Quantcast

Thursday, January 31, 2013

371

Interview With a Virgin: Scarlet

Scarlet is a 24-year-old who lives in New York.

Jia: Hi Scarlet! Okay, let’s take it from the top. Tell me about your childhood and family?

Scarlet: I grew up in the Midwest, in the suburbs outside a large city. I have an older sister, my parents got along well. All of it was pretty normal.

What were you into as a kid?

I really enjoyed dance. In retrospect, since I was kind of a chubby kid, I think my parents subtly encouraged dance class as a way of losing some of that weight. But I liked it! Then in middle school I started getting into the Internet. I was really into Pokemon fandom. Lots of forums. Pokemasters. Pokeschool. Yeah.

So you can infer that, for awhile, pretty much all my social interactions were online. But then, toward the end of middle school, I found good friends, and in high school I sort of got off the Internet and became a more social person. An IRL person, if you will.

Over email you said you were raised Catholic?

Yeah. But no one ever told me to keep my virginity until marriage. Or maybe they did it so sneakily that I didn’t even notice? I don’t think Catholicism has anything to do with why I am the way I am, although a few of my friends think I have subconscious guilt going on. With my parents’ blessing, I stopped going to church in high school, and at this point they're mostly concerned that I’m happy and paying my rent.

So what was your early understanding of sex like?

I remember in first grade people were already talking about it without really knowing what it was. Later on, I learned a lot through fan fiction. There are things called “lemon fics,” which are explicit, and “lime fics,” which are sexual, but tamer. In middle school, I wrote a lot of fiction that had sex in it, having no idea what I was doing, just wanting so badly to be an adult.

And then of course there was sex ed in school. First in seventh grade, and then again in high school, when it was less about the mechanics and more about, "here is a never-ending stream of horrifying photos of venereal disease." 

Those photos are awful. Also, I’m not sure that they’ve ever done any good?

Definitely not. You don’t kiss someone and get turned on and suddenly start thinking about venereal diseases.

So in high school, were your friends having sex? Was the issue on the table for you?  

Both of my best friends freshman year were dating seniors, and they both lost their virginities to those guys. And although both were super sarcastic Daria types who made light of the situation, I could tell that it hit them on a level that was deeper than they’d admit.

As for me, I had boyfriends, but the guys were very considerate and shy. I actually wanted them to be more aggressive with me, but they were very respectful and always let me set the boundaries, which in retrospect I’m grateful for. But, of course, at that age, when someone is holding back from you, you feel like they’re doing it because you’re not desirable, so I was also dealing a little bit with that. And I wasn’t comfortable being openly sexual yet.

Sounds like you just weren’t ready, and you knew it?

I guess! I remember reading The Color Purple when I was sixteen and the main character describes looking at her vagina and I thought, well, I’ve never done that before. And I did it, and I was like, WHOA. I hadn’t really watched much porn at that point. I’d mostly read erotica because it was easier to slip past my parents.

Soon after that, my friend was talking about masturbation, and I told her that every time I touched myself it felt sort of weird. She said, “It’s going to feel weird. You just have to move past it, and when you orgasm, you’ll know.” So one day I knew my parents weren’t going to be home for awhile and I got out the good old Internet erotica and just went for it. And it was awesome, that first orgasm. There’s an Erika Moen comic online where she talks about how after you orgasm you just feel this great appreciation for your body, that you alone can feel this good without anything else, no drugs, nobody.

So, it’s true that I didn’t feel that much of a need to explore sex in high school. Even at that age, the media had sort of impressed upon me that guys aren’t going to give you orgasms — that sex as a woman is often physically unfulfilling. I felt that I’d figured out the best part of sex by myself.

Interesting! Okay, so what about college?

I went to college in New York City, and there was this guy I really liked. When we were freshmen we got drunk and started kissing, and we were going back to his room and I told him I was a virgin and he stopped dead in his tracks. He said, “I’m not going to have sex with you if you’re a virgin because virgins get attached.”

I remember being really shocked. I’ve heard that again since then, from guys, but that was definitely when I got the idea that I couldn’t tell anybody I’m a virgin.

You also said you worked at a sex store. Was this around the same time?

Yeah, I worked at a sex store during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college. I couldn’t find a job anywhere else, and my dad wasn’t too happy about it, but he wanted me to earn money and so he acquiesced.

It was really interesting. The store had a binder full of descriptions of all of the toys; they made you do a lot of research before you started selling to people. I became extremely book-smart about what people liked in general before I knew what I liked in particular. But I learned. I had a 50% discount, so I bought a lot of the toys, and that’s when I discovered that I liked anal toys. I got really good at selling those to people.

But I didn’t tell anyone at the store that I wasn’t having sex. I had a boyfriend at the time, so that made it easier to just sort of pretend we were doing it. I thought maybe my coworkers would be offended that I would sell sex toys without knowing what I was talking about. And anyway, I heard so much about sex from all of them that it was easy for me to pretend. Also, I wasn’t totally inexperienced.

Let’s talk about that! You’ve had oral and anal sex, and you enjoy both. How did that start happening?

Well, a lot of it came through experimenting with those toys. I actually never really played with the vaginal toys because I was like, let’s save that area for a real dude. I decided that anal sex was a good idea after I figured out that I could access my G-spot really well that way. And there was this situation: I was hooking up with a guy back home during the summer that I really liked, and I wanted to do something more than what we were doing, but I didn’t want to have sex with him because I knew we weren’t going to be in a relationship.

So we developed a routine. I’d come to his place, he would cook me a steak with blue cheese on top, and then we’d have anal sex. It was awesome! He asked me if I just didn’t do vaginal sex — and I said yeah, without telling him I actually had never done it, that I was a virgin.

Do people ever tell you that you’re not really a virgin?

I definitely know some people would say that, but I do consider myself a virgin.

Do you see your distinction between penis-in-vagina sex and anal/oral sex as grounded in a fundamental idea about one physical act being inherently more meaningful than the other, or do you see this distinction as an arbitrary personal boundary?

Yeah, I think it does stem from a distinction of vaginal sex being more meaningful than anal/oral, but I feel like that's sort of natural? I mean, at the root of it, vaginal sex is at least imitating the act that ends in conception and  babies and making a whole 'nother life. Which, while totally awesome, is also some heavy shit.

Also I've heard from the Internet that women, after sex, get more attached to a guy because of "bonding hormones" (to be honest, I've never really looked into this scientifically, so this might just be me being a bonehead), and I'd rather not release a rush of commitment-hormones onto a dude who's a flake.

Part of this is that I haven’t been in a real relationship since high school. I don’t know if it’s just NYC or me, or what. I just see so many guys being total assholes to my friends, who are spectacular, and I don’t think I could deal with that. If I went out and lost my virginity to a guy and he didn’t call me back, I think it would emotionally affect me, destabilize this professional life I’ve built for myself.

And if someone is a jerk after you hook up without crossing that particular physical barrier, it feels like less of a blow?

