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 projectThe 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.
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!
Today we're highlighting Laura in Florida, who thinks she's demi-sexual because she needs a connection to become aroused.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:
21, Female, Florida
How I define virginity:
I'm not sure how to define virginity. It's complicated, I believe everyone has their own definition of what virginity is to them. For me, it's not having had sex. Which is still very vague–because there's lots of ways to have sex...so how do you pick what counts and what doesn't? It's confusing. Dictionary.com defines virginity as the condition or state of being a virgin, untouched, pure, fresh, or unused. Again..vague. So I came to a conclusion that virginity is just a thing, an experience someone hasn't had yet. Whatever that experience may be to that person - because it could be anything!
Here's my story:
My story is that I'm recently 21 and I'm a virgin. I've never even had a relationship before. AT 19, I (unfortunately) had my first kiss. (long story). But from that experience I learned a few things about myself. I am perfectly content being single. I've never had a relationship and I won't until it's right for me. And I'm still deciding whether or not I want to wait to have sex until marriage. Either way..it's going to be with my (future) husband. I have no doubts about that. It's not religious - it's just what I feel is right for myself. I also think I'm demi-sexual which means I don't experience sexual arousal unless I form a connection first. Seriously, I see a hot guy and the dirtiest thing that crosses my mind is I just want to stare at him all day..maybe get a hug. :P
Today we're highlighting TeddyBear in New York City, who has never wanted to be sexually involved with anyone.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:
Age 55, male, live in New York City.
How I define virginity:
Never having had sex with someone else.
Here's my story:
I'm a 55-year-old male virgin. I'm rather asexual. While I do fantasize and masturbate, I've never wanted a sexual involvement with anyone, including a girlfriend with whom I lived and shared a bed (though cuddling with her was nice).
Let's face it: if you haven't had sex by college graduation, or (the horror!) by your 30th birthday, it's hard not to feel some serious social stigma. Pop culture repeatedly brands adult virgins as religious freaks or shut-in action figure collectors. Advertisers work hard to push the message that everyone cool is getting laid as well: "Hey, loser! Buy this body spray/bustier/pickup artist book, and you'll get play like everyone you know." It's easy to believe everyone is having sex but you – and that until you start getting busy, it’s best to lock yourself in the virginity closet and hope no one finds out your secret.
But here's the actual reality: there are a lot of people not having sex. How can I be so sure? In the course of making How to Lose Your Virginity, a documentary about virginity myths, and collecting over 200 stories for The V-Card Diaries, a website compiling the personal stories of adult virgins, I've talked to a lot of people who consider themselves older virgins. It’s time to end some of the myths out there about this diverse and interesting bunch of abstainers.
Go to Nerve.com to read the rest, with profiles of several adult virgins who go against the same old stereotypes. [Excuse the section headings which I did not write quite in that way]
Today we're highlighting Alyssa in New York who feels pressure, especially in college, to lose her virginity. 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:
19, Female, New York, College Student, Virgin, Asexual.
How I define virginity:
The physical act of intercourse. Doesn't necessarily require love or lust.
Here's my story:
I've been on dates and have had a few flings and hookups in my lifetime but I have never had the opportunity to lose my vaginal virginity. I think I might be asexual, because I never have any urges for sexual pleasure. I'm worried this is something I am going to grow out of later in my life and that I will want to start having sex with guys. I want to lose my virginity before that because of the social pressures of the modern world surrounding virginity; that there must be something "wrong" with us if we're still virgins when the majority of our peers are not.
Being in college, that is the case right now. Everything is about sex and I'm behind the game. The problem is, I want my first time having sex to be meaningful and with someone I have sexual feeling for. The thing is that this can't happen if I'm not receiving any sexual feelings. I don't feel like I can wait to start getting these feelings, because that may be a number of years from now.
