We asked guys what it was like to lose their virginity
We’re so used to reading about women’s sex lives. Be that their most memorable experience, their favourite position, or their go-to sex toy.
Maybe that’s because our conversations are catering to the male gaze. Maybe we aren’t comfortable with men having sexual desires beyond watching porn.
To open up the conversation around men’s sexuality, we asked six different guys of six different ages ago about their first time having sex – covering everything from where it happened to how they feel about it years later.
This article comes as the first of our new series, We Asked Guys. Every Thursday, you can come back to find the latest question we’ve asked a bunch of guys – and trust us, we’re going to ask questions you really want to know the answers to.
This week, we’re focused on the sex lives of men – and how they felt when they finally lost the virgin label.
Here’s what they said.
Who are we talking to?
How old were you when you lost your virginity and how did it happen? Were you in a relationship with the person at the time?
Mark: ‘I was 17 when I lost my virginity. I’d just come home from the cinema after watching Planet of the Apes, my girlfriend at the time then met me after the movie because she was out with a few friends, she came to my house and just chilled out for a while and then we had sex.’
Stu: ‘I was 17 when I lost my virginity with a girl who was also 17. We met at a friend’s house and got on really well and after a few weeks we became a couple. After months of dating, kissing and heavy petting we decided that the time was right. We decided to do it at my house as her mother was at home as she was a teacher and it was the summer holidays.’
Stuart: ‘I was 17 at the time, a few months away from my 18th birthday. I’d been at a university open day in Southampton with my girlfriend at the time and my dad. I didn’t have my heart set on that university so we left early and went home. Me and my girlfriend were upstairs in my room and the moment just felt right.’
James: ‘I was 13, with an older girl on a park bench. I think she had some issues and just did it for a laugh.’
Matt: ‘I had just turned 17 years old. It happened in my bedroom at my parents house with a girl that I had been in a relationship with for a few months.’
Alex: ‘I was 21 years old, I was at university and in my third year of university, I had been in a relationship with this person just over a year now, we took our time to get to know each other properly first.’
Were you nervous the first time you had sex? What was it like for the first time?
Stu: ‘I remember both of us being nervous, and it was soft and gentle and very loving. We tried a few positions and I remember I wanted to make sure she came before I did… I kept asking if she had which didn’t help the mood but she assured me she had… and I eventually relaxed enough to cum myself.
‘We cuddled afterwards for ages and did it again. The most nervous part of the experience was buying condoms for the first time rather then actually having sex as I was sure someone would find out and tell me off as if it was wrong to do it.’
Alex: ‘I was very nervous inside, and I could tell they were before. This was both our first time with anybody and it felt that extra more special, as I decided to wait until I would find someone worthy to give myself to.’
Stuart: ‘Very. As it was my first time I had no idea what to expect sensation-wise and not much clue as to what I was doing. As a man, I also felt pressure to last as long as possible.
‘I remember I’d bought condoms that were supposed to help you last longer as they had a cream inside that caused you to feel less sensations. Looking back that was probably a bad idea as it meant I wasn’t able to climax and it made the whole experience less pleasurable, but also awkward between the two of us as she saw it as her problem.’
James: ‘I wasn’t nervous until I was actually, physically doing it. It was very short-lived, strange and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t very satisfied by the experience. I think there’s a stigma attached to females and sex (which is wrong in my opinion), but I think it’s wrong for either gender to be having sex at such an early age.’
Mark: ‘I wasn’t nervous because my girlfriend at the time made everything so comfortable for me and making sure it was okay, I remember I looked very ‘cool’ getting the condom from my wallet and threw it right beside her head which made the whole atmosphere not tense or nervous at all!’
Matt: ‘Massively nervous! The girl I was with had an ex-boyfriend who was very slightly older and she had lost her virginity to him. The pressure to “outperform” her previous experience was a huge expectation that I had placed upon myself.
‘The night had been arranged, it was the first time she would properly stay over. Having been friends with her before getting together made the experience as comfortable and relaxed as it could have been, but this didn’t stop it being clumsy on my part with the thoughts of what she had experienced before being ever present.’
Was losing your virginity a big deal for you? Did you feel there was any pressure on you to lose it being a guy?
Stu: ‘There was no pressure amongst my peer group about sex, or feeling of having to rush to do it. I did it with someone I loved when it felt right.’
Stuart: ‘At the time I felt indirect pressure. I went to a mixed boarding school, however the boarding houses were single sex. Surrounded by other boys my age who were all talking about their sexual experiences made me feel singled out as I couldn’t relate. I wouldn’t say this directly forced me into trying to lose it sooner but it certainly had an indirect or subconscious affect.’
Alex: ‘It was a big deal in that sense because I never had other sexual partners and I did not want to go around trying to sleep with everything that breathes in my youth, to this day I believe it is important to take your time and not give into rush. Not overly cautious, but just to think about what you really want for yourself.’
Matt: ‘A huge deal and for me particularly the pressure was immense. For some reason, my girlfriend and others assumed that I had lost my virginity a long time ago. I never lied about past conquests but at the same time I never denied peoples assumptions either. I was confident, a little full of myself, was sporty and flirtatious.
‘Those traits at that age meant I was seen as a ladies man. That was a long way from the truth, I had kissed numerous girls, and a little more, but never had full sex. This revelation came out after we slept together during pillow talk. My girlfriend revealed that she was relieved as she had been nervous as well, thinking I would be critical of her performance compared to others I had apparently experienced.’
Were you in a rush to lose your virginity or did you wait for the right person?
Stu: ‘I do remember that at the time there were stories of girls who’d been doing it with older lads and they seemed to be in more of a rush then any of the boys.’
Mark: ‘I waited for the right girl because I wanted to be as comfortable and enjoy it as much as possible with someone I loved, and that was important to me, I was in a rush to lose my virginity but that wasn’t my priority.’
Stuart: ‘I was wanting to wait for the right person, like someone I was in a relationship with and cared for. I believe the person I lost it with fitted that description.’
Matt: ‘A little of both. Being a young man full of bravado I was desperate to experience sex for the first time, both out of interest and as a bragging right. As it worked out, more by luck than judgement, it was also with the right person who I stayed with for years afterwards.’
Do you think a guy’s virginity is as big a deal as a girl’s? Why do you think this?
Stu: ‘I think today there is a bit of a stigma towards men who’ve not had sex, the word virgin for men seen as a derogatory term as if having sex makes you a man. If you have one night stands you’re a lad or a stud and it’s fine.
‘Women are still seen as a slut for doing the same thing, which is rubbish, as people of both sexes should be able to enjoy themselves as much or as little as they want. I think the media, especially social media, still portrays things this way. A sexual inequality where women are expected to “put out” before they are ready and lads are rushed into it to feel like they are a man.’
Stuart: ‘I do believe this, but it depends on who you ask. To certain women, they may feel it is not as big of a deal as they can see men as only interested in one thing, however in my own personal opinion, in an equal society, everything is the same for everyone. I try to live my life thinking and acting as equally and respectfully as I can and treating virginities with equal importance was a big factor for me growing up.’
Matt: ‘I don’t. I think the nature of the world we live in, which is so much smaller now due to social media, there is an expectation on men to get experience and perform without emotional attachment as this is seen as a sign of weakness. Girls however are, unfairly, judged on their first choice of partner and all the others that follow.’
Alex: ‘A guy’s virginity is as equal importance to that of a girls. Each person has control and rights over their bodies, and everyone should feel comfortable as they can be, otherwise it can lead to potential complications or problems. I believe as a man, we should aim to help nurture our partner much as we can and also ourselves.’
Mark: ‘In a general sense I don’t think it’s considered as big a deal in men just because apparently the more people the better when you’re a lad and you are praised compared to the opposite for women which makes no sense to me!’
How do you feel a guys virginity differs to a girls and why do you think this is?
