Tag Archives: partner

Temperature Play Tips For Cool Summer Sex

You’ve seen this onscreen sex trope before: A man (it’s always a man) slowly drags an ice cube over a woman’s naked body, giving the camera an excuse to linger on said naked body. (Think of 9½ Weeks, Do the Right Thing, or any number of copycats.) This move is an example of temperature play, a set of techniques used in both BDSM and vanilla encounters to provoke a sensual response through the application of high or low temperatures.

“When people think of temperature play, they usually focus on warmth — melting the wax of a natural massage candle and drizzling onto the body for a heated-up massage or using your own body heat to melt massage bars into an oil can be quite lovely during the cold winter months,” says Coyote Days, product and purchasing manager at sex toy retailer Good Vibrations. “But during the hot summer months, we prefer to look at ways people can cool down while getting hot with their partner.”

And, as many a sex scene has demonstrated, you already have a temperature play product in your freezer.

“Ice is a simple and sensual way to incorporate temperature and sensations into your sex life,” Days says. “Holding an ice cube with your fingers or between your lips offers intimacy with an edge. Not only does the ice chill the part of the body it’s touching — nipples, inner thighs, buttocks, stomach, and more — but the ice water it creates can also be a fun.”

To add temperature play to oral sex specifically, Claire Cavanah, Babeland co-founder and co-author of Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex,  recommends that you “put an ice cube in your mouth before touching your partner and have a cup of hot tea by the side of the bed — alternate between the two sensations.”

But temperature play options don’t end with ice. Click through for more techniques that will cool you down as they turn you on.


By Hayley MacMillen

What To Do If You Can Orgasm Alone, But Not With Your Partner

“I’ve been having a little trouble with finding a balance between respecting myself and being a sexual being. What I mean by that is, I like sex…a lot. I’ve been with a couple of guys, and I’ve recently started to have a casual relationship with someone I’ve been intimate with before. Sometimes, I feel bad, because it feels as if I should be saving myself for the ‘man who will love me forever’ and not using my body in situations like this. How do I deal with these conflicting thoughts and accept the side of me that, well, loves sex?”

Years ago, I started a casual sexual relationship with someone who checked so many stereotypical Bad Boy boxes, it was as if he had been ripped from a movie: He had the leather jacket, the motorcycle, and the unwillingness to provide me with any consistency or fidelity whatsoever. And I wrestled with some of the thoughts you’re having now. It wasn’t that I wanted to have sex only with someone who would love me forever, and it definitely wasn’t that I wanted this particular someone to love me forever. But I did wonder how I could respect myself for sleeping with someone who didn’t relate to me in the ways that we as women have been taught male partners should relate to us ever since we were parked in front of our first Disney movie: with attentiveness and chivalry, dinners out, and texts goodnight. Shouldn’t I stand up for myself — and, in so doing, stand up for all womankind — by refusing this partner sex unless he provided me with more of the markers of an “acceptable” relationship?
And then, I realized that I wasn’t after the dinners out or the texts goodnight. I wanted the occasional hookup and the occasional ride on the back of that motorcycle. And I realized, too, that wanting sex as a woman needn’t be political and needn’t say anything about you other than that you like to fuck. I’m going to push back on the first line of your question, in which you cast “respecting yourself” and “being a sexual being” in opposition. It can be so very hard to disentangle our parents/peers/pastors/priests/politicians’ hopes for our sex lives from our own (and doing so doesn’t necessarily mean that these hopes are different), but if we are going to claim our lives as our own, it’s work we have to do.
Respecting yourself includes accepting and celebrating your sexuality, and at this moment in your life, that happens to include casual sex. It’s true that good dick or vagina or tongue or whatever gets you going isn’t worth feeling unsafe or shitty about yourself. But if the people you’re with are treating you with decency, even if not like a Disney princess, neither is it worth it to berate yourself for enjoying something that humans (not just the male ones!) have evolved to enjoy. Sex doesn’t need to be a means to an end — to a free meal or a monogamous relationship or a ring. Sometimes, it’s both means and end. I say enjoy the ride.

“What’s the best way to prepare yourself for anal intercourse?”

