On Virginity, or A Case For Not Throwing It Away

Image of a man and woman sitting on a fence. His hand is going up her skirt while she looks away.

A Voyage of Discovery by Jack Vettriano

I would love to say that the loss of my maidenhead* was a magical experience. I’d love to say that it set a healthy tone for the whole of my sexual career. In reality, it went more like this:

I was nineteen and deeply frustrated. I’d had boyfriends but none who would go past second base with me, (I dated a couple of Irish Catholics. Confession was a thing). I was sexually aware to the point of discomfort, but I’d never gotten close to do anything about the live wires beneath my skin. I was massively frustrated and burdened with this thing that I didn’t want anymore. So, one night I decided to get it over with.

I met the guy through an acquaintance. I knew him just enough about him to feel relatively sure that he wasn’t going to kill me and dump my body in a lake. I say “the guy” because I don’t remember his name…Jason maybe? I’m not sure. I was sober, so I assume that I must’ve blocked it out. In fact, I’m fairly certain I did – not because anything terrible happened, but because, even at the time, I knew I was making a subtle but serious mistake. It was the start of a pattern that would do me no favors. But more on that in a second. For now, let’s stay with “the guy”….

In the end, his name doesn’t matter because it wasn’t about him. It was about me and the fact that I was approaching twenty and the only virgin left in the city (not really but it felt like it). So, there we were in the back of his mom’s minivan in a mall parking lot. The foreplay was minimal and consisted mostly of my going down on him briefly while he held my head. After that, we moved to the back seat where I gave it up to the age old rhythm of my head whacking against his baby brother’s car seat.

I lost my virginity with less care than some people give to cutting their hair. At the time, I remember feeling a grim satisfaction, one that I now recognize as a defense mechanism. I knew even before he dropped me off (in the minivan) that I wasn’t going to see him again, even if I wanted to (I didn’t). The fact that I’d been a virgin had thrown him. I literally saw him panic the second his cock hit my hymen.

Holy shit! A virgin! They get hella clingy! Finish this and get out of there!

So, the grim satisfaction was both for a job well done (I was no longer a virgin – Ha! Take that, virginity!) but it was also because I needed to own what I’d just done. I knew that wasn’t how it could have been.  I knew it wasn’t a good start.

Now, looking back with roughly eighteen years of sexual experience to call on, I can see that I set a pattern for myself that night – one in which I disregarded the rounded whole of my needs in favor of satisfying temporary dissatisfactions. That pattern is pretty much broken now, but not without effort and a nice collection of regrets.

Should I have taken more time and given myself a positive, even loving, first time? Ideally speaking, of course. I should’ve. But the truth is that I was wired for sex and self-injury. I can’t pretend that a different decision would’ve saved me from years of mistakes. That said, if I had waited and not pushed, I might have developed a sense of myself sooner, and that would have made a difference. Who can say….

Virginity is not a magical thing, nor is it a marker of moral, spiritual or physical worth. The loss of it is, however, a pivotal event in a person’s life. Your first sexual experiences set a tone, even if only subconsciously. Would my sexual development have been different were it not for the minivan and the parking lot and the goddamn car seat? I don’t know. I honestly don’t. And that’s the thing that stays with me. I will never know.

I have wanted to write that phrase into something for ages.

18 Comments

  1. Well written, as always. But where was the self-injury? It sounds like you got what you wanted (the loss of your maidenhead, love that!) at the cost of a not-memorable moment in the backseat of a car. Did you masturbate when you got home? Regardless, a lovely, thoughtful post.

    • Thanks, K.C. I’m glad you liked it. The self-injury is the beginning of the pattern I mentioned of disregarding my deeper needs for temporary satisfaction. That pattern led to a great deal of emotional self-injury and an entire post all on its own 🙂

  2. Heh, your guy apparently has the same philosophy on foreplay that my ex did. I don’t necessarily feel like I threw mine away. We were in a relationship at the time, although, I do wish I’d waited for someone who gave a shit rather than jumping on the first guy that expressed interest. I think at that point, I was so enamored of the fact that someone wanted to have sex with me, and the fact that the relationship was D/s from the start, that I didn’t really have the right to bitch. But that’s self-esteem for ya.

