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V-Card Diaries: James "My valedictorian medal had a big V on it, which could have also stood for virgin"

Today we're highlighting James in Canada, whose romantic encounter with a woman at a bonfire ended in disappointment, but also reassurance that someone found him attractive. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I'm a 19 year-old boy from Canada who is a second year university student. I was also my high school's Valedictorian and was given a medal with a big "V" on it. It's funny how the "V" could also stand for "Virgin."

How I define virginity:

Never having consensually caused an orgasm though physical contact with another person. Also a patriarchal construct used as a reference to self-value, commodifying women and stratifying men; engrained into consciousness so well that it has become a dominant part in some people's lives. Heck, even I have trouble letting go of the idea that it something special.

Here's my story:

All throughout middle school and high school I have never had a girlfriend, due mostly to my lack of social skills. I remember feeling different and slightly alienated from my peers as it seemed everyone else I knew was able to easily acquire a boyfriend or girlfriend. Me being a guy, I rarely got asked out. I remember the first time I was asked out was in grade 7. I was really nervous being young and less familiar to the whole "dating game" and ended up saying neither "yes" nor "no" to her. I now regret that.

The farthest I have ever gone with anyone was with this girl I met at a late night bonfire beach party. She was a year young than I was and I remember how she would frequently come to talk with me and seemed interested with everything I said, which I thought was just her being freindly. She started getting cuddly with me and I cuddled her back since I thought she was cute. The party ended when the tide came in and the fire was put out. We were the last to leave and we ended up getting lost while walking; to where, I don't remember. It was dark and we were alone so we went back to my car, which was parked by the beach. When we got to my car I remember us standing there and staring at each other when it just happened, we kissed!

We then ended up cuddling and making out in my car and talked to each other about various things. She told me that she had had a crush on me for a while and even viewed my Facebook profile a few times. She even told me that she was attracted by my social awkwardness. I eventually addmitted to her that I was a virgin and that I never really had a girlfriend before and she told me she too was a virgin, which was nice to know. I found out we had quite a few things in common and we ended up crashing for the night in my car. I remember asking her jokingly if this meant we slept together.

Thinking I had a new girlfriend, I messaged her a few days later. She responded by telling me how drunk she was that night and how she didn't really want a relationship with anyone and how sorry she was. I was deeply saddened and disappointed but got over it after a solitary walk through town. I am still a virgin who has never been in a relationship but it is nice to know that there are others in my situation. It is also reassuring to know that there is at least one person out there who finds me attractive.

I Was A Dress Code Harlot

dresscode [Poster via thecatsmeow90]

Ah, dress codes. A week doesn't go by without news about sixth graders being condemned for wearing shorts or female reporters being kicked out of court rooms for going sleeveless or nursing students being told to cover up so as not to distract from the learning environment. Even though I'm already a rising junior at an art school and don't really have to worry about a specific dress code (except to look ~*~super fly~*~ of course), it’s still something I think about when I hear stories from my younger sister and her friends.

Looking back at my high school’s dress code, it's clear how sexist the rules were. Even though there was no specific reference to “female students,” the focus on cleavage, skirt lengths, and cami width was obviously gendered. Trans* girls had it even rougher; their dress code violations were for performing an “act that shocks social conscience,” or in other words, wearing skirts or dresses (exact phrase from the old handbook...sad, but true). Appallingly, my school’s handbook considered  repeat dress code violations of the same caliber as dealing drugs, bullying, and committing arson.

Photos of my "slutty" high school self

One of the biggest enforcers of this policy when I was in high school was my chemistry teacher. (Hi, Ms. Esselman!) Her favorite phrase: “modest is hottest.” I think she spent more time scouting for teen cleavage than bullying or drug use. Unfortunately, I was one of those teen cleavage offenders. Above are of some of the outfits that got me in trouble. It wasn’t always intentional, though; as a girl who, um, filled out at a pretty early age, sometimes the most basic boatneck t-shirt became slutty.

