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Defining virginity

Ask Trixie: I never felt my partner's small penis go into my vagina, so does that make me still a virgin?

Dear Trixie: Okay so I got with this guy for a bit of a one night stand. He was very good looking and I imagined a bigger penis. This was my first time too by the way. Anyways after talking for a while we decided to get it on. and it turned out that he had a very very very small penis. I never felt it go in my vagina so I was wondering does that make me still a virgin if I never even felt it?? –AP

Dear AP:

I answered a question very similar to yours a while back involving someone who had penetrative sex with just the tip of someone's penis. In your case, you were with someone with a small penis and didn't feel what you imagined you were supposed to feel to 'officially' lose your virginity. 

Either way, 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? Is it your first orgasm, alone or with a partner? Seriously, lots of people have sent us their definitions and virginity means very different things to different people.

I'm sure you've been told different things about what it means to lose your virginity, and maybe that involved pain and bleeding (which is really just idiotic mythology instead of indicating you had intercourse before your vagina was relaxed and ready!). I don’t believe there’s one magic moment that suddenly changes us somehow. I’d like to think about our lives as a series ‘first times’ that make up our sexual history. Or maybe you could think about it in this way: you lose your virginity the first time you feel like a truly sexual person, no matter what specific thing you're doing.

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)

So you can decide you lost your virginity and were spared some pain or bleeding that might happen sometimes with a larger penis. Or maybe instead of using the word virgin, you can say ‘I had a penis inside me for the first time but I didn't really feel it that much.’ Maybe the next time you have a penis inside you it will feel different, and hopefully good. 

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 and when you have sex again, whether it's intercourse or something else, I hope that it feels really good!

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

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.

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: Emily Dickingson "Is there anyone that could love me for me enough that my extreme involuntary virgin status wouldn't turn him off?"

Writing from: Cleveland, Ohio

Age: Late 30s

How I define virginity: My definition seems to align w/society's definition: not having engaged in sexual intercourse of the baby-making variety.

But really, MY definition of virginity for myself is MUCH broader and encompasses many more issues. I read an article in Psychology Today that was a review of research on involuntary sexual virgins, and I very closely identified with what the research describes: adults who are virgins not of their own choosing.

The research studies showed that for involuntary virgins, there were often signs of this fate far back in childhood. Here, the author of the article highlights some of the "tells" of eventual involuntary adult virgins: children who are isolated, have a hard time making friends, are made fun of by their peers, children who feel strongly socially awkward and therefore prefer to play alone.

All of these descriptors applied to me. As such, I never was asked to a school dance, or asked to dance, or asked out on a date. I've never been on a date. I have never been kissed. Forget rounding the bases, I've never even been invited to the game. I have zip-zero-nada experience with anything related to love or romance or flirting or dating or sex.

I am very lonely, and I crave companionship. I yearn for a sexual partner, but only if we are in love with each other. Sex with strangers just for the sex frightens me; I'm scared of all the ways it would go wrong because of my lack of knowledge or experience. On the other hand, sex with someone I love and who loves me is also scary because of all the pressure that would be put on both of us. Is there anyone that could love me for me? Love me enough that my extreme involuntary virgin status wouldn't turn him off?

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.

Ask Trixie: Does just the tip count as sex?

I was hooking up with a guy and we were both drunk. He had whiskey dick so he wasn't fully hard so when we tried to have sex it wasn't working... But I'm pretty sure the tip went in a little... Possibly even up to half way... But I'm thinking it was more just the tip of anything.... Does that count as sex? I thought it didn't... But since I can't fully remember what really happened it worries me. I don't want to have to count it. But I'm not sure if it really does or not. Thanks. –P

Hi P and thanks for writing! I'm reading two issues here so let's start with the first one. Some people ask a 'does this count' question because they want to know if they've lost their virginity. Others want to know how to talk about what happened with a particular person. I'm not sure which you're asking about, but I've answered a similar question before, so I'm going to incorporate part of what I wrote then.

Firstly, based on my own encounters with a 'whiskey dick,' it doesn't usually go up anywhere. But your question has more to do with what 'counts' as sex, and this kind of question is always tough to answer because different people have very different ideas about that. Is it a penis in a vagina? Is it getting naked with someone? Is it thinking impure thoughts? Is it masturbation? Based on definitions of virginity that people have sent us, sex means very different things to different people. 

