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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: Young Lover V-Card Diaries: Young Lover "When I imagine sex, I think of a 120 mph iron train aiming at a mouse hole."

.A little about myself:

I'm a 16-year-old high school junior from New Jersey. I'm really involved in leadership and tutoring programs, and I box in my free time. College applications are starting to become the domineering force in my life, but I'm much more focused on some of my friends and their personal issues considering 2014 has not treated them kindly.

How I define virginity:

I'd define virginity as one who's never had penile-vaginal sex. I understand this can't include lesbian couples but I would say you can have that sort of sex without "making love" so to speak. When I define virginity, I'm thinking in completely physical terms.

Here's my story:

I know in the mindsets of most people, 16 is way too young to even consider having sex and to others it's the perfect age. I can remember naively discussing it with some of my friends. "I'll never do it until I'm 20 at least!" I said at the age where boys still had cooties.

I guess my issue is some of my most "virginal" friends have started losing their V-Cards, and it's made me realize that sex is not this enormous deal as it's portrayed in pop culture. Rather, it's natural, awkward, and–as I'm afraid–will probably hurt.

My mom decided it was time I visited the gyno a few months back, and I was terrified. Most of my friends have trouble believing me, but I've still never masturbated because I don't like the feeling of anything near my vagina. I had no idea what to expect when I spread my legs for the first time in my gynecologist's office, and when I heard her clanking through METAL, I instantly tightened all my muscles in full panic.

It seemed she didn't even know the meaning of consent. When she found the right tool, she dove immediately inside my funhouse, and I began to scream because of the pain. I begged her to take it out, which she did not do for several agonizing seconds. I was crying, and she still had the audacity to ask if she could do the same thing with a gloved finger. I was left alone in there for an hour to de-stress myself, and my vaginal muscles refused to unclamp during that entire time. Even thinking back on it now, it still causes me to clench.

After research, I believe I have vaginismus. The exercises to "cure" it terrify me still, as they involve stretches and inserting objects. Of course this is a self-diagnosis, so who really knows what's going on down there? My friend (17) recently lost hers to a 23-year-old–her old XC assistant coach. It sounds quite messed up, but she's in all the top classes and maintains an excellent GPA, so she hasn't been "misguided" in any way.

I guess the point of this is, I'm afraid. I'm very much afraid to have sex. About a week ago, my boyfriend brought it up (he'd never force anything of course), and was wondering if it was something I'd want to try, as we've done most everything else. I backed off immediately, remembering that experience at the gyno and my inability to even handle a tampon.

I'm definitely not asexual, but I truly can't imagine anyone being pleasured by having a penis inside you. Or how a vagina can even stretch that far for that matter (considering the size of an erect penis). When I imagine sex, I think of a 120 mph iron train aiming at a mouse hole. I don't know what to do, but I don't want him to know how afraid I am.

 Painful sex can sometimes be caused by physical issues that need to be treated by a gynecologist or physical therapist. Read more about that condition here. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here

Ask Trixie: Will I bleed the first time I have sex?

Will I bleed the first time I have sex? –A.

Hi A–

Thanks for writing. The quick answer is I don’t know if you’re going to bleed or not. Some women* will bleed the first time their vaginas are penetrated by a penis (or a dildo or fingers, for that matter) and some won’t. It depends on various factors, like whether you’re sufficiently aroused and lubricated, how rough your partner is, how elastic your hymen is, or whether you have any medical conditions that might cause bleeding. Sometimes there’s a lot of blood, sometimes there’s some spotting and just as often there’s no blood at all (which is how it went for me).

The myth that all women bleed the first time they have intercourse is so pervasive that it’s used as a standard ‘virginity’ test all over the world. In reality, the whole blood-on-the-sheet thing says absolutely nothing about whether a woman is a virgin, has previously been penetrated by a penis, or anything else except how her vaginal tissue reacted to the factors listed above. As we often point out, there is no way to test for ‘virginity.’

If you want more information on bleeding, I’d highly recommend Scarleteen’s"One Bloody Mess: Myths and Realities of Bleeding with First Intercourse", and while you’re there, consider making a small donation so they can keep doing the amazing work they do.

*This question came from a woman with a vagina planning to have PIV sex for the first time, but for any first-time penetration, make sure it’s slow, gentle and very well-lubricated. If you feel like there’s excessive blood or pain, it may be a sign that something is physically wrong, and you should definitely see your doctor about it.

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

Showtime' series 'The Masters of Sex' on Freud and the myth of the vaginal orgasm

Masters of Sex OK, so I'm just now catching up with the Showtime series "The Masters of Sex" and I'm especially enjoying Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson, one half of the ground-breaking sex research duo Masters and Johnson. It's a bit soapy and I have no idea how much is historically accurate, but yay for a show that takes on sexual myths* and debunks them one by one, just like the original M&J did in their work.

One of my favorite scenes so far: In 'Brave New World' Virginia attends a lecture by Dr. Freud's daughter on 'mature' vaginal orgasms and 'immature' clitoral orgasms, and promptly calls bullshit. This is a myth that will not die, even today, despite profuse debunking: That women who can't have vaginal orgasms have some kind of inadequate sexual response–or the fact that there is even such a thing as a vaginal orgasm. I couldn't find a clip, but here's the dialogue:

Virginia Johnson: So according to Freud there are two types of orgasms, immature and mature. He's saying that one orgasm is better than the other. William Masters: As I understand it, he's saying that when a woman reaches puberty, there's a transfer of sexual response from the clitoris to the vagina. The external, or clitoral, orgasm is the province of adolescent girls. Mature women experience orgasm intra-vaginally with their husbands, otherwise they're frigid. Virginia Johnson: Who would believe something like that? William Masters: My patients. That's why we keep the exam room stocked with Kleenex. A quarter of the women who walk through my door tell me that they're frigid. Virginia Johnson: Maybe that's because their husband can't get the job done. Does he ever address the man's role in any of this? William Masters: Honestly all of Freud's theories have their limits. I stopped reading him after my college paper on the Oedipus complex. Nearly put my own eyes out.

Later, Masters theorizes (as many believe today) that orgasms that happen during penetration may be clitoral as well, since the internal clitoris is quite large and may extend close to the vaginal walls. We can only see the tip, iceberg style, but look out below. But hey, let's stop worrying where they come from and just enjoy them!

Which brings me to another standout scene from this episode. The wife of the head of the university wants to volunteer for their sex study, but gets confused when asked about her orgasms. Watch the brilliant Allison Janney playing Margaret, with Lizzy Caplan as Virginia and Michael Sheen as Johnson.

*Unlike the Showtime site, which has a video about sexual myths. It's nicely animated, but otherwise not all that helpful. Also disappointing for me, except for one unremarkable virginity loss scene, they don't talk about virginity at all. Boo.