Throughout my time in high school I was forced to swap my shorts for sweatpants from the lost-and-found box, wear a sweatshirt to cover my shoulders and cleavage on a hot day, and adjust my bra straps so they weren’t showing. It was incredibly humiliating to be called out for dress code, particularly because it demonstrated that your teachers were looking at you “that way,” and so each day I crossed my fingers before class that I would go unnoticed. Kind of hard when you’re trying to actively participate in the classroom, though.

Speaking up is an important way to be involved, demonstrate that you’re smart, and interact with the class material, but it’s also a good way for a teacher to notice that you’re wearing shorts because of the 90 degree weather outside. A lot of women in my class were forced to choose between speaking up in class and being called out for “immodest dress” or staying silent and potentially avoiding reprimand. Many people may wonder, “So why not fully cover yourself and avoid getting in trouble?” Well, we could always wear burqas, but then our scandalous ankles might show!

But here's the real issue with this line of thinking: It forces women to address a situation they are not in control of–namely, the way other people perceive and interact with their bodies–instead of addressing the origin of the issue itself. Female bodies are neither inherently sexual nor exist for guys to look at, exposed shoulders do not warrant disrespect, and the female body is not shameful.

Fortunately for my harlot self’s sake, Ms. Esselman took it easier on me once I finally wedged my way into her heart. I worked hard in class and stayed afterward to ask questions and participated often despite the threat of being sent to the office to change. Instead of shouting at me like she did with most of the other young women in the class, she just made a very excessive gesture at me to cover up. Still incredibly awkward, but much more bearable. She never learned that what she was doing was sexist, though; I think she allowed herself to see me as a person rather than as a sexual object, which made it easier to interact with me like like a human being. Some might think that was an improvement, but it still didn’t alter the current system in place.

There has been more backlash against school dress codes recently, but most schools aren't interested in altering their policies anytime soon. Going back to visit old teachers is still stressful. As I walk through my old halls, occasionally I’ll get a questioning up-and-down glance from an administrator, and I’ll attempt to telepathically convey, “Hello, yes, I am a grown-ass woman and no longer attend this school. Please do not stop me because I am having none of it.”

Think your dress code might be sexist? Here's a handy dandy guide to help you out.

Moriah is a student at RISD and a summer intern at Trixie Films. You can read more about her here.

V-Card Diaries: Rachel "I wasn't paying too much attention when something very different than a finger slid right into me."

**Trigger warning** Today we're highlighting Rachel in Israel, who who didn't want to lose her virginity, but certainly enjoyed what she was doing. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.

Editor's note: We're grateful that Rachel shared her story, and that we can publish it on the same day as How To Lose Your Virignity's Israeli Television premiere. More info here.

Tell us about yourself:

I'm 23-year-old recently married girl from Israel.

How do you define virginity?

Long gone.

Tell us your story

I was 16 years old and at that time I used to go out and party a lot. Drinking and dancing mostly, no drugs or anything like that. I would hook up with some boys on occasion. I was usually in control and knew that I didn't want to lose my virginity quite yet but I certainly enjoyed what i was doing.

Anyway, one night I ended up hanging up with a guy and we both got pretty drunk. We went off to very obviously make out and I told him up from that I am virgin and want to stay that way just to manage his expectations.

It was out doors and we climbed this wall to find a more private location (neither of us had where to go). We made out and I gave him head during which he grabbed my head and wouldn't let me breath. And he eventually was fingering me and I wasn't paying too much attention when something very different than a finger slid right into me. I pushed him off of me and started screaming at him that I told him I didn't want that.

He just left and left me all alone to climb this wall out while I'm half-naked and drunk. I fell. The next day I started freaking out about being pregnant or having an STD and I had no access to pharmacies and all in all a very unpleasant experience. Until this day I won't let my husband touch my head while I give him oral sex.

V-Card Diaries: Selina "I'm adept at solo sex but society doesn't count that as real sex"

Today we're highlighting Selina, a 24-year-old woman from London who feels like an outcast because she is still a virgin. 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 24-year-old woman from London.

How do you define virginity?

When you've not had any kind of sexual contact, be it with another person or yourself.

Tell us your story:

I'm Jewish, and a recently-discovered bisexual (preferring women to men mainly). It took me several years to figure that out and I'm only comfortable in considering so now, but still reluctant to talk about it.

