“You think intercourse is a private act; it’s not, it’s a social act. Men are sexually predatory in life; and women are sexually manipulative. When two individuals come together and leave their gender outside the bedroom door, then they make love.” – Andrea Dworkin
Whether she lost her virginity with her first serious boyfriend or it was a one-night stand that’s best forgotten, the first time can affect her love-life forever. Is your partner happy with your sex life? Does she feel in control, and comfortable to experiment and get the love-life you deserve? Or does she lack the confidence to ask for what she wants in bed? Whichever camp she’s in, the key factor behind it could be how she lost her virginity. And the same rule applies to you. A recent US study, Gone but not forgotten: Virginity loss and current sexual satisfaction, published in The Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, investigated how influential our first time can be. They found that those who’d had the best experiences had the most fulfilling sex lives now. Whereas people with more negative memories were less happy with their current sex lives.
If there was a theme that linked most of them, it was disappointment. But, of course, your first time is unlikely to go smoothly – after all, you’ve never done it before, and your partner might not have, either. Of course, it’s also a matter of background: what you’ve been taught about sex, how it was dealt with by your parents, and so on. If you have a good sense of self, your first time is likely to have been more positive, even if the sex itself wasn’t that great. How your first time and subsequent sex life played out has to do with how you already were as a person in terms of confidence and self-image.
There are three groups we fall into when it comes to our first time:
- Pragmatists, who it won’t be the best experience, but manage their expectations and have an OK time.
- Stigmatised, who feel embarrassed by their virgin status and are determined to lose it as soon as possible, however possible.
- Gifters, who see their virginity as a precious item to be handled with care.
Gifters were more likely to have felt devastated if anything went wrong. Likewise, those who felt virginity was a stigma also took a negative experience to heart, and often waited longer before having sex again. But the pragmatist saw it as just another life stage, and is more likely to have been satisfied, or at least learnt from it and so stood a better chance of getting what they wanted next time. Feeling you had a choice in the matter is also important in creating an ongoing feeling of empowerment. It sets the template for your current sexual relationships.
The Sex Factors
The truth is, first-time sex has no guarantees. It could have been with a long-term partner but disappointing, or with a stranger who turned out to be considerate. Your age will also likely have had an impact – although your emotional maturity counts for more than actual years. A woman’s body may be mature in her early teens, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s emotionally ready to start a sexual relationship. If you aren’t ready, there’s a risk you’ll feel the first time was disappointing or shameful and other feelings that stay with you. Or you may be in your late teens or early twenties, and still feel awkward. Even the place where it happened could have a bearing. Say, a rushed session in a car would give you few hints of how amazing sex can be when it’s done slowly, with no fear of anyone walking in on you.
Learn from experience
- If the sex was a disaster. It needn’t dictate your sexual future. Most first times are underwhelming, but it gets better. The best cure is time – it can turn dreadful experiences into something we can laugh about later. Talking to people normalizes the situation. There’s a chance most will have had a less than brilliant first time too. The first time is just the first time – you can’t let it ruin the many wonderful experiences you’re having as an adult.
- If she felt her virginity was taken from her. For some women, their first time may have happened when they weren’t planning it or didn’t feel ready. The most natural reaction after is a lack of trust in the bedroom. Don’t make her feel guilty for holding back. Share your own nerves about your first time with her.
- If it was planned, with someone she trusted. This shows she had respect for herself and her body, but if her sexual life after that has followed a similar pattern, she might need to be more on the edge sexually. However, don’t feel you should push her boundaries just for the sake of it. Be happy she’s confident in knowing what she likes and she’ll soon open up to more adventurous romping.
- If she waited until she was older. Women may berate themselves for being older than their friends when they lost their virginity, though they shouldn’t. In fact, this shows that they didn’t and won’t bow to pressure. She probably now uses this strength to her advantage – she never compromises her values and always feels confident to ask for what she wants in the bedroom. It will lead to fulfilling sex.
Have a sexy week,
P.S. However your first time played out, it’s important not to have any regrets. Sex is meant to be fun, after all.