I lost my virginity at a really young age. I was scared, naïve, clueless and guilt-ridden. He’d been pressuring me for a year so I gave in to keep him around. It hurt, it was confusing, and it left me with a pregnancy scare even though we used a condom.
He walked away as a newfound man and I walked away with my tail between my legs. I was 15 years old.
I didn’t understand sex, my body or the underwhelming result of my first time. I grew up in a conservative environment and was raised to believe that sex correlated with fear. My parents refused to talk to me about sex and were completely uninterested in my dating life. They left these important topics to be handled by my private Catholic school, where teachers preached abstinence and threatened students with HIV/STD. I had zero support system and no one to teach me about the realities of sex or relationships. I was left to figure out men and the dating world on my own.
As a result, my first sexual experience was far from positive. And it kick-started my journey into womanhood with a sex-negative mindset, extreme body issues, low self-esteem and a series of unhealthy relationships. This cycle continued well into my 20’s and came to a halt once I discovered a sexuality studies program at my college in San Francisco. It saved my life and allowed me to reclaim my sexuality, my identity and my confidence as a woman.
I realized the impact of sexual taboos, and how they influenced me when I was maturing, dating, and naturally inclined to act on feelings of desire and infatuation. These taboos left me in the dark and paved a long path resulting in loneliness, emptiness, heartbreak and sexual confusion. Instead of providing me with the necessary building blocks to protect my body, my heart and my emotional wellbeing, I was thrown into the lion’s den and forced to learn from my unavoidable mistakes.
Could this have been prevented if my parents allowed an open door policy to discuss the trials and tribulations of dating? If my mother talked to me about my body and boys, would I have waited longer to give up my virginity? If my sex education class acknowledged the fact that sex is meant to be pleasurable instead of avoided, would I have loved and respected myself more?
Although I’ve sexually active for 10+ years, I didn’t begin enjoying sex until 5 years in. Those courses taught me to explore my sexuality and learn how to value and praise my body and the pleasure I’m worthy of experiencing. Sex stopped being something that I did to please my partner and transitioned into something I did to please myself. I was inspired to live the rest of my life with a sex-positive mindset and I promised myself I’d never let anyone take that away from me.