It's something that everyone remembers. Losing one's virginity may not be the most important rite of passage in life, but it's undoubtedly the most ingrained with importance. And everyone has a story.
For this Sex & Valentine's issue, we present to you, the reader, a collection of stories about our first time. All stories are by the very same Bohemian staff and regular contributors who create this paper every week, and no, we're not telling whose story is whose.
For some, "losing it" was great; for many more, it was awkward, ungraceful, even traumatic. But hopefully, by reading about the perils and road-bumps in our stories, you'll be able to look back at whatever fumbling and bumbling constituted your own experience, realize you're not alone and with any luck, laugh.
Without further ado, then: on with the doin' it.
I was, in comparison to many my age, a late bloomer.
When my virginity finally shuffled off its long-delayed coil, I was 21, having legally voted and consumed alcohol before getting it on with an actual girl. Not that I hadn't had opportunities. I had my own apartment, I had a new temperature-controlled waterbed, I'd even had a couple of girlfriends, but a combined fear of both the unknown and of eternal damnation (too much Sunday School) always kept me from stepping across the line. In fact, just a few weeks before meeting the young lady who would claim my virtue, I'd narrowly escaped seduction at the hands of an older woman named Kitten. Seriously.
That summer, I was working at the Renaissance Faire in Southern California, hawking cookie cutters for a trio of elderly craftswomen. (They'd also employed Kitten—her Faire name—a thirty-something one-time porn actress who set her sights on me the moment she heard my Faire name: Rat.)
One day, while standing on the cookie-cutter counter extolling the glories of hand-made cookie-cutting devices, I locked eyes with a young lady out in the listening crowd. She had long reddish hair, was dressed in a hand-made outfit, wore purple ribbons in her hair—and seemed very interested in cookie cutters. One of her friends shouted out that she'd be the first to buy a cookie cutter if I promised to kiss her. It was a joke, but afterward she came up, leaned forward and asked what she'd get if she bought a half-dozen. What she got was my phone number.
Two nights later, she called me up. We went on a few movie dates, and a couple weeks later, while killing time before a midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (still four hours away), she took off all her clothes and climbed under the covers. I took the hint. Damnation be damned. It was my first time—and her first time . . . in a waterbed.
We did it three times that night and still made the midnight screening.
"So do you want to?" asked the older 17-year-old boyfriend of mine.
It all seemed perfect. We were dating for about three months—in high school time, that's about a year—he was my first real boyfriend and he was so in love with me. Well, that's what he said.
There I was, on a casual summer evening in June at my boyfriend's house. His parents had just gone to bed, so we wasted no time in taking advantage of our alone time. We were making out before his mom and dad could even say "Good night." Yes, I am ashamed to admit it was here, on a couch in the living room, when he asked me. The TV was on for background noise in case anyone suspected anything. I don't remember what was on, but I remember I was looking back and forth from his face to the TV while I pondered my answer. I think it was about motorcycles or Xtreme sports or something mildly intriguing.
"I really want to," he insisted. At that point, he didn't have to tell me, I could already feel it. "Ummm . . ." I said, not really sure what to say. "Maybe?"
I was 15. I had just gotten my driving permit, and he let me drive his truck sometimes. It was a really cool truck, too—black exterior with some ballin'-ass rims, 22s, or something that meant something cool. And it was a stick, which made me feel even more badass.
"Come on," he cooed. At this point I don't think I cared if we did or not, I just wanted to stop being asked about it. He was persistent, though. "OK yeah, but I'm scared. Your parents are right there," I said finally. "It's OK, don't worry about that," he said confidently. I wonder if he even heard what I had just said.
And so, after a hop, skip and a jump, it was over. Partly because I said to stop and possibly partly because, well, he might have been done. I never asked. I'm pretty sure I went home that night wondering when he was going to let me drive his truck again.
All That Worry
Teenage sex is bad for you. It can lead to unwanted pregnancy, STDs, moral decline and emotional wreckage. But it was sure great for me.
I was 15. My girlfriend was 14. So young, I know. It was summer. I remember her tan skin and the smell of suntan lotion after swimming in my pool. Our affection for each other was great, but until then things hadn't gone too far.
"Do you want to?" I asked during a post-swim make-out session.
In the past, she had said she wanted to wait. Of course that didn't stop me from asking again. This time, on a languid August afternoon, she just looked at me with burrowing, fervent eyes and nodded her head once.
