I feel like a dick even writing this, but my story is painfully boring and borderline clichéd. Imagine a doughy, middle-aged-male TV writer attempting to script a 19-year-old Catholic girl’s emo-erotic fantasy of her first time, and you’re there.
I was a senior in high school. My girlfriend made me wait until we were together a year and she got to college. It went down in a dorm room. It had to be a Big Deal, so there were candles, something from Victoria’s Secret’s Safely Sensual (But in No Way Underground-German-Discotheque-Scary) section, and a soundtrack along the Enya-Sarah McLachlan spectrum. The roommate had been dispensed, likely with the vague knowledge that Something Special was about to occur.
We were stone sober. There was a condom. It was quick. It was new and good and different in a hesitant, test-run sort of way, but the whole time my mental state was more “oh-my-god-I’m-doing-it-oh-my-god-I’m-doing-it” than actually thinking to stop thinking and embrace the experience.
Cuddles followed (as did four more off-and-on years of what ultimately went down as my Big Ugly Relationship, though at least I didn’t marry the first girl I laid). I was relieved I wouldn’t be going to college a virgin, but I could have lost it at the park in the rear-facing back seat of a Chevy Celebrity station wagon and been okay with it. Then again, I’m a dick. -C.
The girls around the circle were sharing sex stories. It was my turn. I opened my mouth and two words came out: “Well, technically …
“I’m not a virgin,” I continued, “but I haven’t had sex. Technically.” The girls scoffed. It’s yes or no! Hymen broken, or hymen not broken. End of story. But I felt cheated.
My high school boyfriend popped the proverbial cherry (so gross). We got hot and heavy and instead of talking about it, just went for it. We tried, and things happened, and two teenage brains had the simultaneous thought WE ARE DOING IT—and then we immediately stopped. I may have screamed.
It’s possible, looking back, that we placed too much weight on the idea of sex. Blood, guilt, shame; it was like the final scene in Carrie except even worse, because it was my vagina. And we never tried again. And then I went through college missing the intrinsic knowledge everyone else had—the rhythm of actual sex, the sweatiness, figuring out where to put your hands. You know.
Finally, when I was a senior, I couldn’t take it. Everyone was having sex. You could barely walk through a frat house without tripping and falling on a penis. So I took the bull, well, the guy … well, technically his … you know, by the horns. Boom. Like, real sex. And it was, frankly, f*cking fantastic. What the hell had I been waiting for?
Of course, it wasn’t a fairy tale. It turned out that he sort of, kind of, already had a girlfriend. And I may have ruined my friend’s bed sheets. But still. I had done it! It! The mountain climbed. And luckily for me, I found out I’m really good at climbing. -J.
I’ll never forget my first kiss. It was June. I was 14. I had spent all year as a member of our school’s concert choir, discovering music in ways I’d never known: rich and complex harmonies, lines filled with surprising turns and depth, notes that assumed color and texture. To celebrate our accomplishments, our choir invited an alum who had just completed his freshman year of college to help refine a few selections to record into a CD. He was brilliant, prodigious and gay.
We became close during that last month of school. I’ve always seemed older for my age, and overconfident as I was, his being 19 years old hardly mattered. He asked for my number one day, and in the nights that followed, we stayed up talking for hours on end. The night before we were to record the CD, he confessed that when he was around me, all he could think about was kissing me. This was the first time anyone had ever said they wanted to kiss me, and coming from another guy, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I remember feeling flushed and bothered and wrong, but said I wanted to as well.
The next afternoon, he and I stole away to a vacant corridor. The moment we turned the corner I felt him coming toward me, the rush of air that preceded him, his hand clasping my face and fixing my jaw firmly against his. He tasted like cigarettes and spearmint gum. It was hot and I could feel his stubble, a sensation I never imagined would accompany my first kiss. What caught me off guard, though, was his strength, his firm, masculine body enveloping me. In movies growing up, I’d always pictured a first kiss being a gentle exchange between a man and woman. I’d never been close to a man before, and it awoke in me a burning desire that set fire to that first summer.
We saw each other secretly after that. We’d go on dates, for drives exploring greater LA, but always find ourselves back at my family’s home when it was conveniently empty. In that one summer I experienced so much at the hands of this one man: My first kiss, my first gay experience, my first “I love you,” my first taste of real teenage freedom, and my first time. One afternoon I let him enter me, and I still remember the stinging sensation of my body being opened to another man for the first time.
Toward the end of the summer his mother found a bracelet he’d bought for me with our names engraved on the inside. It was a sweet, naive gesture. He told me how she had a talk with him, explaining how outrageously inappropriate it was for him to be 19 dating and falling in love with a 14-year-old. Things ended, and though I missed him, I don’t know that I was in love with him. I wanted to love him for all the things I’d experienced with him, but I knew in my heart that I didn’t.
Over the years we’ve kept in touch, and I’ll always remember him with fondness. He gave me my first kiss. To this day, it tastes like a warm summer afternoon, cigarettes and spearmint gum. -N.
Red. Shiny. Reassuringly thick. His neck was like a Folgers coffee can. The first time we got naked I had clung to that neck, piss-drunk and wobbling us toward my tidy little bed in my tidy little English dormitory. I’d had two Stiff Uns at the club and could feel the six shots of vodka and strawberry goo sloshing against my ribs. But my desire to get it on was stronger than my desire to vomit.
Months later, not long before I would fly back to the States and, as it turned out, never see him again, he was telling me about the time he played Oliver Twist in a summer play, how his mother cried. I cracked a few jokes, merciless ones that made him jump on top of me. Blinds. Lights. Shirts. Pants. Then the checklist of sanctioned naughtiness, because God (and his mother) would not recover if he let himself slip all the way in without marrying me first. He murmured that he wanted to, rolling his hips to the point where our parts were barely touching. I felt the heat in my eyeballs. I was 21. I was in love with him. And he had done this way too many times.
“I respect that you’re saving yourself. Sincerely. But you can’t keep doing this almost thing. It’s torture,” I said. He hovered, eyes big and soft. To break the tension, I joked that I didn’t want to be deflowered by an orphan anyway, even a famous one. When he kissed me I knew: He’d decided that God, at least, would get over it. I clutched his rugby-toned shoulders and waited for our lives to change, but it was like our bodies needed the adapter plug I had to use for my hairdryer. Raw, clumsy and intensely silent, the terrible sex lasted about four minutes.
Sweaty and dazed, we lay on our backs in the darkness. I laced my fingers through his. It seemed like the right thing to do, and I wanted him to know I was still there. -T.
I was about 16 years old, very drunk, told her A LOT of lies and have no idea who she was. Sounds terrible, but I actually look back on it and smile.
I was at a party in my brother’s dorm. The rooms were in a cluster, with a large common area and four bedrooms extending out from each corner. When the party started he told me if the dorm cops came, jump in a room and close the door. “They can’t go in there. So just wait it out.”
Earlier that day I had been at the Youth Soccer Olympic Development tryouts and made it to the next level. My brother told everyone that, and after about 15 beers each it turned into me making the national team. I had just gotten through the worst part of a two-year growth spurt, so the clumsiness was gone and I was adult height. Plus, I had friends that actually were on the youth national team, so I was able to fill in a few details. To some really drunk female soccer players, it sounded legit.
Fast-forward to the dorm cops. When I jumped in the bedroom, so did one of the soccer players I was lying to. We weren’t in there long, and, to be clear, this was totally out of character for me. I have no idea where the confidence, lack of fear or bravado came from. I did not hook up often. Or ever really. But it was fun. And I hope if that girl ever read this she’d smile about it, too. -K.