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Double standard

Ask Trixie: I want to have sex, but the guy says he's nervous that I'll regret it. How do I get him to understand I won't?

Hi! I've been talking to a guy & I want to have sex, but he's getting nervous. He says he doesn't want me to regret losing my virginity to him. I grew up in a catholic family that slut shamed but 75% of children in my family were born to 17 yr olds & I realized I don't care about virginity. I think of it as a way to pressure girls to save themselves for that *one lucky guy*. IDK how to get him to understand this but also how to be comfy with myself since I have gained a few pounds –fbgc

Hi fbgc!

I’m reading a few different issues in your question so let’s take them one at a time:

1. There are lots of considerations when you’re deciding to become sexual, and you’re the only one who can decide if you’re ready. Sex can be a part of our lives in different ways: maybe we experiment with different partners, or we wait until we get married and have sex with one partner. There’s no right answer to this, but it is important to think it through for yourself. It sounds like you’ve done that, but if you need a bit more to chew on, check out something I wrote called How Will I Know I’m Ready?

2. It sounds like your potential partner is genuinely concerned about your happiness, but he also sounds like he’s projecting his own ideas about virginity onto you. It would be interesting to ask him why he thinks you’ll regret it. Is it because of his own religious beliefs which you might no longer hold? Is it subtle slut-shaming on his part because you don’t buy into the ‘saving yourself’ messages? Or is it because he thinks his penis is so magical, that it has the power to irrevocably transform you simply by sticking it into your vagina? Knowing why he’s worried that you’ll ‘regret’ it, might actually affect whether or not you even want to do it with him. I mean, who wants to have sex with a guy who’s thinking you’re a slut the whole time it’s happening (if that’s the case)?

3. Let’s say you decide you want to have sex, and the guy you’ve chosen is cool enough to be worthy of you. I’m going to beg you not to get hung up on your body, and whatever pounds you feel you’ve put on. Our brains have been poisoned by toxic messages about what women’s bodies should look like, and the worst thing would be to get uncomfortable about being sexual because you feel like you don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Any guy who rejects you because of your body has done you a huge favor, saving you wasting your valuable time and energy on a total jerk. I know it sounds like a cliche, but please try to appreciate your body’s remarkable ability to give and receive pleasure, whatever size it is.

4. You might think it all through, feel great about your decisions, have sex, and then still regret it. Because life is like that: not everything works out the way we think it will. Then you need to learn from the experience, and try to make the next time better. The ‘first time’ is just that, the first of (hopefully) many sexual experiences you’ll have for the rest of your life. If you want to read some stories from people who had similar experiences, go to our V-Card Diaries project, click on ‘enter, and then click on ‘It Gets Better’ in the left-had column.  And let us know how it works out!

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

V-Card Diaries: Taj "India is so conservative they would kill u if they come to know u had sex before marriage"

Writing from: India

Age: Early 20s

How I define virginity: losing yourself to some both emotionally and physically

i am a girl from india where virginity is a big deal. the place is so conservative that they would even kill u if they come to know u had sex before marriage

i had no idea of sex during my school days only just girls talk. guys try to approach girls with the idea of sex sooner or later. so i decided to choose when i should lose it. entering into college i met a guy whom i fell for. both were in a relationship sooner. he was also a virgin.  we kissed, touched and we got close day by day..we shared our thoughts.and i decided that losing it with him would be good.it happened when i was 18

that time both were nervous but it  went well . and we used condoms. there was nothing much the first time except little pain. now after 2 years its good and still with the same guy!! he is such a nice guy to b with..

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

 

Just the Tip! Featuring Virgin Classified Ads, Better Sex Ed in Cali, Virginity Scholarships in S. Africa & Feminist 'Hamilton'

Can you feel it in the air? Spring is just around the corner! Here are this week's top stories from the world of virginity, ladyparts and sex. For up to the minute news, follow our Facebook Page, where we post every day!


