Love & Sex

My First Time: Female, 17, Wisconsin

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Female, 18, Wisconsin

For most of my life, I had received little to no attention from the male sex. My first kiss was a month before I turned eighteen, at the end-of-summer party for the staff of the camp I worked at. Étienne was from France. I had four years of his mother tongue under my belt, and he had loosened me up with a bottle of rum before moving in. It was my first time being really drunk, and our night didn't go any further than kissing due to my inexperience with alcohol. The fall brought my senior year of high school and my first boyfriend, but it didn't last and we didn't get much further than I had with Étienne.

The following summer I was back at the same camp, and I clicked right away with another foreign visitor. Dave was from England; he was exactly the moody, sarcastic poet I needed to release my eighteen years of pent-up sexual energy, and we habitually made out at the weekly staff parties. By midsummer I knew I was ready. I wasn't in love with him, and I didn't have any fantasies about staying together at the end of the season, but I knew he would be good to me during our short time together.

His hand was up my skirt, and I was just starting to unbutton his jeans when the car door opened.

On the fourth of July, we were at another camp party, kissing in the woods behind the house. I told him I would be "honored" if he would take my virginity, and he led me by the hand back to the front of the house. We found an unlocked car and things started to get heated quickly. His hand was up my skirt, and I was just starting to unbutton his jeans when suddenly the car door opened and the light came on. The owner of the car (who incidentally had a thing for Dave) wanted to grab her sleeping bag, and she was not pleased to find us in her back seat.

We drifted back toward the house, searching for a place to go. The house was in a big cul-de-sac, and in the center of the street was a huge grassy area with big pine trees, their limbs hanging low to the ground. I pulled my sleeping bag out of a friend's car, and we spread it out on the ground over the brown needles. He rolled on the condom, asked me if I was ready, and entered me. It didn't hurt; he wasn't gentle, and I actually enjoyed it. ("This year, on the Fourth of July, England invaded America," he joked.)

When we were done, I immediately sought out my best friend and told her what had happened, and she proceeded to drunkenly announce to the entire staff that I had just lost my virginity. That was really the only uncomfortable part of the whole experience. A fellow counselor told me, "Now, don't go falling in love with him," and I assured her that I wasn't interested in dealing with heartbreak at summer's end.

During the work week, Dave and I snuck out of our cabins at night to meet in different places all over camp. We made a list of locations we intended to christen: the arts-and-crafts building, the dining hall, the top of the climbing tower, the beach, the camp sailboats, the archery range, the camp director's office, the roof of the lodge, and as many of the cabins, tents, and shelters as possible. The rest of the summer was spent creeping around camp in the dark, stealing away from our campers and co-counselors whenever possible.

As the end of the summer approached, my mom told me I was expected to come on a week-long family vacation. I would be gone for the third week of August, and I would be heading off for my freshman year of college just three days later. We shared a goodbye, tearful on my part, when my family picked me up from camp. He gave me a leather bracelet he had had for years, and I wore it dutifully throughout my depressing week with my family. I hadn't expected to develop feelings for him, and their intensity was startling to me.

At the end of the week I returned home, and I was able to drive back to camp to see him. We had sex one last time in the backseat of my step-dad's car. When we finished, two silent tears I couldn't understand rolled down my cheeks, and we said goodbye.

He was terrible about staying in touch once I got to school, and it hurt. I buried my thoughts of him when I hooked up with other people, but when I was alone I allowed myself to miss him. We both returned to camp the following summer. Our first night back we talked on the roof of the lodge, our favorite rendezvous spot, about our year apart. That night I walked back to my cabin knowing that I didn't want to pick up where we'd left off nine months ago. We spent the summer in an awkward limbo where we hooked up with other people, his most notable being the girl who had liked him the past summer, and we avoided each other at parties. I wished I could still talk to him, but I had surprised and hurt him by closing things off, and he refused to speak to me.