Love & Sex

My First Time: Female, 16, Iowa

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Female, 16, Iowa

My first time was what I would wish for any young woman.

I grew up in a rural town in Iowa. I didn't quite understand the complexity of life and relationships at that point. The parameters of dating seemed so clear-cut. You met someone you liked of the opposite sex, you started dating, and then you stayed together forever. Or, in some cases, you had a really public breakup. (Everything is public in a town of 2000 and a high school of 200.)

As far as sex went, I was raised to be really religious, and so I felt that sex was something I shouldn't be doing — at least not until marriage, or college, or my twenties, or some date or circumstance far into the future. I made this clear to the boys I dated, not that there were many of them.

One boy in particular broke my heart. He was the first person I held hands with, the first person I kissed, the first person I touched naked. But he was Trouble, and so I knew not to have sex with him, even though I desperately wanted to. My religious convictions gave me an easy excuse. He might or might not have been dealing drugs, and he lived on his own sometimes, even though he was only sixteen. When he finally cheated on me, which I'd anticipated he would, I resolved to look for a nicer boy. And so I found Dan.

Dan was sweet, if slightly simple. He was cute, in a cherubic, acne-splattered sort of way, and he was really nice to me. We spent a number of months making out and touching each other's bodies. We tentatively experimented with oral sex, though neither of us knew enough to even think about making the other orgasm. In fact, I'm not exactly sure I associated orgasms with what we were doing at all. I just knew that it felt good.

We were both virgins and had agreed that we wouldn't have sex. Even though we were both sixteen and everyone else we knew was having sex, we were committed to being good kids. The prospect of going against our religious education or being faced with an unintentional pregnancy terrified us. My family was very prominent and wealthy, and his was poor and blue-collar, and so I think that added an extra layer of steel onto our resistance.

But about six months into our dating, we were babysitting for his cousins, who were sleeping in their bedrooms. We decided to go play foosball in the rec room in the attic, where we promptly quit playing and started making out on the futon. Out of our fear of accidental pregnancy (our sex education wasn't that great, I must admit), we'd developed a strange habit: once both of us had our pants off, he would put on a condom, just in case his semen got anywhere near my vagina. Neither of us had ever had an orgasm in front of the other at this point, so again, this precaution, from my adult perspective, seems sweetly naïve. At some point, he began rubbing the head of his penis against what I now realize was my clitoris, and the sensation was amazing. Because it felt good to both of us, we kept repeating this motion, until one strange moment when he just slid in.

It was no doubt because I was so wet that it happened so quickly and I felt no pain, but the second that it happened, we both froze. I looked into his eyes and saw what I can only imagine was being reflected back by mine: terror. We stared at each other for a moment, until somehow we communicated to each other, "What's done is done," and we continued to have sex. Continue might be too strong of a word, as I think he only slid in and out of me a few more times before he came. And when he was finished, we spent about an hour talking it through — the guilt of what had happened, the sadness of it not being planned, and our fears of pregnancy.

But more importantly, we realized that we liked it and wanted to do it again. Over the next few days, we spent a lot of time wrestling with why sex was so prohibited. For me, I think it was the first of many moments when I realized I didn't trust God or what people were saying S/He had decreed. It all seemed so silly.

Dan and I stayed together for another year. I think I kept dating him mostly because I valued what we shared; I had to justify losing my virginity, and the longer we stayed together, the more legitimate that decision became. I broke up with him right before I left for college. He stayed behind. And, even though I eventually slept with Trouble and many other bad boys just like him, I am so glad that my first time was as sweet, innocent, and respectful as it was. Sometimes, the nice guys actually win.