Saturday, March 2, 2013

The First Time

In "Gone But Not forgotten:  Virginity Loss and current Sexual Satisfaction," Smith and Shaffer present evidence that the circumstances of loss of virginity has longer term effects on persons' current level of sexual satisfaction.  This applies especially for women.  Because this research was widely covered in the news, often with loosely-accurate summaries, you might profit from reading the actual research in this article.

Specifically, The authors assert that first-time sexual experience is more than just a milestone in development but may appears to have implications for their sexual well-being years later.  The authors also claim that their research “suggests that any schemas and scripts developed during the first time may continue to influence sexual intercourse later on in life.”

Of course, their article inspired alarmist conjectures from the media; and a few nay-sayers, as you can read in this article.  However, in my opinion, it appears that the authors did a good study with a sufficiently large sample, and did not overstate their conclusions.

Besides the major conclusion, are there other things we might note?  Well, among things, the first coital* experiences for boys tended to result in more physical satisfaction, more emotional satisfaction, less anxiety, and more of an afterglow.  In short, they enjoy it more.  The two sexes did not differ in terms of connectedness.  However, I suggest that you read the original article and draw your own conclusions.

In my thinking, the sex differences in reactions to this first coital experience is a significant place to look for why.

First, there's the semantics involved:  the first coital* experience is framed with negative terms: loss of virginity or deflowering.   This suggests that this normal developmental milestone should be viewed negatively, as a tragedy.  This is a schema or script that is already in place for girls before the first time they experience.

Then, there is the fact that males and females have imbalances in experiences with noncoital forms of sex: girls have less knowledge about sex and experience with masturbation than do boys.  As a result, they would have had fewer actual orgasmic experiences, and  consequently might not be less lubricated at the first time and thus experience pain or discomfort.

Thirdly: there are imbalances in risk.  After all, girls can get pregnant, not boys.  And it is an extremely hard, life-changing event to be an unwed mother!

Finally, there is the obvious factor that girls are more likely to be pressured into sexual activity, perhaps long before they're ready.  These factors might contribute to the lesser positive experiences that go with sex.

So, what might be done to counter this slightly?

1.  Obviously, one thing is that it is better for both girls and boys to wait until they are older, perhaps the later teens, before engaging in full coitus.*  Considering how later people marry nowadays, waiting until marriage is unrealistic for many people but not all.  If this happens, they might be in a more advantageous place for truly free choice, and the quality of potential partners at that time is likely to be more mature and more caring.  (Okay, one who is not a jerk.)  Incidentially, the notion that the first time occurs on Prom Night is just a cliché.

2.  Should you decide that it is time, then select your potential partner carefully.  Is this the guy you want to remember as part of this script?  Anyway, don't be playing Post Office with third-class males!

3.  Plan the occasion and possible setting at your leisure.  Anticipation is part of the pleasure.  Get a nice nightgown, lingerie, and so forth.  While it is a bit over the top, I know of one girl who had a boudoir photographer take some pictures of her in her precoital finery.

4.  Look up information about alternatives to coitus and take matters into one's own hands, and find out about these.

5.  Learn about birth control information and have contraceptives readily available.  This might de-fuse some of the anxiety regarding the possibility of pregnancy.  Unfortunately, younger sexually active persons are less like to use these contraceptives reliably.  Also, consider using a lubricant like K-Y Jelly.**

6.  Get more realistic information about these initial occasions, including how to pleasure a partner, in sex education.  Above all, be positive.  Don't go into sex with anything of the flavor, "Close your eyes and think of England."

7.  Sexual intercourse should never, never be the result of a hard sell.  Or a soft one, such as through whining or pleading.  Or alcohol or drugs.  A couple should engage in sex only if both are ready, willing, and unimpaired.  After all, shouldn't it be special and to be remembered fondly?

Obviously, some of these ideas are not readily going to come to pass, given our neopuritanical society, but I can wish, can't I?

On the other hand, in some sets virginity is ridiculed.  It seems that you can't win!  It really shouldn't be that way.


Who knows?  With more positive attitudes towards ending virginity, it could lead the way to commercial opportunities, much like prom night has.  Think of the marketing opportunities:  Publishers could publish Your First Time, a magazine about articles preparing for the occasion and advertising products germane to the occasion.  Clothiers could market a line of "First Time" gowns and bedwear.  And, who knows?  It may become de rigeur for guys to rent limousines for this occasion, and tog themselves in a spiffy tux!  [Seriously, guys look neat in tuxedos.]  Finally, relatives cound send their first time nieces and nephews First Time greeting cards!  It's thinking like this that can bring about economic recovery.
Why not be stunning for your First Time?
*By using this word, I feel like a character from The Big Bang Theory.
** Known also as Kentucky Jelly.


Mike said...

From the study... '..go all the way on prom night..'

I never went to the prom as most of my friends did not. I guess we're not study material.

Bilbo said...

And here I always thought that "coitus" referred to unnatural sexual relations with decorative carp. Silly me.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Evil Pop Tart, I thought you turned into Sheldon Cooper for a minute there.