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This Film

A final thought for the year...

20131117_212811We had nothing less than an amazing 2013, with the premiere of How To Lose Your Virginity in festivals and and on televisions all over the world, our theater-busting New York premiere at DOC NYC (Therese and Lisa are trying to kiss our poster, left). We're totally thrilled about what's coming up in 2014: Our US TV premiere in February on Fusion, attending the Filmmor Film Festival in Istanbul in March (Therese's favorite city), and speaking at Catalyst Con about Older Virginity. Get the whole exciting update here.

Earlier this year, we launched the new home of The V-Card Diaries, and have received over 250 of your stories of 'sexual debuts and deferrals.' We have so many in fact, that we're backlogged on posting them, so one of our resolutions is to catch up in the next couple of weeks!

One of our 2014 wish is to get schools to stop hiring people like Justin Lookadoo to lie to young people, and get more teens to call #lookadoo bullshit like his audience did. Yay! Mostly, we hope you'll help us continue the conversation about the experience of becoming sexual–and the radical act of speaking honestly about it.

We'll leave you with this wise quote from Abby Rose Dalto of Evil Slutopia as part of the #mysexpositivity series at Condom Monologues:

"You can be sex positive even if you’re not having sex at all, as long as you don’t judge others for their sexual choices or try to control their sexual choices. Our society is so obsessed with what everyone else is doing in bed. So to me, sex positivity is about acknowledging that we’re all different, we all like what we like, and that’s okay."

Our new film poster, just in time for our Nov. 17th DOC NYC premiere!

VirginityPoster.Small We're really excited to unveil the poster for the film! Just in time for our US premiere at DOC NYC on November 17th in Manhattan. It's especially exciting because not only is DOC NYC the largest documentary festival in the US, it's also our home town! If you're in the New York area, we'd love to see you there and say hi.

Our producer Lisa Esselstein and I will be there for a Q&A after the film, with others from the cast. The screening starts at 9:30 pm but don't let that phase you: The film is a short–and very entertaining–67 minutes, so you'll be home at a decent hour on a school night.

Get more info at the DOC NYC site and let us know how you like the poster in the comments below!

V-Card Diaries: Shanna "I remember screaming 'I’m having an orgy!' And my boyfriend laughed: 'Not an orgy, honey. An orgasm.'

Today we're highlighting Shanna from Tel Aviv, Israel. Not only does she run a fantastic sexuality organization called You Got Choices, but she is the organizer of our Sept. 30th Tel Aviv screening. We're so excited about doing this event with her and other fantastic feminist, sexuality professionals and folks who want to talk about healthy sexuality! You'll love her story, as well as some really interesting thoughts about this whole virginity thing.  If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. When I was 16 I lost my virginity. Or should I say: that was the first time that a penis penetrated my vagina. For me, it was a romantic and joyful experience with my high school boyfriend, on a Tel Aviv beach, during my birthday. It is a good memory. I remember that I waited impatiently to talk to my girlfriends about it. I suddenly felt like a woman, not a girl. As if I entered another world, the adult world of those who understand what’s going on. I suddenly had preoccupations of women – gynecological visits, shaving, my smell. I was a real woman.

Now, more than a decade and a half after the fact, and more naughty stories in my history, I looked back and tried to understand why I considered this event to be my "loss of virginity ".  I mean, I didn’t really change at that moment. I just thought I did. Suddenly I was careful about unwanted pregnancies, but other than that, I was the same young girl: nervous, unaware, in-love, and confused. So when exactly did I lose my virginity? What exactly is virginity? And how come it is something we “lose”?

I remember in seventh grade, I sat on the sofa with my parents. We were watching a movie where someone mentioned oral sex. I innocently asked, "What is oral sex?" And the casual answer I got was: "When someone pleasures someone else with their mouth." Suddenly I got nervous.  The week prior I kissed a boy from class.  Am I not a virgin? Did I have oral sex? Back then there was no Internet and it took me some time before I could find out exactly what I did with that boy. I discovered that indeed I was still a virgin and oral sex had to do with kissing sex organs. What a relief! I'm a virgin! But my inner processes had begun. I tried to understand the limits of sexuality. Suddenly, I discovered that sex is not just penis and vagina, but the whole body is involved. If so, I asked myself, what exactly is sex?

