When Girls And Women Start And Stop Having Sex (By Age)

Globally, women experience their first sexual intercourse at 18.9 years old but in America, girls have sex for the first time at 17.3 years old on average.
split screen image featuring a graphic with a globe on it to depict that globally, the average age at which women begin having sexual intercourse is 18.9 years old on the left, with a closeup photograph of a woman holding a flower with both hands resting on her lap, virginity concept
Updated:October 2023

Although American girls have sex for the first time at the age of 17.3 years old on average, the average woman experiences her first sexual intercourse at 18.9 years old worldwide.

Key Statistics To Know:

  • In America, girls have sex for the first time (i.e., lose their virginity) at an average of 17.3 years old. [1]
  • Among adolescent girls in America who had sexual intercourse before age 15, 40% report being “forced into it.” [4]
  • Worldwide, the average age women have sex for the first time (i.e., lose their virginity) is 18.9 years old. [3]
  • Globally, 27.5% of women felt “pressured into having sex” when they lost their virginity, with 42% “reporting negative feelings” about the experience. [3]
  • 38.1% of women between 57-64 years old, 60.2% of women ages 65-74, and 83.2% of women aged 75-85 were sexually inactive in the past year. [5]

In this article, we’ll share statistics relating to when girls in America and women around the globe have sex for the first time — and when they generally stop having sex later in life.

Editor’s note: Although the definition of virginity varies based on an individual’s feelings about the concept, the term is often used to describe having sexual intercourse (penis to vagina) for the first time.

Average Age Girls (Under 18) Start Having Sex

line graph depicting that on average, american girls have sexual intercourse for the first time at the age of 17.3 years old
  • From 2011-2015, on average, American girls started having sex (i.e., lost their virginity) at age 17.3. [1]
  • Among women born between 1972 and 1995, the median age American girls had sex for the first time (i.e., lost their virginity) was 17.8 years. [2]
  • Among adolescent girls in the United States, 40% of those “who had sex before age 15 said that they were forced into it.” [4]

In the US, it is common for adolescent women to start having sexual intercourse shortly before their 18th birthday.

Of course, an average can include a wide range.

While some have sex at younger ages (and often it is unwanted), others wait until they are a bit older.

An average is not a prescription — ideally, every woman should decide for herself when to start having sex.

Average Age Women (18+) Start Having Sex By Country

graphic featuring a vector globe illustration with text depicting that globally, the average age at which women begin having sexual intercourse is 18.9 years old
  • Globally, the average age women start having sex (i.e., lose their virginity) is 18.9 years old. [3]
  • Across 24 countries, women, on average, have sex for the first time (i.e., lose their virginity) after turning 18. [3]
  • Globally, 27.5% of women felt “pressured into having sex” when they lost their virginity, with 42% “reporting negative feelings” about the experience. [3]
  • In Malaysia, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 23. [3]
  • In India, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 22.9. [3]
  • In Singapore, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 22.8. [3]
  • In China, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 22.1. [3]
  • In Thailand, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 20.5. [3]
  • In Hong Kong, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 20.2. [3]
  • In Nigeria, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 19.7. [3]
  • In Japan, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 19.4. [3]
  • In Spain, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 19.2. [3]
  • In Poland, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 19. [3]
  • In Italy, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 18.9. [3]
  • In Russia, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 18.7. [3]
  • In Mexico, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 18.7. [3]
  • In South Africa, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 18.7. [3]
  • In France, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 18.5. [3]
  • In the UK, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 18.3. [3]
  • In Switzerland, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 18.2. [3]
  • In Canada, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 18.1. [3]
  • In the Netherlands, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 18.1. [3]
  • In Greece, women, on average, lose their virginity at age 18.1. [3]

Across the world, women tend to begin having sexual intercourse between ages 18 and 23.

In Asian cultures, women appear to wait a bit longer than in the US, Africa, and Europe.

When Do Women Stop Being Sexually Active?

bar graph depicting that by age group, 38.1% of women aged 57-64, 60.2% of women aged 65-74, and 83.2% of women aged 75-85 report being sexually inactive
  • 38.1% of women between 57-64 years old reported being sexually inactive in the previous year. [5]
  • 60.2% of women ages 65-74 reported being sexually inactive in the last year. [5]
  • 83.2% of women aged 75-85 were sexually inactive in the past year. [5]
  • In Britain, 2.05% of sexually inactive women between the ages of 16 and 74 reported avoiding intercourse as a result of painful sex (or the fear of experiencing pain), which is strongly linked to a lack of enjoyment from sex, vaginal dryness, and anxiety during sex. [7]

Women may cease sexual activity for a variety of reasons — sometimes by choice, sometimes by circumstance.

“Vaginal dryness and tissue thinning in the genitalia due to loss of estrogen during menopause are the primary contributors” of painful intercourse or difficulty with arousal, according to Dr. Heather Jeffcoat, a pelvic floor therapist on our medical review board.

Dr. Jeffcoat recommends a long-lasting vaginal lubricant and also suggests a conversation with a gynecologist regarding the “use of a topical estrogen to help restore the tissue quality in the area.” 

“Firming up the tissue can go a long way in reducing pain,” she added.

After menopause, sex can become increasingly uncomfortable, though various treatments are available to help.

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