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Meet Bree and Sally, our 2015 Trixie Films summer interns!

Bree and Sally just started their summer internships here at Trixie Films and they're already busy researching some juicy outreach and activism projects we've got cooking for "How to Lose Your Virginity". They'll also be running our Tumblr and (hopefully) contributing to this blog. I'm super excited to have them both at Trixie Films, so please help me give them a warm welcome.

Bree

Howdy, I'm Bree. Most nights after 12 I'm scribbling self-indulgent essays. My favorite fruit is grapefruit, and I delight in anything magical realism-related. 

Since I began reading The V-Card Diaries, Trixie Films has been my dream internship. As an endlessly quirky and queer womanist human *bean, I strive for greater understanding of people who are underrepresented and how to liberate them. Working at Trixie is a cartwheel in the right direction, and I cannot wait to see what the summer has in store!
 

Sally

Hi! I’m Sally and I am a passionate advocate for gender equality and social justice. During my free time, I volunteer and intern at an organization that helps domestic violence victims and their children. 

I am proud to be a feminist because feminism gives me a voice. It empowers me. It allows me to be who I want to be, without any justification or apologies. Feminism means different things to all of us and can be very personal, which is what makes it all the more beautiful. I can go on and on about why I need feminism, but I’d like for you to ask yourself, 'why do I need feminism?' #ineedfeminismbecause

V-Card Diaries: Aura "My Indian mother thinks pre-marital sex should be made compulsory"

A little about myself:

I am a 20-year-old Indian girl, currently attending University in the north of England.

How I define virginity:

For me, a person loses his/her virginity when he/she has sex for the first time. What one considers as one's first, proper first time depends on him/her, and only he/she has the right to decide what it means to him/her and when he/she will lose it. I consider the day I had penetrative vaginal sex with a man for the first time as the day I lost mine.

People tend to think of Indians as quite narrow-minded and backward. What they do not understand is that it is a big country and there are many different kinds of people and cultures in it. In some areas, virginity is a huge deal, so much so that people actually use the blood stained sheet used on the wedding night to prove to neighbours the virtues of their wives or daughters. In some areas, nobody really talks about it - because it is very personal, but girls are expected to be virgins until they get married. In most areas, nobody cares, and it is a girl's personal choice - unless of course she is married and cheating on her husband/wife. The region where I am from (Bengal) falls largely into the last category. Nobody talks about your sexuality, since its private, personal and well... just very weird for family members to discuss your sex life over coffee

But my mom is my best friend, and I talk to her about everything. In my teens, I asked her for her opinion on pre-marital sex, and I was quite shocked when she told me she thought it should be made compulsory before a wedding, to make sure two people are sexually compatible! Furthermore, she said that men are like clothes. When you walk into a store, you like a few, try some on, and then look at other factors such as prices, colours, and if you are actually going to be wearing them. Similarly, you like men, date some of them, sleep with some, and then decide based on everything which one of them (if any) is right for you. Of course, she said unlike clothes, you only buy (marry) one at a time, and if you have major problems, you return (divorce) him and pick another one. I am so happy my father was perfect for her and she didn't need to 'return' him.

Here's my story:

Such a happy day it was - to finally get rid of the thing that made all men patronise me and see me as some sort of a prize. I hated the fact that my 'first' man would feel a sick chauvinistic kind of triumph, and I didn't want any man to have that pleasure, that satisfaction of knowing that he had somehow 'taken' my virginity, innocence, and what not. So, when I met a man who was extremely good looking and sexy, and also seemed like a nice, sensible person, I went home with him (to London), had sex with him, took the train back home the next morning, and was finally relieved of that sexist burden. The best part is, he doesn't know my full name, or where I live, and I will probably never see him again. Problem solved–lost virginity, but didn't give any subsequent boyfriend the satisfaction of being my first.

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here

Ask Trixie: "I'm scared to lose my virginity because I'm scared I will get pregnant."

