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Archival Films

John Oliver is Awesome, Part 2: In which a whole bunch of great comedians do a Sex Ed PSA and it is the best thing ever.

This is the last part of John Oliver's Sex Ed segment, just the PSA starring Nick Offerman, Laverne Cox, Jack McBrayer, Megan Mullally, Kristen Schaal, Kumail Nanjiani, and Aisha Tyler. I am such a happy girl today.

Do not miss John Oliver brilliantly taking on the sad state of sex education in America.

How many ways can I thank John Oliver for this Last Week Tonight segment on the pathetic state of sex education in the US? I watched saying "Yes" over and over again–when I wasn't screaming in frustration or laughing my ass off. Every second is worth watching. It is so smart (and funny) (and horrifying).

If you want to see some awesome comedians in their own Sex Ed video, jump to around 17:49-ish.

And as a bonus, here's the full menstruation video John Oliver talks about. See if you can guess who's playing the young man. 

Nobody puts Baby in a corner...or oppresses her with patriarchal paradigms of female sexuality

We missed this video when it came out but thought it was just too tasty not to share it with you all. The Onion's film critic looks back at Dirty Dancing and along with the usual plot points we get these gems, worthy of any Introduction To Human Sexuality and Gender Studies curriculum:

It smashed not only box office records but also the mistaken assumption that adolescent girls shouldn't wait until some arbitrarily-mandated age to explore themselves sexually.

Sexuality is not some light switch that magically turns on when kids reach eighteen.

The film is commendable for modeling to girls that as long as they find a partner who's safe and respectful like Johnny, their sexual awakening can begin whenever they are ready.

The fact that these lines are uttered by a dude who looks like someone's dad makes it extra delightful, and just a little bit creepy. Nobody puts Baby in a corner...or oppresses her with patriarchal paradigms of female sexuality.

h/t to Documentary Doctor Fernanda for sending it our way.

Note: Headline corrected because I can't believe we messed up one of the greatest quotes in cinematic history.

"How To Lose Your Virginity" is now 65% off for schools, organizations and libraries!

Until Dec 31, 2014, our distributor Women Make Movies is having an amazing sale on their DVDs for schools, organizations and libraries.

Just buy five of their titles (except new releases) and you get 65% off on your order. That includes How To Lose Your Virginity, as well as our previous film I Was A Teenage Feminist. Join the hundreds of institutions that have made these films part of their collections. Here are just a couple of educators using the film:

“This film is an engaging, entertaining documentary about the conflicting meanings of female virginity and sexuality in North American culture. My students loved every minute of it, and were very excited to have an opportunity to talk with Therese about the process of making the film” –Elizabeth A. Kissling, Ph.D, Professor, Eastern Washington University

“The teen Peer Leaders from the TORCH Program were grateful to have the opportunity to screen the film with Therese and discuss their reactions with her after they watched it. It was eye-opening for them to see the parallels Therese makes in the film between the historical context of virginity to some of the current cultural practices we accept as the norm. Great film!” -Kathryn Albergate, TORCH Program, The National Institute for Reproductive Health & NARAL Pro-Choice New York

Click here for more info about the titles. Bring Therese to your school or organization If you are ordering from outside the US or Canada, click here

Just The Tip: Virginity in the News featuring Sarah Jacobson's films, Tami Taylor and #SB5, a telenovela about a virgin, video from our Kinsey show, and more...

Filmmaker Sarah Jacobson was a groundbreaking filmmaker who celebrated the 1990s Riot Grrrl DIY esthetic with films such as the fantastic feature 'Mary Jane's Not A Virgin Anymore.' I was lucky enough to see this and others in a rare screening last night, and I was blown away by the film's treatment of female and male virginity, masturbation and feminism. Sex, from a teenage girl's point of view!! Seriously, this stuff would be too hot and topical for America today, but it played at Sundance back in 1997. Tragically, Jacobson died in 2004 at 33 and what a loss. If you have a chance to see her films, do it.

Read more about Sarah Jacobson, her film 'I Was A Teenage Serial Killer' and notes from her archives in this post we wrote last year. Get more info, and support the grant in her name for DIY filmmakers of today. And yes, although the similarity in our film titles is totally coincidental, we love it.



Photo of protesters outside Texas Capitol in Austin by The Texas Tribune

wwttd-tshirt-400x470Not specifically about virginity, but anything affecting the regulation of female sexuality and bodily autonomy makes it onto our radar:

The kick-ass women of Texas inspired a lot of odes to Friday Night Lights' Tami Taylor, and begged for Connie Britton to star in the Senator Wendy Davis story, hopefully coming to Lifetime. Connie went halfway there teaming up with Planned Parenthood to launch a brilliant limited edition of "WWTTD (What Would Tami Taylor Do)" t-shirts for sale here.

By the way, when that FNL storyline was playing out, NARAL issued a Tami Taylor inspired line of their own.

To update: Texas still has not resolved SB5, a onerous anti-abortion bill that will effectively reduce clinics providing abortions to 5 in the entire state, and make any abortion illegal after 20 weeks. Last week , we were riveted by the live feed from the Texas State Senate as Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered for over 11 13 hours. Then Sen. Leticia Van de Putte uttered the immortal “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?” which prompted beautiful hell to break loose in the galleries until past the midnight deadline for the vote.

Gov. Rick Perry is still trying to get the bill passed, and many thousands of opponents of the bill have showed up outside the legislature to protest. We stand with Texas Women and the men who support their reproductive rights, so we'll once again watch the live feed at this link, and get background at RH Reality Check.


The Kinsey Institute made a cool video about their Juried Art Show, with interviews and footage from opening night including me (!) talking about How to Lose Your Virginity, The V-Card Diaries and our lovely V-Cards. Check it out, although some of the images won't be suitable for work. Unless you work here, of course.


