Love & Sex

My First Time: Female, 17, England

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Female • 17 • England

At seventeen, I felt ancient. To still be a virgin at my age seemed unusual and undesirable — I was an awkward curiosity, an artifact from the Victorian era. While all my friends were sharing their tales of debauchery between classes, I spent my breaks obsessing about how unattractive I was.

Every Saturday I made excuses to head over to the coffee guy.

My male classmates struck me as unsophisticated and introverted. Basically, they were too much like me. I wasn't interested in losing my virginity mutually with someone, fumbling awkwardly and pushing things into place with carefully patchworked information from wise friends and individual guesswork. I wanted to be shown what to do — to learn from someone older and well-practiced who could bring me up to speed, so I could keep up with my sexually active girlfriends in conversation.

I found the perfect non-virgin at work. My weekend job in the swimwear section of a drab but perpetually crowded department store was positioned in sight of the store café. From my vantage point, I watched the weekend barista, four years my senior, at work. Every Saturday I made excuses to head over to the coffee guy. The most convincing of these was to gather shopping baskets by the store entrance, which took me up to the tiled perimeter of the café.

I collected these baskets like they were precious little eggs, snatching them from customers as soon as they emptied their contents at the till. Each trip afforded me a furtive glance his way, and I often found he was looking back, party to my embarrassingly obvious strategy but flattered all the same. He wasn't so good-looking, but from what I saw he had an intensity and independence that I admired. The first time we spoke, during a late-night sale event, I knew he'd be the first boy to fuck me.

Despite that initial certainty, I almost ruined my chances. We hung out a few times before I finally stayed the night. Having packed two bottles of cheap red wine into my backpack, I sat on his small single bed and drank my way through the first one in twenty minutes. It didn't stay down too long; I barely noticed his fingers inside me as I sprayed vomit over all of his most prized possessions. Hot red sick flowed onto his record collection, his movie collection — I hit all the collections. He and two of his helpful flatmates carried me into the bathtub and hosed me down. Horrifically, throughout this group cleaning, I kept trying to seduce him, my drunken kisses falling on bathroom tiles and soap, rarely onto his mouth.

I woke up early in the morning, warm and dry, wearing a borrowed blue nightgown, humiliated, and decided to skip the alcohol on my next attempt. When it did happen a week or so later, there was no alcohol involved. "Southern Man" played at medium volume on the record player, the lights were low, and his blankets were orange and brown. After what felt like an eternity of thrusting, during which he never entered me all the way, he came, then promptly left me alone to go make some tea for himself.

I texted all of my friends regarding my broken hymen. Then I began to reflect on my brand new membership to this most essential of clubs. I wasn't underwhelmed by the experience — I hadn't expected much. The separation between me and my partner was the only unexpected aspect. As he made noises and expressions I'd never witnessed on any man's face, seemingly engaged in some ritual that only involved my vagina, I'd realized that although the specific memory might fade, this routine would probably be with me all my life.