Sex & Relationships

That Time I Tried to Lose My Virginity to a Christian Who Liked to Get Off on the Bible

Like many teenage girls, I was not aware I had much say in the matter when it came to sex.

This is part one in a three-part series.

A few months after I turned 17, I decided I was ready to lose my virginity. And though I was excellent at losing just about everything else in my life—car keys, IHOP leftovers, my dignity—virginity proved to be an elusive struggle. Part of the problem was that I had been recently dumped by my high school boyfriend, James, whom I was still desperately in love with. It took me three years to get over him, which is not an unheard of timespan in the world of teenage grief, except for the fact that our entire relationship was only seven months long.

And though he kissed in a way that was reminiscent of a snake having a seizure, I thought he was terribly handsome—wolfish, a bit vampiric, and scowly in a Bronte novel way. My friends would later describe him as looking like the unfortunate lovechild of Mitt Romney and Beavis from Beavis and Butthead. But James would play Jewel songs for me on guitar, so obviously our love was deep and forever-binding.

Until he met a waitress at the chain restaurant by the mall where he worked, that is. Shortly after that, he cheated on me, dumped me, and married her a short time later, which threw a real wrench into my virginity plans, and my belief that the power of Jewel songs could save any relationship.

I spent the better part of the next month sobbing into fruit compote pancakes and writing awful feelings poetry, which I later turned into songs. A snippet of one such song, titled “I Hope You’re on Fire Somewhere,” went like this: “I find ways to blame you / for every little thing / It’s your fault that I stubbed my toe / It’s your fault I can’t sing.” (For the record, I can’t, nor could I ever sing. I sound like Kermit the Frog on quaaludes.)

Eventually, my slightly younger, yet wiser friend (her wisdom gleaned from being the first in our friend group to have smoked pot a couple times) imparted this advice to me: “If you wanna get over someone, you have to get under someone.” This was revolutionary. And, I thought, such a clever use of wordplay. I told myself I would try it, and quickly shoved my feelings poetry to the other side of the desk to make way for my new life, which was to involve, I presumed, a lot of dicks.

Boy, did I turn out to be right.

The first fellow I met was named Will. He worked at J.B.’s restaurant, which was like a trashier version of Denny’s, if you can imagine that. Will looked so much like my ex that dating him felt almost like an act of revenge in itself. He was also a born-again Christian. I didn’t much care for religion, having been raised with only a smattering of hippie and the occasional dash of my mother’s version of Native American spirituality, which basically involved putting a lot of sage on things. I had been forced to attend Catholic mass when visiting my grandparents a few times, and experienced one unfortunate Sunday School lesson when I was seven, whereby the teacher asked us to draw God and then yelled at me for drawing a cat swimming in the ocean. But other than that, I had no real conception of organized religion, and hence, Will’s born-again-ness didn’t faze me.

Our first (and last) date involved coffee at Denny’s, and afterward, he invited me back to his place to “look at his yearbook.” A smarter person would have seen through this very flimsy veneer, but I was not a smart person, obviously, and besides, I was trying to turn over a new leaf. A sluttier one. Also, I did have a vested interest in his plan, seeing as how I was the editor of my school’s yearbook. To his credit, we did, in fact, look at his yearbook for about 10 minutes. When that got boring, he picked up his Bible, and began reading parts to me outloud.

“This is so dope,” he said, prefacing a passage from Corinthians. “‘Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.’ Doesn’t that blow your mind?”

I agreed that it did, even though it didn’t seem like something that really needed to be spelled out. Love’s not delighted by evil? You don’t say! Put that on a wall poster with a kitten. I didn’t have much time to launch into a philosophical conversation about love’s delights, however, because shortly after that, Will told me he was turned on and needed to masturbate.

Not “want to masturbate,” mind you, or even “would like to,”—he needed to masturbate. And though I would like to think that I was at least partly responsible for his sudden excitement, even I could see that this erection belonged to God. Or, at least, God’s words. Again, I did not have time to ponder this strange unfolding—I would much later recognize it as a fetish—because Will had unzipped his khakis and was already furiously stroking his Bible-induced boner, while I sat there in stunned silence with my hands clasped on my lap, in an unintentional prayer-position.

To say that I participated in this turn of events would be a stretch of any imagination, and yet, I didn’t stop it either. I was, like many teenage girls (and even some adults), not aware that I had much say in the matter when it came to sex. I was led to believe that sex was something boys orchestrated and girls endured. No one ever said much to me about agency, boundaries, or even my own pleasure. Besides, Will wasn’t even touching me, so I felt like I couldn’t be that offended. And yet, I knew that I did not want it to be happening, but could do or say nothing except lay there and wonder why every teenage boy had the same Scarface poster. Occasionally Will would look up at me to see if I was pleased with the Lord’s handiwork, and I would offer him a weak smile, hoping this small effort would motivate him to hurry it along.

After what felt like an hour but was surely far less, he finally finished, pulled his pants back on, and drove me home. While I could somewhat confidently say “a sexual thing happened to me,” this experience was not something I would be boasting about in AOL chat rooms, nor did it bring me any closer to losing my v-card. We didn’t even kiss.

When I refused to return his calls, he came to my work, which was in the shoe department at Mervyn’s, and gave me two CDs (Korn’s self-titled album, and The Eagles Greatest Hits). I think it was his way of apologizing, but not even Don Henley’s liquid honey voice could make me unsee what I saw. The waters had been parted. The staff turned out to be a squat, veiny snake.

Check back next week for part two of “The wrong way to lose your virginity.”

Anna Pulley writes about sex and queerness. Find more at