A few years later, after fooling around here and there with the boys from class and in the scouts, I met my adolescent love. You know the one – the one to whom "I lost my virginity". Slowly, in the span of a few months, our making-out became more serious. We took our time to get to know each other's bodies, the intimacy under our clothing. Together we learned what pleasures us and makes us feel good. One particular moment is engraved in my memories. We were in his bedroom. I Hope that his parents were not home, but, back then I didn’t care. We were so in love and passionate, that the only important thing was just to be together in mutual discovery. This moment, wow - what a moment. It was then that I experienced an orgasm with him. I experienced orgasms during masturbation, but never with a partner. This orgasm was before the loss-of-virginity-penetration. It was just petting and caressing. And yet it was thrilling. I remember screaming "I’m having an orgy!" And my boyfriend laughed: "Not an orgy, honey. An orgasm. An orgy is when there are lots of people having sex together." Suddenly, I discovered the power of fantasy. His words and thoughts of something so exciting and enticing brought me to the edge, and I experienced another orgasm.

This multi orgasmic experience was an awakening moment of pure ecstasy. At that moment I learned about mutual pleasuring. If I could re-define the concept of virginity and the loss of virginity - it would be this moment. Still, defined by society, this moment wouldn’t even be considered as sex -there was no penetration. When a few months later his penis definitely penetrated my vagina, and “sex” happened, I don’t even remember if I experienced an orgasm. Probably not. Despite the romantic night, it was short lived and a bit awkward. We had no idea what to do and I remember it was with effort that he entered me. We were so focused on technique that we forgot about the ecstatic connection we had had when we just petted. Nothing really propelled us to move ahead, just a yearning to pass the social berth of losing our virginity and becoming adults. After the act of penetration we felt like “we did it!". It was exciting. But deep in my heart, I missed the intimate moments before we had intercourse; I wanted to experience the depth of discovery over and over again. Yet, now I see my "loss of virginity" to be the moment I first experienced an orgasm with a partner- twice - and found out about orgies.

Years later, I was brave with my sexual life. I chose not to invest in relationships, but rather to enjoy the sensual energy that burns within me. Because of this choice I met many opportunities to lose my virginity repeatedly in all kinds of new and delightful situations. But at the time I did not really think about my experiences as losing my virginity; I just saw myself through society eyes: I was a floozy. I did not give myself the right to think of these moments of new pleasures and discoveries as a "loss of virginity”. Many times I met self doubt and self hatred.  Just recently, I started thinking about the concept of virginity as a social concept that depresses women.  I started rethinking the concept of virginity as one in which we loss some part of our innocence as we discover some new and invigorant sensual part of ourselves. This new thought is very empowering and is it with this thought that I see my life’s experiences in a better light.

What caused the change in consciousness? Well, watching the new documentary “How to Lose Your Virginity” that dispelled the myths and misconception about women's sexuality. These myths have been around since women started having sex. Through the film I was able to piece together a deep pervasive thought – that social definitions of sexuality and virginity control women’s sexuality in a very deep and destructive way. We need to think differently. We women are the ones who should define who we are as sexual beings. We should define what sex is for us. When a man loses his virginity he usually is not defined as a new person; but, when a girl or woman loses hers, she should be careful not to turn overnight from a virgin to a whore. It is time to pass on new concepts of sexuality, defined by women, empowering women, and encouraging sexual choice.

Video: Dr. Joycelyn Elders shares her views on masturbation and is as as outspoken and inspiring as ever!

From time to time we republish our favorite posts. This originally ran in May 2013.

In honor of May being National Masturbation Month and all, enjoy and share this tidbit of video from the scads of footage we couldn't fit into the film "How to Lose Your Virginity." Former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders talks about the M-Word and why we need to be honest with young people.

She's still as outspoken as she was back when she had to resign from President Clinton's cabinet for speaking out about healthy sexuality (among other things). We're thrilled Dr. Elders is in our film and we send her a huge thank you for everything she has done and continues to do.

Quick hit: Upcoming and ongoing screenings!

Get social with How To Lose Your Virginity It's been so busy these past few weeks that we haven't been able to update the blog with all the exciting news:

  1. How to Lose Your Virginity just had its Australian and Israeli TV premieres, and both are still available On Demand. More info here.
  2. I'll be at two screenings of the film in Israel in Tel Aviv on Sept 30th and Haifa Cinematheque on Oct 13th. More info here.
  3. I Was A Teenage Feminist is screening at the PSBT Film Festival in Delhi on September 13th, but alas I won't be there.

And we have really exciting US premiere news, but we can't share it yet (sorry!)