The CW is developing a show called "Jane the Virgin," based on a Venezuelan telenovela "Juana la Virgen." Vulture describes the original as: "about a 17-year-old girl, Juana, an aspiring photographer, who becomes pregnant when she's accidentally artificially inseminated owing to hospital error." WHAT?! This kind of icky, and sort of like statutory rape, isn't it? Maybe this could be more palatable with a way-over-the-top Ugly Betty treatment.


Abiola Abrams, who is awesome in our film, is doing 'intimacy interventions at Essence. Today she advises a 35-year-old woman who wonders if after many years of sex with men, she can consider herself a virgin again as she contemplates getting intimate with a woman. How does she 'jump her bones without making a fool' of herself? Read Abiola's answer here.


Garfunkel and Oates celebrates the 'anal-sex-to-stay-a-virgin' tradition in their new music video "The Loophole." We'd highly recommend a viewing of Broad Comedy's "Saving My Hymen for Jesus" which celebrated similar sentiments back in 2008.


Thanks to our virginspotters @marymaxfield & @marinmedialab, and @thefrisky. Got a story for our blog? Tweet us or send an email!

Check out our new trailer!

We're so excited to share our latest trailer for the documentary "How To Lose Your Virginity." Please forward, tweet, and post it widely to all your friends!

We recently showed it at the Paley Docfest's Pitching Workshop in New York, where it was a huge hit with the audience and a panel of TV execs. The biggest question from the crowd was "When can we see the finished film?" The answer is we're working hard on it, but we need your support to finish shooting and editing so we can get it out there.

If you read the blog and want to see the film get done, please take a minute to support the project. Donating is easy and tax-deductible! Simply click here and scroll down to "The American Virgin.*"

Film making is an expensive undertaking, and we know things are tight for everyone, so all contributions of any size would be awesome. If you donate $200 or more, we'll put your name in the final credits! And remember, if you do it in the next two days, you can make it a 2009 tax deduction!

Stay in the loop on screenings and other events:
Follow us on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, get on our mailing list and watch clips of all our films on YouTube. Thanks for all your support this year and have a very happy and healthy New Year!

*We're working on the name transition, so bear with us! And don't worry if it looks like you're buying a video. You're not. Thanks again!

Guest Blogging for Tribeca Films: Losin' it in the movies, ladystyle.

The Tribeca Films* blog asked me to do a guest post for them on the subject of virginity at the movies. I decided to wade through the testosterone-infused waters of Hollywood coming-of-age films and write on films about losing it ladystyle. It's adapted from a post I did for this blog last week. Check it out here:

*Tribeca Productions, which is Robert DeNiro's company, was my first film job in NYC. Hello Jane Rosenthal! Remember me?

[If you can't see the Real Women Have Curves clip above, click here]

"The Moon is Blue:" Our fave playboy-meets-virgin film

The other day we posted a cool list of films in the genre of playboy-tries-to-get-into-the-pants-of-a-sweet-young-thing. "The Moon is Blue," a 1953 film directed by Otto Preminger, is our favorite, if only for the scandal it caused.

If memory serves, dashing architect William Holden quite easily manages to get virginal Maggie McNamara up to his apartment. Unfortunately for him, she turns out to be a rather crafty virgin who ends up making dinner instead of sweet sweet love. In the end, I think they get married.

It has the wonderful distinction of being the first post-code film to use the word 'virgin' on screen. Also, even though the virgin in question remains intact, she doesn't seem totally horrified by the idea of not being one, either. It's even a bit shocking to watch it today, given the attitudes of other films being made at the time. Take that, Doris Day!

The Catholic League of Decency tried to get it banned, but because Otto Preminger produced it himself, he used all his clout to get it released independently (very unusual for the time). It went on to earn several Oscar nominations, including best actress.

'Free To Be...You And Me' turns 35. Which makes me much older.

I don't know about you, but Free To Be...You and Me pretty much changed my life. It's a big part of my doc "I Was A Teenage Feminist" and above is a still from the film of me with my 1974 album, freshly autographed by Gloria Steinem and Letty Pogrebin.

The story of Atalanta revealed the shocking fact that you didn't actually have to marry the handsome prince to live happily ever after. This totally rocked my world and went against all conventional fairy tale wisdom. I hear from many gay men that 'William's Doll' had a similar world-rocking effect on them.

Here's a clip of Atalanta:

I watched the video recently and was stuck by how earnest it all was. I can't imagine how anything that irony-free (and unapologetically liberal) would ever be made today. It's been updated for its anniversary, but I wonder how well the tone of the new stuff meshes with the original material.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a handy briefing from USA Today:

Free to Be … You and Me struck a chord when it was first published in 1973. Its message to young readers was simple yet eye-opening: They could be different and that was fine.

"The message is a rather deep one, that you can choose your own role models, you can fight stereotypes," says Thomas, 70, who starred in the hit '60s TV series That Girl, which broke single-woman-in-the-city stereotypes. Free to Be "was a revolutionary book. Some people were even afraid of it."

Original contributors included many of Thomas' friends — children's author Judy Blume, author and composer Shel Silverstein and actor Carl Reiner. The new edition features all of the original material plus 14 new contributors from children's literature, updated artwork and a new CD.

"The Sex(ed) Diaries" at USC on April 4th

“You can’t promise a girl like Julie you’ll be true to her and show up with a case of syphilis.” -Where the Girls Are (1969)

The American Virgin SOOO wishes we could be there for what promises to be a great evening of old sex ed films. It's followed by a panel discussing the social implications of these films. And it's all free!