A big “thanks” to all the people (650+ of you) who took the time to answer this survey!
I hear it said a lot, “I’m no role model.” Yet, I learned a long time ago that no one gets to choose that for themselves. People are watching and learning from me whether I’m aware of it or not. They are learning from you as well. The phrase “living by example” is nearly redundant because simply existing is an unavoidable “example” of what it means to be me. There was a time that I thought I had some control over whether I could reflect a positive or negative role model, but these days, I’ve learned all I can really be is an authentic role model of myself—doing my best to reflect outwardly who I truly am, whether negative or positive.
I’m on my third draft of my next book and one of its big themes is how often we are sexual role models without awareness of it, especially in those first-time experiences. I’m amazed at how strong those various first-time experiences can stand out in people’s memories, especially when there’s someone who has shown the way by sensitively moving partners in a positive direction. With that in mind, I was curious to see how positive first-time sexual experiences can be when with another virgin, or if perhaps the odds of having a positive first-time experience could be better (or worse) with someone who has more experience?
With a couple of basic questions, over the past 5 years, I surveyed over 650+ people about first-time sex and found some interesting results. Just over sixty-one percent of those surveyed had their first-time sex with someone who was not a virgin, while just over thirty one percent had mutual first-time experiences, and just over seven percent did not know whether their partner was a virgin or not. I was surprised and fascinated to see that twice as many participants, at least in this survey, had their first-time experiences with someone who was not a virgin. It would be curious to do further study to see how many of these people set out to actually find someone more experienced, or, most likely, it just happened to be the person they were interested in—experienced or not.
I was further curious to see how these people rated their first-time experience as positive or negative. They had seven options on a scale: 1. Extremely Positive, 2. Positive, 3. Somewhat Positive, 4. Neutral, 5. Somewhat Negative, 6. Negative, and 7. Extremely Negative. The good news is that seventy-seven percent of those surveyed rated their first-time experiences positively, with the largest group selecting “2. Positive” at thirty-four percent, and trailed by “1. Extremely Positive” and “3. Somewhat positive”, each having around twenty-one percent. That means the majority surveyed had positive first-time experiences. >whew!< That was really great to see how many people look back on their first-time foray into sex as a positive romp, and only sixteen percent marked their first experience in the negative categories. Sure, ideally I’d like to think that every virgin experience could be a good one, but honestly these numbers were better than I would have guessed.
However, I was most interested in the spread of positive and negative in those who were having their sex with someone for whom it was not their first time, in effect, someone who might be in the position of being a role model of sorts. By far, the largest group was the “positive sex with more experienced people,” which added up to forty-five percent of all the people surveyed (this compiled all three positive options). This is a great find and gives me hope for the future. Yet the group of “experienced” first-time sex also had the widest spread across positive and negative sex. Their negative experiences were four times more than the negative virgin sex—whoops! In fact, the more experienced sex had 19 “extremely negative” experiences while the virgin sex only had one (those who did not know had four). That, to me was unfortunate. Despite this survey being very limited in its scope and ability to reflect accurately the larger society, still I hope it suggests the particular importance that even in the middle of a hot scene, you have the potential to create great fun or great trauma, especially for a first-timer. Overall, it looks like at least these survey participants had some really wonderful first-time sex, but certainly not all of them.
Thanks again to all who participated!