CHS students discuss their virginity, and when it’s a good time to lose it


Julie Alter

Survey of 228 students from Jan. 19, 2017 to Jan. 20, 2017.

Sarah Lynch and Maddie Curtis

The average American loses his or her virginity at age 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between the ages of 20 and 24, about 12 percent of females and 14 percent of males are virgins.

While some sources argue the average age is slightly earlier or later, statistics show that more people lose their virginity in high school and college than at any other time, but the factors and feelings that contribute to that decision vary from person to person.

When asked what influences teenagers to have sex, most parents would say peer pressure. But a 2015 study between Utrecht University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute of the Columbia University Medical Center, analyzed factors that influence losing virginity, specifically age and gender.

The study reported that while younger adolescents are generally more susceptible to social pressure, older adolescents’ may feel more pressured “as sexual activity becomes more normative with increasing age.” A student, who prefered to remain anonymous, described her desire to lose her virginity before college.

“I feel like in college, sex is more about hooking up, so I would like my first time to be more of an actual connection. I would want to experience it and get it out of the way before I go to college so I don’t spend my college years over-thinking the concept and not being able to have fun,” they said.

The study also supported that females are generally more influenced by peer norms in sexual decision making than males. But it acknowledged a stigma between the genders, saying that “with regard to gender role development and sexual socialization, boys are often permitted more sexual freedom, whereas girls are often more sexually restricted.”

“Male promiscuity is generally more societally acceptable … men feel pressured to be philandering. It’s unfair for women … to not be able to have as much or as little sex as they want without being judged,” said a male student.

The power of peer influence in regards to sex may stem from a lack of communication between parents and children about sex, according to the National Association of Social Workers. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 61 percent of teenagers are “most likely to seek sexual information from their friends.” An anonymous junior female agreed that the bulk of her knowledge did not come from her parents or sex-ed at school.

“My parents got me a book and didn’t really discuss it with me and never told me it isn’t something to be ashamed about and they made it seem like the only reason people have sex is to have children,” the junior said. “Most of my sex-ed as a result I learned from either the internet, my own body or information from my friends.”

A parent-child discussion about sex usually does not change the age at which teens will lose their virginity, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control,. But discussions about sex and safe sex practices will help teens avoid risky sexual behaviors, according to Doctor of Philosophy Mark W. Fraser’s book, “Risk and Resilience in Childhood.” An anonymous senior girl agrees that safety is the most important aspect of losing one’s virginity, no matter what age this occurs.

“Honestly, when you lose your virginity is a very personal and individual matter. But teens are having sex; that’s a fact,” the senior said. “But all that really matters, and what sex-ed teachers and parents should stress the most, is that safety is what’s important, no matter how old you are.”