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A delightful animation that encourages us to talk more openly about sex...with British accents if possible. (NSFW)

Animator Anna Ginsburg's Private Parts couples fabulously creative animation with the always-excellent goal of getting us to talk more openly about sex. It was commissioned by the UK's Channel 4 in collaboration with It's Nice That, who quotes the filmmaker:

“Conversations I’ve had with close female and male friends over the last decade have shed light on the continuing struggle that women have to engage with and love their own bodies, and to access the sexual pleasure they are capable of,” says Anna. “I’ve been exposed to ‘dick drawings’ since primary school but have rarely, if ever, seen a vagina visualised other than in a clinical medical context. So I thought that talking to men and women about vaginas, masturbation and pubic hair – and then animating them as talking genitals – would be a good place to start in my crusade to open up these issues of sexual inequality and get the conversation started.”

Only quibble: We're enjoying adorable vulvas, not vaginas. Sigh.

Just the Tip! Featuring Virgin Classified Ads, Better Sex Ed in Cali, Virginity Scholarships in S. Africa & Feminist 'Hamilton'

Can you feel it in the air? Spring is just around the corner! Here 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!


Dad Advertises His ‘Virgin’ Daughter for Marriage in Christian Magazine

At least 'virgin' was at the end of a long list of her attributes. The daughter in question responded “it’s appropriate they placed it in the Employment Opportunities section because putting up with this father-in-law's shenanigans is a full time job, without any paid vacation.” It's interesting that his daughter's reaction (on a now-deleted blog post) was basically an 'Oh Dad' eye roll. h/t Paul Freelend


On one hand...
Radford University Holds “Men Can Stop Rape” Presentation For Greeks, Only Requires Sorority Women To Go

This is Rape Culture: "Sororities were required to send every single member to this speaker. And the fraternity requirement? Eight." The Panhellenic community was outraged and wrote the perfect angry letter. h/t Soraya Chemaly

On the other hand...
California Becomes First State To Make Sexual Consent Lessons Mandatory In High Schools Beginning Next Year

The new law mandates all school districts that have made health a graduation requirement to lecture students about sexual violence prevention and affirmative consent starting next year. Plus, Governor Brown signed a new law mandating all school districts to offer comprehensive sex education courses twice for grades 7 through 12. "The measure did not receive any opposition in the Legislature, and even nearly received a unanimous bipartisan backing." Huzzah.


Video: When You First Time Literally Feels Like Poop

From Refinery 29: Two very honest and sweet people talk about embarrassing first times.


‘My virginity will change my future’, vows South African student

A group of South African 'maidens' get their college fees paid on the condition that they remain 'virgins,' with regular 'virginity tests' by a group of older women. Despite the fact that there's not such thing as a virginity test, it's sexist to make abstinence a condition of women getting scholarships, and these efforts aren't actually curbing pregnancies or HIV, the recipients think it's great. Oh, and they're going to offer it to guys as well, but won't be 'testing' them. h/t Paul Freelend


Indigenous languages recognize gender states not even named in English

The Native Youth Sexual Health Network is talking about how Canada's First Nation languages treat gender. Incredibly cool : In Cree, for example, “aayahkwew” means “neither man or woman.” In Inuktitut, “sipiniq” means “infant whose sex changes at birth.” In Kanien’keha, or Mohawk language, “onón:wat” means “I have the pattern of two spirits inside my body.” h/t Andrea Plaid


schuylersistershamilton

And finally...in honor of Women's History Month, the Schuyler Sisters

Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones, who play the Schuyler sisters in the Broadway musical Hamilton raps to feminist quotes and it's awesome. As the constant joke goes, this may be as close as anyone gets to seeing the musical. Or do like the New Yorkers do every morning and  try your luck in the lottery!

Just The Tip runs most Fridays. Send us your virginity stories here or on Twitter.

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

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

Will we See you at our Chicago Premiere on Nov. 2nd?

How To Lose Your Virginity is coming to Chicago for one entertaining, eye-opening, and thought-provoking screening. Join me for a post-film Q&A moderated by Veronica Arreola, followed by a gathering nearby.

