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Do not miss John Oliver brilliantly taking on the sad state of sex education in America.

How many ways can I thank John Oliver for this Last Week Tonight segment on the pathetic state of sex education in the US? I watched saying "Yes" over and over again–when I wasn't screaming in frustration or laughing my ass off. Every second is worth watching. It is so smart (and funny) (and horrifying).

If you want to see some awesome comedians in their own Sex Ed video, jump to around 17:49-ish.

And as a bonus, here's the full menstruation video John Oliver talks about. See if you can guess who's playing the young man. 

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.

Women feel less guilty about losing their virginity, but is that the conversation we need to be having?

Note: Another story on this study just came out, so we're reposting this response.  

Image via Rise, Rebel, Resist tumblr

As someone who's been working for years to bust mythologies and change the conversation around virginity, I give a serious hooray for reducing guilt around first intercourse for women. Writing about a new study,  Salon reports in "Science: Losing your virginity isn’t as awkward as it was 20 years ago":

"According to a study from the University of Illinois, young adults have felt better and better about their first-time sexual experiences for the past 23 years, with the difference between men’s and women’s emotional responses to early sexual intercourse decreasing over time."

And this:

"The researchers discovered that gender differences in response to virginity loss diminished greatly over time, which they suspect might be “because of a reduction, in general, of social regulation of female sexuality and in the double standard” of sexual expression for each gender."

It's no surprise that women are feeling less guilt and shame around becoming sexual. They have more agency to choose how, when and why they'll become sexual. (Thank you, Feminism) Women know more than they ever did about their bodies and how to get pleasure from the experience (Thank you Scarleteen and the other fantastic online resources). And maybe, just maybe, the guys are paying more attention to women's pleasure as well. (Thank you again, Feminism).

But, as writer Jenny Kutner points out:

"It’s important to note, though, that men do still exhibit more positive responses and experience more pleasure than women — also because of the “reduction” in the policing of women’s bodies and not its complete obliteration."

Reduction, not obliteration, and I'd argue in the last 8 years, some significant increases. There's the $1.5 billion worth of inaccurate, sexist shaming  from Abstinence-Until Marriage programs, and the near constant stream of slut-shamingrape cases dismissed or hushed up, and legislative attacks on women's reproductive rights and resources. Young women are also facing more pressure to have sex (call it prude-shaming?) and then get a steaming pile of mixed messages like the always-popular 'be sexy but don't have sex."

Even comprehensive sex classes don't talk much about how both women and men can get pleasure from sex, or how to ask for and respect consent. A woman having pre-marital sex may be more acceptable than in the past, but so is having your own bank account and keeping your last name.

One thing that continues to be frustrating is using intercourse as the sexual benchmark for these studies. Why are we measuring the start of sexuality by a penis going into a vagina? First,  it's a heterosexual framework, leaving out a chunk of the sex-having population. But also, our V-Card Diaries story collection is full of young women writing that everything they did pre-intercourse was pleasurable, but intercourse itself was a let down.

No surprise: that's not how most women orgasm, especially when they're first starting to have sex. But the study insists on measuring women's pleasure by how much they enjoyed intercourse, and then they're actually surprised that it's so low. Please let's stop selling intercourse the big sexual prize for women and recognize there are lots of ways to have sex that don't involve a penis in a vagina. 

The progress is great, but we need to keep working to change the conversation about women, virginity and sex to one that's not only non-judgmental, but also recognizes diverse sexual experiences, and puts consent and pleasure at the top of the must-have list.

MagicWand

[Get more graphics and gifs here]

Women feel less guilty about losing their virginity, but is that the conversation we need to be having?

 

Image via Rise, Rebel, Resist tumblr

As someone who's been working for years to bust mythologies and change the conversation around virginity, I give a serious hooray for reducing guilt around first intercourse for women. Writing about a new study,  Salon reports in "Science: Losing your virginity isn’t as awkward as it was 20 years ago":

"According to a study from the University of Illinois, young adults have felt better and better about their first-time sexual experiences for the past 23 years, with the difference between men’s and women’s emotional responses to early sexual intercourse decreasing over time."