Dad Advertises His ‘Virgin’ Daughter for Marriage in Christian Magazine

At least 'virgin' was at the end of a long list of her attributes. The daughter in question responded “it’s appropriate they placed it in the Employment Opportunities section because putting up with this father-in-law's shenanigans is a full time job, without any paid vacation.” It's interesting that his daughter's reaction (on a now-deleted blog post) was basically an 'Oh Dad' eye roll. h/t Paul Freelend


On one hand...
Radford University Holds “Men Can Stop Rape” Presentation For Greeks, Only Requires Sorority Women To Go

This is Rape Culture: "Sororities were required to send every single member to this speaker. And the fraternity requirement? Eight." The Panhellenic community was outraged and wrote the perfect angry letter. h/t Soraya Chemaly

On the other hand...
California Becomes First State To Make Sexual Consent Lessons Mandatory In High Schools Beginning Next Year

The new law mandates all school districts that have made health a graduation requirement to lecture students about sexual violence prevention and affirmative consent starting next year. Plus, Governor Brown signed a new law mandating all school districts to offer comprehensive sex education courses twice for grades 7 through 12. "The measure did not receive any opposition in the Legislature, and even nearly received a unanimous bipartisan backing." Huzzah.


Video: When You First Time Literally Feels Like Poop

From Refinery 29: Two very honest and sweet people talk about embarrassing first times.


‘My virginity will change my future’, vows South African student

A group of South African 'maidens' get their college fees paid on the condition that they remain 'virgins,' with regular 'virginity tests' by a group of older women. Despite the fact that there's not such thing as a virginity test, it's sexist to make abstinence a condition of women getting scholarships, and these efforts aren't actually curbing pregnancies or HIV, the recipients think it's great. Oh, and they're going to offer it to guys as well, but won't be 'testing' them. h/t Paul Freelend


Indigenous languages recognize gender states not even named in English

The Native Youth Sexual Health Network is talking about how Canada's First Nation languages treat gender. Incredibly cool : In Cree, for example, “aayahkwew” means “neither man or woman.” In Inuktitut, “sipiniq” means “infant whose sex changes at birth.” In Kanien’keha, or Mohawk language, “onón:wat” means “I have the pattern of two spirits inside my body.” h/t Andrea Plaid


schuylersistershamilton

And finally...in honor of Women's History Month, the Schuyler Sisters

Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones, who play the Schuyler sisters in the Broadway musical Hamilton raps to feminist quotes and it's awesome. As the constant joke goes, this may be as close as anyone gets to seeing the musical. Or do like the New Yorkers do every morning and  try your luck in the lottery!

Just The Tip runs most Fridays. Send us your virginity stories here or on Twitter.

Our valentine's gift to you: a month of quotes & graphics from the V-Card Diaries on sex & virginity

Every year, we do an outreach project around Valentine's Day inspired by our documentary How To Lose Your Virginity. This year, in keeping with the themes of the film, we're pushing back against standard narratives about sex, virginity and relationships (with their implied judgement of anyone who's not conforming) to show how diverse experiences around sexuality and relationships can be. 

All through the month of February (V-Month!), we're posting a graphic a day created by Trixie Films interns Bree and Sally. Incorporating quotes from stories submitted to our interactive project The V-Card Diaries, they've created 29 striking graphics. The quotes are about having sex, not having sex, being queer, being asexual, rejecting the virginity construct, and more.

You can see the full set on Tumblr, and they're also showing up on Facebook and Twitter throughout the month of February. 

Here are some ways you can be a part of this project:

See the full and growing set of graphics here along with selected V-Card Diaries stories.

Submit your own graphics and quotes on tumblr or email them to us and we'll post them.

Share your own anonymous story at The V-Card Diaries.

Read all The V-Card Diaries stories here.

Repost and amplify this project, especially if your work speaks to young women and men.  

In case you're not familiar with The V-Card Diaries, it's our crowd-sourced interactive story-sharing site where everyone can access and share diverse stories about sexuality and virginity in total anonymity. With almost 400 stories and counting, the project tells a collective story about becoming sexual–and the radical act of speaking honestly about it. The project, which as exhibited at the Kinsey Institute, is a companion piece to our documentary How To Lose Your Virginity, which examines how our sexual culture affects young people's lives.

If you'd like to write about this project, our V-Month graphics project, contact us!

