On the day I turned 18, I had never been kissed. I was officially and societally ordained as an ‘Adult’, and yet I had still never had this quintessentially teenage experience. Honestly, it was a serious insecurity of mine. Whenever the conversation steered towards first kisses, I was always the one to change the subject.

Games of truth or dare terrified me, as hook ups were a topic people were always keen to hear about. I was constantly on the look out for opportunities where I could once and for all shake the label of Never Been Kissed–because by now it felt like it was written in giant neon letters above my head.

The night I finally shook my kiss-ginity, I was out with a friend in a seedy club where all the just-turned-eighteen-year-olds went. I was drunk. My friend had abandoned me. And I found myself unwillingly in the arms of a stranger. It was one of the shittest first kisses imaginable–said person had gum in their mouth and afterwards found it wholly appropriate to ask me if they “tasted good”. Needless to say, I vomited a little in my mouth and got the heck outta there.

It’s a small regret of mine, that first kiss. I actually wish I could have held on to that kiss-ginity and rode it out for a little longer, because there was eventually someone else I would have preferred to plant that first pash on.

I could have had that magically awkward, awkwardly magical experience that I read about in the books and watched in movies, but I was way too keen to give it up to wait for that.

It’s a cliché you’ve probably heard a million times, be it in regards to your first kiss, first relationship or losing your virginity. But don’t be ashamed to wait. In high school, I was never in a relationship, nor was there anyone I particularly had a crush on (it was slim pickings in my grade). There was no one I wanted to kiss (despite me so desperately wanting there to be)–so I didn’t do it. And that’s fine. It’s peeerrrrfectly okay. There’s no time limit on experiences like this, and we shouldn’t feel pressured into doing something that will ultimately turn into a shit memory we’ve gotta live with for the rest of our lives. Safe to say, when I play the Worst First Kiss game, I always win.

Now that I’m in my twenties, I realise it’s a pretty silly thing to worry about. The age at which you have your first kiss has absolutely no reflection on how good you are at it (if anything, you’ve had longer to practise on your hand and study the intricacies of the Rory/Jess, Bella/Edward, Spiderman/Mary Jane snog-successes).

It also has no reflection on the age at which you’ll have your other firsts. I know people my age who are only now having their first kisses or are yet to have them, and that’s totally okay. Each to their own. What-the-fuck-ever. If it doesn’t affect you negatively in any way, then what gives you the right to make someone feel bad about it?

So, if you’re one of the ones with the fluorescent Never Been Kissed sign blaring above your head, I’m telling you you’re not alone–not even close. And also: just relax. Don’t force it. The truth is first kisses are messy, strange and nerve-wracking at the best of times. Wouldn’t you prefer to share that horrible and wonderful experience with some you care about–or at the very least know?

You’re one of the lucky ones who still has a chance for your story to be on the Best First Kiss list and not the worst. Do with your kiss-ginity what you will, but think of it as having the potential to be a good thing, and not have it be a curse.