Today we're highlighting Shanna from Tel Aviv, Israel. Not only does she run a fantastic sexuality organization called You Got Choices, but she is the organizer of our Sept. 30th Tel Aviv screening. We're so excited about doing this event with her and other fantastic feminist, sexuality professionals and folks who want to talk about healthy sexuality! You'll love her story, as well as some really interesting thoughts about this whole virginity thing. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.
When I was 16 I lost my virginity. Or should I say: that was the first time that a penis penetrated my vagina. For me, it was a romantic and joyful experience with my high school boyfriend, on a Tel Aviv beach, during my birthday. It is a good memory. I remember that I waited impatiently to talk to my girlfriends about it. I suddenly felt like a woman, not a girl. As if I entered another world, the adult world of those who understand what’s going on. I suddenly had preoccupations of women – gynecological visits, shaving, my smell. I was a real woman.
Now, more than a decade and a half after the fact, and more naughty stories in my history, I looked back and tried to understand why I considered this event to be my "loss of virginity ". I mean, I didn’t really change at that moment. I just thought I did. Suddenly I was careful about unwanted pregnancies, but other than that, I was the same young girl: nervous, unaware, in-love, and confused. So when exactly did I lose my virginity? What exactly is virginity? And how come it is something we “lose”?
I remember in seventh grade, I sat on the sofa with my parents. We were watching a movie where someone mentioned oral sex. I innocently asked, "What is oral sex?" And the casual answer I got was: "When someone pleasures someone else with their mouth." Suddenly I got nervous. The week prior I kissed a boy from class. Am I not a virgin? Did I have oral sex? Back then there was no Internet and it took me some time before I could find out exactly what I did with that boy. I discovered that indeed I was still a virgin and oral sex had to do with kissing sex organs. What a relief! I'm a virgin! But my inner processes had begun. I tried to understand the limits of sexuality. Suddenly, I discovered that sex is not just penis and vagina, but the whole body is involved. If so, I asked myself, what exactly is sex?
A few years later, after fooling around here and there with the boys from class and in the scouts, I met my adolescent love. You know the one – the one to whom "I lost my virginity". Slowly, in the span of a few months, our making-out became more serious. We took our time to get to know each other's bodies, the intimacy under our clothing. Together we learned what pleasures us and makes us feel good. One particular moment is engraved in my memories. We were in his bedroom. I Hope that his parents were not home, but, back then I didn’t care. We were so in love and passionate, that the only important thing was just to be together in mutual discovery. This moment, wow - what a moment. It was then that I experienced an orgasm with him. I experienced orgasms during masturbation, but never with a partner. This orgasm was before the loss-of-virginity-penetration. It was just petting and caressing. And yet it was thrilling. I remember screaming "I’m having an orgy!" And my boyfriend laughed: "Not an orgy, honey. An orgasm. An orgy is when there are lots of people having sex together." Suddenly, I discovered the power of fantasy. His words and thoughts of something so exciting and enticing brought me to the edge, and I experienced another orgasm.
This multi orgasmic experience was an awakening moment of pure ecstasy. At that moment I learned about mutual pleasuring. If I could re-define the concept of virginity and the loss of virginity - it would be this moment. Still, defined by society, this moment wouldn’t even be considered as sex -there was no penetration. When a few months later his penis definitely penetrated my vagina, and “sex” happened, I don’t even remember if I experienced an orgasm. Probably not. Despite the romantic night, it was short lived and a bit awkward. We had no idea what to do and I remember it was with effort that he entered me. We were so focused on technique that we forgot about the ecstatic connection we had had when we just petted. Nothing really propelled us to move ahead, just a yearning to pass the social berth of losing our virginity and becoming adults. After the act of penetration we felt like “we did it!". It was exciting. But deep in my heart, I missed the intimate moments before we had intercourse; I wanted to experience the depth of discovery over and over again. Yet, now I see my "loss of virginity" to be the moment I first experienced an orgasm with a partner- twice - and found out about orgies.
Years later, I was brave with my sexual life. I chose not to invest in relationships, but rather to enjoy the sensual energy that burns within me. Because of this choice I met many opportunities to lose my virginity repeatedly in all kinds of new and delightful situations. But at the time I did not really think about my experiences as losing my virginity; I just saw myself through society eyes: I was a floozy. I did not give myself the right to think of these moments of new pleasures and discoveries as a "loss of virginity”. Many times I met self doubt and self hatred. Just recently, I started thinking about the concept of virginity as a social concept that depresses women. I started rethinking the concept of virginity as one in which we loss some part of our innocence as we discover some new and invigorant sensual part of ourselves. This new thought is very empowering and is it with this thought that I see my life’s experiences in a better light.
What caused the change in consciousness? Well, watching the new documentary “How to Lose Your Virginity” that dispelled the myths and misconception about women's sexuality. These myths have been around since women started having sex. Through the film I was able to piece together a deep pervasive thought – that social definitions of sexuality and virginity control women’s sexuality in a very deep and destructive way. We need to think differently. We women are the ones who should define who we are as sexual beings. We should define what sex is for us. When a man loses his virginity he usually is not defined as a new person; but, when a girl or woman loses hers, she should be careful not to turn overnight from a virgin to a whore. It is time to pass on new concepts of sexuality, defined by women, empowering women, and encouraging sexual choice.