My First Time…
… hasn’t happened yet.
This used to bother me: Is there something wrong with me? Am I undesirable? I feel like everyone else my age has already had sex. Will people freak out when they learn I’ve never done it? I’m so behind, I’m not experienced. I haven’t had any practice! What if I’m awful? I know I need to feel comfortable with someone before getting physically intimate. (Am I still a virgin because I say “physically intimate”?) What if it takes a long time? Will I be a 25 year old virgin? Is there a cutoff age before “Screw it, I’m just going to sleep with the next man I meet?”
I’m still uncomfortable when I think about it, absolutely. People often assume that I’ve already had sex—I guess something about me says “WHY YES, I’ve already broken my hymen! During intercourse! With another person!” They’ll ask me questions, debate positions, talk about likes, dislikes. I always nod noncommittally and make vague statements. My closest friends know that I haven’t had sex, but I don’t want to discuss it with new acquaintances or relative strangers. I worry that once people know it about me, they’ll look at me differently—start trying to figure out what’s “wrong” with me.
No, I’m not “saving it for marriage”. I am secure about my body and my sexuality. But like I said—I would like to feel comfortable about my decision and my partner, and I just haven’t met anyone who makes me feel that way yet. At one point, I did decide “F*** it, I’m just going to sleep with somebody. Anybody. At this point, it’s about me. I don’t care who I do it with.” I’m not sure what made me change my mind. Growing up, a little? It might have been the realization that if I truly did want to do this for myself, time wouldn’t matter. I’ve waited long enough to find the right person to share this with—I can wait a little longer.
I don’t have unrealistic expectations about how “special” I want my first time to be. I think we—especially us girls—are culturally indoctrinated to construct fantasies about the perfect “First Time” (and you poor guys are expected to provide it). Rose petals, candles, a declaration of undying love, and, perhaps most idealistic, guaranteed orgasm. I know that for most, the first sexual experience is often awkward and sometimes painful. And I think it’s important to acknowledge that possibility. But I absolutely do have some hopes.
I discovered Matt Nathanson’s “Run”, featuring Sugarland, on (shocker) CW show “Hart of Dixie”. In terms of media brainwashing re: sex, CW’s definitely up there in the big leagues. And thankfully, I’m still not using the CW or their shows as a guiding example. Nor the song itself—although it does concern sex, and though I do hope that I can truly relate, someday (lyrics here). Instead, I want to talk about the music video.
When I first watched “Run”, there was quite a bit of secondhand embarrassment. The white people dancing! The intense eye contact! But mostly, the dancing! Then, I watched the video a couple more times, at first just because I loved the song. And my opinion began to change. Matt Nathanson and Jennifer Nettles are so unself-conscious. There’s this comfortable give-and-take that suggests a genuine connection. And sure, they’re awkward—but they’re being awkward together and relishing it. (See: my favorite moment, 3:13) Having not had sex, I’m not sure if this is true, but I get the feeling that if this performance were sex it would be the real, uninhibited, loving, laughing kind. (P.S. It’s just a great performance, Nettles and Nathanson are both married to other people.)
I am writing this because I don’t think we promote, enough, the positive examples that do exist. And some feel that this open dialogue isn’t necessarily acceptable. But for a topic as important as sex, we need to be able to discuss it! I hope there are other people out there who read this and feel like they have company. That other people can share my hope—my hope that I will be able to say that (above paragraph) of my first time, someday. When I do have sex, I hope for connection. I hope for communication. Some humor. Some kindness.
And, really, it doesn’t matter when it happens.