We all feel pressure sometimes. When everyone around you is doing something, it's hard to stand up and not be a part of the trend. Maybe you feel silent pressure from your friends who are always talking about their number, or you've decided to remain celibate for a personal or religious reason. Sex is one of those things that you have to decide for yourself. You should never feel pressured into anything, and choosing to become sexually active or losing your virginity is nothing to take lightly. There is no age limit on when you should start having sex, so if you're a virgin in your 20s, you're not alone! Here are a couple of reasons why it's totally okay to be a virgin, no matter your age.
1. You're waiting until you feel ready
There is nothing wrong with waiting until you're ready, and just because you hear all of your friends talk about their latest hook-ups shouldn't make you feel bad that you're not quite there yet. Until you're totally ready to lose your virginity, listen to your gut and stick with your instincts.
"I always said if I met the right person who was worth sharing my body with, I wouldn't mind losing my virginity. It wasn't until I turned 22 when I realized I wanted to wait until marriage to have sex," says Ally, a 2015 graduate of Hampton University who works as a TV news reporter. "I'm currently 23, and the older I get the more I feel treasured and assured I will find the perfect mate to share my body with, who will hopefully be my husband."
2. You'll learn more about yourself as a person in the process
Though feeling pressure isn't fun to deal with, it teaches you something about yourself—that you know yourself better than anyone else. If you're in your 20s and you haven't had sex yet, it's easy to feel left out and you might even feel inferior to your peers who are sexually active. Don't! You never know how someone else is really feeling, and it's important to focus on how you feel. Ultimately, sexually active or not, sex doesn't define who you are.
3. You just don't feel like having sex
Maybe you're just not interested in sex right now—or maybe, you're even asexual. Those who identify as asexual do not necessarily experience sexual attraction, and may also be a reason why you haven't become sexually active yet.
4. You may feel liberated
Being a virgin can be particularly liberating for a number of reasons. You don't have to worry about things like unplanned pregnancies, sexually-transmitted diseases or infections, or making sure that you're using contraceptives every time you are intimate with someone.
You're also giving yourself a chance to become more educated about sex. Sure, we've learned about sex in school, but there may be more questions that you'd like to ask your doctor about becoming sexually active.
5. It's something to look forward to
While sex may feel like an important milestone that many of your peers have already hit, that doesn't take away from the personal milestones you've accomplished. And how great was it to celebrate those achievements? Rather than treating your virginity as something you can't wait to get rid of, think of it as a milestone you have yet to celebrate.
"The moments I feel most awkward is when I'm with a group of girls who are discussing their sex lives with each other and I'm literally the quietest person in room. Super awkward!" says Ally. "But I can honestly say being in my early twenties and still a virgin is something that I never expected, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life."
Being a virgin in your 20s is totally okay. Especially if you aren't sure you want to be sexually active just yet, staying a virgin until you're absolutely certain you want to lose your virginity is the best decision that you can make. It's easy to feel alone and like you're missing out, especially if all your friends have already had sex and you haven't—but being a virgin (no matter how old you are!) isn't a bad thing. And the people who matter won't care that you're a virgin. We promise.
*Names have been changed.