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V-Card Diaries: Ana "After having lesbian sex, the idea of having penetrative sex with a penis no longer felt like 'real sex' "

A little about myself: 

20, New York, woman, college student/sapling filmmaker

How I define virginity: 

The first time doing a thing that feels like A Big Thing

Here's my story: 

It took me until I was almost 19 to figure out that I liked girls. Having liked boys all along, there never seemed any reason to question it. I never thought I'd lose my girl-virginity before my boy-virginity, but sure enough, about a year ago I had sex with a woman for the first time. I had been preserving my "traditional" virginity, the p-in-v kind, for...something; not marriage, maybe love, maybe just a mutually caring exclusive relationship? I didn't know then and I don't really know now either.

But one night things started moving with a girl I had only been casually acquainted with up until that point, and the idea of "waiting" was miles away--it was just one of those nights that's going somewhere interesting and you have every intention of just following it. This particular incidence of lesbian sex meant oral and manual stuff, which is nothing I hadn't done with boys before, so it didn't really feel like anything new on a technical level. I was sort of...eased in, I suppose? But let me tell you, it was fun. It was cool. And for the sake of intimacy, I'll keep the details to myself.

So after having lesbian sex, the idea of having penetrative sex with a penis no longer felt like "real sex." Sex with that girl was no less real. I had had sex. All those hesitations and ideas about "waiting," instilled, no doubt, by my vaguely Catholic upbringing, felt more unfounded than ever. So, probably about a week later, I had penetrative sex with the boy I had been involved with. And it was--well, considerably more painful than sex with the girl, that's for sure. But it was fine. it was fun. And I have no regrets about either.

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here

 

V-Card Diaries: Janelle "The first time I masturbated, I had no idea what I'd just done (which was orgasm)"

*Trigger warning for sexual assault*Today we're highlighting Janelle who overcame her confusion and fear by educating herself 'of the sexual realms.' If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

Hi! I'm Janelle and I fair from Pennsylvania. Currently, I am 22 years old and preparing to graduate college as a graphic designer! Yay!

How I define virginity:

As I look back at my life, I see my virginity as levels. Not so much as something I shouldn't lose, but something I haven't experienced yet hoped to achieve. Unfortunately, a lot of my virginity losses were negative, though I like to think they give me strength and wiser views.

Here's my story:

I started to lose my virginity at a young age. My first sexual thoughts were when I was exposed to my father's porn magazines when I was five years old. The first time I had been sexually touched was two years later when I was attacked by my neighbor (fortunately, the guy only got to "second base" and my friend caught him in the act before he could steal third). It was a year later, when I was in 3rd grade, that I was first penetrated by a 5th grade girl who forced me to allow her to finger me on the school bus ride home.

The first time I masturbated, I was 13 years old, had no idea what I'd just done (which was orgasm) and became terrified something was wrong with me (though I never told anyone). My high school SCREAMED abstinence, so I had no idea of my own body. I was 17 when I had my first (and current) boyfriend, which spurred me to educate myself of the sexual realms. Less than a year later, we had sex for the first time and it was the first time I truly enjoyed being sexual.

Women feel less guilty about losing their virginity, but is that the conversation we need to be having?

Note: Another story on this study just came out, so we're reposting this response.  

Image via Rise, Rebel, Resist tumblr

As someone who's been working for years to bust mythologies and change the conversation around virginity, I give a serious hooray for reducing guilt around first intercourse for women. Writing about a new study,  Salon reports in "Science: Losing your virginity isn’t as awkward as it was 20 years ago":

"According to a study from the University of Illinois, young adults have felt better and better about their first-time sexual experiences for the past 23 years, with the difference between men’s and women’s emotional responses to early sexual intercourse decreasing over time."

And this:

"The researchers discovered that gender differences in response to virginity loss diminished greatly over time, which they suspect might be “because of a reduction, in general, of social regulation of female sexuality and in the double standard” of sexual expression for each gender."

