How old are you?
Woman A: Thirty-five.
Woman B: Twenty-five.
Woman C: Twenty-four.
How old were you when you lost your virginity? How old was your partner?
Woman A: I was 21 and my partner was 24.
Woman B: I was 23, he was 29.
Woman C: I had just turned 20, my partner was 21.
Describe the first time you had sex. How did it happen? Where were you?
Woman A: I was away at college and had waited until my senior year to lose it, because I had been with a serious boyfriend through high school and college who was a Christian and wanted to wait until marriage. The minute we broke up, I asked my best guy friend to [have sex with me] because I trusted him, and frankly I wanted to get it over with. We went to his house, and he was really great about it. He kept asking me if I was alright, if I really wanted to do this, that there was no pressure. [He explained] that he of course wanted this badly, but that it was my moment and my decision. He also made me laugh during the most awkward and embarrassing moments. We spent the rest of the night washing his stained mattress pad full of my blood, which then was so heavy that it broke his dryer, forcing us to walk the water out of it on the floor of his garage. Only a dear friend could ease that kind of embarrassment.
Woman B: I [had a meeting in] LA so I flew in for a whirlwind Friday night to Sunday morning trip. My meeting ended up flaking on me, so I took myself to lunch where my friend worked and sat at the bar to talk to her. She was the only person I knew in the city. I mentioned that I thought one of the guys working there was cute, and to my surprise she asked him if he was free that evening and if he wanted to take me out. He asked for my number and texted me to meet him at a bar on the Sunset Strip for drinks that night. We talked for a couple of hours at the bar, and then for another couple by the pool of my hotel which was just a bit further down the Strip. Then I took him back to my room. The progression of the entire night was so natural. The attraction between us was so strong and effortless, I didn’t even have to think or worry about what would happen next. I hadn’t thought to tell him I was a virgin, but it wasn’t painful like I heard it could be so I didn’t say anything. But after we had sex the first time, he noticed a little blood and asked if I was on my period. I told him I was a virgin. He couldn’t believe it but didn’t make it awkward and said “that surprises me, I wouldn’t have guessed.” We had sex two more times that night and then again before he left in the morning for work. I had a flight to catch.
Woman C: I was in my first girlfriend’s bedroom. It was Valentine’s Day *cringes at past self.* We had been dating for two weeks, I had never had sex and really wanted to. So I wore matching underwear to our Valentine’s date and made her wait until midnight so it wasn’t February 14th anymore and then took off all my clothes and was like “look I wore matching underwear,” and she was like, “Welp I guess you’re ready then.” I said “Hell yes” and we had sex.
What was your relationship like with that person?
Woman A: He was truly my best friend. We laughed so much all the time and he really understood me. I trusted him with something this important.
Woman B: As far as I was concerned when we woke up together the next morning, that was the beginning and end of our relationship. I lived more than 1500 miles away at the time, but we ended up talking and texting every day and ended up dating for the next three months. I went back to LA to see him. By all accounts, things were good and it seemed meant to be.
Woman C: She was my first girlfriend, not my first relationship though.
What is your relationship with that person like today?
Woman A: We sadly no longer speak. He’s married, I’m divorced, and we both have kids now. Too much happened in the past between us for us to have remained friends and stayed respectful to our spouses.
Woman B: I told him I wanted to move to New York City for career reasons. We were already long distance and I decided to put just about the most distance two people could put between each other in the continental U.S. We mutually decided to “quit while we were ahead.” We haven’t talked since that conversation. I did end up moving. Obviously we don’t run into each other, but if we ever did it would be fine.
Woman C: We’re actually really good friends, I love the shit out of her. We were on pretty rocky terms for a few years though.
Was it also their first time?
Woman A: It was not his first time. He was about three years older than me and far more experienced. I considered that a bonus, since I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, at all.
Woman B: It was not. He told me that he had never had sex with a virgin and asked me why I had waited until I did. I told him that it wasn’t because I hadn’t had the opportunities to sleep with guys before or that I hadn’t done other things through casual dating, but as corny as it may be, never felt the “sparks” I felt when I met him. The kind of sparks I always believed existed. And it took a while, but I found them in real life.
Woman C: Nope, and I was glad about that.
How did you feel immediately afterwards? Have those feelings evolved with time?
Woman A: I felt shocked at the amount of pain. Everyone said it hurt but I had no idea how much or that it would almost burn. I was also mortified at the amount of blood. I mean crime scene to the max. I felt vulnerable and in awe that I finally did this after so many years of wondering what it was all about. It was a mixture of happiness, fear, and overwhelming loss. I was basically saying goodbye to the girl I was and facing myself as a woman from that point on. My feelings have not changed at all in all of these years. I don’t regret one second of it.
Woman B: Immediately afterwards, I felt really good. I was happy to be there with him, I was happy that we had sex and I was glad that my first time was with him. With time, I still feel the exact same way. It had definitely crossed my mind that prior to meeting him maybe I should “get it over with” and just have sex with someone because I was 23. But even when I had the chance to, I had always chosen not to go all the way for some reason and I had to trust myself.
