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Talkin' virginity with Lena Chen and the Gurls

Lena Chen is definitely on our radar these days: she writes the blog The Chicktionary and is now the Health, Sex and Relationships expert for, a community for teenage girls. Lena and I had a great conversation over at gURL about virginity, chaste pop stars and whether you can tell if a guy's a virgin by checking his penis (don't worry, you can't). Here's a just a little snippet:

Therese: Let’s start with something simple like how do you define virginity. Which actually isn’t at all simple, so never mind.

Lena: I defined virginity in previous posts on gURL (“The gURL Guide To Virginity Through History“), and there’s so little consensus on the definition of sex that it’s surprising that anyone attributes any significance to their “purity.” There are a lot of people who still think (incorrectly) that you can “test” for a girl’s virginity. But guys just don’t have the same anatomy, so they don’t have to deal with the same crap.

Therese: Right. Checking the condition of someone’s hymen gives you as much information about someone’s sex life as checking the tip of someone’s penis. None. Why is it that guys and gURLs are judged differently for the same behavior?

Lena: I think the even more interesting thing is that girls are fetishized. Male sexuality isn’t commodified in the same way.

Therese: It’s true. We talk about giving away your “precious gift,” like your virgin status is really all you have to offer someone. When Taylor Swift (left, with Demi Lovato) sings in her song friend ‘gave everything she had’ to a boy, it means she gave him her virginity, doesn’t it? And it ended badly because, well, if all you have is your virginity, then you’re left kinda worthless.That was EVERYTHING SHE HAD! Really, she has nothing else of value to offer this world? Like being a kind person or being good at math, or being able to run really fast? There are a lot of very excellent reasons to wait to have sex, but the fact that your virginity is the only thing of value you have to offer the world is NOT one of them.

Read the rest of our conversation at