“Panama V-Card”

guest post: Elazar Hoch

Photo by    Elazar Hoch

Photo by Elazar Hoch

I lost my virginity to a prostitute. I heard a statistic about this sort of thing once, and it seemed like a large percentage, but I’m not just a statistic. There’s a story behind the experience. I believe this experience of losing my virginity to a hooker is indicative, pun intended, of something bigger.

There I was, 21 years old, barely, and a virgin. I was stressing hard about the finals of my second semester of freshman year and a complete mess. I needed to pass my classes or else I’d be forced to retake everything. I sat in my dorm room on a Friday feeling an intense itch to bolt, get the hell outta Dodge, skedaddle.

I had a chunk a change from student loans and family support sitting in my bank account so I felt equipped to make a move. First, I looked for same-day flights to Spain, but they were out of my budget. Next, I looked south and booked a plane and hotel package to Panama City, Panama for a long weekend. The flight was leaving that evening; I finished doing my laundry, packed and was on my way.

When I arrived, I made my way to my hotel and breathed in the calming sea air. The landscape and tropical energy relaxed me immediately. There is hardly any time-zone difference but I made the executive decision to go to bed early anyway and have a fresh start the next day.

In the morning, I took a cab all around Panama City, swam in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and saw ruins. It was immersive and the change of scenery I so desperately needed.

That night, I asked the cabbie to take me to a nightclub. He told me I would need to wear pants; shorts wouldn’t cut it. I put on a pair of light grey flannel sweatpants, the only pants I had brought with me, and was on my way.

I sat alone. While drinking, I eyed a luscious blonde woman a stone’s throw away. Later I sat with some locals and bought them a round. My liquor-addled mind thought to write, with the assistance of my new friends, some chicken-scratch on a napkin in an attempt to court the blonde who had caught my eye. I don’t remember why, or what happened, but I left the club, alone.

I got in a cab, and even before we took off, he asked me “girls, girls?” I said something to the effect of yes, and we were on our way. Mind you, I was a virgin, and up until that point, hadn't pictured myself losing my virginity this way!

Growing up Hasidic, sex was off limits! Dating, talking and interacting with females was off limits! I still did a bit of fooling around on the side, very limited, but again, sex was only for marriage. I had always imagined I would lose my virginity to my future wife, end of story. Up until this moment of “girls, girls?” I had no inkling of how or when I’d lose my virginity, if not to a future wife

Photo by    Elazar Hoch

Photo by Elazar Hoch

I arrived at a dark parlor, some women sitting in booths and a few men and women standing by the bar. Almost immediately, one woman was all over me like white on rice. It was dark and I could hardly make out her features, but I was drunk and excited! My cab driver acted as a middleman, an agreement made, and off I went back to my hotel room with this new companion.

Being a professional, she had brought condoms and put one on my erect cock. We had sex for what seemed like forever. It was exciting, like going from 0-60 instantaneously; no dating, buildup, foreplay, nothing. I wanted to touch her pussy, to explore her body — it was such a novelty to me, but she brushed my hand away.

During the night, while she was on top of me, I had a moment of clarity and thought, “I don’t feel anything!?” The realization was shocking and alarming and a whole other article could be written about that one moment. It was a taste of what was to come with future experiences of meaningless, emotionally devoid sex. In contrast, when I have physically experienced sex at it’s best, it was in the context of having a playful, light and meaningful connection. But I digress.

Well into the early morning, after I finally came, we splayed out on the bed and went to sleep. Rest was brief and the woman was agitated when we woke. I interpreted her broken English and gestures to mean that she wanted more money for any additional services. I thought we had agreed to six hours, but in the end, I went down and got us breakfast as a peace offering. When she left, I wandered around the city with my camera for the rest of the day.

My third night in Panama City, I went again in search of nightlife. I had seen a Hardrock Café on the way from the airport to the hotel and went there, but it was dead. I drank anyway and bought a t-shirt, a memento to take back to NYC.

The cab driver asked again “girls, girls?” and this time I was ready with a more considered answer. I replied that I wanted a high-end, more “exclusive” type place this time. He offered two options, one with a cover, one without. I naturally picked the one without a cover. When we arrived, the cab driver again acted as a middleman. I didn’t have cash on me, so I was escorted to a nearby bank. There was a uniformed man with a metal detector wand at the entrance. I felt much better about this place.

They sat me down on a white leather sofa chair and asked if I would like anything; I had a beer. This place felt very luxurious and soon a parade of women in bikinis filed through the room. I was in total shock and thunderstruck, if not also fuzzy from drink. Finally I realized what was going on, noticing a small circle with a number pinned to their waists. I asked for the last number, the only one I could remember.

My selection turned out to be Manuela, who said she was 21 and from Colombia. I enjoyed having sex with her more than my first, but still couldn’t feel much with her either. I came in the doggy position before we fell asleep. When we woke up, I got us breakfast and she taught me some Spanish, some of which I wrote on a pancake and took home with me. I also asked her to pose for me, which she did. I painted a watercolor of Manuela, afterward, she wanted to have more sex, but I declined. I still don’t know why. Maybe it was fear of being charged additional money for more sex that didn’t meet my high expectations.

Later I took the cab to the Panama Canal. I remembered the t-shirt that I had bought at the Hardrock Cafe; I had left it behind the night before. The cabbie said that Manuela staked claim to it, oh well.

I had an amazing last day in Panama City. I spent hours at the canal painting watercolors of the landscape before flying back to NYC. Later I passed my exams and made it to sophomore status.

I lost my "V-Card" in Panama to a prostitute. By doing so, I perhaps set the tone for future sexual experiences. Not to knock casual sex, there is something exhilarating and fulfilling about it, but if the only criterion is consent, just fucking to fuck, I feel no pleasure in that.

It’s one of my greatest struggles: lunging after sexual gratification which is not very gratifying, or developing a romance and connection with great sex as a byproduct? Must I rule out one for the other? Likely, yes. If I want one thing while consumed with another, the thing I want will have a smaller likelihood of occurring.

So here’s to sex! I own my sexuality; it empowers and assists me in making intentional choices today. It's been a long, twisting road to this awareness, some 14 years. Still, what is life but a classroom, with experience the teacher?

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