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Ask Trixie: I've never had consensual sex and was only taught abstinence. So, what should I know?

I've only been raped before so I consider myself a virgin since I've never had consensual sex or a consensual first kiss. only taught abstinence and about STDs so what should I know? –locandload

Hi locandload -

I am so incredibly sorry that you were raped. I’m also sad what’s passed for sex ed has only been about abstinence and STDs. I don’t know very much about your own story, but knowing what I know about abstinence programs I feel like the things you learned about sex were mostly based on fear and shame. I hope I can offer some help.

Your question ‘what should I know’ is so big, I can’t really do it justice in this post. Because there’s so much to know! A great start would be checking out Scarleteen, which I (and many people) think is the best sex ed site in the world. Scarleteen has really great (and very kind) info, and here are just some of the links to their topics: bodiesgendersexual identityrelationshipssex & sexualitysexual healthpregnancy & parenting and abuse & assault

Scarleteen also has Direct Services, including one-on-one answers to your questions, as well as message boards and more. I hope it’s a good start to finding all the info and support you need. 

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

V-Card Diaries: Keith "Not every first time for men is positive"

Writing from: Queens, New York

Age: Early 40s

How I define virginity: Not having had penetrated or been penetrated by another person sexually.

I can't remember which New Year's Eve, but it was either 95 or 96. We had been dating on and off for nine months. She had said she was seeing others. I hadn't. I later realized I was depressed the whole time, because things had changed at home over my senior year of college. However, that didn't matter much, as Tracey and I prepared to see comedy, and then stay over that night. She would drive to the Howard Johnson's, and take me back to my car in the city where we saw the comedy.

I never saw her again. She contacted my family's house later, when I was dating my now wife. I told her that I was dating somebody else when I spoke to her again, and said I'd meet her, but she never agreed to those terms.

I like that she eventually realized that we could've spent our lives together, but it was too late for her. I, however, am not without blame here. After I lost my virginity to her on New Year's Eve, which was very short for me, as I'm sure it is for many men, I asked her if I was good. I don't remember if she said yes or no, but after that she said, "You'll get better."

Because of the depression I referred to earlier, I didn't realize I was in love with her for a few days. By then, all I wanted to do was write to her, and I wrote too many letters, so I may have seemed creepy, though none of my letters had threatening content. I was sure of something; it turns out I was right. Her father, a very unassuming man, had to tell me to leave her alone. That's when I stopped writing.

Because of how women must be careful around men, I totally understand what she did. My childhood was too long in some ways, so I just expected to be trusted. Luckily I found my wife, who instantly trusted me, but maybe that's how love is. Either way, I'm still glad that she did get back in touch with me. I remember the message she left for my father: "I'm sorry our relationship ended badly." Some of that was my fault, of course, because I didn't know how to express my feelings. However, she could've realized them sooner.

I have tried to locate Tracey, to find out how her life is going, not because I want to leave my wife, but because I still wish Tracey the best. I was never angry at her. I just was certain that at some point she would look at the picture I was in with her and her family, and say, "I really did love him, or, maybe I should give him another chance." I think either was the motivation of her contacting me again, while I was in grad school, and dating the woman to whom I'm now married.

I guess the morals of this story are: men should be aware of how their behavior is interpreted by women, and not every first time for men is positive. Thank you for asking for this story. I don't tell it often.

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.

 

Ask Trixie: Does just the tip count as sex?

I was hooking up with a guy and we were both drunk. He had whiskey dick so he wasn't fully hard so when we tried to have sex it wasn't working... But I'm pretty sure the tip went in a little... Possibly even up to half way... But I'm thinking it was more just the tip of anything.... Does that count as sex? I thought it didn't... But since I can't fully remember what really happened it worries me. I don't want to have to count it. But I'm not sure if it really does or not. Thanks. –P

Hi P and thanks for writing! I'm reading two issues here so let's start with the first one. Some people ask a 'does this count' question because they want to know if they've lost their virginity. Others want to know how to talk about what happened with a particular person. I'm not sure which you're asking about, but I've answered a similar question before, so I'm going to incorporate part of what I wrote then.

