When Donnie first sent me the story in the previous post, I wrote back…
‘Wow. That is one big story and you tell it so well. It illustrates so beautifully what a powerful experience the loss of virginity can be, coming as it often does at a time in our lives when we are so 'in the moment', everything is new, we have nothing to hold back from because we don't understand the concept of holding back, holding back from what?’
As I read this, an image from a television program I once saw springs to mind. The presenter made his point by setting a sweet chubby baby down on a glass floor. Beneath the floor was a big fat nothing. Infinity. Space. Nada. Was the baby fazed? Of course not. Why would he be? Fear is a learned response. The millions of adults who have purchased ‘Feel The Fear And Do it Anyway’ would, I presume, testify to this.
Beyond ‘innocence’, people have often found it difficult to articulate what it is that they think they are losing when we talk about ‘virginity loss’. But perhaps ‘loss’ is the metaphor for something more profound. Maybe it is the fearlessness that we miss the most.
When we fall for the first time, we often fall hard. To compound the dullness of the thud, some of us, well, Donnie, managed to time this with his first sexual experience. True to form, he finds the right words to describe this bittersweet collection of feelings…
‘Thanks. You're exactly right about us not holding back. I think that's what people REALLY miss when they talk about the loss of innocence. It's not the innocence they miss at all - I certainly don't - it's the willingness to throw oneself entirely into something with no regard for the consequences.
That's the most beautiful element of youth. And it's that feeling, the loss of it - that is really what we lose. That's the idea I think is so beautifully captured in the Eden myth. I remember in the months after she and I fell apart, I read ‘Paradise Lost’ for the first time and I was blown away by how brilliantly Milton captures just that feeling. Adam and Eve are in the full flush of youth, absolutely unafraid and perfectly in sync. But after the fall:
‘They sate them down to weep, nor onely Teares
Raind at thir Eyes, but high Winds worse within
Began to rise, high Passions, Anger, Hate,
Mistrust, Suspicion, Discord, and shook sore
Thir inward State of Mind, calme Region once
And full of Peace, now tost and turbulent:
For Understanding rul'd not, and the Will
Heard not her lore, both in subjection now
To sensual Appetite, who from beneathe
Usurping over sovran Reason claimd
Yikes! If you needed a reason to regress, there it is.