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March 3, 2006 4:52 PM   Subscribe

I lost my virginity when I was 8. Is this totally freakish and should I seek counselling or just a bit unusual?

She was also 8. I grew up in what was effectively a commune. It's a long story. I just want to figure out how I compare to the rest of the world.
posted by public to Human Relations (60 answers total)
 
I'd say pretty unusual, but it's not really a bad thing in and of itself. If you're unhappy about it you can go in, but don't bother otherwise.
posted by stoneegg21 at 4:57 PM on March 3, 2006


I lost my virginity when I was 14, she was 24. She wanted to continue it but I had to call that shit off.

I mean, yeah a little unusual, but what are you going to do? I'm sure it happens a lot more than we think.
posted by geoff. at 4:58 PM on March 3, 2006


I'm not at all bothered by it, mostly just asking for educational purposes. It's (un)surprisingly hard to find useful statistics on this sort of thing.
posted by public at 4:59 PM on March 3, 2006


The idea that "everyone who had event X happen to them should seek counselling" is a strange and dangerous idea, and one propagated, I suspect, by people who have jobs counselling.

If you're okay with it, you're okay with it. Don't be led down the path of thinking "I'm having no reaction...there must be something wrong with me!". If you know yourself, and are confident with yourself (as you seem to be by posting this non-anonymously) then I doubt this is going to manifest itself in negative ways any time in the future.
posted by Jimbob at 5:01 PM on March 3, 2006


Do you perceive any difficulties relating in a healthy way to potential sexual partners? Do you have trouble connecting with people socially? Those would be reasons to consider some counseling. If you're getting along just fine, eh.
posted by cortex at 5:03 PM on March 3, 2006


I would say that in western society (US) that is not typical. If you are looking for people to say "Yeah, I lot my virginity at 8 or 9 and lived in a commune and I have no issues" it might be too rare an occurrence to give you that kind of validation.

Since you are asking the question it obviously bothers you. Go get a therapist and work it out there. You won't get the answers you need on AskMe (although you are sure to get a lot of answers).
posted by qwip at 5:03 PM on March 3, 2006


Median age at first sex
posted by knave at 5:03 PM on March 3, 2006


If you're not bothered by it, then counselling isn't necessary. But SHE was 8 as well? She probably wasn't even menstruating, and I can imagine this was/is traumatic for her. I don't know what the circumstances were, especially being a commune, but if you are concerned that this girl, who is now a woman, is suffering as a result and that you had a part in it, then yes, counselling may be in order.
posted by meerkatty at 5:03 PM on March 3, 2006


On preview (or lack thereof) it seems it doesn't bother you so I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by qwip at 5:06 PM on March 3, 2006


Yeah, people seek counselling for problems they are having difficulty dealing with. If you're cool with it, there shouldn't be any need.

As for the experience itself, I doubt it's all that unsual. Around that age I had alot of experimental experiences with a girl my age, and it could easily have led to intercourse, but I don't recall getting erections until I was in my teens, so it didn't.

Were you regularly sexually active from that age, or was it an isolated incident?
posted by chudmonkey at 5:07 PM on March 3, 2006


Did you ejaculate?

If not, then you did not lose your virginity, IMO.

Lots of kids "play doctor" and stuff as kids, and as children, that's really all you were doing -- playing around. I can't imagine it was anything like sex in the adult sense. I mean it might have been fun, but it's really not the same thing.

I doubt it would fuck you up.
posted by delmoi at 5:09 PM on March 3, 2006


Since you are asking the question it obviously bothers you. Go get a therapist and work it out there.

My thoughts exactly. You don't have to have an intensive course of therapy. Maybe just a handful of sessions -- or even just one, if there really doesn't seem to be a problem.
posted by frogan at 5:09 PM on March 3, 2006


You don't need counseling.

Check the wikipedia article on child sexuality (note: contains picture of "renaissance art depicting two boys at sex play").
posted by daninnj at 5:11 PM on March 3, 2006


Um little girls in communes? That doesn't send up a red flag for you?
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:11 PM on March 3, 2006


meerkatty why would you assume this was more traumatic for the girl? Just curious (being a girl and all myself I don't think it would be)
posted by fshgrl at 5:12 PM on March 3, 2006


(not to metion the whole article is NSFW, NFBSK, etc)
posted by daninnj at 5:13 PM on March 3, 2006


Seriously, it couldn't be less of an issue. This is just general wondering. I've been in several perfectly ordinary relationships and I'm not fucked up in any way even vaguely relating to playing around with a girl when I was a little kid.
posted by public at 5:13 PM on March 3, 2006


Did you ejaculate?

