I did a radio show with the World Service a few years back and was given a semi hard time by a woman who thought I didn’t place enough importance on ‘the first time’. She said it was something that should be treasured and saved for ‘the right person’ and not given away without a thought. I don’t recall saying it should be given away without a thought but I do think we are on dodgy ground when we start saving it for ‘the one’ - for a hundred different reasons. The most prescient one being that a first time is just that. It’s a first time. There will be other times. These, to my mind, are just as, if not more, important. Which leads me to this….
There has been much talk lately of a piece of research conducted by undergrads at the University of Tennessee and Mississippi that claims that the quality of your first time dictates the quality of your future sex life. With the exception of people who have terrible first time experiences, I’m not on board with this. Our first time experience is a meeting of many different factors and influences and after years of listening to your stories, I conclude that our first experiences are the product of the people that we already are, and not the other way around.
If you are a sensible person, you will likely make a sensible decision about the first person you sleep with. Ergo, your first time is likely to be better. My first time speaks volumes about what sort of person I already was at 15 years old: way too bothered about what other people thought. For that reason, I gravitated towards the most handsome man I could find in order to ‘get it out of the way’ and impress people at the same time. Not that I could have articulated any of this at the time. I wanted the beautiful French boy who could walk on his hands and I got him. I was acting on pure instinct and the instincts in question were not the foundation for grand romance or earth shaking first sexual experiences. It wasn’t the worst time of my life by a long shot either. The point being that as I grew up, got past ‘the first time’ and got to know myself better, I made better choices. This is the ebb and flow of life. Virginity loss is not a one-stop, one-chance-only, if you fuck-it-up-its-all-over kind of deal - and the way we deal with our sexual encounters reflects this. Being a teenager is complicated enough without bandying around (more) misinformation about your first time. And no, its not going to look like it does in porn either. If it does, I can guarantee you the female half of the equation will be dying of boredom inside.
In the meantime, today’s storyteller tells a cracking good tale and brings to light the entire ridiculous charade that is virginity and its loss.
‘I recently discovered your blog and project. Instantly fascinated, I have read many accounts and in the end decided to share my own. I lost my virginity aged 18 in 2009 and am now 21. Aged 14 there had been a girl I liked. She was slightly older than me and liked me too. At the time I didn't catch on to that but she was persistent in her endeavor. She and her friend invited me and my friend to stay the night at theirs. I went, rather oblivious despite the obvious purpose of this double date. We watched films, chatted and got a little drunk. At some point my friend and her friend left and she kissed me. I was instantly turned on and went along with it. As clothes came off I wasn't phased or even thinking of what was happening. It was all instinct.
That's why when she asked me 'Are you a virgin?' I simply told the truth. It hadn't occurred to me to say anything but that. I look back now and realise she had expected the opposite. She stopped and smiled, 'save it for someone important', she said, and no amount of begging changed her mind.
Our friends however clearly believed that we had had sex, for that was precisely what they had been doing. Although I hadn't had sex and thoroughly kicked myself for having bungled it by admitting my virginity, I let everyone believe I had. I was smart, I read about it intensively. From chick flicks to sex forums and thus with not too little bluster and at least one supposedly confirmed lay I duped everyone. I was an expert, I never claimed I was good in bed (which is a good practice anyway!) and made sure I knew everything there was to know. I was terrified that my peers would discover my terrible secret and it came close a few times.
Then I went to university, where of course talk of sex is rife, many having had partners before or indeed were in relationships. Not to mention the stereotype of students having so much casual sex. In my first two weeks in halls of residence I consistently kept leaving and returning at the same as a good looking 26 year old Masters student. We laughed about it the first few times and then chatted happily, rapidly accepting this as the status quo. One night, out with my friends and rather drunk, I bumped into her on the dance floor in a similar state. Within minutes we were kissing.
We went home and as we were kissing and more clothes were coming off she suddenly stopped and asked me 'Are you a virgin?' Inside a part of me keeled over with a heart attack and died. But the years of bullshit and study paid off as I shrugged it off smoothly and answered with a glib 'if I were, would I know how to do this?' as I kissed down the length of her body. Of course, I hadn't done that either so I was rather terrified! Thankfully she was so aroused and easily stimulated that I was very successful somehow. She soon grabbed a condom and we had sex. Hot passionate sex where we both achieved orgasm. It was amazing and I was so proud of myself for not having fallen in the same trap as before. The elation of having done it, of having gotten over with it was amazing. The best part about it was that it reinforced my know it all, sex guru, seducer persona that I had already begun to bullshit my new friends with.
It was only later, as the elation wore of that I found it both terribly sad however satisfying it was that I had been able to lie about it. I know full well that my close encounter with sex aged 14 and my being able to bluff the fact that I had sex certainly changed the dynamics of my relationship with my peer group both at school and at university. Most definitely in my favour. I had always feared people finding out yet after. I wished I hadn't had to have lied to avoid the stigma of not having done it. Especially since it is relatively hard for a spotty, socially awkward young male to do.’