Who knows when the desire to be someone’s “first” blooms? We decide early on that being the first means something. The first relationship, the first kiss, the first blow job, the first romp, the first love. We assign some heavy meaning to being a pioneer — an expert — in the person we care for. As we grow older, we become desperate for firsts to cling to – at a certain age, they become few and far between.
Logically, the longer our person of interest has been playing the field, the less likely it is that we’ll be their first anything. We know that. We also know, logically, that being first doesn’t strip being second or even third of its meaning. So what if you’re Version 3.0? It just means more thought and attention to detail went into curating your relationship. But love is anything but logical.
That’s why losing your virginity is strange. Most of us believe it’ll be this significant event. And it will be, for some people. But for the rest of us, losing our virginity was just the first time we learned that being “first” doesn’t necessarily mean being “best” or “only.”
It’s a little depressing; that this thing you counted on to add value to your life might eventually become just another stamp in your sexual history passport. Because one day you’ll meet someone who makes time stop and you’ll think maybe they would’ve been worth waiting for, you’ll want to give them one of your firsts. Instead of recognizing that maybe it’s unnecessary to inject our “firsts” with so much meaning, we clamor for new firsts to assign to our relationships.
We get to have a few firsts, but most don’t speak to the metaphorical definition of losing your virginity. Metaphorically, losing your virginity is losing your innocence. Your naivety. After you have sex for the first time, are you less innocent or naïve than you were before? I’d venture to guess that you’re not. I’d venture to guess that, after you’ve slept with someone for the first time, perhaps you’re at your most naïve. Perhaps you believe, “I have won her,” or “He is mine,” or “We are going to be together.” In that way, you haven’t lost your metaphorical virginity – you’ve reinforced it.
The first time you fall in love, and you commit to trusting someone with your secrets and your issues and most of all, your heart… it takes a certain purity to pull that off. That kind of belief is rare, reserved for the Tooth Fairy or religion. To experience it as an adult is sort of a miracle. Your innocence remains in tact.
So when do we lose our innocence? I propose that most of us lose it the first time our heart is broken, the one first we don’t sign up for. When we fall in love with someone, we don’t think, “I want this to ruin me.” We know it might, but we don’t have faith in that. We have faith in love. We are naive, naked, innocent. And when all of our childlike beliefs sit in the palm of someone else’s hand, whether we’ve given them our first time or our first “I love you,” or maybe our second “I love you” or our third “I love you,” they can ball up their fist and crush those beliefs, they can knock you unconscious with that fist (metaphorically speaking, of course). It’s a first beyond our control, the first that teaches us that there is no protecting the things we love, they can be destroyed. We learn to avoid naivety — because if we don’t, if we belligerently believe in love, we’ll be punished for it.
Although it’s likely you’ll lose your innocence to heartbreak, you can find it again. You find it in the eyes of someone new or in the pit of your stomach, thumping wildly like you’ve swallowed your heart whole. You regain your “virginity” every time you overcome the darkness betrayal can breed, every time you find yourself vulnerable in spite of your past, every time you walk around with a stupid grin on your face for no reason and every reason. You take ownership of your innocence when you learn that your first time doesn’t have to be your last time. When someone shows up armed and ready to fight your predilection for distrust, and you, in turn, let your guard down because you desperately want that person to wage war with your common sense, there’s nothing more innocent than that.