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A delightful animation that encourages us to talk more openly about sex...with British accents if possible. (NSFW)

Animator Anna Ginsburg's Private Parts couples fabulously creative animation with the always-excellent goal of getting us to talk more openly about sex. It was commissioned by the UK's Channel 4 in collaboration with It's Nice That, who quotes the filmmaker:

“Conversations I’ve had with close female and male friends over the last decade have shed light on the continuing struggle that women have to engage with and love their own bodies, and to access the sexual pleasure they are capable of,” says Anna. “I’ve been exposed to ‘dick drawings’ since primary school but have rarely, if ever, seen a vagina visualised other than in a clinical medical context. So I thought that talking to men and women about vaginas, masturbation and pubic hair – and then animating them as talking genitals – would be a good place to start in my crusade to open up these issues of sexual inequality and get the conversation started.”

Only quibble: We're enjoying adorable vulvas, not vaginas. Sigh.

V-Card Diaries: Lucy "Even though I've been masturbating since my early teens, I've never actually orgasmed. Am I missing much?"

Writing from: The USA

Age: Late teens

How I define Virginity: Never engaging in physically intimate and consensual contact with a trusted individual(s)

My definition of virginity has changed so much recently. I used to think a person could do everything but PiV and still consider themselves virgins, but that's kind of changing.

I'm 19, 86%-hetero-female, and I've been with my (first) boyfriend for almost 2 months. I never dated in High School and honestly didn't expect to find someone even here at college. Although I consider myself an outgoing person and I've reached bro-status with many of my guy friends, I've always been awkward around/about boys I like.

My boyfriend was my first kiss and he is a really great guy. He's had a little more relationship experience than me, but we're both still "virgins" (in the widely accepted penis-in-vagina sense of the word). Recently we've done more hands stuff and its been great. We're both inexperienced, but learning together. I've gotten him off a few times now; however, he's "failed" to do the same. Even though I've been masturbating since my early teens, I've never actually orgasmed. Am I missing much? Am I abnormal for not "getting there?" I don't really care if I don't get there, but should I?

Note from Trixie: One of the main reasons people have any kind of sex is because it gives them pleasure–and orgasm is certainly high on the list of pleasurable sensations. So, yes, you might be missing much if you've never orgasmed! If you're near a lady-friendly sex shop like Good Vibrations, Babeland or Early To Bed, we'd suggest you drop by and talk to them about a toy or technique that might help, either for you to try alone or with your boyfriend. I realize that may be mortifyingly embarrassing, but they are orgasm professionals and would love to help : ) There are also lots of websites that can help, like Betty Dodson, the queen of masturbation. Good luck!

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.

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

My definition of virginity:  

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

Here's my story:

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

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

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

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

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

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




V-Card Diaries: Noodlegirl "I was so clueless, I had to Google what I had felt to see if I'd had an orgasm."

Today we're highlighting Noodlegirl from a US East Coast city whose most positive feeling about her breakup was relief she didn't have sex with her boyfriend.  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 am a 22-year-old woman who recently graduated from college and is (hopefully) nearing the end of a search for a job near the east coast city where I attended college. I have always wanted to wait until marriage to have sex.

How I define virginity:

I define virginity as penis in vagina penetration.

Here's my story:

I was raised in a Christian home and went to a conservative Christian school until I was 13. Sex wasn’t discussed very much in my home or at the Christian school, but I remember being told more than once that I should wait to have sex until marriage.

I believe as a result of this conservative upbringing, I arrived at the dating/sex scene much later than many of my friends did. I started experimenting with non-penetrative masturbation when I was 18 or 19 and had my first orgasm at age 19. I was so clueless about everything that I wasn’t even sure that I had had an orgasm. I had to google what I had ‘felt’ just to see if I had actually had one. Although I have always wanted a boyfriend, I have pretty high standards and wholeheartedly believe in waiting for someone who I feel I am truly compatible with personality and value-wise. So, I waited. Then, in the fall of my senior year, at age 21, I met a guy who lived on my floor in my dorm. We got along very well and became good friends and eventually started dating. Our relationship recently ended and lasted 10 months.

Very early on in the relationship, I was honest about my desire to not have sex. He was a virgin as well, raised in a religious family, and agreed to wait. However, later on I found out that he had misunderstood me. He was willing to wait for a commitment, but he was not willing to wait for marriage. Regardless, while we were together, he respected my desire not to have penetrative sex. The more ‘bases we rounded’, though, the more he expressed a desire to have sex. We had countless discussions and arguments about why we weren’t having sex, and though he broke it off for other reasons, I can’t help but think that the issue of sex factored in. One of the most positive feelings I have had about this break-up is the relief that I didn’t have sex with him.

