I know I used to think it had something to do with True Love. The destruction of my romantic prudery was probably more momentous than the loss of my virginity. Although both happened gradually.
By all rights my deflowering, as my mother termed it, should have been perpetrated by my first boyfriend: he was a shocking five years older than me, we were blissfully in love, and he allegedly knew his way around a bedroom, having lost his own virginity at the ripe old age of twelve. But he lived in another state, and his visits were so zealously chaperoned we never managed more than a hasty make-out session. No matter how many phone calls my mother made to friends and family complaining of my sexual corruption by Satan-worshipping Eurotrash, alas, it never happened. Twenty year old men can't wait eight months for sex. He found someone else.
It would be another two years before I found myself in love again, and in proximity to a naked male. He was my best friend. By the time we wound up in bed together I knew virtually everything about him, including the fact he was extremely well endowed. Too well endowed, in fact; I had to ask him to stop on the first stroke. I moved roughly three and a half thousand miles away the following week.
In my new home of London I embarked on a morose solitary phase that, despite one or two promising crushes on relatively decent men, I allowed to be broken by the incessant advances of a busking children's clown. The conclusion of a year plus of profound loneliness was heralded by this man (clown?) climbing atop me, slipping it in, and apparently falling asleep. He slumped, and started snoring. Was it narcolepsy, or was he just really wasted? I don't know. I didn't ask, and he was gone the next morning as soon as his clothes were zipped and buttoned.
I finally, properly lost my virginity at nineteen, tied to the bedposts of a thirty-two year old divorcee in Brooklyn.
By that stage, the notion that sex and romance are clearly divisible had dawned on me. I considered the primal, animalistic aspect of sex; perhaps I could learn to embrace it, so to speak. I couldn't. My foray into this realm was uncompelling: A young man asked if he could kiss me before I spewed, as I stood doubled over heaving outside a pub while my friend hailed a cab. I was humped by several large dogs. A kangaroo once ejaculated on my Doc Marten boots… And so the romantic prude in me survives. When someone approaches me in a bar and asks if I "wanna fuck", I say "no", and resent being forced to make a snap decision of this magnitude.