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V-Card Diaries: Mia "I wanted to be in love with the guy, because who knows how I'd react—what if I fart or cry?"

Today we're highlighting Mia from California, who gives us a major wallop of wisdom on why losing virginity shouldn't just about penis-in-vagina sex–especially if that's not the way you get off. 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 am a 22-year-old sex-positive feminist, about a 0.5 on the Kinsey scale, though I've yet to act on my attraction to women.

I was a late bloomer, not getting my first kiss until I was almost 20. This was frustrating because I was a sex-educator through Planned Parenthood in high school, so there I was, teaching about birth control and STIs while I couldn't even get kissed. However, being a sex educator, knowing the facts, and teaching abstinence as an equally valid choice (even though I hadn't exactly chosen it) made me feel more comfortable with being an inexperienced virgin.

I used to say I hoped to one day have many one-night stands, but for the First Time I wanted to be in love with the guy, because who knows how I'd react—what if I fart or cry? But that view didn't last.

How do you define virginity?

Usually instead of defining virginity, I dismiss it as a harmful social construction. I define virginity ex post facto by if I feel like I can claim I "lost" it after a sexual act. There are multiple virginities, for example, for a hand job, penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex, penis-in-anus sex, phone sex, etc. And that's keeping it vanilla.

To define virginity by only PIV sex excludes queer sex and ignores my sexual reality, which is that I (and many women) get off on clitoral stimulation, not from vaginal penetration. I don't like a definition of sex that is phallocentric, one-sided, and doesn't factor in my own sexual agency.

Tell us your story:

When I was 21, I was fooling around with a boy and gave him a hand job and he orgasmed. I considered that a form of sex, yet there was nothing penetrative about it, so I felt a little uneasy telling people that I was no longer a virgin. (Interestingly, two years before, a guy touched my vagina but didn't penetrate, but I didn't consider that to be as valid, perhaps because I didn't yet think to question the validity of virginity.)

A few months later I met a guy and really clicked with him. I had never clicked with a guy so quickly and so intensely before. On our second date I went to his place to watch a movie and ended up sleeping over, both literally and metaphorically. He put his fingers and his tongue in my vagina, and I rubbed my vulva against his penis, and after that I decided that I wasn't a virgin. I wanted to have PIV sex but he wanted to wait, out of concern that it was my first time and we weren't really together. Our relationship ended a few days later, and I regretted that we hadn't had lots of PIV sex so I could definitively end my virginity and improve my skills.

I'm seeing someone now and have told him that I have had sex but not a lot of it. He probably assumes that means PIV sex, and I haven't corrected him yet; I'm not sure if I will. When we do have penetrative sex for the first time, I will tell him to go slow.

Any thoughts on virginity in our society?

Just because a person has had (PIV) sex once, and thus isn't a virgin anymore, doesn't mean they know what they are doing now or will be any good at it, or that sex will no longer be painful for the penetrated partner. There will always be a First Time with each new partner or sexual act, and it's always important to check in with your partner and have active consent, whether it's the first time or the 96th. Instead of thinking of virginity as this monumental milestone to take or lose or bequeath, it should just be synonymous with "first time." If you do something once, so what? It's not like that makes you an expert. Keep practicing!

As a frustrated late bloomer, I was relieved to cast off my virginity. A part of me worried that, as a virgin, I didn't have as much credibility when I said virginity didn't matter, as if people would think I only held that view to minimize my shame of being a virgin. Now on the other side, I wonder if people will assume I discount virginity to minimize my supposed shame at not being a virgin.

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