I've always been uncomfortable with the idea of virginity. It's so unfriendly. If you are "a virgin" in the traditional sense, you are somehow more innocent and pure (regardless of how much of a little bitch you may be) than your somehow wiser, shiftier and dirtier counterparts.

It's also physiologically dodgy (horses, bicycles, anyone?) and far too, well... slippery. It's also so ingrained into our culture, that young girls routinely think blowing their boyfriends or allowing back access "preserves" their innocence. And all that's aside from the very common, clumsy logistics of heavy petting and "almost penetration" fumbles.

But "virginity" as we currently define it is much more ominous than that.

A chat I had with a Women24 blogger last year sticks in my mind. We were discussing the ages we lost our virginity, and she mentioned a horrifyingly pre-sexual age, and then apologised, saying that "it's a different thing for her, because she'd been raped as a child, and her virginity stolen".

This cut me to my quick, as I am sure it just cut you.

My next reaction was one of outrage... seriously? We have a society so lavishly rotten that we don't only routinely maim and hurt children, but that we leave them with a societal taint too? This intelligent, brave and interesting woman – who is now 40plus – feels she does not have the right to mark her own passage into sexual identity.

Well, screw that. I don't want to live in a society where a 6-year-old child can't be a virgin. I don't want to let mean girls blow the planet and then flaunt their "virginity" over their peers. Where lesbians can conceivably be virgins forever.

But mostly, I believe that until we reinvent the idea of virginity, an outdated, possessive male construct , we can't give real weight to women's sexual liberation.

All that in mind, I have a question. At what age did you lose your virginity? And I don't mean your hymen. 
I mean how old were you when you had your first satisfying sexual experience, penetrative or not? It might be the first time you had an orgasm by yourself, or the first time you had an intimate, consensual sexual experience than opened up the world of fulfilling sex for you?

I was 16. (But you knew that, Mom. Stop cringing.) Buy me a drink and I'll tell you the story; suffice to say it was clumsy, gentle and sweet.

What about you? How was your first time? Read some "My first time" stories here and  here.