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Sex education

Ask Trixie: Should I be scared that I can contract an std?

Hi I'm kind of freaking out so we are both virgins but I'm not sure if she was born with an std or not I'm having s panic attack because I'm pretty sure she doesn't but when I asked her she said "my parents would have told me" I only stuck the tip in because it didn't fit. Should I be scared that I can contract an std????? –Will

Hi Will - There's a simple way to stop freaking out and that is for you both to get tested. Go to your doctor, or a clinic, or a Planned Parenthood if one is nearby. Or go to your school's health clinic.  It's not a big deal and people get tested all the time.

Since it takes time for STDs to develop, ask the person testing you how long you should wait before you have any kind of intimate contact again. People can contract STDs from more than intercourse, and if you're going to have any kind of sex, you need this information. 

Scarleteen has several services that can help you navigate this and hopefully find a place to get tested. They also have articles on all aspects of STIs and STDs: http://www.scarleteen.com/tags/sti. In fact, there’s so much info, you may have to go through a few pages to find exactly what you want. 

Also, check out Bedsider for STI basics at https://www.bedsider.org/features/555-stis-and-relationships-what-you-need-to-know

You'll probably both be fine but you won't know for sure unless you get tested so do it right away and get yourself some peace of mind.

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.

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.

Ask Trixie: I'm really tight down there and I'm nervous about pain and blood

Hi, love your blog. I'm 19 and a virgin. I've met this guy and I really want to have sex with him (I'm a girl). I told him I was a virgin and he was so respectful about and said we won't do anything I'm not comfortable with. I'm nervous about any pain or blood. A bit TMI but I'm really tight down there and haven't been able to get a finger in. Any tips/ advice for a first timer? Thanks in advance!

Hi! I’m really glad you’re dating a nice guy who is respectful of your boundaries and comfort level. That’s important in any relationship, but especially when you’re getting ready to do something for the first time. 

It’s pretty common to be worried about pain and blood if you’ve never had penetrative sex before. Especially because all we hear so many scary stories, we assume that’s how it always has to be. So, first of all, you should know that some people don’t experience pain, and/or don’t bleed, but since our bodies are all different, there’s no one ‘normal’ way we work.

If you’re not able to put a finger in there, it could be for a lot of totally understandable reasons: you’re nervous and the muscles around your vaginal canal and pelvic floor are super tense; you don’t have enough lubrication to help something slide in comfortably; or you may have a medical condition that should be looked at by a gynecologist. 

These are all things that can be dealt with, as long as you and your partner are communicating and you take your time. Also, keep in mind that sex includes a whole lot of really pleasant things that don’t include vaginal penetration (intercourse isn’t the be all and end all). 

Because this is such a common issue, I’m going to link you to previous stories I’ve done that have lots of info and links:

Will I Bleed The First Time I Have Sex?

We’re About To Have Sex But I’m Worried About It Hurting

I hope you and your partner have some really pleasurable sex together!

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

Ask Trixie: I've never had consensual sex and was only taught abstinence. So, what should I know?

I've only been raped before so I consider myself a virgin since I've never had consensual sex or a consensual first kiss. only taught abstinence and about STDs so what should I know? –locandload

Hi locandload -

I am so incredibly sorry that you were raped. I’m also sad what’s passed for sex ed has only been about abstinence and STDs. I don’t know very much about your own story, but knowing what I know about abstinence programs I feel like the things you learned about sex were mostly based on fear and shame. I hope I can offer some help.

Your question ‘what should I know’ is so big, I can’t really do it justice in this post. Because there’s so much to know! A great start would be checking out Scarleteen, which I (and many people) think is the best sex ed site in the world. Scarleteen has really great (and very kind) info, and here are just some of the links to their topics: bodiesgendersexual identityrelationshipssex & sexualitysexual healthpregnancy & parenting and abuse & assault

Scarleteen also has Direct Services, including one-on-one answers to your questions, as well as message boards and more. I hope it’s a good start to finding all the info and support you need. 

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

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: 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.

V-Card Diaries: Liz B. "He invited me over to his house and I of course went knowing what 'Netflix and chilling' meant"

A little about myself: 

I'm 17-year-old female student, born and raised in Houston, TX.

How I define virginity: 

I define virginity as a metaphor for one's innocence that is lost when one participates in sexual intercourse.