And this:

"The researchers discovered that gender differences in response to virginity loss diminished greatly over time, which they suspect might be “because of a reduction, in general, of social regulation of female sexuality and in the double standard” of sexual expression for each gender."

It's no surprise that women are feeling less guilt and shame around becoming sexual. They have more agency to choose how, when and why they'll become sexual. (Thank you, Feminism) Women know more than they ever did about their bodies and how to get pleasure from the experience (Thank you Scarleteen and the other fantastic online resources). And maybe, just maybe, the guys are paying more attention to women's pleasure as well. (Thank you again, Feminism).

But, as writer Jenny Kutner points out:

"It’s important to note, though, that men do still exhibit more positive responses and experience more pleasure than women — also because of the “reduction” in the policing of women’s bodies and not its complete obliteration."

Reduction, not obliteration, and I'd argue in the last 8 years, some significant increases. There's the $1.5 billion worth of inaccurate, sexist shaming  from Abstinence-Until Marriage programs, and the near constant stream of slut-shamingrape cases dismissed or hushed up, and legislative attacks on women's reproductive rights and resources. Young women are also facing more pressure to have sex (call it prude-shaming?) and then get a steaming pile of mixed messages like the always-popular 'be sexy but don't have sex."

Even comprehensive sex classes don't talk much about how both women and men can get pleasure from sex, or how to ask for and respect consent. A woman having pre-marital sex may be more acceptable than in the past, but so is having your own bank account and keeping your last name.

One thing that continues to be frustrating is using intercourse as the sexual benchmark for these studies. Why are we measuring the start of sexuality by a penis going into a vagina? First,  it's a heterosexual framework, leaving out a chunk of the sex-having population. But also, our V-Card Diaries story collection is full of young women writing that everything they did pre-intercourse was pleasurable, but intercourse itself was a let down.

No surprise: that's not how most women orgasm, especially when they're first starting to have sex. But the study insists on measuring women's pleasure by how much they enjoyed intercourse, and then they're actually surprised that it's so low. Please let's stop selling intercourse the big sexual prize for women and recognize there are lots of ways to have sex that don't involve a penis in a vagina. 

The progress is great, but we need to keep working to change the conversation about women, virginity and sex to one that's not only non-judgmental, but also recognizes diverse sexual experiences, and puts consent and pleasure at the top of the must-have list.

MagicWand

[Get more graphics and gifs here]

A final thought for the year...

20131117_212811We had nothing less than an amazing 2013, with the premiere of How To Lose Your Virginity in festivals and and on televisions all over the world, our theater-busting New York premiere at DOC NYC (Therese and Lisa are trying to kiss our poster, left). We're totally thrilled about what's coming up in 2014: Our US TV premiere in February on Fusion, attending the Filmmor Film Festival in Istanbul in March (Therese's favorite city), and speaking at Catalyst Con about Older Virginity. Get the whole exciting update here.

Earlier this year, we launched the new home of The V-Card Diaries, and have received over 250 of your stories of 'sexual debuts and deferrals.' We have so many in fact, that we're backlogged on posting them, so one of our resolutions is to catch up in the next couple of weeks!

One of our 2014 wish is to get schools to stop hiring people like Justin Lookadoo to lie to young people, and get more teens to call #lookadoo bullshit like his audience did. Yay! Mostly, we hope you'll help us continue the conversation about the experience of becoming sexual–and the radical act of speaking honestly about it.

We'll leave you with this wise quote from Abby Rose Dalto of Evil Slutopia as part of the #mysexpositivity series at Condom Monologues:

"You can be sex positive even if you’re not having sex at all, as long as you don’t judge others for their sexual choices or try to control their sexual choices. Our society is so obsessed with what everyone else is doing in bed. So to me, sex positivity is about acknowledging that we’re all different, we all like what we like, and that’s okay."

