Female, 21, British Columbia, Canada
I grew up in a socially conservative family; sex was never a topic of discussion. I learned the basics at school, but throughout my teen years, I was so sheltered from any talk of relationships, love, or sex that I matured in what I know now to be a sexless — or even sex-negative — environment. Boys paid no real attention to me (there was no romance behind the stadium at school), so I ended up developing a self-sufficient, asexual personality, which stayed with me as I left high school behind and found my way through the first three years of my university career. I had plenty of male friends, but those relationships were always platonic — I would go out for drinks with the guys and their girlfriends, and I was often the only one at the table to leave alone at the end of the night.
Entering my fourth year, I knew that something needed to change. Sex wasn't taboo for my school friends, and I found myself surrounded by it and curious. I also knew that, having gone twenty-one years with little more than a few tequila-infused kisses from the boy next door, I needed to find someone who'd understand why I'd waited so long to "give it up." Knowing that my more experienced friends and acquaintances wouldn't fit the bill, I turned away from my cocoon of school and toward the realm of internet dating. That led me to another virgin, five years my senior, whose conservative upbringing made mine look R-rated by comparison. After a few emails back and forth, we met and connected instantly.
I expected that we'd quickly move around the bases of intimate connection, but after three dates, he hadn't yet kissed me. Finally, we began to explore the mysterious world of sex together, fumbling and laughing our way through the bases over the course of my winter semester at school.
A trip to the doctors to get birth control, many discussions with friends, and lots of planning led to our first attempt at sealing the deal. I was so nervous that I couldn't relax, and once he finally figured out what he was supposed to be doing, I was so tense that it hurt — so much so that we had to stop. We tried again later that week, and again, to the same result: we were both so nervous that it simply wasn't happening. Finally, after a night of making out and little sleep, we awoke determined rather than anxious, and after a few minutes of rearranging ourselves — success!
Given that it was the first time either of us had experienced sex, we had no idea what to do in the few minutes he lasted, and ended up sitting around laughing over the breakfast that followed. As I started to tell him about my having to get home to finish up school work, he got a look in his eyes and pulled me back into the bedroom. Three hours later, I left for home with a smile plastered to my face, knowing we now had a whole new realm of experience to explore together, conservative roots be damned.