I think so. Also, I do want to satisfy the people that I’m with, at the same time that I don’t want to cross my weird, personal boundaries. I’ve read about people who do the same thing that I do, but they’re religious and doing it for legalistic reasons — and I don’t identify with that, really. I think my head’s in a different place.

Do you consider yourself a sexually cautious person?

This varies wildly from day to day. There are long stretches when I am not sexually active at all, and I’m fine with it. Some days I do just think, “I’m going to go out tonight and fuck someone.” But I usually end up reminding myself what I really want, which is to establish trust with a person first.

To a lot of women, your perspective might seem like a reversal, right? Having anal sex would be the thing that would require a lot of trust and consideration.

Yeah, totally. I mean, you do have to vet the person first; it’s never something that just happens accidentally. It takes a little bit of time.

But I guess that you can never really know what’s going on with people. Especially with OKCupid, which is basically hetero Grindr now that they have the “who’s in your neighborhood?” feature. You never know how many people anyone else is seeing, what else they’ve got going on.

So you’re on OKCupid?

Yeah. I actually have a date tonight. One of my resolutions for 2013 was to kiss more boys! It’s a nice date too, well-planned, a step up from that normal weekday casual thing.

If you find yourself super attracted to this guy tonight, would you go back to his place and go down on him, or let the opposite happen?

Hmm. I’m not sure. Also, it depends on how many drinks I’ve had!

Isn’t that the truth. Do you talk about being a virgin now or do you still feel as if you need to hide it?

Well, I realized at some point that it’s not fair to withhold this information from guys, for many reasons — one of them being that knowing my sexual history might explain a lot about the way I am with sex and relationships. Although I’m definitely capable of hooking up with someone casually, I think I’m also searching for a relationship more seriously because of being a virgin.

I’m also at a point of being very comfortable with who I am. I used to lie about my virginity so that I could participate in those conversations when everyone is just telling funny stories about sex. But now I’m open about it with my friends, and if I do feel more than just a casual thing for a guy, I will tell him. Of course, not on the first date or anything.

Where do you stand now on your virginity? Do you feel anxious to lose it, worried about keeping it, totally indifferent to the whole thing?  

It depends on the day. I really do hope that when I lose my virginity, it’ll be with the right person, someone who knows and understands me. I hope that it will mean something. But also who knows? Maybe I’ll have sex for the first time and it will mean absolutely nothing. Anything could happen!

Can you say more about that? Like, what if it really does feel like it means nothing, or what if you begin to feel like intimacy is even MORE messy and potentially disappointing — are you ready for that as a possibility, and where would that leave you?

I'm sort of prepared to be physically disappointed with vaginal sex, seeing as I've heard enough about "the first time not being as great", etc. (Also it's not like I've never touched the inside of my vagina; there seems to be less nerve endings there than my anus, and it's just not as pleasurable/intense for me.)

Maybe I'm keeping that intimacy at arm's length on purpose, though? Probably because I know how badly I can get hurt when I just give a guy I like a blow job and he doesn't call me back (though this is not true for all blow jobs, there are plenty of dicks I've sucked and been like "meh"). As I said, I've got a pretty great life right now — lots of awesome friends, good career, good housing situation, a vibrator that seemingly never dies. I've worked out a comfortable balance for myself that doesn't really include sex with a partner in the equation. I guess I'm worried that if I throw sex into the mix, it'll unbalance everything, as when I "fall for" a person I become a little bit obsessed (which I think is natural but maybe I am an undiagnosed crazy person).

But then again, who knows? Maybe I won't "fall for" the first guy I have vaginal sex with at all. I thought the first time I gave a blow job was going to be a big deal and it totally wasn't. If I get drunk and decide to go have sex with some rando who I'll never see again and I don't get pregnant or anything, maybe it won't even matter. I go back and forth on it. I can talk a big game about waiting for someone I trust, but ultimately, if I meet a guy who I think is hot and he's diggin' me, and I don't ever have to deal with him again, maybe that would be ideal. There are guys I've screwed around with on the regular, where we both know we have other partners, and I was fine with that — I didn't fall for them. I do IDEALLY want my first time to be with someone I've "fallen for", but I could easily see myself just one day going "fuck it" and finishing the deed with a guy I haven't fallen for, but who I still trust.

Ultimately though, I don't know how it'll happen, and I don't know how I'll feel when it happens. I hope that it'll be satisfying, and I hope that I'll still like the guy afterward, and I definitely hope he'll still like me afterward, though obviously things will have changed — though how they'll change, I don't know. I hope I'll be ready for whatever I discover post P-in-V encounter, though that might be why I'm so hesitant to just go through with it: it's just so uncertain how I'll react.

Previously: Ben

Jia Tolentino is a writer in Michigan. 



371 Comments / Post A Comment

Theda Baranowski

Oh, fanfiction. I didn't start my steady diet of it until college, and by the time I graduated, I could pretty much tell which fanfics had been written by people who'd actually had some kind of experience.

sophia_h

@Theda Baranowski I got lucky and started in fandom in 1998, when most fans were older so there were a lot fewer "have you even seen a penis?"-type stories. That was basically a sexual education for me in late high school, for which I'm very grateful.

Theda Baranowski

@sophia_h That's about when I started too, but maybe my corner of (anime) fandom was just largely populated by teenagers. I can see that being the case, really, considering it was a lot of CLAMP and then Prince of Tennis. Oh so much Prince of Tennis. I have no idea how those boys managed to fit tournaments in between their sex lives.

sophia_h

@Theda Baranowski Yeah, I was over in X-Files fandom, where as a college student I was considered a total baby. But fandom's skewed younger and younger ever since then. And haha, I used to read Halrlprillalar's PoT stories without having seen the show, and I wondered that myself. ;)

carolinaclay

This is beautiful post!@y

Probs

Scarlet seems very thoughtful and just generally cool, like everyone interviewed in this series. I also dug the Erika Moen shout out.

frigwiggin

@Probs I came down to yell about the Erika Moen shoutout! Whoooooooo~

Probs

@Probs She's the raddest! I'm kinda pumped to see her in Strip Search.

paper bag princess

Interesting! Can I just say (again) how much I really enjoy this series? Because I do. I was a virgin until 24, not really for any particular reason, and it was never something I really talked about with very many people. I love reading all these interviews.

tealily

@lizzle I'm so glad to hear someone say something like this! I was 25, also for no particular reason. Sometimes that's just the way it goes, but I definitely felt like a freak for a long time (and I think that had a lot of negative effect on that first relationship). I wish I'd had this series to read at the time.

Ellie

@lizzle I felt like a huge freak and it preoccupied nearly my every waking thought. I still have a major complex about people not wanting to have sex with me and it meaning there is something hugely wrong. I think "when someone is holding back from you, you feel like they’re doing it because you’re not desirable" is NOT just true of that age! Like, I feel like I'm a heat seeking missile and it seriously only recently occurred to me that maybe not everyone goes through life literally just trying to have as much sex as possible.

