"It's kind of a double-edged sword isn't it? If you say you haven't, you're a prude. If you say you have, you're a slut. It's a trap."
So spoke Ally Sheedy's character in "The Breakfast Club" on a topic that inspires continued fascination: virginity, the v-card every woman is supposed to hold onto at the time in her life when she is often obsessed with turning it in.
To get more answers to those questions, we asked our female readers to send us their virginity stories -- the good, the bad, the simply "meh." We received submissions from women in their teens through their 50s, within the United States and abroad. And even though everyone had a story about their "first time," each of those stories is very different. The diversity of experiences shared with us further underscores the fact that a person's first time can mean a lot of different things. We might be better off if we stopped putting so much emphasis on it.
LOOK: 11 Women Share Their "First Time" Stories
"He was married, 30 years older than me"
He was married, 30 years older than me, and guilty as hell. I kept pushing for it. I wanted it. Until I got it. As soon as I had a naked man writhing on top of me, all I could think was, "God, I hope I never have to do this again!"
--32 years old, Toronto
"It didn't hurt at all, but it wasn't good"
I was 15 and he was almost 19. We never talked about if we had "done it" before but I hadn't and I don't think he had either. I had given guys blowjobs and been fingered and made out with people so I thought "no big deal!" Right? Wrong. Making eye contact was embarrassing for me and making out was weird to do while we were "doing it." It didn't hurt at all but it wasn't good. I was not aroused at all anymore and I was seriously wondering if I was asexual or something ... Afterward, [we] talked about [it] for hours and then by that time I was finally turned on enough that we had enjoyable sex.
--18 years old, Utah
"I lost my virginity on a trampoline"
All my friends had lost "theirs" earlier than me, but I had told myself I was waiting [until] at least 16. Well 16 rolled around and we went to a gin and juice party. Unfortunately, I laid my eyes on the hottest guy at the party and then laid down with him on a trampoline. It wasn't magical or the special waterfall I imagined. But, saying I lost my virginity on a trampoline has made for some great conversations.
--31 years old, Virginia
"We are still in love"
The first time I had sex with a woman: It was a spring afternoon. We had just gone to the botanic gardens, holding hands the entire time. We made love under a duvet as the sun shone in my bedroom window. It was gentle. It was kind and warm and we are still in love.
--30 years old, St. Paul
"He just friend requested me on Facebook"
I was 15. Christmas night. On the basement floor. Partner? 17-year-old steady boyfriend of several months. It was his first time too. He just friend requested me on Facebook. Currently I'm 53, happily married for the second time for 26 years.
--53 years old, Illinois
"After we did it, we got out of the car and both went our separate ways"
I lost my virginity with a guy from my class I was in love with. I was 18 years old. I had a crush on him since first grade. He was out of reach until we started joking about it. Then I asked him what if things [went] there and so, the next day we met up. It was also his first time, so it wasn't uncomfortable or anything. It didn't hurt at all. The weirdest part was [after] we did it, we got out of the car and we both went our separate ways. I told him, "See ya on Monday at school!" And that was it. We never dated, but we kept meeting like that for the next three years. I didn't date anyone else. He was my first love and I don't regret one moment of it. The only sad thing is that we weren't even friends. I haven't seen him in ages, but my memories are so great and I love it.
--25 years old, Croatia
"Most unromantic night imaginable"
We were both 17. My mom gave me a ride to his house. His parents were out of town and my mom had no clue of course. Things moved along and all of a sudden there we were in his bedroom with music on. We got to the point of either we do or we don't, so we did. As we developed a rhythm, kind of, the doorbell rings, not once but frantically. My first thought was, "Oh my God, it's my mom!" We start freaking out looking for our clothes. He finds his first and runs down to see who it is. Turns out to be a group of his friends who showed up to invite us bowling. We got back to things, finished and the doorbell rings again. This time it's planned, different friends coming to give me a ride home. These friends turned out to have smoked pot before coming over and proceeded to eat Oreo cookies on white bread dunked in Coke in his kitchen while giggling hysterically. Then they somehow spotted a condom wrapper in the trash. Next of course were high fives and more laughing. Most UN-romantic night imaginable.
--Age and location not provided
"I asked what no man ever wants to hear: 'Is it in?'"
