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V-Card Diaries: Lilly "I was still a virgin, and my peers who knew would treat me with disdain and infantilization"

Today we're highlighting Lilly from California, who started being sexual with other girls when she was nine or ten. 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:

I'm a 22-year-old woman studying fine art and working odd jobs.

How do you define virginity?

For several years I've been really uncomfortable with all of the definitions of virginity that I'd heard—all the definitions that I've encountered from other people, even the queer-inclusive ones, seem to focus on a specific moment when one stops being a virgin and gains Carnal Knowledge. Thinking of virginity/non-virginity in such a binary way left me feeling like I didn't really fit in either camp for years. I think lately I've come to think of it as more of an extended scale from one end to another.

Tell us your story:

I learned what sex was when I was around five. I've masturbated for as long I can remember (not continuously, obviously). When I was around nine or ten, I engaged in semi-regular sexual activities with other girls for a little while—but no oral or penetrative sex. I stepped back from sex with other people for years after that, and didn't even date anyone until I was 16. But I was gaining knowledge about sex, both in an academic setting and through masturbation. By most definitions of virginity I had encountered, I was still a virgin, and those of my peers who knew would treat me with disdain and infantilization and shut me down in all sexual conversation until I became more quiet and vague about my sexual "status." I had PIV sex with a man at 21, and didn't feel particularly enlightened by it. I have more regular healthy sex now, and I feel like I'm still learning.

Any thoughts on virginity in our society?

I think a large portion of the way we talk about virginity is downright creepy and focuses on a) making stereotypical assumptions about people based on which side of the "line" they say they fall on (the virgin/whore dichotomy), and b) a very voyeuristic perspective, in which people want to know about other people's sex lives for reasons relating to gossip and speculation rather than for informative purposes or creating a beneficial dialogue. I think some beneficial dialogues are arising, though, and that's fantastic!

Want to tell your story? Go to our submission page.