Briony Fields

@lizzle Yes, me too! I didn't like talking about it either because it was so hard to explain why. I wasn't religious, I had boyfriends, it just...didn't happen until I was 24. It's nice to know I wasn't the only one.

tealily

@lizzle At some point it just changed from being totally normal to being really, really weird and I completely missed the cutoff. I guess post college? I even had this terribly awkward conversation with my DOCTOR, who it seemed maybe didn't believe that I wasn't sexually active? She said to me "most people your age are," and I was like "thanks, Einstein. I didn't fucking realize that." Ugh. I still cringe when I think about that.

LizHo

@lizzle ME TOO! I used to just lie and pretend I had, which was obviously dumb now that I look back but at the time I felt so strange about it. So loving these and wish I could send them back to my 24-y-o self and be like, chill, girl, you're normal. (Also: Lizzle was my nickname in high school!)

blueberry mary

@lizzle Fellow heat seeking missile, here. It's like I don't know if people are attracted to me unless they let me stick my hand down their pants ASAP?? HOW ELSE DO YOU KNOW

MarianTheLibrarian

@tealily My doctor asked me recently if I was dating, and when I said I wasn't, she looked at me in disbelief and said, "What do you do with your free time???"
I was dumbfounded, and I've been considering switching doctors ever since (okay, not just because of that, but that's part of it).

WaityKatie

@MarianTheLibrarian That's one of those situations where it would have been so amazing to have a great reply on hand, and I probably would have spent much of the ensuing weeks/months thinking of them to use for next time. "What do you do with your free time?" "Spelunking. Automotive repair. Drinking the blood of innocents."

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I guess this interview just proves that virginity is subjective.

evil melis

My jaw is somewhere in the oceanic lithosphere right now. This world is full of so many different kinds of people!

cherrispryte

@evil melis Right as I finished reading, I thought "wow, why does my tongue feel so dry?" and then I realized it was because I was sitting here completely slackjawed.

(Is slackjawed offensive? I don't mean it to be!!!!)

highfivesforall

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I think a wordier but more accurate title for this series would be "Interview with a person who considers themself (augh sorry) to be a virgin". After all, there was that interview with the woman who was raped, but considered herself a virgin, and that is what mattered to her.

annebee

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose completely I guess. I think of "virginity" as more of a sliding scale of experience rather than an abrupt change. Otherwise there are a lot of gay virgins out there.

redheaded&crazy

@highfivesforall Wish I could hit the like button a bunch more times for this one.

evil melis

@highfivesforall I think that's probably part of the point of the series! We use the word "virgin" like it's this very set and fixed and definite thing, when clearly it gets lived out (UGH SORRY) really differently.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@redheaded&crazy Yes. I actually nodded and said, out loud, "Yep."

Nick Douglas

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose And maybe it hints at the problems with society's extant obsession with "virginity" as this important measure of "purity", not entirely unlike the complicated terminology around people of mixed race was one sign of the fucked-up assumptions behind racism?

evil melis

@Nick Douglas I feel like we should keep explaining this to each other until the world ends

Ham Snadwich

@cherrispryte - We prefer Mouthbreathing Americans.

WaityKatie

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Can we talk about how this not-consider-oral-or-anal-to-be-real-sex thing is a HUGE generational difference? Like just even between 30somethings and 20somethings?? Because this blew my mind so much.

Also, I'm not trying to be rude at all, but what would be the basis for a belief that women release special bonding hormones during vaginal sex but not anal? The hormones would be released by the orgasm, no? Not by some special button inside the vag? Argh I'm feeling so old and out of touch right now...

Aphrodite

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose
Yup, that was my response to this as well... I scrolled until I found the first person to comment on it. The hormones totally come from the orgasm. I feel like someone should tell her. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxytocin

VirginHoelandia

@WaityKaite

I know.... but science has proven it. Anal sex does not release the same hormonal cocktail (ha ha), but it does release a different one, with different properties.

Not the bonding one though, if you know what I mean?

WaityKatie

@VirginHoelandia Does masturbation release the cocktail? Oral? (man on woman)? Because she's doing both of those, right? Oh god, please don't tell me she's dishing out blowjobs and not asking for any in return, I can't deal with that right now.

Sunnydaze

@WaityKatie

;)

beerd

@WaityKatie
"What would be the basis for the belief that women release special bonding hormones?"

That would be abstinence-only education. In other words, it's a lie.

http://io9.com/5606765/myths-about-the-love-hormone-oxytocin-that-could-ruin-your-love-life

They claim that Oxytocin, about which we understand little (other than a connection to sex), forms everlasting emotional bonds, (that's where they sneak in the lie) so you can never love anyone as purely as you love the first person you mash genitals with. (That's the insane conclusion based on the lie.)

Children learn this. I am restraining my rage.

Nick Douglas

@beerd So we could form an abstinence-education team by going around telling stories about our nonmemorable first sexual partners?

Or, I guess, pointedly *not* telling stories.

WaityKatie

@Nick Douglas I had to think for a long moment to remember my first partner's name. And I still can't remember his last name! And I was an elder-virgin, so this wasn't even as long ago as you might expect. Baha.

lasso tabasco

ANAL SEX IS SEX

evil melis

Alternately: many gay men are virgins.

Waterbears

@lasso tabasco For real, yes it is!

It's interesting to hear the perspective of someone who's chosen not to have vaginal sex, but I feel like one of her core reasons for avoiding PIV is based on the incorrect assumption that bonding hormones are ONLY released during vaginal sex. Not that I'm an expert on bonding hormones, but I'm pretty sure they're released when you orgasm...?

aliceandstuff

@lasso tabasco Agree so much. Why anyone would be so willing to go through the hassle of anal if they could just do P-in-V is beyond me.

Hey,Lookit!

@lasso tabasco Or maybe we don't have to police how other people define their sexual behavior?

MilesofMountains

@aliceandstuff To be fair, it sounds like she doesn't think she'll get much out of P-in-V (which isn't that unusual for women), and this way she avoids having to use birth control. If I actually liked anal I could see considering it.

sophia_h

@KEO Yeah, see my comment below, which I took forever editing to be as diplomatic as possible. I'm not going to define sex for someone else, but it seemed like her distinctions might be based more on avoidance of hurt. Which isn't really possible in grown-up relationships.

lasso tabasco

@KEO I think that's right. A vagina is not a magical cave with Bonding Hormone Unicorn living inside of it waiting waiting waiting for a penis.

@aliceandstuff I know! Anal is such a pain in the ass. Ha.

aliceandstuff

@MilesofMountains Yeah, but you need to use condoms anyway and depending on your practices it is not an effective method of birth control, and it just seems like an incredible amount of hassle when you have never even tried the alternative.

katiemcgillicuddy

@aliceandstuff That also made me wonder if she'd still be a P-in-V virgin if she felt reversed about anal vs. vaginal.

lasso tabasco

@Hey,Lookit! I'm not policing! I'm just saying that sex is sex. She can call herself a virgin if she wants to, but she's sexually active under every definition of the word sexually active that I know of. Also, I agree with @sophia_h that it seems like she somehow thinks she is protecting her heart by guarding her vagina, which doesn't seem to make much sense.

fabel

@Hey,Lookit! This. I'm surprised at how many people are...telling this woman she's wrong, basically?

