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V-Card Diaries: Harriet "This makes me sound like a brainless, heartless monster, but someone ought to know the whole story"

Today we’re highlighting Harriet in England, who feels like she lost her innocence by cheating on her boyfriend, not performing an act for the first time. 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 a 19 year old female student from England.

How I define virginity:

For general purpose in conversation I'd have to say the historic "penis in vagina" definition is the one I'd use, but in my own case I think I stopped considering myself a virgin when I discovered I had the power to make a guy cum. The way it was the popular girls at school, who lost their virginity first, made me assume it was all about power, I suppose. I still think it's about power, but power of the self, to direct yourself to the voices you should be regarding and no longer define your own experience in someone else's terms because that's all you have.

Here's my story:

In the physical sense, I lost my virginity when I was 17 to my still-boyfriend, who I'd been with for about a month at the time. He wasn't a virgin, and, I didn't realize until afterwards, assumed that I wasn't either, and while I've not actually lied about it, I never got around to setting him straight about that. I do think occasionally that I ought to tell him, but that first time makes up such a small part of our experience together now, and the longer it goes on the more difficult it would be to explain why I didn't just say so in the first place.

It definitely isn't as simple as "now you are, now you aren't", though. Every new sexual experience is another apple taken from the tree.

I've read quite a few of the posts on here and am surprised that no one seems to talk about cheating on their partners, because surely this is one of the few places you could freely admit to it, try to contextualise it, and I think peoples' ideas of what's important to a relationship, what's important to themselves as part of that relationship, and what's important to the self they have that isn't a part of the relationship.

I have done it and feel all the shame and self-loathing that health class teachers seem to want us to associate with sex. On more than one occasion, what happened sounded exactly like stories other people have called rape, but I didn't define it that way. Once I'd (been as drunk as you possibly can be without being unconscious and) had consenting sex with someone that wasn't my boyfriend, something I thought I'd never ever do, I had a crisis of confidence in my own judgement in all aspects of life; if my boundaries weren't where I'd left them, then where were they? And how did they get there?

These experiences with other guys have imprinted on my mind as losses of virginity much more than any of the first times I'd performed this or that act. In this context, loss of virginity is in a rather traditional, austere sense as "loss of innocence". I don't think I'll ever find a way to reconcile having done these things, but it has highlighted to me how different sex can be in different situations; within a loving relationship, with your flatmate who turns out to have a huge, un-reciprocated crush on you, with your attractive friend you always knew it was risky to get drunk with, with the achingly arrogant singer in some band who play the London circuit, and with his best friend who takes it upon himself to turn things into a threesome. All of this makes me sound like a brainless, heartless monster, but someone ought to know the whole story.