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virginity as a social construct

V-Card Diaries: Ted "Since I am pansexual i felt like I lost my second "virginity" the first time I slept with a woman"

Writing from: Glendale, Arizon

Age: Late teens

How I define virginity: Virginity is s social construct that was initially intended to scare girls into waiting till marriage to have sex. 

I willingly had sex for the first time at the age of 16. The guy turned out to be a horrible person but at the time i thought i was in love. I consider this my first "virginity". Since i am pansexual i felt like i lost my second "virginity" the first time i slept with a woman, which wasn't till i was 18. 

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.

Our valentine's gift to you: a month of quotes & graphics from the V-Card Diaries on sex & virginity

Every year, we do an outreach project around Valentine's Day inspired by our documentary How To Lose Your Virginity. This year, in keeping with the themes of the film, we're pushing back against standard narratives about sex, virginity and relationships (with their implied judgement of anyone who's not conforming) to show how diverse experiences around sexuality and relationships can be. 

All through the month of February (V-Month!), we're posting a graphic a day created by Trixie Films interns Bree and Sally. Incorporating quotes from stories submitted to our interactive project The V-Card Diaries, they've created 29 striking graphics. The quotes are about having sex, not having sex, being queer, being asexual, rejecting the virginity construct, and more.

You can see the full set on Tumblr, and they're also showing up on Facebook and Twitter throughout the month of February. 

Here are some ways you can be a part of this project:

See the full and growing set of graphics here along with selected V-Card Diaries stories.

Submit your own graphics and quotes on tumblr or email them to us and we'll post them.

Share your own anonymous story at The V-Card Diaries.

Read all The V-Card Diaries stories here.

Repost and amplify this project, especially if your work speaks to young women and men.  

In case you're not familiar with The V-Card Diaries, it's our crowd-sourced interactive story-sharing site where everyone can access and share diverse stories about sexuality and virginity in total anonymity. With almost 400 stories and counting, the project tells a collective story about becoming sexual–and the radical act of speaking honestly about it. The project, which as exhibited at the Kinsey Institute, is a companion piece to our documentary How To Lose Your Virginity, which examines how our sexual culture affects young people's lives.

If you'd like to write about this project, our V-Month graphics project, contact us!

V-Card Diaries: Audrey "I was bombarded with judgments of being a 'virgin' and misinformation about sex"

A little about myself: 

I'm 21, Park City Utah, female, I'm a baker and environmentalist, I've never had sexual experience beyond kissing and massages between my kind ex. from high school and I.

How I define virginity: 

A concept that's overrated, outdated, used to scare people into not having sex (sex can be healthy for you). People should define virginity for themselves, but it's abused by businesses, religion, and media.

Here's my story: 

I don't like the word "virginity." It's abused and overrated. I'm 21 and I've never had sexual experience beyond kissing, snuggling, and massages between my nice ex from high school and I. Neither of us were emotionally or intellectually prepared. In college I did not trust the guy I was dating to respect my sexual boundaries. He was trying too hard to get me to have sex with him, so we broke up. I was born and raised Utah, but my parents are Midwesterners.

The culture here strictly practices abstinence only education, but I'm not a mormon. I went to the Unitarian Universalist Church which has a nation wide liberal and informative sex education program known as OWL. I attended OWL in 8th grade and 11th grade. There are 4 stages of it each designed for a different age group starting with 10&11 year olds. Unfortunately I didn't retain much of what I had learned. 

In college, in Oregon, I was bombarded with judgments of being a "virgin", myths and misinformation about sex, and stories of other peoples' sex in the dorms. It scared me.
I'm now a baker at Deer Valley Resort. Just a week ago I started watching Sex + by Laci Green and it was amazing, re-informing, liberating and so great with the positive look on sex. I binge watched for hours. All I have to say is Thank You Laci.

I look forward to having a sexual experience that is safe, informed, and not dreaded. I live with my parents and I'm looking for a place to buy closer to down town Park City. Whether It's masturbation, intercourse, or another for of sex, I don't feel comfortable having sex in my parents' home, and I'm happy to wait for the right place, person, and time. Not that I expect it to be perfect.

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

Ask Trixie: How do I impress my girlfriend to allow me to take her virginity?

How do I impress my girlfriend to allow me to take her virginity from her since I'm also a virgin and kinda on the short side and I don't know what to do during sex – Smoke198

Having sex for the first time shouldn’t be about impressing anyone. And virginity is not an object sitting in someone’s pocket, which means it can’t be taken or given or anything like that.  So, can I change the question to: How do my girlfriend and I decide we are both comfortable and enthusiastic about having sex for the first time?

Only you and your girlfriend will know when you’re ready to have sex, and you’ll only figure that out by talking about it. Take your time, make sure you can trust each other, can talk to each other, feel comfortable with each other. This might take a while, but keep in mind it’s not a race to the finish line. It’s a long process and intercourse is just one part of it. Go slow. 

If you’re thinking about having intercourse, I’d definitely suggest trying some something else first that might feel less intense or intimate. And when you’re comfortable with that, try the next thing. (A lot of women say that manual or oral sex (you giving and her receiving!) is more fun than intercourse. And it’s often a better way for her to have orgasms, so bonus points for doing more of that. 