Firstly, based on my own encounters with a 'whiskey dick,' it doesn't usually go up anywhere. But your question has more to do with what 'counts' as sex, and this kind of question is always tough to answer because different people have very different ideas about that. Is it a penis in a vagina? Is it getting naked with someone? Is it thinking impure thoughts? Is it masturbation? Based on definitions of virginity that people have sent us, sex means very different things to different people. 

The question I want to ask you is why is it important to know whether you’re you've had sex or not? Is someone making you feel bad about having (or not having) sex? Do you think it changes your value in some way, depending on what the answer is? (If you’re living in a community where the answer to your question can have serious consequences, I’m so sorry. All I can say is you need to do what you can to keep yourself safe until you’re away from that community and have more freedom.)

You've probably been told different things about what having sex might mean. Please know that it doesn't make anyone clean or dirty, pure or used, hot or not. So maybe you had a penis tip inside you, or maybe you didn't, and if you feel it doesn't count as sex...it doesn't. There's actually no rule book, and furthermore it's nobody's business but your own. Personally, I don’t believe there’s one specific magic sex moment that suddenly changes us. It's just part of a long series of moments, some good, and maybe some we wish hadn't happened.

Which brings me to the other issue I want to mention (putting on my concerned Aunt Trixie hat) which is the fact that you and your partner were so drunk you're having trouble remembering what happened. That means you were probably too drunk to give each other proper consent for what you ended up doing, too drunk to think about safe sex of any kind, and too drunk to remember anything else that might have happened, sexual or not. Believe me, I've been there, and we both know that it makes any situation riskier, no matter what you're doing.

I hope this helps put things into a bit of perspective, and please write back if you have any follow-up questions! 

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

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.

V-Card Diaries: Felicity "I'm carrying a very heavy weight on my shoulders. Being a virgin at 21 is a very hard job"

Writing from: Yola, Nigeria

Age: Early 20s

How I define virginity: A state whereby one has not had any sexual intercourse

I grew up as the only girl at home so when i saw boys i thought of them as my friends or my brothers. on my final year at high school i met this really hot guy and i fell in love with him so we dated for six months then he cheated on me. i felt so stupid and i kept asking my myself how could i not see that this guy was just looking for a rebound coz he was very hot and definitely out of my league.

so enough about him. after that big heartbreak i never wanted to trust guys anymore and now i'm doing my second year in college and there is this guy i like very much. i feel like i'm carrying a very heavy weight on my shoulders and i don't know how to handle it anymore. being a virgin at 21 is a very hard job and i ain't enjoying it. everytime my peers talk about sex i just feel uncomfortable and its only a few of them who know my state.

i tell myself that i'm still a virgin because i wanna meet my Mr right and get married first but i'm not sure if that's really the case. i don't even date anymore because i'm afraid that i won't be sexually available to the guy and i know that most guys are just about sex.

i really don't know what to do and i don't have anyone to talk to. will i be single for the rest of my life? that scares the crap out of me. But all in all I choose God before anyone else, and i know He won't let me down.

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.

Ask Trixie: I find myself wanting to have sex but I don't want to sleep with the first guy that I meet just to relieve myself

I'm so glad I ran into your blog. First, I should start this by saying I am a feminist. I believe in a woman's agency ranging from her wanting to be a prostitute or a lawyer. Because of my cultural background (being Haitian), when I came to the US, I was very secluded from the American culture. My parents were over protective and in many ways this caused me to be a late bloomer. I've never been in a relationship and it wasn't until I turned 21 that I had my first kiss/sexual experience. At that point, I was tired of waiting for this "man" that was supposed to be the one and decided to be pro-active in my sexual life.

Now two years later, I find myself wanting to have sex. My dilemma is, I was always taught that my first time should be "special"- with a man I am in a relationship with and that I am in love with. Yet that is not the case for me. I've thought about this and I don't believe in waiting for this man but I don't want to go sleep with the first guy that I meet on the street just to relieve myself. So, I feel confused. What do I do?

I recently found this person that I'm really attracted to at work. He is definitely interested in me sexually but I'm nervous to tell him my situation. Let's not even add my reservation with being involved with someone from work!

I should add that I do NOT want a relationship with him. I just want to explore myself sexually but I worry that I am just so far in with losing my virginity that I am not seeing the risks in pursuing this relationship with this co-worker. Another worry is that I will not be able to handle this type of relationship with this young man if we o engage in sexual intercourse as he has no idea I'm a virgin.

