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Growing up, I had a very Jane the Virgin mentality. Sex was for marriage and that was it. Never did I think that I would lose it on the verge of becoming 19 years old. When I was younger—around the age of 15—I wanted to be a nun. I had wanted to finish high school and then head to a convent to dedicate my life to God because I didn't see myself happy with a man and children.
After that was shot down by my own mother—along with a few other careers (forensic analytics, psychology, author/English major)—I decided to think about the pros of what it would be like to have a married life. The first thing that caught my attention was a taboo that society never mentioned as a pro to marriage, but it was very much there: Sex. Sex was something I had previously thought of as disgusting. Why would anyone have sex? My mother had lectured me my entire life on it and I did not understand why if there were so many risks and how gross it was that people would do it—other than to have kids.
It wasn't until I started craving the touch of a man that I started wondering what it would be like to actually have sex. I asked myself if it was truly as disgusting as my mother had described it. Was it really so sacred? Would I really go to hell if I indulge in this pleasure before marriage?
Senior year in high school came and went, and I had never been in a relationship before. I'd never even held hands with a boy unless it was on stage for a drama production. Summer before college, however, I was kissed for the first time. It was as perfect as it could have been. But the moment was over, and two days later, I moved four hours away to go to college.
The kiss was a big deal to me, and I started imagining what would have happened if I would have stayed and allowed that relationship to grow. But that wasn't possible. My first semester in college, I was hoping to grow a relationship—maybe get a boyfriend. Given a college setting, it was impossible. College, for those around me, was obviously for exploring and having fun, not for actual relationships. That's why I went from searching for a relationship to exploring with those around me.
I met a few guys that I would mess around with, but I never had sex with them. I still clung to the idea that virginity was sacred and something I needed to save for marriage. After a few months of messing around with one guy, I decided in the moment and heat of things that I didn't care for my virginity, and so, I had sex.
It was surreal, and for a few moments after I didn't know what to do. I had just given it to someone I didn't love and who didn't love me back. A guy who was just a friend with benefits at that point. The worst part of it was that I had forgotten about my father's birthday and that was when it happened. Afterward, I had called my mother and remembered what day it was. However, I did not tell her what had happened. I simply said happy birthday to my dad and hung up.
I knew that this was a big deal: My virginity, this thing I had held on tight to from the day I knew what it was, was suddenly gone. But I couldn't bring myself to regret it. I felt freer than I'd ever felt in my life. Even though being a virgin was a part of my identity, it also felt as if I'd had a huge weight lifted off my chest. I was no longer tied to the Jane the Virgin ideals and I could do what I wanted. I mean, obviously, I didn't go have sex with every man in sight. But I felt as if I no longer had to label myself as a virgin. Virginity almost felt like a scarlet letter because of the guilt I felt every time I kissed my friends with benefits.
It may have felt like a piece of me was missing—after all, I had just given it to someone I would have never given it to before, but at the same time, there were worse ways to give it away. But also, because in my mind, virginity was not something God made up. Virginity was a concept made up by men in order to further suppress women in the olden times. Purity was a concept that never applied to men. The same way that men can have sex with 20-plus women, but if a woman has had sex with more than four men, she's considered a whore. I didn't want to feel guilt over something that had nothing to do with religion—but rather, societal standards.
I was also very aware of my new terminology for this act. I avoided calling it, "losing my virginity." To me, I hadn't lost anything. I had clearly given something away, yes, but it wasn't lost to me. I knew exactly what happened to it, and I did not regret it. It was a big deal because I feel that if I would have waited a little longer, I could have had the pride to say that I waited for my 19th birthday. Also, because of my mother. She trusted that I wouldn't do stupid things, and to her, I'm still her innocent daughter. She knows about how I used to mess around, but she has yet to find out that I'm no longer a virgin. I'm not sure when I'll tell her, but when I do, I want her to know that I don't regret it and I don't think it was bad. I want her to know that this act helped me—if anything—to feel less suppressed and freer to do what I want with my own body. I am free.