Sex & Relationships

The First Time I Had Sex After My Marriage Ended

Losing your virginity isn’t necessarily the biggest first in your life. Here, one woman shares her most significant sexual first

A collage of a naked woman in a flower

(Art: Leo Tapel)

“My first time having sex was with the person I ended up marrying. We met and we really clicked. I was 18, and we were both so inexperienced. We very quickly settled into a routine where we didn’t experiment or try new things in bed. It was like, this is what works, and at the time, I didn’t know any better.

We were together for just over 11 years and married for three. He cheated—a one-time thing, a stranger in a hotel bar on a work trip. He told me right after. The breakup was less about him sleeping with someone else than the lies that built up to it. He’d had emotional affairs, which I’d found out about before the actual physical affair.

I think I waited four weeks after we broke up before I went on my first date. I went in convinced that I was not going to sleep with him. It was apprehension and nervousness about the physical part of it. But the more I drank on the date, the more comfortable I became. And then I slept with him. I think I felt free to be more confident and assertive. To be fair, I was very intoxicated, but it was also the fact that this person hadn’t known me for 11 years and wouldn’t judge me in the same way. There was something freeing about that.

I definitely wanted to get the experience of sleeping with someone new over with. And I had no guilt about it—my ex had already done it, so it was almost about getting even. I was staying in our house, and I brought him back there: going somewhere else involved too many factors, and I wanted to have the familiarity and some control. I very much felt entitled to be in that house. But, the next morning, I just wanted him to go. I didn’t know the hook-up culture—I was like, How do I get this person to leave? In the end, I was like, You want some breakfast, here’s some breakfast, but now I have stuff to do.

I’ve slept with five other people since my split. I haven’t been consciously trying to make up for lost time, but I did do the European one-night stand, I dated a younger guy, I dated a bi guy. My ex still wants to be together, and I don’t know about the future. It’s so in limbo. I think I thought I’d get some clarity about him or myself or sex in general by experiencing new things, but I have not come to any conclusions. I don’t know if they’ll ever come. Maybe that’s just how it is.”—As told to Danielle Groen

More firsts:

The First Time I Had Sex After Getting Sober
The First Time I Had Sex in My Correct Gender
The First Time I Had Sex After Opening Up My Relationship
The First Time I Had Sex After Giving Birth
The First Time I Had Sex After Being Assaulted
The First Time I Had Sex with Myself
The First Time I Had Sex After Major Surgery
The First Time I Had Sex After Coming Out
The First Time I Had Sex After an Abortion