While your clothes are still on, talk with your partner about your and your partner’s past experiences with anal play. What did you like? What didn’t you? Then, whether or not you’ve had anal before, discuss how you’d like it to go this time and any concerns you have. This conversation has the added benefit of building anticipation before the act (sexy). When you’re ready, apply lube — water-based if you’re using a silicone dildo — with reckless abandon. When you have enough lube on both the penetrating penis/dildo and the receiving anus (which, reminder, does not self-lubricate), add more. Now you have enough. The receiver should relax his or her muscles, and the penetrator can start with fingers, adding more as the receiver adjusts, and building up to penetration with a penis or dildo (there are also graduated butt-plug sets you can try). Don’t rush. Remember that anal doesn’t exempt you from condom use if there is any risk of STI transmission. And, the receiver should set the pace — he or she is in charge here. And have fun!
“I’ve been with the same guy for going on three years, and my chronic inability to orgasm during sex is sort of becoming problematic. When I’m masturbating? I have no problem. But my guy is starting to get insecure that he’s bad at sex, which, whatever, I’ve reassured him billions of times that it’s just different for women. I’ve had maybe five male partners in my 23 years and have never reached orgasm with any of them. I’d love to have the full gamut of the experience and know what orgasming with someone feels like.”
I’ve had the inverse experience with a male partner who didn’t orgasm from sex with me — not never, but not often — although he came consistently on his own. I believed him when he assured me how much he enjoyed our sex, but I couldn’t help but feel that on some level, I was failing as a partner.

But guess what I had to do? I had to take him at his word, get the fuck over it, and enjoy myself, too. Often, the partners of people with anorgasmia — whether primary (they never orgasm), secondary (they used to, but don’t anymore), or situational (they don’t orgasm in certain contexts, for example during partnered sex) — allow their own insecurities to eclipse their partners’ issues. I don’t want to say “problem,” because not everyone sees not orgasming as such. At the same time, yes, it would be nice to come with your guy. While orgasm isn’t the be-all-end-all of sex, it is, as you said, part of the full gamut of sexual experience — and it’s a really, really fun part.

A question for you: What are you counting as “sex” here? It’s estimated that only 25% of women orgasm consistently from vaginal intercourse, mostly because vaginal intercourse doesn’t offer much in the way of clitoral stimulation. Bumper stickers teach us that in religious pluralism, there are many paths and one mountain. My addendum is that there are many ways to reach orgasm, and no one way is “right.” An orgasm is an orgasm, and you might need manual or oral stimulation or maybe a toy to have one with your partner. (I willadvocate for vibrating penis rings until I draw my dying breath. My last utterances to my great-great-grandchildren shall be songs of their praises. I will also never forget an interview I once did with a woman who had never had an orgasm until, at age 26, she went home with a casual acquaintance who used a come-hither fingering move to stimulate her G-spot just so. She came four times. This woman gives me hope.) Think about how you get yourself off, and consider demonstrating your masturbation techniques to your partner for him to try on you.

By  Hayley MacMillen

So-so sex lives leave Brits calling for more intense pleasure

New research has outed Britain as a sexually unsatisfied nation – with a mere third describing their sex life as ‘good’, and just 15 per cent saying their bedroom action is ‘great’.

The study, commissioned by Durex, reveals that almost two thirds of people would like to have special sex more often – but half of us are too embarrassed, tired or simply clueless when it comes to suggesting new things in the sack.

We spoke to Alix Fox, sex and relationship expert, about how Brits might combat these issues and have a satisfied sex life again.

Why do so many Brits only see their sex life as ‘good’ and not ‘great’?

“A recent survey showed that only a teeny weeny 1% of people in the UK reckon they’re having ‘epic’ sex,” Fox reveals. “Of course, their responses may have been coloured by classic British modesty – Brits aren’t known as a nation of braggers, so maybe some respondents were simply trying to avoid showing off about the awesome adventures they get up to between the sheets – but sadly, I suspect there’s some depressing repression at play here.”

“British culture is moving towards talking more openly about sex, and it’s becoming much more acceptable to express fantasies and fetishes to your partner or suggest trying toys, techniques or titillating role plays. But- a huge number of Brits still find it hard to tell their lovers that something isn’t working for them in bed, or they get too nervous about making new suggestions,” she reflects. “In fact, that same survey showed that 50% of people hardly ever feel they can pipe up about wanting to switch things up sexually, whether that’s due to embarrassment, not knowing how to broach the subject, or being clueless about exactly what to propose. As a result, they clam up and put up with having the same old stagnant sex that’s merely middling, rather than mind-blowing.”