It's no surprise that women are feeling less guilt and shame around becoming sexual. They have more agency to choose how, when and why they'll become sexual. (Thank you, Feminism) Women know more than they ever did about their bodies and how to get pleasure from the experience (Thank you Scarleteen and the other fantastic online resources). And maybe, just maybe, the guys are paying more attention to women's pleasure as well. (Thank you again, Feminism).

But, as writer Jenny Kutner points out:

"It’s important to note, though, that men do still exhibit more positive responses and experience more pleasure than women — also because of the “reduction” in the policing of women’s bodies and not its complete obliteration."

Reduction, not obliteration, and I'd argue in the last 8 years, some significant increases. There's the $1.5 billion worth of inaccurate, sexist shaming  from Abstinence-Until Marriage programs, and the near constant stream of slut-shamingrape cases dismissed or hushed up, and legislative attacks on women's reproductive rights and resources. Young women are also facing more pressure to have sex (call it prude-shaming?) and then get a steaming pile of mixed messages like the always-popular 'be sexy but don't have sex."

Even comprehensive sex classes don't talk much about how both women and men can get pleasure from sex, or how to ask for and respect consent. A woman having pre-marital sex may be more acceptable than in the past, but so is having your own bank account and keeping your last name.

One thing that continues to be frustrating is using intercourse as the sexual benchmark for these studies. Why are we measuring the start of sexuality by a penis going into a vagina? First,  it's a heterosexual framework, leaving out a chunk of the sex-having population. But also, our V-Card Diaries story collection is full of young women writing that everything they did pre-intercourse was pleasurable, but intercourse itself was a let down.

No surprise: that's not how most women orgasm, especially when they're first starting to have sex. But the study insists on measuring women's pleasure by how much they enjoyed intercourse, and then they're actually surprised that it's so low. Please let's stop selling intercourse the big sexual prize for women and recognize there are lots of ways to have sex that don't involve a penis in a vagina. 

The progress is great, but we need to keep working to change the conversation about women, virginity and sex to one that's not only non-judgmental, but also recognizes diverse sexual experiences, and puts consent and pleasure at the top of the must-have list.

MagicWand

[Get more graphics and gifs here]

Women feel less guilty about losing their virginity, but is that the conversation we need to be having?

 

Image via Rise, Rebel, Resist tumblr

As someone who's been working for years to bust mythologies and change the conversation around virginity, I give a serious hooray for reducing guilt around first intercourse for women. Writing about a new study,  Salon reports in "Science: Losing your virginity isn’t as awkward as it was 20 years ago":

"According to a study from the University of Illinois, young adults have felt better and better about their first-time sexual experiences for the past 23 years, with the difference between men’s and women’s emotional responses to early sexual intercourse decreasing over time."

And this:

"The researchers discovered that gender differences in response to virginity loss diminished greatly over time, which they suspect might be “because of a reduction, in general, of social regulation of female sexuality and in the double standard” of sexual expression for each gender."

It's no surprise that women are feeling less guilt and shame around becoming sexual. They have more agency to choose how, when and why they'll become sexual. (Thank you, Feminism) Women know more than they ever did about their bodies and how to get pleasure from the experience (Thank you Scarleteen and the other fantastic online resources). And maybe, just maybe, the guys are paying more attention to women's pleasure as well. (Thank you again, Feminism).

But, as writer Jenny Kutner points out:

"It’s important to note, though, that men do still exhibit more positive responses and experience more pleasure than women — also because of the “reduction” in the policing of women’s bodies and not its complete obliteration."

Reduction, not obliteration, and I'd argue in the last 8 years, some significant increases. There's the $1.5 billion worth of inaccurate, sexist shaming  from Abstinence-Until Marriage programs, and the near constant stream of slut-shamingrape cases dismissed or hushed up, and legislative attacks on women's reproductive rights and resources. Young women are also facing more pressure to have sex (call it prude-shaming?) and then get a steaming pile of mixed messages like the always-popular 'be sexy but don't have sex."

