By: Radhika Sanghani

“It’s just, um, you bit me.”

I felt bile rise in my throat and wanted to throw up and cry in the corner. Feeling my skin prickling with humiliation, I laughed shrilly and said, “Oh, sorry.”

I wanted to leave but there was no escape. If I ran away, everyone at school would know. I took a deep breath and went back down to his penis. I tried to carry on like before but this time I wrapped my lips around my teeth. It was so uncomfortable it had to be wrong. I tried to go down deeper and then gagged. I swallowed the urge to throw up and carried on. How was I going to finish?

I pulled away from his penis. “James, let’s have sex.”

He laughed awkwardly. “Um, are you serious? I thought you were a virgin.”

I flushed fuchsia. “So? I’m seventeen. I’m ready.”

He looked at the floor. “Ellie, we’ve only kissed a few times. I can’t take your virginity.”

“But . . . I want you to. Please?”

He squirmed. “I can’t. Not like this. Your first time shouldn’t be like this.”

Standing, I pulled on my pink-dotted knickers and did my bra clasp with numb fingers. I ignored his protestations and left.

I never saw James Martell again. I avoided the parties that I knew he would attend, and I blocked him on instant messenger. He didn’t try to call me and I never did anything more than kiss someone ever again.

Once I got home from the doctor’s office, I lay down on my bed and felt a familiar wave of disgust flood over me. Only this time it wasn’t just because of The Bite Job. It was mixed up with Dr. E. Bowers.

I always knew it was weird that I was a twenty-one-year-old virgin, but it hadn’t really hit me until I saw those green capital letters screaming at me from my medical records. I wasn’t even eligible for a chlamydia test. Dr. E. Bowers had either given it to me to make up a quota or because she thought I was a religious nut job who didn’t want to go the whole way but secretly gave head to every guy around. If only.

I sat up straight in my bed. This was it. I was in my final year of university and I would never be surrounded by so many horny men again. This was my last opportunity to lose my virginity and I had to grab it now. I had to ditch my V-plates by the time I graduated in the summer—which meant I had four months to finally understand what an orgasm was and to learn how to give blow jobs.

I took a sharp intake of breath and visualized my future.

In June, I would go back to Dr. E. Bowers, get a chlamydia test and make her swap VIRGIN on my records for SEXUALLY ACTIVE. The next time I came into contact with a condom, it would not be falling off a shelf in the doctor’s office; it would be on an actual penis. And this time, it wouldn’t just rub around my vagina à la James Martell; it would be going straight in there.

 “Okay, okay, so has everyone got some kind of alcohol? There’s some more vodka over here if you need any.”

Kara, a pretty brunette who used to wear Topshop in her hometown but had swapped it for vintage clothes and brogues when she came to London, poured generous amounts of vodka into all our glasses.

Somehow I had been invited to an end-of-term party at Luke’s house, just before we all broke up for Easter—Luke being the leader of the “cool” group in my English Literature course. I didn’t own any vintage clothes whatsoever so I never really felt like part of the group and didn’t fully understand why they invited me to their parties. Maybe some of them thought my general uniform of jeans and woolly jumpers was a deliberate anti-fashion statement. Obviously they were unaware that dresses and fur coats made me look like a sad transvestite trying too hard, and high-waisted things just accentuated the birthing hips I may never have a chance to use.

“Can we just start already?” shrieked Hannah, who was wearing the vintage white nightdress she wore day in and day out, a strand of fake flowers around her head. “I’ll go first. Does everyone remember the rules?”

Without giving anyone a chance to respond, she lurched on. “So obviously it is called Never Have I Ever, so when the person says something like, ‘Never have I ever shagged someone who was married,’ then if you have done that, you drink. If you haven’t done that, you don’t. Even if you are the person who said it, you still have to drink if you have done it.”

“Hannah, we get it. Just start,” moaned Charlie. “And can you please start with something better than shagging someone who’s married? That’s so boring.”

Hannah put on a deliberate pout. “Well, why don’t you start, Charlie?”

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