My first time is the sort of story that mothers have nightmares about their only daughter having. I was two months shy of my 16th birthday and instead of the sweet seduction of an R. Kelly song in the background, I had [the horror movie] "When A Stranger Calls." It was 2 a.m. and I had snuck over to my "secret-totally-unhealthy-bootycall-who-I-thought-was-a-good-guy-but-actually-a-man-whore" and felt judgement as the guards let me in. (I was a Diplomat's kid and we had security). I remember his body on top of mine asking me "Are you sure?" and my response was "Yes, I'm sure." After a heavy breath I felt something. Not pain but, uncertainty and I asked what no man ever wants to hear: "Is it in?" He replied with "Yeah, it's in, can't you feel it?"
A few minutes later, I had a sweaty guy on top of me, breathing heavily saying how amazing it felt. I turned my face and watched [actress] Camilla Bell scream. I didn't even realize 'til it was over that I never even got a kiss out of it. I walked back home, snuck in and showered before falling asleep until my alarm went off for school. I can't ever look at Camilla Bell without thinking of that time.
--22 years old, Los Angeles
"I was squeezing my eyes so tight that my contact lenses popped out"
Well, I was in high school and my mom and sister were away. We did it in the middle of my living room floor. I was squeezing my eyes so tight that both of my contact lenses popped out and we had to stop!
--Age not provided, Virginia
"The only thing he didn't know about me was that I was still a virgin"
I lost my virginity quite late, I was 24: way too old. I was dating a guy but the only thing he didn't know about me was that I was still a virgin. Every time we made out I made up a silly excuse not to have sex because I was afraid I'd bleed and reveal the embarrassing truth: that I was a virgin. I say "embarrassing" because I assumed being a virgin at that age was something wrong -- that I was unwanted, ugly, undesirable and therefore, unworthy as a woman, that all the times I had said no to sex because I didn't like the guy or didn't feel confortable with it had made me a prude and that I probably didn't deserve the sex.
I wanted to have sex with [my boyfriend] but at the same time I didn't, because I didn't want him to know my secret. So one day it just happened: we were having drinks, we went to bed and we did it. I didn't even bleed (maybe because I had already broken my hymen masturbating) but he didn't notice it was my first time. I was nervous, I wanted him to feel he was having sex with a "normal" girl (thanks, prejudice) so I didn't particularly enjoy it.
Now I can say I have a very healthy sex life. I'm not ashamed of having sex and I'm not ashamed of my body anymore. Of course, that doesn't mean I needed a man's approval to like myself, but engaging in a very active sex life has made me aware of just how much pleasure the female body is capable of experiencing. But if people want to wait, let them wait: it's ok to do it when you want to, when you feel you're ready and with a partner you want. Do not feel any pressure. Your value doesn't depend on being wanted by others.
--25 years old, Colombia
"I had the big 'O' on the first try"
My first time was when I was 16 with my boyfriend of eight months. He was my first love. It was December 30th. I know! New Year's Eve would have sounded much better! But we had been trying for a while. He finally "got in" that night.
There was a blue glow over us. I had a blue lightbulb in the ceiling light of my bedroom. He was a virgin, too. Our friends were downstairs in the living room drinking. Mine was the party house. I had the big "O" on the first try! Yay! I was on top. He had a little pain, I did not. I had always heard about [bleeding] but it didn't happen with me. It was wonderful. We stayed together until after he graduated, for 2.5 years total. I was so heartbroken when we split. Other than my husband, he is the only person I've had full on sex with.
We talked a few years ago after 22 years ... When we talked about our first time he said he remembered the moonlight on me. I had to remind him of the blue light. He remembered the rest.
--43 years old, Pennsylvania
Also on HuffPost:
Most women have orgasms from sexual (vaginal) intercourse.
Wouldn't we all love for this one to be true? Many experts and studies have found that about <a href="http://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/advice/sex-question-orgasm-problems" target="_hplink">70% of women do not have orgasms from (heterosexual vaginal) intercourse alone</a> (without external clitoral stimulation). This clearly contradicts all the sex scenes we watch on television or in movies where it appears that everyone can climax on demand. (Which is really a shame because that would be nice.) So if you have been wondering what's wrong with you... well, absolutely nothing at all. We are not built the same as men, but the lens through which we talk about sex (or see it) is often male. Many of us wind up feeling badly if our experiences don't match our expectations -- or we start to question the prowess of our partner (but that's another blog post altogether). And don't get me started on pornography -- it can certainly be entertaining, but hardly represents reality. That aside, yes, there are some women who suffer from medical conditions that make orgasm (and even intercourse) difficult or impossible. However, the majority of women are not experiencing sexual dysfunction; we just haven't been given great sex education.
