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Sex: Why most women regret their first time and men don’t

By Bunmi Sofola (31-07-2017)

So what was your  first time like? Crisp sheets and the gentle touch of a caring soul-mate swearing undying love, or an awkward drunken fumble in a back room, a motel room or at a party? The age we lose our .virginity is perhaps the question that fascinates us more than any other. Did you start having sex too young, or were you a late starter!

According ,to a report by the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyle, The average ‘enlightened’ person first had sex when they are in their mid-teens. “Look at the statistics for older generations and it’s clear that people are becoming sexually active sooner,” says the report. “On average, a man who is now in his 80s first had sex when he was 18, while an average woman of that generation waited until she was 19.

“As for sex under 16, for those born in 1950, one-in-seven men and one- in-ten women had lost their virginity before the legal age of consent. The figure is now one in three for those born in 1990. However, the current figure of one in three doesn’t mean that in every classroom, a third of those about to take their secondary school leaving exams have already had sex … the figures are higher in deprived areas and lower where people are more affluent.” However, when it comes to wishing things had been different, almost half the woman, but less than a quarter of the men had regrets, said the report. It’s possible to get an idea of the reasons for remorse from people’s responses to questions such as  whether their partner had been more willing to have sex than them – i.e. they felt pressured- and if they were drunk when it happened.

The million-dollar question really is: Were you really ready? When assessing whether you were ready, researchers don’t mean whether you know which bits go where, or how to open a packet of condoms. Rather, it’s a case of whether you were prepared for the momentous event or, interms of the research, ‘competent’. If you agree with one or more of the following statements, then you are considered to have been not competent or ready when you lost your virginity:-

  • One of us was more willing than the other.
  • I wish I had waited longer.
  • The main reason was peer pressure or because I was drunk or had taken drugs.
  • I did not use reliable contraception.

Given the increasingly young age that people lose their virginity, you would expect competency to be going down, but it appears that it is increasing across the generations. This suggests that young people are increasingly savvy when it comes to sex. The circumstances of your first’ sexual experience can predict subsequent health problems, with lack of ‘competent’ being associated with subsequent unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and coercion into sex, regardless of the age at which first intercourse occurred. This suggests that sex education should focus not just on the mechanics of sex and contraception, but also on readiness for sexual activity.

Attitudes towards sex before marriage have changed dramatically in the past few decades. In the late sixties, it is alleged that just over a third had sex with their husband before tying the knot. By the Eighties, the figure had risen to over 70 per vent. Now it is so common, the question is no longer asked. But it’s fair to assume it is well into the 90 per cent range.

Today the average woman is virtually free to take her love-life into her hands. In the past, the gap between becoming sexually active and having a child was close together. An average woman then lost her virginity at 20, got married at 21 and had her first child aged 23 to 24. Compare this sequence to today’s average woman who first had sex at 17, started a partnership (not necessarily marriage) at 23 to 24 and gave birth to her first child at 27. That’s ten years of sexual activity before her first birth – a demonstration of the efficacy of contraception. In short, reliable contraception means many women now put off families so they can develop careers first.

But in the case of Donald and Doris, both had reasonably well paid jobs but still couldn’t afford the type of wedding they want. “Donald and I really want to have children and the ideal would be to do so once we’re married, said Doris: I know there’s no stigma attached to having children out of wedlock, but my parents’ marriage is strong and I grew up feeling part of a secure family unit and that’s what I’d like for us too. I’m now 28 and Donald will be 30 in a few weeks time and it feels like the clock’s ticking and we’re starting to resign ourselves to the prospect that we might never be able to save enough money to marry, despite both being good earners and savers.

“We’re not prepared to get into debt to pay for a wedding and I agree with Donald that we shouldn’t burden our parents with ridiculous costs. My mum had cancer recently and my dad’s had health problems, so I want them to enjoy every penny that they have got saved up – including what they get as rent in the only property they own. It sickens me how much prices are inflated the moment you mention the word ‘wedding’. We’re not prepared to have a hurried registry do either, as that shows a bit of desperation.

“What we’re concentrating on now is starting a family. I’ve recently discovered ~ I need fertility treatment to make conception easier; and we would rather deal with that right away. We’ll get married if and when we’re ready.

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