Stumbled upon whilst googling self: “Firsts Are Forever,” from the blog Sex, Really. Based on my Psychology Today cover story Heartbreak and Home Runs: The Power of First Experiences.
Remember your first kiss? Of course you do. The first time you went “all the way”? Mais oui. You could probably even supply the color of the lampshade next to the bed.
Chances are, you’ll remember such first events 20, 30, even 40 years from now as well. You may not remember the details about the sixth partner you hooked up with – but the first partner? You bet, according to the cover story in the current issue of Psychology Today about the importance of “firsts.”
Senior editor Jay Dixit, citing various experts, reports that experiences we have in our teens and early 20s stay with us the rest of our lives, far longer than similar events that occur from the mid-20s on.
“Intense emotional sensations etch first experiences deeply into memory,” he writes, “creating what psychologists call ‘flashbulb memories.’ Memories like our first kiss or tryst, our first glimpse of the ocean, our first day of school or the birth of a first child engage all our senses simultaneously.”
First experiences are powerful precisely because they are first. The glasses are clear; nothing clouds the vision. A first romantic relationship is especially this way, according to Laura Carpenter, author of Virginity Lost: An Intimate Portrait of First Sexual Experiences. Your behavior in relationships that come after your first will reflect, in part, the previous experience and the feelings it produced.