Maybe you became sexually active a long time ago. Or sex doesn’t really interest you. Or you’ve done a couple sexual activities but are taking it slowly. No matter who you are or where you live, you will have thought about whether or not you are a “virgin” — and what exactly being a “virgin” means.
The 2013 documentary by Therese Shechter (above) called “How To Lose Your Virginity” spans purity balls, school hallways and the porn set of “Barely Legal” to explore our cultural fascination with virginity and the myths that surround it. American society has made it clear that even if we can’t exactly agree on what “virginity” means, we still hold it in reverence, particularly for women. We are, after all, the country that promotes abstinence-only education in far too many classrooms and allows eight-year-old girls to promise their fathers they will remain virgins until marriage. And did you know you could purchase a fake hymen for $30 on the Internet?
Lucky for you, “How To Lose Your Virginity” debuts on Saturday, February 8th at 8 p.m. EST on Fusion (check cable providers here) with other screenings after that. On a recent snowy day, I chatted with Therese over Skype about virginity (obviously), abstinence-only sex education, white panties, and “the magical penis”. Keep reading »
Incredible news, everyone! A “concerned parent” in Kansas just discovered something groundbreaking: if you hide the suggestion of sexual activity from 13-year-olds entirely, it will prevent them from engaging in that behavior forever. They will never figure it out on their own.
So discovered “concerned parent” Mark Ellis, who successfully had a sexual education poster, “How Do People Express Their Sexual Feelings?”, removed from his daughter’s Hocker Grove Middle School classroom because it was about sex. Victory is his. Keep reading »
There’ve been teen moms. There’ve been “guidos.” There’ve been rednecks. The next cultural subgroup to get the MTV reality show treatment are a little more, well, innocent: virgins. The hour-long “docu-soap” will follow a group of 18- to 25-year-olds who are remaining abstinent. Some will undoubtedly be tempted and struggling with their abstinence, while I imagine others will give voice to a segment of the population — young, cool and not having sex — who aren’t often portrayed on MTV. Keep reading »
“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value. Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value. … [Kids should know] you will always have value and nothing can change that.”
– Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped at 14, held captive and raped for nine months, spoke recently at Johns Hopkins University on a forum about human trafficking. Here she is explaining why she didn’t run after her captor raped her, which he did daily during her entire ordeal. As the now-25-year-old told Johns Hopkins, she was raised in a religious family and had learned from abstinence-only education that a person whose virginity has been ‘sullied’ is worthless. Her mention of chewing gum is not random: A popular teaching in abstinence-only education, “the gum game,” is to compare people to chewing gum: a person who has had multiple partners is just like dirty, grimy gum that’s been chewed over and over again by multiple people. It’s a way of teaching children to feel ashamed and guilty about sex. And while positing sex before marriage as “slutty” could mess up anyone, for rape victims like Elizabeth Smart, it’s enough to make someone feel like worthless trash. [Christian Science Monitor] [Photo: Getty]
Abortion foes in the Arkansas State Senate passed a bill yesterday to ban certain funding grants to Planned Parenthood. The chosen grants heading to the chopping block? Sex education. Which sucks, because Planned Parenthood provided the state’s sex ed.
According to Think Progress, Arkansas lacks a codified set of sex education requirements, which is why Planned Parenthood stepped in to do HIV/AIDS and STD/STI education in the state. A Republican health education teacher, and assistant football coach, Darrell Seward, told the Huffington Post over the phone:
“I would challenge any legislator or politician in the state of Arkansas or higher to set foot in my classroom and listen to the curriculum and walk out and say it’s a bad program. This program has been one of the most well-received programs that our students have ever been engaged in. I am a Republican, but this is one issue I feel very strongly about, because I see the benefit for our kids.”
So why take away these funds? Well because the bill’s sponsor doesn’t like any state funding to go to any organization that has anything to do with abortion or abortion referrals. Keep reading »