On the eventual realization that casual sex isn't worth losing a good night's sleep

This perfectly describes why I finally realized I preferred a good night's sleep over another casual encounter with another guy who would likely be as erection-challenged and porn-emulating as the rest. For ladies who like to sleep around, the problems with it are not about morality or any other conservative clucking about family values and women's roles. THIS is why casual sex eventually loses its charms:

From "From Swipe Right On Monogamy" by Charlotte Shane

Why did casual sex suck so much? Because very few straight cis men were as libidinous, skilled, or nice as they needed to be to make the enterprise worthwhile. When arranging my “casual encounters,” I hoped for low level warmth and good naturedness to accompany fun sex, but this modest combination was exceedingly rare. And in 2015, I watched friend after friend suffer the same relentless indignities I’d endured in 2014, before Mr. Pussy Pic [her eventual monogamous boyfriend] entered the scene.

“Being straight is a constant exercise in degradation,” I found myself telling them because it was the most sincere validation I could summon. We’d been told that men were insatiable, that they’d be thrilled by our appetites and eagerness and carefully cultivated hotness, yet we kept bumping up against potheads and sluggards who seemed severally sexually under-motivated in spite of having signed up for a site designed to get them laid. Then there were the erectile problems courtesy of bad diets, prescription or recreational drugs, and performance anxiety.

Those who could get it up, inexcusably, often mimicked porn moves with an alarming degree of sincerity. I daresay even the rare vaginal orgasm-er among us is shocked by the ignorance behind such cartoonish penetrative encounters."

h/t The Lux Letter

A holiday gift to you: EVE & MARY, an animated clip from How To Lose Your Virginity

Happy holidays, everyone!

In the spirit of the season, here's a newly-released animated clip from How To Lose Your Virginity about Eve, Mary and our favorite dichotomy, the Virgin and Whore.

The brilliant animation is by Luke Murphy, and the clip includes a voice-over by director Therese Shechter, and an interview with Sady Doyle. Click on the CC at the bottom-right of the video if you need captions.

You can watch or buy the entire film here

Just The Tip: Your Lady Viagra Roundup

1950s advertisement for a Belgian cigarette. Also, I think a much better name for this new drug.

Have you heard about this thing they're calling the Female Viagra? Yeah, me too. The drug Flibanserin (sold as Addyi) was just approved by the FDA to treat women for the somewhat sketchy 'disease' of hypoactive sexual desire disorder, described as a sudden loss of libido [Edited to add that loss of libido is a very real thing that can happen to both men and women. However, this condition was removed from the DSM a few years ago and is not longer considered a disorder. Homosexuality used to be in the DSM as well.] 

There's been a lot of back and forth about its effectiveness (minimal), the way it works (nothing like Viagra which pumps penises full of blood, as opposed to working on the brain), and the PR campaign that got it approved after multiple attempts (killer, unfortunately). 

I've been skeptical of this drug ever since I first heard about it from the The New View Campaign and the documentary Orgasm, Inc, both of which address the medicalization of female sexuality. Here are some reasons why you might be skeptical as well. 

We live in a society that continues to judge a woman both for being too sexual and not sexual enough, that defines good sex as whatever pleases a woman's male partner, and only counts vaginal orgasms through intercourse as 'real' orgasms (thanks, Dr. Freud). Also, sex is complicated and talking about it can be difficult, so taking a little pill every day may feel a lot less messy.

There's been a lot written this week, so I've compiled some of the most interesting writing about this Lady Viagra phenomenon, as well some thoughts on women and desire. Let me know what you think!
 

First, me! Sady Doyle's Guardian article gave me the last word on the meaning of 'normal' when we talk about sex:

“When it comes to sex, there is no ‘normal. There’s no right way to have sex for the first time, no timetable for sexual experiences, no perfect amount of sex to have, and no requirement to even have sex at all. Saying ‘normal’ exists, and ‘normal’ is a moving target depending on who you ask, means there’s something wrong with anyone who doesn’t conform. Meaning, all of us.” 
 

Speaking of 'normal,' FiveThirtyEight suggests that accurate statistics might help more than drugs:

"Inaccurate perceptions about what counts as normal sexuality are widespread. In sociologist Michael Kimmel’s book “Guyland: The Perilous World in Which Boys Become Men,” he found that male college students assumed about 80 percent of their classmates had sex on any given weekend. The real number was closer to 5 percent to 10 percent. The result is a reverse Lake Wobegon effect: Everyone is below “normal.” Rachel Hills, author of “The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality,” told me that the women she interviewed “have internalized that sex should happen two to three times a week.” In reality, according to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, less than half of men and women 18 to 49 in partnered relationships report having sex at least that often."
 