While I do agree with the religious reasons for not having sex, I also believe that sex connects you to someone emotionally, whether you feel like it does or not. It is so intimate of an act that I believe that you give a little part of yourself to anyone you have sex with. It’s not that you can’t get that part back or fill that void again, but I believe that you must go through a lot of pain and subsequent healing to get it back. I also believe that if you have trouble reconciling what you’ve ‘given away,’ it can affect your future sexual and relationship experiences. Thus, I only want to have sex with one person, and I want it to be on my wedding night with my husband. I want to preserve that intimacy and make it as special as it should be for both of us.

V-Card Diaries: Christine "My social anxiety kept me from forming intimate sexual relationships."

Today we're highlighting Christine in Wisconsin, who feels she'll be single for a long while and hopes to experience a fulfilling sexuality even without a partner. 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 29-year-old female living in Wisconsin. I'm a librarian.

How I define virginity:

I don't like the word "virginity" or all that it entails. I think it's an outmoded term. I like what Betty Dodson has to say on the matter, that if you've experienced orgasm or any kind of sex (including masturbation), you are not a virgin. By this standard, I have not been a virgin for quite some time. I unfortunately also operate under more conventional definitions of virginity, which is not having experienced male-female vaginal penetration. I have not done that. And moreover, I consider myself a virgin because there are so many levels of sexual and romantic contact that I have not experienced.

Here's my story: 

I grew up in a home where my parents required all my emotional resources and there wasn’t much space for me to seek relationships outside the family. I developed social anxiety over the years and got used to not spending much time with peers. I’m finally free of this dynamic and it is taking time and considerable effort to redirect my energies to creating fulfilling relationships.

I am a very sexual person who enjoys masturbating frequently and sometimes uses books, porn, and toys. For about two years, I had extremely strong sexual desire that led me to engaging in online sex (chatting, phone sex, exchanging photos) several times a day. I will probably be single for a long while and my hope is to experience my sexuality as fulfilling and real even without a partner.

I’ve been on a total of four dates, none leading to a second date or a relationship. At the end of one date, I held hands with him and we kissed and it was very nice. That is the extent of my in-person sexual contact with a man.

I know that I want to eventually get married and have children and that all of this requires sex and intimacy. I believe that I am capable of it but I just need to keep building my life and working towards these relationships. I feel deep shame about my lack of experience, but I also understand the reasons why and I am working to create a more engaged relational life.

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.

V-Card Diaries: Janelle "The first time I masturbated, I had no idea what I'd just done (which was orgasm)"

*Trigger warning for sexual assault*Today we're highlighting Janelle who overcame her confusion and fear by educating herself 'of the sexual realms.' 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:

Hi! I'm Janelle and I fair from Pennsylvania. Currently, I am 22 years old and preparing to graduate college as a graphic designer! Yay!

How I define virginity:

As I look back at my life, I see my virginity as levels. Not so much as something I shouldn't lose, but something I haven't experienced yet hoped to achieve. Unfortunately, a lot of my virginity losses were negative, though I like to think they give me strength and wiser views.

Here's my story:

I started to lose my virginity at a young age. My first sexual thoughts were when I was exposed to my father's porn magazines when I was five years old. The first time I had been sexually touched was two years later when I was attacked by my neighbor (fortunately, the guy only got to "second base" and my friend caught him in the act before he could steal third). It was a year later, when I was in 3rd grade, that I was first penetrated by a 5th grade girl who forced me to allow her to finger me on the school bus ride home.

The first time I masturbated, I was 13 years old, had no idea what I'd just done (which was orgasm) and became terrified something was wrong with me (though I never told anyone). My high school SCREAMED abstinence, so I had no idea of my own body. I was 17 when I had my first (and current) boyfriend, which spurred me to educate myself of the sexual realms. Less than a year later, we had sex for the first time and it was the first time I truly enjoyed being sexual.

V-Card Diaries: Sally "In Lebanon, people raise their girls on the idea that they can not be sexual beings the way boys are."

Today we're highlighting Sally in Lebanon, who gets a reaction like a 'you're a hooker' if she talks about sex in front of boys. 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:

Hello, my name is Sally. I'm from Lebanon, in the Middle East. I am a 19-year-old female.

How I define virginity:

Virginity is overrated. Especially for girls, people raise their girls on the idea that they can not be sexual beings the way boys are. Virginity for me is meaningless. I still didn't have sex though but I will soon, but I look at other older females that have sexual desires they can't obtain because of the whole traditions and religious crap.

Here's my story:

I 'm an atheist but I come from a Muslim background. My country is well known for it's diversity ( we have around 18 sects). And apparently all of them still think Virginity is a sacred thing, including the new generation. Even masturbation. I doubt if more than 20% of the population knows about it. When I talk about sex in front of boys they tend to give me some sort of you're a hooker or why are you so reckless with your life, they TRY to make me believe that Virginity is like doing drugs or even worse.

Middle eastern man tends to believe that his wife MUST be a virgin (even though he sleeps with tons) and if he really loves a woman but she's not a virgin, he won't marry her! Or if he wanted to, his parents ( which play a big role in a typical Arab man's life) will hammer his head till they force him to dump her. Not to mention that some tend to kill the female who loses her Virginity because her virginity represents the whole family (yep those still exists which really annoys me). So why an innocent soul who just wanted to discover herself would be murdered because of a f*cking hymen ?!!