I'm still a virgin and as most people don't know, it takes a bit of wriggling out of the conversation so they will forget about the topic. The ones who do know mainly treat me like a freak, especially because I have never had a relationship, been on a date or ever been kissed, especially at my age when most people have had a few years experience. I am patronized easily by them, even if they are my friends, and I find myself being left out of conversations because of it. I'm not waiting for marriage, just for the right person.

I'm finally ready to start but with little choice and not much support, I find it difficult to express myself. I'm adept at solo sex and have been for some time but I understand that society doesn't seem to count that as real sex. Being literally untouched, I will still have to consider myself a virgin compared to most other people.

V-Card Diaries: Pure Ant "I'm inexperienced and scared to death of being in bed with a woman"

Today we're highlighting Pure Ant, a 51-year-old man from Australia who questions his manhood because he has never lost his virginity. 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 quiet guy, 51 years old, from NSW, Australia.

How do you define virginity?

Never having the opportunity to experience sexual intercourse with a lady.

Tell us your story:

I'm 51 and a virgin. I have had many thoughts run through my head about this as the years kept rolling by. What is wrong with me? Then, I actually started thinking that maybe I'm special in a way; a shy virgin. Over the years I've been on some dates with women, but when it came to sexual intercourse, I was a complete nervous wreck and failure. Now, at 51, I'm still nervous and shy around women and if for some reason I was put into this position, I think it would be even more difficult now at my age to tell a woman I'm a virgin and that I would need her guidance and experience to teach me. I'm no movie star or model and women don't turn their heads to look at me, but when a woman would go to bed with me the nerves and shakes and total lack of experience would leave me failing again.

I don't know if it sounds weird, but at my age now, living without sex, I kind of have a yearning that if I could lose my virginity even with a prostitute I would love to be taken by a strong lady. Someone that would take control  and assure me that she will look after me.

Am I special, or am I a freak? I'm inexperienced and scared to death of being in a bed with a woman. I could never perform to satisfy a woman of experience, and would start trembling again if the opportunity ever arose. I wondered in my dreams sometimes what it would be like to meet a lady that will take hold of me, knowing I'm a virgin, and comfort me holding me in her arms before taking me.

V-Card Diaries: David "I got to know other females, but they put me straight into the Friend Zone"

Today we're highlighting David, a 57-year-old man from Australia, who wonders how couples have managed to create relationships. 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 male, 57-years-old, from South Melbourne, Australia.

How do you define virginity?

A person who has never had sex.

Tell us your story:

Just turned 57, and like all of you, I’m still a virgin and  I’ve never had a real girlfriend either. I’ve found that as I've aged, I’ve tended to lose a fair bit of my inhibition, and have to be careful of (at times) what I say.  I recently came to the conclusion that if an average 14-year-old male came to me and told me he’d had a vision that he would remain a virgin until he was 50, I’d say to him “Have you thought of jumping in front of a fast-moving car?” For someone like myself, I just don’t think it’s worth going through the hell of sexual frustration: I’ve been there too long.  After ending 10 years of chronic anxiety, my libido increased about 8 months ago, and I had to go through it again.

When I was about 16, I fell in love with a fellow (female) student at school.  It was a typical country romance – I’d known her for about 5 years, and we’d grown up together. But even though she knew I loved her, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her; I was too shy, and under a heavy dose of testosterone. She approached me three times, but was never proactive about it and after this, she gave up.  There was no one else, just her.  I never went to dances–don’t like them, and never drank alcohol, so I couldn’t rely on this to lower my inhibitions and increase my confidence.  I just didn’t know what to say to her.  I got to know two other females in the next 7 years or so who I took an interest in and told, but they put me straight into the “friend zone.” End of story.

In 1986, I moved from country Australia to the main state city due to a life crisis that would last for more than 20 years. I’d been told by a number of supposedly “wise” people that this would be the best thing to do, and that I’d be “forced” to make new friendships etc. As I’d intuitively felt, it never worked that way.  I consequently became socially isolated, and never really made any friends; picking up females in bars was out of the question.  In 1985, I saw a psychiatrist to obtain advice prior to moving down to the city.  When I asked her advice on trying to get a girlfriend, she made a face and changed the subject immediately.

