For those of you who haven't been keeping tabs on the Twitter-war (I know, I know, I'm embarrassed for myself for using that term too) between Taylor Momsen and Perez Hilton, I'll sum it up for you pretty quickly:
Taylor told Disorder Magazine that "her best friend was her vibrator," Perez commented on her "dildo" use with an ever-articulate "EW!!", Taylor retaliated by reminding Perez that "a vibrator is not a dildo," and then Perez called her a 40-year-old hooker and sent her a picture of a vibrating fist.
So, needless to say, the subject of vibrators and teen girls is getting a lot of internet-play lately. While most of the reactions to this whole debacle berate Hilton's general hideousness or voice concern that Momsen is on track to become Lindsay Lohan's new prison girlfriend, the comments that really caught my interest went something like this: "Man, if she's already moved onto a vibrator, guess how many men she's already nailed." It seems that by the logic of blog-followers worldwide, Momsen's admitted masturbation implies that she's already had sex.
I could go on about the double-standard here, how male masturbation (before they lose their virginity, after they lose their virginity, and generally all the time) is considered normal while female masturbation is still an uncomfortable topic ("TMI TMI TMI!!" --Perez Hilton). But instead, I'm going to take an example from beloved members of the sex-positive community, who agree with the aforementioned comment: if Momsen uses a vibrator, she can no longer be called a virgin.
For those of you who aren't familiar, Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross run a sex education website "dedicated to providing sex information and sex advice to support people's health and wellness through sexual expression and female masturbation," complete with masturbation tips, erotica, the famous "Ask Dr. Betty" section, and a sexual how-to video series. They recently released a video podcast in which they describe their take on virginity (if you're short on time, skip to 1:03 for the meat of the matter):
The shorthand of the video is the following: you are officially not a virgin when you have your first orgasm–whether that be solo, with a partner, with a vibrator, with a penis, with your hand, whatever. According to Dodson and Ross, your first orgasm marks your initiation into sexual life; therefore, you can no longer consider yourself a virgin if you've, let's just say, enjoyed some quality time with yourself. Your virginity ends where your sexual maturity begins.
One of Dodson and Ross' blog contributors VirginMonoblogger (known from here on out as VMB), who writes about masturbation, sex toys, and her "electric sexual relationship" with herself, has adopted the Dodson and Ross concept of virginity--with one addendum: "I'm solo-sex whore," she admits, "but a partner-sex virgin."
VMB, who is abstaining from partner-sex for religious reasons, raises a similar concern with Dodson and Ross' virginity to the one I felt when hearing about it: what does this mean for those who choose to abstain from sex? If the definition of sex is expanded to include masturbation, is their commitment to abstinence completely nullified?
Personally, I feel that whether or not you subscribe to the whole "waiting until marriage" thing is your own deal; and as such, it's unfair for anyone to create a universal definition of virginity that runs the risk of discrediting, or worse, disrespecting other people's lifestyle choices (that goes both ways, all y'all who think using a tampon is equivalent to having sex).
So, to sum up: let me do my thing, I'll let you do yours. Jam out with your clam out, or keep the goods stored away for later use (or forever)--it's cool. In the meantime, you can groove to our homage to one Miss Taylor Momsen, a little ditty by Mojo Nixon.