Shonda Rimes knows what women want (to watch)

. Shonda Rhimes on NPR, via Women & Hollywood:

“A bunch of older guys told me that nobody was going to watch a show about a woman who had casual sex and threw a guy out the night before her first day of work—that that was completely unrealistic and that nobody wanted to know that woman...I remember sitting in that meeting and thinking, ‘Wow they don’t know anything about what’s going on in the world right now.’ ”

Our new film poster, just in time for our Nov. 17th DOC NYC premiere!

VirginityPoster.Small We're really excited to unveil the poster for the film! Just in time for our US premiere at DOC NYC on November 17th in Manhattan. It's especially exciting because not only is DOC NYC the largest documentary festival in the US, it's also our home town! If you're in the New York area, we'd love to see you there and say hi.

Our producer Lisa Esselstein and I will be there for a Q&A after the film, with others from the cast. The screening starts at 9:30 pm but don't let that phase you: The film is a short–and very entertaining–67 minutes, so you'll be home at a decent hour on a school night.

Get more info at the DOC NYC site and let us know how you like the poster in the comments below!

Are you a slut?

From time to time we republish some of our favorites from the archives. This originally ran in March 2012

Some things to do in honor of Rush Limbaugh, who has reminded us all that proper unmarried women should always present themselves as virginal, lest they risk being called a slut (and be compelled to create a sex tape).

Use this handy flow-chart above from Mother Jones to determine if you're a slut. An interactive one, with kittens, is at their site.

Then, check out Irin Carmon's Salon dot-connecting story on all the recent attacks on women's reproductive freedoms.

Then, read Jaclyn Friedman's fabulous 2010 essay "My Sluthood, Myself"

In the words of Sady Doyle, from an interview for our film:

"A woman doesn’t have to have had sex to be called a slut. The only criteria for being called a slut is that one’s sexuality or one’s perceived sexuality is threatening to some onlooker."

Quick hit: Upcoming and ongoing screenings!

Get social with How To Lose Your Virginity It's been so busy these past few weeks that we haven't been able to update the blog with all the exciting news:

  1. How to Lose Your Virginity just had its Australian and Israeli TV premieres, and both are still available On Demand. More info here.
  2. I'll be at two screenings of the film in Israel in Tel Aviv on Sept 30th and Haifa Cinematheque on Oct 13th. More info here.
  3. I Was A Teenage Feminist is screening at the PSBT Film Festival in Delhi on September 13th, but alas I won't be there.

And we have really exciting US premiere news, but we can't share it yet (sorry!)

Don't want to wait for us to get this up on the blog? Get all the news as soon as it happens by following us on Facebook and Twitter. More to come!!

Here's Lena Dunham's sweet (and very articulate) letter to sex advice columnist about being a virgin at 19

What I especially love about Lena Dunham's 2005 letter to Time Out's sex advice columnist Jamie Bufalino is how great her writing is. For example "Once you're 19, people seem to expect you've done it six ways to Sunday." I also love Jamie's straight-up non-senitmental response, including "All you have to do is proudly announce your status, and gauge a guy's screw-worthiness by how he reacts to the news." OK, one thing he could have added (aside from the fact that virginity is a social construct) was that she was in good company given that 1/3 of 19-year-olds consider themselves virgins. Too bad 19-year-old Lena didn't have The V-Card Diaries , where she would have found lots of kindred spirits. Click on the images below to read the originals

Lena Dunham virginity advice 1

 

Lena Dunham Virginity advice 2

 

Lena Dunham virginity advice 3

Casting Call for Virgins. I'm Not Kidding. A Guest Post from Belle Vierge

Therese's intro: I get a lot of requests from producers asking for my help in recruiting virgins for their exploitative reality shows. In my opinion, reality TV is the last place you ever want to trust with anything important or sensitive about your life. This is an actual true life example: Me: I'd love to do a reality show about virginity, but I don't want to exploit or embarrass anyone. Reality Show Producer: Then you really shouldn't work in reality TV.

