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painful sex

V-Card Diaries: Rebecca "We're both young Christian Republicans who do not care that sex goes against our main ideologies"

Writing from: Gilroy, California

Age: 15 years old

How I define virginity: Once the penis is inside the vagina, you've lost your virginity. However, if you're gay or lesbian, it's obviously different.

Freshman year, I met him at a football game and we talked often and loved seeing each other. He was super sweet to me, but I realized that I wasn't really in to him, so I stopped talking to him, in order to not lead him on. We still politely greeted each other whenever we saw one another.

Now sophomores, we started talking again because he was talking to one of my best friends. I think we became such close friends when we realized we were both freaky people, the only difference being, which I didn't tell him, that I was a virgin. We told each other that we'd hook up before we graduated, even as he currently will probably soon date another girl in my class. I told him to call me on a rainy day, and we actually set that day for two weeks from now. We then realized that we both got out of school early this past Friday, and decided to meet then.

At 11:50 am, I dashed out of school and started the journey to his house. I walked through dangerous parts of the big city and got to his house at around 1:45 pm. There was a slight delay in time because I had to compose my nerves in a Safeway bathroom before I headed on, had to re-check directions to his house in a McDonalds, and freshened up in the bathroom of a public high school I passed on the way to his house, and then proceeded to proudly strut down the hallways of that school in my all-girls Catholic high school uniform.

Since we are close friends, walking in to his house knowing I'd leave not a virgin was slightly awkward, but not too much. He nervously talked about hockey practice as I took off my shoes as sexily as one can take off her shoes. We made a quick plan in case his parents came home. So we went in his basement, turned on Family Guy, and started making out. He fingered me, gave me a hickey, and we eventually had sex, and he even ate me out. We cracked jokes at each other, laughed and moaned a lot, and had a lot fun. I felt so comfortable with him. He got upset when I continuously called myself ugly.

We decided that we didn't want to tell anyone. I had to be back at school by 5 for tech crew so he downloaded the Lyft app and paid for a ride back. The driver must've thought we looked ridiculous ducking as we ran to the car to avoid the camera his parents set up in front of his house, trying to figure out if he had enough money, where to enter our coupon code, and laughing as we gave each other an awkward kiss goodbye. The driver and I made small talk about my school's XC team.

Let me throw in one more thing to make you laugh out loud one more time at this hilariously awkward story; in those 3 hours, I had my first kiss, first make-out session, first time being fingered and eaten out, first time even touching a penis, and yeah, first time having sex. I've been told before that it's unhealthy to be in a friends-with-benefits relationship, or to be having sex when you haven't been 15 for even a month and he's only been 16 for about 2 months, but I don't care. There's such a taboo over sex and people don't realize that it's the most natural thing ever.

We're actually both young Christian Republicans, who do not care that sex goes against our main ideologies. Have sex or don't have sex whenever you freakin' want; it's you and your partners business only. I love my crazy and awkward first-time story. Last tidbit, don't be surprised if you feel sore for the next few hours, or if you're in your school's theater bathroom an hour later and you're bleeding a bit!

 

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

V-Card Diaries: Brianna "I look forward to having more sex in the future. I don't know if that takes away my C-card (Christian card). I hope not"

Writing from: Fairfield CA

Age: Early 20s

How I define virginity: A made-up patriarchal idea created to monitor the behavior and actions of women and create a culture of control and oppression.

I grew up in a very conservative, Christian household. I thought purity was the highest goal to attain and I bought into the Silver Ring Thing, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and When God Writes Your Love Story courting culture up until I was a sophomore in college.

As my worldview broadened, I continued to think that I would save my virginity (at that time I defines as penile-vaginal intercourse) for marriage. I was dating my current boyfriend for 6 months when I decided to have intercourse with him. I was prepared for the worst case scenario, but I just really wanted to do it. I'd been told sex hurts for women, you'll feel  like a dirty, used bag if you do it outside of marriage, it'll ruin your relationship, etc.

When it happened, it wasn't painful at all. I didn't feel like a dirty, used rag. I honestly didn't feel any type of way about it except that it was enjoyable. For me it definitely wasn't the big deal that everyone made it out to be. I was in a committed relationship, with a loving and safe partner and I look forward to having more sex in the future. I don't know if that takes away my C-card (Christian card). I hope not.