Here's the important part: We have to sell 10 more tickets in the next week for the event to happen. Why not reserve your tickets today

The Chicago Reader just did a great story about the film and screening. Here's what other reviews have to say: "The crowd was laughing and gasping throughout the movie" and “Tackles one of the last taboos in our culture’s discussion of sex – the deliberate decision not to participate in it.”

Sound good? It's going to be a great night for parents, teens, activists, educators and all our friends–and there's sure to be great conversation (there always is).

A big thank you to our partners:
Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation
Chicago Foundation for Women

Watch the trailer and get more info about the film:

What has launched both purity balls and porn franchises, defines a young woman’s morality–but has no medical definition? Enter the magical world of virginity, where a white wedding dress can restore a woman’s innocence and replacement hymens can be purchased online. But, what if all we had to lose were our virginity myths? Using her own path out of virginity, filmmaker Therese Shechter explores why our sex-crazed society cherishes this so-called precious gift. Along the way, we meet sex educators, virginity auctioneers, abstinence advocates, and young men and women who bare their tales of doing it—or not doing it. HOW TO LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY uncovers the myths and misogyny surrounding a rite of passage that many obsesses about–but few truly understand.

See you there!

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

Films We Can't Wait To See: The Diary of a Teenage Girl

I've been waiting for The Diary of a Teenage Girl to open in New York since I first heard about it at the Sundance Film Festival. The film, directed by Marielle Heller, is about 15-year-old Minnie, who has sex for the first time with her mother's age-inappropriate boyfriend. It's based on Phoebe Gloeckner's graphic novel, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures."  

I can't wait to see it for so many reasons, including that I saw the film's star Bel Powley on stage in Tom Stoppard's Arcadia* back in 2011 and she was fabulous. But mostly because I think it's going to be such a great film about teenage girls and sexuality. Minnie's opening lines set the tone: "I had sex today. Holy shit." 

Women & Hollywood just wrote about that line a story about 6 lines from the film that every teenage girl needs to hear. Here's what Powley had to say about it:

Powley said at a Q&A panel following a screening of "Diary" that this is part of what drew her to the character. "I just felt like I related to Minnie on so many levels, and I just thought it was so special because it was opening up a conversation about female sexuality amongst teenage girls...I think it's such a taboo subject to discuss young girls or teenage girls feeling horny. We see our virginity as something that is really precious and that we lose or we give it away and then it's kind of over and then it's not okay to have sex with the wrong people or have sex with loads of people; it makes you feel like you're a freak or a you're bit weird if you have those feelings." 

Some of Minnie's other lines include "I just want to be touched. I don't know what's wrong with me," and "I didn't know if I wanted him or anyone else to fuck me, but I didn't want to pass up the chance." This is the real deal: I've read these very lines so many times in the stories submitted to our online project The V-Card Diaries.

Not suprisingly, the film has generated as much controversy and praise, and I'll write more about the film after I've seen it. I'll also be talking about it in my Downton Gabby Off-Season podcast which you can catch up with here.

Have you seen the film yet? What do you think? 

*You can see a clip of Bel Powley in Arcadia here, starting at 00:34.

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. 

Just The Tip: Teaching Sex Ed to 4-yr-olds, Duggar grossness, Your Number, V-Myths and more...

Our weekly collection of interesting links from around the internets. Click on the titles to link. (Or, why wait? Get up-to-the minute news on our Facebook page)

Bill Nye explains The Sex

Not super informative, but how can you resist? Bill Nye's at the Museum of Sex in New York to explain the evolutionary purpose of sex. Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts STARTALK (MONDAYS 11/10c on NatGeo).


Jaclyn Friedman on Caitlyn Jenner and the complicated definitions of womanhood:

"Trans people are not magical gender warriors. We may politicize their bodies, but they are not obligated to play along. As with all of us, some may decide to become activists, but most won’t, and either way, none of them will exclusively do the most politically expedient thing every time they’re faced with a choice. Because they’re human. They don’t owe the world a revolution, or even an explanation. And they’re certainly not obligated to live up to the arbitrary standards of one random cis woman."


