We all know the story. Boy meets girl. Boy charms girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy enters girl.
That’s not the story anymore. It never was. Maybe it’s nonbinary person meets male-identifying person and enters into a meaningful relationship. It could be girl meets girl, finds a mutual attraction, has sex and part ways. And sure, there are still “boy meets girl” stories out there. But that isn’t the story.
Naturally, the climax of this outdated tale is always, well, the climax. And if we’re talking first love, then we must be talking first time as well, but the concept of a “first time” is just about as antiquated as the story itself.
Your first time doesn’t have to be special. It doesn’t have to be worthy of the silver screen. At this point, there are even movies about how your first time won’t be like a movie.
I’m happy with my first time. I’ve always considered myself a pretty logical person. I’m also someone who keeps her distance, but when I found someone that I cared about and I trusted, I told him that we should. A few days later, we did. I remember the dark room. I remember showering. I remember him asking if I was comfortable. I remember it hurting a bit but feeling good too. I remember being nervous and a little scared.
It wasn’t sacred and it wasn’t magical. It was sex.
That person is still someone who I care about and trust. The only reason my first time felt special was because that person was and is still special to me. But sex isn’t always going to be making love. It’s not always going to be f—ing. Most of the time it is somewhere in between.
The thing is, all that in-between is special too. There is no reason to put any emphasis on this first “first time,” because there should be many important firsts. The first time you have sex and you know that it’s love. The first time you surprise your partner with something they didn’t expect — and they liked it. The first time you find a position that really works for you. The first time you aren’t the only one open to experimenting, rather your partner feels close enough to you to let you try something new. The first time you’re comfortable enough to laugh during sex. The first time where you could have sex, but don’t, because you are both just happy lying in each other’s arms.
So why is the first time we have sex supposed to be so meainingful? The first cheeseburger you ate probably wasn’t special. You may not even remember when you first tried one — you were probably pretty young and naive. Since then, you probably haven’t been going back to that exact same cheeseburger. Instead, you’ve tried new restaurants or maybe even decided to order something else off the menu — that burgers just aren’t for you. Some days, you just aren’t hungry. Or maybe you realize you prefer chicken sandwiches, or veggie burgers. And eventually, you’ll find your perfect meal and be happy ordering that every day you and your partner do live. You won’t know unless you try, and if you put all that emphasis and pressure on the very first burger to bless your tastebuds, it cannot and will not live up to your expectations. (Personal disclosure: I haven’t had a hamburger in over three years. Not in a sexual metaphor kind of way, I actually don’t eat them, so the burger analogy makes as little sense for me as it does for you.)
I understand that comparing sexual experiences to hamburgers is blasé, and I don’t want it to seem like I am saying that sex has the same social and emotional impact of eating a hamburger. It doesn’t. It can be special. I’m just saying that one sexual experience shouldn’t necessarily be more important than another simply because it was the first one.
By placing all this emphasis on the first time, we are also placing an emphasis on the importance of the virginal concept, which is detrimental to female empowerment.
Virginity is a social construct that suggests women have some special delicate flower that men can take away; it’s inherent in the phrase “taking my virginity.” This is a blatant subjugation of female sexuality and strips women of their own sexual power.
Granted, regardless of gender identity, virginity can be taken. It is generally associated with females, however.
Virginity isn’t real. It’s sort of like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. In the same way Ol’ Saint Nick keeps kids from acting out in the month of December, the construct of virginity keeps kids from lining up to audition for “Teen Mom 2” (or “Unexpected,” as my roommate corrected me).
“Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Virginity doesn’t exist! A wave of sexual liberation is coming!” That is not what this is. I’m not saying that everyone should go out and get it on. Virginity doesn’t have to exist and your first time can still be valuable. And it is okay to wait.
For some people, it is hearing the words “I love you” and feeling them to be true. For some, it’s waiting for marriage. Don’t have sex just to do it — because virginity doesn’t matter. Do what feels good for you when it feels right and your “virginity” can mean taking agency over your own body.
Your first time doesn’t have to be magical. It probably won’t be. What it should be, though, is with someone you trust and feel comfortable with. Your first time shouldn’t be all played up because it is only your first “first time.” There is a broad range of sexuality and a lot to explore — every first time can be special.
Contact Taylor Rudman at [email protected] .