Romanticism And The Reality Of Losing Your Virginity
If your teenage years are comparable to mine, then time spent with friends would have often involved discussing who would be the lucky candidate for your ‘first time’. Would it be your latest crush, your future husband or the lucky stud you meet on a strobe-lit dance floor? We endlessly discussed the usual questions – the pain, the man, the setting. By the time I came to be ready, I felt that I had dissected and discussed every possible scenario that had ever existed. The romanticism of the moment constantly fascinated me, the thought that this ‘thing’ could never be restored or recreated. The thought terrified me – what if I didn’t get it right the first time?
For my 16 year old self, the notion of losing my virginity was an understandably exciting one, yet an experience that was filled with trepidation. For my friends and I certain things were non-negotiable: the boy would be both beautiful and my boyfriend. Although these stereotypical notions are sweet, expected and lovely the actual reality of your first time does not always match up to the fantasy. And for me, it certainly didn’t. The boy who took my virginity was my boyfriend but I did not love him. For many girls, the loss of their virginity does not follow the romantic script they planned and it turns out to be rather awkward, disheartening or embarrassing.
Despite trying your hardest to script the perfect moment, that first time is just not always going to perfect; it could be the wrong time for you, the wrong setting or more commonly just not with the right person.
Society and education prepare you for a supreme event and these pressures arise from a multitude of sources. Your mum wants you to find the perfect boyfriend and she speaks respect, care and gentleness. Your dad pretends none of it is happening; boys are a joke, right? Your friends seem to speak a different language to your parents. To them, virginity is often presented in two different ways. It’s momentous and important, but it’s also something none of you can wait to get rid of. It’s the label and the expectation – surely once you have sex you will become the sexy, mature, newly evolved individual you have always desired to be?
These convoluted, pressurising factors play a central role in why I believe the reality of first time sex can never match up with the fantasy. In reality, how can a single experience live up to years of dreaming about red roses and four poster beds, soft gentle hands and romantic utterances? Also, why should it? You have a whole lifetime of sex to enjoy, what I don’t understand now is why people tend to only emphasise the first time. I believe it puts pressure on people to create such high expectations and also leads them to rush into things they are not totally comfortable with. Looking back at my younger self, I wish I could change her mind. I remember thinking, naively, that after losing my virginity I would wear my new sense of maturity as a badge of superiority.
In reality the loss of my virginity was decidedly underrated. The man in question, as noted, I did not love and the experience was average at best. I felt no different afterwards and the feelings I expected to flood upon me were simply not there; I didn’t feel extreme passion or elation. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t awfully bad – I liked him – but it wasn’t good enough either. Mediocre did not meet my extreme expectations and even at the time I knew I should have been feeling happier than I did. The predominant problem was the lack of love. I had not only built up the event into something that it wasn’t, I had also chosen the wrong person. And the disappointing thing about virginity is that you can never get it back.
Now, I am in a loving and happy relationship with a man who has all the qualities I used to fantasise about as a love hungry teenager. He is loving and kind, and makes me happier than I’ve ever been. Falling in love for the first time made me realise a lot of important things about losing your virginity. It taught me that the first, fumbling disappointment was not important or essential to my happiness or maturity. When you find the right person, sexual activity takes you onto a whole new level; it stops being about a single moment and teaches you how amazing it is to love another. I would strongly argue that it means more to have sex with the one you love than it means to have sex for the first time. The media and your peers create virginity into something greater than it is; people need to be taught the importance of loving relationships, rather than being pressurised into giving up your virginity for the wrong person. Just because it is your first time does not mean it will be your best time.
If you are like me and losing your virginity is not the event you hoped for – if it is disappointing, cringe filled or a less than spectacular event – then don’t worry; it really isn’t important. You may never get that first time back, but when you are finally making love to someone who loves you, then all expectations will be forgotten and that time will be the only one you will care about remembering. The first time is just the start. There is still so much more to discover that will surmount any lowly expectations you had previously coveted.