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V-Card Diaries Follow-up: Sarah "I chose not just sex, but an entirely new life path in which I was going to put my own goals and values first"

Writing from: Knoxville TN

Age: Early 20s

How I define virginity: A virgin is someone who has never had sex. But it also has something to do with how you feel about your own sexuality.

I posted on here before, and it was really cathartic, so I'm sharing a follow up.

I had sex for the first time about a month ago with the guy I was dating who I'd sort of picked out. I was pretty nervous beforehand, and not expecting much. It was a million times better than what I thought it was going to be. We've had sex many, many times since, and tried all kinds of things. The trust and communication are amazing.

But in my mind, the moment when I felt like I wasn't a virgin anymore was when I got the birth control implant put in my arm. To me, it concretely represented the fact that I was choosing not just sex, but an entirely new life path in which I was going to put my own goals and values first and prioritize expanding my knowledge and experience. After that point, it felt like everything was in my hands, way beyond the realm of sexuality. So virginity means choice, and choice means so much more.

You can read Sarah's original post on The V-Card Diaries here.  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'm scared to lose my virginity because I'm scared I will get pregnant."

I'm scared to lose my virginity because I'm scared I will get pregnant the first time I ever do it because that's the kind of luck I have – Anonymous

Dear Anonymous – I’m really glad you asked this question. Sex can be amazing, but being ready for any kind of sex is more than just making physical and emotional connections. It also means you and your partner are taking responsibility for using the right contraception and STI prevention–which I know can sometimes be confusing and awkward.

I have TOTALLY been there myself, and I’m really ashamed to say that the first time I had intercourse I used no birth control at all. So stupid and scary, and I was very lucky to not get pregnant or get an STI*. I did NOT make that mistake again. I immediately scheduled my first gynecologist appointment and decided to go on the pill (and never got pregnant). That was the right choice for me at the time, but everyone's situation is different.

One little thought: Having any kind of sex for the first time can sometimes be scary, or make us nervous. Think about whether fear of pregnancy is masking some other deeper concerns about being intimate. I'll leave that there for you to ponder and get on to the birth control info.

First of all, the best way not to get pregnant is not to have intercourse (Jane The Virgin doesn’t count) but if you do want to have intercourse, birth control should never, ever be a matter of luck. It’s about educating yourself on the best BC option for you, and then using it exactly as directed. Despite what abstinence-until-marriage programs teach, contraception is safe and effective when used correctly (and a lot safer than going through a pregnancy). 

A great place to start is with this handy guide from our friends at Scarleteen. It walks you through questions about what’s most useful and healthy for YOU and gives lots of suggestions on what to use. Planned Parenthood also has a great guide as does Bedsider.

Once you have an idea of what works best for you, go see your health care provider. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Planned Parenthood office, they’ll be happy to help you, and it will be less expensive. Stay way clear of Crisis Pregnancy Centers which advertise the same services but then give you misinformation and shame instead of contraception.

One other thing to consider: If you’re having sex within a relationship and your birth control costs a bit of cash, it’s only fair that your partner helps pay for it. Just because you’re the one who can get pregnant, it doesn’t mean it’s not his responsibility as well. 

*Don’t forget Sexually Transmitted Infections, which can be an even bigger risk than pregnancy because you don’t have to have intercourse to get infected. Condoms are the only way to protect yourself against those so have your partner keep using them. Also, because no BC is absolutely 100% effective (although many come very close), condoms can be a great backup.

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

Amy Schumer is seriously ON FIRE this season!

"Ask your boss to ask his priest if birth control is right for you." See more of Inside Amy Schumer here.

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

Mild spoilers ahead...

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

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

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

They write (our boldface):

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

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

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

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

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

V-Card Diaries: Victoria "I lost my virginity at 14 to my boyfriend of a year. We were young as hell and in love as hell."

Today we're highlighting Victoria from California lost her virginity at age 14 to the love of her life. 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:

My name is Victoria, a female. I'm 16 years old and I live in a small, small town in California. It's literally tourist spot. All year round I see different people from around the world in Hawaiian shirts and flip flops, even though where I am it gets to below freezing.

How I define virginity:

Your virginity is NOT defined by your religion, your parents, or even your boyfriend. It's defined by YOU, however you want to define it.

Here's my story:

I lost my virginity when I was fourteen, to my boyfriend of a year. We were young as hell and in love as hell. In my family no one had ever talked to me about periods, love, sex, or drugs. I had to figure it out all own my own, just like a discovered how to put a tampon in the hard way.

