We have a wide spectrum of sexualities, so why do we define virginity by vaginal intercourse/penetration? This definition leaves so many different types of sex out of the equation. If a woman were to only sleep with women for her whole life, is she still a virgin? Of course not.

So many women I know describe their first time as less than magical. A lot of “first time” stories are awkward, or uncomfortable, or even painful. Maybe I don’t want my first time story to be the first time I had sex. Maybe that story isn’t even the best one. Maybe everyone has a better sex story than that. No — I’m certain everyone has a better sex story than that.

Author and journalist Peggy Orenstein spent three years interviewing young girls about their feelings toward sex. She has a TedTalk, which I highly recommend watching, in which she explains that a great deal of young women engage in sexual activities they do not enjoy.

A lot of the young women Orenstein interviewed revealed that they were in pain during their first time. It took a lot of times for the sex to feel good. One of her interviewees is lesbian, and she says she defines her “first time” as the first time she orgasmed. When I heard this, I was forever changed. She really has a point.

There’s no reason to define your virginity by the first time you have vaginal intercourse because 1) maybe you’ll never engage in vaginal intercourse, and 2) if that intercourse was like most first time stories, where the guy finishes and the girl doesn’t, maybe it won’t feel like sex to you at all (Side note that I could write a million essays about: Why do we pretend sex is automatically over once the guy comes? It takes two to tango! Or more! Judgement free zone here!).

Grrls: define your virginity your way. Virginity might mean the first time you orgasm, or the first time it feels really good, or when you’re totally comfortable with your partner.

Claim your pleasure, communicate with your partners, and remember to have fun! Take the pressure off; you’re not losing anything.