Bits of Books - Books by Title

The First Time

True Tales of Virginity Lost and Found

Kate Monro

We have a physical theory of virginity loss - the breaking of the hymen. But, a) not every woman has one b) can be broken riding a bike or a horse etc.

Book started with a blog, The Virginity Project - ended up starting a conversation with people all over the world.

Definitions can be confusing. Dictionaries usually define a virgin as someone who has never had sexual intercourse, and defines sexual intercourse as 'the insertion of a man's penis into a woman's vagina'. So technically a gay person hasn't lost his virginity. And, in a 3 page legal judgement that a blowjob was not sexual intercourse, US Court exonerated Bill Clinton of lying when he said he did not have sex with that woman.

Virginity a part of a woman's value at a time when that mattered to the family.

1950's Britain, when smoking was taken for granted to the extent that it was almost compulsory, but sex was still unmentionable.

50 years ago you were expected to be a virgin until wed; but now reverse - surprise if you say that you are.

Impact of two world wars - life is short, make the most of it; give him a 'present' in case he doesn't come back.

Kate Munro's article in London Times

Everyone has a story about losing their virginity. Even if the act itself ended up being dull, everything surrounding it is fascinating, which is why I decided to write a book on the subject. I interviewed people I met through friends or my blog, The Virginity Project. I have listened to stories from people of all ages: the youngest interviewee was 17; the oldest 101. When I tell people about my research, they always ask me the same question: “When do most people lose their virginity?” In general, I found that it happens later than you’d think — late teens rather than mid teens. I met one man through the blog who had lost his virginity at 55.

There were some very sad stories. People’s entire futures can be marred by one bad experience. That’s especially true with boys. They’re testing out a piece of equipment for the first time. With women, I heard a lot of stories of feeling let down. My own story was with someone I didn’t really know, on holiday, when I was 15. I thought, because he was handsome, it would be the greatest sexual experience of my life. It wasn’t, but I was about to turn 16 and was itching to become an adult.

Until the late 1960s, when the Pill appeared, people were terrified about getting pregnant. I interviewed one couple, both of whom had lost their virginity in the late 1950s. The man said: “We were scared of getting pregnant. So we did lots of other things besides . . .” I have often wondered if those generations were better at foreplay. I’m not in a relationship at the moment and I now think how interesting it would be to wait.

Men were the biggest surprise. We all know that men don’t want to discuss their intimate lives, don’t we? Men shocked me with their ability to speak openly and honestly about the critical moments of their sexual lives. It was almost as if no one had thought to ask them what they really thought before. I was only too happy to be the one who got to listen. Interview by Viv Groskop

I handed over my money, hands trembling” Damon, 35, lost his virginity to a prostitute when he was 16 “Get the violins out. I was the last of my friends to lose my virginity. I was the ‘safe’ one. The funny one. The one that girls would tell their problems to. When I was 16 I went to stay with my big brother. One night he said: ‘Do you want to go somewhere and pop your cherry?’ He didn’t need to ask twice. Armed with a pocketful of cash we made our way to a delightful establishment that offered massage, sauna and steam. After we were buzzed in we walked up the dark stairs with an aroma of damp around us.In the ‘reception’ a tiny middle-aged woman with glasses asked us what we wanted. ‘It’s £35 for massage and full personal service,’ she told me. ‘Personal service?’ I asked. ‘Look, love, we’re a brothel!’ she answered. “Two girls appeared wearing sexy underwear. One was amazing, with long dark curly hair and full pouting lips. I handed over my money, hands trembling and said, ‘I’ll go with Tanya, if that’s all right’. She led me into a back room. It had a massage table and for one moment I thought that I was actually going to get a massage and nothing else. Then Tanya told me to strip and lie face down on the table. She removed all of her underwear. “She started to massage my back. She rubbed her breasts over my back, kissed down my spine and bit my bum. She asked me how old I was. ‘Sixteen,’ I said, ‘and a half ’. Then she told me to turn over. I’ve never seen anyone put a condom on the way she did. Thoughts swirled in my head. ‘Don’t come too soon’; ‘What do they do in porn?’; ‘How do these places get away with it?’; ‘Is £35 a fair price?; ‘ What do they do in porn?’. “Half an hour later we were done. That night opened a floodgate. I’m not a bad person, but I do bad things. I don’t think being faithful is in my programming. For me there is no such thing as too much sex. I get it where and when I can at the risk of relationships and such. Why? I don’t know. Is it because I was the last to do the deed and am still making up for it in my head? Is it because I paid for my first time and see sex as a transaction? Or am I just a greedy bastard?”

