UK blogger Kate Monro collects virginity loss stories for her blog The Virginity Project and is now in the process of turning the stories into a book. Immediately recognizing a kindred spirit, The American Virgin talked to Kate about her project:
How did you get interested in collecting these stories?
In a moment of clarity, I realized that every single person on the planet has a tale to tell when it comes to virginity loss. It really makes no difference where you come from or who you are, it is a rite of passage that affects everybody, and in so many different ways. I figured that the stories would make a great book. Also, I am just really nosy and I wanted to know how other people’s stories differed to my own.
How do you define virginity?
The most common definition is the first instance of penetrative sex but over time I have come to realize that defining virginity loss is a highly personal matter. This definition doesn’t take into account the myriad other ways that people feel they can lose their virginity.
One of my interviewees told me that he didn’t feel like he had lost his virginity until he could have sex and ejaculate. These two things don’t necessarily happen at the same time for a man. Other people have told me stories that include a high level of sexual pleasure and activity but do not involve any penetration. Once again, one definition does not suit all. I think it is very much down to the individual to draw the line between virginity and its loss – if they feel it necessary to do so.
How do you get people to share this information with you?
There is a huge amount of pressure on people these days to have the best of everything and that includes sex. From this point of view, I think that people welcomed the chance to sit down with someone impartial and really get down to business. When do we ever really get that chance? To talk to someone honestly about our sex lives?
Even with our partners there is probably a degree of holding back but in this case, they knew they would probably never see me again and they could say anything they liked to me. So in answer to your question, it was easy to get people to spill the beans.
What are a few of your favorite stories?
Without a doubt, one of my favorite stories of all time is the disabled man with very short arms. Actually, the technical term is Thalidomide but I think it’s important to be specific about his disability because arms are extremely useful when it comes to virginity loss, especially for men!
He lost his virginity to the foxiest girl in his school at the age of sixteen. She asked him to dance at the school disco and the rest is history. A week later she asked him if he would also mind sleeping with her best friend since she was going off to college and didn’t want to be a virgin anymore. I think you can guess what his answer was.
I liked this story because it challenged my subconscious preconceptions. I had assumed that his disability had hindered him and that he was going to tell me an awful tale but far from it. It was actually one of the most positive and uplifting tales I had ever heard.
Do you think stories from the UK are different than from other places?
Culturally, yes. In essence, no. One of the things that I love about this project is the fact that people’s stories do reveal so much about their background and it’s fascinating to see how we differ culturally. There will be plenty to amuse people about the British when this book comes out.
Conversely, what strikes me the most are the big universal themes. That no matter who you are or where you come from, virginity loss is always a big deal. It makes no difference how much sex education you received or what country you were born in, losing your virginity is still going to be a big step, with all the excitement and anxiety that comes with that.
We've had a hard time getting people to speak about this topic on camera without the anonymity of print. Do you think any of your contributors would like to be in "The American Virgin"?
Every single person, bar one, asked for a pseudonym for my book. No-one wanted to appear as themselves which speaks volumes, I think, about how personal this story remains. The only people who appear as themselves are myself and the Tantric sex teacher. I can ask her if you like? And I am also happy to appear.
How did you lose your virginity?
I lost my virginity holiday in Spain when I was a teenager. It was a real heady time for me because it was my first proper holiday away from my parents and I fell head over heels in love with the sense of freedom. I also had a huge crush on a handsome French boy and I leapt at the chance to lose my virginity with him. In retrospect, I can see that this had very little to do with lust and everything to do with becoming an adult and wanting to prove to myself that I was no longer a child.
Predictably, the experience was a let down but I didn’t know any better at the time because I had very little to compare it to.