Even comprehensive sex classes don't talk much about how both women and men can get pleasure from sex, or how to ask for and respect consent. A woman having pre-marital sex may be more acceptable than in the past, but so is having your own bank account and keeping your last name.

One thing that continues to be frustrating is using intercourse as the sexual benchmark for these studies. Why are we measuring the start of sexuality by a penis going into a vagina? First,  it's a heterosexual framework, leaving out a chunk of the sex-having population. But also, our V-Card Diaries story collection is full of young women writing that everything they did pre-intercourse was pleasurable, but intercourse itself was a let down.

No surprise: that's not how most women orgasm, especially when they're first starting to have sex. But the study insists on measuring women's pleasure by how much they enjoyed intercourse, and then they're actually surprised that it's so low. Please let's stop selling intercourse the big sexual prize for women and recognize there are lots of ways to have sex that don't involve a penis in a vagina. 

The progress is great, but we need to keep working to change the conversation about women, virginity and sex to one that's not only non-judgmental, but also recognizes diverse sexual experiences, and puts consent and pleasure at the top of the must-have list.

MagicWand

[Get more graphics and gifs here]

V-Card Diaries: Distracted Dragon "I'm offended by responses to my vaginismus, when coupled with my “virginity” and queerness."

Today we're highlighting Distracted Dragon in New York, NY, writes that our society slut shames and virgin shames at the same time, speaking out of both sides of our mouth. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.

A little about yourself:

25. Queer cisgendered woman. New York, NY

How I define virginity:

I dislike "virginity" and "losing one's virginity" as terms because they are vague and carry negative, gendered connotations. I prefer "making one's sexual debut" over "losing one's virginity" because you aren't losing anything when you have sex, you are gaining an experience, be it a wonderful experience, a terrible experience, or a ridiculous experience. I feel what equates sex, and thus, virginity, is self-determined. Healthy communication between partners should not begin and end at “I’m a virgin”, but should be a discussion of what you have/have not done, what you do/do not want to do with another person.

Here's my story:

I've never had sex because the opportunity has yet to present itself. I have no qualms about engaging in sex, should I find a mutually interested, respectful partner. I resent that our society both condemns sexual debut that occurs “too young,” but also “too old.” God forbid any teenager engage in consensual sex but as soon as you’ve hit 18 and graduated from high school, genital exploration between you and another (preferably heterosexual) partner must ensue, pronto. We slut shame and virgin shame at the same time, speaking out of both sides of our mouth.

I discovered, via my first attempt at a pelvic exam at age 21, that I have primary vaginismus, an involuntary muscle contraction of the pelvic muscles that makes penetration painful. I'm working with dilators and Kegel exercises to treat this but I've been frustrated and offended by responses to my vaginismus, when coupled with my “virginity” and queerness.

I have been made to feel, by self-help sites, online forums, and members of the medical profession:

a) I shouldn't still be a virgin at 25. That in and of itself is indicative of "emotional trauma." I acknowledge emotional and sexual trauma can be a factor in vaginismus but it isn’t always. I have not avoided sex because of my vaginismus, although it will be a discussion to have with future sex partners.

b) Women who desire sex with women don’t have vaginismus. Because apparently painful penetration is only supposed to happen to heterosexual women? I shouldn’t know penetration hurts if my vagina has never made intimate acquaintance with a penis? Right, because the inability to accommodate a speculum or my ob/gyn’s fingers is not indicative of a problem. I don’t need penetration to have sex and even if I did I don’t need a penis for penetration. But I do need regular health exams, so can we please get past narrow views on sexual mechanics and how they relate to my preferences?

