I Lost My Virginity to a Prostitute: 6 Terrible Realities
There's this trope that comes up in movies and TV shows, but which you probably assumed never happens in real life: Some guy befriends a teenage male, finds out he's a virgin, and decides to get him laid. So they go to a brothel. It happened in Game Of Thrones, Rome, and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, to name a few examples. It's a popular plot point specifically because that's such a weird and gross thing to do.
But in some cultures, it's a rite of passage.
We talked to "Marcos," who unwillingly lost his virginity to a prostitute in El Salvador at age 15, and we learned that ...
Losing Your Virginity To A Prostitute Is A Common Tradition All Over The World
Why in the hell would a parent ever drag their teenage son into a brothel to have his first sexual experience? Well, some cultures kind of require it.
As Marcos says, "Losing one's virginity over here [El Salvador] is seen as a point where you become a man and you become more vivo. 'Vivo' means 'alive' in Spanish, obviously, but over here, it means something like 'astute' or 'not immature.' Once you lose your virginity, you're supposed to get smarter around girls. You are supposed to be less interested in kids' stuff." The problem is that while males are encouraged to start early, females are shunned for it -- a woman who sleeps around is a puta (a whore). A man? "He's pison, which means ... he's basically a stud." So how does a man in that situation get his first sexual experience without ruining the reputation of some young lady?
"What if we weren't hypocrites?"
"I'm sorry; that's entirely too logical."
By going to an actual prostitute, that's how. It becomes a rite of passage, like getting your driver's license or flaying your first sabre cat.
Consequently, brothels have a long and squelchy history as a portal into manhood, spanning the globe from Gilead (a fictional place) to the Netherlands (allegedly a real place). Napoleon lost his virginity to a prostitute he found near the Louvre. Mussolini lost his by hiring "an elderly woman who spilled out lard from all parts of her body." Charlie Sheen and JFK might be famous walking sex dispensers, but both paid for their first times. Bryan Cranston's first woman was a Dutch professional; Roger Ebert's was South African. Oliver Stone's dad booked his son's first woman, leading him to say, "My father was a generous man, and I love him to this day for it." This also explains a significant portion of the family relationships in Oliver Stone's movies.
"She just kept asking for me to move back and to the left. I guess it just sort of stuck."
According to Marcos, in El Salvador, it's generally the Oliver Stone experience -- a father takes his son out to a prostitute for his first time, most often when he's 15. That means ...
The Prostitutes Usually Start Young
Marcos' prostitute was in her early twenties, and Marcos got the impression that she was a frequent hire of the man who arranged their meeting -- who, incidentally, was his private tutor, not his father (astronomically creepy). As is the custom, he was 15 at the time.
So imagine hitting the champagne room with your 9th-grade math teacher, only somehow worse.
All that happened is one day, his tutor said, "... how it would be nice if I were taken to prostitute so that I learned how to be with a woman." Lots of boys Marcos' age were doing it, so he felt he could no longer avoid it. "He told me the girl was good-looking and thin," Marcos says. "She was, but I wasn't terribly attracted to her." They picked her up at a mall. Then they drove off to the nearest dedicated sex hotel. In America, this is any hourly motel that shares a parking lot with a Pizza Hut, but in El Salvador, it's an entire industry (but more on that in a moment).
And even this was two years after the first opportunity. Marcos' father first broached the topic when Marcos was 13, over the phone. He called out of the blue (Marcos' parents are divorced) and told him that a girl had seen him and wanted to desvirgarlo [take his virginity]. "I didn't really go out at that age, so I asked him where she knew me from. He told me he didn't know. Then he asked if I was interested. Since I'm an awkward person, I said no at that time." Another of his friends was asked to go through with it by an uncle (creepy) at age 12 (unspeakably creepy) and agreed.
"Ideally, our sons would move from one breast directly to another."