In 1990, in the city, I sought counseling from a very nice lady who worked for the local council to try to help with my adjustment problems in the city.  When I asked her the same question, she said “You don’t need to to have a sexual relationship.” I told her I just wanted a girlfriend, and all she could suggest was that it was easy to meet people by walking dogs in the park.

Feminism has apparently taught females to “have sex like a man,” but many don’t seem to realize what they’re missing out on by approaching quiet males and building up their confidence.  I suggest reading JM Kearn’s 2008 classic “Why Mr Right Can’t Find You.” I think it explains a great deal.

Until the internet came online, there was, it seems, very little worthwhile information on relationship development.  I still see couples of all ages, and keep thinking “How did they do that?” (form a relationship).

V-Card Diaries: Vannessa "Although we've had steamy make out sessions, it never turned into me swiping my V-Card"

Today we're highlighting Vannessa, a 21-year-old woman from California who was happy she waited for the right guy to 'swipe her V-Card.' 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 21-year-old California girl & college student!

How do you define virginity?

Up until I had an actual penis inside my vagina, I defined virginity as anything sexual done with another person: Oral sex, fingering, hand jobs, and even phone sex! All of which I have participated in simply to be one of the cool high school girls.

Tell us your story:

About a month after my 20th birthday, my sex-craving military boyfriend called it quits. I was devastated but thankful that I stood my ground on NOT letting him take my virginity. Soon after I met an employee next door from where I worked and immediately felt 100% certain he was the man I wanted to have sex with for the first time. Weeks passed and although we've had steamy make out sessions, it never turned into me swiping my V-Card. It took 3, maybe more, nights filled with sexy mood music & candles until his penis finally entered my vagina! The initial process was painful and as the days of sex wore on, my vagina began to really enjoy it!

It has only been a year and a half but I am still SO thankful I didn't give in to that sex-crazed military ex of mine and waited for the man whom I hope to share the rest of my life with.

V-Card Diaries: Z "It didn't feel amazing like the oral sex had, it just felt kind of strange. And then it was over."

Today we're highlighting Z, a 20-year-old woman from Ithaca, NY who doesn't feel the least bit guilty that she had sex for the first time with someone she didn't know that well because she did it on her own terms. 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 female from Ithaca, New York. I'm in my junior year at Hobart and William Smith Colleges studying Social Justice, with minors in Theater and Latin American Studies.

How do you define virginity?

How I define virginity has changed for me so much to the point that I feel I've 'lost' my virginity multiple times, but still have things I have never experienced thus I am a 'virgin' for. I understand the medical idea of virginity, breaking of the hymen and so forth, but by that notion I may have lost my virginity the first time I used a tampon which was years before I had actual 'sex’ is just kind of silly to me. I consider intercourse to be breaking the virginity seal (hymen), but I know that sex and physical relations come in many forms, not all that require or include penetration, but that, at least under my definition, makes people no longer virgins. Virginity for me is about growing up. It's stepping over a threshold from innocence into adulthood, and sex is a large part of what our culture thinks makes us adults. I don't think that the loss of your virginity automatically makes you an adult, it's simply one thing in a series of events that allows you to view yourself in a different light.

Tell us your story:

Well first off let me say that I was desperate, absolutely desperate to lose my virginity. I thought that it had taken longer than average for me to have my first kiss, first date etc. and as I thought I was behind the curve, I wanted to get it over and done with. I thought about sex constantly (gotta love those teenage hormones) and thought that losing my virginity would be like a magical on/off switch that would cure my self-esteem problems and worries about the fact that I didn't have a 'real' boyfriend. I always had a number of friends who were older than me, I had gotten my first kiss from someone 10 years older than me, and in my 17 year old naivete I thought that being considered 'one of the team' made me as mature as 'the rest of the team.'

