I can’t give all the credit to Chris for aiding me in my path to sexual discovery and openness, though he deserves a large portion of it. No, I have to thank the sex fanatic, and now dearest friend, that I lived with my sophomore year. Rose.
Rose lost her virginity to her high school boyfriend when she was a freshman. And boy, she spilled details. ALL the details. All the time. He lived upstate, and she would visit him every weekend. The best part was her consistent concern about how old he was.
“I’m going to jail,” she’d say. “Oh my god, I swear I’m going to jail.”
She was a freshman in college.
He was 15.
But she would come rushing back to the city, spilling everything about their juicy hookups, and disclosing all of the gossip she had tucked away in her mind.
What I found when I came to school was that there were two types of non-virgins: ones that were in serious, long lasting relationships who seemed to never talk about their sex life; and then there was Rose, whose discovery about sex opened up the world to her, and she suddenly stopped talking about everything else.
I really have to thank Rose someday, because if it weren’t for her, I would have never known some of the things about sex that became really useful upon mine very own losing of the virginity. What baffled me about Rose, though, was her distinctly sharp change in beliefs. She was raised as a reformed Jew, and didn’t think sex before marriage was wrong by any means, but she herself had decided to save herself for marriage. I distinctly remember walking home with her one night, and she was talking about the blow job she had just given to this composition major. She was appalled that he had pushed her head down to go deeper (a term I had never heard before this conversation. I mean I was really naïve), and she was convinced she would never agree to see him again.
I heard my mother’s voice in the back of my head saying, “You know what kids are doing nowadays, Michele? They’re having oral sex. ORAL. Do you know what that means??”
My face flushed because of my mother’s embarrassment at the ludicrousness of giving oral sex, and because my own confusion on the subject seemed to scream inexperience.
That conversation happened in November.
In January, Rose was no longer virginal.
Rose’s story is much more intricately tied, and will of course be interspersed through the diary for supportive and illustrative purposes, but when she lost her virginity, she felt “empowered”, not puppy-dog sick like other people I had heard from. Her boyfriend made her feel amazing and incredible all the time, she liked having sex with him. It was a win-win situation.
The mini-epiphanies on my journey came in small doses. The first one happened with Rose. It started with the conversations we would have about having sex. And the first one dealt with the question of “losing” something. Why would we say that we’ve “lost” our virginity, if it wasn’t something that was missed when it was gone? Everyone was having sex, and it seemed like nobody cared about the mystical V-word disappearing forever.
“Lost” made the event sound one of two things. Either tragic and fatal, like you had “lost” your grandfather; or trivial and confused, like in the way you “lost” your hamster in 6th grade. I wanted to think that the event of becoming a non-virgin it would fall somewhere in the middle of those two things. Important, but not destructive. So I started questioning. I asked Rose what she thought about “losing” it to someone – and she kinda shrugged and then just started talking about how long it had been since she had had sex.
So I took the phrase elsewhere. Back to my best friend from Idaho, Julie.