Filipina Gal: Player Playing

Over the summer, I decided to lose my virginity.

…okay, perhaps not really ‘lose’ but more like… be on the path to. I was tired of living vicariously through my friends’ exciting sex lives and random, online fanfiction with lurid, highly sensual descriptions of ‘opposites attract’ love affairs.

Other than a rather sloppy French kiss while watching King Kong with my first (and so far only) boyfriend, my experience with foreplay and other pre-sex activities consisted mostly of, pathetically, the aforementioned sources and my own fantasies. For a Filipina who believes that sex is not a dirty deed that should be postponed for after marriage, trickles of traditional thinking has apparently found their way in my core. Even approaching ‘virginity’ as something that should be preserved and given up for a person I am in love with and who has proven himself worthy of that degree of affection affected my perception of sex. I couldn’t completely disengage and seek pleasure for its own sake.

Five years later, high school behind me and all-women’s school trapping me in a void of testosterone absence, I was ready for some action.

Erm, I must admit, the decision may have hinged more on raging hormones than any true stand to rebel against this traditional side of me. Whatever the reasoning, I found myself one Friday night dragging my bewildered sister to the hippest hangout in the small city I was interning in to look for a pliable victim.

Strange as that motive sounds, still my utter lack of experience (in everything, including bar-hopping, and yes, ‘picking’ guys up) merely allowed me to gaze around. I shied away from boldly looking into men’s eyes. As the night grew dimmer around us, so did my courage and dejection at the lack of progress in my hastily thrown-together plan. Determined to wait it out, I followed my sister to a karaoke bar where – finally – my efforts paid off.

The night was a flurry of brief conversations and drunk dancing (on me and my sister’s part), then Monday night, he called me.

“A thirsty man in the desert may choke on the water he’s too eager to drink,” was a close friend’s statement as I breathlessly recounted my stories. She was about 80% right. I’m not even sure if I just choked… or completely drowned. But when I met this man, good thing I wasn’t looking for anything serious – if I did, he was bad news.

Attractive, cocksure, snobby, and terribly experienced in the dating arena, he knew immediately how to penetrate my head and get me thinking about sex. Not that he needed to – it was already on my mind. But the novelty of his exhilarating attention on me was a rush that brought my body on fire. Even the dates themselves were adventures – shooting ranges, caving, wine bars, varieties of restaurants, and a plethora of adrenaline-inducing promises.

I don’t know how I managed to keep my emotions on hold, but I did. Rationality saved them – and my senses.

As well as my virginity.

Yes, that’s right. Despite thinking about the physical aspect of our ‘fling’ with an intensity that bordered on obsession (and trust me, it was NOT good for my poor, depraved body), I kept a tight rein on myself and my activities with him. I had to mentally condition myself not to get carried away because I knew that underneath the blood pumping madly through my veins every time I saw him, I didn’t really like him all that much. He made it easy, too – shady about certain parts of his life (um, work? Not too keen on discussing that with me), very different value systems and perceptions, and slightly unsavory (in the corrupt, political sense) friends. I was wary of his personality, and even though I might be free with my body, I couldn’t consign the full level of my trust in his care.

But I explored – a lot. From using cotton headbands as soft handcuffs to panting touches, it was exactly what I wanted and needed: a preliminary step into an unknown territory with an experienced partner to guide the way. And because I was flippant about him, I was, for the most part, guarded from any dangerous attachment that could lead me to compromising certain parts of myself that I wanted untouched.

At the end of the summer, however, when everything dwindled down to a final phone call and text message, I realized that despite putting the whole ‘falling-in-love’ plan in the backseat, it came back with full force as I left the Philippines and headed back to the US. What I had was an amazing learning experience – but it was as insubstantial and ephemeral as the heat chased away by autumn rain in the beginning of fall.

And I actually… dated another man, too.