Some depressing thoughts about evangelical men and purity pledges:

"The church, and the men that I interviewed, don’t believe that women would need a space to talk through these issues. They believe that men are highly sexual beings and they have "natural urges" that need to be controlled, but they don’t believe that women have that natural desire to be sexually active. Women are the providers of sexual activity for their husbands."

From "What Happens When Evangelical Virgin Men Get Married? This Secular Female Sociologist Found Out," and interview with sociologist Sarah Diefendorf at The New Republic.

While some evangelical churches encourage a pleasurable sex life for both partners, this one apparently does not. What a sad way to start a marriage, thinking your wife's duty is to become a sexual vessel to satisfy you and keep your beastly urges in check. Equally sad, Diefendorf reports that while the men have support groups of peers to deal with issues around masturbation, porn and masculinity prior to marriage, this support stops dead on their wedding day.

V-Card Diaries: Adelaide "The physical act of being that intimate with someone is horrifying for me."

Our latest V-Card Diaries comes from Adelaide in Canada, who considers herself pansexual. Her sexual response is dulled by anti-depressants, so she's decided not to enter into another relationship until she feels eager about the other person. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. We'd love to run it in this blog.

A little about myself:

I'm 33 years old, from Canada. Female.

How I define virginity:

It's strange how often this has changed in my mind. I like to think it's "evolved." As I've grown, and learnt more, it went from "penis + vagina" to "physical act of sex, no matter the gender of those involved" (oral sex included- otherwise there would be a LOT of gay virgins!!) to something I can't explain completely yet. As one can have an orgasm without touching, could you possibly not be a virgin and a full-fledged sexual being by the contents of your thoughts? Just like how it is possible to not "technically" be a virgin, yet have no sense or feeling in the sexual act (if it's just seen as a technicality of a relationship, not that "little death")? What about people who don't have physical sex, but have the master/slave, mistress/slave relationship, where the only thing that passes between them is command? Many look upon these relationships as intense and loving, but is it sex? To them, it might be, since the emotions are.

Here' my story:

My story is... I have no story. Technically, I suppose, I'm still a virgin. Never allowed myself to be touched in this way, never been kissed or allowed myself to be kissed. It's not as if I haven't had offers for it. One boyfriend was so passionate and insistent it alarmed me, but nothing happened because I was completely uninterested. It may have just been the hormones, I don't know: Once sex crowded into the room, I stopped listening. He treated it as an area of "finding out." If my lips flushed, he KNEW I was aroused. Sadly, he always got it wrong. My disinterested nature didn't help, of course. It does play against my passionate nature.

I think it's an area of personal space I'm very sensitive about, and dislike it being invaded. The physical act of being that intimate with someone is horrifying for me. So, I think the person I would want would have to be something special- otherwise I could never go through with it.

Not that I wish this ideology on anyone else. We all have appetites, begun in our minds when we are quite young. I think everyone should experience sex, to whatever state it might be in... that's my ideal, so long as it's consensual. Sex is a healthy part of life - it should be, it's supposed to be. Yet, I don't consider myself to be "unhealthy"... just not wanting to cross that boundary since I haven't met someone yet I'm comfortable crossing it with. I don't like the idea of having sex with someone I feel absolutely nothing for - or when they touch me, I feel nothing, even revulsion (At myself or at their touch? I'm uncertain). I also lived a rather isolated high school life, where I was one of the outcasts and although sex was probably happening around me in earnest, it was not an area I was welcomed or even gestured towards. One profession of love turned into a group joke, so I guess something inside me closed off from being vulnerable. Also: People talked. During my 8th grade year, when my grandfather died, some were convinced I had taken time off school to have a baby. That's the kind of people I had surrounding me, so you can imagine my reluctance to take part in their "games".

The strange part is, I'm a very sexual person when my brain isn't doped with antidepressants. When I'm off them, I need "release" all the time through masturbation. If I don't, I have intense dreams. I can't masturbate when I'm on these kind of meds (though I need them, and accept this loss for the benefit they give me), because it's a fight with the blockers/excessives in my brain. I have absolutely no sex drive.

Strangely, I think I define myself as "pansexual". The beauty of both sexes overwhelm me. Where beauty is concerned, I'm not picky over the sex of the person.

I've had no negative experiences with sex: Physical experiences, I mean. I've never been abused, or forced to do anything.

I guess you could call me a virgin. Some of my friends would categorize me as such - but they may also categorize me as a failure, or "the strange one" because I haven't married, sprung offspring, bought a house, gotten a full-time job, or done all the hetero-normal things people my age are supposed to do. Other friends feel differently, and love me as I am. The previously mentioned friends love me, too, but since I don't do things as they do, they get alarmed. (I think it's more of a reflection of themselves than of me).