One night in October, I was hanging out at one of these older friends houses, with a few of his friends who I knew fairly well. We were smoking weed, watching TV, drinking a few beers; not doing anything particularly important. I'd been flirting with this one guy all night, and at some point we found ourselves alone in the room. Everyone else had gone to sleep, or smoke, or passed out, I'm not even sure. We started making out, and then he went down on me. Now understand this, I had only been kissed a handful of times and groped maybe once, but that was it. I had virtually no experience and a lot of pent up sexual frustration. So having a guy go down on me for the first time was beyond amazing. I'd never had an orgasm before, had read about them of course, but hadn't really been able to imagine what it would actually feel like. It felt fucking amazing.

I kept asking him to have sex with me, (thinking that while this was unbelievably good, it wasn't actual sex like I'd been thinking about it). He kept deferring, he knew I was a virgin and didn't want to be the one to lead me into my sexual life. He made me come multiple times between the weed and the late night, and first time having anything down there, it just stands out in my mind as a huge block of time of indescribable pleasure. I kept begging and pleading and finally we did it. Or rather he did, I didn't do all that much, since I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing, and was too nervous about doing something wrong. It was kind of a let down. I mean I felt it, but it didn't feel amazing like the oral sex had, it just felt kind of strange. And then it was over.

For a few weeks after that I felt horribly racked with guilt that I didn't feel guilty. I mean I lost my virginity to a friend of a friend on the first friends couch; both of whom were older than me, I was stoned, a little tipsy, and you know what? I didn't care at all. I still don't. I lost my virginity on my own terms, when I wanted to. I wasn't forced or tricked into it, even if others think I was. I wasn't hurt, I was careful, didn't get sick or pregnant. It was simply over. The amount of relief I felt at just having done it was overwhelming.

I've had enough sex since, to know and respect the difference between sex just for the sake of sex with someone you don't know well or at all, and sex with someone you like or love. Sex with someone you care deeply about is extremely special, beautiful even in how it makes you feel. But, at least for me, your first time doesn't have to be this magical expression of love. Losing your virginity is awkward, it feels strange, you don't know if you're doing anything right, or even if you're doing it wrong. I feel lucky that I lost it with someone who knew what they were doing, even if they didn't know me. My society tells me I should feel guilty for how I lost it, but I don't. Not one little bit.

V-Card Diaries: Claire "I never intended to stay a virgin for so long, so I'm hiring an escort for the night."

Today we're highlighting Claire, a 30-year-old woman from Sydney, Australia, who's ready to take some extreme actions to shed her virginity. 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:  

My name is Claire. I'm 30 (about to be 31), female, and I live in Sydney, Australia.

How do you define virginity? 

When I learned about sex, I was taught it was between a man and a woman and centered around vaginal penetration.  I was 16 before I realized that there was an option other than heterosexual–talk about sheltered. Even though there must be other definitions, I can't stop thinking of a virgin as someone who has never had a penis in their vagina (or of course put their penis in someone’s vagina).

Tell us your story:

I never intended to stay a virgin for so long.  There was no decision, no religious grounds, no anything else; in some ways it would be easier if there was/had been. I've been 'large' for most of my life and it's taken me a long time to feel OK with that.  I never understood why someone would find me attractive, so when asked on a date I would assume they were desperate, dared or insane, none of which appealed to me so I would always say no. In a way, I stayed a virgin only because I never let anyone close enough to form a relationship where I'd want to have sex with them.

I didn't really think about my virginity one way another until about 24 when almost overnight I developed this feeling that I had 'missed the boat.'  Suddenly it went from something I didn't even think about to a source of shame.  I always thought 'how do you explain to someone that you want to wait longer because it's your first time?' Most of my friends thought nothing of casual sex, and I felt so different to them. In the end I decided that I didn't care; I wasn't going to let being a virgin define who I am or how I live my life.  But at 30 (almost 31) everyone around me is getting married and/or having children and I've still never had sex.  In a lot of ways I just want it done, I wish I'd just had a one night stand years ago.

So I decided I needed a plan, I'm NOT making it to 31!  I've been trying everything from dating sites to 'adult-dating' sites. It hasn't been working so I'm hiring an escort for a night.  I haven't chosen one yet, still trawling through the hundreds of them out there, my cut off for deciding is the end of September.

Some will criticize, but I'm comfortable with this choice. My first time will be with someone who knows what they're doing, and who's probably heard it all before.