What Does Virginity Mean to Gay Men?

When does a gay guy lose his virginity? The answers are surprisingly personal.

The definition of sex can be as messy as the act itself. Hard and dry, sex means coitus: 1 penis + 1 vagina = 1 ejaculation. The dictionary does not mention clitoral stimulation, pegging, scissoring or even dry humping. Sex is not sex unless it is between heterosexuals and there is a passage of genetic material.

Queer men have a lot of sex. If sex is about passing on genetic material then there are gay genes all over the place. These acts have helped redefine the concept of sex from a biological necessity to a sharing of intimacy.

If sex isn’t sex, then when does a gay guy lose his virginity? Can a person be gay if he’s never been with a guy or only slept with girls? What is second base for a gay man—a kiss on the cheek or a gangbang? The answers are surprisingly personal.

We asked men who have sex with men what virginity means to them. They shared stories about their first girlfriends, anonymous hookups, and waiting for that special guy.

We want to hear your stories, too. Tell us below how you’d answer.


“It’s a gradual process”


Sure, everyone says you lose your virginity the first time you make whoopie. Wrong. Virginity is not a binary thing. To me, it’s about knowing what you want and what the hell you’re doing. There are lots of 15-year-olds out there dipping it in on prom night, but Lord knows they’ll be virgins for a while. I didn’t know shit from Shinola until my mid-20s. Like a great philosopher of our time said back in 1967, “Are you experienced?” If not, well, it’s like the old truckers say: “If you can’t find it, grind it.”
—Maxwell, musician

Gay men don’t always agree. … Sometimes I’ll just say we had sex even if we just had oral. It’s easier than explaining, “Oh, we didn’t have that kind of sex.” —Ryan O’Connell

I consider losing your gay V to mean penetration. Someone puts his dick in your ass or vice versa. But I understand why gay men don’t always agree. Anal sex can be so insanely personal that it exists in a different realm. It’s like there is sex and then there’s anal sex. I haven’t done it in a long time because it’s so intimate and I haven’t found the right penis lately. When I hook up with dudes, sometimes I’ll just say we had sex even if we just had oral. It’s easier than explaining, “Oh, we didn’t have that kind of sex.” That being said, I still consider anal sex to be the definition of intercourse, not oral.
—Ryan O’Connell, writer/editor at Thought Catalog


“Usually, you’re gonna get f**ked before you f**k someone”


What does it take to lose your gay virginity? $20.
—Scott, waiter

Virginity is something that should be built around positive emotional connections and interpersonal relationships. It is to be explored with someone when you are truly intimate with them in an ongoing monogamous relationship, not for the casual hookup. You can call me idealistic, optimistic, and romantic, but whatever you do, don’t say that it is hopeless. What I’m saying is about both virginity and sex. Give it some value and you won’t regret it. To quote one of my personal idols: “Gonna give you all my love, boy / My fear is fading fast / Been saving it all for you / ’Cause only love can last” (Madonna).
—John, higher-education administrator


Breaking the seal


The only education I had about gay sex in high school came from the Internet and library books. Most of those books were about HIV and AIDS and I assumed that if I was gay, I was going to get sick. I made a lot of mistakes when I was a teenager. I saw sex as something to get over with—something to practice so when you found the person you wanted to be with, you’d be good at it. I didn’t feel like I lost my virginity until I had unprotected sex for the first time. I wish I can say it was with someone special or a memorable experience. The greatest advice I’ve ever heard about sex was from Kate Bornstein, author of My Gender Workbook. She said never fuck someone you wouldn’t want to be.
—Joe, educator


“I don’t remember ever having virginity”


In the matters of war, men, and hearts, you never really experience life until so close to death. That is what all those war movies typically reinforce, the “awakening” phenomena that transcends innocence and naivete. This truth is, virginity is a progression through experience. One might peer pressure into a sexual encounter but may never know the truth of such an experience, in that respect, just emulating, not even fundamentally grasping the condition of love therein.
—Mike, soldier


“I answer as a gay man, but they’re expecting a straight response”


It bothers me that there is a difference between gay and straight virginity. If you care about someone enough and are intimate with them for the first time, you’re no longer a virgin. A penis doesn’t have to go into a specific hole. As soon as clothes come off and you’ve got two naked people wondering what to do next, you’ve hit home run, baby.
—Jon, nurse


Video interviews were conducted by Katie Baker in San Francisco.