Emily Nagoski writes in The Medium about the brilliant concept of responsive desire and why pleasure (and not craving) should be Queen:

"The key to assessing your own sexual wellbeing is not how much you want sex, but how much you like the sex you are having. I’m not sure how we got to a place, culturally, where we came to value the craving for sex so much higher than the enjoyment of sex  [...] But for me what matters most is that you feel free to let go of the idea that there is a certain amount of “wanting” you’re supposed to be experiencing or else you’re “broken,” and embrace instead the idea that if you’re having fun a the party, you are doing it right."
 

Here's Azeen Ghorayshi at Buzzfeed on how Even The Score's PR machine co-opted feminist messages to get the drug approved:

"With this multipronged attack, the group has managed to spin the issue of the drug’s approval not in terms of efficacy or side effects (which are not insignificant), but in terms of women’s rights. The group’s strongest assertion, that men have 26 drugs approved to treat sexual dysfunction while women had none, presented a stirring call to arms to “even the score. Trouble is, that figure is patently untrue. As the FDA and many experts on the pharmaceutical industry have pointed out, no drugs are currently on the market to treat low libido in men. (Viagra doesn’t treat sexual desire, but rather a man’s physiological arousal.)"
 

Lux Alptraum writes in The Motherboard about the Big Business of arousal, and the ways that new products promote secrecy over communication.

"Which is, ultimately, the bitter irony of both flibanserin and Fiera. The products may package themselves in feminist language about empowerment and sexual pleasure, but their business models seem to rely on sexual ignorance, stigma, and a population of women too afraid to actually explore the wealth of other options that might remedy their woes. Those options come at a much cheaper price point than the Fiera, and with far fewer side effects than flibanserin."


And finally, it looks like whether the drug works or not, the original owners of Sprout Pharmaceuticals are getting the last laugh (and a cool $1 billion).

John Oliver is Awesome, Part 2: In which a whole bunch of great comedians do a Sex Ed PSA and it is the best thing ever.

This is the last part of John Oliver's Sex Ed segment, just the PSA starring Nick Offerman, Laverne Cox, Jack McBrayer, Megan Mullally, Kristen Schaal, Kumail Nanjiani, and Aisha Tyler. I am such a happy girl today.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Nobody puts Baby in a corner...or oppresses her with patriarchal paradigms of female sexuality

We missed this video when it came out but thought it was just too tasty not to share it with you all. The Onion's film critic looks back at Dirty Dancing and along with the usual plot points we get these gems, worthy of any Introduction To Human Sexuality and Gender Studies curriculum:

It smashed not only box office records but also the mistaken assumption that adolescent girls shouldn't wait until some arbitrarily-mandated age to explore themselves sexually.

Sexuality is not some light switch that magically turns on when kids reach eighteen.

The film is commendable for modeling to girls that as long as they find a partner who's safe and respectful like Johnny, their sexual awakening can begin whenever they are ready.

The fact that these lines are uttered by a dude who looks like someone's dad makes it extra delightful, and just a little bit creepy. Nobody puts Baby in a corner...or oppresses her with patriarchal paradigms of female sexuality.

h/t to Documentary Doctor Fernanda for sending it our way.

Note: Headline corrected because I can't believe we messed up one of the greatest quotes in cinematic history.

Ever considered a one-night stand to get it over with, virginity-wise? "Keeping It Casual" explores the possibilities

"Keep It Casual" is part of a series of short narrative films by Michael Sasso called Swipe Click Bang which looks at people who use hookup apps like Tinder, and the one-night stands that follow. We were especially intrigued by 'Keep It Casual' because it explores a scenario that several of our V-Card Diaries contributors have contemplated or actually done: Setting up a one night stand to 'get it over-with' sex-wise.

I asked the Michael and his co-producer Michael Vitale what interested them about this scenario and how it influenced their approach. Vitale, who wrote the script had this to say:

"I've always been fascinated with the weight we as a culture put on losing one's virginity, so when we came up with the series Swipe Click Bang, I knew we had a good opportunity to explore it here. I also knew I wanted the person losing their virginity to be a woman.

As far as television and film is concerned, we're very used to the male virgin archetype: the bumbling nerd who can't get out of his own way, too awkward for anyone to find him sexy until someone does, and then, upon doing the deed, he's freed of an unsavory virgin label.

