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FAQ: How can I stop pressuring myself to lose my virginity?

Q: I just moved away for school and it seems like everybody in my dorm is hooking up. I don’t think I’m ready to start having sex but it feels like maybe I’m supposed to or else I’m missing out? Nobody’s said anything directly to me about it so maybe it’s all in my head. How do I stop pressuring myself about losing my virginity?

It seems more common to find resources that help you decide when and how to lose your virginity than it is to find stuff that’s meant to help you if you’ve decided to not have sex. This post will go over some ideas and strategies to help you stay true to your decision to stay a virgin. When or if you lose your virginity is supposed to be a totally personal choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy one!

What does “Virginity” mean to you?

Virginity means different things to different people. Sometimes, as a way of adapting to pressures you’re feeling, it can help to examine your definition of virginity and see where you might want to redefine it.

Does virginity mean not having any sexual contact with someone else? Or is your definition of virginity specific to certain types of sex acts? There are lots of people who feel that being a virgin means not having penetrative sex, but are cool with oral or hand stuff.

Sometimes you can feel internal pressure when you get close to the edges of boundaries that you’ve set up. If you find yourself sharing a bed or dancing close with someone you’re attracted to, you might start feeling like wanting to do more because it feels good. Thinking about and knowing your boundaries ahead of time can make navigating these situations easier.

Note to Self:
Another way to keep a clear head in these situations can be masturbating! Sometimes sex is all you can think about when you’re horny or turned on. Masturbating (sometimes to orgasm, sometimes not) can help to satisfy your body’s needs and help you not feel so torn between what your body wants in that moment and what your other priorities are. You can do this before you meet up with people, or take a break from hanging out and find a moment to yourself to do it.

Why do you feel pressure? Can you avoid it?

Sticking to a big choice like staying a virgin might mean prioritizing over people, places, or activities that make you feel pressured into having sex. Finding new groups, spaces, and entertainment that support that choice is possible, you just may need to dedicate some energy into seeking them out. Having your choices reinforced can be easier than spending your time fighting to justify them to yourself or others. Things to consider when avoiding these pressure could look like:

Things to Consider:
Along with thinking about where the pressure is coming from to lose your virginity, it can also help to think about where the pressure is coming from for you to keep your virginity. Have you not met anybody you feel strongly about? Are there religious reasons? Is it concerns about STIs or pregnancy? Are you unsure about your sexual orientation or interests? Sometimes taking the time to think some of those pieces through can also help you understand why and feel closer to the reasons why virginity is something that’s important to you.

If you’re not able to avoid these kinds of pressures, here are some ideas of things you can try:

Focus on the positives that being a virgin brings to your life.

It can be easy to give up on plans or decisions if they feel like something to be embarrassed about. But if your choice to be a virgin brings good things or feelings into your life, remembering those good things in pressuring situations can help you feel more sure of your choice.

Think about when you would want to have sex.

Knowing what kind of situation you might want in order to have sex can help make it easier to walk away when that’s not happening. Saying “Not now,” might feel easier than saying “No!” (which can kind of sound like forever). Maybe you know you want to be a certain age, who you want to lose your virginity with (serious partner, friend, casual hook-up, etc), or want to wait until after a big life event (moving out on your own, finishing school/exams, etc).

Staying sober.

Lots of pressure to hook up happens at parties or hang-outs where people are doing drugs or alcohol. Avoiding drinking or other substances can be a way to have a clearer head when making decisions about what activities you do with others.

Be kind to yourself.

If you change your mind and choose to have sex before you thought you were going to, that’s okay. Like we said, there are lots of things influencing decisions around virginity. Choosing to not have sex doesn’t have to be about being perfect. For some people it’s just about being more critical or mindful about the decisions they make around sex.

Do you talk to other people about this?

Sometimes it’s hard to hold yourself to any decision (not just about sex) if you’re the only person who knows that this is something you want to do. Telling your friends can help them know not to pressure you or take you to places where you’ll feel pressured. Telling your partners can help them be aware of your boundaries, which not only helps manage expectations but also lets them share the responsibility of not going too far.

There’s nothing wrong with being a virgin. Talking about it with people can be a helpful way of normalizing it for yourself and others. And as always, you can contact our peer educators if you want a supportive, non-judgmental person to talk to!


If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]

Last Updated: April 2020

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