I confess that the first time was less than momentous for me, but it got better. We stayed together for two more years, but weren't always careful. I remember many panicked nights worrying about what we'd do if she got pregnant. Thankfully for both of us that never happened.
We're still friends. Years later, after we had each gone on our separate ways and gotten married, she told me she was adopting a child because she was unable to get pregnant. She was infertile and probably always had been. All that worry for nothing!
He was half-German, half-Italian, a head shorter than me and cute as a little brown puppy. Honestly, my memory is spotty, though I do know that my friends and I swooned over him and liked to say his German name over and over with an exaggeratedly pronounced accent. I do know that he taught beginning Italian classes at the local Catholic university. Maybe he was a grad student? Maybe he'd come from Hamburg? I do remember that he had a jean jacket that he wore often, that his hair was slightly feathered and brown, and he was tan in a European way, not in a Golden-Glow-tanning-salon kind of way.
A mutual friend threw a Sun Ra party that night. The house was draped in red, disguised to look like an Egyptian spaceship. A Joyful Noise and clips from other Sun Ra films played on televisions in every room, including the kitchen. We quoted from his movies—"It's another place in the universe, under different stars!"—and listened to The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra while getting tipsy on cheap alcohol.
Who knew "Space Is the Place" could conjure up such feelings of romance, such an urge to descend from Mt. Maidenhead once and for all?
I drank many beers. I'm not ashamed. In a fit of youthful, drunken impulse, the German and I walked the five miles back to my house through the warm city night. We walked slowly, talking about World War II and communism and the Worker's Revolution and probably David Bowie, and somehow it got us all worked up enough to only make it as far as the house that he shared with an eccentric and brainy mutual friend. I seem to remember that we sat on milk crates in the living room, zealously discussing war and history, until we just dropped the pretense and started making out. And then "it" happened, and that was that.
After a viciously awkward breakfast at a Greek food hut, the German dropped me off in front of my house, reminding me that our "interlude" the evening before didn't mean that he was my boyfriend now. Gotta love those European boys.
The VW Bus
Maybe it was the Cuervo Gold. Maybe it was the fine Columbian. Maybe it was because it was a full week after my 15th birthday. Maybe it was because it was Halloween, when all kinds of wild weird and wonderful things can happen.
Maybe it was the costume. "Amazon Queen," I called it, consisting of two small triangles of leopard-skin fabric tied in a knot to form a halter top and short-short frayed brown corduroy cutoffs, no underwear. Brown flip-flops and a tangled vine crown completed the outfit. Or maybe it was the cozy atmosphere of his olive-green VW bus, outfitted with a pull-out bed and black-out curtains.
We met when I was 13 and he was 18, the friend of my older brother. We had attended the same church and school for years. We started going out together the next year, despite the misgivings of my timid mother. Statutory rape never entered our minds. Birth control never entered the conversation, nor did STDs, whatever those were. AIDS wasn't around yet. At 14, I knew it all and wondered what was taking him so long. After all, my best friend had lost it the previous year to a guy we met while walking home from Venice Beach. He offered us some homemade rye bread, and she offered him her virginity. I decided to wait until it was someone I loved.
We never made it to my brother's Halloween party, though we did get as far the street outside his apartment building. The act itself? Meh. Making out was nice, the pain and mess afterward not so much. I faked a few gasps, then we both fell asleep.
We broke up five years later, after moving away for college and living together. I did love him, and although he lives in Hawaii now, I still do.
I'd had enough. I felt like Sylvia Plath, my virginity a lead weight that I couldn't wait to shed. After all, by junior year of high school, it seemed like everyone else had. The jocks with their chin pubes and swagger. My best friend Amelia. Even the most pious girls—the ones who crossed themselves when a siren wailed—even they'd gotten rid of it. I knew, because like good Catholics, they demurely skipped communion at school mass.
Since the high school boys mostly thought I was weird—was it my dyed black hair with the orange stripe? the smell of Camel Lights on my fingertips?—it only seemed fitting that it should be someone older, more sophisticated.
He was 22, had done a year of college somewhere in Florida and played "Wish You Were Here" on guitar. We sat on his bed, a black light lending an eerie glow to his white jeans. The way he held my gaze reminded me of how a priest fixes you with his sober expression just as he hands over the communion wafer.