Now, by "girl," Marcos assumes his father meant "working girl," but we should note here many prostitutes in El Salvador are literally girls -- reports say that 10 to 25 percent of "visible prostitutes" are under 18, and 40 percent of those contacted privately (and expensively) are children. When an El Salvador boy goes to lose his virginity, his family may be paying someone not much older than he is.
So we're talking about a boy who's pressured by his family to have sex (and, at least some of the time, actively doesn't want to) and a girl who's probably forced by circumstances to become a prostitute (and who may be too young to have made a conscious adult decision to go into sex work either way). You somehow wind up with a sexual encounter in which neither party wants to be there. What's that word, for when a custom is so awful that it's almost impressive?
Central America Has A Dedicated System Of Sex Motels
Both prostitution and brothels are legal in El Salvador, but pimping isn't. Brothels are called "night clubs" (Marcos would later be hugely confused by the context in which "night club" is used in the rest of the world), but Marcos instead went to an auto hotel, a type of sex hotel that's specific to Central America. In other places, the phrase simply translates as "motel," but in El Salvador and Guatemala, auto hotels are exclusively for sex.
Meanwhile, auto brothels are for traveling tourists and businesspeople to get a good night sleep.
When you rent an auto hotel, you rent two rooms. The ground floor is a one-car garage where you park your vehicle before entering the second room, a tiny bedroom connected to the garage by private stairs. There's no front desk whatsoever. What they have instead of a concierge is "... a hole in the wall with a wooden box covering it. The wooden box had a small door so you could pay for the room without having to open the [room] door or looking at the person who's charging you." Yep -- your only contact with any hotel employee is a disembodied hand popping out of a wooden hole like fucking Thing from The Addams Family.
High-fiving it is not forbidden, but it is frowned upon.
And boom. You got your own room, with more privacy and anonymity than Frank Underwood at his most undercover-boningest. There's typically a giant mirror, sometimes on the ceiling. There'll be porn. Some have handlebars and other equipment for those with special requirements and/or very specific fetishes. On one wall of Marcos' hotel room hung a poster on proper condom use. You could even buy drinks via the faceless hand box -- Marcos' prostitute ordered a Gatorade, presumably to stock up on electrolytes before vigorously obliterating his chastity.
If you're not turned on by any of this, we have to say, it doesn't get better ...
Your First Sexual Encounter Can Be One Of The Worst Experiences Of Your Life
"She asked me if I had ever done it before," recalls Marcos. "I was nervous, so I told her I had. Then she asked if it was with my girlfriend, and I told her yes. I had never had a girlfriend at that time." Marcos suspects she knew he was lying, because his gadabout sex-purchasing tutor likely would've told her when he hired her. "She took off her clothes off, and I took mine. Then she told me to lay on the bed next to her. She told me, if I want, to watch some porn first to get in the mood. But the porn wasn't working, so we just left the TV on." Not on porn, mind you -- the porn channel was hopelessly scrambled, so they switched to regular network television, either the news or some old movie (Marcos can't exactly remember which, but his eyes kept going to it throughout his crushingly unpleasant sexual introduction).
So if the hotel wasn't enough, there's the added chance of your sex drive becoming permanently entangled with Tremors 2.
Marcos continues, "She checked the time on her phone and put it on the nightstand next to the bed. Then she gave me some oral sex, which my teacher had already told me might happen, and put the condom on with her mouth. It was all very surreal and awkward, and I didn't know what to do."
She then climbed on top of him for some awkward genital fumbling. "I had trouble putting it in, and she helped me with that with her hand. I had trouble finding a comfortable way to position myself ... During the whole thing, she told [me] to touch her on the butt and breast so I would enjoy it more. I didn't want to touch her much because it felt awkward. I had trouble keeping an erection, and when she suggested changing positions, I just went with it. Then, after some time when I felt I could maintain an erection for long, I just [told] her, 'I'm done,' which she took to mean I had orgasmed. Which was a relief, because I hadn't."
So thanks to a bout of uncomfortable, joyless sex, Marcos was now a man, according to everything he'd been told. Yay.