What may cause couples to abandon sex altogether?

“There are so many reasons why couples’ bumping ‘n’ grinding can grind to a halt. Stressful jobs can leave folks feeling too frazzled for lovemaking; medications like anti-depressants and (ironically) hormonal contraception can suppress sex drive; issues with body image or erectile dysfunction as people age can knock carnal confidence. After years and years as a pair, lovers can gradually get lazy or overfamiliar with each other,” the sexpert says. “15% of Brits have admitted that their sex lives are completely non-existent.”

“The good news is that there are a huge number of possible solutions to all these issues,” Fox states. “And they all begin with communication…”

Why if a couple has been together for a long time are they embarrassed about introducing new things into the bedroom?
“When couples have been in love for so long that it seems they must have paid for their first date using shillings, they can develop very deep-set habits together,” says Fox. “Suggesting something that breaks those habits or shakes up a well-worn routine can feel like a really big, daunting thing to do. People can worry that their partner will be shocked if they suggest introducing something fresh to sex, or even suspicious or hurt – they fear a reaction like ‘You mean to say I’ve not been satisfying you all this time? Have you been faking orgasms and happiness for decades?’, or ‘Why do you want to change things now? What’s got into you?’. Statistics show that in most cases, though, long-term partners really welcome their lovers making moves to spice things up, and they’ve often been searching for a way to propose the same things themselves.”

What is ‘special sex’ and why do couples want it more?
“The precise specifics of what makes sex ‘special’ will be different for different people, but generally I think this means ‘memorable for positive reasons’ – whether that’s because you made a dedicated effort to explore something new (whether that’s a vibrator, a stimulating gel, a position, a scenario…), or because you really concentrated on each other’s sensations and emotions during lovemaking,” Fox muses.

“Sex that is not special equals: sex that’s forgettable, so predictable it’s boring; sex where you’re not mentally ‘in the moment’, because you’re fretting, distracted, too knackered, or not concentrating on you and your partner’s feelings; or sex that leaves one or both of you feeling unsatisfied or disappointed,” she continues.

“I think it’s obvious why people crave more of the former! Special sex can leave you feeling elated; un-special sex can make you feel deflated.”

Why can pleasure rings be a good place to start?

“If you’re looking for an easy way to amp up your intimate antics, a simple cock ring like the newly launched Durex Pleasure Ring is a fantastic way to introduce something extra to your sexual repertoire,” Fox advises. “It’s a squidgy, stretchy, comfy-to-wear clear silicone band that fits over the base of his penis – nothing scary or complicated. Use a little water-based lubricant to help it slip on and feel comfy. It will help him stay harder for longer, without chemicals or pills, giving his ego a boost and giving you both more time to make love; and it also has the added bonus of making intercourse feel more intense for him. At around a fiver, it’s a very affordable toy that has a whole host of benefits. If you wanna ring the changes, grab a ring!”

Why is communication so important when it comes to livening up your sex life?
“Unless you’re dating Derren Brown, your lover isn’t a mind reader,” Fox answers, “and I bet even Derren would have trouble guessing that you fancied testing out a G-spot vibrator or trying a thinner condom or wanted him to move his finger in circles rather than up and down. There’s only so much a partner can tell from body language and vague hints. Unless you and your amore are communicating properly, you’re simply not going to know what each other’s thoughts and desires and preferences and wonderings are. They may be very different to when you first started dating. Communication needs to be something couples do constantly, as they evolve over time as individuals and as a pair. As well as being useful for improving sex, good communication can be a turn-on in itself. Think about how hot it is to hear someone whisper in your ear exactly how they want you to touch them; listen to them read out a scorching scene from their favourite erotic novel; or read a naughty text from them while you’re at work, spelling out what they want to do when you get home.”

Why is it better to start simple with sex toys?