I had started dating my boyfriend in 8th grade, and by freshmen year, we were definitely talking about sex. It was scary, because in school we were learning about condoms and birth control and stuff. Before we decided to have sex, I went on the pill. Two words, FUCK THAT. I had forgotten to take my pill at least 3 times a week every single week, so eventually I just stopped. I lost my virginity on my fourteenth birthday, in my boyfriends tiny room.

We got to his house and I stood next to his dresser without saying anything. I know, super awk. Anyways, long story short he had bought me Victoria's Secret underwear for my birthday and I was so uncomfortable in my lacey thong I literally couldn't move. We didn't get naked, but there was a couple laughs and a couple moans, and a couple cries and it was so worth it. If I have one word of advice it's definitely to lose it to someone special to you, I will never regret losing it to him because he was the love of my life and still is. I've been with him since I was 13.

V-Card Diaries: Gwen "I wasn't raised in a sexually repressive atmosphere. Quite the opposite."

Today we're highlighting Gwen in Sweden whose first sexual partner was an Eminem wannabe she met at a Bartles and James wine cooler party. 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:

39-year-old dual American-Swedish citizen living in Sweden. After two unhappy long term relationships (one of which was mostly sexless) I am engaged to the man of my dreams.

How I define virginity:

Having never done anything sexual before, and this includes masturbation. By this definition, I lost my virginity at the age of four, since that's when I started masturbating.

Here's my story:

I've always been a very sexual woman. I was a very horny little girl and began masturbating when I was about four years old. Thankfully, I wasn't raised in a sexually repressive atmosphere. Quite the opposite, really. My mother put me on the pill when I was sixteen, although I had already lost my virginity by then.

When I was fifteen I went on a date with a guy that I met through a friend. He was a white rapper, kind of an Eminem wannabe type. We went to a party where everyone was drinking Bartles and James wine coolers with Sweet Child of Mine playing in the background. Someone handed me a Fuzzy Navel cooler, but I could only drink a few sips of this overly sweet alcopop. I didn't know I was going to have sex for the first time that night, but after making out on a sofa for about an hour, I decided I was ready. I asked him if he had protection and he said yes.

We ventured outside for a little privacy. He laid his jacket on the ground and he proceeded to remove my jeans. The make out session left me nice and lubed up, but it still hurt like hell when he penetrated me. The pain was surprising, and I remember telling him to stop. He stopped thrusting so I could relax a little, and then we continued. After a few minutes it stopped hurting and I started to enjoy it, although I certainly didn't come.

Afterwards, we got dressed and he took me home. That was the only time I ever went out with him and I never saw him again, although I did talk to him once or twice afterwards.

After that, I didn't have sex again for almost a year.

Conservative Public Policy: Just Stop Fornicating, Ladies!

This week our Former Fundamentalist weighs in on the effectiveness of family planning programs. This article really put a bee in my bonnet. It's starts out happily enough by outlining a recent study which proves the undeniable 3-pronged effectiveness of publicly funded family planning:

...[it] prevents nearly 2 million unintended pregnancies and more than 800,000 abortions in the United States each year, saving billions of dollars...Without publicly funded family planning, it said, the U.S. abortion rate would be nearly two-thirds higher, and nearly twice as high among poor women."

DID YOU READ THAT LAST PART? FAMILY PLANNING PREVENTS ABORTIONS! Sorry to yell. I'm not mad. No, I'm lying. I am mad. I'm just not mad at you. Unless you are Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council. He says stupid crap like:

"[Funding for Title X] is another Planned Parenthood bailout...It covers their overhead."

Yeah, Tony. I know PP is like your mortal enemy because of all the fetus vacuums they service, but Title X funds can't be used for abortions. Besides (see above), if we took Tony's advice, the abortion rate would be 2/3 higher than it is right now. His sage advice, by the way is "Don't have sex until marriage."

"[Tony] also expressed concern about the concept of public funding of contraception for unmarried people...'The issue is whether taxpayers should fund, and thereby encourage, behavior that's risky and morally questionable'".

I cannot believe that we even consider the opinions of a fanatic who treats the masses like his personal youth group experiment. DO PEOPLE STILL BELIEVE THE EXISTENCE OF BIRTH CONTROL CAUSES PEOPLE TO HAVE SEX?

So whatever. Conservatives continue to take indefensible positions and alienate constituencies like low-income and minority women, who have higher rates of unintended pregnancies and abortions anyway. But fuck 'em, right? Everyone knows poor women, women of color, women who have sex outside of marriage, women who exercise their reproductive freedom...really all women and their weak arms and tiny lady brains are going to hell anyway.