I cried. We both cried, actually; it felt amazing” Sabina, 32, first had sex on her wedding night, aged 30 “You can say you’re bisexual or gay and no one will bat an eyelid, but if you say you want to be a virgin no one believes you. “I’ve been interested in the idea of God since I was a little girl. In my teens, I quietly made a decision with God that I would keep my virginity for marriage. It never felt like a rule. I felt that this was for me, for my own benefit. “It took us five years to get married because we were focusing on our careers. If you are both committed to not having sex before marriage, you can just switch it off. You don’t let your thoughts wander too far in that direction. You don’t snog too passionately. “On our wedding night, I wasn’t nervous. I’d had a talk from some married friends who had done the same, so I felt that it was natural, it was the next step and I didn’t have huge expectations. I knew that we’d get better at it. “We knew it would be a bit crap physically and would probably be painful and quick — and it was all of those things, but, as virgins, what neither of us had expected was the emotional side. “Something really amazing happened that night that was beyond the hedonistic side of sex . . . although once you’ve got a bit more experience, that bit is nice, too. I cried. We both cried, actually; it felt amazing. I suppose it felt as if we had united ourselves spiritually. We had become ‘one’, we had sealed the deal. He was mine and I was his. I wasn’t expecting the feeling of unity and emotional intimacy to be so strong, but it was.”

What I had with my wife was different. It was intimacy” Arthur, 86, found sexual awakening during the Second World War, aged about 19. “In 1942 I joined the Army. But I never had time to go with women because I was a front-line soldier. Then we went to Austria and annexed a couple of hotels on a lake. It was beautiful and I used to row round the lake at night and one night there was this girl, Sabine, on the jetty. She took a fancy to me and I began to get a stir. One night we had a nice night of rumpity-pump and it happened. Just like that. But there was nothing splendid about it at all, nothing splendid at all. “I got demobbed in 1948 so I decided to travel. I went to Canada, Italy, Tasmania, Aussie and Denmark. I had plenty of crumpet because women were becoming more forward. But I was looking for a friend, someone who’s emotional. “My wife, Audrey, was 36 when I met her. I knew I was on to a good thing straight away. You just get a feeling. It happened one night when I said, ‘Don’t you think this is silly, love, just kissing and cuddling?’ And she said, ‘Well, I never had it before.’ So I said, ‘Well, nor have I.’ Then I stayed the night and that was it. It was good . . . as if something exploded inside you. It wasn’t like that before. Eventually, we got married, nine months later. Which was just as well, because we had a baby.

“What I had with my wife was different. It was sex, but it was a loving sex. It’s intimacy. You can tell somebody you love them, it’s only words, isn’t it? It’s what you show.” I realised I had power over an older man” Sherrie, 54, a former glamour model, lost her virginity at 15 “The gap between my parents’ generation and my own was a chasm. We had nothing in common. We had come out of the dark ages, but my parents still wouldn’t let me see the sex education film at school. It just made me more curious. “When my father fell ill, I was packed off to an aunt’s house and that’s where I met the man I lost my virginity to. He was an artist and it was pure, driven, hormonal lust. Losing my virginity wasn’t a fumbling, horrible thing like it is for so many. He knew what he was doing; it just kind of happened and it was brilliant. “I was 15, he was 23. My aunt never spoke to me again because she thought that I had led him on, which is probably true. But I was also sensible. I went to the doctor and got the Pill. I asked him not to tell my mother and he said, ‘Yes, that’s fine but you’ll have to give me £20.’

“Finding out that you can actually reduce most men to a pulp when you are young and beautiful was incredibly empowering. At the time, I had a body and face to die for, and the belief that I could have any man I wanted. I did Penthouse, calendars, I was even a Page Three girl. The feminists said that those magazines were exploiting women, but I didn’t see it that way.“I asked our 15-year-old son last week, ‘What are your hopes, wishes, dreams and fears for next week?’ He said, ‘ To get laid.’ I did laugh, but my heart would have cracked if my daughter said that. She’s 12. It scares me because sometimes I look at her and think, oh my God, she’s me, because she is so mouthy and ‘out there’, and then she looks like a child again. I thought I was invincible at that age. Only now do I see that I was vulnerable.”

