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 »
I’m just going to say it: a 10-year-old girl making an abstinence pledge to her dying father on his hospital bed is all kinds of emotionally manipulative.
I thought this YouTube video would be a touching, if extremely sad, occasion for Johnny, a gravely ill father, and his 10-year-old daughter, Nakeol. Gathered by family, they shared an approximation of the little girl’s wedding day that Johnny will not live to see; according to the YouTube description of the video, he is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nakeol felt “sad knowing he would never be there to walk her down the aisle when she gets married one day.” So the family arranged a small ceremony at the father’s hospital bed. Sweet, right? Grab the tissues.
But then it got uncomfortable on multiple levels. Nakeol’s father didn’t just give her away; the 10-year-old Nakeol promised her dying father in his hospital bed that she will won’t have sex until marriage. Keep reading »
Sophie Fontanel is a novelist and the senior editor at French Elle. She also chose to be celibate from age 27 to age 39. The English translation of her book about these 12 years, The Art of Sleeping Alone, is due to be published in America on August 13. Fontanel spoke with New York mag’s The Cut about why she chose celibacy and how it affected her life. 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 »
Have a young girl in your life? Then here’s a blog post that you’ll want to email to her parent right now. Houston Press writer Jef With One F was appalled by all the garbage he had been reading online about the pro-abstinence “purity” movement, which teaches girls and young women they are only “pure” if they are virgins and that their fathers should be guardians of their sexuality until that responsibility is handed over to their future husband. It’s creepy, it’s heteronormative, and it’s paternalistic as hell. Oh, and it doesn’t work anyway! So Jef With One F wrote up this great listicle, “10 Things I Plan To Tell My Daughter ABout Sex That Aren’t Purity Movement Crap,” which is everything your daughters (and sons!) should hear instead, like:
You cannot be “ruined,” by an act. You can only be ruined if you let shame and self-loathing consume you, and even then there is always a path back into the light. This goes double for someone trying to convince you sex is evil. That person was either hurt badly or seriously misled.
Damn straight. Check out the whole piece for the best fatherly sex advice you can find. [Houston Press] [Image of father and daughter via Shutterstock]
Abstinence-only education starts with the idea that teenagers listen to adults and manages to get even stupider. It’s working to turn the only life-threatening problem in the world that can be fought by balloons into a biblical plague. We’ve reached a point where even the Pope OKs some condom use, and he thinks about sex the same way non-Popes think of the Ark of the Covenant: imagining what the other side has while believing that looking directly at it will melt the soul from your body.
Abstinence-only education turns sex education into an oxymoron, deliberately not teaching people things we know about. It’s what happens when a species breeds so successfully, they start showing off. It’s the reproductive equivalent of riding a bike with no hands and eyes closed: They’ll keep pumping away for a bit, but pretty soon they’ll screw up and their crotch will hurt. The only way to teach something so stupid is to be extremely stupid, and that’s the only thing these campaigns got right. Read more…
When it comes to teen pregnancy, Mississippi has the highest rate in the nation. The state has 55 births per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19 — a whopping 60 percent above the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And it is not too difficult to see the culprit: abstinence-only sex education dominates the state and schools are only allowed to teach, you know, birth control if they got special permission. Keep reading »
What the rest of us call “cohabitation,” or in some circles “living in sin,” the Palin family calls a “trial marriage.”
That’s exactly what abstinence-promoter Bristol Palin and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Gino Paoletti, are doing in a home she purchased in Wasilla. “Bristol and Gino are crazy about each other,” a source told The National Enquirer. “They’ve talked about getting married, but they think it’s a good idea to get a feel for living together before making it official.” They’ll be sleeping in separate bedrooms, I trust? Keep reading »