I have the automatic instinct to not do things "normally." Normal is boring.

I also decided (after a relationship where I feel I really hurt someone by my disinterest) not to enter into another until I was ready, eager, and willing to enjoy each other. Hasn't happened yet. But I think I am happier for it. No messing around, and no hurting people. Yet, if I end up having sex for the first time in a gas station restroom with someone I just met, if I feel comfortable with them touching me... I'd be fine with that. Whatever happens will happen.

V-Card Diaries: Tom "I'm waiting for the right woman while broadcasting on web cam sex sites."

Today we're highlighting Tom in Michigan, who was told he was still at virgin at 27 because he was too picky. Now he meets women by broadcasting on web cam sex sites. 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 am a 27 year old hetero male, and I live in Michigan.

How I define virginity:

Having not had vaginal intercourse with a consenting partner.

Here's my story:

So I am a 27-year-old virgin and I think it is best to break down the reason why into key points of my life.

Upbringing: I was raised by a single unwed mother who had 2 children by a man who was a convicted felon and abandoned us. Then we attended Church religiously, pardon the pun.

Early Teens: I attended Church functions at least 2 times a week, and was unpopular in school due to being poor and having poor social skills. Mother married a wonderful man that adopted me and added needed stability to my life. I went through sex ed in public school, received a basic understanding of sex, and signed a contract with God to remain pure and virtuous at a Youth Group Event at Church.

Late Teens/High school:
I attended a few major Christian Youth Rallies telling me that if I was virtuous and if I waited, I would be rewarded with a bride and a fulfilling love life. I always had at least one major crush on a different girl, all of whom I was close friends with. I assumed they knew how I felt. I refused to actually try dating even after I got my license because I asked myself, "why even try having a girl friend if you cant have sex?" For some reason I thought dating and sex had to go together. Stupid, I know. I signed another contract with God to wait until marriage. All my peers that signed it broke the contract. I was asked by a girl I liked if I ever masturbated, and I told her I didn't know what that was. At 17 I masturbated for the first time after looking up instructions on how to do it online. Seriously.

College: I bought my first pornography to "research" the female form so I wouldn't be to surprised if I got married (basically an excuse to look without as much guilt).  I figured out I can date and not have sex. Still socially awkward. I made advances to a few women I found alluring but was rebuffed and told that I "am a good friend and there is a great girl out there" for me. I then graduated college and started my career.

Early Career 21-24: I was still relatively open about my virginity thinking it was a point of pride. The sense of loneliness and despair that I couldn't find mutual attraction was getting tougher though. In high school I told myself when I graduated I would get a girlfriend. Then it was when I got a college job. Then it was when I graduated college. Now it was when I started my career... Still nothing but false hope, rejection, and some women that wanted me but I didn't want back. I was told to put myself out there or fuck an ugly/fat girl. I still clung to the idea that waiting until marriage would make it all ok. I got uninhibited home internet access at 23 and discovered web camming.

Age 24-present: Porn wasn't cutting it and I felt starved for intimacy. This is when I started getting comments from many people that I am to picky. That I need to just go out with girls I don't like right away to see if they grow on me. I decided to never bring up my sexual history with anyone new I met. Life got better. I got fired from my first career job unfairly and adopted a "fuck the world" attitude. Then I decided that I would keep my options open and the waiting for marriage commitment would subside if I felt like I was with the right girl. In the mean time I started broadcasting on a web cam sex site to get women to mutually masturbate online with me. After much trial and error I found success and met several women of different ages and backgrounds. One in particular I talked to for 3 years and decided to meet. She has a boyfriend. We did not have sex. The chemistry and intimacy we did share (noting sexual besides spooning) was amazing. I have realized that my depression and loneliness wasn't a lack of sex but really just not being with someone. I realized that I am ok being a virgin until I meet someone that accepts me for who I am. All of me. Now I wait. Alone.

I still have never done more than hold hands with a woman. I really believe I am still a virgin now because of my respect for women and desire for a relationship before sex, lack of women in my rural setting that find me attractive and vice versa, and just pure luck. Plus you can add my crippling fear of rejection that I had in my teens to early adult years.

You have one more week to celebrate National Masturbation Month!

In honor of National Masturbation Month, we're reposting this essay by our former intern Judy, which originally ran May 21, 2013. And you really can't get too much Egon Schiele in your diet! "Wally in Red Blouse With Raised Knees" by Egon Schiele

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.

May is National Masturbation Month!

In celebration, Philadelphia's sex-positive groups, ScrewSmart and GALEI's (The Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative) Pleasure Rush, have been hosting a “Masturbate-A-Thon” all month ending on May 27th. For this fundraising project, participants are asking sponsors to fund every hour spent, ahem, intimately with themselves. The proceeds will go toward ScrewSmart's and Pleasure Rush's efforts to support sex-positive and pleasure-based education and prevention, and to "reduce shame and stigma around sexuality, promote sexual health, [and] create a community dialogue around the importance of pleasure."