“The technology that goes into sex toys these days is outstandingly advanced,” Fox says. “There are saucy gadgets that do everything from heat up to communicate with mobile phones to administer tiny electric shocks for those who are turned on by pain! But if you jump straight into the deep end and buy something too complex, advanced or specialist, it can be overwhelming, or intimidating, or give off far too intense a sensation for a beginner to handle.”

“The best way to learn what suits you and your partner in terms of toys like is to start simple,” she counsels. “Choose a toy that’s small, straightforward, and friendly-looking, so your lover is less likely to freak out when you bring it out! Experiment to see what you both enjoy – the types of vibration and movement you like, the parts of your body you like to be stimulated – then build on from there.”

Why shouldn’t couples simply settle when it comes to their sex life? If they are having sex – is that not enough?
“To me, saying ‘Well, we’re having OK-ish, kinda-meh, mediocre sex, but I guess it’ll do – at least we’re having sex at all’ can be compared to saying ‘I could have this unforgettably delicious multiple-course Michelin-starred meal, but I’ll settle for a boring bowl of plain pasta – at least we’re eating!'” reasons Fox. “It seems such a shame, such a wasted opportunity, when couples don’t feel sufficiently inspired or motivated to make their intimate moments emotionally deeper and physically more satisfying,” she laments. “Good sex has the capacity to bring so much positivity to your relationship and your life in general. It can help relieve stress; make couples feel more connected and happy together; it can teach you so much about your own psychology; and it genuinely has the capacity to be one of the most exquisitely pleasurable and moving activities it’s possible to experience as a human being. Plus, it’s free! Having your best sex can take some effort, though, much like learning to cook properly rather than merely making toast. If your bedroom activity consists of just lazily sticking something in a slot, then you’re missing out on making the kind of love that could truly nourish you.”


By Lucy Moore


Many still have to suppress their sexuality as a result of society’s intolerance

In January last year (how time flies!), I wrote a commentary on how the Straits Times reported the asylum status of a transgender woman.

In that instance, I felt that the Straits Times, exacerbated the ignorance of society towards minorities who do not necessarily fall into categories that society may impose.

Further to that commentary, I had the opportunity to meet the courageous protagonist behind this journey to seek asylum in the UK. It was important for people to see “Vanessa” as a human being with the same fears, dreams and aspirations as the rest of us.

Like any other person, she wants to be free to live a meaningful life without having to be curtailed or held back just because she happens to be born transgender.

Prejudice often occurs when people do not understand why someone might be different. As a result of this lack of understanding, it is easy to be flippant or dismissive about a struggle for acceptance that is so real and so difficult. It is therefore important for understanding to be fostered through awareness and education.

Fast forward one year and a bit, I am happy to report that “Vanessa” has finally won her battle to remain in the UK.

While I am saddened that she does not feel able to live her life freely in the country of her birth, I am heartened that she can now live the rest of her life to her full potential in a society that accepts her for who she is; where she can work and socialise as a transgender woman without discrimination.

I am certain that “Vanessa” is not alone in her struggle and there are others in Singapore who may have to suppress their sexuality as a result of society’s intolerance. As a result of being different, they have to either pretend to be someone else or risk being held back in their careers or ostracised by family and friends.

Hopefully in time, as Singapore becomes more progressive through greater awareness and education that this will no longer be an issue. For now, I hope that “Vanessa’s” story can be a beacon of hope and inspiration to others who may be going through the same struggles.


By Ghui

5 Tips Scientifically Proven To Help Delay His Orgasm

Everyone wants great sex. There’s no denying the mental and physical benefits of a sweet sack session. But what is it about sex that men and women crave the most?

According to experts at Promescent, a leading delay spray for men suffering from premature ejaculation (PE), numerous surveys over the past decade have confirmed that emotional connection, communication, experimentation and even cuddling are all essential components of an exciting sex life. But the one thing that couples always seem to agree upon makes a sex life above average? It’s the frequency of orgasms.

Although it’s a common debate nowadays on whether or not you need to have an orgasm to have great sex, one thing everyone can agree on is the existence of the all-too-real orgasm gap.

If you ask women, “What is most likely to prevent you from having an orgasm?,” one of the most common responses would be, “my partner doesn’t last long enough.”

Known to be a source of sexual dissatisfaction among couples, the dreaded orgasm gap alludes to the fact that men, on average, take just over five minutes to reach their happy ending. (In fact, premature ejaculation is one of the factors that worry men the most besides penis size.)

