The question of whether or not to tell my boyfriend he was the first person I’d ever slept with is one I have been considering for about two years. While I understand some may find this a little weird or confusing, to me it doesn’t feel like it should be a big deal.
The story begins like any romance does these days – with Tinder. A friend of mine had recently tried out the app and was head-over-heels for her soon-to-be boyfriend. Though I knew she’d had a lucky turn of the wheel, I couldn’t help but feel curious when she persuaded me to download the app one night. After talking to a few guys over the next two weeks, I finally plucked up the courage to message someone first. As a 19-year-old who was only confident flirting after a few drinks, this felt like a serious step forward. To my surprise (and nervousness), we hit it off and were soon arranging to meet up.
While dating, he briefly mentioned a previous relationship, but not wanting to give anything away, I avoided contributing much to this particular bit of conversation. My subject-dodging may have piqued his curiosity, however, because eventually he asked me directly about my past relationships. Already a huge virginal bag of nerves, and now caught off-guard, I panicked and said I’d been in a relationship before – but way back in 4th year, and only for a few months, and safely in the no-contact zone of post-relationship experiences. Ahem. The topic of this imaginary ex-boyfriend has thankfully never come up since and while I do feel a bit guilty for lying, I understand why my anxious teenage self tried to fill in the blanks of my relationship history. As well as never being in a relationship before, I’d never been on a date or even had a non-drunken, sweaty-club kiss, and this date being a few years older than me only added fuel to the fire. I wanted to come across cool, confident – like I had at least some vague idea of the dating world.
Fast forward a few months, and we made our relationship official. I was due to stay over at his place soon, and I knew then that sealing the deal was only a matter of time. While many people might associate their sexual experiences with songs like Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” or Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater” – “One Minute Man” by Missy Elliott even, depending how things went – I remember dramatically listening to Phantom of the Opera’s “Past the Point of No Return.” It somehow seemed to fit the bill to help hype myself up! I can’t listen to that song now without imagining the situation or trying not to laugh.
Naturally, I was apprehensive. I was comfortable with him in a way that I hadn’t experienced before, but I still couldn’t disregard my insecurities. While I’d like to believe I refrained from telling him because of something less fragile, my reluctance was really a safety blanket. It meant that if things took a turn for the worse in the near future, I could pretend I wasn’t being crushed by my first heartbreak.
But two years down the line, everything is rosy and I’m a much more confident person. Yet the question still stands – why haven’t I told him? I’m sure he’d be curious, if a bit bemused, to hear that he was the first. He’d probably turn to me, laughing: ‘What? Why have you never told me this, you fool?’
If I was to give one bit of advice to someone feeling the way I was then, though, it would be: don’t feel pressured. Sometimes these things take time and everyone’s relationship runs at a different pace. I will probably tell my boyfriend at some point, but I’ve learned that the state of my virginity is just not something I place too much importance on these days. Our relationship isn’t any the worse for the scramblings of my nervous teenage self, and I’ve come to realise that this truth is mine to tell if, or when, I want to.