MilesofMountains

@aliceandstuff Yes, you still have to wear condoms, but me and a lot of women I know use hormonal methods as a backup, since the failure rate of condoms is a little high for our liking. I would think the failure rate of anal sex with condoms would be pretty damn low.

josefinastrummer

@MilesofMountains I would bet a lot of money that the failure rate of condoms for anal sex is very high. That's a really tight space.

Also, I think the problem is that by definition, a virgin is someone who has not had sex. Apparently a lot of us include all sex in that and others just include vaginal sex. It really is subjective and that's why people are telling her she is wrong.

MilesofMountains

@josefinastrummer Condoms breaking during anal sex, yes, but I'm not convinced the pregnancy rate from condoms breaking during anal sex is very high at all.

I get why people are disbuting her calling herself a virgin, but I don't think it's fair to question why she doesn't have vaginal sex. She doesn't want a penis in her vagina, to me that's a very good reason to not put penises in her vagina, even if that seems like a hassle to other people.

Probs

@fabel yeah, this is surprising to me. The idea of virginity is dumb as a concept and definitely rooted in the control of people's (mostly women's) bodies, but it's a concept so prevalent that all of us have absorbed it to some extent. Surely most of us can identify a point where we "lost our virginity," and for a lot of those people it's probably not when they started doing oral, which also certainly falls under the umbrella of "sex." I do. So if we can make those arbitrary distinctions while grappling with a fundamentally flawed concept, why can't she? It's reminiscent of some straight people's insistence on knowing what all lesbians and all gay men consider the point of virginity loss, and further insistence that for the latter it must be anal sex.

thebestjasmine

@Hey,Lookit! We're just saying that words have meanings. Don't go around saying that you're a natural redhead if your hair is brown, people. It's like saying "don't define how people define their own race." Yeah, that's true to an extent, but if your momma is black, and your daddy is black...

Hey,Lookit!

The fact that the term is so subjective seems, to me, all the more reason that no one should be telling her she's wrong. She admitted that she hadn't done her research on the magical bonding hormones, she knows that some people are going to consider her not-a-virgin; she doesn't need us to educate her-- especially when she's made no claims about how anyone else should manage a sex life.

josefinastrummer

@MilesofMountains I was thinking of STDs, not pregnancy! Sorry!
And right on. If she doesn't want to have a penis in her vagina, that's her choice. But calling yourself a virgin when you have any kind of sex just seems unnecessary. Like what's the big deal? Virginity implies a certain thing and it does not imply anal sex!

Blushingflwr

@MilesofMountains You don't have to use condoms during anal sex. I mean, yes, you should use them for STI protection, but different people have different thresholds of acceptable risk. If I would have condom-less vaginal sex with a guy, I'd have condom-less anal sex with him too (and while I know it is not a fool-proof method, I have used anal as birth control before), in theory (I prefer condoms for anal just because it reduces the "ick" factor for me).

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@lasso tabasco
Oh yeah? Well if that's true, where did my Bonding Hormone Unicorn come from, then??

(Seriously I would like to know because it eats so much and its food is really expensive, so I would like to give it back.)

Minx

@lasso tabasco "it seems like she somehow thinks she is protecting her heart by guarding her vagina, which doesn't seem to make much sense."

Well I don't know. I think there are probably a lot of people who find a specific type of physical intimacy to be more meaningful and intimate than others. Like in Pretty Woman where she has a personal rule that she doesn't kiss clients on the mouth. (Surprise! You didn't know it was silly movie reference time, did you?) Maybe most people wouldn't find it such a big thing to bother about (and she's not a virgin by my definition either). But if she thinks of it as a particularly intimate thing, than for her it IS guarding her heart by guarding her vagina.

theharpoon

@thebestjasmine apples, oranges.

NeverOddOrEven

@Blushingflwr
Considering that it's the highest-risk activity for HIV transmission, you should absolutely be using condoms for anal.
Sure, if you're in a monogamous or LTR and have both been tested regularly there's some flexibility. But for what she's describing it's incredibly risky to have unprotected anal. I'm all for destigmatization of STI/STDs, but not wanting to be treated like a pariah is not the same thing as being happy you've got one.

I support anyone self-defining the terms of their sexuality, but I also agree that her distinctions seem arbitrary. From where I stand at least. If you're going to bond with someone during vaginal sex, you're going to bond with them during any sexual activities. It's in your brain, not your vagina.
And part of me does feel bad for this woman simply because from what she's saying it sounds like vaginal will be a big let-down. Anal is usually next-level shit for people, and ideally an expansion on the pleasure of 'regular' sex. But she started with the Mexican cane sugar Coke and is about to drink some Diet. It's not going to be better, or some big revelation.

Blushingflwr

@NeverOddOrEven Yes, from an STI standpoint, you should definitely be using condoms for anal. But you should also be using them for vaginal and oral intercourse as well. Hence my "if I would have condom-less vaginal sex" condition. My current partner and I used barriers for *everything* for the first six months of our relationship, even though we both had recent negative STI results. After six months, we both got tested again and waited for our results before ditching the barriers for oral (we still use condoms for vaginal and anal, but that's for other reasons).

If you're having casual anal sex, then yes, of course you should be using condoms, just as you should be using them for any other kind of casual sex.

NeverOddOrEven

@Blushingflwr
Word.
I just get a little touchy about these things. I volunteer at Planned Parenthood and want to do Sex Ed for a living, and it freaks me out to no end how this idea that the butt is some magical place where nothing counts has permeated people's minds.
It totally figures since as a society we can't bring ourselves to have straight-talk about any sex, let alone something as 'deviant' as anal, but it's disappointing nonetheless. To say the least.

D.@twitter

@lasso tabasco Yessssss thesis subject! "Waiting for a phallus: a role for vagina-dwelling single-horned equids in homo sapien mate selection."

WaityKatie

@lasso tabasco Thank you! For example, my bonding hormone unicorn happens to live under my armpit, thankyouverymuch.

WaityKatie

@thebestjasmine That's a really good analogy, because virginity, like race, is a social construct, but it's based tenuously on things that actually exist (i.e., skin color differences, or having sex/not having sex). I think this interview really just explodes the whole concept of virginity, because really, where do you draw the line? I would say that I stopped being a total "virgin" as soon as I did anything sexual at all, but society would say it wasn't until I had p in v sex. But lesbians don't just stay virgins forever because there's no penis. The more you deconstruct the concept the more it reveals itself to be an arbtrary fiction.

Betina@twitter

@lasso tabasco Wait, WHAT? Yes, you absolutely DO have to use condoms while having anal sex for STI protection. How do you think men in the gay community got infected with HIV to begin with?