If not, then you did not lose your virginity, IMO.


I respectfully disagree; I'd draw the line at penetration, if I had to draw it, and not at ejaculation following penetration.

Or, maybe better: I disagree with the notion that virginity should be so finely delineated—it's a bit greyer than that, and probably depends as much as anything on the attitude of the virgin.
posted by cortex at 5:13 PM on March 3, 2006


Public: did your parents know about this? Did they encourage it?
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:18 PM on March 3, 2006


I think my mum knew what was going on. I wouldn't say it was encouraged, unless you think allowing it to happen counts as encouragement?
posted by public at 5:19 PM on March 3, 2006


Unless you are still attracted to 8-year-olds, I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by Marnie at 5:19 PM on March 3, 2006


fshgrl - it may not have been, but most boys are masturbating and sexually aware by 8 - most girls are not. It's just biology - not menstruating yet means biologically you're not ready to have sex yet. Possible that my own feelings fueled my assumption? Maybe. But like thirteenkiller said, there seems to be a major red flag here.
posted by meerkatty at 5:22 PM on March 3, 2006


not menstruating yet means biologically you're not ready to have sex yet.

What does that mean? The sentiment may be reasonable, but "biologically not ready yet" seems sort of hand-wavy.
posted by cortex at 5:24 PM on March 3, 2006


But SHE was 8 as well? She probably wasn't even menstruating, and I can imagine this was/is traumatic for her.

Don't know why it would necessarily be traumatic for her when it's not for him. Willing sex play between kids (girls and boys alike) is common -- it's silly to think she must be traumatized simply because she's female. It's not like he was 16 and she was 8.
posted by scody at 5:25 PM on March 3, 2006


Would it help if I said it was all her idea?
posted by public at 5:26 PM on March 3, 2006


I just meant that you can't get pregnant if you're not menstruating, thus your body isn't literally ready to have sex for its biological purpose. Does this make sense? I don't know what hand-wavy means.
posted by meerkatty at 5:27 PM on March 3, 2006


Speaking from experience here, I know for a fact 8 year old girls are physical capable of having sex. I was just saying that girls in that sort of environment might already have diseases.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:27 PM on March 3, 2006


meerkatty: that's clear, but I think then that it's a pointless distinction. By that reasoning, you could say a woman born with, say, inoperate ovaries would never be biologically ready to have sex. And?
posted by cortex at 5:29 PM on March 3, 2006


I just meant that you can't get pregnant if you're not menstruating, thus your body isn't literally ready to have sex for its biological purpose.

This may not be relevant. Like it or not, western society does not really equate menstruating with "ready to have sex".

Note - my wife tells me she had her period soon after she turned 9.
posted by Jimbob at 5:30 PM on March 3, 2006


My original comment was just a suggestion - if public says that he doesn't think it bothered her, then counselling for that isn't necessary. If it didn't bother him, then ditto. I guess that having sex at the age of 8 as a red flag is just me.

As he's asking this for educational purposes, no I don't know anyone else who has lost their virginity before the age of 14. But I would assume from others' comments that it is common.
posted by meerkatty at 5:32 PM on March 3, 2006


most boys are masturbating and sexually aware by 8 - most girls are not. It's just biology - not menstruating yet means biologically you're not ready to have sex yet.

Well, most boys aren't able to sustain erections and ejaculate at 8. So what? It doesn't mean that sex play doesn't happen at that age -- regardless of whether it's possible to have an orgasm or father/conceive a child. Just because someone hasn't reached puberty yet doesn't mean they aren't sexual beings. Again, sex play is perfectly common among children -- playing doctor, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours," etc.

And also, "most girls aren't masturbating at age 8"? Ever spent much time around little kids, regardless of sex? When left to their own devices, most kids, boys and girls will touch themselves -- because it feels good, even if it's years before orgasm is a biological possibility. Girls might be more discouraged from doing this, but that's social, not biological.
posted by scody at 5:33 PM on March 3, 2006


Well, most boys aren't able to sustain erections and ejaculate at 8.

