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What Age Do Most People Lose Their Virginity?

Published: 4 avril 2010
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I'm a 16 year old male in high school, and it seems like a lot of people aren't virgins anymore. I was wondering at what age do most people first have sex? Also, I'm interested in a girl that I'm not sure if she's ever had sex. Is there a way I can ask her without it being awkward? Thanks for reading.
Signed: What Age Do Most People Lose Their Virginity?

Dear What Age Do Most People Lose Their Virginity?,

 

The Guttmacher Institute, an organization that advances sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research and public education, in their article Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health state that:

·         Most young people have had sex for the first time by the age of 17.

·         Teens are waiting longer to have sex than they did in the past – with 13% of never-married females and 15% never-married males aged 15-19 had sex before age 15 compared with 19% and 21%, respectively, in 1995.

·         About half of teens 15-19yo in the U.S. have had sex at least once – meaning half of teens 15-19yo have not had sex at least once.

Keep in mind that different teens have different opinions about what it means to lose one’s virginity. Planned Parenthood’s article Defining Virginity discusses a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health that looked at that issue. The study asked more than 1,000 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 19 what they'd have to do to lose their virginity and what counts as abstinence.

The study found:

·         More than eight out of 10 teens (83.5 percent) believed they were still virgins if they had participated in genital touching.

·         More than two out of three teens (70.6 percent) believed they would still be virgins if they had had oral sex.

·         About one in six teens (16.1 percent) believed they could have anal sex and still be virgins.

·         About one in 20 teens (5.8 percent) thought they could have vaginal intercourse and remain virgins.

Finally keep in mind that while it may feel like “everyone is doing it,” not everyone is. There is a lot to think about when it comes to having sex for the first time:

·         protecting yourself against the transmission of STDs and unwanted pregnancies

·         feeling comfortable discussing safer sex and sexual health issues with your doctor

·         feeling prepared to deal with an STD or unwanted pregnancy given that abstinence is the only thing can protect you 100% from these things

·         understanding how pregnancy and STD transmission occurs

·         feeling ready to deal with the many emotions that can be associated with having sex

·         considering how having sex might affect your reputation with your peers

·         considering how having sex fits into your cultural, religious, family, and personal belief system

Some people feel they are just not ready sex and everything that comes with it and decide to hold off until marriage, until they are in a certain kind of relationship, until they reach a certain age, or whatever else. The most important thing regarding having sex for the first time is that you make a decision that best protects your social, emotional, and physical well-being. 

For more information on virginity, read Planned Parenthood’s articles Losing It: All About Virginity, and What’s The Rush?

 

As for this girl you are interested in, keep in mind that asking someone if they are a virgin or not is an extremely personal question. No matter how you phrase it, by asking this girl if she has had sex she may feel insulted, embarrassed, put on the spot, and more. If you are interested in asking her out, FX strongly recommends that you not randomly throw this question out there. If you want to ask her what her beliefs are about teens having sex in general, as long as you feel you have a close enough relationship with her to bring up such a serious and even personal topic, that could be fine.

If you are very close friends with someone it could be okay to ask that person about their sexual history. If you have been dating someone and would like to start a sexual relationship with that person, certainly the topic needs to be raised and discussed before you just go at it. But think about who you are asking, the nature of your relationship with that person, and why you are asking so that you do not end up hurting or insulting that person.

FX also wonders why you need to know this about her. Would you no longer be interested in you found out she was a virgin and was pretty intent on staying so? If your interest in a girl lies only in her willingness to have sex with you, FX has some concerns…

 

Having sex for the first time and dealing with dating relationships are complex issues that can bring up lots of feelings and questions. If you find there are certain things you are struggling with, such as virginity issues and your interest in this girl, think about a trusted adult you can turn to for some support and guidance. You can speak to a parent, extent family member, parent of a friend, school counselor, or your family doctor. Just make sure the education and guidance you are seeking is coming from a reliable source.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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