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

Ask Trixie: I'm really tight down there and I'm nervous about pain and blood

Hi, love your blog. I'm 19 and a virgin. I've met this guy and I really want to have sex with him (I'm a girl). I told him I was a virgin and he was so respectful about and said we won't do anything I'm not comfortable with. I'm nervous about any pain or blood. A bit TMI but I'm really tight down there and haven't been able to get a finger in. Any tips/ advice for a first timer? Thanks in advance!

Hi! I’m really glad you’re dating a nice guy who is respectful of your boundaries and comfort level. That’s important in any relationship, but especially when you’re getting ready to do something for the first time. 

It’s pretty common to be worried about pain and blood if you’ve never had penetrative sex before. Especially because all we hear so many scary stories, we assume that’s how it always has to be. So, first of all, you should know that some people don’t experience pain, and/or don’t bleed, but since our bodies are all different, there’s no one ‘normal’ way we work.

If you’re not able to put a finger in there, it could be for a lot of totally understandable reasons: you’re nervous and the muscles around your vaginal canal and pelvic floor are super tense; you don’t have enough lubrication to help something slide in comfortably; or you may have a medical condition that should be looked at by a gynecologist. 

These are all things that can be dealt with, as long as you and your partner are communicating and you take your time. Also, keep in mind that sex includes a whole lot of really pleasant things that don’t include vaginal penetration (intercourse isn’t the be all and end all). 

Because this is such a common issue, I’m going to link you to previous stories I’ve done that have lots of info and links:

Will I Bleed The First Time I Have Sex?

We’re About To Have Sex But I’m Worried About It Hurting

I hope you and your partner have some really pleasurable sex together!

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

V-Card Diaries: Liz B. "He invited me over to his house and I of course went knowing what 'Netflix and chilling' meant"

A little about myself: 

I'm 17-year-old female student, born and raised in Houston, TX.

How I define virginity: 

I define virginity as a metaphor for one's innocence that is lost when one participates in sexual intercourse.

Here's my story: 

I was 16 when I was dating a guy from the soccer team. We barely had a month together, but there was something about him that completely had me hypnotized (maybe it was the whole bad boy thing?). Well one day he invited me over to his house and I of course went knowing what "watching Netflix and chilling" meant.

We started making out and of out no where we jumped right to it. It was Horrible! There was no foreplay, no nothing. The pain that Ii felt during sex was unbearable and we had to stop a couple of times. He finished fairly quick and then looked back at me shocked claiming " i didn't know you were a virgin" ... like really? My first time can be summed up to painful, akward, embarrassing. And pissed me off. i regret losing my virginity simply because all my friends were sexually active.

Check out Liz B. on Tumblr. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.

Ask Trixie: "I'm terrified to have sex because I suck at everything"

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I'm a virgin. Which kinda sucks [to me]. It's not that i don't like being a virgin, I'm just fucking terrified to have sex. That and I've never had a boyfriend. I'm bit old fashioned. I'd like to make sure I know the person before I let them stick anything inside me, you know?? Any tips? because i suck at everything. Please and thanks. – Anonymous

Hi Anonymous - After reading your letter, I'm pretty sure you don’t suck at everything! You’ve been giving this decision to have sex a whole lot of thought. And the first and most important part of becoming sexual is to know your own body, what you want and don’t want, and how you’re going to make yourself happy. 

So, it sounds like you kind of know what to do: Take your time and find someone you trust, you can talk to, and you feel comfortable with. This might take a while, but keep in mind it’s not a race to the finish line. It’s a long process and intercourse is just one part of it. Go slow. Definitely try some something else first that might feel less intense or intimate. And when you're comfortable with that, try the next thing. (A lot of women say that manual or oral sex is more fun than intercourse, anyway.)

Another reason to take things slow and find someone you can talk to is the fear that penetration is going to hurt. For some people, it does, but often it's because they're not relaxed or lubricated enough. I wrote about that here.

So take a deep breath and relax. I think you’re totally on the right track!

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

V-Card Diaries: LaPlume "I numbed my mind for the entire experience."

**TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT**

A little about myself:

I'm and 18-year-old cis female from Indiana who currently lives in Chicago.

