By Naydeline Mejia.
I’ve always wondered why we say we “lost our virginity” when we describe our first sexual encounter? Are we supposed to grieve connecting with another human in intimate play? Should I feel bad for “swiping my v-card”? Am I supposed to cry silently to myself after having sex — not because it was amazing or because “Hallelujah I finally had sex!” — but because I am ashamed of myself?
Yet again, the patriarchy has uninvitedly made its influence on the lives of young womxm.
While it might seem like little more than a matter of words, this language of “loss” to describe a form of intimacy has unconsciously affected how we view sex as a society. Whether you’ve never had sex or you have sex all the time, the result is the same: shame. Society wants womxn to feel shame for either never having had sex or having sex all the time with whoever the fuck they want. We’re either “prudes” for being virgins or “hoes” for engaging in sex freely.
Seriously, will these fuckers ever be happy?
This language of “loss” to describe this form of intimacy has unconsciously affected how we view sex as a society.
I’m a virgin and I didn’t really give much thought to my lack of sexual experience until recently. My parents are what you can refer to as “casual Catholics,” so I never had the “you must wait until marriage” or “don’t masturbate because God is watching” spiel floating over my head, but I also didn’t feel the pressure to have sex during the time most teens do. In high school, I avoided men like the plague. I had no interest in losing my virginity or getting into a relationship even though “everyone was doing it.” I was more focused on my grades and getting into a good school with a sick scholarship package (which I did!) Yeah I had crushes here and there, but I never pursued them. I told myself that a relationship was a distraction and I didn’t need that.
I’m a virgin and I didn’t really give much thought to my lack of sexual experience until recently.
However, once I entered college all of that changed. I started feeling the pressure to “lose my virginity” and have sex for the first time in my teenage life. I started to pursue romantic interests— not much to my success. And with every ghosting or no response, my insecurities started to show. I always thought I was an empowered and beautiful brown woman, but I started feeling unattractive and less sexy compared to my peers with each failed attempt at scoring a date with a crush. It didn’t help that I went to a predominantly white school, and the first thing that students saw when they looked at me was the color of my skin before they ever saw Naydeline.
So yeah, I was feeling the pressure to “lose” my virginity; I was feeling it hard. It also didn’t help that, like many other womxn, I put so much weight on the concept of virginity. I wanted my first time to be perfect and to happen with the perfect guy (ha!), when in reality sex is not perfect. Sex is messy and there sure isn’t such a thing as the “perfect guy” (have you met him? ‘Cause I haven’t). Not only was I feeling the pressure from my own idea around virginity, but I was feeling societal pressures as well. I didn’t want to be seen as a “slut” for having casual sex, but I was also running away from my “prude”-ness. I was also afraid of being sexually assaulted at a party leading to a nonconsensual first time — because the stats are there — or being exoticized by the person I decide to have sex with because of my ethnicity.
I wanted my first time to be perfect and to happen with the perfect guy (ha!), when in reality sex is not perfect.
With all these conflicting factors to consider, it’s amazing we manage to have good sex at all. Nevertheless, I think that once I stop the search for perfection, eliminate societal pressures, and face my somewhat unconventional, but very real hesitance towards straight, white men, I will be able to open my heart to love and my legs for great sex.
And when I finally have sex, I’m not going to solemnly tell my closest friends, “Hey, I just lost my virginity.” I’m going to say, “Hey bitches, I JUST HAD SEX!” and start playing that Lonely Island song while we dance in celebration for my no longer deserted pleasure pocket down under. Until then, I feel comfortable knowing that doing it — or not — is entirely my choice.
Naydeline is an undergraduate student and native New Yorker. She is an editor for Salty, and sometimes writes for us too. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching political comedy on Netflix or visiting the newest interactive pop-up experience in the city. You can find her on Instagram @naydeline_mejia