... But You're Expected To Say It Was Great
Marcos never wanted to agree to this. When his teacher first brought it up, he says, "I avoided the question, but I also felt pressured to do it ... honestly, I thought the whole thing was kinda dumb. I didn't want to save myself for marriage, but I did want my first time to be with a girlfriend or a girl I liked." Humble desires, really.
Still, he had expectations. "I was always made to feel inadequate at school and kind of thought that maybe I would indeed grow up if I lost my virginity. Once I had resigned myself to the fact it would happen, I sometimes told myself, 'Maybe this would indeed make you a man, you idiot.'" However, his excruciatingly awkward experience in the auto motel made Marcos feel about as grown up as a letter to Santa Claus. There was no sudden explosion into manhood. His maturity switch did not get flipped.
It's almost enough to make you wonder if helping a boy become a man might take longer than five minutes.
He's far from the only person to ever have this reaction. Marvin Gaye, whose legendary hit song "Let's Get it On" has seen the end of many virginities, lost his own virginity to an impatient, overworked hooker. He was scared shitless. "I can't even remember if I got hard," Gaye said. "I know I tried to fight my way through her fatty flesh, but then my mind won't remember any more. I felt betrayed. Sex was crude and frightening." Once again, that's Marvin Gaye, the man who would later write one of the most famous songs about genital collision ever produced.
Russell Brand describes losing his virginity to a prostitute as, "not sexual, just giggly and intrusive." Jerry Springer lasted seven seconds. Dennis Rodman paid a woman to take his virginity at 20, despite not being wholly attracted to women. After Tolstoy lost his virginity to a prostitute, he stood by the bed and wept. We're not exactly prudish, but it seems like maybe your first time having sex shouldn't be a session with a hired stranger that winds up as the darkest chapter in your autobiography after you get famous.
Good rule of thumb: If it's too dark for Leo Goddamn Tolstoy, then it's too dark for a 15-year-old.
Yet when Marcos' friends talked about their own adventures in auto hotels and nightclubs, all of them "seemed to be thrilled at the idea of having sex." So he lied and said that he'd had an amazing experience too, figuring that the revulsion he'd felt had been a symptom of his social anxiety. In other words, he thought that he was the weird one. Not until this interview did it occur to him that some (if not most) of the others were probably lying about it, the same way he did, because that's what was expected.
And So The Cycle Continues
A year later, Marcos' brother turned 15, and the same tutor took the brother to a prostitute. Marcos came along, dragged again to the auto hotel against his will. In accordance with the indisputable rules of what it takes to become a man, he was now helping his tutor chaperone a new boy into adulthood. He didn't talk with his brother about the situation beforehand at all, or warn him about what a terrible experience it had been for him. So his brother must have assumed that Marcos was as into delegating the loss of virginity to a freelancer as everyone else.
"Don't think of it as cheapening one of life's greatest moments so much as spurring on the economy."
As his brother took one room, Marcos took another, and had another uncomfortable encounter with a prostitute. "I was afraid of what might have happened if everyone realized I didn't want to do it," he says, although he admits he doesn't truly know what the reaction would have been.
Marcos has checked into auto hotels a few times since then, gaining a little more experience with sex but never really enjoying it. Today, at age 21, he's only had sex with prostitutes. He's dated, but says he's never had a real girlfriend. He even briefly dated his tutor's daughter -- the tutor actually set them up himself, and we'll let you decide what to make of that. ("Hey honey, did I ever tell you about the time ...")
"So if you guys break up, is it cool if I'm still his wingman?"
It really does seem like a tradition that only benefits the brothel owners. Unless the point is specifically to turn teens off of sex. You know, instead of guilt-tripping them or scaring them about diseases, they show them how sad and degrading it can be if done under the wrong circumstances.
If so, maybe just show them this article, instead?
For more insider perspectives, check out 5 Ways Being a Legal Prostitute Is Weirder Than You Think and No Fat Tourists: 5 Rules Of Life As A Prostitute In Vietnam.
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