The Man-hymen Project
I have a girlfriend who now reads this blog and hasn’t caught up with me in many years, and she, along with some of my old college buddies, will probably be most interested in this post. You see, I used to be a virgin. I know this makes me unique. All kidding aside, I don’t hold the record on holding my virginity, but I was twenty-nine when it was tugged from my grasp. Even in the circle of my friends, who tended to be more religious and conservative than the general public in such matters, this was a long time to remain a virgin.
It became something I was known for – a claim to fame, if you will. In college, I was usually referred to by my unofficial job titles of the Virgin Goddess of Audio Visual Equipment and later, the Virgin Goddess of Physical Reception. I actually delivered television sets and filmstrip projectors around campus and then was a receptionist for the campus physical plant. But everything sounds more glamorous when you put Virgin Goddess in front of it.
I’m sure there was a combination of factors that went into the very willful decision to finally lose the last vestige of my technical virginity. The magical age of twenty-nine was one of them. Turning thirty was like a nightmare for me. I realized with growing horror that I had done precisely nothing with my life. I was past the age where being a virgin is still considered cute.
I was past the age where any decent and suitable, marriage-worthy man would want the pressure associated with deflowering me. They didn’t think of it as a gift the way I did. It was more of a burden. Or a possible bout of blue balls that would stretch out for the months they would anticipate it would take me to be convinced to give it up. Better to ask out the other woman who would be likely to give it up on Date #3, as a good girl should. Being a somewhat pragmatic woman, I saw losing it as a way to increase my marriage prospects. Also, it couldn’t hurt my seemingly non-existent dating life.
There was the fear of becoming an old maid looming on the horizon. Some idiot whose thinking and statistics were both unsound had published a study that was frequently cited in the press. Its contention was that an unmarried woman over the age of thirty was more likely to be attacked by terrorists than to get married for the first time. If you are a woman of a certain age, I know you’ve heard of that study.
Twenty-nine also came with an abrupt change in my hormones. I suddenly had more of a problem with acne. I had whacko periods for a while there, every two weeks, then every five weeks, then back to normal, and two weeks later… I was just more interested in sex, more curious about it, more determined to see what the fuss was about and to have sex just for the experience of it. I got on the pill, and that helped with the acne and the periods but not much with the rest.
It felt like I was aroused all the time. This was probably as close as I will ever come to being a seventeen-year-old boy. There was a young French intern at work that I thought was really sexy. When he walked into a room I was able to smell my own arousal so acutely that I was just sure that other people could smell it, too. And I bathed daily, regularly. So, something was wrong with my body. It was telling me I had waited long enough. It was sending me a telegram that said, “I want to get laid STOP,” in morse code. I knew this because I was tapping it into my clitoris every night.
Once I made up my mind to go through with it, it was just a matter of finding the right guy. One of the married men I palled around with at work gave the good advice of, “You don’t want a choir boy.” Armed with my new plan of action (no choir boys, check), I went out on the town in the warehouse district with some friends and got trashed at Polly Esther’s. My best friend at the time was a young woman who had an older brother close to my age.
Adam, as he shall be forever renamed, was not a choir boy, although he struck me as a possibility while he was singing a Doors song into a microphone connected to a karaoke machine. He was a few inches taller than me and was already starting to lose his hair. He shaved his head. He was thin with a muscular build, yet not a bodybuilder type. And he had a pleasant face that spoke of hard living and substance abuse and a solid lack of higher education, marketable employment skills or future earnings potential. I saw that all in the lines on his face and the faint gray circles under his eyes that never went away. This guy was it!
I picked him because I wanted someone who knew what he was doing, and I picked him because I wanted someone who was not threatening in an emotional sense, someone I could trust not to be violent or abusive but with whom I would not develop any feelings that were consequential. And in this sense I made a good pick.
The first night I met him we were all over each other in the back seat of his sister’s car as she was driving me back to where I had left my car parallel parked on the street somewhere outside Artz Rib House. Since the sister was my best friend she ended up being my confidant through this process, and I’m sure that Adam and I kissing and groping in the back of her car is one of those moments that would have definitely qualified as TMI, but she said nothing and seemed to be delighted. Was she thinking that maybe we might fall in love and that that love would inspire him to want to be a better person on my behalf? He would give up drugs, find steady full time employment, stop obsessing about his crappy childhood and be happy for a change? Even I didn’t believe in that fairytale.
The second night we got together I picked him up at his house, and we went to dinner. I think he paid. I don’t remember, and it doesn’t really matter. At the time, Adam was living rent free on the couch of what I like to refer to as the Halloween House. It was owned by a very imaginative and macabre gay man. The man had once been an animator for the Disney studios. The whole house was decorated in Halloween theme, complete with a tombstone where the shrubbery would normally have been outside the front door. Adam was working part time at as a bouncer at a karaoke bar that his “landlord” frequented. His caricature is still framed on the wall of the bar for all the world to see. If I ever feel nostalgic I can go there and see the man with whom I lost my virginity, looking exactly as he did at that time. His features are just a tad more exaggerated than in real life.
After we had dinner I drove us out to Emma Long Park after dark where I sort of made him audition. After all, I did not want to lose it to someone with substandard equipment or someone who wasn’t clipped (it’s a preference or a prejudice that I’m entitled to have). He passed my test with flying colors, and I knew that the next time we got together would be it. My roommate was going out of town to visit family, and I would have the entire house in Oak Hill to myself. I picked him up. We got pizza and beer and that was that.
