For some, the pressures to have sex before college can feel like a bad (but real-life) version of American Pie. For others, the pressure is an afterthought, an “unnecessary stressor,” something that goes in one ear and out the other. To get a sense of what it’s really like for pre-college students, we tapped four women for their thoughts on losing their virginity before their first semester away.. This is what they had to say.
“I think I just assumed it would happen before college. I don’t know why, but I always thought that 16 sounded like a good age, so thats what happened! But I wouldn’t necessarily say I gave it much thought — I wouldn’t have been opposed to waiting under different circumstances.
I definitely felt the pressure around me to have sex but it didn’t really affect my decision either way — it was just an added unnecessary stressor. Either way there’s pressure: If you don’t do it you’re a prude and if you do, you’re ‘tainted’ so to speak. I didn’t plan it or expect it at all, it just happened. I think there’s definitely more pressure for guys though.” -Emily C, 24
“If you didn’t have a boyfriend or weren’t seeing anyone and were still a virgin, there was no judgement. My group of girlfriends was pretty big in high school, and about half of the girls were having sex and the other half weren’t. Everyone was pretty open about whether or not they were a virgin, so it was apparent that there were positives and negatives to being that intimate with someone. The girls who were virgins didn’t have to deal with extreme heartbreak or vulnerability, and expressed that they felt they had the upper hand because of it.
I had sex before college, and it wasn’t initially because I felt pressure to not be a virgin before starting school. However, I was pretty relieved that I wasn’t a virgin in college because it’s a whole different ball game and the guys definitely expected to have sex if you went home with them. Since I wasn’t a virgin, if I went home with a guy I also knew that sex was expected — I think there’s power in knowing that, because I can imagine it would be very uncomfortable to go home with a someone in college and have them be upset that you wouldn’t ‘put out.’” -Olivia Z, 24
“I didn’t have any hesitation about having sex before college. There wasn’t a lot of pressure from people I knew to have sex before college either. Now that I’m in college, my school is primarily female and there’s not a big sex culture here or large dialogue about it within the school that would make me feel pressured to have sex. I did like that I wasn’t a virgin before I went to college — there was one less thing to be worried about in dating here especially because I typically date people older than me who are not in college.” -Megan, 20
“There were definitely pressures to have sex before college — by the end of high school it seemed like everyone was doing it! Back then,I didn’t see [sex] as big of a deal, but now having been with the same person for the entirety of college, it feels like much more of a shared private thing.” -Caroline, 23
Just like anything in life, everyone’s journey is different. It’s seems the unsolicited pressures to have sex will always be around in some way or another and let’s be real, there will always be outside opinions about your decisions. However, there’s only one opinion that really matters: Yours.