Today we're highlighting t'ix^wlm in Washington state, who has never wanted to have sex in any form. If you want to tell your story, especially if yougo to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.A little about myself:
I'm a 27 (going on 28) year old third-gender multi-racial asexual and aromantic college student at EWU (in Washington), and I'm about to finish my BA and hope to go on to my MA in Gender Studies come fall.
I'm so much of a human mutt that I don't know what all I am, but I do know that I'm: Oglala Lakota, Cherokee, Egyptian, Irish, Scottish, Norse, German, and who knows what else. My preferred pronouns are jhe/jhur/jhur(s). (Along the same lines as she/her/her(s) or he/him/his.) I'm also a virgin and intend said status to be life-long. I'd rather be dead than lose it.
How I define virginity:
I define virginity as having never had sex; however there are multiple 'virginities' such as PIV, anal, oral, handjobs, etc. As such there is no 'one virginity that overrules all others'.
Here's my story:
I'm a virgin. I've never had sex in any form, I've never wanted to have sex in any form. As an asexual and aromantic I kind of look at the concept of sex and (however childish it may sound to others) ultimately my response is 'Eww'. It's one thing for me to occasionally read (fairly non-descriptive) fanfiction online, but the idea of seeing it in art or with actual people involved really grosses me out.
That isn't to say I'm not sex-positive- personally I think everyone has the right to like and enjoy what they will just so long as it's not harmful to anyone else- but for myself I want nothing to do with it. However, a vast majority of people I've run into that have had NO exposure to anyone falling on the asexuality-spectrum automatically assume that I must have been sexually abused as a child and it must have "scared me off" of ever wanting sex. It's infuriating.
First off, I think I would KNOW if I've ever been sexually assaulted in my life. Secondly, where the heck do other people get off telling me I'm traumatized when I'm not?
I'm not asexual and aromantic because I'm 'traumatized', my lack of interest in sex isn't a sign that something is 'wrong with me', and my complete and utter distaste for sex is not a sign that I'm 'childish' and 'need to grow up'. I don't like the concept of sex, it doesn't interest me. Assuming there's something wrong with me because of that is like assuming there's something wrong with someone who refuses to go somewhere because they don't like the social climate there.
Ultimately I feel like the mainstream culture in the US is waaaaayyy too hung up on sex, who is or isn't having sex, who has or hasn't lost their virginity, and that people are bombarded with this obsession over sex EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
I applaud the movie How to Lose Your Virginity for pointing out how ridiculous it is for people to get so hung up on something so trivial, but at the same time I have my doubts that voices like mine are heard. Part of it I suspect is the simple fact that those like myself that have no interest in ever losing their virginity honestly don't feel like they have anything to input in conversations about virginity. Honestly that was a thought that crossed my own mind. It's the simple fact that in my searches of this site there is a complete lack of any input from a voice like mine that has compelled me to submit an entry.
That being said, though it may seem that I have no input being that I have no interest in sex, I still know the basics of safe sex- hell, my mother was talking to me about safe sex when she was pregnant with me . If I ever adopt children I'll at least be able to tell them what they need for that much. Honestly the sort of basic knowledge for safe sex is as necessary, I think, as basic first aid. Okay, yeah, I may never have sex- if I have kids how would it make any sense for me to assume that they wouldn't?
My ultimate point is this: virginity and sex aren't anywhere near as big a deal as people make them out to be, and whether or not it ever happens people should have the knowledge to know how to protect themselves and they should feel free to be comfortable with losing their virginity (or not losing it) on their own time without feeling pressured one way or the other.
Today we're highlighting Naren from Canada, who is in a relationship with a really caring guy who respects her boundaries. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.About me:
I'm 19, and live somewhere different every 2-3 months. So far, it's always in Canada.
How I define virginity:
I'm not sure. I think it's different for every person. In regards to my own, it's definitely PIV sex, because this is what terrifies me the most. Not because of religious or other views; physical intimacy of any kind has always scared me, for no reason that I can discern.
