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V-Card Diaries: Brook "I wish I wish I'd gotten it overwith sooner and saved myself the years of shame and embarrassment."

Today we're highlighting Brook from Minnesota, who enjoyed losing her virginity, but wishes she was more compassionate to herself as 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:

I'm 24 years old, and I currently live in Minnesota.

How do you define virginity?

I think that each person has to decide what virginity means for them. My relative virginity ebbed and flowed depending on my mindset and philosophy. I tend to think now that it's not easy to decide who IS a virgin: it's a lot easier to pick out someone who is NOT a virgin. So, basically, my own personal philosophy is that you're not a virgin anymore when you no longer feel like a virgin, when you've undergone some kind of experience (any kind) that makes you feel different, like you've crossed a milestone, or that makes you sufficiently knowledgeable or experienced that it would feel silly to call yourself a virgin.

Tell us your story:

I lost my virginity relatively recently at the age of 24. A classic late bloomer, I had been waiting so long for the “right guy” or the “right moment” that I had suddenly found myself in my mid-twenties and still a virgin. I started to feel ridiculous and ashamed of my prolonged abstinence. It felt like a failure, like I had missed some landmark that I should have passed by now. This was despite the fact that I had many friends who were also still virgins or who had been virgins into their twenties -- we talked about this frequently but were somehow never able to find any solace in our shared fate.

Finally, I had decided I was pretty sick of being ashamed and of holding back and of waiting. So one night, while feeling particularly attractive and happy, I drank my fair share of gin and tonics and went to bed with a friend of a friend, someone I liked and trusted but was by no means in love with. I'm not saying the decision was easy. I had spent so much of my life holding back and running from sex that it was a hard habit to break. But after a little motivational speech in the bathroom mirror, I had sex and it was fun. I didn't tell him I was a virgin and I have no reason to believe he had any "suspicions" (which is actually how I thought of it -- I was a fraud, pretending to be someone that I wasn't, pretending to know what I was doing when I didn't).

When it was over, my first reaction was one of elation and relief. It turned out that this was as close to the “right guy” and the “right moment” as I could have hoped for under the circumstances. But I also felt a little annoyed that I hadn't done it sooner. The fact that I was a virgin had stopped me from having sex many times. Mostly, I had been terrified of being rejected when a potential sexual partner found out my dark secret. But now the milestone had passed, I wished I'd gotten it over with a lot sooner and saved myself the psychological agony, the years of feeling shame and embarrassment.

I still feel this way, but another regret has wormed its way into my conscience and has surprised me. In part due to conversations with friends who admitted never "owning" their virginity and in part due to discovering How to Lose Your Virginity, I am now beginning to regret that I was never able to be comfortable with my virginity. It's not that I should have been proud of it —- because, honestly, that would have been asking too much. I wish that I could have at least been more compassionate with myself for being unable or unwilling to have sex before I did. I would be going too far to say that I wish I was still a virgin so I could find that piece of mind. I had fun losing my virginity, but I do wish I found the strength within myself to be happy as a virgin and to fight back against the nagging feeling that I was somehow broken because I hadn't managed to have sex. I hope How to Lose Your Virginity can help others like me find that self-confidence and inner peace that I never found.