(Photo via noonewould.tumblr.com)


About Joseph Caputo

Joseph Caputo is a graduate of Boston University's Center for Science and Medical Journalism. He writes about science and pop culture from his man cave in Salem, Massachusetts.


  1. I don’t know a lot about the virginity but I know that it’s something special u have to lose it with special person ,, maybe we lose it while we r teens coz we r not adult enough or we don’t know what virginity means , till u meet that special person u dreamed to lose it with him , that’s exactly what’s happening with me , I Lost it form 4 yrs ago while 19 yr old and now am with the love of my life ,, the love i dreamed of , and am so wistful that I lost it before , am trying to act like there is nothing making me sorrowful but frankly it is ,,, the only thing that I found it in Goodmenproject is remembering that it’s the first time I tried unprotected sex that’s make me comfortable And convinced somewhat ,,, so my advice is ” Try to save , if u can, for the one who really deserves it “

  2. I forgot to say. I still do not have sex with men and women. Sorry. Though. I am a gay virgin. I am celibate.

  3. Hello, my gay friends, how much I love you for being here. I believe virginity is something you have had not sex with women, someone who has never had a boyfriend nor girlfriend, who is still not married, neither with man or woman, who is celibate. I am a celibate guy. Oh, no! Wait, I forgot. I am a celibate gay. With pride Virgin Gay power!

  4. To me lossing ur vaginaty is having intercorse with another person of any gender. I am bisexual but either way I have losses me vaginaty because Iv done hade sex with both gender.

  5. JohnInNM says:

    Hrm… I never really did half-measures. One day I had no first-hand sexual experience with anyone, then that night I went all the way with a guy while drunk. I’m not sure if I’d still have considered myself a virgin if we hadn’t gone all the way.

    But eh. I know people that insist I’m a virgin. It makes me laugh. Whatever “virgin” means for a gay man, I’m not one anymore, and I’m the only one I need to worry about.

  6. Virginity is a conceptual idea. It is not some objective, measurable entity or quantity. Thus, arguments about virginity, what it is, and when it is lost will invariably carry on ad nauseum. That being said, I agree most with the definition “it bothers me that there is a difference between gay and straight virginity. If you care about someone enough and are intimate [sexually] with them for the first time, you’re no longer a virgin.”.

  7. daftpunkydavid says:

    to me, virginity is the opposite of experience. there is that first time, the very first time when we experience sex, under any form, and to me that’s when people lose their virginity. of course, if you dig deeper, you realize that there’s more out there. but losing my virginity means having experience. you start losing your virginity the minute you see someone else naked with sexual ulterior motives, and you keep on losing it as you accumulate experience.

  8. “It bothers me that there is a difference between gay and straight virginity. If you care about someone enough and are intimate with them for the first time, you’re no longer a virgin. ”

    They are different and it’s too bad if that bothers anyone. Jon sounds like a thoroughbred, so he is unfamiliar with the difference.

    For those of us that have had and lost (thrown away more like!) straight and gay virginities the difference is very obvious.

    You see some straight, married, middel-aged guy in a porn shop. He shuffles into a beat-off booth, and hestarts playing surreptiously with another guy. It’s very clear from his amazed and fumbly and awe-struck reaction that he is a virgin; he is reacting just like a virgin – he has never been touched that way before, never felt desired, it’s all absolutely new to him, because none of that has ever been part of his marriage – all the touching and the desiring is his job to do, and he had better feel damned grateful if she lets him get away with it once a month.

    That man is a virgin,or was until just then. But he lost his straight virginity years before.

  9. Howard Roberts says:

    As a 68 year old gay man who was married for 34 years along the line to a woman, I look back and believe I lost a part of my virginity when I was 16 when a friend my same age convinced me to sxck him off. We did that for 2 years and he never reciprocated. I am a little confused in my mind with virginity and with my first organism involving another man. When I met a guy in church choir who invited me home, I was 20 and that was when I had the first organism when he sxcked me off. Also he got me to butt-f*k him for the first time I ever did that. After those two events I really believed I had lost my virginity as pertains men. I lost my virginity with women on my honeymoon when 22 years old with my wife and who was with me for 34 years. Two different universes and two different kinds of virginity, I believe.

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