Anyone who knows me will know that I have a little penchant for the law - in the shape of my old blogging buddy, Charon QC. So imagine my surprise to find myself the owner of not one, but two law blogging buddies…Victoria Pynchon is officially my new best blogging friend. And not only that, but she is also today’s guest writer.
Ms Pynchon and I have amused ourselves with various matters this week. To which end, she will write a virginity themed post on her law blog and I’ll tell you how she lost her virginity. Result!
Meanwhile, it seems churlish not to ponder on the twin concepts of virginity and law, even for just a moment. I shall leave the technical stuff to Victoria but I did google the two words together just to see what would happen and I decided to make a large generalization as a result.
When it comes to virginity, the law appears to side with men. Ok, ok, times have changed. Heck, ‘The 40 year old Virgin’ was a hit on this side of the Atlantic too you know. In the modern age, virginity can be equally applicable to men as it can be to women. Except when it comes to the law.
Because what’s with this? Which, in case you can’t be bothered to read it is the story of the man who asked for his marriage to be annulled because his wife lied about being a virgin. Again with the, ‘I know, I know’. His point was that she lied. What she lied about was not the point.
I decided to finish up by contradicting myself. (It’s a good thing I’m not a lawyer no?). Here is a story about a lady who has sued her partner to the tune of 1 mill for taking her virginity and then not marrying her. So, it would seem, all’s well that ends well. Lady, I like your style.
Victoria Pynchon. Born 1952, lost virginity aged 17
‘When can I say I lost my virginity? Was it in February of 1970 in my senior year of high school when I spent four hours kissing my brand new boyfriend on the stiff cloth of a Ramada Inn mattress in Torrance, California? I did dramatic interpretation and he was a debater who'd decided just that morning that I had great legs. I was seventeen years old and this was my first and my 230th, kiss.
When we finally parted at 3 am, I stumbled into my speech coach’s room crying and choked out these words: ‘I think I’m a slut.’ Coach Norma Basgall said soothing and reassuring things but it was no comfort. I know people who have smoked crack cocaine. Reputable people. Lawyers in fancy firms. The experience they describe is how I felt that evening in Torrance. No matter what anyone said, I knew immediately I was addicted. I knew there would be a price to pay.
Months of agonizing followed. The ‘sexual revolution’ hadn’t arrived in La Mesa, California in 1970. Those unfortunates whose loss of virginity resulted in pregnancy were shuttled away to local ‘continuation’ high schools. They were never mentioned again. It was as if they'd never existed. If we'd lived in the U.S.S.R., their photos would have been excised from the school history books - the yearly ‘Annual.’
My friends and I were wiser. We read what we could get our hands on, (it was the year of the bestseller ‘Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Ask’). Planned Parenthood was in the news because it advocated a woman's right to control her own reproductive cycle. Sadly, still a hot issue almost forty years later.
Until we got ‘the pill’ -- gratis and without parental consent, we eschewed ‘penetration.’ This wasn't just pregnancy prevention. It was about virginity. The farther we went – first, second and third ‘base’ – the more alternatively repulsed and excited we were. We explored with our boyfriends and reported back to the girls. We explored everything and our experimentation lasted for hours. Entire afternoons. Late enough into the night that mothers became alarmed and fathers cleared their throats to deliver stern warnings. We believed we were the first generation ever to wheel completely out of their control.
The moment of reckoning took place at my friend Judie's pool party in July of 1970. We were freshly graduated from high school, poised to make or break ourselves and our nascent plans for the long empty plain of adult-hood that stretched both tantalizingly and frighteningly before us. Brad and I made our way to the darkened bedroom of Judie's older brother. He'd made his getaway to U.C. Berkeley two years before and hadn’t been inclined to come home for pool-party summers with the family. He was the dark figure of our future beckoning to us.
This is what I remember. The taste of peanut better and the scent of chlorine. The anxiety and excitement of the long-awaited penetration. There was something hard inside of me. And then it was over. Thirty seconds? Sixty? We were both virgins. I remember this. I was incredibly annoyed. That was it? That was what I’d been holding myself against for months and my mother had been hectoring me about ever since I brought this sweet-faced blonde boy home for dinner? That was the ‘sacred’ act my parents wanted me to ‘wait until I was married’ to experience. That was what the fuss was all about?
The kissing had been better than consummation.
I don't believe we spoke to one another after that. We pulled our bathing suits back on and slunk out of the dark bedroom and back into the brilliant summer Southern California sun. I remember the way the light reflected off of each wave of sharp blue water and the high, light laughter of my girlfriends. Their knowing smiles. You could tell they wanted to adjourn the party, send the boys home and hear the story. I was the first and they’d been waiting for me to take the plunge.
I dove into the pool, swam two laps under the surface and emerged sputtering, laughing, and shaking my head in puzzlement over the adult world I’d just entered. A world that was far less fraught with danger but much more complex and nuanced than I’d been capable of imagining.
The ‘sixties’ would arrive in San Diego in my first year of college. Or maybe that was just when they arrived for me. Sex became commonplace before I decided conquest was insufficiently arresting to justify the moment when I'd wish whatever stranger was in my bed would just go home.
When did I lose my virginity? Not that summer day at the pool. I lost my innocence the night my sexual desire caught fire on a lumpy mattress in Torrance, California. The evening I first experienced passion, carnal bliss, and regret at the very same time.’