I do feel as if I'm over analyzing this but I really need a fresh feminist perspective on this. Please, PLEASE offer me some advice. –Anne

Hi Anne!

First of all, congratulations on deciding to be pro-active with your sexual life, and that this is coming from what you yourself want and need. It sounds like you're ready for sex and want to have sex and are trying to figure out the best way to do it in the near future. So I'm here to help you with that goal.

First, let's demystify sex a bit. You write that at 21 you had your first sexual experience, so congratulations, you've already had sex! Does that take the pressure off? No? OK, I'm going to assume that what you haven't done–and at 23 are ready to do–is intercourse.

I was in exactly the same situation as you at 23 and the weight of waiting was overwhelming. I ended up having sex for the first time with a guy I had dated a couple of times. He made his moves, assuming I was an experienced woman-about-town, then figured out his mistake as soon as he discovered my utter lack of skills. We did it anyway, and you won't be surprised to hear that it was very anti-climactic and super-duper awkward. It was very helpful for me, though, because it blew away the mystique and stigma, and that was very liberating.

So, if you're raring to be liberated as well, it's on to the next challenge: Where do you find a lucky gentleman?

I won't lie. If all a woman wants to do is have sex, it's not that hard to find it. But I agree a random dude on the street isn't a good idea for so many reasons. The thing is, doing it with a co-worker may not be a really great idea, either. Are you in a big corporation where you'd hardly see him, or is it an intimate office where you'll keep bumping into each other by the Nespresso machine? Are you cool with him talking about you in intimate detail with other co-workers or hearing about his other liaisons? If none of that bothers you, go for it. Otherwise, wait for someone else to come along at a party, on a trip, or after some casual dating. All safety rules and common sense apply, naturally, so please don't do anything that feels unsafe or that makes you really uncomfortable. Trust me, there are lots of options out there.

You can also take it slower and not dive in all at once. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that if the first time is a little awkward, messy or otherwise not what you always dreamed of, that's pretty par for the course. Far more important is the long sexual life you will likely have. The beauty of it is the more sex you have the better it will be–and the better you will be at it. Go forth and start somewhere and let us know how it goes.

You might also want to read how other women handled a similar situation: MMRelena and Ferrette, and also you can use our search filters to find a lot of similar stories on our The V-Card Diaries site.

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

V-Card Diaries: Flowah Bomb "My story is more of a series of questions because I feel lost"

My definition of virginity:  

Something you hold on to and don't want to let got but if and when you hold in to it for too long you don't know how to let go

Here's my story:

My story is more of a series of questions because I feel lost. I considered myself a virgin since I never had vaginal intercourse, but what about oral sex and does masturbation count? Does that count on the virgin not to do list?

I am 24 going on 25 and I have come close to losing my virginity once but I stopped it because I felt it was not my time yet, like a fruit not ready to be picked just yet, so I stopped the events. Now I feel as thought I did lose my virginity that night. As he has a part of me that I can never get back.

Most people do tie their identities with their virginity and I, unfortunately am one of them. I don't know how to be with someone and my fear is that I won't ever get it. I fear I won't know how to define myself if I lose my virginity. Everyone around me has "lost it" but I am terrified of losing it and wanting it back. Thank you for your time.

Hopefully I will get some answer to these questions and all the others I have one way or another.


Note from Therese: We talk a lot about how to (and if to) define virginity on this blog. If anyone has any thoughts or answers for Flowah Bomb, please leave them in the comments below. 

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

 

 

 

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!

V-Card Diaries: K "I identify as queer. If I had had the exact same encounter with a woman, it would have been sex"

My definition of virginity: 

Virginity is an archaic/heteronormative notion that seeks to suppress female sexuality

Here's my story:

I identify as a queer woman (I am cis, and fall somewhere on the bi/pansexual spectrum). I "lost my virginity" to boy while I was taking my gap year, this boy was also my first kiss.

I was a part of an exchange program to Japan for a year, and our last night was in a hotel before we all caught our planes. I knew all the other students who had lived in the same city as me for a year, but wasn't as familiar with those who had stayed in other parts of the country. One of my close friends knew some of the others, so that night we had a "party" in one of our rooms. Probably about 15-20 people.