And please hold back the social justice terminology, folks. Pointing out that defining sex as PIV exclusively makes no bloody sense isn't to "police" someone. Unless you think every disagreement is an instance of oppression. Her definition sure would make a whole lot of gay people virgins. Dan Savage talks about virginity as something you start losing progressively as you become more experienced sexually - makes a lot more sense to me.

Danzig!

@fabel As a virgin who's still pretty tense about the Deed I don't think it's my or anyone's place to interrogate the reasons behind someone's comfort (or lack thereof) with a label or sex act, but! I think in general that distinctions made between p-in-v and other sorts of sex are to be discouraged, mostly because the heavy emphasis placed on pregnancy avoidance can contribute to risky behaviors vis a vis STIs as kids freely frolic in the fields of Sodom secure in the notion that no babies shall rise up (I believe this is borne out in research regarding abstinence ed).

Scarlet seems to have a good sense of her sexual self, peculiar as her views might seem to us. Hopefully she is using protection w/ anal (and oral, really, though everybody seems to hate that idea??) because, heroically resilient as our bottoms are, the thin membranes to the bloodstream and the tears in them that are produced by sex increase STI risk by a lot.

I probably shouldn't know all this (maybe I don't know anything!) but my uni human sexuality prof was a gonzo old lady and I learned a lot from her.

Danzig!

@thebestjasmine Thinking like that tends to give me shivers. Partly because I have trans friends who are regularly subjected to similar "common sense" (doubly so if they are even the slightest bit ambivalent about any aspect of transitioning). Sadly there isn't an IPD (Identity Police Department) through which we can make hash this stuff out responsibly, and I sure as hell ain't trusting anyone who sees fit to deputize themselves.

thebestjasmine

@Danzig! Being trans and being a virgin are not comparable. Being a virgin is about what you have or have not done, that's all. I don't know why there's all this "it's subjective!" about it; it's not subjective at all. Moreover, if you're telling sexual partners that you're a virgin but in fact you've had oral and anal sex with a number of people, you are actively lying to them and possibly putting them at risk (particularly if those acts have been without a condom). And especially if, because you think in your head "oh, I'm a virgin" you've never been tested for any sexually transmitted disease. People can identify with whatever they want, but I know that if I identified as a redheaded Irish girl, I would be telling myself a nice little story.

I recognize that people put this value judgment (pro or con) on virginity, I don't at all. It doesn't matter, just be honest about it.

thebestjasmine

@thebestjasmine Also, I have to say, it is absolutely ridiculous how this whole virginity concept is so sexist and heteronormative. Just imagine sleeping with a dude who told you that he was a virgin, and then a month later you found out that he'd had sex with a number of guys. "Oh, but that doesn't count, I was still a virgin, my penis has never been inside of a VAGINA." I mean. So silly.

Danzig!

@thebestjasmine I don't really think we have enough information on hand to say that Scarlet's views about what virginity is constitute a danger to herself or her partners, moreover if virginity has no value then who really gives a shit if she lies about it outside the context of securing protection? I mean I guess we could assume that dudes will take whatever excuse they can get to ditch condoms (?) but even in that case, the only lying she does per the interview is telling people she isn't a virgin, that she just dislikes PiV. Later on she seems to indicate that she tells partners that she is a virgin now, but only to explicate her uncommon enthusiasm for other sorts of sex, which would imply that she's open about having had other partners, which would imply that she's not doing anything wrong.

thebestjasmine

@Danzig! What Scarlet does in her sex life is not my concern. I was speaking broadly about people who define virginity in this way (there are many of them) and the dangers that can bring to their partners and themselves.

It's not that virginity has no value, it has whatever value one chooses to put on it. But again, words have meanings.

Danzig!

@thebestjasmine would you permit that Scarlet is "one of the good ones", then?

Look, the thing is, words have meaning, sure, but so do a lot of other ostensibly essential things, things that are given weight they shouldn't have. There were friends of mine that I had to defend when people took up arms at the bisexual / lesbian border, arguing that "lesbian" had a meaning that was clearly violated when people who had laid boys were allowed into the movement. That's what this whole thing reminds me of, a mean-spirited border dispute. It seems less about clarifying the danger of virginity as a concept and more about publicly humiliating someone who is purportedly deluding herself.

Danzig!

@thebestjasmine (It's late so I'm a bit sluggish, sorry) But yeah, "Words have meaning" is the very soul of essentialism, which gives me a rash, I hate it. I've been told that I was never sexually assaulted because the meaning of that term holds man's violence against women in its essential essence. My friends have been told they aren't women because they did not always have access to the essential and meaningful "experience" that gives meaning to womanhood, whatever that is. Both of these were deeply held doctrinal beliefs. How do I know they're not right? Words have meaning. Maybe we ought to be content with different ones.

I'd say that the meaning of language isn't really as fixed as we'd like it to be. The dictionary definition we cite is less important than the power that we're looking to project through our words. In this case we're looking to exclude Scarlet from the group she claims membership to. A small thing, to be sure, but still pointless, and ugly.

VirginHoelandia

@Hey,Lookit!

That's true!

Also, true the "language has meanings" "concepts have consequences" "what is the concept of virginity, and what does it mean (to you)" stuff.

Also... Prayer for Catholic girls discovering their sexualities? Smart Catholic girls OhMahGah!

I'm more or less straight and don't prefer this particular flavor, sexual repression, et al. Whatever else you say about this piece, there are some clear indications of sexual repressions. Is she gay? Is she a straight girl (or bi? Probably bi I'm guessing) who doesn't like PnV? Does she love PnV but just doesn't know it yet? Does her vagina release the magical bonding pheromones promised (threatened?) of PnV? Or not? Is her vagina a magical cave with Bonding Hormone Unicorn living inside of it waiting waiting waiting for a penis? Will she start out with the right penis? (Or should I say "wand"?)

So many questions. Stay tuned, we'll find out! (Or, we may never know, and be left to imagine, letting our minds travel down numerous paths, which we write down, and we'll bring to you in the followup series to this piece.)

But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the Catholic School lady With Issues.

Not to reduce, just to say, that whole lemonades thing, issues can be interesting, even intriguing (and hot). And she obviously has a pretty healthy attitude towards sex (and herself) in many regards, a great sense of humor and I would even say self awareness so much as anyone can be said to have such.

I Totally can appreciate a hot, catholic school lady who only likes anal sex and oral sex. But, she likes anal a lot, sooooo......

=hot. Just. On the face of it: hot. I bet she could sell those anal toys.

While some of the stuff behind it (so to speak) is.... troubling, problematic. Part of a bigger picture. I mean, I live in NYC, so I kind of know.... that relationships are fraught. With people's issues. She doesn't seem to have too many positive role models for a healthy straight relationship (or gay even?), and seems quite fearful of hurt. And of "bonding".

But she seems to kind of realize that (though maybe not as much as she should) she is a complicated person, filled with contradictions. But then again, who isn't?