Stu: ‘A mans virginity has to be told, divulged to the other males to show they are a man, but in reality they often don’t want to share the feelings so it’s all bravado and positions etc.
‘Whereas for a woman her virginity is taken, not given, and that must be hard – especially with body image issues that have been woven into the world. They’re expected to look a certain way or perform certain acts as lads have been trained into expecting; oral, anal, cumming on the face, by porn.’
Stuart: ‘I feel as though men and women see virginities as different things, the same way people’s “magic numbers” are interpreted. Like if a guy sleeps with lots of women he tends to be celebrated by his friends, but if a women sleeps with lots of guys she tends to be degraded in our current society. It’s the same with virginities, like if a guy loses it at a young age then he is respected by people his age but if a girl was to lose it at the same age then she gets deemed easy or a slut which is completely wrong.’
Matt: ‘A man who is still a virgin in later years is seen as a loser, unattractive and unwanted. A man who loses it at a young age and has repeated partners is praised in his friendship groups and put on a pedestal.
‘In comparison, a girl who hangs onto her virginity is seen as frigid, boring and even in some cases a tease. A girl who loses her virginity quickly and on a one night stand is seen as being easy. Both are unfair, unnecessary stigmas that enforce a massive gulf between male and female perceptions.’
Do you regret how you lost your virginity? Is there anything you’d do differently given the chance? How if so?
Stu: ‘I don’t regret how I lost my virginity thankfully. It was the right time with the right person. I wouldn’t change a thing apart from asking about the orgasm but I think that’s the pressure men have, ensuring the woman cums, along with premature ejaculation and keeping it up.’
Stuart: ‘I don’t regret anything in life, I always see events as a learning curve. Personally I don’t see losing my virginity at the time I did as a mistake but I did learn to use regular condoms, not the ones I’d bought!’
James: ‘It doesn’t really bother me the way I lost my virginity. If I could change anything about it I’d like to have been a stud at my first attempt.’
Matt: ‘No, no regrets. However in hindsight I may have played down the “jack the lad” persona that was associated with me. This added pressure to both myself and my girlfriend.’
Mark: ‘I don’t regret my first time at all, it was the perfect experience that I had built up in my head with someone who meant so much and made it so comfortable for me, there is nothing I would change at all!’
Alex: ‘I have no regrets because my first time made me feel special as a person, made me believe someone could love me and gave me hope for life again as it was a very dark time of my life. I would not have changed a thing.’
If you could give any advice to men still yet to lose their virginity, what would it be?
James: ‘I don’t think men should wait too long to lose their virginity because if you’re still a virgin later on in life there seems to be a massive fear factor involved.’
Stu: ‘All I can say is if you want to enjoy your first time then find the right person, be in love and take your time. If they love you and care for you they will enjoy just being close to you and being with you. She’s as nervous as you and worrying about all the things you are. Enjoy it and be happy.’
Matt: ‘Don’t lie about past conquests, you will be setting yourself up for a fall. Accept you are new to being intimate with a woman, enjoy the learning curve and for the love of god, don’t use internet pornography as a guide of how to do it!!’
Stuart: ‘Don’t take any pressure from friendship groups or society to heart. Wait for a time that is right for you and someone special. Yes, sex is great, but it’s even better with someone you care about!’
Alex: ‘My advice to any man is treat your partners with absolute respect, support and care! Get to understand your partner first and make the effort for them, because it could be a big moment for them too. Don’t rush in anything without some thought.’
So, what can we learn from this?
It seems we’re too quick to judge when it comes to guys’ sex lives. In the media, in films or music videos, we’re so used to seeing guys not really being bothered about who they’re losing their virginity too – they’re far too focused on just losing the title. But it seems this isn’t the case.
Guys do care about who they sleep with for the first time. They do care about making it memorable. They do get nervous, and believe it or not, the majority vote seems to be that sex for the first time really is a big deal.
Join us here next Thursday, where we’ll be asking a number of guys what it’s like to be a man living with depression.
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