I was reaching for a cigarette, unsure of what else to do with my hands, when he guided them to his nipples. Now I was really confused. It occurred to me that being a virgin wasn't that bad after all. I did my best to paw at him the way I imagined I was supposed to, but then he said, "Kiss me here," pointing to just below his Adam's apple. This was even weirder. Next up were his ankles. I found myself praying for a natural disaster, but hurricane season was months away.
By the time it was all over, my head swimming with male anatomy, he excused himself to the shower. I spied a Cosmopolitan magazine poking out from under the bed and started flipping through it, my fingers happily grasping something familiar. And then I nearly dropped my cigarette. The headline read "How to Touch Your Man," and promised to reveal his six pleasure points. His nipples. The front of his neck. The dip under his ankle.
He emerged dripping from the bathroom just as I got to the perineum. I exhaled a thick cloud of smoke and vowed to spend some time with my dictionary as soon as I got home.
She lived in Utah. Not a Mormon, mind you, but not a skeez, either. The first time we made out, I remember, she made sure to turn out the lights, light a few candles and dial her bedside radio to the love-jam station. Everything was proper, in its right place.
A couple years later, we were woefully less prepared.
Not "less prepared" in the matters of the body. We'd done just about everything we could do without doing the actual doing of it. But "less prepared" in an altogether different sense. The "doing it outside in public on the side of the road with no condom" sense, if you will. The "wish we could have washed off the dirt and twigs and scent before having dinner with parents right afterward" sense. The "it will be awkward in three weeks when she is crying in the snow and blubbering that 'I can't believe you're leaving me for a girl named Boof'" sense.
See? Very unprepared.
Being separated by two states was tough, and after two years of making it work, the autumn wind began robbing us of our young, wild, carefree first love. We both felt it. It only made sense to finally roll through the big rite of passage together. So we walked up the road, found a semi-secluded spot roadside, made ourselves an ersatz bed in the bramble and . . . It was fervent, passionate, wonderful, ridiculous and short.
When we were done, we looked up and standing around us, watching all along, was a group of very beautiful and confused deer.
Being shy growing up, I was a slightly late bloomer when it came to girls, so 16 is when it all happened: first kiss, first grope, first rounding of the bases. Naturally my only points of reference were pornos. Not any specific pornos in particular, just whatever my buddies or I had somehow managed to get our hands on by way of older brothers or lax video store clerks and sporadic moments of bravery. I couldn’t help but notice a pattern and permutation throughout the various ones I’d seen: the actors were such pros that they seemed to cover so much in each 10-minute scene, time and time again.
That summer was one of the best summers of my life. I’d broken completely out of my shell and was out every night, meeting tons of new people and experiencing new things. I was ready to lose my virginity to my first love. She was a cute, sweet Irish girl of 19, and our romance was as intense as any two weeks could be. Ahhhhh, hormones . . .
The time was fast approaching, and we could barely make it through the late-night showing of John Sayles’ Lone Star. We stumbled to her tiny car and found ourselves at a familiar hilltop view. It turns out it was right in front of my old daycare from elementary school. Oh, it had to happen now, I told myself. And so it went, and so I went . . . into every position I’d seen in the films, in exact order. Thankfully, I lasted much longer than a 10-minute scene, but I definitely remember reminding myself in the act to cover all bases, perhaps from fear the next time would be another 16 years away.
As we basked in the afterglow, listening to "Champagne Supernova" on her tape deck, my now-permanent grin gave way to an utterance. That was my first time, I told her. After a few stunned seconds, she asked, "Really? Wow."
To this day, I’m not sure if that "wow" was a compliment on my prowess or her being weirded out. It didn’t matter. What mattered was that I was now part of the club. Incredible, I thought. The last time I was on this hill I was playing with Garbage Pail Kids.
How Soon Is Now?
She had been working on me for weeks. Insinuating, buying me drinks—not alcoholic drinks, of course, but espresso milkshakes at Dots Café. I was a mere lad of, ahem, 20. She was an older woman, or so I reckoned with the tragic math of youth: 21. Three years previous, I’d turned her down. But this time was different. Her best friend—whom I’d had eyes on, but was indeed, my best buddy’s girlfriend—had bet her that I’d surely have been laid by the time I returned from a semester abroad... Alas, something had to be done.