I'm scared to lose my virginity because I'm scared I will get pregnant the first time I ever do it because that's the kind of luck I have – Anonymous

Dear Anonymous – I’m really glad you asked this question. Sex can be amazing, but being ready for any kind of sex is more than just making physical and emotional connections. It also means you and your partner are taking responsibility for using the right contraception and STI prevention–which I know can sometimes be confusing and awkward.

I have TOTALLY been there myself, and I’m really ashamed to say that the first time I had intercourse I used no birth control at all. So stupid and scary, and I was very lucky to not get pregnant or get an STI*. I did NOT make that mistake again. I immediately scheduled my first gynecologist appointment and decided to go on the pill (and never got pregnant). That was the right choice for me at the time, but everyone's situation is different.

One little thought: Having any kind of sex for the first time can sometimes be scary, or make us nervous. Think about whether fear of pregnancy is masking some other deeper concerns about being intimate. I'll leave that there for you to ponder and get on to the birth control info.

First of all, the best way not to get pregnant is not to have intercourse (Jane The Virgin doesn’t count) but if you do want to have intercourse, birth control should never, ever be a matter of luck. It’s about educating yourself on the best BC option for you, and then using it exactly as directed. Despite what abstinence-until-marriage programs teach, contraception is safe and effective when used correctly (and a lot safer than going through a pregnancy). 

A great place to start is with this handy guide from our friends at Scarleteen. It walks you through questions about what’s most useful and healthy for YOU and gives lots of suggestions on what to use. Planned Parenthood also has a great guide as does Bedsider.

Once you have an idea of what works best for you, go see your health care provider. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Planned Parenthood office, they’ll be happy to help you, and it will be less expensive. Stay way clear of Crisis Pregnancy Centers which advertise the same services but then give you misinformation and shame instead of contraception.

One other thing to consider: If you’re having sex within a relationship and your birth control costs a bit of cash, it’s only fair that your partner helps pay for it. Just because you’re the one who can get pregnant, it doesn’t mean it’s not his responsibility as well. 

*Don’t forget Sexually Transmitted Infections, which can be an even bigger risk than pregnancy because you don’t have to have intercourse to get infected. Condoms are the only way to protect yourself against those so have your partner keep using them. Also, because no BC is absolutely 100% effective (although many come very close), condoms can be a great backup.

Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking? Ask Trixie here.

V-Card Diaries: LaPlume "I numbed my mind for the entire experience."

**TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT**

A little about myself:

I'm and 18-year-old cis female from Indiana who currently lives in Chicago.

How I define virginity:

I always saw virginity as the first time one has sex/is penetrated. The heterosexual definition of virginity has always been my go-to definition since that's all that has ever applied to me, but as I read other stories I see it's not as black and white as that. Virginity can be pretty subjective.

Here's my story:

I was 15 when I lost my virginity and the guy was 19. We went to high school together. I never planned on sleeping with him at all, let alone for my first time. I wanted my ex-boyfriend and I to share our first experience together but we'd broken up and my two best friends were so happy to have me join them in their sexual adventures that they pushed me to sleep with him. They said "why not?" and I was hurt, so I set it up. It wasn't rape in the technical sense, but I knew I didn't want to before we even made it to my bedroom. My exact thought was, "If I tell him no now, he'll rape me. So I should just get it over with."

It was awful. There was no foreplay. He just told me to get naked and he only kissed me when he realized he couldn't perform. He reluctantly performed oral sex on me (which was painful in itself) and then he went for it. There was so much blood and a literal tearing sensation, and he wouldn't stop talking about himself. I numbed my mind for the entire experience. Afterward I made him leave and I immediately washed my sheets. I don't remember the rest of that day, only that I covered my tracks so that my parents wouldn't find out.

When I got back with my boyfriend I was so embarrassed that I lied about being with anyone else at all. I cried when he gave his virginity to me.

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here

Ask Trixie: Is the G-spot a real thing?

Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking? Ask Trixie here.

is the "G-spot" a real thing? –Anonymous

People continue to fiercely debate whether there’s an actual G-Spot (named for German gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg). Some people have an especially sensitive spot on the inside front-ish part of their vaginal canals, and when it’s rubbed just right magical things happen. Others don’t feel that much in their vaginas at all and would always prefer the party to be happening around their clitoris. And others think that anything they feel in their vaginas is actually coming from their clitoris any way.

