Do you remember watching "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" when it aired in 2008? It was ABC Family's hot new show when I was about to be a freshman in high school, just like the main character, Amy Juergens.
In the first episode, we see a mousy, shy young lady with an oversized instrument walking around and being as innocent and naive as ABC Family could have made a character. And guess what? She had been knocked up by the bad boy drummer, Ricky.
I remember watching the first episode with my grandma (this sounds weird, but I grew up living with my grandparents) and being drawn to it right away. Amy seemed like exactly the type of freshman I was about to be: quiet, staying out of everyone's way and most importantly, armed with zero boy experience.
When Amy's friends asked how it happened — who it was, when it was — she goes into a panicked monologue about how not only did she not really know if it was sex (which it clearly was), but how she also didn't even realize what was happening until it was over.
This didn't exactly stick with me when I was watching the show for the first time, much to my grandma's dismay. I think she thought by watching and talking about the show, I would be going into high school with an understanding of what was coming my way, specifically where boys were concerned.
She wanted me to know that sometimes teens make choices without thinking about the repercussions, and sometimes they don't really make decisions. Things just happen, and you can't take them back.
When I went back and watched the show again in college, I had a new kind of respect for the situation Amy Juergens found herself in.
Sure, she was naive, and maybe if she had had more open conversations with her parents and a comprehensive sex education, she never would have gotten pregnant. But why is Amy Juergens important here?
I was a junior in high school when I lost my virginity. Nothing about it was planned. And for those of you who went to high school with me, I will repeat myself: Nothing about it was planned.
I had become pretty good friends with a guy. Let's call him Scott. Scott was a senior.
He had recently broken up with his girlfriend of three years, had lunch with me all the time, took me to the movies and (in possibly the most ironic connection to "The Secret Life") played drums in the school band.
We were friends. Part of me loved being friends with him. The other part of me — the stupid part that draws little hearts on things, gets constant butterflies, etc. — so desperately wanted him to grab my life by the lapels and sweep me off into a perfect forever.
One part of me (we'll call it "the stupid part" to keep things consistent) showed up at this boy's house one night (100 percent invited) and spent the evening watching "Harry Potter" with a group of young men I will forever love and adore.
The stupid part of me thought maybe I could get Scott to take me to my junior prom. It was really all I wanted in life at that point.
Thinking about college took a back seat to getting this boy to take me to prom. Stupid, I know.
Regardless, on a windy March night, I told my grandparents I would be babysitting in order to sneak away to this hangout. I was wearing a navy striped sweater (which totally clashed with my black leggings) and blue ladybug socks I had had since grade school.
With a handful of my close friends downstairs, with a boy I still love with all my heart, I lost my virginity.
On "The Secret Life," after everyone gets over the initial shock of Amy Juergens' pregnancy, the whole world seemingly bands together to love and support Amy through her time of need. This is what the producers want you to get out of the show, I think.
What they really could have made a bigger deal out of was how much school sucked once everyone was talking about her. Don't get me wrong; they definitely touched on that. Every character on that show was fair game when it came to gossip, but it happens over the course of an episode, and then it goes away.
As my grandma pointed out years later, when a guy and a girl have sex, how often do you hear the dude's name being dragged through the mud? Unless he's under suspicion of some sort of misconduct, it has been my experience that either a) no one cares about him, or b) he gets a nice little fist bump, and then it all goes away.
I don't know what happened to Scott when one of our mutual friends told everyone what happened (you'd think I would know by now, but we don't really talk about it), but I can tell you what happened to me. People talked and talked. And it didn't just go away in a day, a week or even a month.
It followed me for a while. It sparked other discussions. It sparked all sorts of high school nonsense that now seems so incredibly ridiculous, but it was so important at the time.
It sucked that me losing my virginity became a thing people talked about. It sucked that I went to my junior prom and overheard a senior girl in the bathroom say, “Can you believe Aaryn Kealty actually showed up?” It just sucked in general.
But here's the thing: I don't regret that it happened at all. I wouldn't take it back even if I could.
As the years went on and my friends caught up to me, I heard some horror stories about how my friends lost their virginities.
You waited until college to have sex and to have it with someone who meant something. And then you got drunk, and it happened with someone you had never met before and would never see again after.
Or worse, when you were all done, he asked you to leave and you awkwardly got dressed while he lay there and watched. Or worse, he was a guy you really liked, and then you find out he only wanted you for sex.
Or worse, you really liked him and thought he liked you. When you finally let him in — when you finally gave yourself to him — he finished and said some asshole thing like “Yeah, I don't really think we're sexually compatible.” Or worse, it happened with someone who wouldn't stop when you told him to.
Even though we don't ever talk about it, and even though school sucked for a long time afterward, I don't regret that Scott took my virginity. I didn't even regret it after my grandma found out, causing our relationship to be strained for a while.
I've never regretted it because I lost my virginity to my very best friend. While we may never be in love with each other, I will always love him, and he will always love me.
Here's the thing about love: If you love someone, you don't sleep with her when she can't even walk or when she has her head in a toilet. You don't sleep with her and then never talk to her again. You don't sleep with her and then make her keep going after she's told you to stop.
I am not saying you have to lose your virginity to someone you love. The world is changing, lifestyles are changing and nothing is how it was for our parents and grandparents (especially where sex was involved).
But here's the thing: I don't regret Scott because I love him. And when I have kids, I get to say I would like them to wait to have sex, but not to wait until they're married or until they're in love.
I get to tell them to wait until they're comfortable. I get to tell them to wait until it's someone with whom they'll be proud to say they shared something so special.
For some people, the first time was never given any weight. Your parents didn't make a big deal about it, you never really cared, what have you.
You're the cool kids. You're the kids who have not been tricked by society into thinking the first time is like a movie scene where golden sunbeams shine through the windows, or stars shine brighter in the sky above and everything is perfect.
Once you lose it, the weight is lifted. It's just a thing that happened, and you kind of realize “that's that.”
I really couldn't tell you if Amy Juergens ever made up her mind about whether or not she regretted her first time. She never could make up her mind about anything.
What I can tell you is she was right about one thing: Sometimes it just happens.
It could be with a dude at a college party. It could be with a dude you sat behind in high school English.
It could be someone you're in a serious relationship with. It could be with the drummer from the school band.
Beyond taking a human sexuality class in college, I am not a "sexpert" by any means. What I can tell you is (one more time for the folks in the back), I don't regret Scott at all. He was, is and will always be my very best friend.
I am very thankful I get to say he was my first because even though we will never have sex again, I still get to say that one night before St. Patrick's Day, I had butterflies in my stomach, way too much air in my lungs and a boy kissed me in the dark. And in those minutes when he first kissed me, my world exploded with fireworks that have long since fizzled into nothingness, but it was something I will never forget.