My 5 kisses were on stage in front of 500 people. I was 13, playing Liesl; the guy was 19, playing Rolf. They meant nothing.
Throughout high school, people questioned my sexuality because of my short hair, lack of make-up, and "boy" clothes. I didn't know what my sexuality was. I still don't know how I identify. And I don't care. I suppose I'm close to demisexual or grey-A, but really, I'm just a person; sometimes I'm attracted to other people. We may do intimate stuff - or not. It doesn't matter, so long as everything is consensual, and both sides are open and caring.
Currently, I'm in my first relationship; we've been dating nearly 8 months. It's long distance, and we've only spent about 3 in-person weeks together. Neither of us had any experience to start. Mine was largely due to a huge fear of intimacy. It means the world to me how caring he is; he will never push for contact, and always asks where my boundaries are and then has absolute respect for them. He says he would enjoy going further than we do, but is happy to stay at whatever level I'm comfortable at.
I love him, and he loves me. Different kinds of sex might happen, but it doesn't define our relationship. Personally, I couldn't have it any other way, but our brand of chemistry is just one of an infinite number. People should do whatever's right for them; the important part is being in relationships that are sensitive to the needs of all sides.
From time to time we republish our favorite posts. This originally ran in August 2010. The film, now called (A)sexual, has been a huge success, and is out and available on Netflix and Hulu!
We first heard about Angela Tucker's in-the-works documentary Asexuality: The Making Of A Movementfrom Elizabeth, one of her subjects, when she left a comment on our website. As Elizabeth showed us, there's some interesting overlap and conflict between issues of virginity and asexuality [See one of our First Person essays here and this too.].
Angela and I had some coffee and baked goods the other day and talked about the intersections of our respective film topics.
On the definition of asexuality: An asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who you are. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community; each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently.
About the film and its goals: My documentary, Asexuality: The Making Of A Movement (working title), is about the growing movement around asexuality. The film will bring more visibility to asexuality and that is one goal. Another goal is to create a dialogue around sexuality that is from a different lens that usual. That was what interested me personally. The subtitle is "the making of a movement", but a movement is really about people. So the film has characters in it. It is a profile of David Jay, one of the leaders of the movement and a few other people who identify as asexual. But it's also about larger ideas, like how one can be part of this burgeoning community in this really over-sexualized world.
On asexuality and the mythology of 'losing your virginity:" I’m not asexual myself but the topic of virginity comes up a lot in our interviews for the film. David Jay always says that the word virginity bothers him because it implies innocence and he is not innocent. It’s a cheeky answer but he is onto something with it. If you experience no sexual attraction, this whole notion of losing your virginity as some passage to adulthood doesn’t really apply. Does that mean that you never mature if you don’t have sex? We all know that is not the case for sexual or asexual people.
On asexuals who have previously been sexually active: Some characters in the film have had sex before and some have not. In the asexual community, it seems to run the gamut. Some people need to hear that there are asexuals who have had sex. They need to know that they have tried it and use that as proof that asexuality actually exists. If you’ve had sex with a lot of people and still choose to identify this way, you are legit but if you haven’t had sex before and choose to identify this way, you are … well, there’s never an answer for that.
It’s always funny to me because there are lots of things you don’t need to try to know you don’t want or need to do them. Still I acknowledge that this is a point that matters to people.
On the romantic relationship of Elizabeth and her husband: Elizabeth and Brian, her husband, are very much in love. We met them when they were dating and it has been great to see their relationship develop. (We even filmed their wedding!) I learned a lot about love from making this film and they were a big part of that. They do have a romantic relationship. What goes on there is between them.
The challenges of creating an asexuality movement: Visibility is a big goal of the community and I think that makes sense. So few people know anything about asexuality so I think the focus should be in getting more people to understand it. Fundraising for this film has been incredibly difficult partially because films about sex are hard to get funding for but also because there is a lot of skepticism around asexuality. It has made us even more determined to make it.