We had some booze (really cheap vodka) and I only got tipsy. By about 3-4 am it was just my close friend mentioned earlier, another girl, me and this boy in the room. I hadn't had anything to drink for a few hours, and I'd only had a few shots anyways. My friend and this girl started making out/having sex on one of the beds and me and this boy were "cuddling" on the other.

I acted like I was pretty experienced (and he did too, idk if he was lying too). We started kissing/making out, and eventually we were both naked. He went down on me and I jerked him off. It wasn't like the best ever, but it wasn't horrible and I did orgasm. While this wasn't penetrative sex, I still feel like I lost my "virginity."

My reasoning is this: I identify as queer and am primarily attracted to other women. If I had had the exact same encounter with a woman, it would have been sex. Why if it's a man and woman is it not sex if there isn't penetration? That implies that "lesbian sex" isn't real sex, which it clearly is. I feel any consensual sexual contact that ends in orgasm is sex, regardless of orientation, gender, or penetration (or lack therof). Ergo, I lost my virginity to and had my first kiss with an Australian dude that I hadn't known before that night, while two of our friends had sex in the other bed. And I don't regret it. 

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

Only Connect...

The other day I was re-reading our V-Card Diaries stories, and I was reminded that people who have never had sex are sometimes dealing with personal issues that go beyond the lack of physical experience. So I was struck by this excerpt from Vivian Gornick's New York Times essay on British author E. M. Forster, author of Howards End, as well as A Room With A View, A Passage to India, and Maurice:

Forster was 31 years old when “Howards End” appeared, at which time he was a closeted homosexual and a virgin who knew nothing of how erotic relations worked — with any combination of partners. His ignorance weighed on him, and in his imagination sex achieved a mythical power that became symbolic of all in human existence that one could feel but not express, imagine but not realize. His fearfulness was such that until now he had known neither passion nor love; what he did know was yearning. This yearning energized his work but also limited it. In time he lost his virginity, but sex alone did not provide experience. Anxiety — that frozen sea within — still made it impossible for him to dive deep into the kind of desire that leads to self-knowledge; and without self-knowledge all remains murk and isolation.

V-Card Diaries: Allison "I started developing a positive body image, but my boost in strength and confidence has spilled over into every part of my life"

Age range: Late 20s
Location: United States of America
My definition of virginity: A concept used to describe the fact that someone has not granted sexual contact to someone else

This is actually my second time submitting to the V-Card Diaries. I sent in my story four years ago but wanted to come back and tell you about how I "lost" my virginity because I am having thoughts and this seemed a good place to share them.

I made it to age 28 without ever having sex with anyone (and to 27 without kissing anyone, for good measure). My virginity wasn't "kept" or "guarded," I put no effort into maintaining it, nor did I put any effort into finding someone to eradicate it, so to speak. As I explained to one potential suitor who was making sure I wasn't a secret fundamentalist, I just hadn't found a dude that I liked and trusted enough to which he responded, "fair enough, most of us are pretty terrible." And to be honest, getting laid for the first time didn't take a tremendous amount of effort. What DID take a lot of effort, almost two years of it, was changing my relationship with my body enough to get to the point where I wanted to share it with someone else.

And that's where my virginity story really starts - with the fact that I didn't have any kind of understanding of or respect for my own body for a lot of my life. Some of that is due to some wacky physiology, a larger-than-average amount of my childhood spent in medical waiting rooms, but most of it was bound up in being obese and subconsciously believing myself to be less valuable and beautiful because of it. I didn't date in high school, in college, in grad school because I couldn't imagine anyone (any man) finding me attractive. I was afraid of being rejected and humiliated by dating partners because of my size so I didn't have any dating partners. 

I admitted that I needed help. I started developing a positive body image (in the main, I still have my insecurities). I knew that I would be healthier because of this attitude adjustment, but my boost in strength and confidence has spilled over into every part of my life. And I decided to start dating because the whole process showed me how futile it is to assume that I'll be bad at something or won't find it enjoyable when I've never tried it. 

