Growing up in a church, I was taught at a young age that my virginity was a precious part of me.
Losing it would change the very fiber of my being, and whomever stole my so-called innocence would forever have a piece of me. It would be a piece I'd desperately want, but could never get back.
I'd become this ruined woman, destined for a life of self-destructive sex. Any seemingly worthwhile man wouldn't want me and my tainted flesh because, somehow, that tainted flesh was a reflection of a battered, broken soul.
My thoughts, feelings and the very synapses that fueled my actions would be less than. The inner voice that sent reverberations through my veins would falter for the rest of my life.
So, naturally, I slept with a devout Mormon at the ripe age of 16.
It wasn't that I was hell bent on disproving a clearly biased and, might I add, outdated sermon.
Although it sounds better to claim my rebellion was actually rooted in some deep-seated need to question the discriminatory and sexist principles most organized religions embody, I really just wanted to get the damn thing over with.
It's a lot of pressure, protecting your innocent soul or irreproachable chastity or whatever else young women are convinced their virginity symbolizes.
I was simply exhausted of attaching the whole of my worth to something I knew I would eventually -- hopefully -- lose anyway.
What did it matter, really, if it was with my husband on our wedding night, or with some overweight dude with a gorgeous singing voice and the uncanny ability to make me laugh?
If religion was correct, and the accumulated value of my total existence was directly related to my hymen, then I was already destined for extinction.
Yet, after the mere minutes of passionless copulation were complete and I rolled over, slipped back in my clothes and headed to my last English final, I felt nothing.
My thoughts were intact; my feelings had survived, and the very synapses that fueled my actions were firing on all cylinders.
The inner voice that sent reverberations through my veins was still capable of speaking. In fact, my inner voice even reminded me to bring a number two pencil to class.
Otherwise, I'd have to borrow from the guy next to me, and he suffered from a debilitating case of body odor.
I had all my pieces intact. I wasn't the unfinished puzzle many a sermons tried to convince me I'd be. It was just another Thursday afternoon, albeit a sweatier one.
I'd continue to have sex for the rest of my late adolescent and young adult life. I'd keep waiting for that moment to occur, the moment pastor after pastor swore with religious conviction would inevitably happen.
And still, no matter how many times or men or positions, I didn't feel different. This is when I realized that my virginity -- my actual virginity -- had nothing to do with sex.
The virginity the pastor preached about couldn't be lost or destroyed or damaged by simply engaging in pleasurable actions as a sexual human being. The virginity he spoke of was the part of myself I hid from the world, the part comprised of fear, love, joy and pain.
I knew then that when the time came for me to lose my actual virginity, I'd be sharing a part of me much more valuable than my vagina. The person would be getting the deepest parts of me -- parts that, at times, I'd hide from myself.
I was 26 when I lost my virginity. I sat on a couch and stared into his dark brown eyes as I shared with him a tainted past and a hurtful present.
I indulged; he listened, he shared and I understood. He heard the voice that sent reverberations down my veins. He held me as my pieces fell into his hands. I was naked, vulnerable and weak, just like my pastor told me I would be.
It was f*cking fantastic.
Oh, and the sex was good, too.
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