The question I want to ask you is why is it important to know whether you’re you've had sex or not? Is someone making you feel bad about having (or not having) sex? 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.)

You've probably been told different things about what having sex might mean. Please know that it doesn't make anyone clean or dirty, pure or used, hot or not. So maybe you had a penis tip inside you, or maybe you didn't, and if you feel it doesn't count as sex...it doesn't. There's actually no rule book, and furthermore it's nobody's business but your own. Personally, I don’t believe there’s one specific magic sex moment that suddenly changes us. It's just part of a long series of moments, some good, and maybe some we wish hadn't happened.

Which brings me to the other issue I want to mention (putting on my concerned Aunt Trixie hat) which is the fact that you and your partner were so drunk you're having trouble remembering what happened. That means you were probably too drunk to give each other proper consent for what you ended up doing, too drunk to think about safe sex of any kind, and too drunk to remember anything else that might have happened, sexual or not. Believe me, I've been there, and we both know that it makes any situation riskier, no matter what you're doing.

I hope this helps put things into a bit of perspective, and please write back if you have any follow-up questions! 

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

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.

 

 

 

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: K "I identify as queer. If I had had the exact same encounter with a woman, it would have been sex"

My definition of virginity: 

Virginity is an archaic/heteronormative notion that seeks to suppress female sexuality

Here's my story:

I identify as a queer woman (I am cis, and fall somewhere on the bi/pansexual spectrum). I "lost my virginity" to boy while I was taking my gap year, this boy was also my first kiss.

I was a part of an exchange program to Japan for a year, and our last night was in a hotel before we all caught our planes. I knew all the other students who had lived in the same city as me for a year, but wasn't as familiar with those who had stayed in other parts of the country. One of my close friends knew some of the others, so that night we had a "party" in one of our rooms. Probably about 15-20 people.

We had some booze (really cheap vodka) and I only got tipsy. By about 3-4 am it was just my close friend mentioned earlier, another girl, me and this boy in the room. I hadn't had anything to drink for a few hours, and I'd only had a few shots anyways. My friend and this girl started making out/having sex on one of the beds and me and this boy were "cuddling" on the other.

I acted like I was pretty experienced (and he did too, idk if he was lying too). We started kissing/making out, and eventually we were both naked. He went down on me and I jerked him off. It wasn't like the best ever, but it wasn't horrible and I did orgasm. While this wasn't penetrative sex, I still feel like I lost my "virginity."

My reasoning is this: I identify as queer and am primarily attracted to other women. If I had had the exact same encounter with a woman, it would have been sex. Why if it's a man and woman is it not sex if there isn't penetration? That implies that "lesbian sex" isn't real sex, which it clearly is. I feel any consensual sexual contact that ends in orgasm is sex, regardless of orientation, gender, or penetration (or lack therof). Ergo, I lost my virginity to and had my first kiss with an Australian dude that I hadn't known before that night, while two of our friends had sex in the other bed. And I don't regret it. 

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

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.

A Big Balloon Arch Full of Hymen Myths, All Popped.

We couldn't have said it better–or funnier–ourselves. 

On Abstinence, Sleeping Beauty, and Victim-Blaming.

Scene from the documentary 'How To Lose Your Virginity' featuring Hanne Blank and Shelby Knox, with narration by director Therese Shechter.

As we've said many times on this blog, Abstinence-Until-Marriage programs are dangerous on several levels–and proven to be totally ineffective. They don't protect girls and women, they victimize them.

The article "On Josh Duggar And Why It’s Time To Do Away With Abstinence-Only Sex Education" lays it all out in chilling detail, including:

  • Women are naturally pure because their sexuality is encased like a fire alarm behind the plexiglas of romantic love. A girl/young woman will not have sexual feelings until they are “awakened” in her by a romantic relationship. That awakening should not happen until after marriage. (This is why they don’t kiss before marriage.)
  • Love is what not only awakens a woman’s sexuality, it is also what keeps her sexuality in check. If a woman’s sexuality is awakened in any situation other than marriage, she dissociates it with love. And without the governor of marital love, her libido rages out of control and she becomes a shameful and pitiful victim of her own wantonness.

