My quest to lose my virginity was a lot like the plot of American Pie, except instead of losing it by high school graduation I wanted to lose it before my 21st birthday. Why my 21st birthday, you ask? Well, I didn’t want to lose my virginity at an age older than my mom had lost hers at.  Now, I know what you’re thinking: how do you know how old your mom was when she lost her virginity? And that’s a good question that I’m sure my mother would be happy to answer at another time. Anyways, I figured that if a basket case like my mom could get laid at the age of 20 that I was more than capable of doing the same. I also didn’t want to be the token virgin in my college friend group. It was embarrassing to be the virginal friend of a guy who has a list of sexual partners longer than a California phone book.

My quest proved more difficult than expected, mostly because I didn’t actually have much of a sex drive to begin with. In fact, my desire to have sex was pretty much equal to my desire to eat chips all day and stay celibate for the rest of my life. I started by hooking up with guys that I knew, but that ended up being both unpleasant and awkward. I considered hooking up with guys from Grindr, but I discovered early on that I didn’t feel comfortable to follow through on any of the offers. I was an insecure person and I didn’t want my first time to be with someone who wasn’t willing to be patient and respectful of the situation. I knew that my first time didn’t have to be the most romantic thing on Earth, but it had to at least be an experience I wouldn’t hate remembering.

I ended up fulfilling my pledge.  I lost my virginity to my ex-boyfriend five months before my 21st birthday. Looking back, it’s funny how much I prepared for the scenario. I knew the exact day we were going to have sex and I even went to Yankee Candle Factory to buy a nice Christmas scented candle for the event. The experience was a bit awkward, but I anticipated that. Sex feels weird your first time, but my ex was patience and I ended up enjoying myself. It’s something I won’t ever forget, but that’s mostly because Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root was playing during it. That’s not even a joke.

I haven’t technically had sex since my ex and I broke up this past September. I say “technically” because I don’t really consider non penetrative sex as sex. Anyways, there are times when I really miss sex and consider meeting up with someone just for the sake of doing it, but I haven’t really given into those urges. Now that I know what sex is like, it is more difficult for me to have it with a stranger. I don’t feel comfortable sleeping with someone who doesn’t know the first thing about me or who may not be willing to take things at the pace I need them to be. I don’t want to have sex with a person who I wouldn’t be able to hold a conversation with after, nor do I really feel like getting naked for someone who just thinks of me as yet another hook up. I don’t even like getting naked for myself.

To an extent, I kind of feel like a virgin all over again. Perhaps anyone who hasn’t had sex in a while feels that way. And when I say that, I don’t mean it in a Jesus-y kind of way. What I mean is that I’m anticipating my next sexual encounter to feel like my first. I’m expecting it to be a little awkward or possibly hurt. I’m expecting to remember it because it’ll be with the second person I’ve ever had sex with. But hopefully I’ll be better at sex now that I’ve had a little bit of practice.

I’ve never seen virginity as some sort of sacred thing or rite of passage; I’ve always looked at it as a case by case basis. I don’t think that people who are still virgins are less worldly than those who lost it years ago, but I also don’t think those who lost it at a young age are directionless whores.

I didn’t feel like a different person after I lost my virginity just like I didn’t feel like a different person when I turned 21. How important something is depends solely on much weight you put on it. If you want losing your virginity to be a big deal then it will be. But if your first time wasn’t enjoyable or if it didn’t happen the way you wanted it to, you don’t have to let it define the rest of your sexual career. I don’t think people should rush to lose their virginity just to fit in or because they feel like they’re missing out. You should lose your virginity in a situation that feels right to you, whether that’s with a significant other or just a friend is entirely up to you. At the end of day, your sexual experiences will be so tremendously different from the people around you, so don’t hold yourself to their expectations.  And if you’re not ready to have sex for the first or hop back on the saddle (pun intended), just do what I do- masturbate ALL THE TIME.