Male, 18, California
I was raised Roman Catholic, and therefore knew that premarital sex was a sin. But I also knew how sex worked, and that, if done correctly, it was a beautiful thing — a spiritual event between two people who loved each other.
I'd just moved to a new high school, and she was one of the first people I met, through speech and debate classes. At that time, she was dating my new best friend. The next year, she and I ended up hanging out at one of the invitational tournaments, mostly because our mutual friend hadn't been able to come that weekend, and also because she'd found out, by poking me, that I was extremely ticklish. For some reason, that intrigued her. She and I ended up talking for hours between debates and speeches, and eventually I was telling her my whole life story, surprising myself by opening up about my total lack of sexual experience.
She was getting ready to graduate, but I still had one more year to go, so I talked to her a lot about her plans for the future and what college would be like. Eventually it came up that she was going to have to break up with my friend, because she didn't want to have a long-distance relationship going into college. Knowing that we would both be single, we proposed that over the next winter break, she would catch me up on most of the sexy things I had been missing to that point — hooking up with strictly educational objectives.
We continued to talk and hang out over the summer until she eventually broke up with her boyfriend; I helped her through the recovery. At the end of summer, she was about to leave for college, and I was headed to Africa for a month before I started my senior year. We met up at a quiet local beach to hang out one last time before.
After we talked for a while, and after I saw her partially naked when a wave knocked her a little (something I later realized she had planned), she kissed me. It took me by surprise — I was pretty oblivious to her hints. We then made out for hours on the beach, getting covered with sand and badly sunburned in weird patterns in the process. Eventually, we got picked up and went to church together before parting ways until Thanksgiving break. We couldn't really talk about what we were feeling, because I was half the world away with limited access to the internet and no access to phones. When I came back to the States, we decided that even though it would be very difficult, we wanted to try long-distance, the very thing she had so wanted to avoid.
A year later, at her request, I finally decided to figure out why I'd been taught that premarital sex was a sin. I went to my priest and asked the grandfatherly man, point-blank, "Why shouldn't I have premarital sex?" He was completely unprepared for such a direct question, but eventually told me that the reasoning stemmed from a combination of biblical inferences and spiritual revelation throughout the years.
I wasn't satisfied by this answer, and decided I would start forming my own moral code based off of what made sense to me. Soon after, I lost my faith in God entirely.
Around the same time, we both decided it was time we had sex. But the logistics seemed insurmountable. She lived hundreds of miles away most of the time, so we would have to wait until she was back in town to visit her family. Since neither of us owned a car, and it seemed like our families were always home, we had even more trouble finding a place we could actually do it. We tried out on a hillside by my house at one point, but just as she was showing me how to push myself in, my mom somehow wandered out near where we were, trying to find us for dinner. Luckily we heard her calling before she walked in on us. The next time we tried on the far side of a nearby lake, but just as I entered, hikers came close by, forcing us to stop everything, and we gave up again. Technically, I guess that was it, I was no longer a virgin, though both experiences were far from satisfactory.
Eventually, I traveled down to her apartment at her college, and we finally were able to have a proper clichéd experience with scented candles, a nice dinner, a massage — the works — all followed by what I could only explain as the most amazing feeling I had ever experienced to that point. I had never figured out how to masturbate, so that was the first time I had ever experienced an orgasm. We ended up having sex until we were both too tired to do it any more. Then we showered together, and did it one more time before drifting off to sleep.
We continued the relationship for another year before the distance and the drama that came with it eventually split us apart. Still, we remained friends for some time after, having occasional sex, until she met somebody new who actually lived in the same city as her. We haven't spoken since, but I feel that all in all, I was really lucky to have such a good friend during that time in my life.