For once in my life, I excel.
posted by cortex at 5:36 PM on March 3, 2006


cortex: I'm glad I'm not the only one willing to argue with that one as well.
posted by public at 5:38 PM on March 3, 2006


Related query: is there any good literature on the finer points of when and how orgasm becomes possible? scody's comment—"years before orgasm is a biological possibility"—makes me wonder how much is known about that process of becoming-possible.
posted by cortex at 5:38 PM on March 3, 2006


Wow. I was not even aware this was possible. You learn something everyday.
posted by orangeshoe at 5:42 PM on March 3, 2006


Childhood Orgasm
posted by public at 5:42 PM on March 3, 2006


Aha! Glad to know better.

In any case, I think the basic point is that children are perfectly capable of having sexual identities or experiencing sexual feelings/curiosity/etc. before puberty.
posted by scody at 5:50 PM on March 3, 2006


Did you ejaculate?

If not, then you did not lose your virginity, IMO.


Bullshit.
posted by apple scruff at 5:52 PM on March 3, 2006


A friend of mine grew up in a California commune. She tells me that sex between children was quite common and unremarkable, but that as time went on sex between growing-older children and adults became increasingly common, increasingly contentious and led to much dissension.
posted by meehawl at 6:02 PM on March 3, 2006


This remind me of a book, but I do not know the name. I vaguely remember a northern europe/siberian pre-"civilization" colony of modern humans where the children had sex all the time as a game and way of copying the adults. I don't know if this is helpful though.
posted by Suparnova at 6:32 PM on March 3, 2006


Despite what society seems to think, this sort of thing happens quite frequently, and the individuals involved generally turn out just fine.

I'd say that if it bothers you, certainly get counseling.
posted by fvox13 at 6:34 PM on March 3, 2006


This remind me of a book, but I do not know the name. I vaguely remember a northern europe/siberian pre-"civilization" colony of modern humans where the children had sex all the time as a game and way of copying the adults.

In that case, I'm 99% positive it was by Piers Anthony. Did any of the adult guys try to reassure the young girls it was totally normal and healthy and they should come to him if they were curious?
posted by booksandlibretti at 6:36 PM on March 3, 2006


most boys are masturbating and sexually aware by 8 - most girls are not.

Just the opposite in my anecotal experience. Same-sex sex play among girls was not uncommon, but boys were still totally in the dark.

The idea that ejaculation has anything to do with defining losing one's virginity is just weird. Sorry.
posted by desuetude at 6:40 PM on March 3, 2006


Did you ejaculate?

If not, then you did not lose your virginity, IMO.


That's the most bizarre definition of virginity I've ever heard seriously presented.
posted by xmutex at 6:49 PM on March 3, 2006


most boys are masturbating and sexually aware by 8 - most girls are not.

Just the opposite in my anecotal experience.


same here.
posted by ancamp at 7:36 PM on March 3, 2006


ditto ancamp.
posted by stray at 7:58 PM on March 3, 2006


In my Human Sexuality class, we were presented with a translation of a Dutch academic article about a study that had been performed on people who had had sexual activity at an early (prepubescent) age. The study basically came up with evidence that it was the reaction of the adults around the child, and not the reaction of the child him/herself, that determined whether the experience would be percieved as traumatic later in life.

So if the adults around you were not freaking out about this, it is quite possible that you experienced no lasting deep-seated psychological effects.

Like the concensus above seems to be -- if you're not worried about it, don't worry about it.
posted by jennyjenny at 8:04 PM on March 3, 2006


I'll admit I think it is a bit strange, but the most important thing is how *you* feel about it, not how others percieve it. If you want to talk to someone about it because you feel its affecting your sexual relations now, go for it. The thing about counseling is that you will have to find a non-judgemental counselor.
posted by radioamy at 9:40 PM on March 3, 2006


Suparnova writes "I vaguely remember a northern europe/siberian pre-'civilization' colony of modern humans where the children had sex all the time as a game and way of copying the adults"

Earth's Children series IE: Clan of the Cave Bear etc?
posted by Mitheral at 11:56 PM on March 3, 2006


I was at the receiving end on some pretty persistent sexual advances from a girl at around that age and we fooled arounf quite a bit. She seemed much more interested in it than I was (male). I don't know if I "lost my virginity" or not per se during that time but it doesn't seem to have affected me over much and have never really thought it particularly significant.
posted by edgeways at 12:01 AM on March 4, 2006


I think the level of tramua re: sex and children has to do with consent and authority
posted by edgeways at 12:03 AM on March 4, 2006


Public - you don't have email in your profile or I'd have sent this privately. I know somebody who lost his virginity at 9, and it seems that he had the attitude of a 55 year old towards sex when he by the time he hit 30. I've always wondered if this is because he started so early. Do you have any thoughts on that?
I don't think the age has any effect on you needing therapy, unless you were teased about it by other kids mercilessly or something.
posted by Iamtherealme at 12:23 AM on March 4, 2006


If the two of you were in a situation in which you were forced to have sex with each other, I think that perhaps therapy could be helpful.
posted by k8t at 4:52 AM on March 4, 2006


Does it bother you? Did it traumatise you? Are you feeling guilt? No? Don't sweat it, then. I'd say it's pretty unusual to lose it at 8 but then kids do sexplay and I guess if you're physically capable it might happen. Well, it obviously did.

