Dear Di

The v-card isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Illustration: Rame Abdulkader
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dear Ty,

My friends always talk about their sexcapades, but when it’s my turn to speak, I have nothing to share. I turned 23 over the break and I still haven’t lost my virginity. I’m worried I’m a ‘late bloomer,’ so to speak, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand it’s embarrassing, but on the other hand, I’m not sure I’m ready for sex. Any tips or advice?

—23-year-old Virgin

Dear 23yoV,

There are a few major milestones many teens and young adults keep in the mental diary they didn’t even know they had: working their first real job, buying their first legal drink, graduating from high school, college, or university, and, of course, losing their virginity.

But if I’m being brutally honest with you, swiping the v-card isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Chances are your first time will look nothing like the steamy and beautifully harmonious scenes you might have seen on Netflix (or Pornhub). Sex itself can be hilariously awkward, especially so if you’re giving it your first shot. Expect at least a few laugh out loud moments and some other unexpected sounds and feelings.

Virginity itself isn’t and wasn’t even that special until some creepy historical figure somewhere probably decided to put a label on doing the dirty for the first time.

My point here is, don’t make a big deal out of something that doesn’t have to be. There’ll be no explosion of fireworks, erupting chorus of a choir, or seismic shift in the Earth’s atmosphere when you do decide to have sex for the first time. Losing your virginity doesn’t have to be the sacred event it’s made out to be, and chances are you’ll have plenty of more opportunities for sex in the future.

As far as age goes, there’s no ‘proper’ age to have sex for the first time. Some people choose to have sex in their teens, while others opt for 30, 40, 50 or 60. Moreover, some people choose not to have sex at all or until marriage for socio-cultural or religious reasons, and that’s totally okay too. What matters here is personal preference and your own (and your partner’s) level of comfort.

Another thing to keep in mind is your definition of the word “virgin.” For some people, losing your virginity means partaking in penetrative sex; for others, penetration has nothing to do with it. It just means being sexually intimate with someone for the first time. Either way, however you choose to define it, losing your virginity is always nerve-wracking and it’s totally normal to feel that way.

My advice for the first time is to keep things casual, but safe too.

If you’re dating someone, even better, but if not there’s absolutely no need to set out on a cross-country crusade to find the absolute perfect fuck. Instead, just let it happen. If you meet someone at the bar you’re feeling especially connected with, go with the flow. If you meet another potential partner in class, get to know them over a cup of coffee or a beer and see where that takes you. Another good way to find a sexual partner is to hop on your favourite dating app (Tinder, Grindr, Bumble) and do some soul-searching.

When you’re finally ready to have sex for the first time, again, don’t make it more than it needs to be. Remember, all you’re doing is scratching a very normal human itch. While most teen movies will try to tell you otherwise, losing your virginity isn’t a rite of passage. However, let your partner know this will be your first time so they know to respect your boundaries. And any reason you might choose to wait on having sex or not have sex is completely legitimate too.

When you roll over in bed after the deed is done, give yourself a nice pat on the back. You’ve joined the club: You might feel a little less horny, but that’s about it.