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V-Card Diaries: Xyla "We had seen each other completely naked. It was hard to see how anything could be more intimate than that."

Today we’re highlighting Xyla in the Great Lakes region. She thinks young people should have fun, but most of all should be kind to each other. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I'm 42, female, and happily married to the man to whom I lost my virginity in college at age 19. I live in the Great Lakes region.

How I define virginity:

As a teenager, I saw it as synonymous with virtue and purity, but over the years I've come to see it more as a lack of knowledge and experience. And knowledge is power.

Here's my story:

I fell in love with my future husband when we were both sophomores. We fooled around quite a bit, but we were both kind of under the impression that if we became more intimate, we would be obligated to get married.

The night it happened, we didn't actually have intercourse. We were kissing on his bed in his dorm room, and I let him begin to undress me. I'd let him unfasten my bra, and then he said, "I need to see all of you," and slipped off my panties, too. I still can't describe how that felt, except that something like "Here we go..." went through my mind.

And then he stripped off his clothes, too, and lay there naked with me. He said, "There. Now you've seen me." We spent the night like that, touching each other, feeling our bodies against each other. We didn't have intercourse, because I was not on the Pill and was afraid of getting pregnant. But when we did so, about a year later, it felt like a kind of afterthought. We had seen each other completely naked. It was hard to see how anything could be more intimate than that. Even now, memories of feeling warm and deeply loved and euphoric still come flooding back to me from time to time. The thought of that kind of intimacy with any other man is really unimaginable for me. That night we became part of each other.

In the morning, he proposed to me, and I accepted. I think that for him it was partly a result of that warm euphoric haze, and partly a result of guilt, because his previous relationship had ended badly; she was emotionally abusive and made him aware of all his supposed "deficiencies," both moral and sexual, when he broke up with her–and he took her railings to heart. He was so afraid of hurting me that he committed to me prematurely as a result.

But I had decided long before that when I lost my virginity, it would not be as a result of the kind of casual drunken hookup had by other girls in my dorm–it would be with a man with whom I could see spending my life and having children. I loved him, and it was clear he loved and respected me, and that has only deepened for both of us over the years.

But we were very, very lucky. The infatuation could have worn off instead of turning into something more genuine. We were still children when we married at 22 and had a lot of growing up to do, and, like many of our friends, we could have grown apart instead of together. I would far rather see young women lose their virginity casually–but fully consensually, to partners who respect and care about them and want them to enjoy sex–than end up making promises that they cannot–or more, importantly, should not–keep.

So although everything turned out fine for us: kids, don't do what we did. Have fun. Take precautions, but don't take it more seriously than you should. You don't have to be married, engaged, or even in love, but, as Kurt Vonnegut once said, "Goddamn it, you've got to be kind.”