Virginity
Never seemed to be a
Mind-burdening problem for me
I think
Honestly
At the age of sixteen
I was much more concerned
With my GCSEs

Coming from
A childhood
Where “Sex” was
Something I understood –
Thanks to my mother’s
Openness
About ‘jiggy jiggy’
And the thing that gets sticky
And the meaning of a “quickie” –
We came
To terms
With adult words
Perhaps a lot sooner than we should’ve

As us four, however
Slowly matured,
That carefree guilelessness
Rapidly ensnared
A gathering of elephants
That slowly amassed
In one tiny room.
What could we do?
One couldn’t
Simply
Pass the salt
Whilst openly discussing
Their hymen’s breakthrough

Sure, my friends would
Groan and sigh
Why
Can’t it be the love of my life
Who pops my cherry.
Ugh.
I always winced at that turn of phrase.
Whereas others would relay
Their illustrious tales
Of random men
Or a distant mate
That they’d bonked in a bush
Or the loo
Or the sack
Or round the back of some unknown estate

I decided instead
To turn my head
From this
Smorgasbord
Of fictitious accounts.
I’d lived long enough
Without
This phenomenal experience
Surely, I couldn’t be missing out.

Three weeks into
A novel chapter
I found myself in unknown territory
The first time
I’d felt love for another
Pushed my mother
To laden me
With a kilo of rubber
Tucked nicely into the lining
Of my sheepskin jumper.
Thoroughly hidden –
Or so I thought –
Until
Unbeknownst to me,
A young whippersnapper
Brandished one of the wrappers
To the entirety of my cohort.

CRAP.

My face
Convulsed
As the laughter disbanded.
Praying
He wouldn’t think
I had some big night planned,
I waved my hand
To sudden suggestions of
Sexual inclination –

A condom?

For tonight?

Oh don’t make me gag.
Honestly, that’s always been in my bag.

Raised eyebrows
Provided
A mild dose of assurance,
As the night wound low
And taxis rode home.
Smirks and promises of
CALL ME FIRST THING TOMORROW
were made
As I came
To the spare room alone.
“Sleep well!” He sung,
As my door was slammed shut.
Was he joking?
Perhaps not,
As he reappeared so fast
My head almost fell off.

Right.
What now?
We hadn’t a clue.
Both stood
Fully clothed
And visibly suffocated
By that familiar elephant
Like two lemons at the zoo.

Come on Christi
Pull your weight!
Screamed the voice from inside.
Nervously trying
To act alluring,
My foot got caught
As I slid my body
Precisely to where
I hoped we’d recline.

FUCK.

This was definitely not
The romantic scene
I’d pictured as my first time.
Arms flailing like spaghetti
I started to panic
And grabbed onto the closest thing
To stop myself from falling.

Between my hands, what did I find?
Blindly turning the cover
The right way around
I managed to decipher
With all the strength I could muster:
Dr. Seuss’
“Oh the Places You’ll go!”
Painfully ironic?
Yes, I believe so.

At this point
I realised
He appeared quite perplexed.
“Oh, you know this one?” I panted,
Hoping he’d interject.

No?

NOTHING?

Internally I moaned
As I foresaw the childish fool
That really would be left alone.

“It’s my favourite bedtime story!”
“I can’t sleep without it!”

What the fuck was I saying?
Could I be more off-putting?
Just quickly start reading
Maybe he’ll come to his own.

Luckily
He played along with my
Improvised skit
That was until
I genuinely started feeling the heat.
With such controlled subtlety
I began removing my top
With murmurs of
“Uh…this room’s kinda hot.”

“Hot?”
He immediately replied.
In a flash
The window was open
And he’d pulled down the blind.

Well.

I guess this is it.

Here we go.

But the blindingly well-lit room
Was really killing my flow.

Did people really have sex in the light?
It didn’t seem a bit
Awkward
And painfully bright?

Not wanting to seem rude,
I did the best yawn I could fake
To try and speed up this business
For both of our sakes.

Once he’d clocked my
Clearly artificial fatigue,
Almost telepathically
-Or so it seemed-
We both silently squeezed in
Between
Mattress and cover.
The last thing I remember
Was a shiny red square
Being brandished from a drawer.
My eyes softly closed
As I anticipated the smother –

“WAIT!”

He yelped.
My eyes sprung open.
Did I miss a step?
Had the “foreplay” overrun?
I silently cursed myself for jumping the gun.
Was there an alternative route
he’d intended to pursue?
“Your socks,” he mused
They just won’t do.”

My socks?

Right.

Um, okay.

He’d clearly been planning this
In quite some depth.
So one thing led to another
– I won’t divulge the rest –
But I can honestly assure you
That at best
It took at least three tries
And reassuring replies of
“I’m alright, let’s try it again”
Before cheers and smiles were felt from within
In the most wondrous state of bliss
One could imagine –

That was,
Until the next morning.

Let’s rewind to a few hours before.

When we finally,
You know,
Got it right
I let myself sink into slumber
After checking the rubber
And kissing my lover goodnight.
Little did I know
Either he was more drunk than he appeared
Or he simply didn’t know where to dispose of the gear

So where did it go?

Ah! But of course.

Right out
The window.

Onto the doorstep
For all of London to see –
But for one single man particularly:

His father.

HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE!?

If only I’d told him to
Wrap it
In a scrap of tissue
Then perhaps he wouldn’t have tossed it so carelessly.

Ah well.
Life’s too short to
Regret teenage pitfalls
But let my experience be a lesson to you all –
Enjoy it. You’ll only lose your virginity once
And I assure you that
You’ll find yourself in cahoots
When reflecting on things
That didn’t necessarily go as planned
And learning for the times
That will follow suit.

