Like a Virgin

CLEO columnist Jessica Martin’s advice for the twenty something virgin.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
CLEO columnist Jessica Martin’s advice for the twenty something virgin.
Corbis/Click Photos
Corbis/Click Photos

The decision about when to lose your virginity, and with whom, is obviously different for everyone. Some lose it to their first loves, some with a random at a house party. Some wait for candles, a handful of scattered rose petals and declarations of forever, while some people, devastatingly, have the whole decision made for them.

The day after I lost my virginity, I can’t remember feeling any different at all. A little sore, maybe. Definitely happy, but it wasn’t as if I was sad before that. I was 16 and quickly falling head over heels with a gorgeous guy who played in a band. Score, right?

It was fast, though. The getting to the sex part, that is, not the sex itself. I always thought I’d wait a while to sleep with someone the first time but the reality was I’d only been with Matt a few weeks. I felt safe, I wasn’t pressured into it at all. Maybe it was the fact that I knew he’d turn out to be a pretty big part of my life because we ended up staying together for the next four years.

I’ve often wondered if I would have regretted my decision if our relationship hadn’t worked out. Would I have felt hard done by in any way? Like I’d given up something special to someone who turned out to be undeserving? I’m quietly happy that I’ll never really know, and I’m grateful my first time was a lovely experience. I bring all of this up because I was recently contacted through Twitter by an awesome 24-year-old woman who I will call “Violet”. Violet wanted to know what I thought about her hooking up with a guy she’d met who wanted to sleep with her but didn’t want a relationship. Seems like your average “friends with benefits” kind of situation, right? Except Violet had never given a benefit before; she’s a virgin.

Here's how our chat went down...

Violet: Hi Jess, I recently started seeing this guy. We get on well and I’ve never physically felt so comfortable, but all he can commit to is hooking up – and I’m still a virgin. He says we could be bed buddies and if we did end up doing it, he’d find somewhere “perfect”.

Jess: Hello! Oh, boys. It sounds like you want a relationship with this guy. If that’s the case, it might be too painful/emotionally distressing for you to just be his plaything?

Violet: I guess it wouldn’t be as much of a big deal if I weren’t still a virgin. But it’s a big deal if we’re only going to be casual.

Jess: Your first time doesn’t always have to be special, but I think it’s important for it to be with someone who really cares about you. Do you want your first time to be meaningful, or are you kinda over it?

Violet: TBH, when I was younger, yeah, I did. But right now, I’m so curious I could burst. Do you think it’s wrong for my first time to be with somebody who’s just a casual thing?

Jess: I think it depends on who the person is and what you want out of this. Since you’re questioning it so much, it might mean you want it to be with someone who can commit to something more than casual? Maybe you’ll do it and it’ll be fun; but if he’s not the one for you, you’ll meet someone else, and there’ll be less pressure about sex. Check in with your intuition and see what it’s telling you.

In the end, Violet decided not to sleep with this guy. She felt weird about him not wanting anything serious and is glad she didn’t do it. She’s now seeing someone else who is more open to a relationship and says she might sleep with him in a few weeks’ time if everything feels right. I guess that’s the biggest thing when it comes to losing your virginity… and all things love in general. Always go with what feels right for you.