And I really appreciate all of the late-virginity folks being the first ones to chime in, with their varied experiences of the virginity with the PnV (some with the anal sex, and some not, etc. etc.) Big cheer for the late virgins! And for accepting your timetable in all of it's various forms, with mistakes and sure footings.

Also, people, remember to use condoms for anal sex, especially when you are in a non-exclusive relationship as the interviewee states she is. It's for your own protection. Protect your heart and your body! Have only non-bonding-hormone-releasing sex, with a condom!!

(This PSA brought to you by CouldNotResist and TheAnalLovingCatholicGalWhoRefrainsFromThePnVBecauseShesSavingHerselfForLove)

And lastly, my unsolicited pronouncement and advice to the interviewee:

You sound like a really cool girl. I hope you get what you are hoping for. Intimacy is amazing, but caution is not always a bad thing in choosing partners to open up to, and while I was teasing about the catholic/anal sex thing I actually think it's personally fine to feel different ways about your body and what has meaning for you. Personally, I could "get it". Some people are the same way, but opposite about anal sex (that's probably way more common but so what?) And, yes, I do also think you have "issues". Kind of serious ones (but totally, not way worse than mine... in fact, did you ever read those books Iliad and Odyssey? I mean, I didn't, but I can relate...) But I'm totally confident that you will overcome those because you seem really smart and together, and figuring it out and it's an interesting journey.

Aaaaaaaannnnnd.......

The most important question of the night: ARE gay guys VIRGINS if they've never had sex with a Woman????!!!????????

Sometimes? Subjectively? Not So Much.....

VirginHoelandia

@Danzig!

That was so smart!

But one thing I would say is that actually I think mostly that's not the intent, and thus meaning, of a majority of the issue taken is within the context of the interviewee potentially giving creedence to an ideal of purity associated with "witholding" or "abstaining" from some aspect of sexuality within a Patriarchal construct. By which I mean, the interviewee seems to have strong ideas about what virginity means. Connecting, etc. that most people do not associate with a specific act of intimacy, but rather physical intimacy in general, and so the author has created this "ideal" (or, frankly it sounds like, this "safe space") where she can be vulnerable, while keeping a certain distance (/disconnect?) I mean, yes: whatever floats your boat. Agreed and forever, if it's not hurting anybody (excepting yourself or hopefully not) then fine.

But it's not to exclude Scarlet from the group she claims membership to, that is given such scrutiny, it's the idea that the vagina is some "place to be protected" (while the rest of you might not be). How have you come to have this sense of division in your body? You horndog it out with people in other ways, but "virginity is special/sacred".

Since I think all sex acts are sacred I can't totally relate. How am I less intimate or less hurt if you fuck me in the ass but don't call, or we have oral sex and you don't call me (okay, maybe on the oral sex) than I am if we have vaginal sex and you don't call?

I think I'm going to be equally hurt and ask myself what's going on that I am attracted to people who aren't attracted to me back, or interested in getting to know me better? Is my picker broken? Is it there an astrolgical thing going on? Is it just a good time for me to focus inward or on other things besides romantic relationships? Or should I double down and be more selective? (Or, alternately... bang my head against a wall (headboard?) until I figure it out....?) But still, that doesn't really make any sense to me. My spidey radar tells me.... there's something going on there. So is this really a bigger issue about being a girl and being valued? Because if it is.... then the whole "virginity" term becomes suspect in and of itself. Not a black-and-white clinical term, but something deeper.

More sinister..... Mwaaahahahahaha!

I mean, that isn't really the spin I got on it, but I can see where that's coming from. But it isn't to exclude from that group, so much as to call in to question what that group really "means" because.... Whaaaaaaaa? Okay, you do a bunch of intimate deeds but this one you don't do, because it means to you "X". Is that meaning...... virgin/whore? The kind of girl you care about vs. the one you just use for sex.....? Let's dig here. Let's: Unpack.

Like I said, I read it a little bit more straight-forward than that, but it's not the intention to "exclude" from a self-identified group, but rather to question what that group signifies. Which is a very different thing.

"You're not a virgin, whore! (sexually experienced lady of the bedroom, and probably broom closets, too you dirty girl! With a fondness for anal sex toys......)"

VirginHoelandia

What I mean is:

Men told her she would become sexually attached if she had (vaginal?) sex with them for the first time (thus become a "nonvirgin"). She believes -and thus it perhaps becomes so- that she will be less attached emotionally in anal sex than in vaginal sex.

There's something up with that. What the fuck it is, frankly, I don't really know. She is "saving her virginity". It's not for me to judge, but I can put it in context. Coupled with some disturbing content about being treated well by "dudes", and well, we may be looking at the patriarchy here folks....

OTOH, maybe it's just the way she feels about her body.

Or maybe it's a little bit of both? I think it's a bit of both.

LadyLouche

@lasso tabasco

A vagina is not a magical cave with Bonding Hormone Unicorn living inside of it waiting waiting waiting for a penis

Speak for yourself. My vagina is a magical cave with Bonding Hormone Unicorn living inside of it waiting waiting waiting for a penis.

And when one comes, they have gay sex. It gets really kinky, unicorn sex-type stuff. (There is definitely anal involved, and costumes.... I've said too much.) My unicorn is a switch, btw.

Don't even ask me about my ass... There are so many mythical animals living in there.

Also, I have a special solvent I use to unbond after Unicorn sex (it seems to be less of a problem with the Phoenix, Dragon, Sphinx, etc. living in my ass for some reason - they are like the sex w/nsa crew, although when they fall, they fall the hardest, isn't that always the way?)

I call the solvent "assholery". (Pun?) When it is sprinkled it on someone, the bonding immediately lessens, and with repeated applications it dissolves it entirely. Problem solved! In fact, the opposite reaction is induced: repulsion.

LadyLouche

@WaityKatie

Does your bonding unicorn prefer a shaved armpit, or a bushy one?

Or does it like to mix it up interior decorator style, sometimes shaved, sometimes full forrest, sometimes just a hedge, sometimes a light stubble...

WaityKatie

@LadyLouche It prefers bushy. They are forest animals, after all.

garli

The vine (tomatonation) has a virginity column this week too. There's a bunch of commenters in their 30's with their V cards talking about it.

martinipie

Ugh, I got that same comment about virgins thrown at me in college also, and it definitely fucked me up and made me scared until I found a dude who was like "Cool no problem are you okay with it?" and I was like "THANK GOD."

sophia_h

@martinipie I was wondering how things might have been different in her life if that shitty comment hadn't been part of her formative experience. Freshman year of college really fucks up your expectations and understanding of how people relate to each other sexually, IME.

sunflowernut

@martinipie I didn't tell the guy I lost my virginity to that I was a virgin (I wasn't planning on dating him and it didn't seem relevant). But then after we had sex he was all about me, so we did wind up dating. He found out sometime during that time period. And then when he broke up with me he made a big deal about the fact that I had been a virgin and implied he wouldn't have had sex with me if he had known. And I want to know: where do guys learn this bullshit?

rasko

@sunflowernut This happened to me too. Weird shit.

