Compared to my friends, I’ve always been a late bloomer. I had mosquito bites instead of boobs up until I was sixteen, I was so late starting my period that I lied about having it in fear of judgement, I didn’t have my first kiss until Year 12 in a classy game of truth or dare and I graduated high school with what felt like a bold tattoo across my forehead: virgin.

When my friends were all undergoing their first sexual experiences, it didn’t phase me at all. I didn’t have my radar on the opposite sex by any means but I laughed along with them as they shared awkward anecdotes.

Eventually though, I felt more and more isolated and alien, not just to my friends, but the whole school. To put it bluntly, it felt like everyone was doing it like rabbits left, right and centre but me–the undesirable, inexperienced, virgin mutant.

My friends began treating me like an innocent flower, telling me jokingly to cover my ears when the conversation steered towards sex. I repetitively stated that, despite my ‘inexperience’, I, like every other teenager, understood how intercourse worked. Trust me, the speech my parents gave me regarding the ‘birds and the bees’ still burns in my memory.

But, as they swapped stories, I’d have nothing to contribute to the conversation. They never meant any harm, but in the moment it felt like they were all Tai in Clueless telling me ‘you’re a virgin who can’t drive’… oh yeah, did I mention I was also the last to get my licence. Go figure.

I was sick of my inexperienced self winning every single game of ‘never have I ever’ and desperately wanted to go through one of the most quintessential teenage experiences but the truth was, at the time, I knew I wasn’t ready.

Guess what? It’s fine. Virginity isn’t a hump we all need to get over asap (no pun intended) but it’s not a big deal either…unless it is. It’s all up to you!

How you view sex shouldn’t be pressured onto you by your friends, it is you and you alone who decides. I let my school make me feel like I was inferior to everyone else because of my virginity ‘burden’ when in actuality, it was none of their goddamn business.

Thankfully though, I never actually gave into the pressure; doing the deed without feeling it was the right situation.

When the opportunity was there, I went for it because I knew I was finally ready. I didn’t wake up afterwards with a whole new perspective on life, walking taller, feeling mature, confident and magical like I was led to believe. I woke up feeling the exact bloody same. I realised, that morning…virgin or not, it just doesn’t matter.