Throughout movie montage history, a woman's first sexual experience has been dramatized, exaggerated and contorted into a clichéd fantasy, that can oftentimes give young girls false expectations about the act. The truth is, when it comes to having sex for the first time, there is no exact science or perfect moment. The decision is entirely personal, and left up to the individual. Additionally, the meaning of "sex" is fluid — for example, not all sexual encounters involve penetrative sex. The way you define sex is entirely up to you.
I had sex for the very first time when I was 17 years old, and my expectations of the act were considerably low. If anything, my perpetual fear of the unknown had only powered my inclination to just "get the dang thing over with" — an attitude that now, in retrospect, I understand was completely unnecessary. I chose to wait until I was dating someone long-term with whom I felt comfortable. The experience was slightly painful, and over within minutes. Still, I felt a subtle wave of maturity wash over me during my cab ride home, followed by a literal burning desire to pee. Perhaps it was just the placebo effect, but I'll always remember that sensation.
I asked 10 women about the circumstances surrounding their "first time," and while at first glance, not all answers may seem silver screen-worthy, they still feel pretty picture-perfect to me.
I had been dating my high school boyfriend for almost three months, and I was convinced that we would last forever. We were practically the king and queen of our small town. We just made so much sense together. The second we exchanged our 'I love you's, we were both ready to take the next step. Partially because we were so in love, but I think also because we were just so horny. I was 16 years old.
— Tina*, 26
I never dated anyone seriously in high school. Sure, I had a guy that i was casually seeing, but everything felt very surface level. When I left home to go to school, that all changed. I joined a sorority, and met a member of our brother fraternity at a mixer. We immediately hit it off, and before I knew it, we were seriously dating. I was positive, in my heart, that he was the right one. I wanted him to take my virginity! He was older, but I was 18 years old. We went on to date on and off for the next two-and-a-half years.
— Eliza*, 23
To be perfectly honest, I never really saw sex as meaningful. But I heard it was fun and felt great, so I wanted to try it. I lost my virginity the first chance I got, at the age of 16. And I was right! It was nothing special, but it's gotten a whole lot better since then.
— Sydney*, 24
I was kind of a serial dater in high school. Seriously, I had like, a new boyfriend every few weeks or something. I guess you could say I was a little obsessed, but I really did just like, fall in and out of love within seconds. Anyway, I never actually felt comfortable enough with the person I was dating until I was 17, during my junior year of high school. His name was Alex. He was really hot, and Indian, just like me! It felt super typical, nothing abnormal. I think most people feel that way after losing their 'V-card' in High School.
— Soraya*, 23
I was 14 when I first had sex. It is kind of a cute story. My boyfriend, who was 17, told me he'd already had sex, which was not true. I suppose he wanted me to see him as accomplished in that area. Well, the sex was not good because I was expecting him to show me what to do, and he didn't know what to do either! What could have been an exploratory day turned out to be kind of lame sex. But we did fall in love for awhile, and the sex got much better.
— Providence, 51
I was 18 the first time I 'did it.' I had been working my way up to it with such experiences as dry-humping. By my fourth date with a certain fellow, he was asking me if I had 'had experience' and I, unwilling to admit to my virginal state, implied without actually lying, in so many words that I was experienced. But once we got on the bed and I yielded my panties, which I'd been clinging to as my last barrier, I didn't know enough to bend my knees and laid there with my legs outstretched flat on the bed. At that point the guy said, 'I thought you said you'd had experience.'
— Cynthia, 74
I was 13 years old the first time I had sex — it was with my best female friend at the time, in a dark hallway. We were doing our best to hide the relationship from our parents, and so dark hallways became our 'location of choice' for awhile.
— Dannie, 24
I had sex for the first time at 25. I had a tight knit group of five friends, and everyone had gotten laid but me. Once my best friend lost her virginity, I felt even more pressure. I was dating a woman at the time, and we were all at her friends' place. The house was beautiful, everything was so opulent. It really set the ambiance. I went upstairs with the woman I was seeing, and awkwardly started touching her. She was like, 'Are you trying to do something here?' When it was finished, I pressed play on my iPhone which was locked and loaded behind her pillow. I started playing the song 'I Just Had Sex', by the Lonely Island. She was not amused.
— Annie*, 33
I'm over 30 years old, and I still haven't had sex. I genuinely don't think about it very often. The timing has never felt right. I don't regret waiting because it honestly does not feel like waiting to me.
— Ariana*, 35
There is no "right" time or way to have sex: the choice is entirely in the hands of the individual. So don't do anything you don't feel comfortable with, and enjoy your sexual experiences in the way that you deem fit!
*Names have been changed.
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!