It’s no secret that Catholics can be really fucked up about sex. From an early age I was told about how important virginity was and how special your first time is and how the experience will fundamentally change you as a person from that day forward. Throughout my religious education, no one believed that the importance of virginity could be overstated.
It verged into slut shaming on several occasions too. If you slept with someone who wasn’t your husband, suddenly you weren’t worth as much as a mate. You had lost a part of you that you couldn’t replace and that damaged your value as a potential wife to a Catholic man. I also heard the tape analogy during this time.
If you’re not familiar with it, the basis is that if you take two pieces of tape and put the sticky sides together, you can’t get them apart without ripping, tearing and leaving residue on either sides of the tape. Meaning that once you have sex with someone, they forever leave their sticky residue on you and, you’re never the same. If you attach your sticky side to too many people, then you will gradually disintegrate. I was also told that young women would get so emotionally attached to their first partner that you had to be in a secure relationship like a marriage because otherwise the resulting pain of breaking up would tear you asunder and leave you lapsing into insanity.
Anyway, I got to be 19 and still a virgin. When I got my second boyfriend, I became determined to change that. I finally did and let me just say, the disappointment was unparalleled. Sex was weird and uncomfortable and definitely didn’t result in any kind of climax for me. But beyond the mediocre sex, there was the disappointing fact that who I was hadn’t changed. At all.
Afterwards I wrote this poem. I dug this out of my poetry archives and did some basic editing.
Where’s my thunder and lightening, damn it?!
I have put so much emphasis on this eventuality, this act, that I thought the consummation would be nothing short of earth shattering, mind boggling, something that would change me, once and for all
Force me to evolve into something, the something that I’ve always feared
But here I sit, still the same person
The only difference being a secret relief
The struggle is over, the battle is won and I finished what I set out to
But I can’t help notice the total lack of divine voices from above
On one hand, it seems like life and death, on the other it’s no big deal
It’s far from “no big deal” but it’s hardly “life and death”
Marmalade and Jam
Right, wrong, good, bad, indifferent or otherwise
It was my choice and I made it
And I’m not afraid
After all, I could hardly listen to second-hand advice
For the rest of my entire life
It all seems so surreal in a way
Did this really happen?
Is this everything that goes along with it?
Is this real?
Is this it?
Yes, it has to be
I can remember every part, I can recall every second
Still so intangible, but why?
This feels so exempt from reality, a side note floating in space not bothering anyone, something that no one else knows about and no one could prove ever happened
But still, no thunder, no lightening
But still I’m the same person
But still for something that was supposed to be such a change,
There seems to be none
Just a memory stored in my mind
This time reality was much quieter
So yeah, virginity is not what some people make it out to be. At all. By the way, I broke up with that boyfriend a few months after we first had sex. I haven’t spoken to him in about 7 years and have no intention of doing so. I felt nothing when we broke up. He wasn’t the right person for me and I knew it at that point. The fact that he was the first person who have his genitals contact mine didn’t change anything when I decided that I didn’t want to be with him anymore.
When it really comes down to it, you’re not a piece of tape and neither is anyone else. You can have sex however and whenever you see fit and provided that you’re not doing anything illegal, have at it. Sex can be great, but for your first time, ladies, just count on it being awkward and a little painful.