Oral (or anal) sex doesn't count as sex.
I always find it interesting that we seem to have a hierarchy of sex behaviors. Consider the rationalization:<em> I can have oral or anal sex but it's not really sex so I don't have to count it as having a sex partner. Or I can do this and still be considered a virgin. Or</em>... you get the point. And to complicate matters, depending on who you ask, that hierarchy may change. So here are a few thoughts: All forms of sex are sex. They are all intimate personal behaviors with the capacity for great pleasure and if practiced without protection, the potential for certain negative outcomes, too. Did I convince you? If not, try this: Sex is not just for straight people, which is basically what we're saying when we suggest that vaginal intercourse is the only true form of sex.
You would know if your partner has a sexually transmitted infection.
In my eleventh grade health class, our teacher showed us photos of penises and vulvas (notice I did not say vagina?) ravaged by sexually transmitted infections. My health class probably wasn't unique. Lots of us were shown these photos as a means of curbing our sexual behavior. Did it work? Nope. It actually backfired. I remember my fellow students squirming in their seats. "That's disgusting!" they screamed as they looked at images of cauliflower-like warts and oozing blisters. While on the surface it may sound like a great way to scare us out of any or all sexual activity, it didn't (shocking, I know). What it actually did was incorrectly teach us that sexually transmitted infections have visible (and quite grotesque) symptoms. (They don't, most of the time.) The fact is, you cannot tell if a partner has a sexually transmitted infection just by looking at their genitals. The only way to know for certain is for you and your partners to get tested.
If your doctor needed to talk to you about sex, he or she would bring it up.
In addition to not having enough time for conversation, doctors don't always know how to bring up sex in their short time with you. How do I know? I've conducted numerous medical school lectures in an effort to help future medical professionals in this department. But don't just take my word for it. In the last few years there has been some scientific discussion about about how our physicians lack the skills and confidence to talk to patients about sex. In a study published in the <a href="http://www.livescience.com/19230-sex-talk-doctor-office.html" target="_hplink">March 2012 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine</a>, researchers at the University of Chicago Department of Medicine explored how (and if) 1,150 OBGYNs (people who are literally handling our sexual and reproductive body parts) were broaching issues of sexuality in their practices. Even within the field of obstetrics and gynecology, only 40% of physicians routinely asked about sexual problems; 28.5% asked about sexual satisfaction. Pleasure, sexual orientation and sexual identity were discussed even less than that. In a <a href="http://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Fulltext/2010/08000/Medical_Student_Sexuality__How_Sexual_Experience.17.aspx#" target="_hplink">2010 study published in Academic Medicine</a>, researchers explored how experience and medical school education impacted medical students' comfort in talking about sexuality. Over 53% of medical students felt that they did not receive enough training in how to approach issues of sexuality with patients. So it is clear that while sexual health should be a subject talked about in the doctor's office, it is sorely lacking
If you fantasize about other women (or like lesbian pornography or erotica), you're definitely a closeted lesbian.
No. No no no no, and no. But by the way, if you fantasize about other women and do identify as a lesbian, that's totally cool. Do we have to discuss (yet again) the role that fantasies play in our lives? I must admit, I'm getting tired of having to justify the fact that women have a myriad of fantasies -- some of which may not fit the good girl image that people may have of us. Nonetheless, thinking about someone or something doesn't mean that you want to act it out in real life; it's possible, but not definite. And by the way, I know many (let me repeat, many) heterosexual women who enjoy all sorts of lesbian erotica and pornography and are quite fulfilled by their heterosexual sex lives.
There are two types of female orgasms. Or maybe not. Who cares?
So maybe this isn't a myth, but rather, a frustrating social commentary. It seems like we devote lots of science to demystifying the female orgasm. We contest how many types of orgasms there are, whether or not they even exist, where they may or may not come from and their evolutionary purpose; we even question women's experiences with orgasm if theirs doesn't match ours. While I do believe that science should explore all aspects of human sexuality, I often question how and why we choose to focus (quite frequently) on female orgasms. I find that what this conversation does is delegitimize what many women experience. Who am I (or anyone else for that matter) to tell someone that they didn't experience an orgasm in a particular way? Orgasms are subjective and there is no one (no one) who will ever be able to know what you felt and how or where you felt it.