How I define virginity:

I always saw virginity as the first time one has sex/is penetrated. The heterosexual definition of virginity has always been my go-to definition since that's all that has ever applied to me, but as I read other stories I see it's not as black and white as that. Virginity can be pretty subjective.

Here's my story:

I was 15 when I lost my virginity and the guy was 19. We went to high school together. I never planned on sleeping with him at all, let alone for my first time. I wanted my ex-boyfriend and I to share our first experience together but we'd broken up and my two best friends were so happy to have me join them in their sexual adventures that they pushed me to sleep with him. They said "why not?" and I was hurt, so I set it up. It wasn't rape in the technical sense, but I knew I didn't want to before we even made it to my bedroom. My exact thought was, "If I tell him no now, he'll rape me. So I should just get it over with."

It was awful. There was no foreplay. He just told me to get naked and he only kissed me when he realized he couldn't perform. He reluctantly performed oral sex on me (which was painful in itself) and then he went for it. There was so much blood and a literal tearing sensation, and he wouldn't stop talking about himself. I numbed my mind for the entire experience. Afterward I made him leave and I immediately washed my sheets. I don't remember the rest of that day, only that I covered my tracks so that my parents wouldn't find out.

When I got back with my boyfriend I was so embarrassed that I lied about being with anyone else at all. I cried when he gave his virginity to me.

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

V-Card Diaries: Alessia "He reminded me of Christian Grey, but the way he kissed alone made my knees weak."

Today we're highlighting Alessia in Long Island, NY whose first-time experience, after a month of texting, was "romantic, sexy, gentle, passionate, and rough all at the same time." 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 21-year-old woman living in Long Island, New York and going to grad school in Manhattan.

How I define virginity:

I don't really define it. I think it's completely up to an individual to decide what their virginity is/isn't.

Here's my story:

Over this past summer, when I was 20, I had gone up to my friend's college house to celebrate her roommate's 21st birthday. After spending the day drinking and partying at their house, we hit the most popular, hipster dive bars there and that's where I saw him. He was almost the exact physical definition of my dream guy: a beard, brown hair, green eyes, just so fucking sexy. We couldn't keep our eyes off of each other while he was playing pool and finally he approached me and we got to talking.

All of my friends wanted to head back to the house at that point but he asked if I would wait with him until he finished his game of pool and then we'd go back together. Normally, I'd be a little apprehensive about this but since some of the girls we were with knew him, I said ok. On the way back we did some making out, hung out at the house a little, and then I walked him back to his car and we made out some more and made plans to see each other the following weekend despite the 3 hour difference between us.

That didn't work out, unfortunately, and I left for Italy for 2 weeks the following week. He texted me once while I was there, but since my texting was limited we weren't able to talk a lot.

Eventually, things between us died down and we didn't speak for over a month. I met a different guy and we dated for a little bit but on my 21st birthday he dumped me. Feeling down, I texted the guy from the bar and we started talking again.

We began talking everyday for over a month and a lot of it involved intense sexting and describing in detail what we'd do to each other in person. Well, today, we finally got the chance to see each other in person cause he made the trek down to where I live cause we couldn't take the waiting and frustration any longer.

So, first we got lunch but the sexual tension was so strong that we rushed back to my place and went straight for my room. He reminded me of Christian Grey, by the things he said and the way he looks, but the way he kissed alone made my knees weak. We both stripped down and did some foreplay, (he had the biggest dick I had ever seen in my entire life so I was terrified of how painful it was going to be). When it was finally time to have sex, I told him the truth that that's the only thing I had never done before.

He was super nice, gentle, and understanding about the whole thing. Even though it was painful, it did eventually feel good enough that I had multiple orgasms. Even when I started to bleed a little and got so embarrassed I almost left the room to go wash myself, he kissed me and told me it was perfectly natural and not even slightly embarrassing and continued on.

It was just so romantic, sexy, gentle, passionate, and rough all at the same time and I seriously hope I can have sex with him again.

V-Card Diaries: Gwen "I wasn't raised in a sexually repressive atmosphere. Quite the opposite."

Today we're highlighting Gwen in Sweden whose first sexual partner was an Eminem wannabe she met at a Bartles and James wine cooler party. 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:

39-year-old dual American-Swedish citizen living in Sweden. After two unhappy long term relationships (one of which was mostly sexless) I am engaged to the man of my dreams.

