virgin if she’d put some thought into who she would like to sleep with,” he says. “I wouldn’t want her to just be doing it because she thought it was time and any old guy would do. There’s nothing worse than someone regretting sleeping with you.”

If you’re still worried about how a sex partner 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.

Don’t let being a virgin define who you are

You may feel 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, and if you’re too busy worrying about being crap in bed this is going to show through 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 in many ways about confidence. So stop thinking “I’m a virgin” and change it to “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 be noticeable.

Have sex for the first time for the right reasons

You may be desperate to mount/slide underneath ANYONE to get it over with but you don’t want to regret it afterwards. You’ve waited this long, and if you want it to be a special experience you can wait a bit longer. The right person won’t mind. Remember to ask yourself if you’re ready both physically and emotionally. 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.

Still worried about when you’ll lose your virginity? Why not share your thoughts on our discussion boards? You’ll find people there who have lost their virginity at loads of different ages. You could also check out The Mix’s full selection of articles and information on virginity here.

Next Steps



By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 30-Dec-2021