Get Real! My Girlfriend Lost Her Virginity To Someone Else

Welcome back to Get Real!, Scarleteen’s Q&A column on RH Reality Check! Get Real! is a sex-ed advice column for teens that reminds us all to never forget our "first" – real sex-ed that is! Scarleteen
is the web’s most popular source for young adult sex education. RH
Reality Check is thrilled to partner with Scarleteen to feature its
founder, the queen of the Q&A, Heather Corinna, in this regular bimonthly column for young people, their parents and professional sexual and reproductive health advocates.

you’re a teen needing answers to your questions about sex, sexuality,
dating, or your sexual health, this is the column for you! And if
you’ve got your own questions that need answers or you just want to
engage with others your own age on these issues, head over to
Scarleteen’s message boards! RH Reality Check cannot accept any questions for Heather or Scarleteen’s fine volunteer staff so please visit Scarleteen for more information.


Ronnie asks:

I’m afraid my girlfriend may still be loving her ex-boyfriend who broke her virginity. She has always proved that she loves me but I’m not convinced, even though she says she doesn’t have feelings for him anymore. Is it true that ladies always have permanent feelings for men they first had sex with?

Heather replies:

No, it isn’t. It’s not always true for men either, nor is there a sound reason why it would be more true for women than it would be for men. As well, if women have a female first sex partner, or men a male first sex partner, there also is no golden rule or given about if any of us will have long-lasting feelings of any kind for that person or not.

Let me clarify that: any of us, whether we have sex with someone we dated or not, whether if we did that was our first partner or not, may still have feelings for an ex in some way. We may even develop a new kind of relationship with that person and become platonic friends, instead.

For instance, I’m friends with most of my exes where relationships were serious or longer-term (and also with some people I saw very briefly, but where we determined early that while dating wasn’t a good fit for us, friendship was), and while those feelings aren’t romantic anymore for us, we value the new kind of relationship we have. We want to know, now and then — and sometimes regularly, like you would with other friends — how both of us are doing, what’s new in our lives, and that we’re both doing well because we care about one another. On the other hand, I have no idea what became of my first sexual partner for intercourse, and I have to say that I don’t even think about him all that often: maybe once every few years at a maximum. That’s not because I didn’t care about that person, but rather because our relationship wasn’t that long-lasting and we didn’t really create the kind of bond in other areas of our relationship that tend to result in a sustained love, romantic or otherwise.

Having intercourse for the first time together alone — or at any time, with anyone — can’t magically create a bond all by itself. The bonds we make with people really aren’t about our bodies, but about our hearts and minds. Sex is one way to express our feelings physically while sharing pleasure, and can be one way to express or deepen our emotional intimacy, but it’s still not the sex itself that creates an emotional bond. Sure, we might look back at certain sexual relationships or sex with other partners and remember that sex fondly (or not-so-fondly). We might even file times with someone else in our mental best-sex-so-far files. But that doesn’t make sex after that with others somehow less important or rewarding, nor does it mean that we can’t have sexual relationships afterwards which are of equal or greater importance.

Some of what you’re thinking comes from the idea that first intercourse or any intercourse is The Big Deal for women (and not for men). By all means, sometimes it is…but just as often, it isn’t, for men and women alike. And don’t forget that for a majority of women, vaginal intercourse, the first time or the 301st time, often isn’t very satisfying all by itself, physically or emotionally. We can pretty safely say, looking at history, that most of the people who propagated the idea that vaginal intercourse or first-time intercourse IS a huge deal for women and women alone have not even been women, but men, and not men making any effort to accurately represent women, either. In many cases, spreading that idea around was motivated by some pretty cruddy stuff, like a desire to claim ownership of women or our bodies, or a want for women to feel like a sexual activity which men more often enjoy than we do HAD to be something equally important to us so that we’d be more willing to do it with them or only within the structures and conditions men wanted (and sometimes still want) us to have intercourse in.

If you want to know how women feel about something, ask women. And if you want to know how one woman feels, ask her.