As a culture, we need to acknowledge that there are a range of behaviors that constitute sex for a range of sexual identities just as there are a range of medical problems that we encounter relating to our sexuality. Our nerve endings and our attractions do not line up in pre-scripted ways. Sex is a fascinating topic because it is so complex – our desires, our bodies, our motivations, and our practices compel myriad conversations, personally and on a national level. Sexuality will play a part in our lives, whether or not we engage in sex itself, and it is part of our human story. The sharing of stories is the transmission of culture, so let’s talk about sex, baby.

V-Card Diaries: Jessie " It was not until I began to go to therapy that I reclaimed that part of my sexuality."

Today we're highlighting Jessie from California, who was molested at 6, but learned she was not dirty or a slut with the help of her therapist. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I am a twenty-one-year old college woman who does not have a single clue what she wants to study. I live in California.

How I define virginity:

I define "virginity" as something spiritual. It is not something physical like a hymen. You lose your virginity when you willingly give up a part of yourself to the person you are with. Just because you are not physically a virgin, it does not mean you are not one.

Here's my story:

I was molested by another girl at the age of 6. It was at that age that my hymen was broken, and when I learned about virginity at the age of 11 I was very ashamed of myself. For many years I never talked about what had happened to me. I shyed away from any form of sex talk, and even when I did go on dates it was extremely difficult to kiss boys without bringing up memories.

I had thought that a girl who is not a virgin is dirty and a slut, so I mentally beat myself up for that. It was not until I began to go to therapy that I reclaimed that part of my sexuality back. With the help of my therapist I drew up my won conclusions about my virginity and my sexuality.

I was not a slut because I had been abused when I was young. My virginity was something for me to give away or lose to whom I pleased. When I finally did have sex, that is when I defined myself as not a virgin anymore. I had sex with someone of my choosing. Even though I never saw that person again after we had sex, I do not regret my decision of losing my virginity to her.

V-Card Diaries: Grizzy "Social pressures were telling me that my love for women wasn't real because I hadn't experienced being with a man."

Today we're highlighting Grizzy in Los Angeles, who needed to be with a guy because of social pressures about her queer sexuality. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

Well, I'm 22, a cis woman of color and live in Los Angeles. I just graduated school and trying to find my passion within my career and social life. I spent most of my time on tumblr and love to meet new queer people of color whom I can laugh with.

How I define virginity:

I'm not sure. There is so many arguments about it that it shouldn't be a big deal. But I like to think it is. It's just the way it's gender-ed and exploitative to women that I find a problem with. I think virginity should be something beautiful between yourself or with others. It is when you discover your body in another level. You begin to experience a self confidence in a single touch.

Here's my story:

My virginity. Horrible. It was at the most 10 minutes. Uhm, I just did it to get it over with. Social pressures telling me that I needed to be with a guy to make sure I was ok with my sexuality. That my love for women wasn't real because I hadn't experienced being with a man. So I did it for that. The good thing was I did it with someone I trusted so that's one thing I'm thankful for.

V-Card Diaries: Sodi "I've only been sexually active with girls, but with all of them I was the boy."

Today we're highlighting Sodi in Melbourne, Australia. Although she's been sexually active since she was 13, her current girlfriend was the first one to touch her. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I am a full out 24-year-old lesbian. I am from Mexico but I live  in Melbourne, Australia since 3 years ago. I have a girlfriend who I've been with for the past 2 years and 5 months, and she is the one I lost my V with.

How I define virginity:

My V, I suppose I define it as that special thing that I only gave to my special girl. It is not something physical(hymen). I think it is more emotional because I am a lesbian, so I think we don't lose out V in the same way a straight girl does.

Here's my story:

I've been with my girl for 2 and a half years and when we started dating she knew she wasn't the first one. I have been sexually active since I was 13, only with girls! But with all of them I was the boy, because all of them were straight girls so I used to fuck them and I used a strap on, so none of them ever touched me.

