However, I didn’t feel guilty when I lost my virginity after moving away and finally being on my own. Yes, originally, I had planned to wait until I was with someone serious, but honestly… I didn’t care anymore. I was past being a teenager, so I had “beat” teenage pregnancy. And I wasn’t going out and doing drugs or drinking every night. So why did it matter if I started having sex?
First, I want you to know I neither condemn nor advocate for how early or late women decide to have sex. If you wait until you’re married, that’s awesome. If you wait until it’s your first boyfriend after six months, congrats. It’s fine either way.
Here’s what I also know, though. Sex IS intimate. Even if you don’t think it is — for example, when having a “one night stand” or sleeping with someone you don’t really have feelings for. There’s still a part of you that’s vulnerable enough to share something this intimate with another person. Such an experience can make you feel extremely in tune with the other person and deepen any feelings you might have. So be very aware of this if you or your partner feels one way, but the other does not.
And now come the social expectations. You may worry what your friends and loved ones will think about your choices. But there’s something important to remember: Even if your family gets mad at you, they should still love you. My family found out — some by accident and others just kinda assumed — and they still love me. Did they approve? No. Did I care? Not completely. But I do know some of their intentions were to keep me safe. Once you’re an adult, though, you make your own decisions and face your own consequences.
Personally, I’m a hopeless romantic, so that does at least keep me from “hooking up” with the next person I talk to. What’s more, as women, we want to maintain boundaries and feel completely comfortable with the person we’re about to do anything intimate or sexual.
Ultimately, society has placed this nonchalant idea on sex, while religion has done the complete opposite. So, at the end of the day, it’s up to you. You do not have to feel guilty one way or the other for doing something you truly believe is the right thing for you.
A version of this article originally appeared here on readunwritten.com