How I define virginity:

Having never done anything sexual before, and this includes masturbation. By this definition, I lost my virginity at the age of four, since that's when I started masturbating.

Here's my story:

I've always been a very sexual woman. I was a very horny little girl and began masturbating when I was about four years old. Thankfully, I wasn't raised in a sexually repressive atmosphere. Quite the opposite, really. My mother put me on the pill when I was sixteen, although I had already lost my virginity by then.

When I was fifteen I went on a date with a guy that I met through a friend. He was a white rapper, kind of an Eminem wannabe type. We went to a party where everyone was drinking Bartles and James wine coolers with Sweet Child of Mine playing in the background. Someone handed me a Fuzzy Navel cooler, but I could only drink a few sips of this overly sweet alcopop. I didn't know I was going to have sex for the first time that night, but after making out on a sofa for about an hour, I decided I was ready. I asked him if he had protection and he said yes.

We ventured outside for a little privacy. He laid his jacket on the ground and he proceeded to remove my jeans. The make out session left me nice and lubed up, but it still hurt like hell when he penetrated me. The pain was surprising, and I remember telling him to stop. He stopped thrusting so I could relax a little, and then we continued. After a few minutes it stopped hurting and I started to enjoy it, although I certainly didn't come.

Afterwards, we got dressed and he took me home. That was the only time I ever went out with him and I never saw him again, although I did talk to him once or twice afterwards.

After that, I didn't have sex again for almost a year.

Painful first intercourse is not a given, it's a sign that something is wrong

TrainVirginity
TrainVirginity

 

We hear a lot from people terrified that first intercourse is going to be incredibly painful, and the image above has come up over and over again on virginity tweets (anyone know where it's from?).

That might be because sometimes first intercourse can be painful, but more likely because that idea has been reinforced in our culture and there's not nearly enough conversation about what people with vaginas (and their partners) can do to lessen or eliminate the pain.

Because, guess what, it doesn't necessarily have to hurt! It's just that most people are scared, or tense, or unprepared, or don't take generous amounts of time to relax the pelvic muscles through other kinds of sexual activity. And if it does really hurt, they might have a physical problem that needs to be addressed by a gynecologist. Either way, living with pain is not the answer.

So I was really happy that two stories crossed my radar recently about intercourse and pain:

The first story is from a woman who was diagnosed with vaginismus, a condition that makes intercourse painful or often impossible (you can find other stories about it on our blog herehere, here and here).

It broke up her marriage and caused her a lot of physical and emotional pain, but in this excerpt from  xoJane's It Happened To Me: My Husband Divorced Me After Four Years Because I Was Still A Virgin, she describes how she dealt with it and eventually overcame it.

"I kept at it with the dilators, more determined than ever. I did kegels. I did meditation. I did everything. About a year after the divorce was final, I had sex for the first time. I had been dating a wonderful guy...with a smaller than average penis. I didn’t tell him I was a virgin, but I did tell him sex was difficult for me sometimes.

One night after several bottles of red wine and a lot of lube, it happened. In the two years since that first time, I’ve had sex on a regular basis. I fell in love with the guy with a below average penis and married him three-and-a-half months ago. He loves me for me. It still hurts at the beginning of sex almost every time. We still have to use lube almost every time. But, I guess we are doing it right because I’m five months pregnant."

The second story is from our friend Sa Belle Femme, about how she and her husband-to-be prepared for intercourse without pain. Here's an excerpt from  Virgin Myths: Popping Her Cherry:

"If I hadn't spent so much time reading up on virginity and first-time coitus, I would have just accepted the cultural narrative that my wedding day sex would be painful. Instead, I was able to prepare for the first time Beau and I had coitus, to guarantee that our married sex would be awesome (or at least pain-free) the first time. Long story short, we used lots of lube, and I was on top so I could control both the angle and speed of entry."

She'll be writing in detail about her methods on her blog, including some info about a set of nifty dilators that worked wonders. They also talk about it in our film How To Lose Your Virginity.

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: Fourth Time's The Charm "Fresh out of high school at 17, I met a guy at a sword fighting club."

Today we're highlighting Fourth Time's The Charm in the US. After the three painful attempts, the fourth time was amazing thanks to the guy she's still dating. 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'm a twenty-year-old female and a junior in college.