I know that this can be an embarrassing or uncomfortable taboo topic, but that's what this event is about. GALEI's executive director Elica Gonzalez says: “We are hoping that by having folks participate in the Masturbate-a-Thon, that they will help to destigmatize the behavior – and reduce stress and get a glowing complexion all the while.”

Masturbation was a touchy (no pun intended) subject growing up. I discovered the sensations of self-pleasure pretty early, I'd say when I was 6 or so. I was surprised to learn that many of my friends started masturbating in early childhood as well, which goes to show that children can be sexual beings.

Coming from a religious background, however, I always felt naughty and guilty every time I did the deed. I'd imagine God looking down on me, shaking his head in disappointment, and crossing my name off of his “Heaven-bound” list. I'd even picture my dead grandparents observing me from above (creepy), and I thought I was somehow letting them down by getting to know the ins and outs of my vagina when I was taught it should be locked up and ignored forever, or at least until I got married and had to make mini-mes.

I asked my friends about their experiences with masturbation, and they shared a few similar initial feelings of shame and guilt:

"I would look at myself in the mirror and cry and then get down and pray."

"I always felt dirty after ejaculation."

Even though uncomfortable thoughts and images plagued my mind, I still continued to masturbate regularly. I guess nothing quite beat the thrill of an orgasm, even if it meant disobeying the Big Bearded Man-in-the-Sky. When I grew out of my religious phase, I would even masturbate openly in the presence of our family's austere, wooden cross in my living room, mostly because it was impossible to avoid (the living room was my favorite spot because that's where we kept our vibrating handheld massager. TMI? Sorry!). I also did it because I had the liberating feeling that I could; I wasn't scared or full of shame and repentance anymore.

Masturbation is the only form of sexual pleasure I have at the moment. I will definitely climax from self-play, whereas partner sex usually yields not much pleasure and no orgasm. Now I know this isn't the case for everyone (partner sex can be amazing! I'm waiting for that day, fingers crossed), but I know many women who don't come from partner sex at all. Many women (and men) don't even know much about the anatomy of the female body, i.e. the treasure den of the clitoris. As a friend of mine put it, “Masturbating teaches you what you like and how you like to be touched. I believe if you can't learn to let go and make yourself come, no one can.” Just take a hint from Betty Dodson, the queen of self-love/ pleasure [video link].

Sometimes, masturbating still makes me feel a little weird, like I'm not ready to announce myself as a sexual adult yet. That's a part of my sexuality too, those religious, social, and cultural influences that have shaped (or stunted) my sexual growth today. It's always going to be a process for me; getting over the complications of sex, feeling comfortable in my body, being okay with feeling sexy, and discovering all the movements/ rhythms that make my body pulsate, twist, and shout.

You still have a little over a week until the end of May to take part in Masturbation Month, so get masturbating! And, of course, the fun doesn't stop there.

So what's your relationship with masturbation, especially for those of you who don't have sex or have never had sex? Do you remember your first time? What are your favorite techniques? How often do you masturbate? How does masturbation play into your sexuality/sex life? What do you think about when you're masturbating? Do you think at all? Why do you masturbate? etc. Share in the “Comments” section below.


V-Card Diaries: TeddyBear "I'm rather asexual, though cuddling is nice."

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).

V-Card Diaries: Grizzy "Social pressures were telling me that my love for women wasn't real because I hadn't experienced being with a man."

Today we're highlighting Grizzy in Los Angeles, who needed to be with a guy because of social pressures about her queer sexuality. 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:

Well, I'm 22, a cis woman of color and live in Los Angeles. I just graduated school and trying to find my passion within my career and social life. I spent most of my time on tumblr and love to meet new queer people of color whom I can laugh with.

How I define virginity:

I'm not sure. There is so many arguments about it that it shouldn't be a big deal. But I like to think it is. It's just the way it's gender-ed and exploitative to women that I find a problem with. I think virginity should be something beautiful between yourself or with others. It is when you discover your body in another level. You begin to experience a self confidence in a single touch.

Here's my story:

My virginity. Horrible. It was at the most 10 minutes. Uhm, I just did it to get it over with. Social pressures telling me that I needed to be with a guy to make sure I was ok with my sexuality. That my love for women wasn't real because I hadn't experienced being with a man. So I did it for that. The good thing was I did it with someone I trusted so that's one thing I'm thankful for.

V-Card Diaries: Katherine "I'm so afraid of rejection that I don't know how to approach a guy I'm interested in."

Today we're highlighting Katherine in Europe. She doesn't think that men find her attractive and is afraid that her lack of sexual experience will make it even more difficult for her to find intimacy. 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 20, female, originally from the US and soon studying abroad in Europe.

How I define virginity:

In general terms, I'd say you're a virgin if you've experienced some sort of consensual genital contact. So for me, there's not that big a gap between, say, oral sex and penis-in-vagina sex if you're a heterosexual person.