You already have a woman telling you, with her own words, how she feels. What she has to say about it should take precedence over what you suspect or what anyone else — including me — would tell you. She’s the expert here, and she’s telling you she doesn’t have feelings for this guy anymore and that she loves you. To really love her back, you’ve got to accept that love, trust her and you’ve also got to have what she expresses to you about her feelings be meaningful without second-guessing her based on what I suspect, are probably your own insecurities and your own lack of trust. In other words, it sounds like her previous partner isn’t someone she still has strong feelings for or about: you’re the one with all the investment in this guy.

It might also be helpful if you try not to think of her virginity as being "broken." Having any kind of sex doesn’t break us in any way. If we choose to share sex with someone, we’re choosing to share sex with someone, not passively giving them some gift, some part of ourselves we can never reclaim, or allowing them some kind of way of marking us or having ownership of us or our sexuality by "breaking" our bodies. You might even consider if thinking about things this way is really all that loving or respectful when it comes to women, and consider adjusting your thinking so that you and your girlfriend can experience love and sex together in a way that’s most healthy and more loving than you have so far.

How important the relationship the two of you have is is about the two of you and the quality of that relationship. It’s not about anyone’s past relationships, nor is it about the sex either of you may have had in the past. It’s about what you and she make and have together, right now. If you’ve got something good here, I’d encourage you to do yourself a favor and focus on the present, rather than dwelling on the past. If you invest your time and energy in who she was with before sexually, instead of cherishing the fact that this girl loves you right now and really loving her back, it might not be the ex that causes you both to miss out on some real, big love, but your own choice not to trust it and let this relationship — not her previous one — be the one that’s important for you both now.

I’m tossing you a few links which I hope can help you resolve this so that you can move on from her previous relationship in the same way it seems she already has.


Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

Follow Heather Corinna on twitter: @Scarleteen

  • invalid-0

    I think that what Ronnie needs to address is his internal issues that are very clearly unresolved. Get some self confidence and self esteem! Your girlfriend has always “proved” that she loves you? What the heck? She shouldn’t have to “prove” it. How does one go about proving that they love somebody anyways? I can understand demonstrating that you love somebody, but proving it?

    Look, as tough as it is, you need to accept that she’s either cheating on you with her ex, or she’s not. Most likely, she’s not. Set boundaries for acceptable behavior in your relationship. If she violates those boundaries, it’s time for you get out and find yourself somebody new. Don’t even tell me that she’s the “only” one for you or that there’s nobody else. Every person on the face of the earth is replaceable as far as relationships are concerned. Go to the bookstore, search online, do whatever, but the complete lack of self esteem that oozes from the way that you asked the question is disturbing.

  • invalid-0

    I remember reading that one of the characteristics of a matriarchy is exactly this: women have multiple partners. I can see that a woman in a matriarchy would protest a lot if the man she was about to move towards as her next partner saw her as ‘used’, likely to move on again to sample new experiences as she had done before: it would after all limit the freedom of her lifestyle. In the days when people were monogamous and – monoandrous? – a person’s husband or wife must have seemed like a priest or priestess who alone could open the experiences of lovemaking, a unique portal to bliss. But now, these priests and priestesses are two a penny and you can always go back to the supermarket and try another one – nah! He’s no good, throw him back! Heck! They’re all as bad as each other and it’s getting more boring with each one! No wonder people look duller and more moribund with each passing year. No wonder women get cross if men won’t pretend they’re virgins when they’re not: virginity and then a single partner for life is the experience they will never be able to have… and it turns out to be the one experience they would give anything for.

  • invalid-0

    Although what you’re writing is very balanced on your opinions of male and female equality there’s a slight problem with what you’re saying. Men and Women are very different when it comes to love and sex, a man can have sex with just about any woman and not be in love with her, as he can separate the feelings of lust and love as the male brain fires up one part at a time to a great intensity. However a woman will not generally have sex with a man without being in love with them, as the female brain fires more than one part up at once, allowing them to be better and multitasking and also making it more difficult for them to tell left from right. I’m saying that only generally and men and women are raging pots of hormones just waiting to boil over so there will always be exceptions.

    So Ronnie’s fears are founded somewhere, however I think really he just has trust issues, it’s probably good relationship paranoia. Dude, just take a deep breath and trust your partner, if she does love you she won’t be off with her ex will she?