One of the things we talk about in How To Lose Your Virginity (see video above) is the lack of sexual agency for young women, that the men in their lives (father, husband, god) are in charge of their sexual lives. The idea that "a girl/young woman will not have sexual feelings until they are “awakened” in her by a romantic relationship."

We liken it to the 'Sleeping Beauty' myth, the idea that a woman is a passive sexual player waiting to be awakened by her prince, and it's insidious. If women do have any independent sexual feelings, they run the risk of being labeled sluts who are responsible for any unwanted sexual attention or violence that befalls them.

While it's taken to the extreme in fundamentalist communities that concept isn't really limited to Duggar-like environments. First of all, many women of color are experience being labeled hypersexual, de-facto sluts from the get-go. As for white women, any woman who doesn't passively wait for a man to unlock her, so to speak, risks being slut-shamed as well. How can you ask your partners for what gives you pleasure, when sexual satisfaction isn't something you should be asking for–or even know anything about. It's the basic narrative of virginity-themed porn like 'Barely Legal,' where a young (white) woman must begin as totally innocent so that a man can unleash her sexuality with his magic penis. And it's the foundation of rape culture, where a woman invariably has her own uncontrolled sexuality to blame following sexual assault.

I Watched 50 Shades of Grey So You Don't Have To

I saw 50 Shades of Grey at a free preview screening Tuesday night, several days before its day-before-Valentine's-Day premiere, and I wish I'd been given a safe word to make the movie stop. Because 50 Shades of Grey is bad. Not 'so bad it's good,' but just bad. And it's boring. Especially the sex. I mean, if you thought the books were totally hot and you'd love nothing more than to watch it all play out on screen, have at it. Chacun à son Grey, and all that. But me, I'm a hater. And haters gonna hate.

Carly, my date and bartender for the evening, is also a hater. We laughed (and cringed and groaned) through the entire film, and then for a long time afterwards, and not just because Carly smuggled a flask of excellent whiskey into the theater.

Here's the tl;dr analysis of the film, in which you get three fairy tales for the price of one: Sleeping Beauty and the Beast with a side order of Cinderella.

a) Monster awakens young woman's sexuality so she can fix him

b) This is because a woman can't be sexual on her own but instead requires it unleashed within her by the application of a penis to her vagina, and a silk necktie about the wrists.

c) It's the young woman's job to put up with the monster's abuse in order to change him

d) Because monsters make exemplary boyfriends if they are rich enough and they take you on romantic helicopter rides over Seattle.

I never read EL James' trilogy, which started out as Twilight fan fic, but I had a pretty good idea of what to expect going in given the nonstop publicity and analysis since the first one came out. Anastasia Steele, an awkward innocent is sent to interview the fabulously wealthy Christian Grey at his minimalist-designed and boring offices. She arrives in a frumpy shirt and blue sweater combo, and after she's led into Grey's office by a succession of ex Robert Palmer backup models, Grey holds forth on her sweater and the history of Cerulean Blue. Actually, no it doesn't happen like that at all, but IF ONLY the Dom was played by Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, what a superior film this would have been! Unfortunately we're stuck with Jamie Dornan, who plays a cyborg with an excellent fitness regimen.

So, one thing leads to another and after buying her a new computer, a new car and (thankfully) new clothes, Grey presents her with a sex contract (as wealthy and powerful businessmen do) and then tells her to look up 'submission' on the internet. Some Capitalist Foreplay ensues as they negotiate the terms of the contract, but it's clear that Ana has not done much of her homework when she asks Grey “What's a butt plug?' Honey. Do you know what a butt is? Do you know what a plug is. OK, do the math.

The contract turns out to be a irrelevant because they go at it anyway, unprotected by the law or a thin layer of latex. You see, he's found out she's never had The Sex and wastes no time doing his manly duty of de-virginizing her in the most boring and, frankly, depressing way possible. Save for a fleeting kiss below the navel, there's no foreplay, no condoms, no lube, no attending to her needs, before doing it in the Missionary position for a minute or two. Her roommate even tells her she looks 'different' when she comes home. It makes Red Shoe Diaries look edgy and sophisticated.