Today we're highlighting Jessie in Australia, whose interest in sex has more to do with an emotional bond. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.Tell us about yourself:
I'm a 20-year-old girl studying at university in Australia.
How do you define virginity?
Engaging in sexual activity with another person, not necessarily penetrative sex.
Tell us your story
I didn't want to have sex. I didn't have sexual thoughts and I didn't really engage in masturbation. Mostly I just found it a little boring. I felt like something must have gone wrong with me during puberty. It felt like everyone around me was losing their virginity and becoming completely sex obsessed from about 14. It only got worse when I graduated high school.
I did get my first boyfriend when I was 15 and we dated in typical high school fashion, hanging out at lunch and coming over to each others' houses to watch movies. He was one of my closest friends and in hindsight I think I confused friendly affection with actual romantic feelings. All we ever did was kiss a bit and he began to put a lot of pressure on me to have sex with him after a few months. I feel we stayed together largely because it was easier than breaking up, since we had all the same friends. Eventually I ended the relationship because I just had no interest in having sex.
After graduation I made a group of friends at my new job. When our group conversations turned inevitably to sex, I was concerned about admitting I was a virgin, and I definitely wasn't telling anyone I had no interest in "losing it". The others viewed my virginity as an awful burden and were constantly encouraging me to go out and hook up or trying to set me up with their friends. I found myself lying to them and making excuses for not “just doing it”. I’d say that I didn’t find my potential hook ups likeable or good looking enough or even that I was still hung up on my ex, anything to make them lose interest in my sexual activity. Part of me dreaded the thought that I would need to spend the rest of my adult life doing this.
Not long before I was to start uni I went to a party where I ended up meeting a guy. We got to talking and he asked me out and I was surprised to find myself saying yes. He was a few years older than me and I just found him really easy to talk to. I told him early on that I was a virgin, but not that I had never really had an interest in sex. He wasn’t a virgin, but was willing to wait until I was ready. After seeing each other exclusively for almost ten months I realized that I wanted to have penetrative sex with him. We had performed oral and manual sex on each other a couple of months before then and I had actually managed to become aroused.
I didn’t really consider myself a virgin by the time I had penetrative sex but my friends and boyfriend still did. In their eyes I “officially” lost my virginity (in the constrictive heteronormative sense) shortly after my 20th birthday. I do feel lucky to have found someone so patient and understanding.
I recently discovered the term demi-sexual and I instantly identified with it. Discovering that there are other people who feel the same mix of being able to engage in sexual activity sometimes and also being quite asexual at other times was very comforting. Even now that I have lost my virginity the idea of engaging in sex with anyone else doesn’t appeal to me. My attraction to my boyfriend is firmly rooted in our emotional bond. I really wish that virginity was not viewed as such a big deal, especially for the impact it has on people who are uncertain in their sexuality.
By Amanda Levitt
Since she was quoted saying that the hardest thing she has ever done in her life has been to remain a virgin until marriage, the news circulating about LoLo Jones, the 29-year-old Olympic athlete, has exploded. While I don’t really care that she is a virgin, seeing as how I am one myself at age 26, the way her status is being portrayed–not only by herself but by the media–is an interesting take on being a virgin in public life. I have written about my own virginity and the social construction of virginity on my blog and many of the same themes show up in the numerous articles written about her.
LoLo Jones portrays her own sexuality as heroic in that it denies all of the social pressures to conform to the over-sexualized society that we live in. In doing so, she is trying to place herself outside of what it means to be an older virgin in society, a place that is often filled with what society believes are a group people with no other choice than to be virgins. By saying that it was hard, she is able to counter the assumption that no one has ever been attracted to her, or that there is something wrong with her that is keeping her from having a sexual relationship.
The quote itself came from an interview that she did with HBO sports where her status was automatically treated as a character flaw. Being an older virgin is often seen as motivated by religious belief, as it is in Jones’ case, or it is considered a sign that there is something inherently wrong with you. For women, we still live in a society that reinforces the idea that self-worth does not come from ourselves but from a potential partner.