I fell in love with someone who was never going to love me back. We didn't even date, we were just "hanging out." He would come over sometimes in the evenings and he was the first person to grab me by the waist and bring his face to mine and spend the night in my bed and his attention felt like a drug in my bloodstream. I asked him if my virginity mattered and he asked if it mattered to me and I said it didn't so he also said it didn't and it made me so happy. But I think it did. It mattered enough for him to break my heart mere days after he slept over. He just knew enough to know not to say it freaked him out. He was so very serious every time we were alone together; I think because he knew that everything we did was a milestone for me, he wanted it to all be perfect. He is not the first man I had sex with.

I am not in love with the first man I had sex with, but I am in love with how I had sex for the first time and I'm glad it was with him. He made it easy to have sex with him. It's not that he wasn't surprised by my revelation, and he didn't say it didn't matter (I didn't ask him), but he just didn't act like he particularly cared. He was thoughtful and communicative and made sure I was okay during and after, which are all things I would require of any partner whether it was our first time or our fiftieth or our five-hundreth. I don't mean to make it sound like a fairy tale -- it wasn't all that romantic or passionate and he snored -- but it was fun and light-hearted and the sun was shining and I felt good about it. I don't know what else I could ask for from a first time, especially one that was such a long time coming (pun unintended.)

Having sex, positive experience though it was, hasn't made me a different person, it hasn't changed anything about my relationship with this guy or my feelings about him. It's just a thing that has happened now, it's just one of several new ways I have learned to use and appreciate my body. I know not every woman gets to say that and that I am very lucky, but maybe if people keep making films like "How to Lose Your Virginity" it can be that simple for future generations.

Read more tales of sexual debuts and deferrals at The V-Card Diaries

Congratulations! You've won a grant shaped like a chastity belt.

Where, oh where, to begin with this story about a South African grant just for girls who remain virgins:

 

“The bursaries are for young girls who are still virgins,” said a municipality spokesman, Jabulani Mkhonza.
“It’s a new category which the mayor has introduced this year,” he said, adding that the goal was to encourage “young girls to keep themselves pure and inactive from sexual activity and focus on their studies”. Beneficiaries of the grant would be subjected to regular virginity tests, he added. 
“Those children who have been awarded bursaries will be checked whenever they come back for holidays. The bursary will be taken away if they lose their virginity,” said Mkhonza.

Let's see...
That tying poor girls' educational prospects to a grant shaped like a chastity belt is inhumane? 
That virginity tests are bogus and a gross invasion of privacy? 
That keeping girls safe and in school is better accomplished with sex ed?
That young women should get educational support regardless of sexual history?
That some of them have probably been raped and shamed over that? 
That there's no comment on the value of boys staying celibate?
Ugh. 

The good news: Women's groups are attacking the plan.

A 'waiting till marriage' story that isn't judgey? Thanks Colton Dixon!

I'm not really up on American Idol or Christian music, so I'm not familiar with Colton Dixon's work. But reading this story about his honeymoon, I was struck by how refreshing it is when people talk about their decision to remain abstinent until marriage as a personal belief, not a universally-expected code of conduct punishable by Hell.

"It was not easy!" he says with a laugh. "But I believe sex was designed for marriage and I knew it would be more meaningful to wait. That was something I grew up thinking and feeling, and I believe the Bible backs it up as well." 

See what he did there? "I believe."  No judgements about other people's choices, no framed Purity Certificates. (At least nothing in this article) So refreshing! Mazel tov, you two crazy kids. Stay happy! 

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

A little about myself: 

I'm 21, 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: David "if you're constantly the new kid, being accepted and making friends was like pissing in the wind"

A little about myself: 

I'm a 20-year-old college student living in the United States. I grew up in a military family, so I spent majority of my life as a nomad, moving around from place to place. I'm majoring in political science.

How I define virginity: 

Someone who has had no sexual contact, whether it be with the opposite or same sex

Here's my story: 

Well, growing up in a military family, I moved around a ton. Every 1-2 years I was somewhere else. This has been a fact of life for me since the cradle.

However, it has made making and keeping friends damn near impossible, let alone finding an intimate partner, This was especially true in high school, if you're constantly the new kid, being accepted and making friends was like pissing in the wind. This didn't really become a problem until I entered college. Everyone had already laid down the foundations of forming relationships, whether they be friendships or more intimate or serious ones.

