Who’s afraid of Virginity Wo(o)lf?
Maybe I threw my virginity away. Or maybe I didn’t. My first time didn’t happen the way I planned. No bed full of rose petals for this girl. Just a bag of weed. And a shack in the woods.
Some of us think our first time has to be special. Magical. A teen romance novel. It if wasn’t, then maybe we made a mistake. But why? Lots of times, sex is simply awkward. Frightening. Or funny.
There’s a good chance you’ve already had sex if you’re reading this. But maybe you didn’t enjoy it as much as you felt like you should’ve. Like somehow you missed out. Screwed it up. Banged the wrong person.
Nonsense. You don’t have to get sex perfect. Or even right. We screw up lots of things the first try.
Maybe you remember learning how to ride a bike. Sex goes a lot like that. Except you’re learning how to ride a person.
Your first time might not even mean the same thing to your partner as it does to you. Because surprise. You partner might not be a virgin. For them, your first time might be their tenth.
My first time happened like this
In college I worked at a bohemian bar where hipsters sold drugs in the bathroom. Everybody knew your name, for the wrong reasons. That’s where I met him.
Let’s call him Neil. Something of a regular. College dropout. But smart. He made a living off odd jobs and selling weed.
A real catch, I tell ya. On paper he sounds awful. In person, he could charm the horn off a unicorn. He read a lot, and actually liked my poetry. We had fascinating conversations.
One night, he followed me back into the kitchen and put a hand on my cheek. Told me I was beautiful. Maybe the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.
So we went on a date. The date ended in a shack he’d built in the woods. Not sketchy at all. You’re wondering what the hell I was thinking. Just how good looking he was. And smart. That’s what.
Fresh from high school, I’d never met anyone as real as Neil. His parents had kicked him out at the age of 17. So he’d started working in coffee shops and crashing with friends.
Everything Neil had, he’d fought for.
He wasn’t creepy. No, surprisingly well groomed. Articulate. Funny. We had a lot in common with the whole fucked up family situation.
So it didn’t bother me when he talked about getting me naked.
Yeah, first time having sex, and on a first date. He had one year on me, but he acted like someone in his mid 20s. Confident. Grounded. Me on the hand, I felt awkward and self-conscious the entire time.
You’re never “ready” for sex
The idea of making a mistake terrified me. Touching something I shouldn’t. Making a weird noise. Oh, and pregnancy. Or STDs. Sorta dodged a bullet on that one.
Until that night, I’d barely thought about sex. It always felt like something I’d have to take a class for. Get a license. Apply for a permit. But that’s not true at all. Almost anyone can have sex.
That’s how I’d lived so far. Everything I did involved school. Instruction manuals. Classes. Lectures. Notes. If you didn’t study, you’d fail.
But you can’t study for sex. You have to do it. No amount of reading prepares you. Sure, guides exist. They require active participation.
Wish I’d picked that up sooner. That night, I probably spent more time in timid doubt than passion. He enjoyed himself. Closed his eyes. Gripped my hips. Moaned. Honestly, it freaked me the fuck out.
Not the sex. The intimacy. Hadn’t prepared for that. My entire life, I’d barely hugged another human being. Now I was naked with one in a shack under a half moon. On top of that, I worried he’d notice my silence.
I’m a quiet lover. Literally. I don’t make a lot of noise during sex. For me, it’s just not necessary. That tends to disturb my partners. But if I try, it feels fake. Performed. Insincere. I’ve been dumped more than once because it doesn’t look or sound like I enjoy sex.
But everybody does sex their own way. Some people like to grab a handful of hair and whip around like bad weather. Not me.
Over time, I’ve come to accept my subdued bedroom behavior. But my first time kind of sucked. Metaphorically.
Maybe the first time feels weird for everyone.
Your first time might suck
Sex is such a big deal to young people. Our parents fill our heads with all kinds of expectations. Novels and movies and Netflix give us so many false expectations. For starters, music doesn’t start playing when you make out with someone. You have to provide your own soundtrack.
Cats are the only creatures who truly understand sex. They really don’t care. They’ll perch on the window and hang out while you’re doing it. Because animals don’t have parents, movies, or books to fuck with their expectations. God I wish I were a cat sometimes.
