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Is there more pressure to lose your virginity at university?

At one point or another, everyone wants to have sex. If sex education at school taught us anything, it is to wait until you feel it is right and to not let anyone pressure you – and yet, many people have sex before they are ready because of the pressure they put on themselves. These are people who want to have sex but their reasons are neither physical nor emotional; they are driven by the fear of being judged. I have spent time investigating why the social desire for sex and relationships is heightened in university.

In high school, there can be competition over who has gone the farthest and who lost their virginity first. Everyone around you is having sexual milestones – making those who did not, feel immature and behind you. If you didn't have those experiences in school, the pressure to have them follows you to university.For some, sex is something they want to do just to say they have done it. Then, sex changes from something you want to do into something you feel you should do. Life is a non-stop reminder because, everywhere you go, people are doing it or thinking about doing it. At clubs, people are hooking up left and right. The library is also, apparently, a viable dating pool. Online, be it Tinder or Kiss College London, people are actively seeking out sex. Movies depict sex as something that is always effortless, magical and orgasmic. No one wants to be the odd one out – especially because university is advertised as the time in our lives to go out, have sex, and take risks before we are at an age when consequences are dire enough to stop us from making mistakes.

It is so easy to think that if you don’t engage in all of these things, you’re not doing university right. As my friend Marcella said to me: when you come to uni you expect to lose your virginity, and when that does not happen it's sad; there is not a direct pressure, it’s more of a feeling of inferiority. She followed that up with a funny anecdote, in which she and her friend each bought a pack of condoms with the hopes of using them and, while her friend did, Marcella’s box remains unopened.

I have spoken to a few girls who want to have sex now, because they doubt that the right person to lose their virginity to will come along; they see no point in waiting for something they do not think will come. A handful of these girls want a partner more than sex itself, which also raises the question of whether anyone would be willing to wait, or do they need to have sex to be loved? The most common pattern of thought is that sex and love are things you need to have to be complete.

There are so many insecurities related to losing your virginity and being sexually competent, so people want to avoid being virgins at all cost. In my search for more insight on this topic, I have found that the fear of being bad in bed is more common in boys than it is in girls (

The fear of being mocked for being a virgin and the fear of disappointment was a barrier for both Thomas and Michael, here. Furthermore, Lyndon was nervous about not being aroused when the moment came or not knowing what to do. When the time came for him, he 'remembered a couple of things from porn that weren’t too weird'.

However, there are those who remain unaffected by other people’s sex lives and who have managed to divorce themselves from these expectations; the pressure of losing your virginity at university is not shared amongst all virgins. Two other students felt almost empowered by it, Catherine for instance, would rather 'do it right, it’s not like she’s a part of a different class because of it'. While Ophelia is more of a 'wait until marriage type', because 'being a virgin is easy if you’re not horny'.

The first time you have sex can either mean very little to you or it can be charged with meaning. In either case, it is not up to others to dictate how it happens. Besides, everyone deserves better than to sleep with someone who will judge you for whether or not you have had any experience.

So to conclude, there is no need to rush because it will happen in due time — but a box of condoms is always good to have around, just in case!

Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor

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