Okay. I’m not going to write about it in detail, but I will tell more than that. I think some things should just remain private, so if you’re reading to hear about foreplay or positions and orgasms, and whether or not I swallow, or if I like to make noise, and if I do whether it’s screaming or moaning, you can stop reading. If you know those things already, then you’ve had sex with me, and if you don’t, then it’s none of your business.
What I will say is that at one point in the evening I thought I would never lose it because my body would not cooperate. Adam was on top of me, hammering on the entrance to my vagina like a battering ram, and it would not yield. I thought I would cry in frustration. “Relax,” he said. “I am!” I cried out in defense. But if you know me very well, then you probably already know that I was not relaxed. I’m a pretty high-strung creature. Eventually, I did what I instinctively knew was necessary and flung my legs high up in the air in a deep V and we got penetration and then I wrapped my legs around his waist and bled profusely. Afterward, he got up and soaked a washcloth with warm water and then came back and cleaned me off. He could be considerate like that.
In fact, I bled every time we had sex for the first three times we got together, which was probably at least the first ten times I had sex. I began to think that I had the hymen that would not go away. It was stubbornly holding on to my cervix for dear life. “No,” it said, “I like it here.” I thought maybe there was something seriously wrong with me, and I would have to be taken to the hospital like the heroine in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.
A guy friend of mine once asked me if it hurt. I have to admit it did hurt, but it hurt so good. It felt pretty much like I had imagined it would, and I liked it. I was hooked. It was my new drug of choice.
Adam and I did it on a fairly regular basis for several months, longer than most of my dating relationships. I had a brief moment of mourning for the hymen where I called my old campus minister and expressed some guilt, and he asked me if I could maybe turn this into something. Hmm. Let’s see. Adam’s pillow talk consisted of how he got the shit beaten out of him every day by his father when he was growing up, how he wished his father would apologize for beating the shit out of him, and how he would never forgive his father for beating the shit out of him. I knew his father, and Adam was only hurting himself. Adam’s father had long since forgiven himself for anything that had happened in his first marriage. There would be no apologies.
When it ended, he ended it. The sex was good, and I was hot, but he could not put up with my personality anymore. I thought that was rich. I had gotten a good education out of the whole affair. I think all of his former lovers had been the kind of women that bring Cosmo articles to bed with them. I was not sorry over the loss of a relationship that had never been. I was just sorry that if I ever wanted to get laid again I would have to find a suitable candidate. This was what I hated about it. I would have to break in a new lover.
A couple of footnotes about Adam, lest anyone think I was inconsiderate of him. Lest anyone think my unwillingness to consider a relationship with Adam was because I was being overly picky, stuck up, or uncharitable, I have a couple of choice Adam moments that popped up after we stopped sleeping together.
First, I moved into an apartment with Adam’s sister and her daughter. We hired movers, and she hired her brother to watch after her daughter. The girl was just two years old and in the process of toilet training. Adam had spent the day on the computer playing video games. When we got back to the house, the little girl had spent God only knows how many hours in a dirty diaper. I carried her upstairs and changed her diaper, having to painstakingly scoop out the shit from the folds of her tiny genitals. It felt like my penance for having had sex with THAT MAN.
A few weeks after we moved in together, Adam’s sister told me that Adam had met a woman mere days ago and fallen in love and that he was going to be moving in with this woman. She was a divorced kindergarten teacher with three young children. I told the sister that Adam had fallen in love, my ass. He saw an opportunity to move up from the couch at the Halloween House and had taken it. I would have loved to have been wrong about this, but as it turned out, I was right.
A couple months later, I got a call on my cell phone from the woman that Adam had moved in with. I had briefly met her once. I’m not sure how she got my phone number. She was in tears. She had given Adam her debit card and the keys to her car so that he could drop her off at her job and then drive her car back to their home and search for jobs on the internet while she was at work during the day.
One day she went to buy groceries for her young family and found that her bank account was overdrawn. Rather than using the internet to look for work, he had used it to look at porn all day. That was why she had no money to feed her children. She kicked him out and reported the credit card fraud to the police. The police told her something else. The police told her he was not only looking at porn but at child pornography. She was calling me to see if I knew where Adam was. In a cardboard box underneath an I-35 bridge? Ask me if I care.
There will be some people who will read this post and, no doubt, find me cold and heartless. I suppose you could see it like that. Before the revelation of the child pornography, I would have cared. I didn’t look down my nose at him for the child abuse or his employment history or his lack of education. I grew to feel contempt for him because of his inability to recognize that only he had the ability to change his life. I had no respect for him because he refused to see that as an adult he now controlled his own destiny. I had sex with someone I didn’t love and that I didn’t even like that much. It was what it was, and no love was lost on either side. It’s something men do every day just because they see a woman that they find attractive. And let’s face it, some of them sometimes don’t even have to find the woman attractive. Just there.
So, while the movie industry makes millions of dollars off of whole movies centered around the plot of the teenaged boy losing his virginity in what is usually not portrayed as anything other than planned, calculating and cunning…My losing my virginity at twenty-nine will not ever be made into a movie because it will seem like I planned it. I was calculating and cunning, and there was a disparity of power that is somewhat uncomfortable to watch. It was not uncomfortable to live it, and I do not regret it.