I never told him. And I’ve regretted it ever since.
Hey Mum, Dad? You’re about to read about me having sex.
… You’re sure? You really want to read about this?
Okay. You have been warned.
I lost my virginity at 17 – right before my 18th birthday.
The Big Night was pretty much nondescript. There weren’t any songs playing softly in the background. There were no movie-esque moments; no rose petals or ‘I Love Yous’ or mood lighting or even a cute set of ‘I’m about to lose my virginity’ undies. There was just me, an unfortunate pair of cherry-patterned underwear, a guy I’d been on a few dates with and a pitch black darkness that swallowed up everything.
I really regret those cherry undies.
I had only just graduated from high school, and being a year young for my grade, my friends were already 18 and enjoying the things only freshly turned 18-year-olds can enjoy. Like clubbing until 9am. And tequila shots. And immunities to hangovers. And fast metabolisms. And that inexperienced, limbs everywhere, awkward brand of sex only 18-year-olds have.
Still underage – and too paranoid I’d end up in prison if I used the fake ID I paid 70 bucks for – I felt behind. Not just in sex, but life in general. I felt like I was chasing, clambering and stumbling to keep up with the pack who were racing ahead.
Because everyone was having sex, right? And I was the 17-year-old VIRGIN. Capitalised. Bolded. Loud and obvious and embarrassing, I was convinced the word ‘VIRGIN‘ was practically branded onto my forehead. Everywhere I turned was another article about sex, another TV show about sex, another conversation about sex. It was (and is) society’s obsession, and there I was – on the outside looking in.
In my teenaged mind, my virginity was this heavy, embarrassing thing I had to drag around wherever I went. I didn’t want it. I was desperate to rid myself of it.
So I resolved I would trash it. As quickly and as quietly as possible.
I think losing your virginity is one of the rare times where, as a woman, you believe that in losing a part of yourself you become more valuable. The only other time you feel that? When you lose weight.
As for the boy who ‘took my V-Plates’, it was pretty clear this wasn’t his first time at the rodeo – this was just another notch in his belt. So seeming like an uptight drama queen was the last thing I wanted. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I didn’t want it to be a big deal. I just wanted it to be over with. It wasn’t even a big deal anyway, right? One part of a person going into another?
Just one part. In another. That’s it. No dramas. Be cool. Breathe. This is nothing.
So I did it.
Without knowing what I was doing. Without a gentle exchange of reassurance or understanding. Without easing into it.
With a lot of unnecessary pain. With stilted pillow talk. With an uncomfortable 3am drive home in his passenger seat. With a swell of regret that I didn’t just tell him that was my first time.
Looking back, he almost definitely knew that already. But that’s not the point, is it? The point is that I never told him it was. I tried so hard to make something meaningful into something meaningless that I only hurt myself. And none of that was his fault – it was all entirely my own.
Because sex wasn’t just one part of a person going into another for 17-year-old me. It wasn’t. And I didn’t listen to myself. I listened to everything else around me instead.
After that I didn’t have sex for over a year.
I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to feel that feeling of sitting in a car passenger seat and hoping I’d disappear into the fabric. I didn’t want just some boy to see me naked. Or to have that part of me known by someone who didn’t even really know me.
Did my attitude to sex change over time? Yeah, I guess it did.
But if you are a virgin, and you feel uncomfortable about that, please listen to me: You will not become more valuable by just losing it. You are valuable. So take your time. Do it when you want to.
And my final piece of wisdom? Just. Tell. Him.