Wait, weren't we talking about the G-Spot? Yes, but bear with me. The clitoris, like an iceberg, takes up a lot more territory than the bit that’s visible, and therefore might be the source of physical pleasure for the whole vulval/vaginal area. So what you feel in your G-Spot area is possibly just another form of stimulation of the giant clitoral body. 

If you want to learn more about the amazing clitoris, The Huffington Post just published a pretty amazing story package on the clitoris complete with history, diagrams and swell animations.

The moral? There's really no correct location for your orgasm, despite what Dr. Freud* thought, so the important thing is to figure out what feels really good down there and do more of that, whatever you want to call it. You can read more about The G-Spot here and here as well.

*Sigmund Freud taught that clitoral orgasms were 'immature' and after puberty women should only have vaginal orgasms, which he deemed 'mature.' This was based on absolutely no scientific evidence except his belief that real sex was dictated by the penis and intercourse. Despite it being total bullshit, this myth continues to this day even though a significant percentage of women don't experience orgasms located in their vaginas.

V-Card Diaries: Kageashi "Despite routinely seeing naked women at work, I still haven't had intercourse"

A little about myself:

I was born in Alexandria VA, but I raised in Western Pennsylvania. I moved to Washington DC for college...and still haven't left 14 years later. My sex is male, but my gender is interchangeable.

How I define virginity:

In heterosexual and male homosexual dynamics, I see virginity as penis penetration of the vagina or anus. For lesbian sex...I have no idea.

Here's my story:

I was reading through the blog and noticed a sad dearth of stories from older individuals (Oh gods, don't make me the old one).  I'm 32 years old, and I still have my V-card, depending on your outlook.  The fact that I still have my V-card probably qualifies as irony, however.

For almost two years I worked for a kink venue.  That is to say, a venue where people came to party (legally) on various pieces of kinky apparatus. The day I realized I had become jaded to the whole situation was when I was speaking with the venue owner in our office and two women were naked and having sex on the floor just inside the doorway.  Open door policy indeed.

Despite routinely seeing naked women running around during those two years, I never had intercourse.  The opportunity only came up once, and I only found out afterwards.

It's not that I'm waiting for marriage–just for something a little deeper than a one-night-stand.  I've had a few near-misses–right time, wrong place, etcetera.  But as a man gets older, the expectation is that he is either really experienced (and should have papers proving he's disease free and routinely checked) or a lame duck.

We'll see if it happens anytime soon.  But for all the guys out there thinking you're the oldest male virgin around outside of the priesthood?

Odds are you aren't.

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here

Just The Tip: Teaching Sex Ed to 4-yr-olds, Duggar grossness, Your Number, V-Myths and more...

Our weekly collection of interesting links from around the internets. Click on the titles to link. (Or, why wait? Get up-to-the minute news on our Facebook page)

Bill Nye explains The Sex

Not super informative, but how can you resist? Bill Nye's at the Museum of Sex in New York to explain the evolutionary purpose of sex. Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts STARTALK (MONDAYS 11/10c on NatGeo).


Jaclyn Friedman on Caitlyn Jenner and the complicated definitions of womanhood:

"Trans people are not magical gender warriors. We may politicize their bodies, but they are not obligated to play along. As with all of us, some may decide to become activists, but most won’t, and either way, none of them will exclusively do the most politically expedient thing every time they’re faced with a choice. Because they’re human. They don’t owe the world a revolution, or even an explanation. And they’re certainly not obligated to live up to the arbitrary standards of one random cis woman."


Inside the Duggars' Dark World

Young women are not only robbed of any sexual agency, this culture also teaches that "Women are objects, controlled and exchanged by men to create and affirm the men’s identities...Women. Are. Not. People." And it has implications for all of us. An essay by one of our fave virginity geeks, Jaime Hough.