I wasn't interested in that because I felt weird if any of them tried to do it. I wasn't comfortable with my body at that point (I guess), but then I met this amazing girl which is nothing like my ex's, and she's a lesbian as well. It was the second time we were together and she was going on holiday the next day, so we were in her college room having fun, I was doing my thing, you know (making her see stars), what I normally do and I love it.

I can say I had an orgasm while eating her out, but when she finished I was like "OK, let's go to bed", and she was like "No, no, it is my turn" and I freaked out and I told her that no one has ever done that to me! She was surprised and told me to relax. " I am not going to hurt you," those where her words. So I lay down and she literally did everything to me, I was just following the orders she gave me. I never felt like that before. Not even 10 min after we finished, we realized she needed to get to the airport, so I tried to stand up and I couldn't. She laughed a bit and told me "That's how I feel all the time, now you know how real sex is, my love". She kissed me and helped me get dressed. It is something that I will never forget!

So special. I love her!

V-Card Diaries: Francesca "At 14, I was trying to avoid thoughts of being a lesbian and loving a girl."

*Trigger warning for sexual and other violence* Today we’re highlighting Francesca from an Eastern European country, currently living in rural America, who suffered a great deal of abuse before meeting a man she loves. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. .

About me: 

Francesca, 17-year-old dreamer from a beautiful Eastern-European country, exploring the world through the seek-and-find in my mind. Growing up at the seaside in a megapolis, I am an exchange student in rural America.

How I define virginity? 

Innocence of body and mind. When there is nothing to hide from mommy and priests.

My story:

That's a long one. Pretty much a confession. I was the most delightful and kind girl you would ever meet. Never had a bad thought in my innocent head, never upset my mom, took ballet classes and believed I'd become a princess when I grow up. Everybody adored me.

My dad has always had drinking & anger problems. Once I saw him with a knife over my mom. I lost my credibility in men, some months after he hit me and threw me to the wall at the school in front of everybody because I shared my crayons with a girl. I locked up in myself, and that sweet little girl died. I was 8. It happened so that I was about to be sexually assaulted twice, but I got away, and I became obsessed with a fear of being raped and all the men.

I think I've always liked girls as well as boys. When I like somebody, I don't consider them sexually. I've never seen this line between what is right and what is wrong. When I was 12, this older guy desperately fell in love with me. Tons of flowers, chocolates, balloons and books almost everyday- everything a girl can ask for to be the happiest. Made me think that I didn't deserve it and there is no way that could be truth, sooo... I fell in love with his best friend, a girl. She gave me my first kiss.

This was a long story, it lasted 2 years, which ended up with me and her having sex. I was 14. In the cold empty bathtub, pretty fast and painful. It hurt even with one finger inside of me, but I didn't lose my v-card. So innocent and scared before, I ate her out, and I have absolutely no idea how it could happen!!! I was so mentally a virgin that I almost fainted saying 'penis' at my anatomy class. She dumped me, scared of responsibility for my feelings, and it took me 2 years to get over it. I became a wild child, still making A's and never upsetting my mom. I was trying to avoid thoughts of being a lesbian and loving a girl, drinking and smoking stuff to kill the leftovers of innocence.

But then I met him (I was 16). I'm not sure if I did it to prove that I liked guys as well or because I had a big crush on him, but I felt it was right. We made love on the roof of a 16-stories-high building and then on the beach. It hurt a lot but my mind was orgasming from a thought that there is a guy I love above me, and the night city & the sea under...Now everything is as it should be.

V-Card Diaries: Late Blooming Lesbian "My ring went from 'True Love Waits' to 'I'm an adult who can make adult decisions' "

Today we're highlighting Late Blooming Lesbian in Texas, who started dating late, but knows she is a lesbian through and through. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself: 25, Female, Texas

How I define virginity?

Lack of penetrative sex

Here's my story:

I have had 3 boyfriends and 1 girlfriend. Weird, right, especially since my name clearly says LESBIAN? Ha ha. Well, I grew up in a fairly religious home and was "saving myself,"even had a ring from my dad that said "true love waits." I got it at 13 and lost my V-Card at 24.