Don't want to wait for us to get this up on the blog? Get all the news as soon as it happens by following us on Facebook and Twitter. More to come!!

Casting Call for Virgins. I'm Not Kidding. A Guest Post from Belle Vierge

Therese's intro: I get a lot of requests from producers asking for my help in recruiting virgins for their exploitative reality shows. In my opinion, reality TV is the last place you ever want to trust with anything important or sensitive about your life. This is an actual true life example: Me: I'd love to do a reality show about virginity, but I don't want to exploit or embarrass anyone. Reality Show Producer: Then you really shouldn't work in reality TV.

The latest call, from MTV, came to @belle_vierge, who is much more generous in her opinions about these kinds of opportunities. She writes a great blog about virginity and, along with her boyfriend, is a highlight of our film How To Lose Your Virginity. We're honored that they're both coming out of the virginity closet in our film. Here's her post about the MTV casting call, with her permission:

Finding My VirginityCasting Call for Virgins. I'm Not Kidding. A Guest Post by Belle Vierge

So I just received an email from a casting agency looking for virgins for a new documentary for MTV. At first I thought it was a scam. I mean... really? MTV is interested in the lives of virgins? So I googled the domain of the dude's email address. It looks legit.

I have two thoughts in regards to this.

1) I like that virginity is being discussed more often in pop culture, especially outside of Purity Culture and outside of the "desperate to lose it" genre.

2) Do I think MTV will manage to pull off a documentary that doesn't exploit its participants?

Uhh...

Reality TV isn't real. A documentary like this will probably not be all that sensitive. But the decision to participate or not isn't up to me. It's up to you. You being a virgin who meets the show's requirements. So I've copied and pasted the relevant info below, just in case you want to be the next Reality TV Star. No judging here. I would totally win Big Brother if I got on that show. Also let's not forget that Beau and I are already in an awesome documentary on virginity, How To Lose Your Virginity.

-------------------------------------------------

Are you a VIRGIN?

For the first time, a completely honest show… about being a virgin.

MTV is now casting individuals who have not had sex – either by choice or circumstance - in a documentary-style show that will follow you on your experiences and life as a virgin.

We’re looking outgoing, expressive and passionate young adults who appear to be between the ages of 18-24 from all over to document the pressures, struggles, and benefits of being a virgin in America today.

Whether you plan to remain a virgin until marriage, or are just waiting for the right person; whether you’re motivated by a personal or religious commitment to purity, or you’re comfortable with some sexuality... but haven’t gone all the way; whether you feel pressure to keep your virginity, or to lose it as fast as possible – we want to hear from you.

If you’re a virgin and feel like your story MUST be told, we want to hear from you ASAP!

To submit, please provide the following to mtvdoc@lescasting.com

NOTE: PARTICIPANTS MUST BE AT LEAST 18 YEARS OF AGE

- Name & Age (Participants must be 18 years of age.)

- Contact Number(s)

- E-mail Address & Facebook

- Attach two RECENT photos of yourself.

- Briefly tell us about your day-to-day life and your story as a virgin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~

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

~~

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

Ask Me Anything about Virginity on Reddit this Wednesday!

Reddit IAmA This Wednesday at 3pm (eastern time), I'm going to be doing an Ask Me Anything on Reddit! I'm so excited about talking virginity and answering all your questions, so please join in the conversation. This will be my first time [insert virginity pun here] on Reddit, so I'm a bit nervous. That's why I'd love all you all there with me.

We'll be live on the IAmA page at about 2:45 that day, and you can follow our Tweets here and here and our Facebook page for updates as well.

Ask me about:

- the myth, meaning and magic of our precious gift - making the film (we went from a Harvard abstinence group to a Barely Legal porn set) - our most fascinating V-Card Diaries stories, with 160 posted and counting - losing your virginity, keeping your virginity or rejecting the concept altogether - or ANYTHING!

Please join me this Wednesday at 3pm on Reddit, and forward/tweet/post/share with anyone you know who's interested in having a fun, eye-opening and informative conversation!

Contact me if you have any questions, and there's always info on our (finished!) film "How to Lose Your Virginity" here.

See you on Reddit!

 

Just the Tip: Virginity in the News [Sex Beyond The Wall, Sex in a Pill, and more Virgin Reality Shows]

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Who knew that the cave sex of Game of Thrones' boringest sexy couple evah, Jon Snow and Ygritte, would spawn so many think pieces about virginity and sex (with Mad Men and Girls thrown in for good measure, which sounds a lot like our Damsels in Discussion podcast series, but I digress...)

