There are lots of things they tell you about sex, especially when you’re a girl. You’ll bleed, it’ll hurt like a bitch, you’ll hate it, and if you don’t use condoms and birth control you will end up a baby mama balancing kids, work, and crushed dreams. You’ll become overrun with sexually transmitted diseases, which let's be honest, have the worst names ever – like seriously, did a group of people sit around a table in a dimly lit room and say ‘think of the most terrifying words you can, and that’s what we’ll call the diseases that people get when they bang?' As if most of us girls weren’t already concerned about gaining weight from the birth control pills or the condom breaking. Even thinking about sex makes you anxious and breathy and you can’t tell whether to laugh or cry at the thought of some guy’s thing inside your box. (Why can’t we say penis and vagina? It’s always dick, or schlong, or pussy, or some other word we give a dirty inflection to because we don’t want to say the correct term like if we say vagina or penis it suddenly becomes a symbol of a real person instead of your Saturday night agenda.)
Then you plan the moment. The Moment. When you lose your virginity, the V-Card. You light some candles, put on a little Marvin Gaye to get yourself psyched and put a fresh blanket on the bed. Then you make sweet love that’s gentle and beautiful and you understand what everyone’s talking about.
Wrong. By the time you're 17, you’re most likely clumsily moving around, in the dark, waiting for the guy to finish fumbling with your bra and the bed hasn’t been made in two weeks but you don’t really care because at this point you’re so done talking about it and you just want to get it the hell over with.
Sex isn’t the same for everybody. Lord knows I didn’t know very much about it when it was my first time. I have experienced and continue to experience several emotions in regards to sex and thinking about sex.
I had such beautiful plans for my V-Card. I would be in a relationship for three months with a handsome guy who made me laugh and had really unique eyes and he’d be impressed with my superior bedroom skills and there would be a breeze from our terrace doors because we were obviously somewhere warm and balmy like Greece and not my university dorm room.
In reality, it was a four-minute walk from my university dorm room to my friend's apartment, where for the past two weeks we'd been watching movies and making out. This time we went for it. It wasn't his first time, but he knew it was mine and accorded me every kindness and courtesy. It hurt (but not as bad as everyone made it sound), fireworks did not explode, we were not in a relationship and the guy’s eyes were not unique. But he was kind, considerate, and we cared about each other, which is what mattered most to me for My First Time.
First Time. It’s been a long time since the first time, and I don’t remember it. I remember the guy and the day of the month (Oct. 19) but I couldn’t tell you much else. And it makes me think that other women must experience it too. They think back and they wonder ‘how did I feel’ and ‘how big was it’ and 'was it any good' and they can’t remember. And I can’t. I have no idea if I was overcome with passion or if I was staring at the ceiling wondering ‘am I doing this right?’ It was probably that since one of my biggest problems is that I worry I’m no good at sex. Sometimes it keeps me up at night because I think ‘oh god what if I’m bad at sex?!’ (Cue the typical old Hollywood horror music). And I know that First Time I probably was. But who isn’t their first time? Seriously, because I would like to meet the person who knocked it out of the park the first time they had sex. I’d have to give them a medal or sit them down for an intensive interview, or even just a high-five.
I think I was lucky because my partner wasn’t a virgin. So he had some moves, moves that I was able to pick up and then use. I think it was the best way for me because I was already way over thinking it. Some people want to lose their virginity to another virgin and I think that’s great. But I would not have handled that well. My nerves would have caused me to say something stupid or I would have attempted something way beyond my experience level or I probably would have just told him to stop, we could try again the next day. This way I had a partner who knew me and knew what the hell was running through my head. Which was “Dear Jesus, there is another person inside of me and I probably suck at it.”
They tell you lots of the practical stuff about sex, but they don’t tell you how to feel about it. They don’t tell you that it’s weird and wonderful. That (for some people) it’s a big deal until it isn’t anymore. That was the biggest realization for me. I made such a big deal out of sex, that once I had it, I went ‘hmm. So I totally built up all that stress about something that doesn’t seem so crazy now’. But that’s crossing the line from sexless to sex had. Crossing that line doesn’t mean it’s all Hakuna Matata from then on. I still worry about every part of it, right down to not wearing the right underwear or pulling a muscle at a really bad time.
I've had one night stands, short-lived romances, and heart-wrenching soul rocking love, and I still don't feel like I know much about sex. Just that I’ve had it, after a while I liked it, now I love it, and I’m always going to overthink parts of it. Probably like a lot of people who are having it, who stopped having it, or who want to have it but are still thinking about syphilis.