When a person is described as "virginal," it can correlate to purity. Visually, this image elicits a woman in a flowing white dress, who's innocent and naïve and yet to be corrupted by sexual activity. But, that’s not true, is it?
Granted, in modern society, the emphasis of virginity and "the first time" is not as strong as it once was, but should it still be considered such a pivotal and prominent experience?
Can't it happen without the potential for slander and shame, even if it's not experienced how it "should" be?
Of all the women and men I know, none of them describe themselves as transformed after losing their virginity. They reported no sense of adulthood and no rush of maturity.
Essentially, the person they were before remained; the way they laughed and spoke, things they liked and hoped for and how they acted was unaltered. I’d hazard a guess and say that this is the outcome for most individuals.
Of course, having sex for the first time is not insignificant. It’s a vulnerable encounter and one that will burn itself into your memory.
It’s talked about over wine and there for immediate recall; it’s not a memory that’s likely to fray, even under the test of time.
Maybe though, losing your virginity isn’t pivotal because it doesn’t define or change you, yet is prominent because you will always remember it?
When we imagine our futures, sometimes, it isn’t loose and vague, but rigidly structured according to an ideal plan. Not everyone prefers to carve his or her life goals in stone, but there are select a few with chisels in hand.
Occasionally though, plans peter out or fall through. Unexpected demands and situations laugh as the house of cards tumble because life interrupts plans.
This can also be said for those who plan to lose their virginity in certain ways, to a certain someone, at a certain place and time.
When something you want doesn’t evolve how you planned, it can come at a heavy price. Rectifying the years of secure knowledge and belief by waiting for your own personal reasons and then reflecting on the reality of how they came to fruition can be difficult.
Yet, it doesn’t define you.
You weren’t in love with the person? Fine. You did it in haste? Damn it. It wasn't on a bed of rose petals? Who's first time is?
Placing a strong emphasis on what happened can be damaging. Not everything turns out how we want, and that’s okay.
Provided it was consensual, there is little point in looking back regretfully. If your virginity was taken in a way you envisioned, fantastic.
Yet, how often do you mull that particular experience over and feel flushed with a sense of pride that it went well?
Losing your virginity is an experience, and one that needs a mature, informed decision surrounding it. But, it's not one that should reflect who you are.
That’s the thing; sex should be shameless, especially your first time. There are circumstances when having sex for the first time becomes almost stigmatized and hushed.
It can’t be too young, too old, with someone you don't love, in certain places and the list goes on. But, as long as you’re mature enough to make a rational and well-considered argument, do the circumstances surrounding it matter?
There’s little argument that it’s a prominent experience, perhaps one that few people enjoy reflecting on, but if you can reflect and it’s everything for which you could have hoped, then that’s a lovely memory.
If you look bad and it flushes blood to your cheeks, that’s fine, too, because unlike your wedding day, for example, losing your virginity is not something that needs to be perfect, rosey or love-fuelled.
This isn’t to advocate throwing conscious choice-making and waiting out of the window, it’s just noting that losing your virginity in a way you’d rather not isn’t a scar you have to wear or a humiliation when recounted. Prominent, yes. Pivotal, no.