Here's my story:

I'm twenty, and I'm entering another year without any sexual experience to speak of. I've never even held hands with a guy. I have only ever been on one date and it was this year, and I ruined it by being too nervous and confused to try and make a connection.

In junior high and high school, I was really self-conscious about my breasts. They started growing... and then stopped. I've worn the same bra size since I was 12 and you can buy it in the girls' section of the store. As I started to discover my sexuality, I also learned that guys like boobs, and the bigger the better. No one ever expressed interest in me, and I figured it was because of my small breasts.

I thought college would change things, because sex is supposed to be really easy to get there. But still, no one really expressed interest in me, except for a few guys I did not find attractive. I'm so afraid of rejection that I don't know how to approach a guy I'm interested in. What if he laughs at me? What if he tells his friends how this weird girl thought she stood a chance? I still don't feel like men find me attractive.

I feel like because I'm 20, everyone assumes I've had sex, so they'll be turned off if they find out I'm not experienced at all. I don't feel comfortable providing any information about my virginity on dating sites because I'm afraid it'll turn people off. I don't even know how to kiss! I've been masturbating for a while now, but I'm frustrated by this need for intimacy, combined with the inability to achieve it. I feel like I was supposed to learn how to do this in high school, but I've missed the boat and it's only going to get harder to catch up.

V-Card Diaries: Audra Mae "I was unprepared for the mind blowing sensation of having someone else touching me."

Today we're highlighting Audra Mae in the Ohio, whose bad feelings about her first partner can't erase the awe-inspiring sensations and amazing memories. 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:

18; bisexual female; Ohio

How I define virginity:

I used to stick to the traditional "Until your male partner sticks it in ya, you're a virgin" definition. But now, I'm more of a "You went beyond heavy petting and kissing, past tops off but bra and pants still firmly on? You are not a virgin" gal.

Here's my story:

My first time was at age 15. I was a sophomore, he was a senior and had just turned 18. We had been “friends who flirt” for several months and finally decided to take action on that front.

We met at Chipotle for lunch and then went to my house. We curled up in the floor of my basement, watched movies, and during the second movie he started to give me a neck massage, which made me horny beyond belief. Very slowly, he worked his way down and around until he was essentially massaging my breasts. At that point he backed off, saying he didn't want to push me past my limits, which I had yet to state. I expressed my desire to keep going and we did, despite my jeans trying to block access. I knew he had experience, but was unprepared for the mind blowing sensation of having someone else, especially someone who knew what he was doing, touching me intimately, something I myself had only begun to do a few months prior. I was almost to orgasm when my brother opened the door and started down the stairs. Luckily, we moved fast enough to not be seen.

Two weeks later, we met at his house and progressed to oral, and three days later he had dumped me for the next girl. I was very hurt, because I had genuinely believed he found me special and attractive, and I was very depressed, lonely and naive at the time. After some consideration, I have come to the conclusion that, since he knew I was easy to manipulate, he figured he would have a little fun with me, play with me like a cat with a mouse whose tail is caught under its paw. And after reports of his treatment of the next girlfriend, I am confident in saying it was abusive and would have turned very bad had it continued any longer.

Do any of the bad feelings erase the awe-inspiring sensations, the amazing memories I collected? Absolutely not. He may have been an absolute jerk who broke my heart, but he did give me not just my first kiss (the same day as Chipotle, after the brother incident) but my first orgasm I hadn’t given myself (unfortunately, the second visit, as my mom and I took him home soon after the brother incident and I was too scared to do anything in the interim). Should I have maybe been more careful? Definitely. But as a plus-sized gal, I had had no romantic experience, so I was desperate.

It taught me a valuable lesson though: watch for red flags and if something sets alarm bells ringing, pay attention. His actions did not read right but I ignored my gut. Never doing that again if I can help it, which I am 110% sure I can.

V-Card Diaries: Lauren "There were 3 boys and a girl and I slept with all of them."

Today we're highlighting Lauren in England, who doesn't have regrets about having her sexual debut with multiple people she barely knew because they made her feel safe and secure. 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:

18, female, England

How I define virginity:

The first penetration of the vagina with the penis, or, for men, the first time they penetrate someone else, other than oral. But maybe oral is a different virginity. Huh.

Here's my story:

I was at a party, I was fairly drunk, there were 3 boys and a girl and I slept with all of them. They had experience. They wore protection. I've always been very open to sexual experiences but had never had any previous advances or met anyone interested in me - it was liberating. I thought I wanted to be in a safe, secure and comfortable relationship, to slowly build up to sex, tick off all the bases, but these people that I barely knew made me feel safe and secure, for this reason I have no regrets.

I realised that I have placed a lot of significance on my virginity: Sex is a basic instinct, it's almost as though there is a sense of shame or loss in the act. I'd touched myself and masturbated, and I personally found sex to be merely a glorified, easier, warmer, more pleasurable, more emotional form of masturbation. I felt confident and alive, attractive and relaxed. It was freeing.

