Tuesday, 8 March 2016

I didn't 'lose' anything --- I made my debut!

Virginity. We all have one, or have had one once, many moons ago...this unusual concept that I am only now, at 22 years of age, realising is a social construct rather than a genuine physical thing. 

I mean yes, it's kind of a physical thing. There is a part of the body associated with virginity. It's a hymen, for women. I'm not entirely sure what it is for men...but yeah. For women it's a thin piece of flesh that snaps and breaks when there is penetration from a penis. 

Now, we need to stop right there. Why? Because this physical virginity, the hymen, is not always broken by the first penis to enter the woman. Oh, no. It can be broken before that magical moment happens, by tampons or horse riding or bike riding – or just a damn good solo she-bop, surely. It can also be broken after, because not every penis will be up to the task first time around – and that's totally okay! 

Also, what if your first time isn't with a penis?! Hang on, we'll get to that later...we have a lot to get through on this topic. 

Firstly guys, I have a real issue with the term 'losing your virginity'. Because surely if you're consciously diving into bed with a significant (maybe, somewhat, meh?) other-half-type human, that means that you're not 'losing' your precious gift...you're willingly giving it away!
I mean sure, if you look back and regret it being with a certain person a while after, even then though you can't really say you lost it – you gave it away to the wrong recipient, maybe? Hmm.
I personally wish I could choose. That I could go back through my Magic Number List Thing and...choose a specific person, a certain penis...I wish I could rearrange time and space and the order of my list. I wish I could choose who was my First. I know who it'd be, too! Oh, well. I'm sure a lot of people feel the same way I do – and for some this feeling will be because they had a traumatic experience, which I didn't, so I am luckier than many in that respect. 

Anyway, I feel that the expression 'losing one's virginity' should be scrapped. And the idea of someone 'taking' your virginity. No, no no. I personally love the expression 'sexual debut'. That's awesome, and perhaps gives the act enough gravitas but in a completely happy and rad way. It implies you are taking to the stage almost, you're taking your cue and hitting the high notes, wowing the crowds (metaphorically) and this moment will forever be your grand debut, your delightful unveiling, beginning, entry...literally, for the latter. (Sorry) It just sounds suitably epic. 

Now, I really get the feeling that virginity is almost an entirely different thing over in the States. It's a much bigger deal, and it's everybody's business. Every body's business. Losing your virginity (sorry, making your sexual debut!) is a social box of sorts being – no, that urgently needs to be – ticked. If you reach a certain age and you haven't popped that cherry, there's something wrong with you, surely. In fact, the word 'virgin' is often used as an insult! E.g. 'You're a virgin who can't drive!', being a horribly harsh verbal slap in the film Clueless...

When I was at school, there were a handful of us when we reached Year 11 who had done the deed. With girls, definitely, it was often with a fella from another school (who could blame 'em, really)...with the lads it was often an older girl, maybe one year above us at sixth form college, who taught them a thing or two. Now because we were a perfectly nice and fairly normal British school, we didn't really care all that much about our de-flowered peers and their scandalous stories. However, in an American school, everyone would need to know everything, every detail, every happening. In fact, if books and films are anything to go by, a lot of these happenings would occur at parties they all went to...

There are numerous films and novels that have losing one's virginity as their main subject matter. Or ones that definitely feature that as a prominent theme. Apparently it's a huge goldmine (and minefield). And they span over several decades, some years more saucy than others, some more educational.
Just a few films that are centred around ditching the big V are: The Rules of Attraction (2002), Easy A (2010), American Pie (1999) (yes I use this film as an example in every one of my sex-related blog posts, it seems!), Superbad (2007), The To-Do List (2013), and of course The Forty Year-Old Virgin (2005).
Books such as recent YA releases Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn and The Awesome by Eva Darrows; Losing It by Cora Carmack AND Losing It anthology by various authors; Giving Up The V by Serena Robar, and also Cathy Lette & Gabrielle Carey's Australian revolution Puberty Blues. Oh, plus most Judy Blume novels feature a virginity element.
A very recent TV show about this hot topic would be Jane The Virgin, surprise surprise it's American, and it focuses on the virgin 'culture' and teen pregnancy.
So yes, the topic is well and truly covered by the mass media and the literary world. There could easily be a section entitled 'Virgin Stuff' in WHSmith or Waterstones.
I know you're all expecting for a personal account, at some point now. My own story, how I upgraded from the V plates when I was sixteen...well, it's really not that exciting. Sorry. It was a standard summation of ingredients:
perfectly decent boyfriend of a few months + empty house single bed + Extra Safe condom 10/15 minutes = sorted. 
A lot of girls will have had the same experience. Guys, too. It's nice enough, just not that exciting. So, I will now tell all you readers this exciting tale – by far my favourite virginity story...

I happen to know a guy who went through his teen years believing he was gay. I wasn't brave enough to ask him why he believed this, why he felt this way, but I once heard him say 'I was so sensitive and I thought too much about things...too much to be straight!' Which I found fascinating. So this guy, let's call him Neil, then swiped his V-card with another guy, a hot guy he'd been seeing for a while beforehand. So things were getting steamy between the guys, the condom was on and the penetration imminent...and that was when Neil realised he wasn't gay.I know, right?! How unusual and awesome! I'd watch a movie with this awkward self-discovery situation in! Anyway, he had sex with a lucky girl some time later and yes, Neil realised mid-bonk that this was right for him, he was indeed straight, despite being so super-sensitive and caring...!?