My own experiences with this have come from friends or even coworkers who figured out that I was not sexually active and tried to hook me up with someone because they assumed I was not able to find dates on my own. Many people have gone as far to suggest that I should be content with any kind of attention I get, no matter how unwanted it has been. When on dates or talking to someone I am interested in about the subject, the conversation always comes back to the idea that there must be something wrong with me to still be a virgin at my age.
The View’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck suggested that Jones should get together with the football player Tim Tebow. They are both athletes, but the way the media is linking these two together serves two different purposes. First, it is an attempt to ‘fix’ them, since their status as virgins is not only considered a flaw but is also in opposition to what we consider to be socially-acceptable time in life to have sex, regardless of the reasons they are waiting. As with my own friends, the assumption is that they are unable to do this on their own, since that time has long since past.
Second, by putting two people together who share a similar sexual status in the mind of society, we assume that they must also have the same form of sexuality or level of sexual understanding. We believe that someone’s sexuality begins with being sexually active with a partner, not something you can explore on your own. In my own experience, I find that people not only automatically assume that I am a prude but that I also know nothing about sex–many times assuming that I am asexual. The need to pair people who are considered the same happens in the case of religion, race, body size, sexual orientation and so on. This is not something that is unique to ‘deviant’ forms of sexuality but an idea that people who fit into any specific category are the best if paired together.
Clutch Magazine wrote that Jones shouldn’t have even talked about her sexuality because it opened her up to public scrutiny and harsh criticism. My own experiences with being public about my sexuality have been mostly positive. I also do not tell as many people as I did when I was younger and was ashamed of my status because I thought it was a personal failing. Jones’ choice to be public about her sexuality is a choice that she is allowed to make on her own . This kind of public scrutiny happens with all forms of sexuality that are considered deviant, and she shouldn’t be forced to hide something that she thinks is an integral part of who she is.
If more people were open about their own sexuality and spoke bluntly about it, the idea that someone is a virgin wouldn’t be a huge deal. There are more of us out there than you would believe.
Amanda Levitt is the blogger at FatBodyPolitics.com and the founder of Love Your Body Detroit a non-profit activist organization dedicated to ending fat phobia. She can be found on her blog as well as on twitter @FatBodyPolitics.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation recently did a segment on The Current on Adult Virgins, which included one of the women from "The Virgin Diaries" reality show, who was Canadian. Host Anna Maria Tremonti moderated a conversation between 30-year-old Danielle Michaud, 42-year-old Tony Tarquinto, and an asexual woman identifying herself only as Sarah. The conversation was very respectful and honest, and it's worth a listen.
My only issue with the show was that all three of the guests described themselves as conservative or religious, reinforcing the stereotype that only religious people delay having sex. I spoke with The Current when they were casting the show and I wish they would have considered one of our great First Person contributors, many of whom are delaying sex for reasons other than their religion.
Last year, during Glee's Madonna episode, Rachel, Finn and Emma (the guidance counselor with OCD) attempted to lose their respective virginities during a sexy montage set to "Like a Virgin." Only Finn ended up having sex while the two women decided they couldn't go through with it. This week's Very Special Episode, called 'The First Time', is the sound of the other shoe dropping.
Here's the premise: Rachel and Blaine are the leads in West Side Story, and director Artie thinks they're not emanating enough passion as Tony and Maria*. His reasoning is that because they're both virgins, they can't call up those bursting, burning feelings that deflowerment apparently brings. Artie, who is clearly Method, suggests Rachel and Blaine fix this by having sex. Which they do, eventually, although alas not with each other.
In the final 15 seconds or so of the show we see the couples Rachel/Finn and Blaine/Kurt about to do the deed. Or maybe they just did it. The chronology is not clear, especially because they stay dressed the whole time**. Anyway, there's soaring music and that pan to that fireplace*** and it's all really quite sweet.