Here's my story: 

I was 16 when I was dating a guy from the soccer team. We barely had a month together, but there was something about him that completely had me hypnotized (maybe it was the whole bad boy thing?). Well one day he invited me over to his house and I of course went knowing what "watching Netflix and chilling" meant.

We started making out and of out no where we jumped right to it. It was Horrible! There was no foreplay, no nothing. The pain that Ii felt during sex was unbearable and we had to stop a couple of times. He finished fairly quick and then looked back at me shocked claiming " i didn't know you were a virgin" ... like really? My first time can be summed up to painful, akward, embarrassing. And pissed me off. i regret losing my virginity simply because all my friends were sexually active.

Check out Liz B. on Tumblr. 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.

V-Card Diaries: Shakti "We were two deeply geeky kids who loved science and did a lot of research"

A little about myself: 

American, female, 51, been with the same guy since we were 28. I started out doing neuroscience, but switched careers in the 90's, and now I'm a strategic planner for a large organization. I also write a blog [moderntantra.blogspot.com] about tantric sex from a practical and scientific perspective, not a religious or spiritual point of view. What interests me is helping couples have incredible sex, and figuring out just what it is about tantra that makes it so incredible.

How I define virginity: 

I usually use the normal definition (never a penis in a vagina) even though it's stupid.

Here's my story: 

My first time ever was actually with someone I would describe as a close friend, but not a lover. We were lab partners, study buddies, and best friends, and we'd both just finished a human biology course. We were 20-year-old virgins and curious, so we decided to see what all the fuss was about. We did some actual research first - this was the early 80s, so there was no Internet to make it easy! - and we kind of worked up to handjobs, oral, and finally the real thing.

During my research I had found some advice on preparing for the first time and I followed it carefully. When we decided we were ready to try out the main event, my friend helped me come orally and then I got on top, cowgirl style, and eased onto him very slowly. Perhaps as a result, there wasn't any pain and I didn't bleed at all.

(For more about what I did to get ready, read "Aunt Shakti's Action Plan for Proactive Modern Virgins". I wrote it for my nieces when they got to the right age to be curious about such things, and recently revised it and put it online.)

I thought the actual sex was a bit of an anticlimax, but he seemed to enjoy it a lot, so we did it some more, trying out many variations. It was fascinating, because we could talk about everything in a completely frank and natural way that would have been very hard if we were deep in a romantic fog and really trying to impress and please each other. So we could laugh ourselves silly when things didn't work, and try different things until we found out what did work, and why. After we got over being shy about nudity, kissing was actually the most awkward thing about it!

Maybe it only works well for two deeply geeky kids who love science more than anything else, but it was fascinating, educational, and fun, and I suspect that it would be a great way for many people to learn about sex, without the urgency and the anxiety and all the fumbling around in the dark.

So if you're a curious virgin and you have a willing friend of the appropriate gender, I'd say go ahead and give it a shot. It doesn't have the magical intensity that sex can have when you're both head over heels in love, but it can definitely have its own rewards.

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

Just The Tip: News from the World of Virginity and Beyond featuring vatican gynecology, wedding night tips, books for teens and Tennessee is the worst

Happy Hanukah to all those that celebrate! Here's are this week's top stories from the world of virginity, ladyparts and sex. For up to the minute news, follow our Facebook Page, where we post every day!

 

100-Year-Old Wedding Night Advice for Newlyweds

On one hand they're pretty clear about the hymen not being an indicator of virginity. On the other hand here's what they think is: 
"The one true and only test which any man should look for is modesty in demeanor before marriage, absence of both assumed ignorance and a disagreeable familiarity, and a pure and religious frame of mind. When these are present, he need not doubt that he has a faithful and chaste wife."

Tennessee school wins right to ban gays and women who’ve had sex: ‘This is who we are’

From the story, which I can't believe is not parody:
'The waiver allows the school to ban pregnant students, women who have had an abortion, single mothers, LGBT students and anyone else who does not fit their religious ideology.
“This is who we are as a Christian university,” O’Brien opined. “These are our religious principles. And in a changing world, we would like to reaffirm that this is who we are and who we intend to be.” '

Daniel Holtzclaw's Victims, In Their Own Words

Former Oklahoma City Police Department Officer Daniel Holtzclaw was found guilty of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault. These are the testimonies of his victims:
"According to prosecutors, Holtzclaw targeted these women because they had records and lived in a high-crime neighborhood. He allegedly chose them because they didn’t want any trouble and because they feared the police — because they likely wouldn’t report their assaults to the police. He was the police."