I was 18 when I lost my virginity and I suspect that prior to that I was probably more angsty about not having had sex by then than you are about having done it at 8. :-)
posted by Decani at 5:17 AM on March 4, 2006


I would visit a therapist, at least once. There may be things which you might not consider as very troublesome, but may cause problems for you later in life. As someone said, if you had to ask about it, then there's at least something going on in the back of your head.
posted by Atreides at 7:30 AM on March 4, 2006


Would only be quasi-educated guess, but I’d say you don’t need to worry about it one bit. Your indiscretion may be unusual, but it would seem entirely socially constructed to believe it was necessarily wrong, weird or in any way damaging.

That's the most bizarre definition of virginity I've ever heard seriously presented.

Couldn’t agree more – just baffling.
posted by ed\26h at 7:37 AM on March 4, 2006


After reviewing the Wikipedia article on childhood sexuality, I would say that just because childhood sexuality was or is normal or accepted in other countries, certainly doesn't mean everything in your psyche is automatically fine and dandy.

I think counseling would be a good idea -- but seeking counseling DOES NOT EQUAL believing "what happened was bad and injured my psyche." I think it would be a good idea to bring this up and discuss it with an open-minded counselor (which I think most are open-minded). It may help you clarify that it, in fact, doesn't bother you, and you can happily go along your way.

Although I wouldn't be surprised if you have some qualms about it that need some attention. Especially considering that although childhood sexuality may be natural and argued as acceptable, THIS society certainly doesn't view it that way, and who knows, it may just be the conditioning you've received that makes you feel unsure about it. I think the concept of "childhood sexuality" tends to automatically conjure up images of pedophiles, which of course are despised by the vast majority of people, and the link there is made to associate any childhood sexuality with something terribly awful.

I once dated a man who confided in me that he lost his virginity when he was 5 years old, to another 5 year old girl that said to him "Let me show you what my daddy taught me."

Lastly, I have a psych professor who's been in the field since the 1960s and he's told the class that he's received sessions of psychotherapy twice in his life and both times were wonderful and helped him a lot, and he said that the vast majority of people would benefit from psychotherapy, just to help them along in life. It is very wrong to assume that seeking therapy necessarily means there's something "WRONG" with you or that you're "crazy."
posted by mojabunni at 1:09 PM on March 4, 2006


About girls not being sexually aware at that age: I actually work with kids who are about 7-9 years old, and the girls are just as bad as the boys when it comes to masturbating and humping chairs.

Granted, they're developmentally disabled, but I believe that this just allows them to act in public at they would in private.

I even started when I was 8, and have heard similar anecdotes from my friends.

Just thought I'd throw that in.
posted by Dance Commander at 2:53 PM on March 4, 2006


Can I just say that "counselling" is a bunch of cry-baby western bullshit? No? Oh, okay then. Sorry. I've been bad. Flag me.
posted by Decani at 7:07 PM on March 4, 2006


Getting into this thread quite late, but what the hell.

I agree that if it's not bothering you, then no, you don't need counseling.

Also wanted to double ditto stray and ancamp. At 8, girls are more likely to be sexually aware than boys, in my experience, but I don't have data to back that up.

And, I don't know about boys, and I didn't read the linked article about childhood orgasm, but I will attest that it's definintely possible for a girl to have an orgasm long before puberty.

The only reason I'd suggest counseling at all -- if you find you have to tell a future partner this and he/she freaks out. Actually, I'm not even sure if counseling would help there -- I just think you should be aware that not everyone in the world would take this news as calmly as MeFi folks have here.

OTOH, if you just want to find out how you compare to the rest of the world, sounds like a fun research project. (Ok, I'm one of those people who *likes* doing research...) If this interests you and you need help starting out, feel free to contact me (email in profile).
posted by INTPLibrarian at 5:06 PM on March 6, 2006


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