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You may feel like everyone else is having sex but you. The reality is that only one out of three people aged 16-20 in the UK have had vaginal sex. So rest assured, not everyone is doing it.
Most people think that being a ‘virgin’ means someone who has never had vaginal sex. The term virgin can be misleading because sex isn’t all about penetration. The term can also be used as a label that puts people into a box.
If you haven’t had much sexual experience, this doesn’t mean you are immature or not a sexual person. Whether you do or don’t feel ready or whether you just aren’t interested in sex at all, your sexuality is unique to you. It can be difficult, but try not to compare your experience to others. Many people exaggerate, so don’t believe everything you hear.
So how long should you wait before you have sex with someone? Three dates, six months, the first time you’re with them?
The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer, it’s down to what you and your partner want, and what you feel comfortable with.
Some people want to wait, others want to get right in there. It really depends, but it helps to be very aware of your own feelings and the reasons why you want to sleep with someone. Doing it to impress them or to make sure they stay with you aren’t good reasons.
Some people have very strict ideas about what is right and wrong when it comes to sex. For example, some people might think that if you sleep with someone on the first date, that doesn’t make you girlfriend or boyfriend material. And some people might worry that if someone they’re seeing is too eager, they might just want to use them for sex. This is where communication and understanding what you and your partner both think and want can be helpful.
It’s normal to want to fit in and be a part of a group. It makes you feel accepted and can build your self-esteem.
At some time or another most people will feel pressured to do something they don’t feel comfortable with just because ‘everyone else is doing it’. With some things it can be easy to deal with peer pressure, but other things, like sex, may be more difficult.
Know yourself. A big part of avoiding being pressured into doing something you don’t want to do is knowing yourself. Knowing what you want and what you don’t want sexually, and being aware of your feelings can help you make the right choice for yourself. Take some time to think about what’s important to you and what you value.
Stand up for yourself. One of the worst reasons for doing something sexual is because you think everyone else is doing it. If you do something you aren’t comfortable with, you could end up upset or regretting what you’ve done. Having sex should be a free choice made only by you and only because it’s what you want.
Be yourself. Just remember that you’re an individual. How boring would it be if everyone said and did the same things? If you resist pressure to do something you don’t want to do, most of the time people will end up respecting you for it.
It gets better. While being young is all about exploration and fun, you’ll have plenty of new experiences as you get older. So if you can, take your time. You don’t have to squish everything in while you’re young.
Rachel, 21, shares her experience of masturbation and why taking things at her own pace was the right decision.
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Charlotte, 20, shares her journey of becoming comfortable with masturbation and understanding what pleasure means to her.
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