A friend of mine recently e-mailed me some of her thoughts on losing her virginity. I am posting them here, anonymously, with her approval. It can be tricky for a parent to walk the line between fostering healthy sexuality and encouraging postponing sexual behavior until it is age appropriate.

It’s no secret that I have a hangup about my virginity. I regret BOTH that I lost it before marriage AND that I lost it with a truly horrible person. And I was thinking, suppose that I had found a friend at school to do it with me, what would have happened? Well, the experience itself would have been a lot less traumatic and painful. But, the guilt I would have felt at doing it outside of a committed relationship would have eaten me alive.

I wonder: where does this sense of shame come from? I can only guess that it came from the way I was raised. And I can only guess that sometimes the way we were raised is something we have to learn to deal with; it can’t always be overcome. I think it would be ridiculous to make the claim that premarital sex is wrong for anyone else. It was wrong for me because the shame it caused was not worth it for me. But it’s ridiculous to think that my experiences are the same as anyone else’s.

Also, it’s a bit odd that I only feel guilty about losing my virginity, not for any of the other premarital sexual activities, intercourse or otherwise, that I had with other men. I suppose I felt that oral and manual sex didn’t “count” and that once I wasn’t a virgin any more, intercourse was no big deal either. Which is stupid. Hell, I KNOW it’s stupid. But it’s a gut/emotional feeling I can’t seem to shake on behalf of my prior self.

I also think that when my parents taught me that people who have premarital sex are immoral, they were probably trying to protect me, not trying to make me hate myself. It’s unfortunate that they succeeded in some of both.