I didn't date in high school. I was concerned with academics and socializing. I lived vicariously through friends experiences of sex and other things of that nature. It all just seemed complicated and messy. I had too many friends lose out on things like friends, a high school degree and even their home due to sex. I knew what it all was, as my mom had gone over it at appropriate stages and in terms I understood. I did however delve into the world of cyber sex. That was my outlet.

There I could be anything I wanted and do anything to any one. I discovered the best way to describe a blow job, how I would undress myself or them if I was there, and sex. I had watched porn and, in true nerd fashion, a 12 part documentary about sex. I was amazing... in writing. I wrote nightly erotic that would make anyone blush. I would then start to allow myself to watch porn simultaneously to chatting with these guys. They almost always picked girl on girl. I was totally ok with that cause that is what got me off. But my upbringing never encouraged sexiness. I wore very little make up and conducted myself as the jeans and a t-shirt gal who was so cool she was one of the guys.

After high school I dated a friend, T, for 2 months. We never got any further than him being my first kiss, yes, at 18. I went off to college and again I was too concerned with other things and the thought that some magical person would approach me , woo me and screw me. I didn't date anyone until E. When I really think about it, I have always been attracted to women but I was never brave enough to say anything other than ogle them from afar or in porn. E lucked out because even though I wasn't necessarily sexually attracted to him, he showed me that attention; crowning him the first to do so. I ate that up! I suddenly, for the first time, felt sexy. I saw myself in a whole new light. Albeit I never had "sex", I had had one drunken encounter with T, months before E, that almost led to it but I wasn't really into it. So I have him a handy and rolled over to sleep. A few months in to my relationship with E, I realized that my ring on my finger had changed meaning for me. It had gone from "true love waits" to "I'm an adult who can make adult decisions". So on to Planned Parenthood to get on the pill. Fast forward through drama and heart ache, I never needed it, now 22 and still a virgin. 2 years alone and some self discovery later I say to myself "I wanna go to a gay club and see what I can pull, cause F this, I wanna be happy!" Never went but I met my wonderful lovely amazing girlfriend.

Now those of you who are this far I'm sure are thinking, " didn't she say 3 boys and 1 girl..." Yes I did. I met my girlfriend at work and my kinda boyfriend there too. I was talking to her, R, and met her best friend BB. She and I hit it off and were inseparable from day one. Well, BB took an interest and I had confided in R that, while I was super into her, I hadn't been with anyone, at all. She then made a plan: I date them both, shared time and such, to see where I stood.

R took my V-Card. We were at her parents house. I met them as the friend. We went out drinking and got loose and comfy. We had only kissed and touched a little beforehand. But this was the big night. I was so excited because she turned me on in a way I never felt or knew possible. When we got back we changed and laid down, really casually. We started slowly and sweetly, just kissing, until she made a move and blew my mind. I was experiencing feelings and emotions I had never had. She "kissed her" as we like to call going down on one another. It was amazing! Who knew! I wasn't ready to give back like that but I was eager to touch and feel.

I knew where I wanted to be but BB was so into me and I kinda wanted to "make sure" I guess, or I just liked being the center of attention, no to mention sexual attention. It went on for about a month or so, and a three-some was brought up and attempted, but not until I broke it off with him. It was my birthday present to him, thoughtful friend, I know. As I had already had a form of sex, my girlfriend was a little nervous that I would like "the real thing" more. She purchased a strap-on. We used it and boy that was even more amazing. I found I am surely not quiet. BBs birthday rolled around and his present was given. I found myself grabbing, staring, and longing for R, not him. He finally "put it in" and nothing. Nothing! I was not excited or anything. I was as quiet as a mouse. He did his thing and I tried to enjoy it but when he was done I rolled over to R and proclaimed, I'm a lesbian, through and through.