  3. Thanks for the honesty of your post. Not all of us have a say in how we lose our virginity, in my case it was taken by force when I was very young. Scars? Hell yes. But I am a long way from young, now. Time has been kind, and I am one person who didn’t learn to hate all men. I discovered my strengths and learn more every day about what I can, and cannot do. As for sex, I enjoy it immensely, with one person. He taught me about tenderness. It’s a wonderful gift.

  4. A lovely post! I love the honesty, and especially this parargaph:

    “Virginity is not a magical thing, nor is it a marker of moral, spiritual or physical worth. It is, however, a pivotal event in a person’s life. Your first sexual experiences set a tone, even if only subconsciously. Would my sexual development have been different were it not for the minivan and the parking lot and the goddamn car seat? I don’t know. I honestly don’t. And that’s the thing that stays with me. I will never know.”

    This is something I think about a lot: how would things have turned out if this or that didn’t happen or if it went like this or that. I always shake the thought off me very quickly, as I know I will drive myself totally crazy if I would try to think of the possibilities. Life happens because we make choices. Everything in the end is a choice, even whether you get up in the morning. It’s what we do with our choices that count, today, tomorrow, ten years down the line. It makes us who we are.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Rebel xox

    PS: I have added your link to Wicked Wednesday.

    • Thank you, Rebel! I was so sorry to have missed posting on Wednesday (jet lag got me). It’s really lovely of you to add my link, even though I was a day late. And I’m so happy you liked the post. And I like what you said about our choices making us who we are – that feels more and more true the older I get. Hindsight is an illuminating thing 🙂
      M xox

  5. I love the wise self-reflection in this essay. Like this, “I disregarded the rounded whole of my needs in favor of satisfying temporary dissatisfactions;” and this, “It is, however, a pivotal event in a person’s life. Your first sexual experiences set a tone, even if only subconsciously.”

    Thank you!

    Also, this line is great: “the age old rhythm of my head whacking against his baby brother’s car seat.” Those damn car seats.

    • Thank you, Melina! It’s true – if there’s one piece of advice I’d give to a pair of young lovers, it’s to avoid car seats. They just aren’t sexy 😉

  6. Ahh the ‘what ifs’ of life. I try very hard to not let sneeky bastards in otherwise I find they bring feelings of regret of the wasted years in a marriage that bored me. It is easy to let them take over and so I work hard to focus on them being part of my journey to the person I am now. Maybe the same can be said for your experiences, while not ideal, they resulted in the beautiful loving Malin of today

    Mollyxxx

    • Thank you, Molly. I think you’re right – focusing on these things as being part the larger process of living helps keep it all in perspective. It helps you be grateful in away, even for things that weren’t what you might wish them to have been…
      M xxx

  7. I have read this a few times now before commenting because I am very aware that what I say might be misunderstood.

    You are an absolutely wonderful, inspiring and sexy woman. Even though it wasn’t romantic, it was a circumstance of your choice. I think that going through the satisfying temporary dissatisfactions has probably been a pivotal part in becoming the reflective woman you are now. I am not sure that if we always instinctively got things ‘right’, we would learn how to understand and judge our own motives.

    However things came about, I am very glad of who you are now and look forward to the who you will be over the years too.

    Xxx

    • I think you articulated this beautifully. And you’re absolutely right – everything that has ever happened has gone into forming me and, in the end, I’m quite happy with who I am. There’s always that element of what if, but you’re right – what is here and now is important and good, and very much worth the effort and experiences that get you there (or that’s the hope at least!) Xxx

  8. I’m the sort of person that jumps into things with both feet before I think through any of the consequences so I relate to this well!

  9. i love all of your perspective on your experience, and the way you articulate it as always…

  10. This is a great story. So many virginity stories strive to be humorous or empowered, but this sounded candid and real and was much more affecting as a result. And this…
    “… one in which I disregarded the rounded whole of my needs in favor of satisfying temporary dissatisfactions”

    is something I think many, many women can identify with. Especially when looking back.

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