The latest call, from MTV, came to @belle_vierge, who is much more generous in her opinions about these kinds of opportunities. She writes a great blog about virginity and, along with her boyfriend, is a highlight of our film How To Lose Your Virginity. We're honored that they're both coming out of the virginity closet in our film. Here's her post about the MTV casting call, with her permission:

Finding My VirginityCasting Call for Virgins. I'm Not Kidding. A Guest Post by Belle Vierge

So I just received an email from a casting agency looking for virgins for a new documentary for MTV. At first I thought it was a scam. I mean... really? MTV is interested in the lives of virgins? So I googled the domain of the dude's email address. It looks legit.

I have two thoughts in regards to this.

1) I like that virginity is being discussed more often in pop culture, especially outside of Purity Culture and outside of the "desperate to lose it" genre.

2) Do I think MTV will manage to pull off a documentary that doesn't exploit its participants?

Uhh...

Reality TV isn't real. A documentary like this will probably not be all that sensitive. But the decision to participate or not isn't up to me. It's up to you. You being a virgin who meets the show's requirements. So I've copied and pasted the relevant info below, just in case you want to be the next Reality TV Star. No judging here. I would totally win Big Brother if I got on that show. Also let's not forget that Beau and I are already in an awesome documentary on virginity, How To Lose Your Virginity.

-------------------------------------------------

Are you a VIRGIN?

For the first time, a completely honest show… about being a virgin.

MTV is now casting individuals who have not had sex – either by choice or circumstance - in a documentary-style show that will follow you on your experiences and life as a virgin.

We’re looking outgoing, expressive and passionate young adults who appear to be between the ages of 18-24 from all over to document the pressures, struggles, and benefits of being a virgin in America today.

Whether you plan to remain a virgin until marriage, or are just waiting for the right person; whether you’re motivated by a personal or religious commitment to purity, or you’re comfortable with some sexuality... but haven’t gone all the way; whether you feel pressure to keep your virginity, or to lose it as fast as possible – we want to hear from you.

If you’re a virgin and feel like your story MUST be told, we want to hear from you ASAP!

To submit, please provide the following to mtvdoc@lescasting.com

NOTE: PARTICIPANTS MUST BE AT LEAST 18 YEARS OF AGE

- Name & Age (Participants must be 18 years of age.)

- Contact Number(s)

- E-mail Address & Facebook

- Attach two RECENT photos of yourself.

- Briefly tell us about your day-to-day life and your story as a virgin.

Films we want to see: "The To-Do List"starring Aubrey Plaza

[Update: The New York Times gave it a great review]

I can't wait for Aubrey Plaza's new film 'The To-Do list" (she's April Ludgate on "Parks and Recreation" ) Inspired by writer/director Maggie Carey's own life as a teen, it twists the standard teen sex comedy narrative: Nerdy high school student Brandy, and not her horndog guy classmates, is dying to lose her virginity before college in the fall. Except for "Easy A" there's not been much mainstream girls' coming-of-age films. So, welcome!

I mean, hello!! A brainy nerdy girl who wants to have some sex, is not looking for true love, and is a big old feminist to boot? It's like someone wrote the story of what I wish my teen years would have been like, except when I was a teenager, girls like that either didn't exist or got pregnant, ruined their lives and died alone. This is a coming-of-age film I can get behind.

And just look at the cast: Alia Shawkat, Donald Glover, Clark Gregg... and Connie Britton (squeal!) And her love interest is an unrecognizable Scott Porter, looking nothing like wheelchair-bound ex-QB Jason Street from Friday Night Lights*.

There's a profile of Plaza in the New York Times where writer Melena Ryzik lays out what's especially cool about the film:

The libidinous travails of teenage boys have driven entire movie franchises..., but the sexual frankness of young women is something new on screen. It’s a reflection of several generations of feminist theory, the openness of online culture and, crucially, the presence of women behind the camera. Ms. Carey and Ms. Plaza also gave Brandy a political point of view: she wears a “Pro-Choice/Pro-Clinton” T-shirt and — shades of Ms. Poehler’s Leslie Knope — has a framed photo of Hillary Rodham Clinton in her bedroom. The movie’s message is that for thinking ladies, too, sex can sometimes be taken lightly.

“It wasn’t about love, she wasn’t looking to get married, she was just like, ‘He is hot,’ ” and she wants him, Ms. Carey said. “Women have those feelings as much as men. You don’t see it a lot in this genre of movie, so that was important to me.”

Ms. Plaza said the matter-of-factness in her character’s sexual awakening was appealing. “Girls learn how to masturbate, too; we just haven’t seen it before,” she said. And it gave her a chance to step outside her “Parks” persona.

I love the actual sex to-do list she writes in the trailer. Makes me want to send her character a V-Card so she can punch a cherry every time she checks something off the list.

*OK, a little part of me would have preferred Taylor "Riggins" Kitsch, but you can't have everything. The film opens on July 26th. Big h/t to Women and Hollywood

Just The Tip: Virginity in the News featuring Sarah Jacobson's films, Tami Taylor and #SB5, a telenovela about a virgin, video from our Kinsey show, and more...

Filmmaker Sarah Jacobson was a groundbreaking filmmaker who celebrated the 1990s Riot Grrrl DIY esthetic with films such as the fantastic feature 'Mary Jane's Not A Virgin Anymore.' I was lucky enough to see this and others in a rare screening last night, and I was blown away by the film's treatment of female and male virginity, masturbation and feminism. Sex, from a teenage girl's point of view!! Seriously, this stuff would be too hot and topical for America today, but it played at Sundance back in 1997. Tragically, Jacobson died in 2004 at 33 and what a loss. If you have a chance to see her films, do it.

Read more about Sarah Jacobson, her film 'I Was A Teenage Serial Killer' and notes from her archives in this post we wrote last year. Get more info, and support the grant in her name for DIY filmmakers of today. And yes, although the similarity in our film titles is totally coincidental, we love it.

~~

1052747_10151701296045837_1515636393_o

Photo of protesters outside Texas Capitol in Austin by The Texas Tribune

wwttd-tshirt-400x470Not specifically about virginity, but anything affecting the regulation of female sexuality and bodily autonomy makes it onto our radar:

The kick-ass women of Texas inspired a lot of odes to Friday Night Lights' Tami Taylor, and begged for Connie Britton to star in the Senator Wendy Davis story, hopefully coming to Lifetime. Connie went halfway there teaming up with Planned Parenthood to launch a brilliant limited edition of "WWTTD (What Would Tami Taylor Do)" t-shirts for sale here.

By the way, when that FNL storyline was playing out, NARAL issued a Tami Taylor inspired line of their own.

To update: Texas still has not resolved SB5, a onerous anti-abortion bill that will effectively reduce clinics providing abortions to 5 in the entire state, and make any abortion illegal after 20 weeks. Last week , we were riveted by the live feed from the Texas State Senate as Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered for over 11 13 hours. Then Sen. Leticia Van de Putte uttered the immortal “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?” which prompted beautiful hell to break loose in the galleries until past the midnight deadline for the vote.

Gov. Rick Perry is still trying to get the bill passed, and many thousands of opponents of the bill have showed up outside the legislature to protest. We stand with Texas Women and the men who support their reproductive rights, so we'll once again watch the live feed at this link, and get background at RH Reality Check.

~~

The Kinsey Institute made a cool video about their Juried Art Show, with interviews and footage from opening night including me (!) talking about How to Lose Your Virginity, The V-Card Diaries and our lovely V-Cards. Check it out, although some of the images won't be suitable for work. Unless you work here, of course.

~~

The CW is developing a show called "Jane the Virgin," based on a Venezuelan telenovela "Juana la Virgen." Vulture describes the original as: "about a 17-year-old girl, Juana, an aspiring photographer, who becomes pregnant when she's accidentally artificially inseminated owing to hospital error." WHAT?! This kind of icky, and sort of like statutory rape, isn't it? Maybe this could be more palatable with a way-over-the-top Ugly Betty treatment.

~~

Abiola Abrams, who is awesome in our film, is doing 'intimacy interventions at Essence. Today she advises a 35-year-old woman who wonders if after many years of sex with men, she can consider herself a virgin again as she contemplates getting intimate with a woman. How does she 'jump her bones without making a fool' of herself? Read Abiola's answer here.

