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catholic guilt

Ask Trixie: I want to have sex, but the guy says he's nervous that I'll regret it. How do I get him to understand I won't?

Hi! I've been talking to a guy & I want to have sex, but he's getting nervous. He says he doesn't want me to regret losing my virginity to him. I grew up in a catholic family that slut shamed but 75% of children in my family were born to 17 yr olds & I realized I don't care about virginity. I think of it as a way to pressure girls to save themselves for that *one lucky guy*. IDK how to get him to understand this but also how to be comfy with myself since I have gained a few pounds –fbgc

Hi fbgc!

I’m reading a few different issues in your question so let’s take them one at a time:

1. There are lots of considerations when you’re deciding to become sexual, and you’re the only one who can decide if you’re ready. Sex can be a part of our lives in different ways: maybe we experiment with different partners, or we wait until we get married and have sex with one partner. There’s no right answer to this, but it is important to think it through for yourself. It sounds like you’ve done that, but if you need a bit more to chew on, check out something I wrote called How Will I Know I’m Ready?

2. It sounds like your potential partner is genuinely concerned about your happiness, but he also sounds like he’s projecting his own ideas about virginity onto you. It would be interesting to ask him why he thinks you’ll regret it. Is it because of his own religious beliefs which you might no longer hold? Is it subtle slut-shaming on his part because you don’t buy into the ‘saving yourself’ messages? Or is it because he thinks his penis is so magical, that it has the power to irrevocably transform you simply by sticking it into your vagina? Knowing why he’s worried that you’ll ‘regret’ it, might actually affect whether or not you even want to do it with him. I mean, who wants to have sex with a guy who’s thinking you’re a slut the whole time it’s happening (if that’s the case)?

3. Let’s say you decide you want to have sex, and the guy you’ve chosen is cool enough to be worthy of you. I’m going to beg you not to get hung up on your body, and whatever pounds you feel you’ve put on. Our brains have been poisoned by toxic messages about what women’s bodies should look like, and the worst thing would be to get uncomfortable about being sexual because you feel like you don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Any guy who rejects you because of your body has done you a huge favor, saving you wasting your valuable time and energy on a total jerk. I know it sounds like a cliche, but please try to appreciate your body’s remarkable ability to give and receive pleasure, whatever size it is.

4. You might think it all through, feel great about your decisions, have sex, and then still regret it. Because life is like that: not everything works out the way we think it will. Then you need to learn from the experience, and try to make the next time better. The ‘first time’ is just that, the first of (hopefully) many sexual experiences you’ll have for the rest of your life. If you want to read some stories from people who had similar experiences, go to our V-Card Diaries project, click on ‘enter, and then click on ‘It Gets Better’ in the left-had column.  And let us know how it works out!

Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking?  Ask Trixie here 
Find Ask Trixie here on most Mondays.

V-Card Diaries: Lena "After a few weeks stewing over Catholic guilt, I saw him again. We now meet up most weeks."

Today we're highlighting Lena, am 18 year old woman from London, England, who got over her Catholic guilt to maintain a casual, sexual relationship . 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 an 18-year-old university student from London, England.

How do you define virginity?

The first act of vaginal intercourse involving a penis. For some reason, I don't consider oral sex to be sex (although I actually didn't partake until after I'd lost my virginity anyway).

Tell us your story:

In my second week of university, I went clubbing with some friends, but I'd accidentally left my ID at home. I farewelled them and went to a bar with some other friends, who were more willing to just go to places I could actually get into. Anyway, we were in this dark, sleazy bar and I was buying a mojito, and all of a sudden I couldn't see my friends. Then a guy sidled up to me - his name was Alex. I made out with him for most of the night after that, and then he offered to take me back to his place, but I refused. I got his number though.

A couple of days later, he texted me. I was sick of being a virgin, so I agreed to go to his house. I knew what "fooling around" entailed, and he seemed exceptionally keen. So was I. It hurt a bit, but it lasted for a long time and he had endless fun teaching me all sorts of positions. Despite the initial pain and slight ache (I later described intercourse as "having your insides assaulted with a blunt instrument"), I enjoyed it. It wasn't special, but it was enjoyable, and I think that was what counted.

After a few weeks stewing over my Catholic guilt, I saw him again. We now meet up most weeks. While occasionally I grapple with the realities of such a casual relationship, I don't mind, and for the most part it is enjoyable experimentation.

He didn't tell me his age until afterwards though. He'll be 26 in July. That did make me feel slightly dirty.