Had an interesting conversation with a client the other day that brought up a subject I’ve rarely discussed.

How much does a woman’s “first” (guy she lost her virginity to) leave an impression on her psyche? Is he that much harder for her to get over?

Generally, this question emerges with a degree of concern. After all, (almost) everybody remembers their “first.” (We’ll leave aside the people who got black out with a rando just to “get it over with!”)

And since we know how much pair bonding is affected by sex, wouldn’t that mean this guy would leave a distinct imprint in her heart and mind? Isn’t there a degree of “alpha widowing” that occurs simply by the nature of being #1?

The answer is almost certainly no.

And there are a few reasons why:

First, from a simple physical perspective, most people’s firsts suck. Guys rarely last long and don’t know what they’re doing. Of course, this isn’t as relevant if you’re in a serious relationship — you learn what you’re doing with practice. And of course, just because it’s her first, it doesn’t mean it’s his. But it’s important to recognize the bar is often low when it comes to quality.

Second, most women (or men for that matter) do not look at early sexual experiences as being particularly important in the course of their lives. Childhood crushes are (rightly) reflected on as “puppy love” or more frankly “retarded.” There is an acknowledgement that neither him nor her knew what they were doing, and were just young and getting experience, figuring out who they themselves were, and practicing their “night moves.” (cue Bob Seger)

But the most important reason is actually the most simple of the three. Like any other former relationship, they broke up. Why and how this occurred is far more relevant that whether or not her virginity was involved.

If he broke things off with her, and she had a hard time with the break up, then you might have cause to worry — but not because “he was her first”. Because she has latent feelings for him. Maybe the sex had something to do with it, but the loss of virginity itself is not the clue you’re looking for — it’s her behavior and reflections about him.

It’s related to well trodden arguments made time and again here about “notch count” and pair bonding ability. If a woman is sexually used up and struggles to connect to a guy as a result, then you don’t need to overanalyze it because she is going to display issues here within the first few months of dating. If she is eager to get into a relationship with you (and you’re not super wealthy / high status), then you know automatically her pair bonding ability is probably fine. Ironically, it is probably you who has the pair bonding issues, as you’re the one struggling to commit.

The only impact of “losing your virginity” for a girl is it makes her more likely to stay with the guy who took it, even if he was a piece of shit.

This for three simple reasons: a) she’s likely too inexperienced to know any better, b) she has sunk costs about losing it to him and needs to justify this by staying with him, and c) post-facto rationalization that because she lost her virginity to him, that she really likes him / he’s higher quality.

In other words, he can get away with a lot worse behavior like being a dick, loser, and cheater than he would if he were guy #5 or #15 in her life.

But once the relationship is over, that extra leeway ends.

If anything, she is MORE likely to be finished with him than another guy, because she’s given him more chances than she she should have. She is EXTRA burned by his bad behavior.

So in short, stop worrying about this kind of stuff.

Unless you’ve been together for life, most people joke about their first. Maybe it was a good experience, maybe a bad one. But in either case, it’s usually the distant past.

She’s moved on, and so should you. Because the biggest thing liable to mess up things with her isn’t him… it’s your own insecurity.

Which is why if you’re dating a girl you really like, who otherwise seems like a keeper, yet you’re struggling with her past…

You should probably work with me.

Not because I am necessarily going to rubber stamp your relationship. Far from it.

But because I will be able to give you objective expert feedback about the quality of the girl you’re with.

How damaged she is. Whether you should proceed with her.

And if so, what sort of baggage YOU have brought to bear that is stopping things from moving forward in a healthy way.

Because guess what?

More often than not, while the girl has her issues…

The real issue is the guy himself.

And he is doomed to repeat these problems, whether with her or another woman, until he resolves them.

The dilemma is yours to face.

If you want my help doing this necessary work, apply here: www.patstedman.com/application

– Pat