Well, never in a million years did I think we’d be here, me talking about sex on the internet, but in light of last week’s episode of the Bachelorette and Hannah’s story being so like mine and so like every other girl’s out there, I thought I should share, as sharing is caring and caring is breaking the mold of people shaming those who choose to have sex when and with whom they damn well please. This is the part where Hannah says, “I f***ed in a windmill, and guess what? We did it a second time!” YOU GO GIRL!
Hannah hadn’t really told us the whole story yet, but the snippets that we’ve gathered seem to imply that her story goes a little bit like this: girl grows up thinking she’ll lose it to her husband, girl dates, girl falls in love, girl gives herself to a guy with the promise that they’ll get married someday, relationship doesn’t work out, girl struggles to find her self-worth ever after… AND BEEN THERE DONE THAT, and guess what? I did it a second time.
First things first, when it came to sex-ed in my household, the only thing I really remember learning was that “sex is the gift you can only give once,” as a now 26-year-old empowered woman, I would argue it’s the gift that keeps on giving (sorry mom).
I remember being 19 and heartbroken when my high school boyfriend told me we should take a break, not because I disagreed, but because I had “given” myself to him. It took me almost a year to recover from that heartbreak and the loss, not necessarily of him, but of my virginity. I genuinely thought that after loving him, skin to skin, no one would ever want me again, because I was supposed to be a certain way and have a certain thing to give to my future husband and I already gave it to someone who decided not to marry me. Something I was definitely taught was that sex was meant for a man and woman in marriage, which apparently Luke P. also learned, but as I grew, I outgrew this idea of sex… he apparently hadn’t.
Keep in mind, I have the best parents anyone could ask for, but I felt like I couldn’t talk to them about sex, as they thought I wasn’t having it, so I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone what I was really stuggling with, my overall self-worth.
Then came my second relationship, where I bargained with my distorted views on intimacy and decided that for me to have sex I had to be in love, not married, but in love, the next boy told me he loved me 10 days later and I was naive enough to fall for it because my sex worldview told me no one would want me again, and here was someone wanting me. I know it sounds crazy, 10 days in and I was saying “I love you too,” but I was so in love with love, and thought I was in love with him, and I didn’t even know him. When I look back on that relationship I realize the whole thing can be summed up in the cubic zirconia earrings he gifted me for my 20th birthday, while the whole thing was shiny and precious and looked like a diamond, it was all an optical illusion, something that looked like one thing and was something else. Again, I felt shame, especially when the relationship ended a month or two later. Based on what I believed about sex at the time, I had just ruined my chances with my future husband all over again.
I spent the next year alone, single, and deciding what rules I wanted to have as I navigated the dating world, but also choosing how I could have all the things I wanted, while still feeling good about myself and my body, one which I learned only I owned.
When I met Darren, we became friends first. I remember us talking about our past relationships and knowing we would end up dating; I told him all the intimate details, how someone told me they loved me after 10 days to get in my pants, and he asked why I had so many rules about who I had sex with and when I had it… I told him I needed to be in love. “WHY?” He asked. He asked me why I didn’t just do what I wanted to do when and how and where I wanted to do it.
There was the end of misplaced sex rules AND my most successful relationship to date… WHERE’S THAT WINDMILL BTW? Keep in mind, Darren didn’t give me permission for my sex worldview to change, he just summed up what I was already wondering in a way that seemed obvious.
Another super embarrassing thing that I can’t believe I’m including in this, but when Darren and I worked together I remember asking him “What’s today’s date?” (a common question when you sign and date everything you do all day at work). When he told me, I cracked up laughing to myself, and got a bit of the uncontrollable giggles, I explained that it marked one-year of me not getting, well any, Darren then proceeded to go to Hallmark bought me a card that said “Happy Anniversary!” and if life were like a TV show that would have been all the foreshadowing you needed to know that now we’re on our 5th real anniversary card.
I guess what I’m trying to say is when it comes to sex, you should do what feels right, and only you know what that is, if it’s waiting to fall in love, good for you, but if it means dry humping all five finalists on the Bachelorette THAT’S COOL TOO, because you’ve got to just do you and instead of making up crazy rules, or waiting for some picture perfect moment, just listen to your heart. And never ever listen to the Luke P’s of the world, people who play the shame game (plus we already know he’s trying to throw deli meat in your face, despite anything he says – if you’re not watching The Bachelorette this reference just seems so weird, but I couldn’t resist the one liner here, even if it’s a bit cringe). I’ll leave you with this, in the words of my high school health teacher: “There is no condom for the heart.”