This brings in the thing I mentioned earlier...what if your First Time (your rad sexual debut) is with someone of the same sex? Does that count? Ermm, well fucking DUHH, of course it counts. Just because a hymen isn't punctured or whatever, that doesn't mean it's not legit. In fact, there doesn't have to be penetration really, now does there? If you consider it to be your first time, if you feel you've made your bedroom debut, then that's exactly what it is and what you did. Right? Right.

Just like if you have a disastrous first experience, surely you should be able to scrap it, to say 'no, that was sex, but it wasn't my proper magical debut'. I wish that could happen! It really should. Can we make that happen?

I knew another guy – and here I do mean I knew him intimately, whoop whoop yay me – who came from a very strict traditional Christian household. Yes, I mean his parents were against pre-marital sex. They considered any of their children frolicking under the sheets with another person with no marriage contract between them as, well, like they'd happily welcomed the devil into their life. I found this a wee bit crazy, but went along with it. Fair play, to each their own, etc.

Now, funny little tidbit here, the guy in question told me this just MINUTES before I had to meet his parents, in the corridor of his halls, after he and I had done some very naughty things (for the fiftieth time, maybe, at that point...). So when I opened the door to this older super-Christian couple, obviously I blushed a fine beetroot purple and my head was suddenly filled with a) images of their son naked, and b) all the insanely inappropriate things I could be saying to his parents RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT BUT MUSTN'T NO GRACIE DON'T SAY THE THINGS...!! (I didn't) (thank God, clearly He was looking out for them at this point)

Anyway, I was amazed to hear about this; that a guy in this day and age was brought up this way. How fascinating! (not wrong, of course, I totally respect this lifestyle and decision!)
But then, that used to be normal. A sexual debut used to be something that was only done after marriage. That was a religious concept that everyone seemed to follow – and those who didn't were disgraceful harlot humans.

I can't help but think...sex is a very important part of a relationship. It really is! So how can you be with someone, without being with them, ever, and then jump into marriage with them when you don't know what they're like in the sack? What if you're not in-sync physically? I do have friends who have adopted this way of life, and I applaud them for one because my gosh I couldn't be that disciplined, and also because they're being true to their beliefs! But I am just curious...how does it work?
I can't help but think of the wedding day...y'know, when you're stood opposite the one you love in church and the entire congregation – all your friends and family! – all know what you'll be up to that night. What if they also knew you'd be doing the deed for the very first time that night?! I'd be cringing all the way down the aisle...

At least this one particular old medieval post-wedding night norm is dead and gone: couples used to hang their bedsheets out their window the next morning, baring the bloody sheets to all, so everyone would know they'd done the dirty AND the woman had been a legit untouched-hymen-possessing virgin.
So, the next thing in this topic that we are going to talk about, is...actually TALKING about this topic!

Virginity is perhaps a very personal thing, yes, but it's not a taboo. As a twenty-something girl, I have had many (often tipsy) discussions with groups of friends about this, we've all shared our own experiences with one another, good and bad, and we've aww'd, or laughed, or cried over each story. Because it's almost a female rite of passage! I would actually be interested to hear more from my guy friends about their experiences (this might just be because I'm nosy, to be fair).

That's not the aim of this post, though. No, this time I am actually not attempting to pull a taboo out into the glaring sunlight...I'm instead simply trying to understand why society puts such a terrifying stressful spotlight on the concept of virginity. Society loves it, makes it this huge deal. In a bad way! And that's just not cool. Not in any way okay.
The individual in possession of the virginity may put whatever level of focus on it that they see fit, that is their decision. Just them. They can worry about it a little too much, or not care in the slightest. That is up to them. Not their friends, their significant others, their peers, those many many films...society in general, stupid society and all its pressures, can well and truly go to hell over this matter!

That is my overall message here today, guys. Don't let society dictate your life in general, but specifically don't let it decide the time and place and under what circumstances you begin your sex life. Make your exquisite debut whenever you see fit, and I hope it is wonderful! 
Just...be safe. *throws condoms and pill packets into the air* 

awesome TOP image: Leticia Cronin
Instagram: @lateesh
Twitter: @xXxLeticiaxXx


  1. This is such a great post, Gracie!!! I grew up in a community that talked about the evils of "giving yourself away" and about how virginity was the only thing you could really give your husband. Since that time, I have come to see it in a completely different light!

    Great words here! So glad I found you!

    Kathryn - alifepluslove.blogspot.com

  2. Lots of good stuff in here! And some excellent stories (poor Neil...). I think it's crucial to change the conversation and messaging around virginity - our obsession with it as a society is harmful and deeply misguided.

    In case you're interested, this is something I wrote last year about my own first time (and the awkward teenage experiences that led up to it): http://exhibitunadorned.com/2014/05/26/the-happy-beginning/

  3. Only just found this post and its so brilliant I almost want to clap for it! xx

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  7. Virginity is a very weird thing indeed. In this day and age I remember being 14 and it felt like all my friends have had sex apart from me. I was quite a chubby little teenager and frequently got abuse for not having much going on physically or on the female side.

    Turns out I lost my virginity to my best girl friend at the time, we were really close. And one day we got really drunk in a park (as you do as a 14 year old) and we literally ended up in the woods near this park - she turned round to me and said I've been thinking and I think I'd lose my virginity to you. And that was it, the most awkward sex I've ever had, it was messy awful and it was pissing down with rain. After that we literally stood up and walked back like nothing had happened (her friend slapped her for being a slut) and the next day I was greeted at school with all the praise in the world - there was nothing special about it, it was horrible to be honest. But apparently it needed to be done 🙄

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