The loneliness is starting to become a burden and a problem and I'd really like it to end. I'm 20 years old and have yet to have any intimate or affectionate contact with a female. It's depressing and makes me feel as if there's something wrong with me and as if nobody wants me. I haven't spoken to anyone about it, mostly because it's embarrassing and because nobody would really understand anyways because they've never been in my shoes.

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

V-Card Diaries: Liz B. "He invited me over to his house and I of course went knowing what 'Netflix and chilling' meant"

A little about myself: 

I'm 17-year-old female student, born and raised in Houston, TX.

How I define virginity: 

I define virginity as a metaphor for one's innocence that is lost when one participates in sexual intercourse.

Here's my story: 

I was 16 when I was dating a guy from the soccer team. We barely had a month together, but there was something about him that completely had me hypnotized (maybe it was the whole bad boy thing?). Well one day he invited me over to his house and I of course went knowing what "watching Netflix and chilling" meant.

We started making out and of out no where we jumped right to it. It was Horrible! There was no foreplay, no nothing. The pain that Ii felt during sex was unbearable and we had to stop a couple of times. He finished fairly quick and then looked back at me shocked claiming " i didn't know you were a virgin" ... like really? My first time can be summed up to painful, akward, embarrassing. And pissed me off. i regret losing my virginity simply because all my friends were sexually active.

Check out Liz B. on Tumblr. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.

Ask Trixie: How do I impress my girlfriend to allow me to take her virginity?

How do I impress my girlfriend to allow me to take her virginity from her since I'm also a virgin and kinda on the short side and I don't know what to do during sex – Smoke198

Having sex for the first time shouldn’t be about impressing anyone. And virginity is not an object sitting in someone’s pocket, which means it can’t be taken or given or anything like that.  So, can I change the question to: How do my girlfriend and I decide we are both comfortable and enthusiastic about having sex for the first time?

Only you and your girlfriend will know when you’re ready to have sex, and you’ll only figure that out by talking about it. Take your time, make sure you can trust each other, can talk to each other, feel comfortable with each other. This might take a while, but keep in mind it’s not a race to the finish line. It’s a long process and intercourse is just one part of it. Go slow. 

If you’re thinking about having intercourse, I’d definitely suggest trying some something else first that might feel less intense or intimate. And when you’re comfortable with that, try the next thing. (A lot of women say that manual or oral sex (you giving and her receiving!) is more fun than intercourse. And it’s often a better way for her to have orgasms, so bonus points for doing more of that. 

Another reason to take things slow is that your girlfriend might be nervous that penetration/intercourse is going to hurt. For some people, it does, but often it’s because they’re not relaxed or lubricated enough. I wrote about that here.

Check out a great article from our friends at Scarleteen that has advice for how to talk to your partner about sex. You and your girlfriend should also check out Scarleteen’s Am I Ready For Sex checklist.

You also mentioned you don’t know what to do during sex. Well, no one is born a good lover. It takes some practice, good information, and good communication with your partner to know what each of you think feels good. 

And finally, if she really doesn’t feel ready to have sex with you, that’s totally her choice and you need to respect it. 

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

V-Card Diaries: Sharon "I was (and am) very attractive and it makes me a little sad that I didn't get out there and find out"

A little about myself:

I'm British, was born in Germany, live in Scotland. I'm 51 and a speech and language therapist

How I define virginity:

I used to think it was penetrative sex, but recent reading makes me think it is a series of states, the first time you are touched, the first time you touch etc

Here's my story:

I was a very shy girl. My sisters were and are gorgeous and I felt eclipsed. I was plump and I was convinced that nobody would be interested, so I stayed at home........I used to iron my sister's clothes for her nights out!

But i was sexual, I had strong sexual feelings, I yearned, I fantasied, I masturbated and I stayed at home, totally convinced of my lack of attraction.

When I was 20 I was a very bad au pair in Germany, I lost my job and went to stay with family friends. I had an almighty crush on the husband and this resulted in having my very first kiss and sexual experience. We got naked a couple of times, he went down on me, (I nearly had a heart attack......but it felt fantastic). I was terrified, but very excited.............such an unsuitable man and situation.

I then yearned and replayed all of this for about 18 years, no sexual contact with anybody, nothing at all.