Women who are able to orgasm through intercourse (aka with penetration alone) can take up to 18 minutes. It’s important to mention that only 30 percent of women are able to orgasm this way (without clitoral stimulation).

With women wanting men to last longer, and most men agreeing that longer lasting sex results in more intense orgasms, most couples resort to strategies that try to figure out a way men can delay their orgasms.

Here are five clinically proven tips to help make your love last long enough for you both to have an amazing time in bed:

1. Start and stop.

The most natural way to prevent an early end to sex is to start, stop and start again. If you’re able to find what’s referred to as a mid-level of excitement, you can get back to business for a bit longer without getting too overly excited. However, some men do not prefer this method, simply because it takes the fun out of sex. Therefore, they default to other methods.

2. Use a delay spray.

There are topical sprays that are applied to the penis just 10 minutes before you get it on, and can help your lovin’ last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. As if that isn’t good enough, there’s no condom required. (Tip: Have your man wipe off if you’re going to give oral sex.)

3. Try the “squeeze method.”

This technique is often used to prevent a happy ending from coming too early. Just before ejaculation, gently squeeze the shaft of the penis between the thumb and forefinger. This causes a significant reduction in the erection, giving you more time with your lover.

4. Distract yourself.

Guys, no one wants to think about their grandmas while they’re in bed with their ladies. But, letting your mind wander isn’t necessarily bad if you’re trying to make it a little bit longer. In fact, it’s still the first way sex therapists recommend their patients put off ending prematurely.

5. Take a delay pill.

While there are no pills sold solely for the purpose of delaying ejaculation, there are certain pills that are sold “off label” that help let the good time roll a little longer.

For extreme cases, anti-depressants may also be prescribed to help treat premature ejaculation. You should always consult your doctor before taking any delay pills or anti-depressants.


By Jarone Ashkenazi

No pleasure in ‘sexual perfection’

London – Making love is a minefield at the best of times.

But it seems those who seek perfection between the sheets may be the ones who cause themselves the most grief.

A study has found that men who put pressure on women to be flawless in bed will cause their lover stress, anxiety and sexual problems. Similarly, when a woman expects her man to be perfect, the chances are he will fail to perform and she will be left disappointed.

Researchers claim this “sexual perfectionism” is ruining the love-making experience for many women.

The phenomenon is thought to be more prevalent in younger women – possibly influenced by glamorous images on the internet and the rise of online pornography – that are a world away from the average person’s experience of sex.

Those women who looked for bedroom perfection from their men tended to be “less satisfied with the sex they are having compared to women who do not have these expectations”.

The study by the University of Kent looked at a variety of different types of perfectionism between the sheets.

They said perfectionism is a common personality characteristic in many walks of life – and had been studied often in music and sport. Rather than being a perfectionist, it has been found that people who are conscientious tend to get better results.

But little research had been carried out on the connection between such perfectionism and sex lives.

The researchers – led by Joachim Stoeber at the university’s psychology department – looked at survey responses of 366 women aged between 17 and 69 who completed surveys between December 2013 and February 2014. Of the original sample, 164 were asked to respond six months later to see how their responses changed over time.

To measure sexual perfectionism, the researchers used a questionnaire which looked at different aspects of sexual perfection. It asked the women to rate on a scale of 0 – five how much they agreed with a variety of statements such as: “I expect nothing less than perfection from my sexual partner”, or “I have very high perfectionist goals for myself as a sexual partner”.

They were also asked how much they agree with statements such as “I feel anxious when I think about the sexual aspects of my life”,or “I would be to blame if the sexual aspects of my life were not going very well”.

They also answered detailed questions on their sexual experiences, such as how often they felt aroused. It found that when the expectation to be perfect in bed came from one’s sexual partner this had “a negative effect on sexual function”.

But the silver lining is that it seems that as women get older, they become less worried about living up to a partner’s ideal and simply enjoy the experience.

Becoming more mature, the researchers suggest, will lead to an “experience involving shared pleasures or relationship building”.

Perfectionism was not always associated with problems: women who imposed perfectionist standards on themselves reported having higher levels of desire – but they were also more likely to be single.