I was interviewed for this piece (along with our How To Lose Your Virginity expert Hanne Blank) about busting virginity myths. Loved contributing thoughts along with lots of screen grabs from the film:

"Male virginity wasn't even discussed as a thing until the 20th century," Therese Shechter, creator of the documentary How to Lose Your Virginity, told Mic. "Whether a man was sexual or not had little bearing on his character or value."
"The concept of virginity is all too often tied to how we talk about women's morality and sexual choices," Shechter said. "I think people should define virginity however they want, or dismiss the concept it altogether if it's not useful to them."

Is You Sexual History As Impressive As You Think?

In other words, am I a slut or a loser? So lemme just go get a pencil. But first...What exactly does 'slept with' mean? And if our definitions are different based on which parts touched other parts, then what exactly are we comparing and tallying? And what constitutes a lot? I know, I know...this is just a dumb internet game, but can we all agree 'the number' makes no sense? Instead, why not ponder the first milestone of your sexual history with our own quiz.


In the Netherlands, sex education starts in Kindergarten

We North Americans do such a lousy job of teaching our young about sexuality. The Dutch are miles ahead of us:

“People often think we are starting right away to talk about sexual intercourse [with kindergartners],” van der Vlugt says. “Sexuality is so much more than that. It’s also about self image, developing your own identity, gender roles, and it’s about learning to express yourself, your wishes and your boundaries.”

That means the kindergartners are also learning how to communicate when they don’t want to be touched. The goal is that by age 11, students are comfortable enough to navigate pointed discussions about reproduction, safe sex, and sexual abuse.

 

Be a VirginSpotter! Got a story you think we should talk about? Contact us or tweet at us here.

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V-Card Diaries: Audrey "I was bombarded with judgments of being a 'virgin' and misinformation about sex. It scared me."

A little about myself:

I'm 21 as of June 3rd 2015, Park City Utah, female, I'm a baker and environmentalist, I've never had sexual experience beyond kissing and massages between my kind ex. from high school and I.

How I define virginity:

A concept that's overrated, outdated, used to scare people into not having sex (sex can be healthy for you). People should define virginity for themselves, but it's abused by businesses, religion, and media.

Here's my story:

I don't like the word "virginity." It's abused and overrated. I'm 21 and I've never had sexual experience beyond kissing, snuggling, and massages between my nice ex from high school and I. Neither of us were emotionally or intellectually prepared. In college I did not trust the guy I was dating to respect my sexual boundaries. He was trying too hard to get me to have sex with him, so we broke up.

I was born and raised Utah, but my parents are Midwesterners. The culture here strictly practices abstinence only education, but I'm not a Mormon. I went to the Unitarian Universalist Church which has a nation wide liberal and informative sex education program known as OWL. I attended OWL in 8th grade and 11th grade. There are 4 stages of it each designed for a different age group starting with 10 & 11 year olds. Unfortunately I didn't retain much of what I had learned. 

In college, in Oregon, I was bombarded with judgments of being a "virgin," myths and misinformation about sex, and stories of other peoples' sex in the dorms. It scared me.

I'm now a baker at Deer Valley Resort. Just a week ago I started watching Sex + by Laci Green and it was amazing, re-informing, liberating and so great with the positive look on sex. I binge watched for hours. All I have to say is Thank You Laci. I look forward to having a sexual experience that is safe, informed, and not dreaded. I live with my parents and I'm looking for a place to buy closer to down town Park City. Whether It's masturbation, intercourse, or another for of sex, I don't feel comfortable having sex in my parents' home, and I'm happy to wait for the right place, person, and time. Not that I expect it to be perfect.

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here

V-Card Diaries: Ana "After having lesbian sex, the idea of having penetrative sex with a penis no longer felt like 'real sex' "

A little about myself: 

20, New York, woman, college student/sapling filmmaker

How I define virginity: 

The first time doing a thing that feels like A Big Thing

Here's my story: 

It took me until I was almost 19 to figure out that I liked girls. Having liked boys all along, there never seemed any reason to question it. I never thought I'd lose my girl-virginity before my boy-virginity, but sure enough, about a year ago I had sex with a woman for the first time. I had been preserving my "traditional" virginity, the p-in-v kind, for...something; not marriage, maybe love, maybe just a mutually caring exclusive relationship? I didn't know then and I don't really know now either.