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FIRST TIMES. POEM. CAROLINE ELMS

First Time

The first time that I kissed
Was not the time that I first touched

The first time that I touched
Was not the time that I first fucked

The first time that I fucked
Was not the time that I first felt alive

The first time that I felt alive
Was the time I first made love to you.

And that is the only time,

Which has truly mattered.

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FIRST TIMES. CAVITY VIRGINTIY. ELIZA LAWRENCE ( MOI )

Inked night
Slipping into the tired heated bed
Bodies separated by hollow sound and hollow space
Minds attempting to communicate, glaring at each other through our night vision

Is touch all we need.
It wasn’t thunder love or lightning tears
It wasn’t first walk or first breath
it wasn’t.
There was thrusting bed night thumping but it wasn’t special yet.
It was a mutual agreement of nervous ecstasy and temporary memory.

Done after a few humps.
Building up more of a relationship with the pillow than the body
Asleep.
Awake to find that body is still breathing next to you. FUCK.

Silence as the thoughts of last night leaves cavities and they find a place in the bed between our wet hungry tongues.
Then the lights go on and the gates of mumbling awkward voice thrust us away from each other
The sun shines through onto the bed, illuminating the curved bodies. Distant.

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FIRST TIMES. NETTLE BUSH VIRGINITY. Not wanting to be named.

This was year 9 when I was 14. The first time I gave HEAD we shook hands to show we both confirmed what was about to happen. No kissing. It was in the middle of a stinging nettle bush. I had no idea what I was doing and it lasted 40 minutes. In a STINGING nettle bush. The single reason I got down to the level of his head was because I liked him so much. I wanted him to like me. But after this it seemed It’s his friends because they too wanted to have 40 minutes, with my mouth, in a stinging nettle bush

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FIRST TIMES. ISAAC MOSS. SEXUALITY AND VIRGINITY. DRAWINGS BY HIM UNDERNEATH

Recently I was given the very humbling experience of having someone facilitate space for me to observe and appreciate my shadow. My shadow being the emotions or feelings that I regularly neglect or suppress. The light that this person cast onto this part of me that, I tread in front of was very sharp. These illustrations are a direct response to this experience. It has become apparent after this conversation that I have been neglecting a balance of masculine and feminine energy in me for some time. I want to relate this to the theme of ‘First times’ by using my first time as an example of how this imbalance occurred in my case.

My first time was perhaps an anticlimax. I was with my first girlfriend at the age of 17, we were in love, ‘first’ love, and that was the vocabulary we had to describe ourselves. This anticlimax actually has very little to do with the sex we had that day, and I want to make it clear it had nothing to do with my girlfriend at the time. A legacy of social expectations, pornographic exposure, and romanticism created the framework for that ‘first time’. There are too many elements in those pressures above that added up to the discontent or disconnection of that first shared sexual act. The one, in particular, I would like to focus on is the quality of expectation.

When I have had conversations about expectations with friends, there is usually the binary presented of whether it is ‘better’ to have high or low expectations. At the moment I would like to transition away from both. I feel that there might be ways of observing expectations as they arise without judgment or attachment, as to not to live, either with an optimistic expectation or pessimistic expectation. In relationships, I’d like to watch what parts of myself are rooted in desire and attraction, and what parts are anchored in wanting. This might sound like not much of a distinction, but I have noticed in my relationships that usually, it is the wanting something from a person that leads to hurt or confusion. I find that It does not matter if the wanting is of sexual gratification or of faithfulness. in a way this ‘wanting’ in my experience is so linked with having, our culture is built on that conversation between wanting and having. Arguably, there is a game of illusions happening within the notion that anything can be ‘possessed’, but especially with people. There is no real way, that in the ‘wanting’ of someone you could be gratified with actually receiving anything to ‘have’. You cannot hold onto sex, you cannot hold onto a lover, you cannot hold onto beauty, rather you are them as they come and go.

For a while now, I have not been able to distinguish between desire and wanting. I have in some cases removed myself from experiences where I could sense but not distinguish my attraction and my wanting of someone. This comes back to this imbalance of masculine and feminine that I shared at the beginning of this article. After experiences like my first time, because of it being an anticlimax, I looked at myself with a type of disgust because I could see that I had been asked to project my attentions into wanting sex but had not actually received anything other than a rushed orgasm which was temporary and fleeting. I criticised myself for desire because I saw it as linked to the cultural expectation of a patriarchal society that capitalises objectification. I saw my desire as objectification. There have been so many ways that men have oppressed women I sort of decided that my desire was adding to this legacy of men not being able to help themselves. In a way, I can see why aestheticism is so appealing for people. I understand that saying I neglected my masculine energy, only really enforces a distinction. But I find some use in saying that I tried to be very feminine in some ways (whatever that means) I decided to create relationships just out of pure feeling and ignored my desire. This has left me in my ‘mind’ for a lot of sexual encounters, trying to provide sensitivity and trying to remove my testosterone.

I do not think that gender comes into my experience of expectation but more that masculine and feminine qualities are perhaps only ways of describing the experience of different biology. When I was allowed to observe my shadow with this person, what I observed was that my desire was very confused, I could say that I had ignored my masculine side. This would only mean that I have been ignoring my body as a man, as a space for sensuality passion and strength. I do not want to pretend that I have understood anything here, but perhaps if I can observe my expectations as both ‘desire and ‘wanting’, and to try and let go of the wanting without judgment, I can be embodied and present without disappointment, but with space for attraction.

I have written this article trying to be rooted in experience, I wanted to write this not to provide any kind of authority on how to ride the flow of living sexuality. As in the end, words are wind. I do not wish to have my mind trying to understand the processes of attraction more so than my body or my spirit. Balance, balance, balance.
Thank you

“If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
and say,

Like this.”

Rumi.

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