A Boy’s First Time: More Than A Badge Of Honor
Contrary to characters in movies like American Pie or its equivalent for my generation – Porky’s, not every teenage boy is ready or eager to lose his virginity. For many of us, it’s threatening, confusing and downright scary.
You Want to Do What?!
The first time I turned down a coital proposition (in grade 11), it was more out of surprise than fear. Maybe I’m just more oblivious than most, but I never saw it coming. Kissing was great; that is, after a horrible first try in my green Honda civic after watching Footloose, when I sadly deciding on the way home that I just didn’t like kissing. Second base (feeling her up at the back of Mr. Quan’s physics classroom while the teachers were having a meeting up front) left me physically shaking the rest of the afternoon. Third base was a pure primal experience, my hands and body instinctively discovering what to do in the backseat of mom’s Rabbit diesel (as soon as it was over, Kyle and Lisa shouted out from the car next to us that they’d won the bet about whether or not I’d groan – no secrets on a teenage double date).
Going All The Way
When it was apparently time to round the bases I was lying naked on top of her on the shag carpet at the top of her parent’s stairs, but the idea of “going all the way” had never even entered my mind. So when she (also a virgin, by the way) shyly suggested she’d like to, I uttered in panic the only words I could think of to escape the situation with my virginity and her pride intact: “My heart says yes, but my head says no.” Still one of the most poetic and sensitive things I’ve ever said in bed.
Indulging my teenage hormones in backseats was fantastic and imperative, but intercourse was grown-up territory I somehow knew I wasn’t emotionally ready for.
I love you, but…
Enter girlfriend #2 in grade 12. Same prone position, this time on the black leather couch in her trusting parents’ basement. This time I said yes to a plan to get birth control next week. Then a few days later I devastated her with the decision that I actually wasn’t ready yet. “Devastated” because she thought it meant I didn’t love her, which was far from the truth.
A few months more together and I was boldly walking with her into the family planning clinic. I was the only boyfriend there, but this was our decision and I was going to be part of it (a bravery she didn’t share as she sat in the car while I bought the back-up condoms from the drugstore). We made the doctor laugh with a joke about a new oral contraceptive (say “no”), and walked out with a prescription for intercourse in four weeks time.
Where Am I?
So we were ready: her popping pills, me carrying condoms in my wallet. Two weeks before the well-planned ceremony (to be complete with flowers, gentle music, and of course a fuzzy eye-gazing as we merged into one), we accidentally copulated during a camping trip. I honestly didn’t know what was happening.
“Where am I?” I asked tentatively.
“Inside me” was the soft answer.
“Oh,” I uttered, trying not to sound disappointed or scared, “I love you.”
Despite all the careful planning and research and readiness, I was in fact deeply disappointed, and scared. And feeling betrayed. Had she tricked me, stolen my precious virginity? She was the woman, she was the one who could feel me entering her, she should have known what was happening and stopped it, or at least informed me.
Boys Cry Too
Maybe at age 18 I still wasn’t ready for such an adult emotion and activity. Or maybe it is just a difficult transition that is never as easy as the movies. I was in love, in a good relationship, protected, of legal age, informed, in mutual consent… and it still took a week of tears and hugs to trust each other again.
I share my story to show what the movies don’t – that a boy’s first time is more than a thrill or badge of honor. Unaware, unsure, scared, lost, betrayed – we share these emotions with our partners, just as we share the feeling of “bursting with libidinal energy” http://www.sinclairinstitute.com/) that Lucy wrote about in her article “The First Time”, and just as we (hopefully) later come to share the beauty and wonder of this gift we give to each other.
In the comments below, I would love to hear from male readers if you had similar experiences, or from female readers what they have shared or understood of men’s first times. There are as many different first experiences as there are men, but I’m guessing there are some universal truths we all share that run deeper than we generally talk about or see in the movies.