But one night things started moving with a girl I had only been casually acquainted with up until that point, and the idea of "waiting" was miles away--it was just one of those nights that's going somewhere interesting and you have every intention of just following it. This particular incidence of lesbian sex meant oral and manual stuff, which is nothing I hadn't done with boys before, so it didn't really feel like anything new on a technical level. I was sort of...eased in, I suppose? But let me tell you, it was fun. It was cool. And for the sake of intimacy, I'll keep the details to myself.

So after having lesbian sex, the idea of having penetrative sex with a penis no longer felt like "real sex." Sex with that girl was no less real. I had had sex. All those hesitations and ideas about "waiting," instilled, no doubt, by my vaguely Catholic upbringing, felt more unfounded than ever. So, probably about a week later, I had penetrative sex with the boy I had been involved with. And it was--well, considerably more painful than sex with the girl, that's for sure. But it was fine. it was fun. And I have no regrets about either.

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here

 

On Abstinence, Sleeping Beauty, and Victim-Blaming.

Scene from the documentary 'How To Lose Your Virginity' featuring Hanne Blank and Shelby Knox, with narration by director Therese Shechter.

As we've said many times on this blog, Abstinence-Until-Marriage programs are dangerous on several levels–and proven to be totally ineffective. They don't protect girls and women, they victimize them.

The article "On Josh Duggar And Why It’s Time To Do Away With Abstinence-Only Sex Education" lays it all out in chilling detail, including:

  • Women are naturally pure because their sexuality is encased like a fire alarm behind the plexiglas of romantic love. A girl/young woman will not have sexual feelings until they are “awakened” in her by a romantic relationship. That awakening should not happen until after marriage. (This is why they don’t kiss before marriage.)
  • Love is what not only awakens a woman’s sexuality, it is also what keeps her sexuality in check. If a woman’s sexuality is awakened in any situation other than marriage, she dissociates it with love. And without the governor of marital love, her libido rages out of control and she becomes a shameful and pitiful victim of her own wantonness.

One of the things we talk about in How To Lose Your Virginity (see video above) is the lack of sexual agency for young women, that the men in their lives (father, husband, god) are in charge of their sexual lives. The idea that "a girl/young woman will not have sexual feelings until they are “awakened” in her by a romantic relationship."

We liken it to the 'Sleeping Beauty' myth, the idea that a woman is a passive sexual player waiting to be awakened by her prince, and it's insidious. If women do have any independent sexual feelings, they run the risk of being labeled sluts who are responsible for any unwanted sexual attention or violence that befalls them.

While it's taken to the extreme in fundamentalist communities that concept isn't really limited to Duggar-like environments. First of all, many women of color are experience being labeled hypersexual, de-facto sluts from the get-go. As for white women, any woman who doesn't passively wait for a man to unlock her, so to speak, risks being slut-shamed as well. How can you ask your partners for what gives you pleasure, when sexual satisfaction isn't something you should be asking for–or even know anything about. It's the basic narrative of virginity-themed porn like 'Barely Legal,' where a young (white) woman must begin as totally innocent so that a man can unleash her sexuality with his magic penis. And it's the foundation of rape culture, where a woman invariably has her own uncontrolled sexuality to blame following sexual assault.

Tonight! Join us for the Seattle premiere of "How To Lose Your Virginity"

Hi everyone! A reminder that we are premiering the film tonight in Seattle at Central Cinema at 7pm. I'm very excited that we have some of our amazing cast and crew in town! I'll be joined for Q&A by onscreen expert Heather Corinna of Scarleteen, one of our film editors Dina Guttmann, and our composer Stephen Thomas Cavit. Tickets are still available online and at the door, but don't wait. There are only 11 tickets left!

See you tonight!

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What if all we had to lose were our virginity myths? Find out Tuesday!
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Don't miss our Seattle Premiere with director Therese Shechter and Heather Corinna of Scarleteen


This Tuesday,
Seattle!
Get your tix today!