First, a look at talking about male virginity on TV, getting away from the gotta-lose-it-by-college model, to celebrate inexperience:

Jon Snow's deflowering at the hands of Ygritte offered a fresh spin on what's usually depicted as a frantic rush to become sexually experienced. Snow, who took a vow of celibacy upon joining the Night Watch, showed reticence about losing his virginity due his celebacy vows, and presumably, his growing feelings for Ygritte. Similarly, Ginsberg's Mad Men confession about his virginity was rather poignant as it was spewed forth on a first date – not exactly winning dinner conversation.

Not to mention last week's Mad Men which gave us Don/Dick's 'how I lost my virginity' story, which at this point does anyone really care about? But really, isn't the trope of the tender male youth being shown the ways of the world pretty common? And isn't there something really off about the idea that once you do it once you're suddenly 'experienced' and all the secrets of the universe are revealed, as opposed to a long process of getting comfortable with and better at sex?

But we're all for more talk honest talk about sex, and this IndieWire story praises TV addressing all the most squirm-inducing bits head-on:

Laden down with judgments, motives and manipulations, it's no wonder that we've become so alarmist and squeamish about something that should be a natural and powerful part of human expression. The subjects that TV is addressing through explicit sexual depictions is prompting exactly the kinds of discussions we should be having on the subject. The talk of Adam's ejaculate on "Girls" encouraged an examination as to whether or not he was a rapist, based on the grim starkness of the coupling that preceded it. [...] And while it often does so in a horrifically uncomfortable way, the subtle commentary on sex and power in "Game of Thrones" -- both the shadow side of the act, and in purity of self -- reveals an entirely new prospective on the subject.

~~~

The New York Times has a story on the search for a pill to increase female desire, a controversial quest that gets little support from folks who care about  the medicalization of female sexuality. For one thing, they point out that environmental factors are rarely considered when talking about female desire, and so often the conversation descends onto evolutionary psychology (men=hunters who need to spread seed, women=passive nurturers looking for Mr Right) But here's an especially disturbing tidbit from the story from the researcher conducting the study:

“You want your effects to be good but not too good,” Andrew Goldstein, who is conducting the study in Washington, told me. “There was a lot of discussion about it by the experts in the room,” he said, recalling his involvement with the development of Flibanserin, “the need to show that you’re not turning women into nymphomaniacs.” He was still a bit stunned by the entrenched mores that lay within what he’d heard. “There’s a bias against — a fear of creating the sexually aggressive woman.”

At least they're not claiming that all women fantasize about being prostitutes, which is what filmmaker Francois Ozon believes.

[Photographs from New York Times story by Jake Chessum for The New York Times]

~~~

 

In other news, the ever-repellant virginity showman Justin Sisely strikes yet again with another reality show scheme?? I can't believe how much publicity this guy has gotten before he's ever shown even one minute of this reality show (I realize we're part of the problem)

The idea to extend Virgin Wanted to Virgin Wanted 2 came after Sisely received a large number of emails from potential bidders looking for virgins all over the globe.Last year, amidst controversy, Catarina Migliorini auctioned her virginity to a Japanese man at a staggering cost of USD 78,000...

The story has one bright light or common sense:

However, several people have raised serious questions over the entire affair. Medical experts have raised doubts over the claims that there are tests that could prove whether someone is a virgin. A Brazilian attorney general, Joao Pedro Saboia Bandeira de Mello Filho has said that if the deal between the Japanese man and Migliorini goes through, Sisely could be inviting sex-trafficking charges over himself.

One can only hope...

~~~

A quick shout-out to the Finding My Virginity blog, which we liked so much we put its author ('a Christian feminist living outside the Virgin/Whore dichotomy") in our film! And thanks as always to eagle-eyed virginity correspondent @j_aallan.

Are you a VirginSpotter? Send us your Virginity in the News and we'll publish it here!

Just The Tip: Virginity in the News: Sexual truth, slut-shaming, reality purity and a new V-Card app!

DieariesDemoPage Remember that V-Card-survey we asked you to fill out last week? Well, just just spent a very intense chocolate-covered-espresso-bean-fueled weekend building a prototype based on your answers. It's Phase 2 of our V-Card Diaries project, which mixes interactive storytelling, cool charts, and some subversion of the virginity construct. Check out the V-Card Experience Engine prototype here!

Keep in mind, it's just a prototype right now, so only some parts work, and others are there to show you what it looks like as you fill it out. If you haven't done our survey to anonymously add your experiences to our database, do it now! You can enjoy the first part of V-Card Diaries, your essays on sexual debuts and deferrals, live on our website anytime.

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We love the new Make Sex Normal Tumblr. That is all.