Twenty-three more books every teenager should read

Did you know this?
Every teenage in Sweden is being given a copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists? Here's a good and useful list of other great books for teens, with the bonus of shoutouts to our friends Rachel Hills and Scarleteen's Heather Corinna.

Is Technology Making Us Sluttier?

Well, probably not:
"In the same way that mid-century antibiotics and contraception helped kick off the sexual revolution, better HIV treatments (as well as Gardasil, more advanced contraception, and that old standby, the condom) might encourage more libertine behavior by making sex feel safer than it did during the panic of the 1990s—but granted, that doesn’t really make for the most compelling of Vanity Fair screeds."

He Called Her a Slut. He Got Fired

...And then a bunch of trolls blamed her for it.
"A culture of sexist tolerance undermines entire industries, let alone individual people’s daily lives. This tolerance continues because we’ve created cultures were targets of awful behavior are expected to just take it."

...and finally, you can't make this stuff up:

Catholic university overseen by the Church to host conference about the secrets of the female body

From the story:
"Topics covered at the landmark conference are said to include the lifting, tightening and bleaching of female genitals. Delegates will also discuss the amplification of the G-spot and the O-spot, a point behind the surface which experts claim is more sensitive to pleasure than the G-spot. The delegates will also be greeted to an audience with Pope Francis and a walk with in the Vatican gardens, the Times reported. They will then take part in a 'hands on course' which features operations on '14 live cases'."

Be a virginspotter! Send us stories for our weekly round up here, or tweet at us with our @virginitymovie handle. 

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

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

Only 4 more days to make 'Second Puberty' a reality. Support Trans Health and Trans Stories in the Media.

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As some of you may know, I'm involved with the team making "Second Puberty," a humorous, informative, and unique sex ed film for trans people going through Hormone Replacement Therapy. 

We only have 5 days left to raise almost $6,000 on Kickstarer to make Second Puberty a reality. Here's why the project is so important: Telling positive, celebratory stories about trans lives, and making trans people themselves an essential part of the telling of those stories, is essential. Please share it with your networks, and back the film if you can.

I'll let the project's producer Lux Alptraum take it from here:

"This past Sunday, Jeffrey Tambor – a cisgender man – won an Emmy for his portrayal of a trans woman on "Transparent." I have no issue with Tambor or his award (save for the way they're emblematic of the way trans performers are shunted aside to make way for cis performers to tell their stories), but I do think it's worth noting that, barely a day after Tambor's win, actual trans woman and media professional Shadi Petosky was harassed by the TSA for having a body that didn't conform to cisgender norms.

I think it's great that America is celebrating trans narratives with shows like "Transparent" and "I Am Cait," I think it's great that "Transparent" is now hiring more trans and gender non-conforming people to work on the show, both behind and in front of the camera. But I think it's *very* clear that we still have a long, long ways to go. And I think that telling positive, celebratory stories about trans lives, and making trans people themselves an essential part of the telling of those stories, is an essential first step. I have hyped the "Second Puberty" Kickstarter a bunch, but with 5 days to go – and over $6K still to raise – I want to remind you all why this project is so important. 

There are very few film projects out there that are not only *willing* to hire trans people, but in fact *prioritize* trans people. 

In the course of this project, I've met a number of trans people who are excited and thrilled by this project and the opportunity it represents – but in order to for me to be able to hire them, this Kickstarter needs to reach its minimum funding goal. Please take a stand for trans people in the media – and celebratory, essential, and (most importantly!) funny stories about trans health – by supporting this Kickstarter.
– Lux
Take me to Kickstarter for more information

"How To Lose Your Virginity" Is Now Streaming On Demand In The US & Canada + More Breaking News From Trixie Films

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You can now stream "How To Lose Your Virginity" in the US, Canada and beyond

Want to watch the film tonight? Now you can stream the film on your computer or other device with the magic of the internet. Let us know where you're watching from and we'll take you to the right Video On Demand page.
 
US & Canada
International
Psst: You can also stream I Was A Teenage Feminist (outside the US & Canada) and How I Learned to Speak Turkish (everywhere!).
Please respect our copyright. Streaming is licensed for personal home viewing with family and friends only. You need a different license to screen, loan or broadcast for educational or commercial purposes. Find resources for educators here. Or use this form and we'll help you get exactly what you need.
Get a first look at our new and improved "V-Card Diaries" project

The V-Card Diaries is our popular crowd-sourced interactive story-sharing site where anyone can anonymously access and share stories about becoming sexual. Working with fabulous developer Roopa Vasudevan, we've updated it, making it easier to use and easier to search. We have almost 400 stories (and counting) on the site. Please check it out and add your own!

