Does Your First Time Determine Every Time?

A new study says how you lost your virginity stays with you the rest of your love life.

Losing Virginity

You know how you mother always told you first impressions tend to stick? She might have been right — even in ways she was certainly not referring to. According to new research, the tone set when you lose your virginity apparently stays the rest of your love life ... forever

University of Tennessee psychology doctoral student Matthew Schaffer and C. Veronica Smith, Ph.D., University of Mississippi assistant psychology professor, designed a study to observe the ways in which your virginity loss affects your future sex life. The study, published in the Journal of Sex and Martial Therapy, looks at whether or not there are consequences or benefits to how unpleasantly or happily you first had sex.


Researchers questioned 331 young men and women about the way they lost their virginity, including the accompanying emotional anxiety, contentment and/or regret. Then, the respondents were asked questions about their present sex life. Topics such as how much control they felt over theirs, as well as how much satisfaction and well-being they feel.

Those who stated their first times were fulfilling and satisfying reported happier sex lives later on, while the ones who stated their virginity loss was accompanied by negative feelings reported lower sexual functioning overall. "While this study doesn't prove that a better first time makes for a better sex life in general, a person’s experience of losing their virginity may set the pattern for years to come," said Shaffer.


The strange thing is that most of us have kinda weird first times, I think. Not bad, just awkward. As I read this research, I initially thought, "That can't be right; most people have a kinda uncomfortable first time then go on to have perfectly fine sex lives." But the more I pondered it in my head, the more I started matching up my own experiences as well as those of my friends to how we behave and feel now.

I, for one, know that my first time was an overall positive experience comparatively because I'm still sort of friends with the guy (even though it happened 9 years ago). He was super sweet about it being new to me and we had been dating for just a few months so I wasn’t particularly dead inside when we broke up a couple more months thereafter. That said, it was definitely awkward, but the rest of my sex life has been overwhelmingly not awkward. Keep reading ...

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On the other hand, I had a friend who lost her virginity with a guy who was disrespectful and refused to acknowledge her afterward. She's spent more of her adult life admittedly feeling like sex is a tool that people use to hurt one another, yet she constantly pursues it because (again, admittedly) she wants the validation it gives.


I also know more than one person who lost theirs in an extremely comfortable setting, even in households where their partner's parents or their own parents were totally okay with the whole deal, and now they all have a positive, open and excited outlook on sex, rarely feeling bad even when situations happen differently from how they had planned.

So, how about your own anecdotal evidence for or against this research? It may sound TMI, but hey, almost everyone's got a story about their virginity loss, and being open about those can bring a whole lot of new revelations and connections. Let's hear it!