by: Dear Prude
“Let’s play,” he said. “This business of you not having done anything needs to end. You’re young, it’s time to enjoy life!” I thought a while before replying. “All right, but I reserve the right to call stop.” It was agreed; we would play, with my right to call stop.
He is a friend. Not a boyfriend or anything of the sort, but a regular friend without benefits no different than the rest. Though not much older than me, he was much more experienced. Since there were no romantic feelings between us, it would just be play, nothing else, no complications. Little did I know the personal conflict it would leave me with.
It started out as a game, trying to see how far he could go without turning me on, and as things progressed, more and more clothing came off, and you can probably guess where this is going. There’s no reason to share all the gory details of what happened, but rather I’ll just recount the important bits.
We did not have sex in the traditional heteronormative sense, but there was plenty going on, and acts which are considered full-fledged sex in the queer sense. The problem is – I am not a cis heterosexual. Otherwise I may have been able to overlook what I later realized. I identify as cis-female and queer – in my case meaning that I’m attracted to male, female, gender non-conforming, trans folks, and the like. For me, it’s an individual basis – some people attract me, others don’t.
Being queer, based on what occurred, I realized upon reflection that what happened was my first time.
While my cis-female heterosexual friends might not understand what happened to be far enough to spell an end to my virginity, it is for me. Had the same thing happened with anyone who is not a cisgendered man, however they may identify, it would hardly be denied that person was my first time. However, since it was with a cis-man, it becomes a more foggy subject from society’s perspective.
I’ve had this discussion before with a close friend who is also a queer femme. Being queer gives us an ample understanding of what constitutes “actual” sex. No matter what body parts or toys are involved in the act, the queer perspective understands that sex is more than just penis-in-vagina heteronormative sexual contact. So why is that heteronormative “first time” put on some sort of pedestal, especially given my own queerness?
There are a lot of firsts that I often catch myself elevating in importance, often to a point of excess. I do it to the first kiss, first relationship, first “time”, and so forth; but why? Of course, in my case, the influence of religion is rather strong. As a religious individual, there is no denying that, but it doesn’t explain all.
The fact is that I have so drastically elevated their importance, though, meant that I was rather surprised at myself that I let it happen so easily without any sort of emotional attachment. Even more, it didn’t even strike me initially, thanks to having been born into heterosexist society, that what occurred was even sex. In my opinion, that’s a major problem.
As a recent Jezebel post reminds us, the “base” system which we so often referred to as kids, implementing a baseball metaphor to set a scale of the alleged importance of sexual acts, doesn’t really take into account the experience of women or queers of all stripes.
For a strictly gay or lesbian individual, it is impossible to lose their virginity by this system. That in mind, are we really going to say that the iconic 10% of the population, much of which is, in fact, having sex, is still virgin? I call shenanigans.
Frankly, as a queer cis-woman, I don’t even understand why we allow heteronormative sex to remain so glorified as the home run. As the Jezebel post points out, around 75% of women don’t even orgasm from penis-in-vagina sex! If it’s something that doesn’t cause so many people pleasure, why do we allow it to keep the sole glory?
We as the queer community need to rethink the concepts of virginity and sex, and we need to challenge society to do the same. A hand job, oral sex, and the like are not mere foreplay and can, in fact, be one’s “first time.” In order to constitute sex, it does not necessarily need to be a heteronormative act between opposite-sex individuals or a queer act, but only if all involved are queer.
Virginity is overly-hyped, in my opinion, and in such a way that the so-called act of “losing one’s virginity”is made out to be a huge ordeal. That’s not even to mention the problematic language of “taking one’s virginity,”as if it’s something the other person carries with them after the act, or the fact that if virginity is to be judged by whether or not one has had heteronormative sex, the concept itself excludes many people.
I still can’t quite figure out society’s huge hang-up with what queer folks do in the privacy of their bedrooms, but that doesn’t seem to be the primary issue at stake here. The public discourse of sex is that when heteronormative sex is possible, it is the only form to worry about, both from the standpoint of public health and of the emotional well-being of those involved.
Only here’s the thing: non-heteronormative sex can spread STIs, and often carries with it just as much emotional baggage as heteronormative sex. The fact of the matter is, we need to get our act together as a society in terms of the public discourse around sex, no questions asked, and it’s time for the discourse around virginity and sex to change to be more inclusive to distinct possibilities.
Dear Prude is a snarky queer lady who lives in a gigantic, polluted, and landlocked city that she loves with all her heart in spite of its flaws. She spends her days with her head in the clouds and her nose in books and loves to raise holy hell.