Aeroplane

@sunflowernut AFAIK it's a complete lack of self-awareness, apparently forgetting that they themselves are/were virgins at one time as well. Treating sex like it's some kind of exclusive club that you don't want to let any new members into is mystifyingly lame.

WaityKatie

@martinipie I got similar concepts all the way into my mid-20's, from similarly aged guys! This "virgins get attached" thing is so pervasive. Ironic because at that point in my development as an elder virgin I just wanted to do it with someone and end the torment, preferably never speaking to or seeing the person again. I definitely would not have been "attached".

WaityKatie

@WaityKatie COMMENTS, not concepts. God, isn't this week over yet?

laurel

Is “I’m not going to have sex with you if you’re a virgin because virgins get attached” a direct quote from Girls?

Danzig!

@laurel I'm pretty sure I read the same sentiment on a feminist blog not too long ago. It was one of those Moran-y "let's get real, ladies" pieces.

sophia_h

OK, I really want to give Scarlet the power of defining her own virginity, because it's her body and who the hell am I to say whether certain acts are sex for her or not. But I will say that not getting called back by a guy you like hurts just as much, in my experience, no matter where his body parts ended up, and that I don't think holding back on one paramount act can really protect us from the danger and vulnerability of intimacy. But I know everyone's got to navigate that stuff for themselves.

tealily

@sophia_h Yeah. I completely respect her decision... no one should do anything they aren't comfortable with... but it does seem like she may be building "sex" up as something it could never possibly be. That's a lot of pressure for a guy, I would think.

TARDIStime

@sophia_h 1,000 internet points to you, Lady! You just owned this thread with your awesome.

Stacy Worst

@TARDIStime Yeah she did.

sophia_h

@TARDIStime Aw, thank you! :)

WaityKatie

@sophia_h Yeah, I was the most crushed by a guy I never had sex with (he wouldn't, because of my Virgin Stigma). Whereas a lot of the guys I have had sex with instantly faded into irrelevance almost before the act was completed.

redheaded&crazy

I can relate to so much of this (um, mostly the fanfiction part. also I didn't see anything about crushing on fictional characters because that feels safer or whatevs, but *raises hand*)

I will say that my views on what counts as sex are, how shall we say, divergent. But regardless I think it would be important to remember that just like any of the other people jia has interviewed, this person is putting a very personal story out there and hopefully that will be responded to with respect.

<3 you hairpinnie for being a safe(r) space to run this kind of feature!

TheBourneApproximation

“I’m not going to have sex with you if you’re a virgin because virgins get attached.”

Christ I am so glad to be out of college and no longer dealing with guys like this.

(Not that post-college sex rules aren't just as hideous, but this kind of attitude seems particularly prevalent in that setting, and it was certainly a major worry during my virginal college years.)

chevyvan

@TheBourneApproximation I remember seeing this EXACT situation on Girls and being like, "Would that really happen?" Apparently it could and did! Yikes, guys.

The thing is, our esteemed virgin has kind of bought into that idea. And maybe she knows herself well enough to know that she *would* get attached, and I certainly have a tendency to get attached to guys I'm sleeping with (although that's not universal, and also it's likely the reverse causal direction...I am more likely to sleep with someone if I'm attached to them). But yeah, I find the whole thing interesting.

karion

I will go to my grave baffled by people who think oral or anal sex is somehow not sex. Or is less than vaginal sex for purposes of virginity or anything else, for that matter. It is one of only a handful of things I can think of where I just don't see the rationale or basis for the argument.

You keeping doing you, girl. Whatever floats your boat. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by your vaginal sex experience. What disappoints most people their first time is just an absence of sexual experience - not knowing what to expect, not knowing how to orgasm, not feeling comfortable and intimate with their partner, having read too many unrealistic books or watched too much porn.

You have a wealth of sexual experiences, and have not only figured out what turns you on physically, you are comfortable being naked and sexual with another. You will be far less intimidated than people who are having their first sexual experience.

katiemcgillicuddy

@karion I really liked reading this, and Scarlett seemed totally cool, but I completely agree with you on this. I think part of it is the weird sort of virginity fetish that we have as a society, where losing ones p-in-v virginity card is a HUGE DEAL, especiiiiially for girls and women. It really irks me.

Ellie

@karion Out of curiosity, what do people count in your "number"? In mine I'm counting both actual intercourse and hookups in which you are totally naked and engage in oral sex and/or fingerbanging. Basically per the "oral is also sex" rule. (I'm not sure how I would count "just oral" without being naked or without it being a full-on hookup, like where having sex is plausible at any second, because I've never done that. Also I would definitely include anal sex in my number if applicable, which ironically, I am planning to save for marriage.) But I always feel a little guilty and like I'm artificially inflating my number via this method. But I really "feel" like I've had sex with those people even in the absence of literal intercourse. Thoughts?

sunflowernut

@Ellie I wonder about this too, and though I usually just include people I've had intercourse with, I might up my number to people I had any kind of sex with as long as it was mutual sex. So therefore, no losers I blew who did not reciprocate. That doesn't feel so much like sex to me.

piekin

@sunflowernut I think the "mutual sex" approach is dead on. And fuck all the non-reciprocal losers of the world! (figuratively)

Anita Ham Sandwich

@karion I personally count PIV and PIA (though I haven't done PIA with anyone I haven't done PIV with). I can certainly understand the philosophy of counting anything oral and "beyond," and if I was just starting to be sexually active now, I'd certainly consider that.

Blushingflwr

@Ellie I have multiple numbers for just this reason. I have my number of PIV people, and then I have my larger number, where I use a more expansive definition. That includes oral, PIV, fingering/fisting, anal and mutual masturbation. Multiple definitions of what is and isn't sex gets complicated, because there are people I might say I've had sex with who would not necessarily say that they've had sex with me because they don't consider the activity sex.

Springtime for Voldemort

@Ellie I use the number of people I have done something with where at least one of us could have caught an STD.

Apocalypstick

@Springtime for Voldemort Fluid exchange/touching mucus membranes? In the sense that that's the definition your doctor means when they ask about partners, it's a pretty good way to count.

Ellie

@Springtime for Voldemort Oh yeah! I used to cite that same distinction too. I also like the "mutuality" definition.

packedsuitcase

@Springtime for Voldemort I like this definition. I think that using PIV as a standard was something I didn't question as a teenager, so mentally I still feel like I lost my virginity at 18 when the reality is 16 is probably much more accurate (age at which I started giving and receiving oral). But I think there was a big moment for me with PIV where it was like "I accept that there are way more risks for me and my life with this one, and I still want to do it," that made it a milestone for me. But just because it was a milestone for me doesn't make it enough for me to feel like that should be the standard.

Virginity is such a weird concept.

you're a kitty!

