The very marvelous Cindy Gallop gave me a big up on Facebook yesterday and sent this link out which was kind of her. In doing so, she also connected me to Rachel Rabbit White, a woman who recently posted a story entitled ‘Why do girls get more depressed after first time sex?' on her blog. And it’s an interesting question. I don’t think my story gathering technique is quantative enough to draw conclusions but broadly speaking, yes, women can feel very depressed after their first time experiences. But could it be that we are just better at talking about this? Perhaps men feel the same way but they don’t have the language or the opportunity with which to express themselves in the same way….I’m just throwing it out there.
Either way, in one of those strange ‘the universe must be reading my mind’ kind of moments, the following story popped into my inbox. Here is a perfectly visceral example of how rubbish a woman can feel after she has lost her virginity.
But check out the twist at the end the story. I was so NOT expecting that. In a heart stopping moment – and several years after the event - her boyfriend confesses that he thinks he might have raped her when they first had sex – though neither force nor violence was involved.
I have often written about the idea of coercion on my blog and I can only conclude by saying what I said in reply to this woman today. We have very few boundaries as young people (and I include men in this equation. I have all sorts of sad stories from men who feel they were pushed into things they didn’t want to do). It takes time to build boundaries and unfortunately, the only way to construct them is via experience and experimentation. Along the way, hopefully we begin to find confidence in our own feelings and most critically, learn to imbue those feelings with a sense of importance and gravitas.
Because growing up is about realizing that what we feel is ultimately more important than caretaking other people’s feelings. Does she think she was raped? And is it helpful to try and label things in this manner or define them? She must do what gives her peace of mind.
This is what is fascinating about the virginity loss story in general. This story will remain as it is until this woman’s dying day. You cannot change the facts and figures. They are carved into stone but we are not. We grow and change over the years and the way that we think grows and changes too. I hope that one day, this woman will look back and have the confidence to see that she was young and unformed when this incident took place. And that her boyfriend was a jerk. We’ve all been there - male and female. Dating a jerk is part and parcel of the growing up process. Lets not try and label it.
‘I am 23 years old, born in 1988, I live in the U.S.A. I lost my virginity September 17th 2006, I was 18 years old.
I entered college my freshmen year with little to no experience with boyfriends. At the time I desperately wanted to be in love. I wanted one of those classic, storybook first loves.
His name was Kevin. I met him during the first weekend at school at the first college party I went to. The first thing he said to me was, ‘You live in Stevenson (the dorm I lived in my freshmen year), right?’ After I confirmed that I did, he said three words that made my heart skip, ‘I noticed you.’ This cute boy had noticed me??! I couldn’t believe it; he made me so anxious and uncomfortable.
After the party, I blew him off for a couple of weeks because of how nervous I was about spending time with him. I feared that he would realize I was dull or boring and stop liking me. My roommate at the time told me that Kevin would probably stop trying to see me if I continued to blow him off. So I finally mustered up the courage to go spend a night with him. We played pool with a group of his friends and then the two of us went back to his room and talked. After that night, Kevin and I started seeing each other more often.
The group of girls I became friends during my freshmen year all had serious boyfriend from home at the time. One afternoon everyone started talking about their sex lives and I found out I was the only virgin in the group. This environment was new to me; at least a few of my friends from high school were still virgins. In college though, I felt like the outcast girl that couldn’t join the conversation.
On September 16th, Kevin invited me to his room to watch a movie. My heart was racing as we cuddled in his bed. We started kissing and he asked if he could take my pants off. I said that I didn’t know if I wanted him to. The next thing I knew, we were trying to have sex. Since I was a virgin, it took some effort. Kevin only had one girlfriend before me, but she had not been a virgin – so he wasn’t being that gentle with me. We eventually had sex, it only lasted for a short while and it only stopped because of how much pain I was in.
Afterwards, Kevin turned away from me and gave me the cold shoulder as I lay next to him in bed. Confused by his behavior but too timid and not comfortable enough with him to ask about it, I looked over at the digital clock to check the time. It was 1:00AM, September 17th, this had not been a very pleasant way to lose my virginity but I still felt that I needed to know when it had happened.
Kevin and I dated for three years. He was very controlling of how I spent my time, who I was hanging out with and where I was going. I was blind to how dysfunctional our relationship was because I needed to make it work. He took my virginity and felt like I had a responsibility to stay with him forever because of it.
Two years into our relationship Kevin and I talked about the night we first had sex. I finally asked him why he turned away from me. Out of nowhere, he started to cry. He eventually told me that he felt that he had raped me that night. Since then, I have always wondered if it was rape. It wasn’t violent, it was with someone who I ended up dating for years and would even consider my first love, but was it rape?'