Today marks six years since I lost my virginity. Happy Anniversary to my broken hymen. In true celebratory style, I have opened a bottle of prosecco and listed all the greatest lessons I have taken from the past six years (in the hope that you can learn from them, too!).
Write the theme tune, sing the theme tune...
1. Do. What. You. Want. I know I already preach it until blue in the face, but I will continue to do so until everyone has heard me. Throughout my half a dozen sexually active years (and for some time before), I have been labelled a slut. I have a slightly intimidating, very confident personality which makes some people uneasy – because God forbid a woman be comfortable within herself and speak her mind honestly and unapologetically. I have also slept with a fairly large number of people – not millions, but a ‘large’ number, in today’s society. I have a body that I love and am proud of, and have no issue showing it off. The men in my hometown could draw my tits from memory. So, what did I do wrong? Which of my actions warranted such vulgar slurs? I made it my priority to stay as safe as I possibly could at all times and never knowingly acted in a way that could hurt either myself or anyone else. I had little regard for my own feelings, sure, but at the end of the day; I was a single woman doing whatever I wanted. If I wanted to hit the club, down half a bottle of gin and stumble into bed with the closest bachelor I could find? Then I fucking did it. And if I fancied snapchatting my nether regions to 37 of my closest friends? I did that too. I can rest easy now, and smile at the prospect of a life with one lover, knowing that I singled hard enough while I had the opportunity. You'll have good sex, you'll have bad sex and you'll have it's-so-small-I-don't-know-if-it's-in sex. No regrets.
2. Consent is mandatory. That’s it. Sex is sex, and rape is rape. No means no. Feeling unsure about how your partner feels regarding sex or has been at all hesitant? Don’t do it. If they’ve had a little too much to drink and cannot fully consent? Don’t do it. If they agreed initially and then changed their mind? Don’t fucking do it. If in doubt, pull it out. Or don’t put it in in the first place. It really is that simple.
You've only got one, so look after the damn thing.
3. Safety, and yours above anyone else’s, should always come first. Take your pill, wear a condom and keep on top of the contraception game. There are shit loads of ways to stay safe now, so from the IUD to the injection; there IS going to be a right option for you. Do your research and stay well informed because, believe me, nothing kills a party quite like a pregnancy scare or your second bout of chlamydia. Oh, yeah, I’ve had it twice – word to the wise – international rugby players carry a lot more than odd shaped balls.
Ovaries before brovaries, always...
4. Men are either in your life for a season or a reason. They are a luxury rather than a necessity and should never be your first priority. You are not defined by the men you do or don’t date. Your first thought should always be making yourself happy. You do you, girl – that means doing what YOU want to do, working hard for yourself and putting yourself before any god-damn man who’s decided he wants to take you for half a chicken at Nandos. Once you have achieved happiness within yourself, the rest will fall into place.
Following on from my ‘you don’t need no man’ rant, your friends are THE most important part of growing up and becoming who you are. Promise me you’ll never overlook that in favour of a man. According to the official documentation of the Girl Code (and Mean Girls, obvs), ex-boyfriends are off limits to friends. And, while I would be seething with uncontrollable rage should any of my girlfriends go for my ex – I wouldn’t necessarily want to stand in the way of what could be something real. But if you never try, you never know. So maybe never try. And at least that way you’ll avoid the inevitable wrath of your friend/screaming match over a bottle of wine
The only finger banging any child should be doing...
5. The age of consent has been made so for a reason. I lost my virginity the summer before my 17th birthday. Many years previously, at the tender age of 14 – I had decided that I was going to lose it then. I didn’t – thankfully – and I am SO lucky that my parents intervened. Whilst at the time, their calling my potential hymen-breaker and dismantling any hope of a relationship between the two of us almost made me leave home, I now fully understand and completely appreciate their efforts. I was a child. No 14 year old is emotionally stable enough or ready to embark on a full blown sexual relationship. I was stupid, naïve and, looking back, it’s frightening how determined I was. All because some of my friends had popped their cherries. Guess what? Isn’t even a big deal. Virginity is a social construct created to shame women into having sex. Oh, and then when you finally do it – you’re shamed for that too!
Me (and husband number 5)
6. It is my belief that there is no one great love. ‘The One’ is make believe. We change so much over time as individuals, that we have the opportunity for many different loves in our lifetime; each best suited to that particular time in our existence. And those childhood sweethearts who met at 16 and, 30 years later, are still going strong? They’ve just learned to accept each other’s separate changes and differences and grown together. Some of us are destined to have one partner for eternity. Some are meant to be married 14 times. And some are never meant to settle, are never meant to be tamed and fated to spend their life thinking of no one but themselves. It is your job to find comfort and, ultimately, happiness, in any situation.