By Colin Fernandez

I Lost My Virginity To Someone Who Was Trying To Wait Until Marriage

When I was a little girl, I was a hopeless romantic. As a young, wide-eyed and an intensely dramatic dreamer, I contained the perfect ingredients for falling in love with the idea of love. For most of my childhood, I would often get lost in thought about how my first kiss would go and with whom it would be with. I was a very calculated romantic, to say the least.

I had a crush on one boy from kindergarten until I moved to a different city in the fifth grade. Even at age 8, I would scribble names of boys in a journal equipped with little asymmetrical hearts crowding the page, instead of listening during class.

I always imagined my first kiss would be on a swing, the teachers would call everyone back from recess, but the boy I was pining after would stay behind to reveal his secret admiration for me. He would say something like, “I’ve always liked you since the moment I first saw you playing ‘the floor is lava’ on the playground.”

He would look at me and know that I was the one in that moment, and I would know it back. This moment would be one I would tell my future children, further strengthening their idealistic worldview of love. Yes, I was an extremely passionate little girl.

My first kiss was in front of my middle school the summer before I graduated sixth grade. It was oddly a lot later than my friends, who had already shared kisses with boys during party games in their basements. As a person who hadn’t been kissed by age 12, I felt like I was falling behind the curve in mankind’s quest for their soulmate.

One night, while my mother was sleeping, my friends and I snuck out to our school, which was located halfway between my house and the house of a boy I had been IMing with and talking to on the phone. We hung out for an hour or two, walking around in the dark past curfew.

We walked down the sidewalk toward the school so I could start heading home, as the fear of my mother waking up and finding out we weren’t home was steadily building. We hugged goodbye, and he turned to me to give me this big, sloppy kiss. I don’t think he said anything beforehand. It lasted approximately three abrupt seconds before he turned away. I wiped my mouth.

I remember walking home the rest of the way feeling nothing. But as someone who believed in meet cutes and perfect firsts, I willed myself to believe it was, indeed, romantic. I told my friend I was in love. I pretended to smile, hoping the words could be true.

In high school, I was a nervous, insecure wreck. Everyone my age was beautiful, and I couldn’t even get my bangs right. I dated boys and got mad when they had girls as friends, which usually pushed them closer to the very girls I would worry about.

I wanted to be loved; I needed it, even. And in my pathetic search for a high school sweetheart, I actively sought after boys with whom I had zero things in common. Their only qualification was they had to like me back.

I dreamed of living an ’80s romantic comedy, but I didn’t want to see myself as the geek girl who suddenly took off her glasses, revealing how gorgeous she was. I wanted the “Pretty In Pink” narrative. Andie wasn’t a loser; she was just perceived as one because of her working-class family archetype.

I’m not saying this to be entirely self-deprecating, but I just wasn’t cool. I wasn’t even an Andie. But, I ignored this then because I wanted so badly to be the girl who got the guy like in the movies. I made it my high school life’s mission. I was in love with the idea that I could fall in love with someone who loved me in equal measure, and everything would be just as perfect as the boom box scene in “Say Anything.”

I don’t remember where I met him; I just remember that I did. He was what you would consider to be incredibly popular. He was a junior who had hoards of friends, and I was a sophomore whose friend count could be quickly calculated on one finger.

He was a football player who attended parties, and I was the design editor for the newspaper who spent her weekend nights working on her Photoshop skills and configuring HTML code on her MySpace page. I don’t know how it was possible, but he met my initial gawkiness with profound interest, maybe even adoration.

He was also exceptionally religious. Here’s a background on my religious endeavors: I always tell people my mother went to Catholic school, and that’s why my family is fiercely non-denominational. Aside from my 6-year-old self struck by the thought of going to hell if I cursed and accidentally attending a youth group in the third grade, I had garnered no relevant information in my life pertaining to the subject of religion.

Early in my youth, I only prayed at night out of fear those closest to me would die if I didn’t. I would fall asleep methodically naming everybody I knew like a morbid lullaby.

For some reason, even after knowing my indifferent attitude toward faith, he continued the courtship. One night in the early stages of our relationship, he left my house to go back home to his, only to knock on the door one minute later to say he forgot something.

