Why The First Time Means Nothing In The Long Run

We were Finn and Rachel!

Editor’s note: This is the seventh installment in a series about losing one’s virginity, inspired by this project from Rookie magazine. Earlier authors include Jess, Kate, Gina, Anna, Heather, and Leigh.

For better or worse, I’ve made my career out of over-sharing. Within the next twelve months, I’d like to self-publish a book, and if I’m lucky it will fare well on the market and (fingers crossed!), catch the eye of the all-powerful Oprah (or Justin Bieber. I mean, he changed Carly Rae Jepsen’s life, so he can certainly wave his magic teeny bopper wand over my head and make me the next J.K. Rowling faster than Harry Potter can kill Voldemort). I’ve never been afraid of gushing about my adventures and misadventures online, but when Anna asked me to contribute to TTF‘s virginity loss series, I squirmed and shook my head, horrified at the idea of putting that on the Internet.

No one needs to know about this “life-changing” experience (for the record, it wasn’t) of mine, and though I’ve definitely maligned the young man to whom I lost it plenty of times, I don’t feel compelled to further invade his privacy by giving you a play-by-play of our first time. I will say, however, that I hit the jackpot with his younger self, and it’s a shame we don’t speak, but that’s a can of worms I’ll leave unopened for the time being.

We were each other’s first everything, the blind teaching the blind. He was 19 and I was 18. We were both in college, living states away from our families, over-achievers, and most importantly, grown-ups on paper. I loved holding that over my best friends’ heads. They’d cashed in their v-cards to idiots and stoners at ages 14 and 16 and I’d done it with my first love after reaching the age of consent, because I was a good girl destined to have the greatest love story of all time and they’d carelessly given themselves to useless dim-wits in high school.

But as we all know, there’s no correct way to go about this rite of passage. I’m no better than a girl who did it under the bleachers freshman year of high school, and a woman who waited until her wedding night is no better than me. What matters most, I believe, is having a fulfilling romantic life as an adult.

High school love

While I definitely had this with my first love, I haven’t had it at all since breaking ties with him. After we ended our long-term relationship, I waited an entire year to hook up with someone else, and you can bet I cried myself to sleep the night it happened. I’d only ever been with my high school sweetheart, so I opted out of staying the night at guy #2’s place, disgusted for reasons I couldn’t fully comprehend. The next morning, I visited Arlington Cemetery in the DC area, where I’d been living all summer. My cover story was that I wanted to take advantage of the good weather and further explore one of my favorite historical spots. In reality, I went because I felt something had died in me the night before. I’d added a second person to my list of partners, and this fellow was often unpleasant to be around. More than that, I didn’t love him. I found his oafish personality revolting at times, and the thought of holding his hand made my stomach turn. We never did that though. Our relationship was not one of true affection.

It was a far cry from doing the deed with my first boyfriend in February 2007, mere days after Valentine’s Day. I’d gone to visit him at his school, and after treating me to a fancy Italian dinner in Denver, we went back to his room, scrambling to undress and follow through with our big moment. Afterward, he told me that I’d never looked prettier, and I decided this was a compliment. I remember expressing immense relief that it was not as painful as I’d feared. I went on and on about it for ten minutes, perhaps to the chagrin of my former flame.

“It’s because I’m not Droppa,” my then-boyfriend said, referring to a well-hung high school friend of his.

“That’s not what I meant,” I replied, but left it at that. There wasn’t much else to say, and that’s about where I stand right now. I first slept with someone almost six years ago but still feel like a novice, and guys often sense my hesitation, uncertainty, and fear. After earning my bachelor’s degree, I didn’t touch anyone for a year and seven months. Two months ago, one of the most gorgeous foreigners I’ve ever met brought me back to life, and though I’m not happy with the direction that relationship took, I feel confident to go forth into the world and start meeting people again. He pulled me out of my ditch with his wit, intellectual curiosity, charm, and appeal and made me realize I too possess those things.

I didn’t intend for this post to be all about my first time, mainly because I want to maintain a sliver of respect for the other person involved, but here’s what you can take away from my piece: you can have the sweetest virginity loss story ever — complete with roses, authentic Italian pizza, gelato, “I love you,” chocolates, cuddling, and Tiffany jewelry — and still grow up to have a disappointing romantic life. I’m sad to report that has been my situation for far too long…until now, I think.

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2 thoughts on “Why The First Time Means Nothing In The Long Run

  1. When I first read this, it was hard for me because I felt like it undermined the goal of the project by being a less-than-rosy depiction. But I realize that’s an important perspective too, and one that should be represented in any consideration of this one very fraught universal experience. So thanks for sharing that with us here, Laura! You are brave and bold and awesome.

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