Heather Corinna replies:
I had my first real sexual experience a few months ago, but I don't really like to talk about it. The problem was that I guess I was a little too anxious and I didn't go about it quite the right way and as a result, I never reached orgasm. I am also not too sure if she did either, I can't even remember. I believe I am too young to be considered impotent, I have no problem "finishing" if it is by myself. At any rate, does this still make me a virgin?
Shaun: if not reaching orgasm with a partner during intercourse meant a person was still a virgin, there would be an AWFUL lot of women in their forties who have been having sex for two decades but were still virgins.
Virginity isn't some medical state or condition, or something you can get some sort of official credential for. It's a cultural idea -- one not even everyone subscribes to -- and a pretty arbitrary one, at that. People's definitions of what virginity is vary pretty widely. So, while overall, a majority of people who do subscribe to virginity ideas simply define it as either being "lost" with first-time intercourse or any kind of first-time sex, it really is up to you how you define it for yourself. But defining it based on orgasm from intercourse would indeed mean a WHOLE lot of people -- especially women -- were virgins that sure didn't think they were.
It's very normal for either one or both partners not to reach orgasm during first-time intercourse (or second-time, or twenty-fifth time...). Often, that's just about being nervous: nervousness, anxiety or an internal freakout is a big hindrance to arousal and orgasm. In order to reach orgasm, we usually have to feel pretty relaxed, even if we're sexually stimulated and keyed-up. Since for so many heterosexual couples, first-time intercourse is SUCH a huge deal, it's no shocker that it's often not exactly the most physically fulfilling sex ever, and that often, one or both partners don't reach orgasm or feel very satisfied.
And it doesn't mean that anyone is doing anything wrong, just that with all those pressures and all that nervousness, it's rarely the best environment for orgasm, especially if penis-in-vagina intercourse is the only sexual activity included in that sex. Even if you find that over time, intercourse isn't an activity that brings you to orgasm all by itself, that's okay: it doesn't do that for a whole lot of people. Since partnered sex not only doesn't have to be only about one sexual activity in a given session (and for most people, it's frequently unsatisfying when it is only about one activity), you get to engage in whatever activities you and your partner want to, which are satisfying for you both, and can include whatever activities DO get you there. If you like intercourse, but it turns out not to be the big ticket, you just also add on an activity which is.
Not reaching orgasm also doesn't mean you're impotent: just for your own understanding, impotentcy isn't even about orgasm, but about being unable to achieve erection.
None of this is something you should feel awkward or ashamed about: in fact, it's the rule rather than the exception that any kind of first-time sex is pretty fumbly, bumbling, awkward stuff. That's okay: so long as couples keep in touch with each other and talk about it together, all that fumbling can actually nurture some pretty cool bonding and intimacy you might not have had before, and that extra closeness and communication helps things just keep getting better.
Take a look at these links: I think you'll find them a comfort: