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V-Card Diaries: Eliza "I wish that there were a better euphemism for one's first time since I certainly didn't misplace my virginity."

Today we're highlighting Eliza from Vermont, who emerged from years of Catholic guilt–and a class called 'Morality'–to freely enjoy sex. 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 23-year-old female grad student from Vermont. All the schools I've attended have been public with the exception of my high school, which was Catholic. I was raised Catholic in a politically- but not behaviorally- liberal household.

How do you define virginity?

The word means little to me. I guess I would say that a virgin is someone who has not had sex. I think that the societal definition is limiting to people who aren't hetero and vague at best to everyone else. I think that my personal definition of sex includes not just the physical aspect, but the emotional closeness as well. It's so much more than just a penis in a vagina (PIV), which is the definition I knew growing up.

I think virginity is not a particularly useful concept. And I think that the virgin/whore and slut/stud dichotomies aren't fair.

Tell us your story

Er, society would say no, and I guess I'm not, but there was definitely no moment that I can look back to and say, "That was it! That was when I lost my virginity!" Sex for me was a very gradual progression towards coitus. I wish that there were a better euphemism for one's first time since I certainly didn't misplace my virginity, but I don't particularly care for the phrase "giving it up" either.

I feel great about sex! I was 20 and this guy and I had been dating for about a year. We were getting progressively closer and closer to piv sex over that period of time. When I saw that it was imminent, I went to my doctor, got on birth control, and then he and I went on our merry way not too long after! It was the first time for both of us, so it was very sweet and romantic. It hurt quite a lot for a second-I bled a little- and then it felt amazing and wonderful... and then it was over. It didn't last long at all, but subsequent times only got better.

Despite the Catholic upbringing, I miraculously have suffered no guilt from having sex outside of marriage. My first one and I broke up over a year ago, but now I'm dating a marvelous guy and we're having wonderful guilt-free sex. It's been eye-opening going from high-school-me, believing that no self-respecting people could have pre-marital sex, to where I am now in my beliefs.

I took a class at my high school called–no joke–Morality. It was hammered into our heads that people who had had sex before marriage were "damaged" or "used" and would invariably regret past actions. I was surprised to find that sex I've had with someone else in the past has not diminished my sexual experiences with someone else. Catholic school had me thinking that it would matter, but I see now that it doesn't. There comes a point in a relationship when you're so emotionally close that you may as well have had sex, and when you do have sex in that scenario, it changes NOTHING. Y'hear me? Nothing. The messages sent in Morality were of little use to me and I'm thankful that I've overcome my behaviorally conservative upbringing.