We are so thrilled about the Seattle Premiere of How To Lose Your Virginity this Tuesday at the fabulous Central Cinema

Director Therese Shechter will be there for the Q&A. and she's joined by the brilliant and hilarious Heather Corinna, founder of Scarleteen; film editor Dina Guttmann; and composer Stephen Thomas Cavit.

We have 25 more tickets left before we sell out. Reserve your ticket today and tell all your friends in the Seattle area to join us well (use the social media links below). 

It's going to be a great night for parents, teens, and all our friends–and there's sure to be great conversation (there always is!).

See you there!
Therese & Team Trixie Films
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14-year-old girl gets suspended for giving the greatest answers ever in sex ed class

So, this happened two years ago, but it's so fabulous (and sadly still so relevant) we wanted to share it. Here are the answers a 14-year-old girl gave on a condoms 'quiz.' Apparently, there was a list of responses provided that students had to match with objections. Clearly, that wasn't working for her and she wrote her own responses. The fact that she was suspended for it says everything you need to know about the sorry state of sex ed in the USA. OK, maybe the F-Bombs aren't cool for middle school, but she should have gotten an A for being so f-ing smart.

Let's do this thing, Bay Area! We now need 24 more RSVPs by Monday to make this screening happen.

Thanks to you lovely people, we got 9 more ticket reservations in just one day. We only need 24 more by Monday, so let's make it happen!

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Get your tickets by May 11 & help make this event happen! 
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Watch our trailer!
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heck out our new website!


We need 33 more RSVPs to make this screening happen!


Join us on
May 18 in
San Francisco:
RSVP online
by May 11 

How To Lose Your Virginity is coming to the Bay Area for one entertaining, eye-opening, and thought-provoking screening. Join Director Therese Shechter and Producer Lisa Esselstein for a Q&A and some pre- and post-screening events.

Because this is a Tugg screening, we have to sell 33 more tickets in the next 6 days for the event to happen. Reserve your ticket today* and tell all your friends in the Bay Area to join us as well (use the handy social media links below). 

It's going to be a great night for parents, teens, and all our friends–and there's sure to be great conversation (there always is!).

See you there,
Therese & Lisa & Team Trixie Films

*Like Kickstarter, your card won't be charged unless the event happens.
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Amy Schumer is seriously ON FIRE this season!

"Ask your boss to ask his priest if birth control is right for you." See more of Inside Amy Schumer here.

San Francisco, Portland and Seattle: Join us for our West Coast screening tour this May!

Hey friends! We hope to see you at one of our West Coast one-night-stands. We need to get your RSVPs this week for each event to go forward, so if you'd like to join us, please click on the ticket links below right away!

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San Francisco Tickets 5/18
Portland Tickets 5/21
Seattle Tickets 5/26

 


It's our One-Night-Stand
West Coast Screening Tour!


Join us for these events:

May 18
San Francisco
May 21
Portland PREMIERE!
May 26
Seattle PREMIERE! 

How To Lose Your Virginity is coming to the West Coast this May, with Premieres in Portland and Seattle and a return visit to the Bay Area!

Director Therese Shechter will be there for all three screenings. She'll be joined by Producer Lisa Esselstein in San Francisco, and Editor Dina Guttmann & other special guests in Seattle. We're thrilled that community engagement pros A Fourth Act will be hosting the Portland screening. And we'll have fun pre- and post-screening events in each city.

We have to sell 67 advanced tickets to each screening to make these events happen. Reserve your tickets now–and invite your friends!

 
See you there!
Therese & Lisa & Team Trixie Films

 
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Watch the video for the new poem "Thank God I'm A Virgin"

From the upcoming album, "All Prodigal Daughters and Sons" "Thank God I'm a Virgin" is an exploration of the logical consequences of a Christian purity culture that places undue emphasis on the status of one's virginity, especially female virginity, over against one's character and heart.

Our twitter friend Emily Joy just shared her powerful new poem with us, and we want to share it with you right away. We often talk about how the choice of waiting until marriage to have sex is a very valid one, but should never be made based on shaming, double standards, or bad science threats of disease and death. The poem from the upcoming album, "All Prodigal Daughters and Sons" and here's how she describes it:

"Thank God I'm a Virgin" is an exploration of the logical consequences of a Christian purity culture that places undue emphasis on the status of one's virginity, especially female virginity, over against one's character and heart. It seeks to correct and indict those who would set themselves up as judge of who is in and who is out of the kingdom and community of God on the basis of their sexuality.

