Note: The names and schools of all women featured on College Women Get Real About What They Wish They Knew Before Losing Their Virginity remain anonymous. Their answers were recorded and submited through an annonymous survey link.

The truth is whenever we have any doubts about our sexual health or experiences, we google them. Whether it's the popular "am I pregnant if..." question or the more complex ones, like "how do you know if you are ready to have sex", we use the internet to find all of these answers. So in order to promote responsible sex and provide answers/advice to other women, we saved you a few internet searches and asked college women what they wish they knew before losing their virginity.

Don’t be ashamed

"I wish that I knew that I didn't need to feel shameful about it. I was young and actually, the whole ordeal wasn't too unpleasant, but I remember thinking I had this huge secret weighing me down. I felt like I was a different person and was trying to hide that from my friends and family. It's not shameful to have sex, especially if it's consensual and you think you're ready (even if years later you realize you weren't as ready as you thought you were)."

I didn’t love him

"I was 17 when I lost my virginity and he was 21. He showered me with gifts, rides and etc. But his personality was horrible and my family hated him. I didn't love him, I didn't even know what love was even though he was much older than me. I wish I could have waited to lose my virginity with someone I loved instead of the idea of losing it to an older man."

You can enjoy it

“Wanting to have sex doesn't make you a slut. After I lost my virginity my freshman year of college, I started to enjoy having sex. I chose to have sex more frequently because I wanted to and it made me feel good. Nobody should feel judged for what they choose to do."

Be prepared for emotions

"When I lost my virginity it was totally planned. Me and my best friend got a hotel by Disney for the weekend. We met up at the hotel, went out to dinner, and danced on the Boardwalk like we were two kids in Kindergarten. It was perfect. Then we slept together at the hotel. It was painful and we had to stop because I couldn't handle it. Then the next morning we had sex again. I had prepared for everything except for the emotions I would be feeling the whole time. Losing your virginity makes you more vulnerable than you've ever been. You're physically and emotionally intimate with someone, and in my case, I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I needed some time and space to work through it. Even thought it was emotional, I would never regret it because I slept with my best friend who supported me and made me feel comfortable through it all. My advice is just to be ready for a lot of emotions; your body and mind are processing what happened."

It doesn’t make you a different person

"It is not as big a deal as you think. I thought that when I lost my virginity, for some reason, I was going to become a different person or that some aspect of me was going to change. The reality is that after losing your virginity you are exactly the same person you were before. You won't become less 'marriage material' or 'less desirable', that is just something your parents tell you in order to delay the inevitable. Also, the fact that you lost your virginity will not make you more mature all of the sudden. Therefore, if you don't feel mature enough, wait a while."

It's about pleasure and trust

"I wish I wasn't as naive to the societal definition of "virginity." I was taught that sex is vaginal penetration and losing your virginity is engaging in penetrative sex for the first time. My first time was with a male and we did have penetrative sex. I now know that sex is different for everyone. When I am intimate with a woman, I consider it sex - even though there is not an exchange between penis and vagina. I think the rhetoric surrounding "losing your virginity" needs to be changed. Not everyone has penile-vaginal sexual intercourse. Every person has a different experience having sex for the first time, and we can't invalidate people's experiences just because they don't conform to heterosexual intercourse. Sex is about pleasure and trust. If you feel that with your partner, that is the only thing that matters."

Embrace the awkwardness

"I felt pressure to lose my virginity my sophomore year in high school because everyone was doing it. However, once it happened, that's that. I wish I wouldn't have stressed so much about what people thought about me and embraced the complete and total awkwardness of my first sexual encounter (without all the outside chatter)."

Don’t do it while drunk

"Being drunk won't make it any less awkward. The alcohol got you comfortable enough to say yes but soon enough you'll be questioning if it was really the right thing. Or you may see him on campus a year later and wonder what he's thinking or if he even remember you. Don't give him the power. If it isn't the love of your life, be willing to be comfortable enough with the idea of forgetting him as much as he may forget you."

He doesn't have to be “the one”

“My advice would be to be sure that you are losing your virginity to someone that really means something to you. He might not be “the one” or anything very special, and that's okay. Just be sure that when you look back you will remember that person as someone that really meant a lot to you."

Don’t compare your story

”It's inevitably going to be awkward, but that's what makes it memorable. And also, don't compare other people's stories to your own. Some things they warn you to expect to end up being totally untrue or over exaggerated." 

Don’t freak out about pregnancy scares

“During the next 2 days after I lost my virginity, I was bleeding heavier than usual. After it went away, I didn't get my period when I was expecting and got seriously freaked out. I went to Planned Parenthood for a free pregnancy test because I was concerned I was almost 2 weeks late. They told me that bleeding after sex might take the place of your period sometimes, so I shouldn’t be worried. Sure enough, 28 days after my first time I got my period but it totally set my cycle back two weeks from when I was expecting. Basically, if you bleed after sex and don't get your period when you're expecting, wait until a month after you bled before freaking out."

The media isn’t always accurate

Sex is all about intimacy. However, media makes us think it's all about "finishing," which makes it easy to focus on your partner's pleasure over your own. If something isn't working for you, especially if it hurts, say something. Before you have sex, your partner needs to know all about consent, too.

Find someone who cares

”It's not that big of a deal if you do it with someone that cares about you. I waited for a long time and treated my virginity as a treasure until I finally did it and then it was all like 'Okay, why have I been waiting this long?'".

Sex should be something you both enjoy. And even though losing your virginity might seem like a tough decision to make, remember that there is not just one right time, moment, or person. It all depends on you, your partner, and your choices. Don't be ashamed of your choices and remember to ignore the judgement of others. Just remember that a relationship is between two people, and no one else.