Another reason to take things slow is that your girlfriend might be nervous that penetration/intercourse is going to hurt. For some people, it does, but often it’s because they’re not relaxed or lubricated enough. I wrote about that here.

Check out a great article from our friends at Scarleteen that has advice for how to talk to your partner about sex. You and your girlfriend should also check out Scarleteen’s Am I Ready For Sex checklist.

You also mentioned you don’t know what to do during sex. Well, no one is born a good lover. It takes some practice, good information, and good communication with your partner to know what each of you think feels good. 

And finally, if she really doesn’t feel ready to have sex with you, that’s totally her choice and you need to respect it. 

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

Watch the video for the new poem "Thank God I'm A Virgin"

From the upcoming album, "All Prodigal Daughters and Sons" "Thank God I'm a Virgin" is an exploration of the logical consequences of a Christian purity culture that places undue emphasis on the status of one's virginity, especially female virginity, over against one's character and heart.

Our twitter friend Emily Joy just shared her powerful new poem with us, and we want to share it with you right away. We often talk about how the choice of waiting until marriage to have sex is a very valid one, but should never be made based on shaming, double standards, or bad science threats of disease and death. The poem from the upcoming album, "All Prodigal Daughters and Sons" and here's how she describes it:

"Thank God I'm a Virgin" is an exploration of the logical consequences of a Christian purity culture that places undue emphasis on the status of one's virginity, especially female virginity, over against one's character and heart. It seeks to correct and indict those who would set themselves up as judge of who is in and who is out of the kingdom and community of God on the basis of their sexuality.

Lyrics:

Well thank God I’m a virgin!
Or he probably wouldn’t want me.
I thought as I listened silently
While he told me
That he just couldn’t be with someone
Who had been with someone else,
Which is like 90% of adults by the age of 25,
So your already limited pool is shrinking very quickly,
But don’t let me discourage you.
Carry on.
Tell me how you saved yourself.
How you saved up enough points with God
To buy an unspoiled bride
And you will not settle for less.
Tell me about her white dress,
How it will “mean something.”
Tell me what it means.
Tell me what it’s like to have nothing you regret,
To have made it through life unscathed
By either bliss or pain.
What does that feel like?
Is it very lonely?
Or does it just feel safe,
Like keeping your cocoon heart all wrapped up and tucked away
Hoping to God someday it becomes a butterfly
Before it dies from the frost. 
I hope whoever she is,
She meets all your expectations.
I hope enough of her heart is intact
For you to feel like the wait was worth it.
I hope she never knows you wouldn’t have wanted her
If she wasn’t a virgin.
Cause everybody knows a girl is only as valuable
As the men who haven’t touched her.
Only as desirable as the experiences she hasn’t had.
But baby, when you get to her,
She better know what to do in bed.
She better satisfy your wildest pornographic fantasies,
Know all the right ways to move
Body parts she has never had the chance to use.
Cause God would never fail you, right?
You waited on his timing, now he owes you.
Anything less is not the bill of goods they sold you.
So I hope it works out for you.
I really do.
But if it doesn’t, just remember what I told you.
That a heart cannot be divided into pieces
And given away till there is nothing left.
That the greatest gift you can give
Has nothing to do with your flesh.
That love is really just grace.
That a lifetime of avoidance
Does not prepare one for a lifetime of joy and pain.
That “virgin” is not a sexual preference,
Nor is it your birthright.
Baby, your insecurity is showing.
She chose you.
What more do you want?

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.

Ask Trixie: If just the tip or less went in does it still count? Am I a virgin?

If just the tip or less went in does it still count? Am I a virgin? –Anonymous

Hi Anonymous!

This kind of question is always tough to answer because different people have very different ideas about how you lose your virginity. Is it a penis in a vagina? Is it a broken hymen? Is it thinking impure thoughts? Is it feeling intimate with your partner? Seriously, lots of people have sent us their definitions and virginity means very different things to different people.

The question I want to ask you is why is it important to know whether you’re a virgin or not? Why do you need an outside definition to tell you who you are? Is someone making you feel bad about being (or not being) a virgin? Do you think it changes your value in some way, depending on what the answer is?

If you’re living in a community where the answer to your question can have serious consequences, I’m so sorry. All I can say is you need to do what you can to keep yourself safe until you’re away from that community and have more freedom. (And write back if that's the case)

You've probably been told different things about being a virgin. Please know that it doesn't make anyone clean or dirty, pure or used, hot or not. I don’t believe there’s one magic moment that suddenly changes us somehow. I’d rather think about a series of ‘first times’ that will make up your long sexual history. So maybe you lost your ‘just the tip’ virginity. Or maybe instead of using the word virgin, you can say ‘I’ve had a penis tip inside me but I’ve never had intercourse.’ That’s probably more accurate–if you're the one receiving the penis, anyway.

I’m sorry I can give you a definitive answer, but there really isn’t one. What I do want to say is that if you want to have more sex, I hope that it feels really good, and is with a partner you can talk to and trust.

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