Author Kate Monro has managed to make us jealous of her job: searching the world for first-time tales that don’t often get told. In her new book, “Losing It: How We Popped Our Cherry Over the Past 80 Years,” she picks up where Nancy Friday left off, letting a wide range of people — from a 90-year-old woman with “one foot in the grave and the other on a banana skin” (her own words!) to a disabled punk rocker who moves near a lesbian hippie camp in Wales in the 1970’s — tell their stories of how they lost their virginity, smartly bookending each with historical and cultural context. It’s a fascinating book that shows, to put it one way, just how far we’ve come.
Below is an excerpt from the story of a man who’s been married for ten years with two kids. He’d been the one to take his wife’s V-card fourteen years earlier. Then it was her turn to take his:
from “Losing It” by Kate Monro
I expected men to hold back, to be economical with the truth. I assumed they would be reticent and reluctant to talk to a woman about one of the most revealing moments in their sexual history.
Reader, they sang like canaries.
Not only that, but they did it with extraordinary honesty. I was about to receive a story that could not have illustrated this point any better if it tried:
[T]wo years ago, while we were in bed, [my wife, Georgina] first brought up the idea of anal. I was, to put it mildly, petrified. Visions of ’being gay’ ran through my head. She assured me I wasn’t but I tried to let the topic die. She wouldn’t. She brought it up again and eventually we made a date to go to a sex-toy store, just to look.
We went, we looked, and I was astounded as to how many toys and videos there were about woman-on-man anal. We both laughed and I found myself going along with things, retreating from a ‘no way’ attitude to one in which I was saying, ‘but that’s way too big’. Eventually we settled for a harness with a dildo on the small side. The salesman nonchalantly rang up the sale.
That night I was about as nervous as I’d ever been. We took our clothes off and kissed. There was no turning back. She looked at me. ‘Ready?’ I went over to the bed and lay down. She went over to a closet and finally reappeared, fully harnessed. I must have gasped. The sight of that missile protruding from her, and meant for me, brought everything home. This was real. I was about to get fucked.
[If you want the dirty details, you’ll have to buy the book! Keep reading for the aftermath…]
It was a mind-blowing orgasm, the likes of which I’d never experienced before. I was joyful and ashamed at the same time. What an odd sensation. It was so impersonal. It was as though my private parts were just there to be used by her. She lay atop me, eyes half glazed, staring into space or at the wall or something, but not at me….We said nothing for a while, just holding each other tightly.
The physical act had been one thing, and a weird one at that. But the psychological effects were just beginning to waft in. I’d just come about as close as I ever will to experiencing what Georgina had experienced the first time I had screwed her. This was not like my first experience all those years ago, from which I took away feelings of power and exhilaration. On the contrary, this mostly involved powerlessness – being pursued, penetrated and under the control of another person.
All my life I had been the penetrator and even when the woman was aggressive, there was no doubt as to who was doing what to whom. But now, as the one being penetrated, I was on the other side. She’d gotten me to give it up. She’d probed, thrusted and done any manner of other things, all of her own urging and without regard to what I wanted. She had been cool, under control, self-assured, while I’d been emotional, afraid and out of control. And yet, I’d experienced great orgasms, real rock ’em, sock ’em ones. My mind had reeled at the experience; my body had enjoyed almost every second of it. Even the pain (and there was pain) was rewarded in the end by pleasure.
I told her all these things. She hugged me all the harder and explained how it had been great for her. She told me how she loved being in charge for a change and how great it felt to be able to control me, as opposed to usually being under my control. She said that what really surprised her was how protective she became of me when she realised that I was now vulnerable to her. (Yeah, I thought sarcastically, you really acted protectively.) She said that she felt like she’d conquered me but at the same time wanted to make sure that I was OK.
She also said, mimicking a cornerstone on which patriarchy is based, that she felt surprised at how easily I’d let her do what she was doing and in a way lost some respect for me. I nodded. I was surprised by that too and a little angry that that was how she felt. After all, I’d just done what she wanted me to.