Lyrics:

Well thank God I’m a virgin!
Or he probably wouldn’t want me.
I thought as I listened silently
While he told me
That he just couldn’t be with someone
Who had been with someone else,
Which is like 90% of adults by the age of 25,
So your already limited pool is shrinking very quickly,
But don’t let me discourage you.
Carry on.
Tell me how you saved yourself.
How you saved up enough points with God
To buy an unspoiled bride
And you will not settle for less.
Tell me about her white dress,
How it will “mean something.”
Tell me what it means.
Tell me what it’s like to have nothing you regret,
To have made it through life unscathed
By either bliss or pain.
What does that feel like?
Is it very lonely?
Or does it just feel safe,
Like keeping your cocoon heart all wrapped up and tucked away
Hoping to God someday it becomes a butterfly
Before it dies from the frost. 
I hope whoever she is,
She meets all your expectations.
I hope enough of her heart is intact
For you to feel like the wait was worth it.
I hope she never knows you wouldn’t have wanted her
If she wasn’t a virgin.
Cause everybody knows a girl is only as valuable
As the men who haven’t touched her.
Only as desirable as the experiences she hasn’t had.
But baby, when you get to her,
She better know what to do in bed.
She better satisfy your wildest pornographic fantasies,
Know all the right ways to move
Body parts she has never had the chance to use.
Cause God would never fail you, right?
You waited on his timing, now he owes you.
Anything less is not the bill of goods they sold you.
So I hope it works out for you.
I really do.
But if it doesn’t, just remember what I told you.
That a heart cannot be divided into pieces
And given away till there is nothing left.
That the greatest gift you can give
Has nothing to do with your flesh.
That love is really just grace.
That a lifetime of avoidance
Does not prepare one for a lifetime of joy and pain.
That “virgin” is not a sexual preference,
Nor is it your birthright.
Baby, your insecurity is showing.
She chose you.
What more do you want?

Professor live-tweets her son's abstinence-only sex ed class

We cannot imagine a more delightful combination of words! This is a must read if you still aren't clear about what goes on in these hideous classes that your tax dollars fund. And here's her prose version for more detail. 

I Watched 50 Shades of Grey So You Don't Have To

I saw 50 Shades of Grey at a free preview screening Tuesday night, several days before its day-before-Valentine's-Day premiere, and I wish I'd been given a safe word to make the movie stop. Because 50 Shades of Grey is bad. Not 'so bad it's good,' but just bad. And it's boring. Especially the sex. I mean, if you thought the books were totally hot and you'd love nothing more than to watch it all play out on screen, have at it. Chacun à son Grey, and all that. But me, I'm a hater. And haters gonna hate.

Carly, my date and bartender for the evening, is also a hater. We laughed (and cringed and groaned) through the entire film, and then for a long time afterwards, and not just because Carly smuggled a flask of excellent whiskey into the theater.

Here's the tl;dr analysis of the film, in which you get three fairy tales for the price of one: Sleeping Beauty and the Beast with a side order of Cinderella.

a) Monster awakens young woman's sexuality so she can fix him

b) This is because a woman can't be sexual on her own but instead requires it unleashed within her by the application of a penis to her vagina, and a silk necktie about the wrists.

c) It's the young woman's job to put up with the monster's abuse in order to change him

d) Because monsters make exemplary boyfriends if they are rich enough and they take you on romantic helicopter rides over Seattle.

I never read EL James' trilogy, which started out as Twilight fan fic, but I had a pretty good idea of what to expect going in given the nonstop publicity and analysis since the first one came out. Anastasia Steele, an awkward innocent is sent to interview the fabulously wealthy Christian Grey at his minimalist-designed and boring offices. She arrives in a frumpy shirt and blue sweater combo, and after she's led into Grey's office by a succession of ex Robert Palmer backup models, Grey holds forth on her sweater and the history of Cerulean Blue. Actually, no it doesn't happen like that at all, but IF ONLY the Dom was played by Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, what a superior film this would have been! Unfortunately we're stuck with Jamie Dornan, who plays a cyborg with an excellent fitness regimen.