~~~

Scarleteen Logo

It's Heather Corinna's birthday and the wonderful founder of Scarleteen has one birthday wish: please tell the sexual truth.

"One of the very biggest problems we have in most of our cultures and communities around sex and sexuality is silence, secrecy, and talk about sex that very often either isn't truthful, or is, but isn't the whole truth. We, as people, tend to often feel so scared and shameful and nervous about sex that we posture. We embellish. We make things sound better or worse than they are. We pretend we know more than we do, or have experienced less or more than we have [...] So this year, as a birthday gift from you to me, and even more so, as a gift to yourself, I'm asking you to tell just one (but more if you like, of course!) truth about sex or sexuality with someone safe for you, today or sometime very soon."

You can (and must) read the rest of her essay/birthday wish here.

~~

This made our day: When the notorious abstinence lecturer/public shamer Pam Stenzel showed up to give one of her usual shaming and inaccurate high school speeches, she wasn't expecting to come up against student Katelyn Campbell (above). Not only did Katelyn refuse to attend the assembly, she filed a complaint with the ACLU, calling Stenzel's presentation 'slut shaming." But here's Think Progress reports happened after that:

But it didn’t end with a simple difference of opinion among Campbell and her principal. The high school senior alleges that Aulenbacher threatened to call Wellesley College, where Campbell has been accepted to study in the fall, after she spoke to the press about her objections to the assembly. According to Campbell, her principal said, “How would you feel if I called your college and told them what bad character you have and what a backstabber you are?” Campbell alleges that Aulenbacher continued to berate her in his office, eventually driving her to tears. “He threatened me and my future in order to put forth his own personal agenda and make teachers and students feel they cant speak up because of fear of retaliation,” she said of the incident. Despite being threatened, Campbell is not backing down.

Katelyn Campbell, you are our hero. And, via Twitter, Wellesley College has confirmed that Campbell doesn’t need to worry about her spot next year!

~~

All that feel-good gets pushed away by this show on Lifetime called Preachers' Daughters which asks the question: How will three Christian families headed by pastors keep their teen daughters from having sex? Andy Kopsa writes in the Atlantic about what happens when families fixate on purity:

The things each of these families is dealing with aren't unique. Raising teenagers can be a nightmare (Aside from having been a teen girl myself once, I have a 23-year-old daughter so, yes, I get it.) The way these young girls are affected by the expectations of their parents and the rigidity of their religion may seem unusual but in some Christian households it appears to be quite common. They are not an anomaly that reality TV discovered and seized onto but an accurate portrayal of a prevalent Evangelical belief system.

Many of the comments, which attack the story as they quote scripture are depressing. But we did notice one from our pal @BelleVierge

Also, the way those girls are styled above, the show should be called Preachers' Virgin/Whore Dichotomies. Thanks for the link: @Catcall Chronicle and @northstarmoll

What was your first time like? What do you think it will be like? Take our V-Card Diaries survey!

UPDATE APRIL 15th AFTERNOON: After an intense two days, we created a prototype from your data. Check it out here! Please help us continue to collect data as we refine our project. Based on your answers and feedback, this data is guiding us as we shape the final interactive questionnaire for the app. Your responses are totally anonymous BannerCherryPlus

We're collecting data to build another cool interactive project for our documentary "How to Lose Your Virginity" through POV's Hackathon 3. Please help us get the ball rolling by answering and submitting this survey by Friday morning. (Warning, the text may not be suitable for work, no surprise)

Your responses are totally anonymous.

Click on this link to go to the survey

We'll be posting survey results in the next few weeks. If you want to see another interactive project we made for V-Card Diaries through POV Hackathon 2 just click here.

Thank you (and please share with your friends...)

A Precious Gift from us to you on Valentine's Day

FPGrab2 Roses are red, Violets are blue, We hate the silencing, shaming heteronormative sexual culture at large, But we love you!

Just for you, we've created a shiny and new way to share what you've done, haven't done, or may be doing at this very minute. Try it!

