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I was 16 years old. My girlfriend of the time and I parked my 1964 Ford Fairlane on an empty street in a housing development under construction. After making out for a few minutes, we climbed into the back seat.

Losing one’s virginity is a serious decision. People make this decision for different reasons, some for emotional reasons, some for moral reasons, some for religious reasons, some for personal or family values, others for a variety of reasons. Per the Kinsey Institute the average age for losing one’s virginity is 16.8 for males and 17.2 for females.

Losing one’s virginity is commonly thought of as penis-vaginal sex, but it can mean different things to others. A gay person may define losing virginity as any sexual contact. Some people think that only having manual, anal or oral sex does not affect your virginity.

A 1964 Ford Fairlane. This is the car I lost my virginity in.

Some of us are old enough to remember when President Bill Clinton insisted he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky as his thinking was it was only oral sex, so it didn’t count.

I did lose my virginity that night in the backseat. It was clumsy, awkward, uncomfortable in the backseat of a compact car as I  had to be a contortionist to make it work. But I was no longer a virgin! We had been dating for a couple of months and had done some making out and heavy petting, so sex was inevitable.

We all hear jokes and stories about the wedding night and first time having sex, but that is unusual. Per a study by the Institute for Family Studies in 2010, less that 5% of people were virgins on their wedding day.

Graph of age people lose virginity based on data from Kinsey Institute.

Most couples in committed relationships have sex prior to marriage. I do know at least four couples who plan to or did did wait until marriage to have sex or consummate the marriage. Two of them were for religious reasons they are members of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (Mormons). Two past LPC students discuss their reasons to wait until marriage in the “Spouse Material” podcast.

A poll of some of my friends resulted in these facts about losing their virginity (Initials only are used per their request)

A 50 year old female : J: 19 years old with a man 42 years old in the her father’s bedroom. They dated for 10 years

A 50 year old male: S: 12 years old, in the bushes of a local park with his then girlfriend.

A 40 year old female: K: 17 in her boyfriend’s bedroom when his parents were out of town.

A 45 year old male, E: 21 on his living room floor with the woman he met that night but dated for the next six months.

A 40 year old male: J: 19 years old, in the living room of his parents’ house with a girl he was dating.

A 30 year old male: C: 16 years old in his bedroom before school, with girlfriend he dated for 4 years.

A 51 year old male, J: 19 years old, dorm room, with a friend who came onto him. They for the next 3 years

A 21 year old female, B: 14 years old, in her significant other’s  bedroom. People have premarital sex for many reasons. Many times it is for either conceived or real peer pressure “Everyone is doing it.” Societal pressure is also prevalent as sex is in  movies, in music, on TV, in magazines, on the internet and in other forms of media. Media can influence one to have sex. 

Some have sex for curiosity. “What does sex feel like?” they wonder.  Some have sex as they think it will improve or keep a relationship.

A Kaiser Foundation study found that one in three male teens are pressured to have sex, but only 23 percent of female teens felt pressure.

A study by the Guttmacher Institute found that people have sex first for the intimacy, then social status and finally sexual pleasure.

People are having sex at an early age, but is it the right age? The best age to lose one’s virginity depends on the person. Each individual must make that decision themselves and only lose their virginity when they want to and are ready.

Alan Lewis is the photo editor of The Express. Follow him @alolewis1.

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