I went on Tinder to date.
That's not a euphemism. By "date," I meant real dates: Eating ice cream while walking through Central Park and candlelit dinners.
I'm 22 years old and I've never properly dated anyone.
I wasn't surprised by how forward some of the guys were on Tinder.
I knew what I was getting into, but I also knew it wasn't only about getting laid.
I matched with this guy, Luis.
He took my number and we started to talk.
In one of our early conversations, he talked about being so stoned he didn't notice he sent me the same message he did the first time he messaged me.
I kept talking to him anyway.
I don't know why. I guess I wanted to make sure I actually made an effort with Tinder. I didn't want to be yet another person who never talked to the people they matched with.
“When was the last time you were satisfied emotionally, physically…?”
We talked for a while before I revealed I was a virgin.
I told him how I just didn't feel comfortable enough to do it when I was younger. How I felt like there was so much to think about. And how I always thought I would want to do it with someone more experienced: Someone who actually knew what he was doing.
I told him I didn't want to have sex just to lose my virginity. I wanted to learn how to do it and be really good at it. I wanted my first time to be about gaining something, not losing something.
“I can teach you,” he said.
I didn't actually think I was going to go through with it.
I had hesitations, of course. This wasn't going to be a normal set-up.
I was a virgin and I was going to have regular sex with this person I barely know until we decided he'd taught me enough.
We did talk a bit more before meeting up at his place. We talked about things that weren't related to sex.
In a way, I already felt a good connection with him. I was very open about how I felt about things, and asked him questions that could help me prepare for what I was about to get myself into.
The days leading up to the day we were meant to meet at his place were pretty nerve-wracking. But by the time it rolled around, I was already sure I would do it. I knew I wouldn't ditch him at the last minute.
I didn't feel uncomfortable, afraid, or regretful after it. He was extremely nice about all of it.
We did have a connection. We talked and laughed together. It was fun. I know this is definitely not going to be a decision I regret later in life.
At some level, part of the meaning and fun in this experience has to do with the fact that Luis felt like the right person to do it with. It didn't matter we weren't in a relationship.
Hell, it didn't matter he was basically just some stranger on Tinder. It didn't feel that way.
But a bigger part of my first time being a good experience was that I felt ready.
I made a conscious decision to lose my virginity to a guy more experienced than I.
I've thought a lot about exploring my sexuality and I knew I needed to do this before I could grow into the person I want to be.
If I hadn't made all those choices before I matched with Luis, I'm sure the experience would have been awful.
Even if I'd gone through with it, I probably would have gone home and cried myself to sleep.
But that wasn't what happened.
I went home with joy and contentment in my heart because I felt the beginning of something exciting that I'm sure would contribute to my personal growth. Not everyone is going to agree with me on this. And I get it.
When I have sex with a person I'm in love with, or at least someone I care for, I'm sure it'll be completely different.
I don't know how that's going to feel.
But I'm sure it's going to feel like the first time again and it will definitely be meaningful to me.
Even then, I wouldn't regret doing what I did with the person I did it with. Even then, I would keep on saying: My first time was with a stranger I met on Tinder but that didn't make it any less meaningful.