And it's not just that this sex is incredibly boring, it's enraging. If you do the kind of work I do, you're extra sensitive about how female sexuality is depicted onscreen. This film pushes a totally false myth of what 'romantic' sex is supposed to look like to the gazillions of people who have no doubt already bought tickets to see it. It also reinforces the idea that women are supposed to do whatever they can to please (and fix) their men, whether they want to or not, because that's what female sexuality is all about. If you're lucky he might please you back, but it's not actually part of the contract. As someone who hears from young people all the time, it's depressing to read the emails and answer the questions they ask about how confused and ashamed they are because their sex lives don't look like what's on screen (or if it does, they can't understand why it isn't making them happy)

On the bright side, there were a few things, okay two things, that I liked about the film.

First, Dakota Johnson (who plays Ana) was really, really funny in the comedic scenes. There are moments in the film where she seems as annoyed/repulsed/bored by this dude as we are. I think someone should cast her in an intentionally comedic film stat, because she'd be great. Jamie Dornan should really stick to serial killer roles–and his own accent. I wouldn't be averse (as a friend of mine suggested) to having Gillian Anderson's The Fall character tie him up to work out their issues together.

Second, I loved the look of the 'Playroom,' Grey's tasteful den of  domination, which must have been a production designer's dream come true. It's what I think Williams Sonoma (or maybe Restoration Hardware) would look like if they sold fetish gear. Racks and racks of gleaming metal and leather devices, perfectly displayed and lit. I would snap up those leather handcuffs like they were large pastry cream whisks–and don't even get me started on the gorgeous knots of red rope.

As far as the actual BDSM stuff goes, and considering it was all most people are talking about anyway, there just isn't that much to write home about. Aside from the fact that the Dom/Sub relationship was totally inaccurate according to just about everyone in the the actual community, it was...boring. And cheesy. I kid you not, he brushed her thigh with a peacock feather while light jazz played on the soundtrack. And the one scene that was meant to represent the most intense BDSM play (and the kind of thing Grey told Ana would help 'fix' him) looked a lot more like domestic violence to me. Dude, she's got to be into it! Otherwise you're just beating her up.

If 50 Shades was written as a creepy thriller, with this same wealthy controlling weirdo stalking and manipulating an impressionable young woman, it would have made more sense. Or even as a satire of romance films. But as a sexy love story? Painful.

Please don't spend any of your hard-earned money on this film. We sure didn't. The creators are rich enough already, and there are other mainstream-ish films about BDSM out there with a lot more wit, heat and joy. Try Secretary with Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader, or the documentary Sick by one of my favorite filmmakers Kirby Dick. They're also a bit hard to watch at times, but for the right reasons.

Update: For an extra treat, listen to Jaclyn Friedman interview author Jenny Trout about the trilogy, and then, read her brilliant recaps. If you do want to spend money on something 50-Shades-related, donate to one of the groups on Jenny's link of DV and anti-rape orgs.

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.

Ever considered a one-night stand to get it over with, virginity-wise? "Keeping It Casual" explores the possibilities

"Keep It Casual" is part of a series of short narrative films by Michael Sasso called Swipe Click Bang which looks at people who use hookup apps like Tinder, and the one-night stands that follow. We were especially intrigued by 'Keep It Casual' because it explores a scenario that several of our V-Card Diaries contributors have contemplated or actually done: Setting up a one night stand to 'get it over-with' sex-wise.

I asked the Michael and his co-producer Michael Vitale what interested them about this scenario and how it influenced their approach. Vitale, who wrote the script had this to say:

"I've always been fascinated with the weight we as a culture put on losing one's virginity, so when we came up with the series Swipe Click Bang, I knew we had a good opportunity to explore it here. I also knew I wanted the person losing their virginity to be a woman.

As far as television and film is concerned, we're very used to the male virgin archetype: the bumbling nerd who can't get out of his own way, too awkward for anyone to find him sexy until someone does, and then, upon doing the deed, he's freed of an unsavory virgin label.

The female virgin is much more interesting. For one, we don't really see them in film outside Christian stereotypes or high school melodramas, but beyond that, there's also, fair or not, a mystery surrounding them, at least from a male perspective.

With Keep it Casual, we wanted to play with that mystery, which is why we chose to never explain Rachel's reasoning for not having had sex before using a dating app to do so. We also purposely cast someone attractive (Elisabeth Hower) to further challenge the audience's expectations of who a virgin is or should be.