Inside the Duggars' Dark World

Young women are not only robbed of any sexual agency, this culture also teaches that "Women are objects, controlled and exchanged by men to create and affirm the men’s identities...Women. Are. Not. People." And it has implications for all of us. An essay by one of our fave virginity geeks, Jaime Hough.


I was interviewed for this piece (along with our How To Lose Your Virginity expert Hanne Blank) about busting virginity myths. Loved contributing thoughts along with lots of screen grabs from the film:

"Male virginity wasn't even discussed as a thing until the 20th century," Therese Shechter, creator of the documentary How to Lose Your Virginity, told Mic. "Whether a man was sexual or not had little bearing on his character or value."
"The concept of virginity is all too often tied to how we talk about women's morality and sexual choices," Shechter said. "I think people should define virginity however they want, or dismiss the concept it altogether if it's not useful to them."

Is You Sexual History As Impressive As You Think?

In other words, am I a slut or a loser? So lemme just go get a pencil. But first...What exactly does 'slept with' mean? And if our definitions are different based on which parts touched other parts, then what exactly are we comparing and tallying? And what constitutes a lot? I know, I know...this is just a dumb internet game, but can we all agree 'the number' makes no sense? Instead, why not ponder the first milestone of your sexual history with our own quiz.


In the Netherlands, sex education starts in Kindergarten

We North Americans do such a lousy job of teaching our young about sexuality. The Dutch are miles ahead of us:

“People often think we are starting right away to talk about sexual intercourse [with kindergartners],” van der Vlugt says. “Sexuality is so much more than that. It’s also about self image, developing your own identity, gender roles, and it’s about learning to express yourself, your wishes and your boundaries.”

That means the kindergartners are also learning how to communicate when they don’t want to be touched. The goal is that by age 11, students are comfortable enough to navigate pointed discussions about reproduction, safe sex, and sexual abuse.

 

Be a VirginSpotter! Got a story you think we should talk about? Contact us or tweet at us here.

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.

Let's do this thing, Bay Area! We now need 24 more RSVPs by Monday to make this screening happen.

Thanks to you lovely people, we got 9 more ticket reservations in just one day. We only need 24 more by Monday, so let's make it happen!

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Get your tickets by May 11 & help make this event happen! 
View this email in your browser
Reserve your tickets today!
Watch our trailer!
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heck out our new website!


We need 33 more RSVPs to make this screening happen!


Join us on
May 18 in
San Francisco:
RSVP online
by May 11 

How To Lose Your Virginity is coming to the Bay Area for one entertaining, eye-opening, and thought-provoking screening. Join Director Therese Shechter and Producer Lisa Esselstein for a Q&A and some pre- and post-screening events.

Because this is a Tugg screening, we have to sell 33 more tickets in the next 6 days for the event to happen. Reserve your ticket today* and tell all your friends in the Bay Area to join us as well (use the handy social media links below). 

It's going to be a great night for parents, teens, and all our friends–and there's sure to be great conversation (there always is!).

See you there,
Therese & Lisa & Team Trixie Films

*Like Kickstarter, your card won't be charged unless the event happens.
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Amy Schumer is seriously ON FIRE this season!

"Ask your boss to ask his priest if birth control is right for you." See more of Inside Amy Schumer here.

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

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

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

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

Lyrics:

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

Virgin Mary Sighted in Pickup Truck

VirginMary in a Truck
VirginMary in a Truck

Our reports on global Virgin Mary sightings are few and far between these days, so when a new one shows up, we get excited. This video has the bonus of a recap of other famous sightings, a news anchor who really wants you to know he's a skeptic, and a lovely dog. Enjoy.

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."

Just The Tip: Virginity In The News with Jane The Virgin, The Institute of Sexology, Indonesian 'virginity' testing, victorian sex myths that won't go away, and more...

Your weekly roundup of virginity-related stories in your world. Want to hear about them right away? Follow us on Facebook where we post daily. Got a story for us to post? Let us know!  

V-Card and Feminist Ryan Gosling

So honored to have our V-Card sharing space with Feminist Ryan Gosling at Sewanee University of the South after my "How To Lose Your Virginity Myths" lecture at the Bairnwick Women's Center Pinnacle Luncheon. Want me to come to your school? More info here.