I'm now in my very late 30's, working in the Hebrides. I meet a man at a Ceilidh dance, he is interesting and funny and I fancy him. My friend and I go back to his house, I make it really clear that I fancy him............we end up kissing and I send the night, we do lots of extremely enjoyable things, but we don't have sex. I have a major crush on him, we hang out a lot, but no fun as he wants to be friends.

I go to Moscow on holiday, meet a sweet Scottish guy, who makes it very clear he fancies me, The attraction is mutual and we go back to his hotel room where we ALMOST have sex...............another enjoyable experience.

Still in the Hebrides, I'm at a dance, a man (Alec) crosses the dance floor to chat me up. Initially I'm not interested, but he is quirky and sexy and makes it clear that he finds me attractive. We have a kiss outside the dance..............I really like him.

I send flirty texts, which he responds to. I get an invitation to his house, he is high, funny, sexy and horny. We do lots of lovely things, (the man REALLY enjoys giving oral sex), but he is unavailable and taken. 

Now I'm 40, nearly 41 and I decide that I CAN NOT end the year as a virgin. I get back in touch with Alec, arrange to see him at his house. We sit at the kitchen table and drink tea, I am shaking when I kiss him and ask if we can go to bed. We go to bed, get naked and this is when I say i'm a virgin, Alec asks me why I took so long. We have sex twice, he was funny, kind , gentle and takes his time. It's all a bit of a blur, I remember it hurting, (I bled like a Scilian bride, which pleased me inordinately), but the touching kissing, oral etc was lovely.

As I said, Alec was unavailable, so it was a one night thing, but I got to choose who was the first based on mutual attraction and my steely determination that this was going to happen.
It didn't kick start sustained sexual exploration.................when I turned 50 I decided to pursue a decent sex life, because I do like having sex, my experiences have been uneven and I still feel unfufilled. 

I want to have fun finding out about it before it's all too late. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, looking back I can see that I was, (and am) very attractive and it makes me a little sad that I didn't get out there and find out.

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

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

V-Card Diaries: Shakti "We were two deeply geeky kids who loved science and did a lot of research"

A little about myself: 

American, female, 51, been with the same guy since we were 28. I started out doing neuroscience, but switched careers in the 90's, and now I'm a strategic planner for a large organization. I also write a blog [moderntantra.blogspot.com] about tantric sex from a practical and scientific perspective, not a religious or spiritual point of view. What interests me is helping couples have incredible sex, and figuring out just what it is about tantra that makes it so incredible.

How I define virginity: 

I usually use the normal definition (never a penis in a vagina) even though it's stupid.

Here's my story: 

My first time ever was actually with someone I would describe as a close friend, but not a lover. We were lab partners, study buddies, and best friends, and we'd both just finished a human biology course. We were 20-year-old virgins and curious, so we decided to see what all the fuss was about. We did some actual research first - this was the early 80s, so there was no Internet to make it easy! - and we kind of worked up to handjobs, oral, and finally the real thing.

During my research I had found some advice on preparing for the first time and I followed it carefully. When we decided we were ready to try out the main event, my friend helped me come orally and then I got on top, cowgirl style, and eased onto him very slowly. Perhaps as a result, there wasn't any pain and I didn't bleed at all.

(For more about what I did to get ready, read "Aunt Shakti's Action Plan for Proactive Modern Virgins". I wrote it for my nieces when they got to the right age to be curious about such things, and recently revised it and put it online.)

I thought the actual sex was a bit of an anticlimax, but he seemed to enjoy it a lot, so we did it some more, trying out many variations. It was fascinating, because we could talk about everything in a completely frank and natural way that would have been very hard if we were deep in a romantic fog and really trying to impress and please each other. So we could laugh ourselves silly when things didn't work, and try different things until we found out what did work, and why. After we got over being shy about nudity, kissing was actually the most awkward thing about it!

Maybe it only works well for two deeply geeky kids who love science more than anything else, but it was fascinating, educational, and fun, and I suspect that it would be a great way for many people to learn about sex, without the urgency and the anxiety and all the fumbling around in the dark.

So if you're a curious virgin and you have a willing friend of the appropriate gender, I'd say go ahead and give it a shot. It doesn't have the magical intensity that sex can have when you're both head over heels in love, but it can definitely have its own rewards.

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