Thanks to our contributors, we've collected over 140 of your First Person stories, but until now they've been kind of buried within the pages of the blog. No longer! Now you can see and read your stories in a very cool and beautiful interactive format. You can search for them by theme (I'm waiting until marriage, My first time was great, I missed my chance, just to name a few...) Or you can search by keyword (try 'sex' and see all hell break loose). You can also search by most recent posts.

This project was created thanks to POV Hackathon, a PBS event where we built the prototype over a crazy caffeine-fueled weekend this January. You can see our project (with a little video) as well as seven others, also offshoots of their documentary films.

It's a beta prototype right now, so we want your feedback as we refine and add to it over the next months. You'll still be able to find the latest First Persons on the blog as usual–as well as in the new format. Please help us spread the word. The more submissions, the better.

Huge thanks to our team: Associate Producer Ellice Litwak, Web Developers Steve Melendez and Vanessa Joho, and a special shout-out to POV's Adnaan Wasey, the man who makes Hackathon happen.

PS: The site works best in Chrome

Ask Trixie: What should I study in college to do what you do?

I'm going to be a college freshman and I was really sure that I wanted to go into Secondary Special Education and English Literature, until I saw the trailer for your film "How to Lose Your Virginity." I've always been so interested in Women's Studies and interested in learning about sexuality, so this has sparked a huge level of doubt in what I want to do in my life.

If I did want to do what you all do at Trixie Films, what sort of degree would I need? Would it be Women's Studies or something in Psychology? And if I ever wanted to intern (if that offer still stands to your viewers in about 4-5 years) would there be a possibility for a job opportunity? And if not, what could I do to get one in your type of career?

Like you know, being 18 and pressured to make such extreme life changing decisions is extremely challenging and there are just so many things for which I have a passion. I'd just like to explore all of my options before I go diving into Special Education (because I've done exploring there and I know what to expect) and I just want to make sure I don't settle for second best in regards to the rest of my life. –J

Hi J -

Thanks for writing! I remember being fresh out of high school and thinking that whatever I decided in my first year of college would determine the rest of my life.

Except it didn't. My first trip through college I studied art and went on to become a graphic designer. It was only in my 30s that I got interested in film and went back to school part-time for a couple of years to study that. And then 5 years later, I got seriously interested in women's issues. And then a few years after that, in sexuality issues. It was a long process of curiosity and learning, and not a very straight road at all. And, by the way, I don't have any formal degrees in any of it. Just lots of work with other filmmakers (some of it as an intern), keeping up with the issues I care about, and watching and being inspired by other films.

As for exploring your own interests, there are lots of good women's studies programs and many now include sexuality studies. You can start by checking in with your own college's women's studies program and/or women's center. In fact, college is the perfect place to explore what you want to do with a course here and there before you commit.

Many of our interns at Trixie Films come out of a women's studies background, but not all. Some did English or Sociology programs, and our two most recent interns were Science majors. Whatever the background, they do share an interest in women's issues and are excellent communicators and thinkers. That's important because we count on our interns to write, research and give us feedback on everything we do here. Making the coffee is my job.

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

Justin Sisley's 'virginity auction' reality show is still moving forward and still gross

UPDATE (10/24/2012):Catarina Migliorini has sold her "virginity" to a Japanese man named "Natsu" for $780,000. Her male counterpart, Alex Stepanov, has sold his "virginity" for $3,000 to a Brazilian woman named "Nene B". UPDATE: Justin Sisley's virginity auction reality show has resurfaced with slightly altered plans that have received amazing amounts of publicity. The deflorations will allegedly take place on an airplane flying between Australia and the US. And one of his subjects, Catarina Migliorini, is saying she'll use the proceeds of her auction to help build homes for the poor in her native Brazil, currently at $160,000. Not much mention of the male virgin because, you know, they're just not as sexy. I hate writing about this shit - it's exploitation and people are eating it up.

This original post was written in 2010:

Over a year ago I wrote about Justin Sisely, an Australian filmmaker who was "auditioning" for virgins to auction them off and then film the process for a documentary. Sadly, there are virginity auctions happening all the time all over the world, but Sisely was especially interesting because:

a)He claimed he was merely an artist "exploring the idea of virginity as a commodity.” He sounded more like, I don't know, a pimp.

b)He attempted to fashion a legal definition of virginity for his contract, something even the medical establishment has never done (because it doesn't exist)

c) He got death threats for advertising his 'auditions' with a photo of the Virgin Mary with male genitalia on her forehead. So, sexual exploitation is apparently fine, but not if you're going to mess with the Holy Mother.

d) He admitted he was asking his subjects to prostitute themselves, but actually going through with the deflowering was not required – a small fact that might put a damper on the bidding - and any interest in actually seeing the film. Not that I'm giving him advice on how to to be a good pimp/pornographer, I'm just saying...