Leading up to this short and modest payoff however, was this season's lineup of not-so-sweet tropes about first sex. I'm mostly focusing on the Rachel/Finn storyline here because these tropes seem reside most firmly in the hetero world, which means I'm also assuming by sex they mean penis-in-vagina intercourse.
1. Everything changes after you lose your virginity
[According to the Glee promo above] On Glee, it changed things for Quinn and Puck who ended up having a baby together. So having sex for the first time might change things for the other couples, albeit not as dramatically. Then again, they might feel exactly the same as they did before. Other things that might change them more than having sex: Winning sectionals, getting into college, getting the hell out of Lima.
2. You can't feel or understand passion until you've lost your virginity.
This is the Sleeping Beauty Theory, where Rachel needs Finn to 'wake her up' sexually by putting his penis inside her. Only then will Rachel become a sexual person, capable of sexual feelings and sexual musical theater acting. This kind of thinking negates the power of all the many and varied sexual experiences a woman might have that don't require even the proximity of a penis.
As for Blaine, he's always oozed sexuality, no matter what Glee wants us to believe in this particular episode (consistency of characters is not their strong suit) In fact, the show last season where he and Rachel had a drunken makeout session was pretty damn hot–hotter than anything I've seen her do with Finn.
3. Your first time should be magical and perfect and with someone you love
This trope hits a special nerve because I sat around waiting to have sex with a perfect love, and that's why I ended up still a virgin at 23. At which point I got tired of waiting and got it over with.
It's truly lovely to have your first time be with your special someone, and some people will wait for it to happen that way. But what if we don't have a special someone and want to have sex anyway? Are we doing it wrong? Or what if you do do it with your special someone and it's less than special? Let's talk about awkwardness. Or disappointment. Or pain. In the scene where Rachel asked for advice from the girls, it would have been awesome if one of them talked about how they just couldn't get it in on the first three tries.
Or, as Queerty quipped: "It would’ve been beyond our wildest dreams to imagine the cameras zooming in on a half-gallon bottle of Wet Platinum Premium as Blaine reassures Kurt, "it doesn't have to hurt babe."
4. It's OK to lose your virginity to cheer your boyfriend up
First, Rachel wants to have sex so she can use it to be a more passionate Maria. Then she wants to do it so she won't have to go to college a virgin. Finn is horrified by this. [paraphrasing] "What awful reasons for losing your virginity. Get away from me, disturbed girlfriend!" Then, she says she wants to do it to prove to him that he's special because she's giving him her special gift. "Oh, awesome! Let me go turn on the fireplace!"
5. Women give men their special gift that they can give only once
Rachel tells Finn "I'm going to give you something that no one else is ever going to get."
Honestly. Can we get over the idea that women are gifts for men to receive in little pink boxes containing their unblemished hymens? According to this scenario, what does Rachel have left to give once that's done? Nothing! So she'd better marry Finn, because they next guy that comes along is going to be all 'Where's my gift? What? You gave it away already? Get away from me, slutty girlfriend!"
Needless to say, that gift-giving language was totally absent in the boy/boy storyline. The very idea that Kurt or Blaine would talk about a special gift seems ridiculous. Why is that?
6. Straight men have no romantic feelings when it comes to sex
Last year when Finn had sex for the first time (with Santana) do you remember how he thought it was totally disappointing? Remember that Finn realized he wanted to have sex with someone he loved because it would be more meaningful and enjoyable? Glee doesn't seem to. When it comes to finally having sex with Rachel, he's allowed an emotional range from bewildered to horny (and depressed about football.)
7. If you're an adult and have never had sex, there's something wrong with you
Oy. Emma Pillsbury and Coach Bieste are virgins. Because one has OCD and the other is not feminine enough, they are both objects of pity and/or hilarity. No wonder Rachel thinks heading off to college a virgin would be a sin. (One third of college students consider themselves virgins. Just sayin') Also, I think Emma should come out as asexual, already.
