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V-Card Diaries: Natalie "I'm not going to be less picky just because I am no longer a virgin.'

Today we're highlighting 24-year-old Natalie, who talks to us about Ob/Gyn mom, the happiest day of her life and why she didn't tell her partner she was a virgin. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.

Tell us about yourself: My name is Natalie, and I'm a 24-year-old heterosexual female from the USA, and I'm a law student. I consider oral/vaginal/anal sex to all be "sex".

Why did you decide to stay a virgin? I grew up in a liberal household and my mom is an Ob/Gyn, so sexuality was never a taboo subject. I had no desire to remain "pure" and no strong desire to wed, so waiting till marriage wouldn't work. But my mom made me paranoid about STD/Is and I knew I would never be promiscuous. Plus, I am kind of picky in regards to my friends and my lovers so I wanted to have sexual activity within the context of a relationship.

I went on oral contraceptives at 17 in preparation for college and my mother sent me away with a huge supply of condoms/Plan B. Since I don't drink (a huge activity in college) and spent my time hanging out in the theater department, so meeting men I was interested in didn't really happen. I went on a few dates, kissed some guys, made great friends but nobody I wanted to be in a relationship with appeared.

Around my 20th birthday, I began to feel ashamed about my lack of sexual experience. I began to doubt myself, my attractiveness, my desirability, my normalcy. I even started to question if was heterosexual (I definitely was). It seemed the thing that came so easily to everyone else (sex) was so difficult for me. The only individuals I knew who had never engaged in any type of sexual activity beyond kissing at my age were religiously motivated.

I ended up going 3 years without so much as kissing someone and that made me very depressed. There were nights I would cry myself to sleep just because I longed to be touched, to feel that connection to another human being. The worse thing was feeling as if it would never change, and I would never have the experiences I longed for. I no longer felt my lack of sexual experience was a choice – it felt more like a punishment. However, I was determined not to have a roll in the hay with the first guy who looked my way.

How did you lose your virginity? I had vaginal and oral sex, touched a penis and laid in bed with a naked man for the first time on my 23rd birthday from approximately midnight to 6am! It was the happiest day of my life, and all of the things I thought I would be – scared, nervous, ashamed – I wasn't any of those things. I was just happy.

I had moved back to my home city the year before to go to law school, and 7 months before my birthday I met a guy who lived in my building. I was attracted to him instantly and for the first time I felt as if someone wanted me as much as I wanted them. It was sweet and pleasurable and intimate and completely worth staying up till 6am for! However, we broke up a few months later due to things entirely not related to sex. I don't regret our experience together for one second.

I never told him I had never had sex because: 1.When my friend R., who believed oral sex wasn't sex, finally decided she wanted to have vaginal intercourse, she was rejected four times. I was afraid the same thing would happen to me: guys would learn I had never had vaginal intercourse and back out during the heat of foreplay. I didn't want to risk that – or risk that he would find it attractive that I was "untouched." Both were equally distasteful.

2. I didn't think it was any of his business! My sexual life before him was private, and once we both got tested before we had sex, I had no desire to learn about his previous sexual experiences. Having penetrated myself with sex toys for the last few years I knew there was no need to worry about pain or discomfort.

My thoughts on virginity: The emotional baggage that went along with feeling unwanted and undesirable and "different/defective" was much more damaging than the physical act of never having had sex. If I want t0 have an orgasm I can through masturbation. While the physical gratification can't be overlooked, how I feel mentally about my sexuality is much more important than what body part has touched another body part. I am happy that my first time was everything I wanted it to be. Maybe because I spent years and years waiting for it, the universe threw me a bone!

I'm not going to be less picky about who I choose to be with just because I am no longer a virgin. I believe our culture places too much emphasis on the first time one has sex (especially for women) as if the first time is the only time that is special, the only time one should consider if sex is the right choice for you. If everyone was as particular about the 50th they had sex as they were about the first, I think many of the negative consequences of sex (emotional and physical) would be minimized.