Fast forward one year:

Justin Sisely's just announced he'll be bringing three Australian teens to a Nevada brothel to carry out his virginity auction project. [see update above] After a year of virgin "auditions" in Sydney, and he says he's recruited two men and one woman,but needs to move the operation out of Australia as he's been advised by the local authorities that prostitution is against the law Down Under (who knew?).

And though you're allowed to sell your body in the state of Nevada (provided you pass a health check, get a license, and work for a properly registered brothel), persuading someone to cross a state line for the purpose of prostitution is explicitly prohibited by the colorfully named "White Slave Act" of 1910 (also known as the Mann Act). Sisely's project could earn him 10 years in the slammer for each person (virgin or not) that he spirits to Nevada for his auction. Some media outlets are taking Sisely's press releases at face value, but the Las Vegas Sun has a more thoughtful take, where they point out the Mann Act problem, as well as the unlikelyhood of Sisely being able to successfully auction off a male virgin (apparently there were no registered male prostitutes in Nevada until January 2010, and it's not exactly a booming business).

So what the hell is Sisely about? His claims that he's examining virginity in any thoughtful in-depth way is laughable and insulting to people who actually spend time thinking about these issues. Will he be asking his auctionees their thoughts about the value of virginity in today's society as they're getting their share of the take? Is he just seeking publicity and sponsorship to advance his career, even though he's stooping to the level of a human trafficker? And - why does the word "virginity" and the titillating prospect of selling it to the highest bidder so easily catch the media's fancy? It's totally infuriating.

Just the other day, an Australian media outlet contacted us at Trixie Films to book an interview with Sisely, thinking that his film was our film. This pretty much put me over the edge. I told them that although we too were exploring virginity in the 21st century, we weren't actually exploiting our subjects to do it. But if we did decide to exploit some virgins, would they cover our project, too? The Australian media folks were actually pretty understanding, but it didn't make me any less angry at what this creep was doing.

If you're also angry about how the mainstream press has showered attention on Sisely's exploitative project, there's something you can do about it - Team Trixie's feminist-inspired "How To Lose Your Virginity" documentary, coming out in 2013, is always happy for your support! Self-serving? You betcha! But we need some other video voices out there to critique the hell out of his shit. And, we promise that no virgins will be harmed in the making of this film.

V-Card Diaries UPDATE: "When I told her about my experience she said "Finally. Mazel Tov..." and asked me to spare her the details, because she is my mother."

Today we're highlighting Sassafras in California, who I interviewed about her status as a virgin a while back (She told me she once wanted to be a nun, despite the fact that she was Jewish). Sassafrass, who is 25, recently emailed me to tell me her status had changed! We really appreciate her kind words about this project, but even more than that, we love how she made this experience just one more step in her expanding sexual repertoire.  If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.

I thought of you the other day...can you guess why? According to the hetero-normative definition, I can no longer count myself among the sisterhood of virgins.

I wanted to tell you that I'm *so* glad our conversations on the subject of virginity preceded my first experience with hetero sex. I believe our conversations contextualized the experience for me–significantly released my first experience with sex from the unhealthy, fabricated hype of "losing virginity," and brought the choice into the same realm of choice I have always had to engage in other sexual acts. My experience was fine–fun, even.

I didn't tell the guy that it was my first time, partially because I was, admittedly, shy about that fact, but mostly because I didn't think it really mattered. The encounter was casual, light, with a friend to whom I don't feel extremely close, but with whom I feel comfortable, safe and playful. I discovered that I definitely prefer oral sex.

I'm going to encourage my mom to watch your film when it comes out. I just discovered how squeamish she is around the subject. When I told her about my recent experience, she said, "Finally. Mazel Tov..." and proceeded to ask me to spare her the details, because she is my mother, after all, not my friend, and goodness knows we need to respect certain boundaries. This coming from a psychologist and child of the '60s and feminist movement. Oy!

Thank you to everyone who helped us reach our goal!

Image-114246-full Thank you so much to EVERYONE! 386 backers helped us reach a total of $36,258!