*Artie seems to think West Side Story is about Tony and Maria's sexual awakening. Never mind that Maria actually remains a virgin until well into the second act, and experiencing the violence and tragedy around her is what makes her a woman, not the messing around with Tony in the dress shop.
**Ironically, the Parents Television Council claimed it had no issues with a gay couple doing it, it was just generally shocked, shocked that Glee showed 'children having sex." I saw some eskimo kisses and comfy socks, but no sign of anything that could be described as overt sex.
***Salon's Matt Zoller Seitz wondered if Glee was trying to reclaim the purity of this trope after Top Secret took it to it's absurd climax.
There's something really fabulous happening over at The Virgin!Roar right now. It's a blog carnival that founder missmarymax describes as an attempt to:
"amplify the experiences of feminists and virgins, as they consider them in their own terms. It defies a cultural conversation about virginity that does not include the voices of virgins, and asks how that conversation would change if we–the virgins–could speak for ourselves."
So, hallelujah! Wondering if you qualify? Well, because of the inherent difficulties of defining who is a virgin and/or who is a feminist, they're leaving things pretty open. I'm going to go out on limb and say that if you're a regular reader of this blog, chances are excellent that The Virgin!Roar wants to hear from you. But you can get more info at the FAQ page.
Check out these highlights from the current posts. They're all good, so this is just a sample...
"My inbox overflows daily with messages from the Feminist Majority, Planned Parenthood, and NOW. None of these organizations have ever called on me to fuck someone this weekend or dance naked on a bartop in defense of women’s lib."
"It can be hard to own a status that some people may consider embarrassing, but then again, it will always be embarrassing unless people own up. Whether we were “too busy” or “career focused” or “waiting for the one”, we just did not feel like having sex."
"...the first time I got head I did not know what to do. He said “do you like it?” and I lied and lied and lied lying in his bed I was nineteen before I knew what a clitoris was. When I asked my mom we had to google it because I wanted to know where it was too, and she wasn’t exactly sure."
"Eventually I realized I was asexual, specifically grey-a. That explained a lot, and I learned, with fascination, that most of the people in the world can get turned on simply by looking at someone, can want to have sex with someone they don’t know. I realized, too, (one of the reasons) why I had found it easy to be abstinent– indeed, I’d never desired to be otherwise."
Also, definitely check out MissMaryMax's YouTube channel for some wonderful poetry videos.
Today we're highlighting 19-year-old SM, who blogs at Aesexual Curiosities (that's the lovely British spelling, by the way). We met SM through AVEN, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. Their website has information, forums and links for and about people who don't experience sexual attraction. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.
I'm a 19-year-old male virgin who identifies as asexual. An asexual is someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction to anyone. It’s helpful to think of it as a sexual orientation, the natural other category with hetero-, homo- and bi-sexual.
I was asked to do a First Person post what now seems like a very long time ago. I thought that inspiration would come easily, that I had a lot to say on the topic. I’ve failed many times in writing this, and I now realise that I’ve got nothing.
Some asexuals deny the existence of an asexual virgin. The idea is that a virgin is someone waiting to have sex, defined by the fact that they haven’t had sex YET. And asexuals aren’t people who haven’t had sex yet-they’re people who aren’t going to have sex at all.
I’m not too sure about this definition myself; personally, I think I’m fully capable of having and enjoying sex, and vaguely plan to get round to it sometime in the future. Maybe. But the asexual community tends to give people like me space to decide that the virgin label really doesn’t matter.
So I sat down to write a detailed description of how the idea of virginity impacts me, and I realised it doesn’t, really. Sure, I can talk about the virginity paradigm in an abstracted sociological sense, but this blog already does that. Getting into my personal feelings on virginity was difficult. Ironically, given that I’ve already been through this when discovering my sexuality, I was failing to notice an absence of feelings.