~~

Garfunkel and Oates celebrates the 'anal-sex-to-stay-a-virgin' tradition in their new music video "The Loophole." We'd highly recommend a viewing of Broad Comedy's "Saving My Hymen for Jesus" which celebrated similar sentiments back in 2008.

~~

Thanks to our virginspotters @marymaxfield & @marinmedialab, and @thefrisky. Got a story for our blog? Tweet us or send an email!

Girlfriend Zone: Greatest re-working of the tiredest phrase ever

Which reminds me of a joke: How many friend-zoned guys does it take to change a light bulb? None. They’d just compliment it and get pissed when it won’t screw.

In honor of my Reddit Ask Me Anything, in which, amazingly, no one used the phrase 'friend zone' but there was one use of 'pussy card' (but maybe they meant these)

H/T The Hairpin

Ask Me Anything about Virginity on Reddit this Wednesday!

Reddit IAmA This Wednesday at 3pm (eastern time), I'm going to be doing an Ask Me Anything on Reddit! I'm so excited about talking virginity and answering all your questions, so please join in the conversation. This will be my first time [insert virginity pun here] on Reddit, so I'm a bit nervous. That's why I'd love all you all there with me.

We'll be live on the IAmA page at about 2:45 that day, and you can follow our Tweets here and here and our Facebook page for updates as well.

Ask me about:

- the myth, meaning and magic of our precious gift - making the film (we went from a Harvard abstinence group to a Barely Legal porn set) - our most fascinating V-Card Diaries stories, with 160 posted and counting - losing your virginity, keeping your virginity or rejecting the concept altogether - or ANYTHING!

Please join me this Wednesday at 3pm on Reddit, and forward/tweet/post/share with anyone you know who's interested in having a fun, eye-opening and informative conversation!

Contact me if you have any questions, and there's always info on our (finished!) film "How to Lose Your Virginity" here.

See you on Reddit!

 

Just the Tip: Virginity in the News [Sex Beyond The Wall, Sex in a Pill, and more Virgin Reality Shows]

snow
snow

Who knew that the cave sex of Game of Thrones' boringest sexy couple evah, Jon Snow and Ygritte, would spawn so many think pieces about virginity and sex (with Mad Men and Girls thrown in for good measure, which sounds a lot like our Damsels in Discussion podcast series, but I digress...)

First, a look at talking about male virginity on TV, getting away from the gotta-lose-it-by-college model, to celebrate inexperience:

Jon Snow's deflowering at the hands of Ygritte offered a fresh spin on what's usually depicted as a frantic rush to become sexually experienced. Snow, who took a vow of celibacy upon joining the Night Watch, showed reticence about losing his virginity due his celebacy vows, and presumably, his growing feelings for Ygritte. Similarly, Ginsberg's Mad Men confession about his virginity was rather poignant as it was spewed forth on a first date – not exactly winning dinner conversation.

Not to mention last week's Mad Men which gave us Don/Dick's 'how I lost my virginity' story, which at this point does anyone really care about? But really, isn't the trope of the tender male youth being shown the ways of the world pretty common? And isn't there something really off about the idea that once you do it once you're suddenly 'experienced' and all the secrets of the universe are revealed, as opposed to a long process of getting comfortable with and better at sex?

But we're all for more talk honest talk about sex, and this IndieWire story praises TV addressing all the most squirm-inducing bits head-on:

