Opinion | The first time sucks

Shruti Talekar | Staff Illustrator

By Nina Santucci, For The Pitt News

There is undeniably a societal expectation that the first time you have sex, it will be mind-blowing, life changing.

But if you asked anyone what their first time was like, you’ll likely receive answers along the lines of “terrible,” “disappointing” and “quick.” The general consensus is that the first time having sex pretty much sucks.

Our society has created and maintained a societal stigma that losing your virginity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be valued and exalted. While it certainly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it is unreasonable to place so much pressure on a single sexual occurrence. This pressure makes people fear or regret what is a natural, normal and usually clumsy experience.

The stigma surrounding sex makes the first time all the more intimidating. It determines that sex is acceptable only in certain circumstances, therefore permitting judgment, guilt, regret or demanding justification — as if sex needs justification. It places value on virginity, causing people to have unreasonably high expectations.

The first time creates distinct separations in physical and mental aptitude. Essentially, it changes you. Historically, religion has correlated virginity with purity, honor and worth, so sometimes religious values can perpetrate the idea that losing your virginity is a life-changing  event, when in reality it’s not that big of a deal. However, it’s nonsense to let something destined to suck change you.

The issue isn’t with abstinence or religion, or saving yourself for marriage or waiting for that special person to share that special moment with. The issue is with the sex itself, with placing this single event of sex on a pedestal then getting completely let down when it’s not at all what was expected. Someone can do everything right, and still feel like they got it wrong. And that is the issue.

Sex is not a big deal, so let’s stop pretending the first time is too. It’s as natural for most as eating, pooping and breathing — it’s needed and beneficial. Not only does it feel amazing, sex also boosts the immune system, lowers risk of heart disease and cancer, improves sleep and overall physical and mental health. It’s astonishing how there can be a stigma against something that’s ultimately good for us.

“Choosing to have sex for the first time is a big decision that’s very personal. People think about lots of different things: religious, spiritual and moral beliefs; family and personal values; desire; love; and/or relationships,” Planned Parenthood writes on the virginity section of its website. “Whatever your reason is, it’s important to wait until you’re sure you’re ready to have sex.”

Although it’s undeniably accurate and truthful, there’s a deeper reality to virginity that isn’t all that deep.

There’s many, many ways to have bad sex. Sometimes someone’s too horny, or someone’s not horny enough. Sometimes there’s weird noises, weird substances or weird feelings happening. Maybe you’ll get called the wrong name, or maybe you’ll get called “daddy.” It’s arguable which is worse, but the point is good sex is hard. Even someone who’s had sex tons of times has bad sex, so it’s unreasonable to anticipate giving — or getting — an award-winning performance during the first time — especially if both people involved are inexperienced.

Losing virginity doesn’t have to bear all the pressure it does. Such a close interaction is nerve-racking, but being as safe, comfortable and calm as possible makes the whole experience much more enjoyable and much less agonizing. Don’t just lay back and let whoever do whatever, but be comfortable with yourself, your partner and your disposition — make sure it’s with someone who’s comfortable and able to communicate. Don’t put yourself in the position to one day regret your first time, because it is truly not that serious.

Make the moment what to remember, not the sex itself. Don’t get hung up on how well it goes, how long it lasts or how sexy it can be. Don’t overvalue this one time because it’s not a reflection of all the times before nor is it a predictor of all the times to come — value the learning experience. Sex is extremely normal, despite the stigma, despite religion, despite rumors and regrets, but it can be intimidating even when it’s not your first time, so don’t worry if it doesn’t go as planned.

The first time is not meant to blow your mind, unlock all of life’s secrets and transcend your body, making you an all-encompassing sexual savant. The first time is quite literally just the first time — that’s it. It might not be mind-blowing at first, it may suck, but you still have to start somewhere.

Email Nina at nns16@pitt.edu or follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @ninaboebeana

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