The female virgin is much more interesting. For one, we don't really see them in film outside Christian stereotypes or high school melodramas, but beyond that, there's also, fair or not, a mystery surrounding them, at least from a male perspective.

With Keep it Casual, we wanted to play with that mystery, which is why we chose to never explain Rachel's reasoning for not having had sex before using a dating app to do so. We also purposely cast someone attractive (Elisabeth Hower) to further challenge the audience's expectations of who a virgin is or should be.

But more than just the female virgin stereotype, this episode tries to explore how men deal with them. This wasn't obvious at first, but as the story evolved, we realized much of the cultural importance associated with virginity is determined by men. That's not to say one's virginity isn't or can't be important, but there's a double-standard in the expectations men put on women and their sexuality. To many of us, women should be "pure" yet experienced, a nearly impossible standard to meet.

In the episode, we tried to use Nick (the male character) to capture this absurdity, especially in how he responds to Rachel's admission of having never had sex. Beyond being dumbfounded, he takes an almost paternal stance in the way he tries to protect her and the preciousness of her virginity. His almost hero-like syndrome makes it all the more satisfying when Rachel challenges him to recall the importance of his first time and he can't.

And yet, beyond the layers we tried to squeeze into it, Keep it Casual is ultimately a story about someone trying to get what they want and not feeling like they have to explain themselves for it, something I think we can all relate to."

About Lady Mary's sex book and 'The Thing' she asked Anna to hide

Mild spoilers ahead...

[Downton Abbey, above, and a 1924 conversation that could have taken place yesterday in Texas Anna: I'd like to buy one of these birth control thingies Shop Lady: Have you considered abstinence instead?

As a major sex geek and a rabid fan of Downton Abbey (check out our weekly podcast here), I've been loving the storyline around Lady Mary Crawley's Liverpool tryst and the birth control she asked Anna to buy and hide. I've also been fascinated with the Twitter conversations debating what that book was (Marie Stopes' Wise Parenthood, likely) and what Anna was asked to buy (a diaphragm or cervical cap, although someone thought it was a used condom - ewww!)

The New York Academy of Medicine has a great article about British scientist (and cat lover) Marie Stopes, whose work helping women control their reproduction and have a more enjoyable sex life, got her both lauded and banned (much like the US's Margaret Sanger).

They write (our boldface):

Stopes (1880-1958), a paleobotanist and campaigner for women’s rights, was the author of numerous books on social welfare, many concerning birth control (see Peter Eaton’s valuable checklist for a complete list). Married Love was a kind of self-help book designed to help couples understand each other’s physical and emotional needs. When it was published in March 1918, post-war women embraced the book. The initial 2,000 copy run sold out in the first fortnight. Eaton counts 28 editions, and translations into more than a dozen languages. By 1921, sales had topped 100,000 copies. An early ban of the book in America on obscenity charges was overturned in 1931, by the same judge who overturned the ban on James Joyce’s Ulysses.

In addition to lawsuits, the publication ofMarried Love prompted fan letters containing many questions. Women wanted more specific instructions on birth control methods. Stopes obliged eight months later, with the publication of Wise Parenthood in November 1918.

By the early 1920s, Stopes made advocacy of birth control for the working classes her biggest cause. In 1921, Stopes opened the first British family-planning clinic in north London. A staff comprised of both male and female nurses and doctors offered free birth control advice. By 1925, the clinic moved to central London, and instituted a mail-order birth control service (note to Anna Bates: for future reference, that mail-order service could save an awkward moment or two).

Although the mail order service would have potentially spared Anna some embarrassment, it would have deprived us of the great scene in the shop, and Anna running off without the instructions but with her consciousness seriously raised.

As we've joked on the podcast, considering that Lady Mary can't even put on a necklace by herself, how would she sort out the cervical cap insertion? Would inserting and removing birth control be just another part of a Lady's Maid's job description? And considering that Lady Mary lives in a 200,ooo sq foot house (give or take) why ask Anna to hide it in her two-room cottage? But that's a question for another blog.

V-Card Diaries: Aura "I asked my Indian mother her opinion on pre-marital sex, and she told me she thought it should be made compulsory"

Today we're highlighting Aura from India, currently living in the north of England, whose mother explained the importance of pre-marital sex with the help of a shoe analogy. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.

A little about myself:

I am a 20-year-old Indian girl, currently attending University in 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.