Love & Sex

My First Time

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Female • 19 years old • Salt Lake City

In college, I broke up with not one but two boyfriends by saying I was gay. (I believed it both times, interestingly; now I understand bisexuality.) After the first one, I went home to Utah for the summer and started hanging out with one of my high-school exes again. He was The Boy, the one you always wistfully reminisced about when you were dating someone else, thinking, Why did I break up with that kid?

It became abundantly clear that we still had feelings for each other. One day we were hanging out in his room (in his parents' house — he was seventeen at the time) and I told him that I really cared about him, but that there were certain things I would never be able to do for him. I was still in my confused am-I-a-lesbian-and-if-I-am-can-I-still-hook-up-with-this-boy phase, and by "certain things" I had actually meant putting a penis in my mouth. A different high-school boyfriend, one who had almost raped away my virginity, had told me that "no guy will ever be totally happy with you if you won't blow him." But the Boy interpreted "certain things" as sex, and said, "Well, would you be willing to try?"

Illustration by Thomas Pitilli

I practically threw off my clothes. I had been angling for this the entire summer, without feeling like I could say anything. For one thing, I was convinced I was gay; for another, one time in high school The Boy had cried when we made out because he felt he was disrespecting me, and then had tried to get me to go to church with him.

He turned on some Reel Big Fish, which I quickly vetoed ("Rule #1 of sex is no ska"). Then, after tentatively making out for a few minutes, he fumblingly got inside me, nervously asking, "Are you okay? Does it hurt?" Though a virgin, I was no stranger to pleasingly large objects being inside of me, and as he pushed the last of the way in, I let out a pleased moan. He immediately pulled out.

"I think you need to learn what sounds mean," I said, trying to pull him back onto me.

"It's just… well… I can't, you know, last very long, and, well.." Virginal and theoretically gay as I was, and Mormon as he was, neither of us had had a condom.

"Oh. Well."

We lay there silently for a minute, half-cuddling. Then:

"So… you still gay?"

I let out a shout of laughter and an "um, yeah." Had approximately thirty seconds of sex changed my mind? Hell no. I wouldn't openly be into guys again until three partners later. The next time we hung out, he told me he didn't want to hook up anymore. Somehow I didn't understand that I had done something horribly, horribly wrong and completely smashed his self-image, and spent the rest of the summer being furious with him.