"Losing your virginity" is a teen movie trope and a common conversation topic among close friends: What was your first time like?
Depending on whom you ask, it either has to be rom-com perfect or it "doesn’t matter at all." We give sex so much attention (whether we talk about it openly or not), but when it actually comes down to it, many teens claim the pressure is hyperbolized and sexual intercourse is not a big deal after all.
I would like to humbly disagree. Having sex for the first time is a big deal.
Not that sex is this huge threshold or that it’s not worth it if you don’t have rose petals on the bed, candles lit everywhere and a bottle of Champagne. I just think sex is always a big deal. Being with someone so intimately matters — it involves insane vulnerability, and it has the power to cause massive hurt or be an incredible experience.
Through the end of middle school and most of high school, I definitely felt pressured to have sex. It was completely unspoken, but the more people were having sex, the more it entered into conversation and the more I felt like the odd one out. I didn’t even necessarily not want to have sex, I just really wanted my first time to be with the “right” person. There were several occasions when I could have given in to that pressure, when it would have been so easy to “just get it over with,” but I held onto my fairy-tale notion of the “right” guy, the “right” feeling, the “right” moment. It might sound ridiculous, but I’m so glad I did.
Funnily enough, when the right moment showed up, it didn’t matter to me whether we had sex or not because every minute I spent with this guy was already magical. But we did. And we didn’t light candles or cover each other in rose petals, and there definitely wasn’t any Champagne around. We just laughed the entire time. Because having sex is awkward. And human bodies are weird and amazing. Nothing about it was perfect, except everything.
So wait. Wait until you’re with someone you can’t get enough of. Wait until it's someone you trust and want to show every part of yourself to. Whether or not you feel pressured or impatient, give yourself the time and space for it to feel “right” — whatever that means to you. It will be worth it.
Maybe some people believe sex isn’t a big deal, but I think it should be. And if you share it with someone you really, really care about, it is. And it’s better than wonderful.
Hannah Laga Abram is a graduate of Santa Fe Waldorf School and freshman at Middlebury College. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.