I still remember the date I had sex for the first time. It was July 16th, and I was 16 years old. It’s odd that I remember the date, I realize, especially because it wasn’t any kind of mind-blowing experience. Looking back now, 16 seems really young – but it worked for me because I was ready. I had gotten on birth control, bought condoms, and, for lack of a better term, was ready to “get it over with.”
While I was far from the last of my friends to “lose it,” many of my close friends had already had sex, which put me in an advantageous position; I got to ask lots of questions. During these girl talk sessions, I heard the regular tidbits: it will hurt, you will bleed, and (what I was most mentally prepared for), you’re going to feel intensely attached to whoever “deflowers” you.
After a lot of anticipation, on a hot Monday afternoon, I had sex for the first time. The moment came, the deed was done, and as I sat on the couch watching Yes, Dear with the guy I just had sex with, more than anything, I was confused. I didn’t feel any different. I didn’t instantly fall in love, I wasn’t sore, and I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. What’s the big deal with virginity if I’m going to be the exact same person after I do have sex?
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been reading The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti for the last little while, and it’s sparked a new interest in me about the phenomenon that is virginity. I’ll avoid the topic of purity and measuring the morality of a woman by her hymen (we’ll save that for another day), but the book has made me realize all the lies we are told about virginity. Even the language – “losing” it, being “deflowered,” having your v-card “stolen,” makes it sound like sex is some kind of black hole for innocence.
So, let’s tackle some virginity myths that need to be debunked.
Pain and blood. While, for some women, the first time having sex can be uncomfortable and slightly painful, it’s not always the case. The pain and bleeding comes from breaking the hymen – which not all women will still have intact, even if they are virgins. Sports, tampons, and masturbation are just a few of the ways that your hymen can break before having intercourse, so don’t be surprised if there’s no blood or pain. Being well lubricated, relaxed, and lots of foreplay will definitely help with making your first time more comfortable.
Stage 5 clinger. Yes, dopamine and serotonin are released during orgasm, which can lead to feelings of love and deep attraction. But, as any one that has used a vibrator will tell you – that doesn’t mean you’re going to fall in love with what gave you that orgasm. Plus, I hate to say it, but most women won’t have an orgasm during their first time (especially since 75% of women can’t orgasm through intercourse anyway). Feelings don’t necessarily hinge on sex – but don’t be too surprised if you feel more connected with whoever it was you had sex with. That is the point, after all.
Goodbye, old self. The idea that consensually having someone’s penis inside of you is going to change who you are as a person is kind of preposterous. You’ll still be the same person, you won’t suddenly be immoral, and a switch won’t flip in your head that will make you promiscuous.
Oh, baby. If you don’t use protection, you can get pregnant. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time, or 201st time, sperm + egg = embryo. Same goes for STIs – there isn’t some kind of “get out of disease free” card just because it’s your first time. Be smart.
Was that it? Sex gets better, I promise. The first time can be awkward and uncomfortable, but with time and practice, it all works out. But…
Low expectations. Just because it’s your first time doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not going to be pleasurable. Enjoy it for what it is — you only get one first time!