I am now in a relationship, not one of those boys, not even the girl (but I am certain of my bisexuality), but another guy, a good friend. He thought I was very innocent and was surprised (as I was) when he learnt of my rampant sex drive. I felt needy, but not vulnerable. I felt like I had been unleashed, awakened - my fears were gone - so when he was ready, I was ready. It was easy and natural and sober. I found myself even more aroused and excited, despite my inexperience.

I enjoy sex and am not ashamed about that, but I wish the subject of virginity, sex, and masturbation was socially acceptable, so that I could discuss them comfortably. It felt right. I'm not hurt or afraid. Trust your instincts and to do what is right for yourself. You can say no. You can say yes. Don't be ashamed of your wants, revel in the fact that you are human and can feel, share that feeling, let it grow, be yourself, if it isn't right it isn't right. If it is right, enjoy it.

V-Card Diaries: HFB "I believe that if I wait to have sex when I'm married then God will bless my marriage."

Today we're highlighting HFB in Georgia, who is in a growing relationship–with Christ. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.. About me:

I am an 18-year-old black girl from Southwest Georgia.

How I define virginity:

A virgin (to me) is a person that hasn't had sex with another being. A female virgin is a girl that hasn't been penetrated. A male virgin is a guy that hasn't put his penis into another life form.

My story:

I have a growing relationship with Christ, and I am a virgin. I believe that if I wait to have sex when I'm married then God will bless my marriage. My dream marriage is to be with someone who God has chosen for me. I just want us to be stable and happy-in our marriage, financially, and mentally.

I keep these values and this dream through temptation from guys, hormones, and through this generation's slowing disrespect of the seriousness of creating another life-form. I believe that Satan uses temptation to steer me away from the great things that he see that God has planned for me.

Although my definition of a virgin seems direct, I still have questions. Is oral sex really sex? Is masturbating sex if you don't penetrate yourself? As I said before, I'm in a GROWING relationship with Christ, and I plan on finding these things out from Him in due time.

Editor's note: Is masturbation sex? How do you define sex? Let us know in the comments!

On Anti-Rape Wear and Chastity Belts

Chastity belt locked AR Wear is a collection of undergarments that the creators say will give women and girls "more power to control the outcome of a sexual assault" "when something goes wrong" using specially designed webbing and straps the make the garments impossible to remove. They're crowd-funding the project and about halfway to their goal, and their site is full of positive comments, including making a disco shorts version. The creators have their hearts in the right place, but they've understandably come under a fair deal of criticism.

Things like the insinuation that it's the potential victim's job to keep from getting herself raped, to the fact that most rapes are committed by people victims know and trust, to the risk of violence from an otherwise frustrated rapist, to the fact that $50K could go a long way to programs that teach young people about consent and rape culture. And then there's my personal observation that the models in the photos are super slim and this product requires an actual waist that's smaller than your hips to keep them on (bringing up those heinous comments about how fat girls should feel lucky to be raped. Ugh.)

Aside from all those issues, the undies keep getting compared to Chastity Belts, including in Amanda Hess's scathing take-down, which is worth a read. Seeing as our blog is about all things virgin, let's have a little teaching moment about that comparison and the devices themselves. The purpose of chastity belts was to assure exclusive access by the holder of the key, usually the wearer's husband/owner. You could compare this to an even worse owner-operated chastity system: a hideous brand of FGM, where a young woman's labia is sewn shut and then opened by the husband on their wedding night. In the case of AR Wear, it's a totally different story: The wearer has the 'key' and they're in control of access.

One of the few existing belts can be found, rightly so, in the Museum of Torture in Italy. However, many historians think chastity belts were largely a myth. There's very little record of chastity belt use, and since we have tons of other historical record on sexual practices, the lack of anything on chastity belts indicates they must have been very rare. When I interviewed the curator of the Museum of Sex in NYC, she said that she only knew of the one in Italy. On the other hand, there are loads of metal anti-masturbatory devices like this one at the Museum of Sex that they used to put on boys to keep them from touching themselves, and they're plentiful in museums and as awful as you can imagine. There are modern-day BDSM versions as well, but that's a whole other NSFW story.

Which brings me to a suggestion I've heard from several people: That it would be better to make constraining underwear for would-be rapists, except that we know you can rape someone without using a penis and without access to a vagina.

V-Card Diaries: Shanna "I remember screaming 'I’m having an orgy!' And my boyfriend laughed: 'Not an orgy, honey. An orgasm.'