We can't begin to express our gratitude to you all for your support of this Kickstarter project. We could not succeed without your pledges AND your ongoing cheer-leading and outreach on our behalf. It's crowd-funding at its finest and we love you for it.

A special thanks to Paul who put us over top, just as he did for our last Kickstarter!

Thank you from Therese, Lisa, Jude, Ellice, Jenn, Dina, Marin, Matt and the rest of Team Trixie Films!

 

And the winner of a signed copy of Judy Blume's "Forever" is...

Watch as I pick the lucky winner of the book "Forever" signed by the legendary Judy Blume. (exciting!) Thank you so much to everyone who participated by pledging $100 or more to the campaign!!

(And yes, Photo Booth reverses the image and that's weird)

We have only 5 more days to raise $5,835 so if you're on the fence about donating, NOW IS THE TIME! We don't want to lose the $29,165 we've already raised!

Please pledge whatever you can–$10 multiplied over many pledgers can make a huge difference! And if you can't spare it (we understand!) please post about our film on Facebook, Twitter or your blog.

Thanks for ALL your amazing support! Home stretch! Let's get this done!

Amazing news! We're giving away a copy of 'Forever' signed by Judy Blume!

Above L: Therese is having a hard time letting go of the book! R: Judy Blume's inscription.

In case you missed our mass email:

The legendary Judy Blume has just donated a signed copy of her classic novel 'Forever' to our Kickstarter campaign! I was so tempted to keep it for myself, but instead, I'm giving it away as a very special thank you.

We're going to draw one lucky winner from all our backers who pledge $100 or more. Make your pledge or increase your existing pledge by Friday at 6pm (EDT) to qualify. You can still pick a reward-the draw is a bonus. We'll post video of us drawing the lucky person's name to our Kickstarter page on Friday night!

Judy Blume wrote 'Forever' in 1975 because her daughter asked for a story about a teenage girl who loses her virginity and doesn't die–and it quickly became one of the most banned books in America! Judy has been an anti-censorship activist ever since.  I grew up with Judy Blume and I remember spending Grade 6 passing around her books from girl to girl. And now this signed copy of 'Forever' could be yours for your pledge of $100 or higher.

In the spirit of Junior High, tell your two best friends to pledge along with you. You can take turns reading the book out loud to each other at your next slumber party.

We have only 6 more days to meet our $35,000 goal, and we need your help to raise the remaining $6601 by May 9th.

If you've been thinking of pledging, now is the time to get in on this amazing draw! If $100 is too steep for you right now, we'd be grateful for whatever you can spare, or for you to spread the word amongst your friends.

Thank you for your spectacular support!

Pssst...Wanna know a secret?

Image-110185-full

Psssst....wanna know a secret? There are lots of older virgins out there who are sure they're the only ones. We're exploring the shame and secrecy around older viriginity in the film, and it's something I talk about in two articles that just came out, below.

From an interview I did at HerFilm: "I could tell from our blog comments I had a lot of folks out there whose experiences–and even definitions of virginity–didn’t conform to the black-and-white stereotypes of pop culture...There’s a lot of silence around how and why and if we become sexual and I think these stories really help us all feel less weird and alone. I really could have used this when I felt like the very last virgin in art school."

From an article I just did for Adios Barbie: "Despite popular culture presenting a fairly homogenous image of young men as walking hormonal horn-dogs and aspiring players and pimps, reality looks much more nuanced and complex. I’ve heard from so many young men who would rather have sex for the first time within a caring relationship. Are the pressures exerted by media images of masculinity becoming less powerful, allowing men to present a more authentic version of their own masculinity?"

You are our co-conspirators in getting positive messages about sexuality out into the world through your support of "How to Lose Your Virginity." Please share these links with your friends. You never know what you might learn about them!

Then invite them to become backers so we can all share the film with the world.

Talking Virginity with Carol Queen

Carol Queen, who is the Staff Sexologist at Good Vibrations (what a job!) and has a doctorate in Human Sexuality, is all kinds of awesome. I met her for the first time at MomentumCon few weeks ago and, after lots of chocolate and champagne, asked her if she'd talk to me about the V Word. To my total delight, she ended up sharing her own 'First Time' story, including the part about nervously writing Dear Abby for advice.

You can find her at carolqueen.com and goodvibes.com. If you can't see the video, use this link! 

NOTE Just a reminder: We’re getting amazing feedback for our work, but it won’t get finished without your support. Please consider backing the project on Kickstarter. Thanks!