 

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"There are no “but”s when it comes to women’s humanity. Not “but” you’re lonely, not “but” you’re horny, not “but” you’re nice, not “but” that’s how your grandparents met, not “but” she was naked in your bed. Women are people, and women just get to exist and set boundaries and say no. Always. Any time. Just like you."

Lindy West's essay for the Daily Dot is so powerful in the way it elegantly connects the dots between online harassment, rape culture, pick-up artists, and the way women are socialized to be 'kind' and 'receptive.' It's a must-read.

 

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Among the many reasons to watch the new CW show Jane The Virgin (aside from the amazing Gina Rodriguez) is the show's sex positive and pro-choice messages, which Cosmo points out is a big step forward for the Latina community.

"A TV show can't change everything about how the Latino community talks about sex and reproductive rights, but it's heartening to see one that reflects the change that's already happening. And while Jane's decision may ultimately not have been your decision, it's a decision she was able to make — not her mother's, not her grandmother's, not her boyfriend's. The show hasn't trivialized or moralized abortion talk; it's normalized it."

I especially love the show for the way it portrays real-life abstinence choices, freely made with actual information, as well as the way it confounds the stereotypes around 'older' virginity. OK, at 23, Jane isn't at all old, but you all are sending me older virgin emails at 19. So. Also, I have a special crush on vain but hilarious Telenovela star Rogelio De La Vega played by Jaime Camil. If you haven't seen it yet, you can watch it here for free!

 

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Turkish textbooks remove diagrams of genitals

Turkish news outlet The Hurriyet Daily News reports that some Turkish schoolbooks have replaced diagrams of genitalia with cute photos of mothers and baby animals. While pictures of baby polar bears definitely help SEO, they have no place in science books. It's just another disturbing instance of Turkey's increasing conservatism under Erdogan, but keep in mind these censored Turkish sex ed texts are not unlike US abstinence programs which erase information about contraception and gay people–when they're not vilifying them, that is. I hope they still have Our Bodies, Ourselves.

 

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The Telegraph reports that women who are trying to join Indonesia's police force are routinely subjected to 'virginity' testing. The women report that

“My group of about 20 girls was asked to enter the hall and was asked to take off our clothes, including our bras and underpants,” a 19-year-old woman told the organisation. “It was humiliating. Only those who had menstruation can keep [wearing] underpants… A female doctor did the virginity test ... the 'two-finger' test."

The story makes a point of asking what virginity has to do with good police work, but fails to mention that any and all so-called virginity tests don't test anything except how retrograde and ignorant the testers are. Aside from that, these tests were supposed to be abolished in Indonesia in 2010–and they are a violations of human rights.

 

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The UK's Wellcome Collection is doing a year-old exhibit on sexuality called “The Institute of Sexology”, which they describe as:

"a candid exploration of the most publicly discussed of private acts. Undress your mind and join us to investigate human sexuality at 'The Institute', the first of our longer exhibitions. Featuring over 200 objects spanning art, rare archival material, erotica, film and photography, this is the first UK exhibition to bring together the pioneers of the study of sex."

I love their NSFW video, which makes the study of sex look classy and illicit at the same time, with scads of naked bodies and naughty words. Totally worth the trip to London, in my opinion!

 

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We got vibrators

From Autostraddle's Rebel Girl series, 5 Bad Theories on Gender and Sex From Way Back When That Still Impact us Today, from with the totally bogus universal theory of gender difference, making European women's bodies the 'normal,' and the ongoing pathologization (is that a word?) of female sexuality.

"The American Psychiatric Association didn’t drop the term hysteria until the 1950s, and hysterical neurosis remained there into 1980. The impacts of the mass misdiagnosis are far-reaching: women today are still labeled “crazy,” and it’s a seemingly natural part of our gender roles."

On the plus side, we got vibrators.

 

"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

Check out our new trailer on Upworthy, then watch the film On Demand

Despite the fact that we love making fun of Upworthy, we also appreciate it when they post important things–like our new trailer! If you haven't seen it yet, check it out, and then go stream our film On Demand (available for a very limited time)