A decade later, sex has lost most of its mystery. It feels good. My cat helped a little, reminding me not to take it too seriously. Now it’s just part of sustaining a healthy relationship. Almost like making a pot of coffee.
Growing up, I’d watch sex in movies and think that’s how I’d need to act my very first time. Or I’d watch some show made for teenagers and see them turn coitus into some huge melodrama.
My first time didn’t even feel like sex. Neil came close to an orgasm. But I didn’t. That weekend, we smoked pot and kissed and fucked. It was fun, but no climax. Was I doing it wrong?
Biology and human sexuality classes didn’t help. Sure, I could describe in scientific terms what had happened. But I didn’t actually know if I was still a virgin. Scientifically, I knew. But emotional I felt unsure.
Obviously, I asked my friends. They weren’t much help. One of them just shrugged and said, “I’ve heard women don’t have orgasms. Like ever.” That sounded dubious to me. But the textbooks hadn’t covered that. So maybe she was right. My next step was to type “can women have orgasms?” into Google. Ah, ha! They could, and they should. Thanks, G.
Your first lover isn’t always/usually your last
Not everyone thinks they’re going to marry their first sex partner. I sorta did. If not marry, at least date for a few months. That didn’t happen. Instead, Neil lost some of his shine.
The longer we dated, the less great he seemed. He had these opinions. Ones I disagreed with. But I was afraid to argue with him. Because we were supposed to be in love.
One time, he criticized my outfit. So I went back into my bedroom changed. First and last time for that.
My dad didn’t like Neil. And Neil didn’t like my dad. To him, my dad represented everything he hated about middle class America. And to my dad, Neil just looked like trouble. Irredeemable. Unreliable. Futureless.
The dad was right for once. Neil turned out to be a smoker. He’d quit for a while, before we met. Then he picked it back up. One night, he had the nerve to judge me for eating meat.
“I’m not even sure I can kiss you,” he said on the way back to his place. My mouth was contaminated with animal proteins.
So I reminded Neil that he smoked cigarettes. And I was okay kissing his ashtray lips. Except now that I thought about it, I wasn’t.
Rumors started circling through our little bohemian hipster community. Coworkers told me that Neil was a nymphomaniac. That he was hitting on guys and girls alike at other bars while I was working. He’d even tried to hit on one of our bartenders.
Neil and I had some arguments. Those hit me especially hard, because I’d never argued with anyone I’d had sex with before. Actually, I’d never had an argument with someone I found attractive. What a mind-fuck. You keep thinking that you’ll start making out mid-fight.
But a lot of times, you don’t.
A week later, Neil disappeared. Stopped answering my calls. No response to texts. Back in the olden times, you’d wait by the phone. Now, the wait just follows you around wherever you go.
So much more convenient. Instead of staying home like a nobody, you just check your phone every three minutes for the rest of your life. That’s what a day feels like when you’re connected.
Finally, someone told me he’d picked up and moved to another town. No explanation. No goodbye. Just gone.
I’ve never seen Neil since then. How odd. You can give such a huge part of yourself to someone. Share an experience like losing your virginity. And then they leave. I’ll probably never see him again.
The hurt faded a lot quicker than I predicted. A few weeks later, I started dating someone else. The garbage heap of pop culture might tell us that our first time’s supposed to matter. You have to make your first time special. Pastors tell us to wait for marriage.
That’s just not true. There’s no reason for your first time to mean anything beyond what happens. Even the term losing your virginity doesn’t make sense. The phrase carries endless amounts of religious and patriarchal baggage. You don’t lose your virginity. You simply end it.
Nothing bad happened to me. Satan hasn’t claimed my soul. That I know of. I’m not addicted to drugs. Having sex with “the wrong person” didn’t ruin my life. If anything, it showed me that we place too much importance on the wrong things. I’m not even sure why Western Civ has made such a huge deal out of virginity. Never mind, I know. I’m just calling bullshit.
There’s a first time for every single thing in this world. Obviously, you want yours to have meaning. But there’s no point in regret. Maybe your first time played out the way it should’ve — even if it sucked. If it was that bad, you can just pretend it didn’t happen. That’s always healthy.