As it was for many women before me, and will be for many after, losing my virginity was no easy feat. It was painful, it was non-pleasurable, and it was one big messy mess mess after the not so funny fun fun. But for me it was the most extreme form of “not an easy feat” there ever could be. I couldn’t locate a decent enough penis to invite to my cooch party until I was 21 years-old and then, when the soiree finally went into full gear, strobe lights and all, I discovered that the entrance to the gala was sealed shut. SEALED. SHUT. No VIP (very important penis) badge in the world could get a single schlong into my exclusive vaginal shindig. The red rope was thick and the wiener could not pass—the bouncers of my snatch would aggressively escort them out.

“Can she stop speaking in riddles and just tell us what she’s saying?” you are probably asking at home. Well, pipe down, because I sure can! I’m not embarrassed and I’m not ashamed. In fact I have publicly discussed this in every possible medium imaginable and I have found out that my situation is WAY more common than I thought. “WHAT SITUATION FOR GODS SAKE?” you are still asking, pretty fed up at this point. Great question and RELAX, reader. I will proceed to answer it.

So, this private function I spoke of earlier, that no gentleman had admission to, even with a golden ticket, was… drumroll please… my vagina, and the extremely limited access was my hymen. You see, folks, I had a hymen that no dick could penetrate. You heard right! That previous sentence included zero typos. “What the hell does that mean?” Another wonderful inquiry, you sweet Chatty Cathys at home. That means I had one mega, super, chunky hunk of hymen. Yup. She was a beautiful, voluptuous, curvy, Marilyn Monroe-esque, Joan from Mad Men-ish, Queen Latifah-style hymen. Warning: The word hymen will be used a minimum of fifty times throughout this piece. Get on board or turn back now.

Basically, I had a ton of it, but not just a ton, A SHIT-TON. My particular brand of hymen was called a “septate hymen.” There are numerous kinds one can have. The septate version offers a strip of extra tissue in the middle that makes it near possible to engage in sweet, sweet fornication. The septate also doesn’t comfortably allow for a tampon to enter OR exit the premises, which I found out the hard way. The one time I was able to sneak a feminine care product in, that sucker couldn’t get it out! It got trapped inside of me during a Shakespearean workshop, of all places, back in my theatre school days. I was playing a fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and I was naturally distracted because I thought I a) was dying and b) had a venus fly trap for a vagina. Would it bite the head off of a penis when I attempted to lose my V-dog? Only time would tell. When my intense Eastern European theatre instructor came up to me and asked why I was so distracted I told him it was because I was on my period. He responded with “Use it! Use the period! Make it a part of your fairy!” and I did. That day my fairy’s backstory was that she had toxic shock syndrome. I got an A.

It was a similar experience when I met my first serious boyfriend and we tried to share in passionate lovemaking but instead shared in prolonged confusion. Thankfully, unlike the tampon, his manhood was not held prisoner by my mighty genitalia—and when I say mighty I mean INDOMITABLE. My strongest muscles today are for sure the ones in my downtown area. After years of it routinely snapping shut on any intruder that baby got pretty darn powerful.

What tended to happen is this: we would begin playing the old penetration game and routinely get rebuffed. It was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, except there was no hole at all, so it was basically just like hanging out with a square peg like “wha?” You remember that scene in Beetlejuice where Alec Baldwin draws a door on a brick wall using a piece of chalk to enter the Netherworld and  the brick door opens and they walk on through? Now, imagine that the brick door DOESN’T open, but they still try to enter, so what ends up happening is Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis just ram themselves, head first, into solid brick, relentlessly for weeks. And that is what it felt like for us to have sex. Like walking into a goddamn brick wall.

For months, I had no idea why that brick wall was a thing. I didn’t know it was because of this fun, hip septate hymen of mine until a gynaecologist stuck a camera inside my vagina and showed it to me. The image of my vag on a 40-inch wide television screen, close-up, in HD, staring back at me, as a middle-aged man used a medical stick to prod at my various lady elements and loudly analyze my body, well that’s a cool image I will not be forgetting any time soon. “There it is!” my doctor yelled in excitement. “That’s what’s been causing you all of that trouble! That flap of skin right there. Your hymen! Wow! Neato!” Why he was so ecstatic about something that had caused me years and years of anguish I will never understand. I mean, I get that he’s a gynaecologist and discoveries like this are kind of his holy grail, but come on pal. HAVE A LITTLE EMPATHY. Then after examining me, he proclaimed “So what this means is that you won’t be able to have intercourse ever again, or at all.” When I instantly began sobbing uncontrollably he followed up his statement with “Whoops! That was a joke! Kidding!” If there is any type of person that I would prefer to never speak to again, it is funny gynaecologists. No thank you, forever.

Turns out, I could have intercourse and plenty of it, all I needed to do was have my hymen surgically removed. Yup, you heard right again! No typos once more! The procedure is called a hymenectomy (of course it is) and it only lasts about ten minutes. Nice and quick. What lasts much longer is explaining what a hymenectomy is to your mother, which I had the great pleasure of doing. THAT procedure can take a minimum of a few hours and a maximum of a lifetime. Once the operation was said and done, I had no problem getting down and dirty. I did have to take a number of epsom salt baths afterwards to clean out the ol’ hoo-hoo, but I was not upset about that in the least. Epsom salt baths are heaven on earth.

As much as I complain about it, there are some benefits to having a septate hymen. The first being that I have a pretty killer story which I can tell at any family gathering, particularly weddings, baptisms, and Christmas dinners. The second being that I appreciate the amazing gift of sexual intercourse more than anyone else I know. Does that mean I frequently have it? Nope! But it means when I do, I REALLY APPRECIATE IT. And the third being that whenever someone asks who I lost my virginity to, I get to say “Well, he was a doctor…”