You've done too much, much too young

There has to be a first time for everyone. But it seems that today's teenagers are full of regrets when it comes to sex. So Marina Baker asked the question: how was it for you?
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Your virginity has to go sometime, somehow. Unless it was really exciting, though, trying to describe it is a bit like attempting to explain that really weird dream you had last week.

Your virginity has to go sometime, somehow. Unless it was really exciting, though, trying to describe it is a bit like attempting to explain that really weird dream you had last week.

You have to be discovered by the headmaster with his daughter - in his bed - to really get the story across. But then you'd probably remember the look on his face rather than the girl's.

By the law of probability, the odd person must get to lose it lying on a soft blanket under a tree on a warm hazy day. With no insects or passing hikers. With the person they're still with - and now have five children, a great big house in the country and grow their own vegetables.

For most of us, though, it was a fumbling quickie that left us wondering what all the fuss was about. So dull was it that we don't seem to remember the precise logistics. Or rather, all those early gropings have meshed into one long aching passage into adulthood.

A survey of 7,000 schoolchildren under the age of 15 has revealed that 18 per cent of the boys and 15 per cent of the girls had already lost their virginity. The report, published in the British Medical Journal, also found that of a quarter of these boys and a third of the girls regretted it.

The researchers intend to continue follow-up studies with the children until they are 20, to see if their feelings have changed. To give them an idea of what they might discover, we asked a few celebrities to tell us how it was for them, and how differently they feel about it now.

And while Deborah Bee, the editor of Nova magazine, said: "I'm sorry, I couldn't possibly comment. There are some things I don't want my mother to know", others were happy to spill at least some of their beans. The general consensus seems to be that, while most of us did regret losing our virginity at the time, it didn't put us off in the long run, now did it?

Graham Norton, TV presenter

"I'm not surprised by these findings. But it's silly to regret something you have to do at some point. You're bound to be disappointed - it's little wonder that kids want to have a go and then find their own lame attempts an anti-climax.

Of course, the good thing about being a gay man is you can lose your virginity over and over. I would say, honey, which virgin piece of me would you like tonight? I have done it with a woman as well, which was quite patently different. I couldn't say precisely when I lost my virginity. I think it was around 16 and then bits of it kept dropping off until by the age of 20 I'd lost it all.

Molly Parkin, sex guru and agony aunt for 'TV Quick' magazine.

"I get literally thousands of letters from young girls on this subject. They say they want to do it but they're afraid of getting a reputation. They're worried about being called a slag even if they just kiss on a first date. It's horrible.

When they do lose their virginity, there's this awful remorse, which is a hideous emotion to have at 12 or 13. And reports like this don't help. They're just a load of meaningless numbers and lists which we all get excited about, and the girls feel even worse because we end up reinforcing their feelings of regret.

But virginity is only about losing a sliver of skin. It is hardly worth all this emotional and mental distress. We have to be more compassionate and say: 'So your virginity has gone. C'est la vie. Get on with your life and enjoy sex in the future.' There are other things worth regretting, like cheating in school exams or shoplifting.

I managed to hold on to my own virginity throughout my teens. We had to wear these things call roll-ons. They were very tight elasticated knickers that went from the waste to the knee. They were like chastity belts. No boy could get past them.

I stopped wearing them when I went to art school because they weren't very bohemian, and I got into quite a few scuffles. But I finally did it with all the technical bits inserted in the right place in my twenties. I would describe the actual event as a rape scenario really, in that he did force it upon me. The precise details are unprintable.

I did actually regret losing my virginity. But now I look back on it with practised acceptance. There is no alternative. If you continue to see it as a hideous experience, you'd end up in therapy. Also, if you see yourself as a victim then you develop a victim mentality which encourages bad things to happen to you."

Ed Bye, director of 'Kevin and Perry Go Large'

"I had to wait until my late teens to "do it". And even then, I didn't fare much better than today's teenagers. I spent the whole of my adolescence lying, pretending I had done it when I hadn't at all. I was at boarding school, and it was very difficult to have sex, in fact it was very difficult to meet girls.

I was 17 when I first had sex. Well, 17 and a half. And a bit. Plus a bit more. Anyway, we were both well over the age of consent. To be honest I don't really remember it in precise detail. We were both glad to do it. But it was over very quickly and my partner was disappointed.

Jenny Eclair, comedienne

"I lost my virginity when I was 15 - I couldn't wait to get it over and done with. It was with a biker called Ricky. He was 22 so he knew what he was doing. I was living in St Anne's, just outside Blackpool. Ricky had a live-in girlfriend so he borrowed the keys to a flat from this bloke who ran a biker's café. So my first time was on someone else's brown nylon sleeping bag.

I was wearing a school uniform. I know that's supposed to be sexy, but I challenge any man to keep an erection when faced with a partner in a brown crimplene skirt, brown felt bowler hat and sturdy lace-up shoes.

During the sex bit I found it very hard not to laugh. There is a such fine line between fantasy and farce. Sex is such a silly, squelchy old game of primeval urges. I found it very un-beautiful - not that I had expected it to be beautiful. In fact, I had an inkling that it might be a bit crap.

But I played along, making all the right noises - I don't know how you know what noises to make, you just do. Then I left. It was the end of my lunch break. I had to get back to school. That afternoon I had double physics and a big smile on my face."

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