Giving it some thought

Sex on Monday

In some ways, I am completely unqualified to write about being a virgin in college. I lost my virginity the summer before college to a boy I ended up dating for the next four years.
I also love sex.

But if someone hasn’t had sex, I just think that he or she should make a thought-out, informed decision. Other than that, I don’t really care, and I haven’t met anyone who does.

I do have opinions about virginity, though. Namely, the opinion that it isn’t that big of a deal — that people shouldn’t care whether they are, or aren’t, virgins.

And if they don’t care, no one else does either.

It’s not a mark of virtue, and it’s not a mark of shame to be drunkenly done away with at a frat party.

Being sex-positive doesn’t mean sex without thought, or just any sex for the sake of sex. Despite loving sex, I’m picky about my partners. And I think everyone should be, especially virgins.

A lot of people get the impression of being left behind by their peers if they are still virgins. Considering that, according to data from The Journal of Sexual Medicine, about 30 percent of people lose their virginity in the years immediately following high school graduation, it’s an understandable reaction. But even with that 30 percent going out and having sex, it is still less than two-thirds of college freshmen who have done the dirty.

In other words, there is definitely a bandwagon, but it’s not nearly as big as people make it out to be.

But if you are hopping the trend, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Hopefully, whomever you are planning to have sex with already knows you well enough that he or she knows you’re a virgin. If not, you need to tell your partner. He or she will know either way, so you may as well be the one who tells.

Guys may think that this advice only applies to females, what with the whole breaking of the hymen. Trust me, guys, your partner will know, too.

Or just assume that you’re terrible in bed.

Angles are weird, figuring out what to do, where things are and where to put things is a bit of a process. It only takes a few times to get everything down, but there is a learning curve.

It is better to have a partner who knows you don’t have a clue and is willing to help you along than one who expects you to know what you’re doing and gets annoyed when you don’t.

But even before mechanics come into play, there are condoms. Getting one on is largely easy, but it can take practice.

Trying in advance can give you the confidence to actually go through with using a condom. It can also bypass the rather wilting effect they often have on penises the first few uses.

Men pretty commonly lose their erections the first time they try to get a condom on. It’s not a difficult process once you get the hang of it, but it can take a little wrangling.

Women, as mentioned, have a whole different set of problems going into their first experience with sex. Namely the fact that women have a hymen.

Unless they don’t.

Tampons, physical activity, bikes, horseback riding and a host of other things completely unrelated to sex can break a woman’s hymen long before a penis gets the chance. And there is no real way to tell outside of a gynecological exam, or just going for it.

As someone who did have a hymen, I can tell you it wasn’t that bad. But, as someone who re-pierced her own ears using a needle sterilized in alcohol, my pain threshold may not be the best measuring stick. One thing I do know from talking to several women is that if it hurts enough that you need to stop, you should see a doctor.

There are various conditions that make sex impossible — or at least very painful — without medical intervention, including an unusually thick hymen. It is better to just make an appointment to see what may be going on than dealing with the stress of trying, being in pain and learning to hate sex.

Sex should be fun, and that isn’t a hard goal to achieve.

Setting yourself up for success by having a partner whom you genuinely like, and who genuinely likes you, makes it easier. And, as always, communication is important. Whether it’s your first time, or any time after that, openly talking with your partner makes everything go more smoothly.

Sex will not always be mind-blowing. If you hit that on your first try, congratulations: you’re a sex god. But sex should always be fun.

Because if it isn’t going to be fun, what’s the point of doing it at all?