real life

"You lost your virginity better than I did. I guarantee it."




It’s been 25 years since I lost my virginity and I have some good news for myself. Apparently, it’s not my fault that it was a pretty crap experience. Nor was it the fault of my hapless but well-meaning partner.

The reason that losing my virginity was so… unsatisfying… is because it was 25 years ago.

If I lost my virginity today, it would be a splendid thing apparently.

People losing their virginity today reportedly have a much better experience than I did. Which wouldn’t be hard. But we’ll get to that shortly.

Here are the important facts:

Researchers questioned more than 5000 people over 23 years.

All of them lost their virginity between 1980 – 2014

In short, both men and women who lost their virginity 25 years ago reported lower levels of pleasure and higher levels of anxiety and guilt.

This makes me happy for this new generation of mad rooters.  This is good news. Better sex is always good news.

When I lost my virginity in 1987, I was 16 years old and my boyfriend was the same age. We were in love and had been dating a few months which, in teenage terms meant practically married.

The Grim Reaper ads, circa 1987.

But I was very anxious about sex. The Grim Reaper ad had been released a few months earlier and the world was in the grip of a panic about AIDS which, we were being told, mowed down women, children and grannies indiscriminantly. It was the late 80s and health authorities were desperately (and sensibly) trying to spread the message that AIDS was not just a gay disease.


Naturally, I assumed this would mean that I would catch it, along with pregnancy, from any form of sexual activity. Even dry humping on my boyfriend’s parents’ couch. The thought of sex was, for me, fraught with danger and fear. Mmmmm. Sexy.

Sex itself was foreign. I’d happily and pleasurably fooled around with my boyfriend for months and read my share of my Dad’s old Playboy magazines. I was well versed with Dolly Doctor and I had a fairly good sense of my own anatomy and what went where but I’d never seen anyone having sex.

Of course I hadn’t! How could I! Gross! Which makes me entirely different to today’s virgin who has seen hours of it online, possibly on someone’s smartphone on the bus or during a really boring part of a maths lesson (you know, as opposed to the really exciting parts of a maths lesson).

There was still a lot of shame and secrecy around sex back then. None of my friends had had it yet – or if they had they were keeping it to themselves for fear of being labelled a slut.

So I really was going in blind.

It was bad. Standard bad for a first time (well, a first time back THEN). It hurt. I wasn’t sure what to do or how to move. I sort of just lay there grimacing as my sweet boyfriend thrust into me as best he could. At one stage he said, “how would you feel about turning over?”


Back then – turning over meant doggy style. Not anal, oh god. That was not even on the spectrum of things an average girl would ever encounter in her early sex life.

But doggy style? Oh my god. NO. I was terrified. I had no idea how that even worked. It was hard enough to work out what I should be doing while lying motionless on my back.

Self conscious didn’t even begin to describe it.

And that, friends, was my first experience of sex.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose your virginity today. With so much porn having been consumed by both parties, I’m kind of imagining anal sex and threesomes being on the first-time menu. Doggy style seems positively quaint if you’ve been exposed to hours of online gang banging and triple penetration.

Does all that make people more sexually confident and uninhibited when they first have sex today? Is that the secret to enjoying it more? With less guilt and anxiety and more pleasure?

I wonder. It took me quite a few years to get into the groove of sex. I learnt as I went along but it took time and I don’t regret that. I feel sorry for women and men today who have the spectre of porn as their mental wallpaper that first time.

It’s a lot to live up to.

In what year did you lose your virginty and what would you give the experience out of 10?