We're so proud of The V-Card Diaries, which was on exhibit at The Kinsey Institute, and has been used as ethnographic data in college Human Sexuality courses. 

New Project: "Second Puberty," a Sex Ed film about HRT for the Trans Community

I'm very excited to announce that I'll be directing the film Second Puberty, an important and unique project that can really use your support for its Kickstarter campaign.

Created by producer Lux Alptraum, Second Puberty will be an informative, hilarious and accessible health education resource for trans people and their families. Inspired by the awkward (yet instructive) sex ed films we were subjected to in Junior High, it's geared specifically to people in the trans community going through the changes of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

This project will also be creating media jobs for trans people. It will have an all-trans cast and as many trans people as possible behind the scenes. Second Puberty will be distributed for free, so we need to raise all the production money through fundraising.

Join us for the Chicago Premiere of "How To Lose Your Virginity" on Nov 2nd (woo!)

We can't wait to premiere the film in Chicago, which was my hometown for almost 10 years. It's Monday November 2nd at 7:30 at the AMC River East, just off Michigan Avenue.

As with our West Coast screenings, we'll need to sell enough advance tickets for the screening to happen. Please click here to be notified as soon as tickets are available Sept 29th–and then buy them! And please share with your Chicagoland pals.

Are you with a Chicago organizations that wants to spark healthy conversations around sexuality and relationships? We'd love to make you a part of this event. Contact us for more info.


In addition to the screening, I'm honored to be a part of the American Public Health Association Conference as a panelist for "Let's Talk about Sex. Shame. Power. Violence."  
 
Upcoming Events Digest:
 

Tuesday, October 27, New York, Anthology Film Archive
Vinnie: I Break For Cycles screening
I'm doing a Q&A following the screening hosted by New York Women In Film and Television
Get notified when tickets are available 

Monday, November 2, Chicago
How To Lose Your Virginity Chicago Premiere
I'm doing a Q&A following the screening (with special guests)

Get notified when tickets are available 

Tuesday, November 3, Chicago
American Public Health Association Annual Conference
I will be on the Panel "Let's talk about Sex. Shame. Power. Violence" Plus: How To Lose Your Virginity screening (excerpts) 

Sunday, November 8, New York
BinderCon 2015 
I'm presenting the Workshop "Interactive Storytelling: A non-techie's introduction to immersing and engaging your online audiences"

Want to invite me to your event? There's more info here.
Are you an educator? We have free resources for you.

Thanks for all your support!
–Therese & Team Trixie Films

Just The Tip: Your Lady Viagra Roundup

1950s advertisement for a Belgian cigarette. Also, I think a much better name for this new drug.

Have you heard about this thing they're calling the Female Viagra? Yeah, me too. The drug Flibanserin (sold as Addyi) was just approved by the FDA to treat women for the somewhat sketchy 'disease' of hypoactive sexual desire disorder, described as a sudden loss of libido [Edited to add that loss of libido is a very real thing that can happen to both men and women. However, this condition was removed from the DSM a few years ago and is not longer considered a disorder. Homosexuality used to be in the DSM as well.] 

There's been a lot of back and forth about its effectiveness (minimal), the way it works (nothing like Viagra which pumps penises full of blood, as opposed to working on the brain), and the PR campaign that got it approved after multiple attempts (killer, unfortunately). 

I've been skeptical of this drug ever since I first heard about it from the The New View Campaign and the documentary Orgasm, Inc, both of which address the medicalization of female sexuality. Here are some reasons why you might be skeptical as well. 

We live in a society that continues to judge a woman both for being too sexual and not sexual enough, that defines good sex as whatever pleases a woman's male partner, and only counts vaginal orgasms through intercourse as 'real' orgasms (thanks, Dr. Freud). Also, sex is complicated and talking about it can be difficult, so taking a little pill every day may feel a lot less messy.

There's been a lot written this week, so I've compiled some of the most interesting writing about this Lady Viagra phenomenon, as well some thoughts on women and desire. Let me know what you think!
 

