Last week we put out a call to all bloggers to talk about what their virginity was worth. Virginity is interesting because it’s one of those moments that’s a big deal until it happens, and then suddenly it’s no longer fascinating. Kind of like turning 21, which seems so important (and is a big deal for awhile), but then after the novelty wears wears off you are having some beer at home or ordering two of your favorite mixed drinks at a local bar instead of getting entirely plastered off of shooters that are only recommended to you because they have racy names (I can’t think of the last time I ordered a Red Headed Slut).
So here’s my virginity story, and then I’ll reflect on what I’ve learned in the years since.
When I was in high school I had a boyfriend on and off for two years, but we never got past the hand-holding and kissing (but not makeout/french kissing, the tame stuff). I wasn’t putting him off, the entire subject never came up (haha). When I started college I thought I should start going to church and that I’d be a virgin until my wedding (I also thought I wouldn’t drink until I turned 21).
Then in my second class (literally) I met a guy who thought he was fantastic. Since he was so convinced, impressionable 18-year old Honey couldn’t help but agree. We had a very intense flirtation, made all the more intense by the fact that he had a girlfriend back in his hometown. Things gradually progressed until, one night, one thing led to another in the narrow cot of my dorm room. We were both trying to be really quiet because my roommate was there, and all I remember is thinking that it was really uncomfortable. I do remember whispering that I belonged to him now, and that he had to take care of me.
It turned out (not that this is surprising in light of the fact that he was cheating on his girlfriend) that he was an emotionally and sexually abusive bastard and I didn’t have the courage to free myself from him for over a year. The day that my mother died, my dad called me (I was at college, about 100 miles away) and told me that it was probably going to happen; I didn’t have a car and he obviously couldn’t come get me. I asked my boyfriend if he would skip class to drive me home–at which point he yelled at me for half an hour about how selfish I was and forced me to give him a blowjob. After he dropped me back off at the sorority house, one of my sisters offered me her car for as long as I needed it and another sister offered to skip her own classes to go to all of mine and explain to my professors where I was. When I came back to school two weeks later, I dumped him the first day I got back and started seeing a therapist.
So what did I learn from this horribly depressing tale? For me, the cultural values associated with virginity led me to try and overlook the fact that this guy was an abusive psychopath–that is, because I bought in to society’s conservative sexual values, I felt I had to stick with this guy or be branded a “slut” (though by no measure a redheaded one). Now, obviously I had other things going on in my life at that time that made me an easy target for abuse. But, God how I wish that someone had told me I almost certainly wouldn’t end up with the first guy I slept with, and that was okay. It might have given me the courage to end things sooner.
Because the entire first year of my sexual life was spent with this jerk, I didn’t learn much about the pleasures of sex until much later. I had 6 bladder infections during that time and also didn’t even know that a girl was supposed to get wet until my second college boyfriend. I was never in a position to ask for things that felt good for me or even know that was okay. In fact, it really wasn’t until I got past the serious boyfriend stage and dated around casually for awhile that I encountered men who were respectful and eager to please, which changed my whole attitude toward sex. My relationship with Lance was the first sexually satisfying relationship I had ever been in, which is probably why I look back on that time with rose-colored glasses even though I’m sure that we’re both much better now
I think that my observation (and what I’d want to pass on to any inexperienced girls in the house) is that inexperienced guys a) don’t know enough to ask you what you want, and b) are too insecure to ask you what you want because it would call all too much attention to the fact that while the guy, at least, is having an orgasm, the sex isn’t really satisfying for anyone. The first time I had an orgasm it was because the guy I was dating bought me a vibrator, and I was like holy shit.
The older I have gotten the better sex has become–and while I know that women reach their sexual peak later than men, a substantial part of that is the more mature I became, the easier it was to talk about things openly and honestly with my partner. That way, rather than waiting until I happened to sleep with a guy who happened to be good, we could train each other. That’s the other thing no one tells you–everyone makes a big deal about training virgins, but you really have to train yourself to your current monogamous partner, because not everything works for everyone.
If this post made you glad that you’ve already lost your virginity, too, you might also enjoy: