“Are you ready?” he asked, his hushed voice winding its way through the eternal abyss between his chapped lips and the pinna of my eager ear on a late, winter night.
They say your first time is one you’ll never forget. And despite the fact that everyone has an opinion on how and when exactly you should do it, I guess that’s probably true.
I have been told not to leave the most precious piece of my soul in a house of men, on a grimy, sweat-stained dance floor, steaming with the pungent reek of beer and sloppy groping. I have been warned not to leave kisses on polyester chair covers and empty touches on bare skin in the back of a Dodge caravan. I have been briefed on the fact that, if I choose to give myself away in any of the above ways, my priceless moments will be cleaned out as easily as a car wash’s unrelenting scent of pine chases away the perfume I wore that night, morning or afternoon. They say, “Don’t give it to a boy who does not matter. Don’t give it to someone who will use you, who will leave.”
Don’t lose it — you will never get it back.
They say your first time matters more than any other time after.
I have always felt the pressure to lose my virginity the right way — everyone has. For many who identify as male, the act of shedding this burden has become a rite of passage, too. It symbolizes an entrance into masculinity, into adulthood and grown-up happiness. It does not matter if it was at a drunken party, if you do not remember it very well, if the person was not very attractive or if you didn’t care about it or her or anything. They say, just lose it — you will never regret it.
But why does it matter so much anyway? Everyone speculates about what it’s really like to have sex until they do for the first time. Maybe it will be like the porn you have seen, both bodies uncomfortably arranging themselves from one position to the next in order to continue the loud noises and overdone moaning. Or maybe it will be like what you have seen in the movies, hot and heavy and passionate — smooth, as though everyone knows is born knowing exactly just how to move.
I might be a dancer, but my body was not born to tangle itself in the sheets of another.
I guess I got lucky. I gave my first to someone who loved me, whom I loved, who was patient and balanced and kind. We laughed and kissed in a blue-hued light, unabashedly trying to figure out what goes where and when and why and how. It didn’t feel mind-blowingly great. It didn’t change my life. I woke up the next morning next to somebody with whom I had shared this intimate act, but — quite frankly — I did not feel an ounce differently.
Losing my virginity did not change me. We give this moment too much credit; this notion of a “first time” has held too much power over us for too long.
The first time you will have sex, you might be excited and nervous and have your heart skip beats faster than those of a leaping gazelle’s. You might be upset and unhappy and dissatisfied with the circumstances the world has laid out in front of you for that morning, night or afternoon. You might not know the person’s name. You might be in love with them. You might have a hundred lovers after or nothing more than a small handful — but none of those things matter.
We are not our first times.
We are everything we decide to be, everything we decide to feel about our sexual escapades. We could be every future encounter in which we have found a person to love — a person who makes our hearts dive from our chests to the pits of our stomachs. We could be every time after our firsts when we leave another’s bed, in a walk not of shame but of triumph, victorious in our minds, bodies and souls.
For each of us, sex is something that is ours and ours alone. Do not let anyone tell you that your first time determines anything about you if you so choose not to. Most likely, it will not be everything you have ever wanted or imagined. Most likely, it will not be a thing like the movies. It is nothing more than an experience — just another thing that happened to you as you were at that time, place and second. And you — and you alone — decide its importance in your life.
“Are you ready?” he asked, afraid that I hadn’t heard the question in my silent response.
“No,” I laughed. “But will we ever be?”
Contact Eda Yu at [email protected]