There are three things that I’ve been told happens when you lose your virginity: pain, blood, and regret. I experienced none of those things.
It was the beginning of my sophomore year and I was fifteen years old. I’d been on and off dating my middle school best friend for over two years. He knew everything about me. He knew my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my sister was recently out of rehab, my parents were no longer happy together, and my wrists were scarred. He knew I was codependent and he was one of two people I told anything to. He knew I’d been sexually abused when I was two. He knew I didn’t know how extensive the abuse was, if I had a hymen or not.
Girls were starting to have casual sex around this time. They weren’t girls in my friend group so it was unexpected for me to “give it up” first. I was a relatively conservative person around those I didn’t know or those I wasn’t comfortable with (i.e. my friends). My parents and the majority of my grade still think I lost it to an older boy named Dustin who I dated later that year. He eventually broke my heart. My parents thought I was so hurt because he was my first. He wasn’t and that is not why he broke my heart.
I planned it. I didn’t want to wait for marriage or for the “one”. I knew that if it didn’t hurt, I was going to break down. I needed it to not be awkward, for my best friend to hold me through it. Jack was the boy for the job.
On a September afternoon, we laid down on his couch, making out until we were ready. Then he got a condom, the first one I had ever seen up close. I confusedly put it on him, helped him enter me, and went for a couple minutes until he came.
There was no pain and no blood. The following night I’d cut myself to release the blood I wanted to see when I threw away the condom. As soon as we were done, I wept.
Yes, I could have lost my hymen putting in a tampon or playing a sport. It probably didn’t hurt because he had fingered me a lot. But in that moment, the logistics didn’t matter. My innocence had been taken from me a long time ago. In my fifteen year old mind, having real sex verified that my virginity was never mine to give away.
For awhile there, I was numb to this. I told myself I had to lose it at some point, might as well have been when I was a toddler. When you’re damaged, that is how your mind works. Two years later, sitting on my bed at Mary Baldwin staring out the window over the mountains, I realized my virginity was never my abuser’s to take. I realized a hymen is just a hymen and thank god it wasn’t an awkward first time.
In Christianity and various religions, there is this idea of “purification” and “washing away” previous sins or lives. I do not ascribe to these ideas because I never want to look at a defining experience as if it needs to be erased. My spirituality provides me with the strength to not feel emptiness in these parts of my life but I have no desire to cover them up as if white-out or duct tape could hide them.
My body is not a temple. It is neither pristine nor unblemished.
In middle school, I was part of a Christian club called Wyld Life. During one group meeting, we discussed being intimate through the metaphor of an orange. Every base was an orange slice and every time you did something sexual with someone you were giving away a part of yourself. I guess it was their attempt at preventing teen pregnancy in young Christians.
My body is not an orange. It is not a fucking metaphor. If my body was anything apart from a homosapien it would be a starfish. Starfish regenerate their limbs when they are cut off and they are stars. I have the capability to grow back, no matter how many times I am sliced by either myself or someone else. I am not a fruit or a holy building, I am a sea creature. I can breathe underwater.
When I pray at night, it is for those who hurt me. They are the ones with only half their orange.