How Gay and Lesbian People Lose Their Virginity

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Many people believe that you can only lose your virginity through vaginal sex, and others think that oral and anal sex are also ways to "lose virginity." It all starts with the long-standing association between virginity and a woman's hymen. The hymen is the thin piece of skin that lies over the opening of the vagina. Though it can be stretched during vaginal sex, it can also be stretched while masturbating, participating in other types of sex play, doing gymnastics, riding a bike or a horse, or even using a tampon.

Using the hymen as a measure of virginity isn't an accurate form of determination:

  • If a hymen is a test, a man could never lose his virginity.
  • There are many non-sexual ways to stretch the hymen.
  • Doing so excludes any sex act that doesn't involve a vagina.

How Gay and Lesbian People Lose Their Virginity

Being a virgin is complicated because sex means different things to different people, lending the same philosophy to virginity. Traditionally, having penis-in-vagina sex for the first time is what makes you lose your virginity or your 'v-card.' However, this is not inclusive of people who do not engage in penis-in-vagina sex. Many, in fact, consider themselves non-virgins if they've had oral or anal sex for the first time. To turn the conversation even darker and more complex, many people also agree that rape and sexual assault does not count as sex. Thus, anyone who was forced or pressured during their first time may not perceive the situation as losing their virginity, no matter what kind of sex they had.

Although everyone has their own ideas about what counts as sex, a lot of people would agree that vaginal, anal, and oral sex, are all forms of sex. Keeping this in mind, it would stand to reason that LGBT folks lose their virginity just like straight people do: by having sex with another person in any form.

Coming Out As a Rite of Passage

Many LGBTQ people have compared the notion of 'losing your virginity' to that of 'coming out,' as the former is more prevalent primarily in heterosexual communities while the latter is key for LGBTQ ones. Making your sexual debut as a straight male or female often involves the experience of losing your virginity. It's culturally prevalent in traditional customs like marriage and religion. There are also many social situations in which losing your virginity is a big deal, namely growing up in high school and college, with the backdrop of music, movies, TV, and books describing the act.

However, modern-day society has lent itself to narratives similar to the 'lose your virginity' trope, like the more vocally shared coming out stories from celebrities, YouTubers, and big box films like Love, Simon (2018).

Getting Over the Whole Idea of Virginity

Some people criticize the whole notion of virginity, to begin with. Emphasis on virginity can place a lot of importance on something that seems pretty old-fashioned. But for many people, the concept of virginity is a big one, whether they are trying to hold on to it or get rid of it as soon as possible. 

Virginity, and how you feel about it, is a personal thing. No matter what you believe, it's important to remember that sex between people of the same gender is just as "real" as sex between opposite gender partners. There are many similarities when it comes to one's sexual awakening and experience. In fact, Pink News shared that the average gay person has sex for the first time around 17.9 years old. Similarly, heterosexuals have sex for the first time around 17.6 years of age on average.

A Personal Take

One queer teen lesbian provided her perspective on the question of how gay and lesbian people lose their virginity:

"There's such a debate on whether gay people lose their virginity or not (especially lesbians) if they only have sex during their lifetime with the same sex. Of course we do! It's so stupid to think that you can only lose your virginity though heterosexual intercourse, I mean, you wouldn't think of someone that had only had oral sex as a virgin would you!?
Personally, I think you can lose your virginity through any form of sex / making love (I prefer the term making love, I'm such a girl!) whether it be intercourse, oral, anal, gay, lesbian etc.
But I think that a lot of sex education, and a lot of doctors, don't believe this, and think that anything other than straight intercourse doesn't count as having sex / making love."