How I virginity:

Virginity to me is someone who has never had vaginal intercourse. Doesn't matter if their hymen broke before then due to sports or something, if a penis has not entered the vagina she's a virgin. Though I don't really like the term, I just like to think of it as 'have I or haven't I done this sexual act'.

Here's my story:

When I was fresh out of high school at seventeen I met a guy at a sword fighting club on the college campus I was a part of and he was pursuing his PhD at. He was really handsome, and always making me laugh. He knew I was underage though, so he said he wanted to be friends with me before we even considered dating. Six months of Friday and Saturday night hanging out, helping me with homework from my freshmen classes, hours upon hours of phone calls, and hundred thousands of texts later he officially asked me out on a date. About two weeks after that he kissed me, about darn time in my opinion!

A week after my birthday, I told him I didn't want to wait anymore. He told me that he didn't want to rush it or push me, and when it was right 'it' would happen. A week later we were making out on his couch and he gave me this sweet kiss before pulling me up and leading me to the bedroom. My heart was in my throat, all I had heard from my friends was 'it hurts, and it's not gonna be that great'.

He made it all about me, what made me feel good and not hurting me. He tried to gently push in, got decently far, and then it started to hurt. So he pulled out, and we satisfied ourselves in other sexual ways. I admit I was a bit disappointed he'd stopped, but he said he didn't want it to hurt. This happened two more times over the space of a month.

Finally, the fourth time, he slid in all the way with no pain at all and it was amazing. And still it was all about making it as wonderful for me as possible. I never regretted it, it was more exciting than awkward, and he did his best to show he cared (can't say we were in love at that point) for me.

Three years later, I'm still happily dating him. :)

V-Card Diaries: Marissa "He couldn't find the 'hole' and I wasn't much help."

 Today we're highlighting Marissa in Boulder, CO. Her first sex was painful and bloody, but she's happy she lost her virginity to a nice boyfriend. 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 24-year-old female who lives in Boulder, CO.

How I define virginity:

Not having vaginal intercourse.

Here's my story:

So, I didn't have the best self esteem at 17, and I finally had my first real boyfriend. I really wanted him to stay with me, so, within a couple of weeks, we had sex and it was interesting.

We were both virgins. He couldn't really find the "hole" and I wasn't much help. We had sex and it was painful for me. When we were finished he went to the bathroom and so did I. I found a huge puddle of blood and freaked out! It was everywhere.

We talked about it months afterwards and he said that he "never thought he'd have a chance to have sex with me and felt bad that I thought he wouldn't want to stay with me because of sex." He also noticed the blood, it was all over him too. He didn't care though. Overall, it's funny, sad, but overall I'm happy I lost my virginity to him.

V-Card Diaries: Ms. Beavers "It was painful for me, nerve-wracking, and beautiful–and sex got much better after the initial pain!"

Today we're highlighting Ms. Beavers in Bakersfield, CA. Her sexual debut was nothing was painful and nothing like the movies, but still a pure bonding experience. 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:

I am a 21 year old female who originates from California–specifically, Bakersfield.

How I define virginity:

Losing your virginity is more than physical penetration. It is a development of emotions, maturity, connections, and (hopefully) pleasure. Being a virgin is having a sense of purity within your own body. The term "losing your virginity" has a negative connotation, but is completely construed because if you have a positive experience, it can be the beginning of an entirely new chapter in life of love, passion, desire, and responsibility.

Here's my story:

I am currently 21 and had my sexual debut at age 18. My story involves my high school sweetheart–we met when we were 15 and are still currently together. We waited 3 and a half years to have sex! It was after our freshman year of college that I had my dorm room to myself (plus him) and we just decided that it was time for us. It was nothing like the movies–the intense, passionate, screaming double orgasms. It was painful for me, nerve-wracking, and beautiful. Sharing that connection that neither of us had experienced with anyone else, and knowing that we are each other's keepers still to this day, is one of the most pure bonding experiences I've ever had. Oh, and sex got much better after the initial pain!

V-Card Diaires: Alana "Is it in? I can't tell," I said. "Nope," he replied.

Today we're highlighting Alana in the US, who once bought a dilator vibrator to help with intercourse but broke it the first time she used it. Is that a sign? 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'm a nineteen year old student studying engineering. I identify as cis-female and bisexual.

