Am I still a virgin?

(1) Dear Alice,

Me and my boyfriend had sex the other day. But he didn't fully insert... so he just went in a bit. I didn't want sex so we stopped. So am I still a virgin? Thank you!!

(2) Alice,

How about if I am a virgin and I use the condom in my first experience. Am I going to keep being a virgin???

The boy

Dear Reader #1 and The boy,

It sounds like keeping your virginity may be important to both of you. There is no strict definition of virginity — being a virgin means different things to different people at different points in her/his life. What's most important is to understand what it means to you.

Some people define being a virgin as never having had any kind of sex (vaginal, anal, or oral). Others may say that being a virgin means never having had penile-vaginal sex, and that anal and oral sex don't count. Different people come to their own conclusions about what defines virginity, so consider deciding your criteria.

In the first scenario it doesn't matter what other people might say in terms of virginity. The main point is that you decided you weren't ready to have sex yet. You wanted to keep your virginity and wait until you are ready. If you want to consider yourself a virgin, that is totally your decision.

As for "The boy," most people would probably consider your experience as sex. Sex with a condom is still sex. If you use a condom the first time you have sex, most people would consider this your "first time." However, what matters most is how you feel about it and how you want to define your experience. Kudos to you for deciding to use a condom, whether you choose to call it sex or not.

Much goes into the decision to have sex for the first time. Often peer pressure, strong emotions, uncertainty, curiosity, guilt, fear, personal and family beliefs, exploding hormones, and __________ (you fill in the blank) are involved in this big life event. It sounds like both of you have given some thought to what your virginity means to you. Hopefully when you do decide to have sex for the first time, you'll be happy with the decision.

You may be interested in reading questions from other readers about sex for the first time. Check out Normal first intercourse reactions and Disappointing first time in the archives. You'll find that everyone is different and experiences vary widely.

When you do decide to "lose" your virginity (or rather "gain" something, since losing sounds negative) make sure it's your decision and that you're comfortable with what that means for you and your virginity status.

Last updated Apr 08, 2014
Originally published Feb 14, 1997

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