In the United States, only 22 states require that sex education should be taught in their schools. Of those, only 13 insist upon medical accuracy. There is no federal standard. As a result, classroom lessons that teach purity culture – the idea that virginity is a state of moral accomplishment – are pervasive. John Oliver's Last Week Tonight covers Sex Education in America. (NSFW) The end of the segment features a modern sex education video created by LWT, narrated by several celebrities (including Laverne Cox, Nick Offerman, Jonathan Banks, Kristen Schaal and Aisha Tyler) that touches on topics outdated lessons may be ignoring. [more inside]
The Atlantic: On "Late"-in-Life Virginity Loss. Vice's predictably Vice-ier take. Meanwhile, Dr. Nerdlove and Gawker's After Hours have advice. [more inside]
We were each other’s firsts. I was 16, a stressed-out immigrant kid, she was the daughter of Colombian Catholics who were quite fond of the church’s policy on pre-marital sex. So it took us quite a while to awkwardly, semi-defeatedly concede to each other that we had run out of excuses to avoid sex. “This weekend?” I said grimly. A very sweet Guardian piece called "My parents helped me to lose my virginity" by novelist Boris Fishman.
Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone. [more inside]
The Hairpin's Jia Tolentino holds three interviews with virgins. (Trigger warnings on the second and third stories.)
"The vaginal corona is a permanent part of a woman's body throughout her life. It doesn't disappear after she first has sexual intercourse, and most women don't bleed the first time."
My Corona: The Anatomy Formerly Known As The Hymen & The Myths That Surround It is Scarleteen's reprint of a booklet (PDF) produced by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (Time for more accurate terminology: Hymen renamed "vaginal corona"). More mythbusting: You can't pop your cherry: Hymen 101 (NSFW-ish video, less than 4 min.); SBTB's Where is the hymen? and Virginity clichés in romance; and 20 Questions About Virginity: Scarleteen interviews Hanne Blank.
One thing I am going to do differently as a parent is go easy on the ‘save sex for someone special’ rhetoric with my kids – both with my daughter and my son. Feminist and mother Blue Milk on the downside of encouraging young girls to "save themselves."
Absolute Beginners. Lena Dunham, Liz Phair, Bethany Cosentino, Sarah Silverman, Miranda July, Shannon Woodward, Krista, and Pamela Des Barres on the first time they had sex (with a couple of first-kiss stories for good measure).
"The Father Daughter Purity Ball is a memorable ceremony for daughters to pledge commitments to purity and their fathers to pledge commitments to protect their girls." Do Purity Balls, an offshoot of the virginity pledge movement work? The research says they do postpone first intercourse but have no impact on STD rates (1, 2 - PDFs). Perhaps a discussion of, uh, protection should be added to the "Covenant of Purity and Protection" signed by the dancing dads.
Britney Spears not a virgin. "Seriously, I haven't had a boy in a really long time, and I'm really craving ... just a kiss, man. Just a kiss would be nice."
Wonder Woman to turn in her V-Card After 60 long years of chastity, everybody's favorite Amazon (you may remember the Lynda Carter TV show) will reportedly get it on with character Trevor Barnes in a "tasteful and peaceful" manner. Sequential Tart asks what the definition of 'virginity' is, claiming the strong possibility that on an island full of amazons there had to be some lesbian freaky freaky going on somewhere. However, I am far more concerned if she'll suffer from the same dilemma as Superman does in Larry Niven's Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex. Best. Controversy. Ever.
Dark knees say it all. If a man's knees are dark, he is not a virgin. If a boy urinates straight up into the air, he is a virgin. If the urine sprays, he has had sex before.