  • invalid-0

    …it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get him. Yes, I think you’re right about men separating sex and love and women not. If a man actually loves a woman he’d be prepared to die to protect her, but he doesn’t believe that sleeping with a woman involves an implicit promise – he has really to make the promise verbally (e.g. at a marriage ceremony) before he feels he’s committed. Loyalty is very important to most men. If a woman isn’t a virgin he tends to assume she’s fair game for short practice sessions. He’s most unlikely to trust her, because women who aren’t virgins do tend to move on after about six years when the thoughts of their former loves remind them that there’s more out there in the next greener field. With men, all that experimenting and speculating about other women is much more likely to end when they make an actual promise. When civilisation is at its height (I can’t vouch for decadent periods) they take promises very seriously. Even success in banking is founded on that kind of honesty.

  • http://thecurvature invalid-0

    Anonymous: I call bullshit.

    John: There’s also a whole lot of gender-essentialist crap in what you’re saying, showing that you don’t think highly of either women or men. But the fact that you refer to women as “practice” for sex pretty much says it all.

  • invalid-0

    Someone who sees sex and love as two separate things – and that I believe is the majority of men – wouldn’t see anything wrong with practising sex (that comment about left and right brain sounds correct to me). If his partner has already moved on from someone else it does show that she’s abandoned the principle of having only one partner for life. He can still treasure the moment when he meets someone who transfigures everything he knows or sees – I mean falling in love. The proof of love is when he values her life more than his own – in other words he’d die to protect her. You speak from the perspective of someone who sees sex itself as a promise – a promise of permanence. It isn’t. You speak as someone who believes sex is love. It isn’t. But sex and love can become beautifully intertwined. If you want this, I should hold on to your virginity and get the promise first.

  • invalid-0

    John, you sound like you are into that “new chivalry” movement. You might attract some women on the religious right with those arguments, but with feminists, you are nothing but laughable.

    You even tell Cara she “speak[s] from the perspective of someone who sees sex itself as a promise – a promise of permanence. It isn’t. You speak as someone who believes sex is love. It isn’t. But sex and love can become beautifully intertwined. If you want this, I should hold on to your virginity and get the promise first.”

    Other than Cara being – evidently – female, you have absolutely no foundation for assuming any of those attitudes you attribute to her are her actual beliefs.

    Honey, there is no truth to all that BS about sex/love being totally intertwined in women, but not in men – until they commit in marriage. Bwahahahaha. Why do you think men wander after the six or seven years of marriage? Why should it be different between men and women?

    The genie is long out of the bottle, and I don’t think (hope not, anyway) that all the religious right’s wackos can put it back. (Not to mention the misogynists amply represented here in the comments.)

    Heather is right on the money. The guy who asked the question is lucky the woman will give him the time of day. If he keeps it up, he will lose her, and NOT because she was “damaged” and went on with her “broken” sexuality to another dude.

    BF sounds controlling and possessive, and that is a bad omen for a relationship. Abusive men come from that mold.

  • invalid-0

    Cara was very indignant that I could even speak of someone ‘practising’ sex. That means she thinks that sex is in itself sacred and should never be thought of in that way. Now here I am unashamedly gender-essentialist, because my observation is that women tend to think that way and men do not. And why shouldn’t we do what humans do best, sift and sort, classify and see trends? Prejudice comes from under-discrimination, not putting people in ENOUGH categories. It’s no use trying to suppress our natural tendency to generalise: it’s one of our best abilities. If female babies are exposed to androgens in the uterus they are inclined to like screwdrivers and hammers and things like that when they grow up. That’s hormones-in-the-womb essentialist.

  • invalid-0

    Oh yes, ‘controlling and possessive’! The language of the divorce courts! Poor man, surely it’s a bit early for that? And why do men also wander off after six or seven years? I’d say that’s a real sign of decadence: if people treat their promises as never made, that is social decay on a molecular level. Integrity means ‘holding together as a person’, being the same person today as the one who made the promise yesterday. If you treat promises as trivial then you don’t really exist as an entity: you are a puff of meaningless vapour, a cloud.

    So mock away, Phat Khat! What I say is true.