First, me! Sady Doyle's Guardian article gave me the last word on the meaning of 'normal' when we talk about sex:

“When it comes to sex, there is no ‘normal. There’s no right way to have sex for the first time, no timetable for sexual experiences, no perfect amount of sex to have, and no requirement to even have sex at all. Saying ‘normal’ exists, and ‘normal’ is a moving target depending on who you ask, means there’s something wrong with anyone who doesn’t conform. Meaning, all of us.” 
 

Speaking of 'normal,' FiveThirtyEight suggests that accurate statistics might help more than drugs:

"Inaccurate perceptions about what counts as normal sexuality are widespread. In sociologist Michael Kimmel’s book “Guyland: The Perilous World in Which Boys Become Men,” he found that male college students assumed about 80 percent of their classmates had sex on any given weekend. The real number was closer to 5 percent to 10 percent. The result is a reverse Lake Wobegon effect: Everyone is below “normal.” Rachel Hills, author of “The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality,” told me that the women she interviewed “have internalized that sex should happen two to three times a week.” In reality, according to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, less than half of men and women 18 to 49 in partnered relationships report having sex at least that often."
 

Emily Nagoski writes in The Medium about the brilliant concept of responsive desire and why pleasure (and not craving) should be Queen:

"The key to assessing your own sexual wellbeing is not how much you want sex, but how much you like the sex you are having. I’m not sure how we got to a place, culturally, where we came to value the craving for sex so much higher than the enjoyment of sex  [...] But for me what matters most is that you feel free to let go of the idea that there is a certain amount of “wanting” you’re supposed to be experiencing or else you’re “broken,” and embrace instead the idea that if you’re having fun a the party, you are doing it right."
 

Here's Azeen Ghorayshi at Buzzfeed on how Even The Score's PR machine co-opted feminist messages to get the drug approved:

"With this multipronged attack, the group has managed to spin the issue of the drug’s approval not in terms of efficacy or side effects (which are not insignificant), but in terms of women’s rights. The group’s strongest assertion, that men have 26 drugs approved to treat sexual dysfunction while women had none, presented a stirring call to arms to “even the score. Trouble is, that figure is patently untrue. As the FDA and many experts on the pharmaceutical industry have pointed out, no drugs are currently on the market to treat low libido in men. (Viagra doesn’t treat sexual desire, but rather a man’s physiological arousal.)"
 

Lux Alptraum writes in The Motherboard about the Big Business of arousal, and the ways that new products promote secrecy over communication.

"Which is, ultimately, the bitter irony of both flibanserin and Fiera. The products may package themselves in feminist language about empowerment and sexual pleasure, but their business models seem to rely on sexual ignorance, stigma, and a population of women too afraid to actually explore the wealth of other options that might remedy their woes. Those options come at a much cheaper price point than the Fiera, and with far fewer side effects than flibanserin."


And finally, it looks like whether the drug works or not, the original owners of Sprout Pharmaceuticals are getting the last laugh (and a cool $1 billion).

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. 

Ask Trixie: As a chubby girl, what technique and tips can I get for riding on top?

As a chubby girl, what technique and tips can I get for riding on top?  – locandload

Hi locandload!

I think that’s a great question, especially because there’s not enough conversation about chubby (large, fat, of size, however you want to describe it) girls and awesome sex. Being a chubby girl myself, it’s only recently that I’ve found so many smart, badass people spreading information and love on this topic.

So first of all, it’s important to get some mythology out of the way about any issues you may have heard (I sure did) about chubby people being on top. Quoting the fabulous Hanne Blank, in her book Big Big Love“No, you aren’t going to crush, smother suffocate, smash or otherwise injure anyone you have sex with if you get on top. I’ve been answering this question for over a decade. Yes, you can get on top.”

Let me add that once you are on top, don’t worry about what you look like. You’re having sex with someone–and they are probably extremely happy about it. I will quote Amy Schumer on what she thinks about when she gets naked for her partner, even on her chubbier days: “You’re welcome”

Many people with vaginas prefer being on top because it allows them to set the pace during intercourse. And if it’s your very first time doing that, having as much control over your body as possible is really, really important.

Here are some more tips from Big Big Love (which, frankly apply to people of any size):

  • Take your time to adjust yourself so you and your partner are comfortable before inserting anything anywhere.
  • Use a wall or chair to steady yourself and get extra leverage (which your partner can help with since they are firmly planted)
  • Watch out for elbows and knees, and also leaning on your hand when it’s resting on your partner’s soft parts.
  • If you need to get off of your partner in a hurry, just roll off to one side.
  • If you’re not enjoying it, try something else, and if you are enjoying, have a great time!