After a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s Gold Rush—not a romantic movie, to be sure—she suggested we drive out to the coast. It was late January, and goddamned cold, but at 20, why not? We listened to a cassette that I had in the car: Morrissey wailing, “I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does.”
We climbed down into a grotto of sharp, dark rocks protruding into the mist, the surf swirling around us. She stripped off her gauzy white dress and cast off her bra. “What do you think of this?” she said.
That shapely, tawny frame would have haunted the dreams of any normal man, but, as stolid as a rock, I was still representing for that curious class of creatures: young men who live in their heads, in a fog of abstractions. I had to be coaxed down onto a patch of cold sand, where she laid me down and showed me how the wet waves crash down over the ancient spires at the edge of the continent and the ocean’s foam crests and subsides on the beach.
After that night—as this good friend will still remind me of, to this day—I always kept a spare blanket in the trunk of my car.
My first time? You want to hear the story of my first time? Really? Because I’ve had sandwiches more memorable.
We went at it for over an hour in the romantic confines of my room, located just across the hall from my parents’. We ended up doing it on the floor up against the orange thrift-store couch my friends sat on during marathon sessions of Mario Kart or Goldeneye. The scent of dirty laundry and old pizza hung like a dense fog over our heads.
Just wait—it gets even sexier.
We planned out the evening like a presidential visit. Ten minutes here, half an hour there, and then give the people what they’ve been waiting for, the big finish at the end. Let me tell you, planning things like this is hot stuff. Itineraries and reservations get me so turned on.
To add to this steamy chemistry, we were both nervous and uncomfortable with our bodies, making our fully premeditated romp even hotter. I’m sweating and looking over my shoulder just thinking about it. So naughty! So dirty! So calculated! Oh my God, I love it! Don’t stop for 10 to 11 minutes! But no longer than that!
As intense as it might seem, the whole thing was absolutely forgettable. We dated for years after that, and every subsequent sexytime was far superior than the first. Most people might be proud to tell a "first time" story in which the actual act itself took more than five minutes, let alone an hour. But really, it just sucked.
Under the Trailer
In the dark of an L.A. trailer, I lay in wait for the Croat’s daughter to come. Behind the rickety door slept her deaf grandfather, who smelled of boiled pork and pea soup, now noisily snoring and seeming only a minor threat in the elaborate plot to lose my virginity.
I’d met her through a mutual friend in an online chat room, and while we lived more than 400 miles apart, our digital flirtations had quickly grown to long nights of soliloquies when we ached most to feed our body’s desires. Before long, a plan was hatched to be with each other, and while our parents found the whole thing a touch odd, our implored love quickly won their approval.
Two months later, I landed at LAX and found myself alone with her father. He lifted my bag—where inside, a box of condoms lay concealed—and walked me to the car in cold silence. The Croat looked me over like a rhino readying to gore an unwelcome trespasser, and then said, "Get in." He drove fast, ranting about his job as an explosions expert in Hollywood.
"You meet all kinds in the industry, wild stuntmen—” he said, and then paused to leer his crooked gaze toward me, "—even hired killers." He parked the car in the driveway and gripped my shoulder in the way only the father of a blossoming virgin can. "You seem like a good kid, but you hurt my little girl, I’ll hunt you down with my shotgun ’n’ blow your balls off."
It was almost 1am and the words of the Croat slithered inside my gut when the trailer door creaked open. Out of the moonlight, she crept into the trailer beside me, our lips meeting. A hot spell of terror and ecstasy rushed through my body. I felt possessed and utterly punch-drunk with passion. Then, from behind me, the sound of footsteps; suddenly she whispered, “In 15 minutes, catch me if you dare,” then slipped out through the door and was gone.
A yellow light pooled under the grandfather’s door frame, and as he moved nearer, fear stiffened my whole body from head to toe. Was he really deaf? Had he known all along? I didn’t want to die, not like this, least of all not a virgin.
Behind the partition, the old man coughed and let out a heavy sigh; then the sound of the sink running, the flush of a toilet and the room returned to darkness. My heart reeled, elated and dizzy with joy. I was alive.
Soon the old man resumed his snoring, and lured by my fog of arousal, I wandered out into the night where she waited. We stumbled toward each other, awkward and exposed, and found ourselves rolling in the dirt, wresting our clothes from our bodies like wild animals. We crawled under the base of the trailer and shed our every last inhibition. I felt primal, unstoppable—and at all of 15 years old, fearlessly in love.