When he said this, his head tilted slightly, and he leaned through the doorframe to kiss me. He walked away in the rain. I’m not even exaggerating. It seemed like everything I had imagined my first love to be. So, with our vast religious differences aside, I let it be.

He was upfront with me about being a virgin and wanting to wait for the right person. Full of his own romantic ideals, he wanted to wait until marriage so that sex would be special. It was God’s gift. As much as I respected that, I was 15 and hormonal. I didn’t want to be a 16-year-old virgin while everyone around me relished in the act of growing up.

While I, too, wanted to wait for the right person, it felt to me that he was this person. I suggested we do it anyway. He suggested we give it some time, and then we’d talk about it. So, we agreed to date for six months before we revisited the idea of breaking his vow.

I don’t think we ever really talked about it again. We were kissing one night, and suddenly, all of our clothes were on the floor. I was in a panic. My whole body was shaking. I could feel his body discordantly shaking against mine.

I guess we just knew where we were going in that moment because no words were exchanged. It was pure, sweet awkwardness. But, we stopped.

The next time we were alone together, it happened. It was both slow and sudden, and I barely remember any of it. All I remember is that it hurt, and then it was over.

He was lying next to me, and he put his arms around me. With my head facing away from him, I cried. He didn’t know, but as I cried, I wondered if I had just made a terrible, horrible mistake.

I took something from him that night. It wasn’t his or my virginity that I was upset about. It was what I took from him in my insufferable pursuit for deep, powerful romance.

He thought he loved so much that he was willing to overlook fundamental parts of his beliefs. But, I wasn’t right at all. I remember the moment I knew this for sure.

After a particularly long drive home from a date, I was staring into a building and thinking about all the people inside I couldn’t see. I wondered what they were doing.

I imagined little compartments of offices with the walls stripped. As I looked at the first layer of the building, peeled back with the compartments completely exposed, I sat there and wondered about the fragility of life.

“Isn’t it weird that we just keep ourselves busy — just occupied — until we die?” I asked. He responded almost defensively, “You don’t think God put us on this Earth for a reason?” I didn’t know how to reply without arguing, so I just continued to look out the window, watching an airplane fly overhead and thinking about all the people I couldn’t see.

He slipped away from me, eventually. Each time we had sex after the first time, I could see the guilt in his face. I felt like every time thereafter, I was this sex-crazed maniac forcing him to continually alter his identity. His beliefs were colliding with me every time we were together, as he grew increasingly ashamed. It was a shame that seemed, maybe appropriately, directed toward me.

And the passionate romance I was so crazy about was missing. It was the time before the actual time — the butterflies, the nervous kissing — that was fervent and real. Actually losing my virginity was not at all how I pictured in the movie reel in my head. It was quick, it was uneventful and it was forgettable, just like my first kiss in front of my middle school.

For both, there was no intense feeling of love, of forever. There was no parade in my brain or catapulting feeling in my heart. I don’t think I even told anyone. Anticipation really is a killer.

I’ve always heard that when you have sex, it is like tape. My sex ed teacher used this analogy, and it irritates me that it stuck with me all these years. You start with a piece of tape, and it gets ripped off when you have sex. You put it back on with someone new, and rip it off again. Eventually, the adhesive gets less sticky as you leave piece after piece behind. Eventually, you get less attached to the act.

I almost believe this to be true. While my tape is still in pretty good condition, each person I share this extremely intimate moment with has taken a piece from me. But, I am no less involved in the person. I have been no less intricately entwined in each relationship since. Maybe I’m just a little less idealistic about it, but not detached.

Though my first time wasn’t regrettable, as it has formulaically shaped me and relationships since, I wasn’t really meant to be his first piece of tape, and he wasn’t meant to be mine. Even though it was a choice we made together, I diminished his religious worldview, and in turn, he took from me my romantic perception of firsts.

Today, I don’t expect to see stars or signs from the universe that direct my love life and all its participants. I still daydream, but I now know those are merely my individually crafted ideas that are as alive as they are make-believe. I don’t use them anymore to frame my already unusually high expectations about how a situation is to amorously progress.

I guess it only takes an irrevocable error in judgment to cause you to selfishly take something as special as God’s approval from someone, all so you can live a false romantic fairytale to see that.


By Ariel Sullivan