But more than just the female virgin stereotype, this episode tries to explore how men deal with them. This wasn't obvious at first, but as the story evolved, we realized much of the cultural importance associated with virginity is determined by men. That's not to say one's virginity isn't or can't be important, but there's a double-standard in the expectations men put on women and their sexuality. To many of us, women should be "pure" yet experienced, a nearly impossible standard to meet.

In the episode, we tried to use Nick (the male character) to capture this absurdity, especially in how he responds to Rachel's admission of having never had sex. Beyond being dumbfounded, he takes an almost paternal stance in the way he tries to protect her and the preciousness of her virginity. His almost hero-like syndrome makes it all the more satisfying when Rachel challenges him to recall the importance of his first time and he can't.

And yet, beyond the layers we tried to squeeze into it, Keep it Casual is ultimately a story about someone trying to get what they want and not feeling like they have to explain themselves for it, something I think we can all relate to."

V-Card Diaries: Shadow "His touches left my skin on fire and his kisses electrified me."

Today we're highlighting Shadow in Chicago. Despite her mother's opinions on virginity, which had left her feeling nervous for her first time, she was calm when the actual moment came. 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 16-year-old female. I currently live in a very small town south of Chicago.

How I define virginity:

Emotionally, I would define virginity as remaining a child; pure and untouched. Logically, I would define it as actual penetration. Anything oral or not penetrating does not count as losing your virginity in my book.

Here's my story:

I lost my virginity yesterday. Prior to this, I always thought I'd feel shattered after losing my virginity. My mother told me to always keep it until I was 18. So, I guess her constant reminding left me scared. But yesterday, as it happened, I welcomed this strange experience.

He's my boyfriend of not-too-long and I felt that he was the right person to lose it to. Even though he was also a virgin, he was careful and gentle. His touches left my skin on fire and his kisses electrified me. I was pretty self-conscious during it all, though. After the deed was done, we showered together and he stood under the pelting water and said, quite humorously, "Wow, you took my virginity. I am no longer pure!"

It was a huge deal before doing it and now that I've done it, it's not that monumental. Society makes us females out to be sex vixens and then tells us to be pure until marriage? There is no "right time" to do it. Only when you're sure is right enough.

V-Card Diaries: ComplexCat "Being flirtatious and a virgin seems to be a bad combination."

Today we're highlighting ComplexCat in Chicago, IL. Although she was raised in a household that had strict opinions about sex, she has chosen to no longer measure her worth by her virginityIf 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 and 18-year-old female who lives in Chicago IL.

How I define virginity:

I'm not sure how I define virginity.


Here's my story:

Well, growing up I was always told to believe that your sexuality plays a big role in your lifestyle. I always used to hear stories about "the fast-tail little girls" that ran around playing with the younger boys. I was raised to shun those that have had sex before marriage or before any type of commitment (i.e. relationships). I had a cousin that got pregnant at 11-years-old. My entire family pretended to "support" her when they all secretly were disgusted and ashamed of her. Whenever there were family gatherings my mother kept me away from her. I actually remember rubbing her belly and getting yelled at by my mother.

Fast forward 10 years later:
I'm now 18 and I'm still a virgin. I've never been afraid to openly talk about being a virgin and my sexuality. I've "talked" to several guys and I'm very flirtatious. Being flirtatious and a virgin seems to be a bad combination. I honestly don't even know why I'm still a virgin. All the guys I've met were all pretty nice and I was very comfortable around them. Recently, I had a conversation with my 24-year-old crush about sex. We talked about how naive most girls are and that sex is a natural thing to do. At first I was offended because I thought he was just trying to find reasoning for me to sleep with him. However, when I look at what he was saying it all makes sense. Now I believe that I'm 100% ok with "losing my virginity" as long as the person respects me. I always used to use my virginity as a golden ticket that made me stand out from other girls, but I've realized I have tons of great characteristics that make me stand out. I don't need to keep my virginity concealed from mankind forever, but I also don't need to be passing it out like ice cream on a hot Chicago summer day. Right now I'm just trying to have fun, live life, and become exposed to new things. If I have sex this summer it'll just happen. I'm no longer measuring my worth by me being a virgin.

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.

"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