Why do people freak out so much about sex? As long as you use protection, it’s no big deal. I lost my virginity at 14. I lost the guy at 14 ½. Did this devastate me? No. Physically, I was slightly changed. Mentally? Barely a dent. Rinse and repeat getting guys, having sex, and then “losing” said guys several more times over the years. Having sex is something you do out of lust, or a feeling of obligation, or, honestly, sometimes pure boredom. It happens. It ends (sometimes more quickly than you hope) and you move on. It doesn’t really affect your day to day life.
That’s why I was so “heartlessly” annoyed when one of my college roommates made a huge deal about the first time she had sex. When I arrived back at our dorm after a late night study session, I was ready to crash right away. Unluckily for me, I found Kelsey sitting at the edge of her bed, looking distraught. Her eyes pleading for me to talk to her before her lips did.
“Jen, I need to talk to you, but please promise you won’t judge me.”
Suppressing my sigh, I agreed to talk and assured her I wasn’t the judging type. She then went on to describe how the night before she got really drunk at some party. Clearly exaggerating, she made it sound like she drank as much as six men. Afterwards, Kelsey let some guy she had a crush on for weeks take her to his apartment. They fucked. Or as she put it they “you know...did it.”
I think she wanted me to be sympathetic and tell her that this one decision didn’t define her. But I’m not good at that type of thing. Because, to me, I can’t even see why this would be a remotely interesting conversation to have. Of course it didn’t define her. Had she confessed instead that she had coffee for the first time last night, I would have felt the same. Bored. Rather than assure her things were fine, I asked a few questions to see if I were missing something important. Nope. When I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to talk about before I went to bed, and saw the look in her eyes, I realized we would never be friends.
To her, she had lost her innocence. She knew nothing about how that felt. But I did. I had lost my innocence just the summer before. His name was Jordan. We both had the same summer temp job working at a burger stand. It would have been the worst job ever, considering I’m a vegetarian and all, but since Jordan was there, it was the best job possible. At first, we just casually flirted. But then things became more serious.
You see, this burger stand was in a pretty bad neighborhood. One day as Jordan and I were flipping burgers as usual, this punk kid comes up to the stand and tries to rob it. Boy doesn’t look a day over 17 and he’s pretty scrawny, so I think he’s bluffing. I walk out of the stand, get right in his face, and tell him to get the hell away from us. That’s when he pulls out a knife and slashes me across the arm. I stand there dumbly. When Jordan rushes out, holding a knife himself, the kid scrams.
Jordan rushes me to a hospital and makes sure I get all cleaned up. He convinces me to go to his place so he can order us some pizza to unwind after the craziness. But first we have to go grab my stuff from the dumb burger stand. When we get there, our boss is standing around pissed. When somebody from the next shift arrived and nobody was there, he was called. Jordan calmly explains what happened. Our boss doesn’t care and says we aren’t getting paid for that day at all and maybe not the week. My hero, still calm, talks about lawsuits and poor training and I forget what else, but I remember the result. I got a raise. I was really starting to like this boy.
Back at his place, I expected some of the second kind of sex I mentioned to you before -the kind you have when you feel obligated. But Jordan didn’t try to have sex with me at all. We started going on dates and sex didn’t seem to be on his mind. When I finally seduced him one night, I expected it to all be over. It wasn’t. We kept dating, it just now included sex on some of those dates. I really really liked this guy.
Finally the day came when I lost my innocence. That day, I was scheduled to work, but Jordan wasn’t. We agreed that I would meet him at his place after I got off. When I showed up, his mouth dropped as I came in. He couldn’t understand why I had worn long sleeves, flipping burgers, on a day that I knew would be 90 something degrees out. I sat on his couch. Suddenly shy, I slowly pulled up one of my sleeves.
“When that kid cut my arm, it left a big scar. I don’t want people staring at it.”
Jordan came and sat next to me. Very gently, he traced my scar with his finger. He lightly kissed my arm and then my forehead. I remember exactly what he said.
“Our bodies are our life’s timelines. Freckles show time in the sun. Stretch marks show the birth of a child. Your scar shows a time when you were brave. You should be proud of it.”
That was the moment I fell in love and lost my innocence. You see, when you fall in love, it changes how you see the entire world. You realize everything isn’t about you. It shows how amazing a person can be, and in contrast, how awful others have been. People are right when they say you can’t be truly happy without being sad. Love brings the greatest happiness, but it also exposes you to the greatest pain. So don’t worry about sex. You lose your innocence when you experience love in all its contrasts.