So, one thing leads to another and after buying her a new computer, a new car and (thankfully) new clothes, Grey presents her with a sex contract (as wealthy and powerful businessmen do) and then tells her to look up 'submission' on the internet. Some Capitalist Foreplay ensues as they negotiate the terms of the contract, but it's clear that Ana has not done much of her homework when she asks Grey “What's a butt plug?' Honey. Do you know what a butt is? Do you know what a plug is. OK, do the math.

The contract turns out to be a irrelevant because they go at it anyway, unprotected by the law or a thin layer of latex. You see, he's found out she's never had The Sex and wastes no time doing his manly duty of de-virginizing her in the most boring and, frankly, depressing way possible. Save for a fleeting kiss below the navel, there's no foreplay, no condoms, no lube, no attending to her needs, before doing it in the Missionary position for a minute or two. Her roommate even tells her she looks 'different' when she comes home. It makes Red Shoe Diaries look edgy and sophisticated.

And it's not just that this sex is incredibly boring, it's enraging. If you do the kind of work I do, you're extra sensitive about how female sexuality is depicted onscreen. This film pushes a totally false myth of what 'romantic' sex is supposed to look like to the gazillions of people who have no doubt already bought tickets to see it. It also reinforces the idea that women are supposed to do whatever they can to please (and fix) their men, whether they want to or not, because that's what female sexuality is all about. If you're lucky he might please you back, but it's not actually part of the contract. As someone who hears from young people all the time, it's depressing to read the emails and answer the questions they ask about how confused and ashamed they are because their sex lives don't look like what's on screen (or if it does, they can't understand why it isn't making them happy)

On the bright side, there were a few things, okay two things, that I liked about the film.

First, Dakota Johnson (who plays Ana) was really, really funny in the comedic scenes. There are moments in the film where she seems as annoyed/repulsed/bored by this dude as we are. I think someone should cast her in an intentionally comedic film stat, because she'd be great. Jamie Dornan should really stick to serial killer roles–and his own accent. I wouldn't be averse (as a friend of mine suggested) to having Gillian Anderson's The Fall character tie him up to work out their issues together.

Second, I loved the look of the 'Playroom,' Grey's tasteful den of  domination, which must have been a production designer's dream come true. It's what I think Williams Sonoma (or maybe Restoration Hardware) would look like if they sold fetish gear. Racks and racks of gleaming metal and leather devices, perfectly displayed and lit. I would snap up those leather handcuffs like they were large pastry cream whisks–and don't even get me started on the gorgeous knots of red rope.

As far as the actual BDSM stuff goes, and considering it was all most people are talking about anyway, there just isn't that much to write home about. Aside from the fact that the Dom/Sub relationship was totally inaccurate according to just about everyone in the the actual community, it was...boring. And cheesy. I kid you not, he brushed her thigh with a peacock feather while light jazz played on the soundtrack. And the one scene that was meant to represent the most intense BDSM play (and the kind of thing Grey told Ana would help 'fix' him) looked a lot more like domestic violence to me. Dude, she's got to be into it! Otherwise you're just beating her up.

If 50 Shades was written as a creepy thriller, with this same wealthy controlling weirdo stalking and manipulating an impressionable young woman, it would have made more sense. Or even as a satire of romance films. But as a sexy love story? Painful.

Please don't spend any of your hard-earned money on this film. We sure didn't. The creators are rich enough already, and there are other mainstream-ish films about BDSM out there with a lot more wit, heat and joy. Try Secretary with Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader, or the documentary Sick by one of my favorite filmmakers Kirby Dick. They're also a bit hard to watch at times, but for the right reasons.

Update: For an extra treat, listen to Jaclyn Friedman interview author Jenny Trout about the trilogy, and then, read her brilliant recaps. If you do want to spend money on something 50-Shades-related, donate to one of the groups on Jenny's link of DV and anti-rape orgs.