Illustration by Thomas Pitilli
Female • 16 years old • Leicester, UK
I was sixteen and brimming with teenage angst, melancholy, and anger. Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins played constantly on my battered Sony CD player. My hair was dyed a cheap black that rubbed off onto all my pillowcases and the back of the couch. Basically, I was desperately trying to escape the realities of a middle-class, suburban family — the realities being that, rather uncool-ly, I was well looked after by mild, educated parents, fed, clothed, and given a generous allowance that I spent primarily on Silk Cuts, hash, and CDs.
He was twenty, from New Zealand, in a band, a casual pot dealer and skateboarder. Best of all, he lived with a friend in a chaotic, noisy house permeated 24/7 with the sweet smell of burning hash. My parents hated him.
I had met him at a party thrown by his friend and housemate, and we'd spent a pleasant couple of hours smoking and making out. For the next six months or so, we had a sort-of relationship, in which he would text me a few times a week, I would go to his house, and we would smoke weed, watch horror movies, and make out. We were definitely not boyfriend and girlfriend. Nor were we really friends, actually — I was an utterly smitten kitten, but I got the distinct impression that he wasn't overly bothered, as evidenced by the facts that he occasionally forgot my name, and that his housemate used to walk me home because he didn't care enough to do it himself.
Eventually, I decided that the best way to advance our relationship would be to sleep with him. I had already broached the tricky subject of my virginity (in our group, still being a virgin at sixteen was unheard of) and he hadn't seemed too fazed. One day, we had the house to ourselves, and after awhile I decided to take the plunge. My exact words were "Get a condom. Let's do this."
There was a sharp, unpleasant pressure as we got started, and he seemed almost as nervous as I was. After the initial pain of penetration, it just felt weird, and not very pleasant. I was sweating, staring at the ceiling, and counting backwards from a hundred in my head, waiting for it to be over. Although he was disturbed by my lack of participation — I don't think I actually moved or made a sound during the entire process — he eventually finished, and went to dispose of the condom.
Looking down, I realized that the sex-ed warning that I might experience "light bleeding" was a huge understatement. The bed looked like a setpiece from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and my underwear was soaked. I had literally not seen that much blood since I'd broken my nose on a bouncy castle as a child. Nearly crying from shame and embarrassment, I tried to clean up as best I could, hobbled to the bathroom and fashioned a wad of toilet paper to line my pants, looking at myself in the mirror afterward to see if I looked different. (Apart from being a bit pale and sweaty, I didn't.) To his credit, he didn't mention the excessive bleeding, and we sheepishly went to share a cigarette in the garden.
It was actually my dad's birthday that day, and when I felt the blood start to soak through my pants, I quickly made an excuse about getting back to a party and left, half-waddling/half-running home. I immediately threw my knickers and pants into the trash, rang my best friend to tell her that I'd finally lost it, and went online to see if anyone had ever died from blood loss after losing their virginity.
Although our relationship died out a few months later, we met up again when I was eighteen, and now we live together. My dad's birthday remains known, between us, as our "sex-a-versary."