Editor’s note: This is the sixth installment in a series about losing one’s virginity, inspired by this project from Rookie magazine. Earlier authors include Jess, Kate, Gina, Anna, and Heather. It’s not explicit, but probably not for the easily scandalized, like the author’s parents…
During my freshmen year at college, fairly early in the term, I was at dinner with a group of my new friends. We sat around our — I want to say it was Indian — food and chatted about whatever was on our minds. Since I was with five guys, the conversation, unsurprisingly, was about sex. Specifically, it was about in how many states they were no longer virgins. I, being a virgin in every state, didn’t speak up. Finally, I couldn’t be tactfully sidestepped any longer. “How about you?” I didn’t know what to say. “Um?” Luckily one of the guys there that night came to my rescue and diverted attention away from me. The evening proceeded unmarred by my inexperience.
Except the whole situation stuck with me. I’m not used to having nothing to add to conversations. As we walked home that night, just my savior, another close friend and myself, I couldn’t help but bring it up again. Somehow during the walk it was decided that when I did — and none of us doubted that I would — lose my virginity, my savior would be the first person on the list of people to text about it. Like right, right afterwards.
Maybe you noticed, and maybe having a list of people to update afterwords gave it away, but I was not ready for sex at 18. I wasn’t waiting for anything or even anyone in particular. But I wasn’t willing to jump into bed with just anyone. I was content to be a virgin; yet another sign that I wasn’t ready.
Only, I wasn’t content being a known virgin. A few months later, 19 now but still virginal, my coworkers, both of whom were older and infinitely cooler than I was, were complaining about the dry spells they were stuck in. “Don’t,” they warned me, “have sex until you have some regular partner, because the in between is horrible.”
“What?” I protested my status as virgin, “but, I’m not…” How had they known? Was it stamped on my forehead, written there with red lipstick?
“Also,” one cautioned, “don’t lose it with some guy you don’t know.” Nothing like walking out of a frat house without so much as a goodbye to make you feel like a whore, she recalled of her first time. “But,” the other reasoned, “don’t think it means you’ll be in love after.” He remembered crying and telling his partner how much he loved her right after. It didn’t end well.
Suffice it to say, I was ready for the shift to end.
I remained — mostly because of my friends: the biggest adoptive family, who had all decided I was America’s Little Sister — a virgin for the next 2 years. And finally was ready. But I was still single. And generally not much of a partyer. And altogether unsure of how it would just happen. I am a goal setter, so I set my goal: lose my virginity before I turn 22. All I needed was the guy.
Whom I met at work. I liked him from the moment I met him, even engaging him in some of my most classic awkward flirting. For over a year, nothing happened. As much as I initially liked him and continued to like him, I liked pretty much every other guy in “the office” just a little more. It was awful of me, but he was my back burner guy, the one I went to when no one else was responding to my texts. But slowly, and after a few disappointments with the others, the back burner became my only burner. And I was okay with that. He was sweet and silly and good to me, what wasn’t to like? He also had all the right appendages to satisfy my goal. It was November – my birthday was only four months away. It was time to act.
It started as a Facebook chat session while I wrote an essay that turned into a midnight Taco Bell run. Don’t worry, it gets classier. It was midnight. On a Wednesday. And I was in a man’s apartment. We both knew why I was there.
But instead of getting down to it, we started a movie. Road House. Not an amazing film, but not the worst thing to get buzzed to — buzzed enough to not mind when yawning stretches turned into cupped breasts. I think my fondest memory of the whole night was when, partially undressed, he carried me to his bedroom. Still in the fairy tale, and under the influence of alcohol, it happened: The first penetration. I had a moment of clarity, the same I have every time I realize I’ve achieved a goal, before I relinquised all emotion to the experience.
Which, frankly, went on for far too long. He was significantly more experienced that I was and while he was charitable to my general ineptitude, he also was determined to get what he wanted out of me. Long before he’d finished I was composing the text that’d need to go out. Besides, I had school in the morning and was pretty ready to go to sleep.
“Well,” I said when it was over, gathering my underwear and putting my clothes on, “it was nice to see you.” And then I left. I checked off my virginity both with a goodbye (of sorts) and without saying I love you. I didn’t even wait to get out of his apartment to send my victory text.