Virginity is a topic of sexuality that’s always eluded my discussions with friends because, well, I can’t quite remember when I was one – Wait. That sounds bad. I mean that I don’t remember losing my virginity either- GAHHHHH. Still not what I mean.
What I mean to say is that losing my virginity was probably one of the most insignificant days of my formative years. Not because the sex was bad, but It certainly wasn’t amazing. Two awkward teenagers in a bright pink, neon-colored room covered in Warped Tour posters really wasn’t the ideal mood I was going for. And sure, I loved him as much as any teenager could love their first love – blindly and without hesitation. And it happened, (it hurt?), but then it was over. And then it became a regular occurrence. And there was nothing more to it.I have friends who are appalled when I tell them this. They ask me, “Do you even remember how long it lasted?? You don’t remember what month of the year it was??” Even my current boyfriend finds it strange and says he remembers everything that happened the day he lost his virginity. This blew my mind. In the mix of all those basketball stats, cocktail recipes, and however many other people he slept with before me, he remembers THAT day, from years ago????
“But it doesn’t matter how many people you’ve been with, you always remember your first.”
As my friends brought this cultural axiom to my attention, I came to one bold realization: We haven’t proved to be so different from our old-school puritan values after all.
No, we’re not stoning women anymore for NOT bleeding on their sheets after newlywed coitus. Yet the concept of virginity (and its loss) remains on an imaginary pedestal that we’ve romanticized as an essential chapter in the narrative of our lives. People aren’t waiting for marriage like they used to, but we still applaud those who do (see the character Jane, CW’s Jane the Virgin).
“No, I don’t remember, because it was very insignificant”
The horror! People assumed that this statement automatically meant that I must have slept with LOADS of people. (I didn’t, I dated the guy for three years). Yet the fact that I found this moment in my life so irrelevant compared to my friends made me feel like I was some weirdo who showed up to their weddings in a white sundress. Like I somehow missed the memo stating I should have some unspoken respect for the story about “my first time”. We magnify this moment because it’s the only taboo experience that we choose not to publicly document. However, the problem is this doubles as a means to divide young women (and men). In high schools and colleges across the nation, you’re either a part of the exclusive club of people who’ve done it, or the losers who haven’t…And then, as you age, the “losers” who didn’t do it become the ethereal beings deserving of “more respect”. We ask each other leading questions that really turn into a pissing contest over whose story is more interesting.
How did it happen? How old were you? WOW, that’s so young! You waited that long? Are you worried about not being good at sex for your husband/wife??
This is the problem. We create these narratives that open up windows for unnecessary judgment and shaming. And while most of us, adults, find this topic to be silly and irrelevant to our current lives, I believe it’s important to acknowledge how insidious the effects are on young men and women everywhere.
There are so many better firsts in your life than the day you lose your virginity. The first time you land a job that you actually like- The first time your writing gets published – Hell, even the first time you meet the person of your dreams – These are the ones that I remember.
“No, I don’t remember that day because the most beautiful, intimate moments of my life were yet to come.” (Pun fully intended.)