I tend to disrupt virgin stereotypes; I happily play the ‘dirty-minded asexual’, comfortable with innuendos and sexuality. At this stage in my life, it’s not too surprising that I’m a virgin, as I grow older (if I remain a virgin), I think people won’t notice. So maybe the asexual exemption clause applies to me, too, I’m not stuck at a stage in the system- I’m outside the system. Not because I will never have sex, but because I don’t believe that my sexual history is a reflection of where I am as a sexual being.
Asexuality is quite introspective, and for me particularly, my sexuality is based more on what goes on inside my head than in my (non-existent) love life. I think I've escaped the need to validate my sexuality with what I do or don't do, it's just about what I feel or don't feel. I don’t believe (although I can’t be certain) that I will change after having sex, that I will feel fundamentally on new ground.
We just got a nice email from our new friend, the UK-based Asexual Curiosities, who wrote a recent post on how The American Virgin might be a good landing place for the asexual community.
We're very flattered by the kind words and thought AC's take on what we did was very interesting. So here are some excerpts from their post. We'll do a Q&A with more about asexuality in a post to come.
Sometimes I feel we asexuals get so obsessed with our own, socially constructed, definitions and labels that we might not realise that, just outside or beside the asexual label, there are people with whom we can still relate.
Maybe asexuality should look outside of itself a little. It doesn't help the asexual movement much, but it certainly helps asexual individuals to see how people without the magic label justify their similar sexualities and sexual choices.
It's often difficult, when justifying a sexless life, to hit that right balance.
Either you think sex is icky and everyone should stop doing it, or you pretend you're more sex positive than you are so that no-one can call you erotophobic (when plenty of sexual people are just as uncomfortable about the role of sex in modern society, which is actually pretty screwed up).
Either you open yourself up and say, as the last interviewee on the American Virgin blog did, something like; "I'm worried that I have some kind of undiagnosed social anxiety disorder" and open yourself up to the idea of being 'damaged goods', with a disinterest in sex that is obviously entirely the cause of an oversimplified and malignant psychiatric disorder, or you close yourself up and become the Ideal Asexual, with a standard of psychiatric health, confidence and complete wellbeing that no human being could aspire to.
This is the choice asexuals (and other celibate people/deliberate virgins) have to face. Either you deny who you are, or you give your enemy the power to accuse you of denying who you are.
OK, so I've only read a little of this blog. But, from what I've read, it seems to float above that whole mire quite effortlessly and beautifully. People just are who they are. If they don't want sex, it isn't a problem with a cause, but a choice, with a whole array of reasons. It's something to be admired, and if we can gain that same tranquility and honesty, I feel we'd all be a great deal happier.
I hear a lot from older virgins, so this item popped out at me. Em & Lo, who are mostly all about sex, sex and then more sex, recently ran this interesting question:
I’m 34 and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I was molested as a child and raped as an adult. I’ve never had consensual sex. Yet I have intensely sexual dreams. I’ve had years of counseling, but the fear of having a sexual relationship remains.
I isolate myself from men. The only ones I feel comfortable around are gay or married. I feel ostracized from a society which places such a high priority on sex, and I feel I am missing out on life because of my limitations. Am I really missing out? Is it possible to live a complete life without sex?
They recommend more trauma therapy, either privately or in a group. And also have some dandy sex-for-one tips, if for those so inclined. And there's also this commentary on our sexualized culture:
We know it’s hard being constantly bombarded by sexual imagery in the media, but please understand that the majority of it is a fantasy, one that’s often orchestrated simply to get us to buy products (even stuff as mundane as instant rice!).
The reality is that while sex can be fun and exhilarating and bonding, it can also be messy and stressful and unfulfilling. We’re certain our society’s obsession with sex, especially idealized sex, has led to an awful lot of disappointment in the sack.
Add to that the sad fact that sex can be used as a weapon of violence and subjugation, and we see nothing wrong with people — especially people who’ve been through the kind of trauma you have — choosing celibacy, if that’s what’s right and works for them.