Today we're highlighting Shanna from Tel Aviv, Israel. Not only does she run a fantastic sexuality organization called You Got Choices, but she is the organizer of our Sept. 30th Tel Aviv screening. We're so excited about doing this event with her and other fantastic feminist, sexuality professionals and folks who want to talk about healthy sexuality! You'll love her story, as well as some really interesting thoughts about this whole virginity thing.  If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. When I was 16 I lost my virginity. Or should I say: that was the first time that a penis penetrated my vagina. For me, it was a romantic and joyful experience with my high school boyfriend, on a Tel Aviv beach, during my birthday. It is a good memory. I remember that I waited impatiently to talk to my girlfriends about it. I suddenly felt like a woman, not a girl. As if I entered another world, the adult world of those who understand what’s going on. I suddenly had preoccupations of women – gynecological visits, shaving, my smell. I was a real woman.

Now, more than a decade and a half after the fact, and more naughty stories in my history, I looked back and tried to understand why I considered this event to be my "loss of virginity ".  I mean, I didn’t really change at that moment. I just thought I did. Suddenly I was careful about unwanted pregnancies, but other than that, I was the same young girl: nervous, unaware, in-love, and confused. So when exactly did I lose my virginity? What exactly is virginity? And how come it is something we “lose”?

I remember in seventh grade, I sat on the sofa with my parents. We were watching a movie where someone mentioned oral sex. I innocently asked, "What is oral sex?" And the casual answer I got was: "When someone pleasures someone else with their mouth." Suddenly I got nervous.  The week prior I kissed a boy from class.  Am I not a virgin? Did I have oral sex? Back then there was no Internet and it took me some time before I could find out exactly what I did with that boy. I discovered that indeed I was still a virgin and oral sex had to do with kissing sex organs. What a relief! I'm a virgin! But my inner processes had begun. I tried to understand the limits of sexuality. Suddenly, I discovered that sex is not just penis and vagina, but the whole body is involved. If so, I asked myself, what exactly is sex?

A few years later, after fooling around here and there with the boys from class and in the scouts, I met my adolescent love. You know the one – the one to whom "I lost my virginity". Slowly, in the span of a few months, our making-out became more serious. We took our time to get to know each other's bodies, the intimacy under our clothing. Together we learned what pleasures us and makes us feel good. One particular moment is engraved in my memories. We were in his bedroom. I Hope that his parents were not home, but, back then I didn’t care. We were so in love and passionate, that the only important thing was just to be together in mutual discovery. This moment, wow - what a moment. It was then that I experienced an orgasm with him. I experienced orgasms during masturbation, but never with a partner. This orgasm was before the loss-of-virginity-penetration. It was just petting and caressing. And yet it was thrilling. I remember screaming "I’m having an orgy!" And my boyfriend laughed: "Not an orgy, honey. An orgasm. An orgy is when there are lots of people having sex together." Suddenly, I discovered the power of fantasy. His words and thoughts of something so exciting and enticing brought me to the edge, and I experienced another orgasm.

This multi orgasmic experience was an awakening moment of pure ecstasy. At that moment I learned about mutual pleasuring. If I could re-define the concept of virginity and the loss of virginity - it would be this moment. Still, defined by society, this moment wouldn’t even be considered as sex -there was no penetration. When a few months later his penis definitely penetrated my vagina, and “sex” happened, I don’t even remember if I experienced an orgasm. Probably not. Despite the romantic night, it was short lived and a bit awkward. We had no idea what to do and I remember it was with effort that he entered me. We were so focused on technique that we forgot about the ecstatic connection we had had when we just petted. Nothing really propelled us to move ahead, just a yearning to pass the social berth of losing our virginity and becoming adults. After the act of penetration we felt like “we did it!". It was exciting. But deep in my heart, I missed the intimate moments before we had intercourse; I wanted to experience the depth of discovery over and over again. Yet, now I see my "loss of virginity" to be the moment I first experienced an orgasm with a partner- twice - and found out about orgies.

Years later, I was brave with my sexual life. I chose not to invest in relationships, but rather to enjoy the sensual energy that burns within me. Because of this choice I met many opportunities to lose my virginity repeatedly in all kinds of new and delightful situations. But at the time I did not really think about my experiences as losing my virginity; I just saw myself through society eyes: I was a floozy. I did not give myself the right to think of these moments of new pleasures and discoveries as a "loss of virginity”. Many times I met self doubt and self hatred.  Just recently, I started thinking about the concept of virginity as a social concept that depresses women.  I started rethinking the concept of virginity as one in which we loss some part of our innocence as we discover some new and invigorant sensual part of ourselves. This new thought is very empowering and is it with this thought that I see my life’s experiences in a better light.

What caused the change in consciousness? Well, watching the new documentary “How to Lose Your Virginity” that dispelled the myths and misconception about women's sexuality. These myths have been around since women started having sex. Through the film I was able to piece together a deep pervasive thought – that social definitions of sexuality and virginity control women’s sexuality in a very deep and destructive way. We need to think differently. We women are the ones who should define who we are as sexual beings. We should define what sex is for us. When a man loses his virginity he usually is not defined as a new person; but, when a girl or woman loses hers, she should be careful not to turn overnight from a virgin to a whore. It is time to pass on new concepts of sexuality, defined by women, empowering women, and encouraging sexual choice.