My friends and I were talking about when we lost our virginities recently, and I said, without thinking, "15". It's when I first had sex, after all. But I wasn't expecting the follow up question — was it with a girl or guy? And, if it's with a girl, how do lesbians lose their virginity? What counts as sex?
The weird thing is that I hadn't really thought about. When it comes to straight sex, everyone knows what counts, and I just thought it was the same with lesbian sex. You know when you've had sex, amiright? But then comes the inevitable... "How does it count though? How is it different to "real sex"? I find it so frustrating when lesbian sex is compared to "real sex". Seriously, the amount of people who've asked me how sex with a woman compares to "real sex". It is real sex. But the amount of people who belittle it— or dismiss it outright— would make your head spin. Fingering, cunnilingus— there are reasons these are called "finger f*cking" and oral sex, because they are sex. It's one of the reasons I was always confused by people who are happy to have oral sex or hand stuff, but draw the line at vaginal sex. I mean, you're still putting bits inside each other's bits, right?
"Our culture is so fixated on vaginal penetration with a penis constituting 'sex,' as that was a standard set a long time ago. It may be helpful for legal purposes, but not in terms of consensual sexual expression," Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure tells Bustle. "In the age of fluidity and choice, when we look at lesbian relationships it serves as an example that the definition of sex can be broadened. A common example would be using fingers or giving/receiving oral. Or, using a sex toy on someone of the same gender. They are all sex acts. The real question is...does it matter?!?!?! Let each person define virginity for themselves and communicate their definition to their partner(s)."
Exactly. I think it's a deeply personal thing and that, most importantly, you don't judge anyone else's experience, or assessment of their experience. How weird is it to tell someone that what feels like a sexual encounter to someone is not one? Some people think oral is more intimate than penis-in-vagina sex, others don't. That doesn't mean that one counts more than the other. Yes, some lesbians use strap-ons or dildos, others don't. But even the ones that do — at least the ones I know— do it more for variety. They're not doing it in a "I just wish this was more like sex with a man" kind of way. So we need to stop comparing.
So How Do You Lose Your Lesbian Virginity?
It's deeply personal. Honestly, I really wish we could de-mythologize the concept of "virginity"— lesbian or otherwise— as a concept. But its position as some kind of marker seems to remain. So I would say that anything that involves genitals probably counts as lesbian sex. And, yes, I know there's the argument that a lot of people don't count fingering, sex toy play, or oral sex as "sex" with a man, but if you've been intimate, if you feel like you've had sex, then you've had sex.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (2)