Women Are Losing Their Virginity Before They're Ready. We Recall Our First Times

Photographed by Kate Anglestein
Let's just admit it: sex for the first time probably won't set your world alight. There are exceptions, sure, but for most people, it's clumsy, bumbling and unlikely to be physically pleasurable. Legally, you need to be 16 in the UK to consent to sex, but this doesn't mean young women don't lose their virginity much earlier.
According to the latest National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, nearly 40% of women in their teens and early 20s believe it wasn't "the right time" when they first had sex, compared to 26% of men. Most of the 3,000 young people surveyed said they wished they'd waited longer to have sex, with very few saying they should have done it sooner. Most had lost their virginity by the time they were 18 – half had done it by the time they were turning 17 and nearly a third had had sex before turning 16.
Of course, in retrospect, it's far easier to decipher whether or not you actually were ready to lose your virginity. Ahead, 11 members of Refinery29 staff relive their first time for your pleasure (definitely not theirs)...

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