Laden down with judgments, motives and manipulations, it's no wonder that we've become so alarmist and squeamish about something that should be a natural and powerful part of human expression. The subjects that TV is addressing through explicit sexual depictions is prompting exactly the kinds of discussions we should be having on the subject. The talk of Adam's ejaculate on "Girls" encouraged an examination as to whether or not he was a rapist, based on the grim starkness of the coupling that preceded it. [...] And while it often does so in a horrifically uncomfortable way, the subtle commentary on sex and power in "Game of Thrones" -- both the shadow side of the act, and in purity of self -- reveals an entirely new prospective on the subject.

~~~

The New York Times has a story on the search for a pill to increase female desire, a controversial quest that gets little support from folks who care about  the medicalization of female sexuality. For one thing, they point out that environmental factors are rarely considered when talking about female desire, and so often the conversation descends onto evolutionary psychology (men=hunters who need to spread seed, women=passive nurturers looking for Mr Right) But here's an especially disturbing tidbit from the story from the researcher conducting the study:

“You want your effects to be good but not too good,” Andrew Goldstein, who is conducting the study in Washington, told me. “There was a lot of discussion about it by the experts in the room,” he said, recalling his involvement with the development of Flibanserin, “the need to show that you’re not turning women into nymphomaniacs.” He was still a bit stunned by the entrenched mores that lay within what he’d heard. “There’s a bias against — a fear of creating the sexually aggressive woman.”

At least they're not claiming that all women fantasize about being prostitutes, which is what filmmaker Francois Ozon believes.

[Photographs from New York Times story by Jake Chessum for The New York Times]

~~~

 

In other news, the ever-repellant virginity showman Justin Sisely strikes yet again with another reality show scheme?? I can't believe how much publicity this guy has gotten before he's ever shown even one minute of this reality show (I realize we're part of the problem)

The idea to extend Virgin Wanted to Virgin Wanted 2 came after Sisely received a large number of emails from potential bidders looking for virgins all over the globe.Last year, amidst controversy, Catarina Migliorini auctioned her virginity to a Japanese man at a staggering cost of USD 78,000...

The story has one bright light or common sense:

However, several people have raised serious questions over the entire affair. Medical experts have raised doubts over the claims that there are tests that could prove whether someone is a virgin. A Brazilian attorney general, Joao Pedro Saboia Bandeira de Mello Filho has said that if the deal between the Japanese man and Migliorini goes through, Sisely could be inviting sex-trafficking charges over himself.