How I define virginity?

I guess I define sex as an activity that arouses everyone involved. The more I've tried to define it, the more vague my definition got. The penis-in-vagina definition definitely does not fit with my experience as all of my pleasant sexual experiences with both men and women did not involve penetration.

Here's my story:

I had my first sexual experience last year when I had my first kiss with my first boyfriend. Over the course of the year I've tried heavy petting, manual sex, and oral sex, and mutual masturbation all of which felt like sex, and I don't count any one of those moments as the single moment I lost my virginity. What surprised me about all of my experiences was how comfortable I felt. It helped that I had had explicit conversations about boundaries and expectations with my partners beforehand.

What I definitely do not define as losing my virginity was when I tried to have penis-in-vagina intercourse. The first time I tried, I was fooling around with my boyfriend when I told him I wanted to have sex with him. He put on a condom and covered it with lube, and I got on top of him. I soon found that I couldn't even get his penis inside of me.

"Is it in? I can't tell," I said. "Nope," he replied. The we spent an awkward lengthy amount of time trying to get it in to no avail. It was disappointing and really killed the mood. The next time we tried, it started out similarly with awkward hole finding, shoving, and getting lube everywhere. Eventually I got it in, and I knew immediately that it was in because I felt searing pain, yelled and took it out.

I thought the third time would be the charm. It wasn't. It went exactly the same as the second time. I haven't tried have intercourse since then because it hurt so badly. I bought I dilator vibrator because I thought it would help me be able to have intercourse with my boyfriend. It ended up breaking during my first use.

V-Card Diaries: Lee "I'm glad I was drunk enough so I can't remember everything that happened."

*Trigger warning for sexual assault* Our latest V-Card Diaries comes from Lee from Vermont, who was tired of waiting but ended up having a really bad experience. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. We'd love to run it in this blog.

About me:

I'm 24, female, from Vermont.

How I define virginity:

For heterosexuals, I define it as penis penetrating the vagina or anus. For gay men, penis penetrating the anus. I'm not sure what I'd consider losing virginity for gay women.

My story:

I was 23 when I had sex for the first time. I was tired of being the only one of my friends that hadn't had sex, and I didn't want to turn 24 before it happened. A friend of mine had a cousin coming to town who had rented a hotel room, and mentioned that he was cute and I might like him. We went out drinking, and he kept buying drinks for me and dancing. I went back to the hotel with him, and even though I wasn't that attracted to him, I had decided it was a good night to get it over with. I didn't change my mind until he told me he didn't have any condoms.

I offered to give him a blow job instead, but he got too rough and I had to stop. Next thing I knew I was lying on the bed and he was inside of me. I was so relieved he'd stopped hurting my throat that I didn't say anything, just waited for him to stop so I could fall asleep. Sex itself didn't feel like much compared to how painful the blow job had been. The next morning I left before he woke up and drove myself home. Part of me is glad to have gotten that experience over with, but I wish it had been some other way. I'm glad I was drunk enough so I can't remember everything that happened. It was a month before I could look at myself and feel sexy again. I haven't had sex since then.

V-Card Diaries: A. "Because I have vaginismus, I often say I'm in Virgin Limbo"

Tell us about yourself:  

I'm a 24-year-old heterosexual female living in the US.

How do you define virginity?

I’m currently rethinking how I define virginity. I used to think the loss of virginity was a clear milestone for heterosexual females like myself-- the first time one willingly engages in penetrative vaginal sex-- but now it doesn’t seem so simple. As someone who made the deliberate decision to have vaginal sex but was physically unable to do so, I don’t know whether or not to call myself a virgin or not. Which matters more, the intention or the act itself?

It also seems a little ridiculous to claim the label “virgin" when I have an active sex life of oral and outercourse and orgasm more frequently than some of my friends who lost their vaginal virginity years ago, but the cultural significance of vaginal virginity is pervasive and hard to just throw away or ignore, especially when it's the standard by which so many other people define it.

I often say I'm in "Virgin Limbo"; I don’t feel right identifying as a virgin OR not a virgin. I think the definition of virginity needs tweaking to account for situations like this.