I thought my mum would go, ‘You’ve had sex because your character’s changed and I can tell from your bowed legs’ Sunita, 35, from a Punjabi family, had her first sexual experience at 18. “We never spoke about sex at home. Except once when I was in town with my mum and we saw this Indian girl who wore quite a lot of make-up and my mum said to me, ‘Oh, you can just tell her character’s changed. She’s obviously been bad.’ From that, I just took this whole thing that my mum would know. The moment that I walked through the door, my mum would go, ‘You’ve had sex because your character’s changed and I can tell from your bowed legs.’

“I lost my virginity when I was 18. I remember preparing myself for it. I mean, like really doing the hair removal cream, and thinking, oh my God, what if he doesn’t like me? “It was with this older guy. I was living in halls of residence, doing the things I couldn’t do at home — like drinking. It was a massive liberation. I think he was a bit, like, do I really want to get involved with this girl that’s ten years younger than me who’s never had sex? But I had made up my mind that it was going to happen.“To me it was just this act. It wasn’t like a real sexual, oh-my-God thing. Afterwards, he did the over-hugging thing, like trying to make it a tender moment for me, and I don’t think I felt like that. I just felt relief.”

I got into a situation — I didn’t want to upset him” Diane Hill, 65, lost her virginity at 17. “I didn’t know anything about sex. When we got television, in about 1953, anything on TV that even hinted at anything sexual would mean that I had to be sent out of the room. I was pregnant at 17. The guy next door in the electrical shop was the father of my first two children. I used to go out with him delivering televisions. I got pregnant immediately. “It happened in the back of the van. It was really quick and I remember it not being very nice. It was not pleasure. Because I got into a situation, women get into a situation, when you feel obliged. You don’t want to say no. I didn’t want to upset him. Then, of course, all hell broke loose because you didn’t have unmarried mothers in those days. I was married within two weeks. Top hat, tails, Rolls-Royce, the whole bloody thing. “I was with him for two and a half years and it was never like making love. After I turned my husband out, I had lots of different experiences with different people, some beautiful, some not, and I found myself living in the red light district in Liverpool. I used to watch the girls take the guys behind the lorries from my window. It was fascinating and I became friendly with the women; I thought they were great, so open, great women. So one day, I went down the road and I thought, ‘Oh well, let’s give it a go, let’s give it a bash.’ On some levels, it was no different to working in Tesco.“At about this time I was invited to a Tantra workshop. Now I work as a Tantric sex teacher and I feel that I’ve come full circle. I do a job that feeds me, nurtures me. I teach women and men how to give themselves pleasure.The biggest thing I learnt is that it’s not about sexuality. Men are looking to get back to mother. They all come from woman, and they’re looking to get back there. They think that sex is going to do it. And for at least a few seconds, minutes, it does.”

I was frightened on my wedding night and when I saw how he looked, I laughed. I’d never seen anything so funny” Edna, 95, lost her virginity to her husband when she was 25 “Before our wedding, I would go up to London at the weekends when Henry was free, but we always had separate rooms. I was frightened on my wedding night and when I saw how he looked, I laughed. I was 25. I’d never seen anything so funny. On the first night, I thought ‘this is much ado about nothing’, but then I got to quite like it. The whole point about marriage is that you grow into a deep friendship. You grow older together and you become deeper friends. Henry and I were very deep. We were very good friends.”

It was a mechanical operation. I had this very clear feeling that I wasn’t ready ” Marcus Price, 49, lost his virginity when he was 17. “My mother and father were divorced by the time I was 2 and my mother went a bit bananas from that point on. It was difficult growing up with this woman who was perpetually angry. I had no father around to guide me from a male perspective and there was no sense of any loving appreciation of sexuality from my mother, so all my information came second-hand — from fiction, from boys at school or porno mags. I had this idea that women were fragile little princesses who didn’t really like sex.“I had my first girlfriend when I was 13, but at that point I really only wanted a friend that was a girl. I wasn’t that interested in sex. Later I discovered that this was why she dumped me.“I really liked the girl that I eventually lost my virginity to. I thought she was beautiful. I was 17 and she was 14 — going on 20 — and the whole thing had a fumbling inevitability about it. We were both nervous and it wasn’t sensual at all. I can’t remember kissing her, or any foreplay. I just had to get past this virginity thing. It was just like a mechanical operation. I also had this very clear feeling that I hadn’t honoured myself. That I wasn’t ready for this. It was like I was just doing what you’re meant to do as a teenager instead of following my heart and doing it at my own speed. Sex was never great for me until I got into my thirties because then it was about being wise enough to appreciate a woman.”

More books on Sex

Books by Title

Books by Author

Books by Topic

Bits of Books To Impress

Reputation Control .........................................................................................Client William Flew