One can only hope...

~~~

A quick shout-out to the Finding My Virginity blog, which we liked so much we put its author ('a Christian feminist living outside the Virgin/Whore dichotomy") in our film! And thanks as always to eagle-eyed virginity correspondent @j_aallan.

Are you a VirginSpotter? Send us your Virginity in the News and we'll publish it here!

Meet Judy and Libby, our two newest bloggers

You'll be seeing a couple of new author names on this blog this spring and summer: Judy P. and Libby F., both currently interns here at Trixie Films.

They've been doing great work on "How to Lose Your Virginity" behind the scenes for the last several months. Now, Judy will be writing weekly posts on sex and being a real-life 20-something–and her first post will be about not having sex for 2 years. Libby has taken over as the new editor for V-Card Diaries (our most popular feature!), for both the blog and the new interactive version. We're really excited to have them here and hope you enjoy their work & leave lots of comments!

Libby.Feltch

Libby F. is a recent graduate of Vassar College and a talented writer and researcher. She's done posts on being a virgin at Cosmo and the hymenology of Awkward. If you work in television, you should hire her!

judy

Judy P. is an art history student at Brown University who is interested in the intersections of art, politics, race, class, and gender. She is proud to be a woman, though she thinks it's not always easy to be one. Check out her self-portrait (above).

Do you want to write for this blog?  Send us a note here.

"I haven't had sex for two years and I'm doing perfectly fine, thanks"

judy Judy P. is an art history student at Brown University who is interested in the intersections of art, politics, race, class, and gender. She is proud to be a woman, though she thinks it’s not always easy to be one. Check out her other posts here.

Sophie Fontanel, a chic, intelligent, and attractive editor at Elle France is creating quite the stir with her new memoir, L'Envie, to be published in the United States this year as The Art of Sleeping Alone. It recounts the 12 years she spent abstinent after years of dating and getting tangled up in the hungry legs of men who offered mediocre and unsatisfying sex. One day, she went on a solo skiing trip and pretty much had the best time of her life. She remembers it as a momentous, liberating experience that launched her pursuit of abstinence.

As you'd expect, her book is getting mixed reactions. As The Atlantic's coverage reports, readers' responses are split. When I brought up the content of this book with some of my friends (all in their early 20s), the response was unanimous: “12 years?! She went 12 years without sex? But she's French! That's a really long time. Imagine how much she missed out on during those years.”

There were a few who were impressed by her ability to have “self-control” and “that kind of discipline,” as if she were somehow punishing herself or testing her limits for some kind of masochistic, freak project. A lot of them couldn't figure out why a single, “normal” woman, who had no apparent flaws, would have a no-sex policy during her prime time. I mean, YOLO, right? Shouldn't we all be putting ourselves out there (especially while we're young and sexy), going home with a different bed buddy every night? My best friend, for example, is a sex-oozing creature who does embody this whole free love mentality, going on noncommittal, exciting dates with strangers she meets in bars and having lots of good, fun sex.

And then there are also people like me, a fresh, budding 22-year-old who just doesn't really care much for sex. I haven't had sex for almost 2 years now (and when you're this age and living in this sex-centered cultural climate as a college student, it feels like eons). It's not as if I proclaimed one day, “I'm going to be abstinent from this day forward.” I guess you could say I'm passively abstinent, but not because men/women aren't sexually attracted to me or I'm not sexually attracted to men/women. I have had bad relationship models that have colored my experience and resistance to intimacy. But that's not the whole story, and I'd hate for people to pathologize and assume that if someone chooses not to have sex, there must be some monumental reason that requires lots of psychoanalytic evaluation.

That's why Rachel Hills' TEDx talk, "Understanding the Sex Myth," resonates with me so much. In sum, she talks about the anxiety and pressure we often feel to live up to some kind of sexual standard in our oversexed society. We compare our sex lives to those of others (or the idea we have about how much sex everyone else is having) because we feel this is what defines us. Most of the people I hang out with, and therefore compare myself to, have multiple partners and do have sex on a regular basis, so I was blown away by some of the statistics she presented. For example, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health found that the most common number of sexual partners an unmarried 18-23 year old will have in a given year is just 1. Because I presumed that everyone around me was always having so much sex, there were times when I felt like an oddball, like something was wrong with me.

Sometimes, I simply don't give a damn about sex and don't feel stimulated, end of story. This is not to say I don't get the hots because let me be the first to admit that sexy thoughts are on my mind every day. And that's important because I consider myself a sexual being, even when I'm not engaging in the physical act of sex. I love the idea of sex, but it hasn't played out that well in real life: I've had unremarkable sex where I'd be penetrated repeatedly, and it just felt “mechanical,” as Fontanel puts it. I'd look up at the ceiling and wonder, “When is this gonna end? I would really rather just go to sleep.”

Fontanel claims that some of her peers branded her as “frigid, abnormal, bitter, neurotic, a lesbian.” I've been called similar things in the past. But there are actually a substantial number of women and men who appreciate her courage and relate to her feelings about sex. What it really comes down to is choice, but our culture is rather good at providing repercussions for our individual, sexual decisions: if you have lots of sex, you're a slut; if you choose not to have sex, for non-religious/ non-cultural reasons, you're a prude or a lesbian. I like to think that my sexuality is fluid—that I can have casual, exciting sex with someone in one moment, whenever that may be, and not bother with sex at all the next, for as long as I please.

Viral Virginity Video Time: You'll never guess what everyone is searching for on Google!

A YouTube video that's currently going viral features an interesting take on the aging process and a ton of virginity references. The first shot of the video titled, "Life through Google's eyes," shows us what Google generates as suggestions to finish the search phrase, "I'm 10 and..." with the age in the search term increasing until 85.

The suggestion, "still a virgin," pops up with almost every age. As the video description so aptly put it: "This reflects the fears, inquiries, preoccupations, obsessions and fixations of the human being at a certain age and our evolution through life," with virginity of course being one of the top concerns from start to finish.

The project was completed using the "incognito tab" where there would be no user search history. If you try it out yourselves, you might get different results. What does your Google aging process look like? Personally, I'd really like to see a Time Lord or vampire try it out.