Woman C: I felt great, like really fucking excited, and also terrified because I definitely was falling for her.
Did you have an orgasm?
Woman A: Definitely not ha! I for sure knew what one felt like since I had had them many times before doing all sorts of other sexual activities. Though my ex boyfriend had been a Christian, he was definitely one of those “let’s do everything but sex” guys, and I had masturbated regularly since I was about 12. I think it’s rare to have an orgasm during your first time. I don’t think I had one until at least the 5th or 6th time, since we basically practiced the rest of the night to ease the pain a bit.
Woman B: No, not the first time I had sex with him.
Woman C: Yep, two. Queers are dope.
In general, how do you feel about the way you lost your virginity? If you could go back in time and have it happen another way, would you?
Woman A: I am honestly really proud. I was treated with respect. I felt cherished and appreciated. He told me many times that it was an honor to have been the one. It felt in control of what I wanted to do and felt like I was in a safe environment to feel as comfortable as possible. I would not change one thing at all from my experience. I thought I lost it in the perfect, if not the most romantic, way.
Woman B: Honestly no. That entire day and night was almost dreamlike in its perfection. To this day, that was the most perfect first date I’ve ever been on and it all happened in on a fun trip to LA with someone I was comfortable with.
Woman C: I feel great about it. I wrote a whole essay about it the day after it happened, called “Debut.” I like to go back and read it sometimes to remind myself of young me and all my young queer feelings, it always makes me giggle.
Besides your partner, who was the first person you talked to about it, after it happened?
Woman A: I immediately told my roommates when I got home the next morning. Most of them were ecstatic for me. How many 21 year old virgins do you encounter, right?? It was a big moment for me and my friends.
Woman B: The next morning, my best friend who knew I was meeting him for a drink the night before, asked how the date went and I told her that we had sex and he had just left. But no one in my life, not even her knew that was my first time. To this day, no one does.
Woman C: My best friends in college, we were a group of 8 girls and I probably texted them like 5 minutes after it ended.
What do you wish you knew before losing your virginity?
Woman A: I wish I knew how wonderful the feeling was and how important it is as a woman to embrace yourself as a sexual being. For so long I was worried about how the man would feel when I gave it to him, instead of appreciating my own feelings and exploring this newfound freedom and sense of self that I had.
Woman B: That there was really no reason to feel bad about being 23 or “past the average age.” I took my time and lost it in a way that ended up being perfect and fun and enjoyable for me with no regret.
Woman C: Honestly, I wish nobody had told me it would hurt and that if you’re in a good consenting situation it’ll be just fine. If you’re wet and turned on and into it enough, it doesn’t hurt, and I was so scared it would be painful and I would bleed.
What would you tell someone else who has yet to lose their virginity?
Woman A: You will absolutely know when it’s the right time for YOU. Every woman is different, and those of us who did it on their on their own terms will tell you that you may hate your first time physically (again it was painful for me) but you will cherish it beyond belief when it’s over. It’s like a locked door that’s finally open to an entire part of yourself you had no idea was inside of you. It’s fantastic and it’s empowering beyond words.
Woman B: I know it is easier said than done, but don’t compare yourself to other people. There’s always going to be someone that lost it earlier than you and someone who lost it later (even if you don’t know about it, like my friends don’t know about me.) If you have yet to do it, my advice is to consider the environment, rather than the opportunity. There will always be opportunities to have sex, but don’t let that weigh the heaviest. Do it with someone you feel safe and comfortable with and who will respect you.
Woman C: Virginity is honestly a stupid concept that just makes people nervous. Also you don’t lose anything when you have sex for the first time, if anything you gain life experience and open this beautiful door into pleasure. Consent is key, you have to be enthusiastically thrilled to have sex before you have sex. This is not to say I didn’t feel upset about being 20 and a virgin. All my friends in high school had had sex and I was the only virgin friend. But I’m really glad my first time was in an enthusiastic consenting situation and not in a dark alley with a drunk dude. I had known this girl for two weeks, but I trusted her and was excited about her.
What are some misconceptions about losing your virginity, that looking back on, you want to clear up?
Woman A: I think some women feel like they have to wait for that perfect guy or perfect moment, instead of realizing that it’s sometimes not necessarily about the pure love connection with the other person. It’s about self respect, mutual respect, and maturity in embracing this monumental moment in your life. It should totally be on your terms with whomever you want to give it to. It’s your body. Your memory that you will carry for the rest of your life. No one else’s. Do what feels right for YOU and with whom you trust to give that to.
Woman B: I think there’s a huge misconception that almost dictates losing your virginity will be, or even should be awkward. Of course, I’ve heard from some of my friends about their own experiences, some awkward, some not, but I don’t think we should tell ourselves, or even as adolescents — each other — that it will be an unavoidably awkward experience. I don’t think it has to be. It might end up that way, but there’s no guarantee of that going in.
Woman C: Having sex for the first time probably won’t change your life too drastically except that you’ll have had sex and get to explore that side of you. As I like to say, “The first time I had sex was the best sex of my life, until the next morning when it was no longer the only sex of my life.”