Illustration by Thomas Pitilli
Female • 20 years old • Montreal, QC
I lost my virginity either really late on the night of September 5th, 2010, or really early on the morning of September 6th. The fact that it happened at all is still somewhat astonishing, considering the fact that I'm a massive neurotic with an anxiety disorder and a tendency to give into irrational fear. And few things in life are more potentially scary or sloppy than sex.
I was known in high school as the girl who never got drunk, never smoked, never tried drugs, and who was just generally wary of change. I ate the same thing for lunch for six years. In my life so far, I've had about four sips of alcohol. I didn't stay out past midnight until I was almost eighteen. I had my first kiss at nineteen — and I hated it.
At twenty, I was an ancient virgin. The majority of my friends had an excess of experience, and most were younger than me. I liked books and cats. I wore old lady blouses with glasses and looked like an owl. I was not the type to get laid.
In the summer of 2009, one of my friends started seeing this guy. He was in a band. (Ooh-la-la.) She wanted me to meet him, and one night she took me away from a party and across the train tracks to the decrepit loft where he lived with his friends. (Yes, it was literally the "wrong side of the tracks.") I was sufficiently mortified by the place and the people in it. This little squeaky-clean girl had been dragged to hell.
The singer was rolling around on the floor and moaning into a microphone. Later, he drove me home, while my friend and her boyfriend made out in the back seat. The singer drove much too fast, and I held onto the dashboard for dear life. When I let myself out of the car he brazenly asked me if I was a virgin, and I flushed and told him that was none of his business.
A short while later, my friend called to tell me I was invited to a "Movie Night" at one of the bandmember's apartments. Of the guys in the band, this one had barely been on my radar the night I met them all. We sat on his couch in his unimpressive studio apartment in a sketchy part of the city and watched Reform School Girls. The next weekend, we watched something else. It became a routine thing. A group of us would get together, drink tea, have long conversations, and enjoy schlocky '80s movies.
This Guy Who Barely Registered would become my boyfriend. He courted me for a year without me realizing. Everyone knew he liked me before I did. In retrospect, it's all terribly obvious, but isn't everything? Perhaps I knew but was in denial because I was nervous. That would make a lot of sense.
Even when we were still painfully platonic, I felt absurdly comfortable around him. I liked that he was cynical, and I never felt I had to explain my thought process to him. It feels nice for someone just to get it. His opinions on life often mirrored mine.
He was not the pale, angular British bloke I used to fantasize myself with. He was Muslim, and brown, and he snorted heroin and wore sunglasses at night and liked my Joy Division shirt. He wasn't entirely emotionally balanced, but neither was I. He was six years older than me, but I had always acted like a forty-year old, so it didn't matter. There may have been one million reasons why we weren't good together, but there were two million reasons why we were.
He bought me Goosebumps books and Public Image Ltd albums. We hooked up for the first time at his home in the middle of watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, with the singer passed out on the floor. When I stopped him and said I wasn't ready to go further, he assured me I would always be the one to set the pace, and he continued to treat me with patience and kindess.
Finally I decided to go on the Pill. I went to the clinic with another friend and naturally had a panic attack. I worried the Pill would kill me. It didn't.
We had months of increasingly intense foreplay before I felt safe that the Pill had kicked in and would be effective. He was very, very willing to eat me out, once even telling me that it was his favourite thing, and the way he got to know me best. He made me feel beautiful. I had never been desired before. The first time I gave him a hand-job, I was too embarassed to look at his penis while I did it. I did it under a sheet, without lube, and it was awful. The idea of giving oral paralyzed me at first, but with time I've come to love it, because it makes me feel intoxicated with power to see him driven so wild — and besides, it's only fair to return the favor.
After a local, annual punk festival called Fear & Loathing, where his band played, we finally had "real sex." It was bad, and it hurt, and I was insecure. I even cried because I felt so useless. He was encouraging.
It has gotten much better since that first attempt, and I don't regret overcoming my nerves and taking a chance and being open to new things. I'm still imperfect, and so is he. I still have moments of hysteria, but he always tells me there's no need for apologies, and that I'm worrying for nothing. I love when he gives me a constellation of hickies on my back and bruises my inner-thighs. I love when he's half-asleep and rolls over and puts an arm around me. I love his messy apartment, with the broken fridge and the wolf blanket and the Ramadan calendar and the bass guitar. I love him.