You also might want to put a pillow under your partner’s behind to elevate them a bit. Also, make sure there’s something soft for your knees to rest on. 

  • Add to that some general first-time intercourse tips:
  • Make sure you’re relaxed and very lubricated
  • Set your own pace and control how deeply you’re being penetrated so it feels OK
  • Communicate with your partner about what you like or don’t like
  • Stop if something hurts or if there’s something you don’t want to do.

For more, check out a whole collection of articles on having sex while chubby at  Bitch.com, and some more love and info from xoJane.

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

Ask Trixie: "I'm scared to lose my virginity because I'm scared I will get pregnant."

I'm scared to lose my virginity because I'm scared I will get pregnant the first time I ever do it because that's the kind of luck I have – Anonymous

Dear Anonymous – I’m really glad you asked this question. Sex can be amazing, but being ready for any kind of sex is more than just making physical and emotional connections. It also means you and your partner are taking responsibility for using the right contraception and STI prevention–which I know can sometimes be confusing and awkward.

I have TOTALLY been there myself, and I’m really ashamed to say that the first time I had intercourse I used no birth control at all. So stupid and scary, and I was very lucky to not get pregnant or get an STI*. I did NOT make that mistake again. I immediately scheduled my first gynecologist appointment and decided to go on the pill (and never got pregnant). That was the right choice for me at the time, but everyone's situation is different.

One little thought: Having any kind of sex for the first time can sometimes be scary, or make us nervous. Think about whether fear of pregnancy is masking some other deeper concerns about being intimate. I'll leave that there for you to ponder and get on to the birth control info.

First of all, the best way not to get pregnant is not to have intercourse (Jane The Virgin doesn’t count) but if you do want to have intercourse, birth control should never, ever be a matter of luck. It’s about educating yourself on the best BC option for you, and then using it exactly as directed. Despite what abstinence-until-marriage programs teach, contraception is safe and effective when used correctly (and a lot safer than going through a pregnancy). 

A great place to start is with this handy guide from our friends at Scarleteen. It walks you through questions about what’s most useful and healthy for YOU and gives lots of suggestions on what to use. Planned Parenthood also has a great guide as does Bedsider.

Once you have an idea of what works best for you, go see your health care provider. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Planned Parenthood office, they’ll be happy to help you, and it will be less expensive. Stay way clear of Crisis Pregnancy Centers which advertise the same services but then give you misinformation and shame instead of contraception.

One other thing to consider: If you’re having sex within a relationship and your birth control costs a bit of cash, it’s only fair that your partner helps pay for it. Just because you’re the one who can get pregnant, it doesn’t mean it’s not his responsibility as well. 

*Don’t forget Sexually Transmitted Infections, which can be an even bigger risk than pregnancy because you don’t have to have intercourse to get infected. Condoms are the only way to protect yourself against those so have your partner keep using them. Also, because no BC is absolutely 100% effective (although many come very close), condoms can be a great backup.

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

Ask Trixie: Is the G-spot a real thing?

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

is the "G-spot" a real thing? –Anonymous

People continue to fiercely debate whether there’s an actual G-Spot (named for German gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg). Some people have an especially sensitive spot on the inside front-ish part of their vaginal canals, and when it’s rubbed just right magical things happen. Others don’t feel that much in their vaginas at all and would always prefer the party to be happening around their clitoris. And others think that anything they feel in their vaginas is actually coming from their clitoris any way.

Wait, weren't we talking about the G-Spot? Yes, but bear with me. The clitoris, like an iceberg, takes up a lot more territory than the bit that’s visible, and therefore might be the source of physical pleasure for the whole vulval/vaginal area. So what you feel in your G-Spot area is possibly just another form of stimulation of the giant clitoral body. 

If you want to learn more about the amazing clitoris, The Huffington Post just published a pretty amazing story package on the clitoris complete with history, diagrams and swell animations.

The moral? There's really no correct location for your orgasm, despite what Dr. Freud* thought, so the important thing is to figure out what feels really good down there and do more of that, whatever you want to call it. You can read more about The G-Spot here and here as well.

*Sigmund Freud taught that clitoral orgasms were 'immature' and after puberty women should only have vaginal orgasms, which he deemed 'mature.' This was based on absolutely no scientific evidence except his belief that real sex was dictated by the penis and intercourse. Despite it being total bullshit, this myth continues to this day even though a significant percentage of women don't experience orgasms located in their vaginas.

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