My first sexual experience is a difficult thing to pinpoint. I spent my teenage years with the same boyfriend, starting at 14 (March 2002, freshman year of high school), up through 18 (August 2006, sophomore year of college). I wasn’t exactly a late bloomer, but I certainly wasn’t ready to lose my virginity at fourteen. Fifteen, still no, but maybe I can try a handjob, and I guess you can finger me. Sixteen, no, but let’s learn oral sex. Let’s give me my first orgasm, my first mouthful of cum. Seventeen, almost, so close, then two weeks before my eighteenth birthday ok sure, let’s give this thing a try.
Those three years leading up to this moment, Alex (my high school boyfriend) and I had a totally sexually fulfilling relationship. We had a delightful track record of orgasms to offer one another, with our hands, our mouths. We were wild children who fooled around in the back of his van (Oh! What a crying shame when he traded that van for a PT Cruiser! Oh the humanity!), in dressing rooms of department stores, in parking garage stairwells and the back rooms of my church.
At this point in my life I was so wrapped up in stereotypical ideas of sex and virtue that, I shit you not, I gave my boyfriend my virginity as a birthday present. It was his 20th birthday, and about two weeks before I turned 18.
When we finally decided to “go all the way,” something changed. I can’t tell you if it was wearing a condom, or anxiety, or just one of the mysteries of the universe. But once his penis started spending time in my vagina, Alex lost the ability to maintain an erection. Over the final eight or nine months of our relationship, I could probably count on one hand the number of times we completed the act of copulation. Sometimes I think this was a big part of why we broke up.
Sometimes I also wonder if “losing his/my virginity,” in big official culturally acceptable terms, was just too much for him. Because up until that point, he could negotiate with his Catholic brain that he was maintaining our virtue, that we were going to wait until we were married. By teen logic, we were both still virgins until penile-vaginal penetration occurred. But once we transgressed that, maybe it took things too far for him.
Virginity is a big deal in our culture, but for me “losing it” was mostly about being afraid of being penetrated. Alex wasn’t exceedingly large, but anything bigger than two-fingers was a big step for me. I was right, it did hurt the first time, but that was brief and really not major for me. What was major was trying to figure out what it meant when my partner suddenly couldn’t maintain an erection anymore. Was there something wrong with me that wasn’t pleasing him? I had no idea, and neither of us had the ability to communicate freely and openly about our sexuality, because no one ever told us we were supposed to. Sex was a thing that you did or you didn’t do – it wasn’t a thing you discussed in a frank, objective manner. His guilt was immense, and I was confused.
Sex with Alex never got better. And that’s a shame. It’s not a great “how I lost my virginity” story, it’s just a true one.