Tell us your story

Until I was 22 I was a virgin because I was waiting for the right person. My first kiss was at 18 and my first boyfriend at 19, but in college I never dated anyone long enough to feel the comfort and trust I considered a prerequisite. However, just shy of my 22nd birthday, I met him. We had been dating a few months when I decided that our relationship-- and, most importantly, I personally!-- was ready.

The night leading up to it was perfect. There was a rooftop sunset, spontaneous fireworks display in the distance, and making out in the rain; if it had been in a movie, you'd have rolled your eyes at how “unrealistic” it was. We went back to his room with some condoms and went for it.

Except . . . "it" didn't happen. I was more than ready when he tried to enter me, but it felt like he was like he was trying to thrust against a wall-- a wall that felt sharp stabs of pain every time it was hit! I normally have a very high tolerance for pain, so I couldn't believe this was supposedly what every girl feels her first time, especially since he hadn’t even entered me more than a half-inch. I tried loosening things up more with more lube and orgasming first but it didn’t make a difference. I was so frustrated I was ready to force through the pain, but my partner had been with a virgin before and knew it wasn't supposed to be so difficult or painful, so we stopped.

In the following months we sought advice from trusted friends and the Internet alike and were given suggestions from extra lube to getting drunk. But the only thing that actually helped was a name we discovered: vaginismus, a condition in which the pubococcygeus (PC) muscles at the opening of the vagina involuntarily close and painfully resist the entry of foreign objects, from tampons to penises. It explained everything: why I'd always hated using tampons, why I'd cried in pain during my one and only pelvic exam, and why I couldn't have sex. I wasn’t “unusually tight” as I’d once believed; penetration objectively hurt me in ways it doesn’t hurt most people, thanks to muscle spasms I can't control. It’s still a mystery why I have vaginismus, but knowing what it is has lead to information on how to fix it.

Fast forward two years later. I'm still with the same partner and thanks to open minds and a few compatible kinks our sex life is plenty satisfying, but vaginal sex is still a distant dream. I've seen a doctor and gotten advice on relaxation techniques, Kegel exercises, vaginal dilation, and insight on what muscles to move and how, but while things seem to be progressing, it’s slow-going. It’s frustrating that what is so natural and pleasurable for most people is painful and a chore for me, something I have to “work on” in an unsexy clinical way. There’s enough promise in what we have achieved that we haven’t given up and eagerly await the day we can have vaginal sex, but for now, I’m still stuck in "Virgin Limbo."

You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.

Some highlights from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior

Researchers at Indiana University have just released the very large and very comprehensive National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB). With responses from 5,865 people ages 14 to 94, the survey asked about frequency of sex, types of partners, paying for sex and even how much pleasure or pain they got from sexual activity. The always-interesting Cory Silverberg at About:Sexuality spent the weekend with the report (bless his heart) is doing several posts on this gigantic study, the first of which includes some of the highlights (and the entire thread is here.) His posts explore both the good and questionable data, and he makes the point that some of this information has been known to health educators for a while now, but not to the general public.

Unfortunately, he hasn't done anything on age of first sexual experience or the number of non-sexually-active respondents, but that may come in later posts or papers. You can click here for a chart on different sexual activities by age. If you want to do your own research, you can download the first nine papers here.

Here are some of Cory's and our highlights:

Not all teenagers are the same. By collecting data from adolescents age 14 and up, the survey foregrounds the transition moment between the ages of 16-17 and 18-19, where teenagers show a huge leap in both kind and frequency of sexual activities. To offer one example, twice as many women between 18-19 report having had oral sex, vaginal intercourse, and anal sex as women who are 16-17. The data also let us see that condom rates also drop during this transition, in some groups by as much as 50% between the ages of 14-17 and 18-24.

53% of participants were with a romantic partner, 24% had a casual sex partner, and 9% had sex with a "new acquaintance"

Across age groups 6% of men and 30% of women reported some pain at their last sexual encounter. These percentages are striking both in terms of the sheer number of people they represent who are experiencing pain during sex, and the significant (but not surprising) gender discrepancy.

Overall 91% of men and 64% of women report having an orgasm at last sexual encounter. At the same time, 85% of men and 92% of women believed their partner had an orgasm the last time they had sex. These data can't be directly compared given the small group of people who have same sex partners, but the discrepancy, particular among men, is notable. Clearly more men think their partners are having orgasms than they are.

Read more at About:Sexuality.