@karion I guess I'd say that once someone has negotiated the minefield of consent and attraction and safety and pleasure with another person, not to mention had orgasms with them, that counts as sex. To me. What exact specifics you do with the respective bodies makes basically zero difference. But apparently thinking of sex as a fundamentally brain-based activity is unusual, so I wouldn't necessarily expect anyone else to share my definition.

itiresias

@Ellie My roommates in college and I once figured out "numbers" using a system that included ALL hookups, based on the "bases" - kissing was 1 point, fondling 2, oral was 3, penetration was 4. We did it one day because it was funny and lighthearted, and it's really hard to remember all of your makeouts, but at the end of the day everything counts as a semi-sexual based interaction with another human being. I remember our guy friends catching wind of it and being like "that's so stupid, who keeps track of that shit, making out absolutely doesn't count". And I was always surprised how adamant some of the reactions were because, it doesn't have to mean anything btu what you make it, but things still..happen, you know?

Springtime for Voldemort

@Apocalypstick Exactly; the primary reason for me to count is to know when I need to get my ass to the doctor and get tested, so it seems like a good, working framework.

aphrabean

The concept of virginity is so weird! I mean, I think this interviewee may be more sexually sophisticated than I am and I've been sexually active for 15 years. What an interesting read, but it really just makes me want to pitch the whole "virgin" thing right out the window.

redheaded&crazy

@aphrabean good call on getting rid of the concept of virginity. Is that a thing that will realistically ever happen i wonder? I don't think so, the human brain likes categories too much. Non-virgin and virgin! Great categories! Even when people define them according to vastly different boundaries, but hey, who's keeping track. (I guess, society is who is keeping track)

mrs psmith

@aphrabean It is really is such an odd idea. Especially if you consider how strange it would be if we applied the same sort of reasoning to other areas of life. Like if we had a word for "someone who has not yet tasted chocolate," or "someone who has not yet juggled."

redheaded&crazy

@mrs psmith dude we should totally replace "someone who has not had sex" with "someone who has not yet juggled" as a major Life Marker.

I've heard that girls who've never juggled before get way too attached.

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazy I could never date a dude who's never juggled before, he wouldn't even know what he's juggling.

(pretty sure juggling just became a stand-in in my brain for motor boating how did this happen)

SarahDances

@mrs psmith I remember having a discussion with an Iranian guy about how he was SO CONFUSED the first time he heard the word "virgin" applied to men, because in his culture, they just don't conceptualize it like that. And while I think in that case it's kinda messed up with the double standard and all, I think it's a fun exercise to turn it inside out and imagine it not conceptualizing it like that for anyone.

mrs psmith

@redheaded&crazy I second this emotion.

@SarahDances That's really interesting. If that were a single standard for everyone, I could totally get behind it.

tealily

@redheaded&crazy I've heard that girls who've never juggled before get way too attached.... to juggling.

redheaded&crazy

@tealily I mean really can you blame them?

[sic]

@tealily There *has* to be a way to shoehorn balls into this joke... "Pre-jugglers get way too attached to the first balls they handle", maybe?

redheaded&crazy

@[sic] oh man, this one is SO true for me. I can still picture the first balls I juggled. I think I still have them somewhere.

Springtime for Voldemort

@redheaded&crazy I don't think so, no. I mean, I think we could de-emphasize virginity quite a bit, and get rid of the purity bs. But being sexually active is pretty much always going to be a big part of healthcare, so even if we get rid of the word, we'd still end up asking if you were sexually active and what tests you needed done. I'm guessing that, feminist healthcare utopia, everyone would have a doctor(type person) that would make sure when they started having sex they definitely knew about barriers and contraception and testing, etc. And sex is a huge way people in love express that love for each other, and in a way that is standardized more so than most other acts. So, yeah, I don't think it's every going to be treated the same way, say, the first time you went skiing is.

aphrabean

@Springtime for Voldemort I like the idea of making it about actions, not about identity. Like, "Are these actions you have engaged in?" Vs. "Who are you as a person?" I feel like this is potentially a good way to get around some of the grosser cultural baggage.

iceberg

OK I haven't read the whole thing but I love this but also, I would like to read interview with a Slutty McSlutterson? like, the story of a one-nighht-stand-having person? because I don't... know how that works.

iceberg

@iceberg i mean like how do you meet someone and then like invite them into your vagina two hours later? the CONFIDENCE required... *marvels*

aliceandstuff

@iceberg This. The weirdest part was that I moved to NYC which is hook-up mecca but I have yet to be witness to any of this sort of thing (let alone a participant).

packedsuitcase

@iceberg I loved one night stands! Between my two Big Relationships (with my ex and with Dudefriend), that was all I had and it was absolutely perfect for me.

you're a kitty!

@iceberg I HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD HOW THAT WORKS. I don't disapprove, I just don't understand. If I wanted to do that, how would I do that?!
Also, are other people attracted to a whole lot more folks than I am? Because there are not all that many complete strangers who I want to see naked (If someone is awesome, obviously that can change as I get to know them).

martinipie

@iceberg I don't understand it either! I went on these OKCupid dates and the dudes would have definitely been DTF if I was but I was kinda like "what what how do I how do you I mean you just come over and we? have sex?" so I have avoided it....

meetapossum

@iceberg I...could volunteer?

packedsuitcase

@martinipie Yeah, that's pretty much it. I mean, generally I was sleeping with dudes from bars so it was pretty easy to say, "Hey, do you want to get out of here? I don't live too far away..." And then we would make out and then the clothes would come off and then, boom! Fun sexytimes!

packedsuitcase

@meetapossum Yes! Another one of us! I would also volunteer. We could tag team! (That sounds...dirtier than I meant it.)

Lily Rowan

@iceberg You find them on the internet.

Is what I heard my friend did, I mean. She could never pick up a guy in a bar like that, but with a little online screening, sure.

skyslang

@iceberg I would love a piece, or a series, on sexually active women who aren't in relationships...whether by choice or no....and enjoy their sex lives. Fuck buddies, one night stands, whatever!

Beericle

@martinipie
idk if you are just kinda horny - but know you don't want to have a relationship with the dude, and safety first, what is the harm? I mean hey, there is a party in my pants.
Also, I have no problem kissing just about anyone, so it might be general outlook.

meetapossum

@packedsuitcase Totally! Sluts unite!

I've actually been thinking a lot about this since Nerve started their "Everyone I've Ever Slept With" series. Because, hahaha, how on earth would I write mine?

Mariajoseh

@you're a kitty! yes! I was single for 4 years and the main reason I didn't have one-night stands was that I'm just not easily attacted to people

MrsLlama

@iceberg I would also volunteer! It's so much easier to meet a cute dude in a bar for sexy funtimes than it is to find someone I would like...want to talk to for any length of time. People are the WORST (except my husband, he's the actual best...and started out as a one night stand that kind of stuck).

And in the 12-ish years I lived in Brooklyn (aka my 20s), one night stands were pretty much the MO of myself and a lot of my friends. Boyfriends are...not for me (again, except my husband). Please be out of my apartment before sunrise. Bye.

martinipie

@packedsuitcase and @everyone I guess to me I just had the foreboding that the sex would be awful without some buildup of attraction and regard, like...of course sex is always a gamble in terms of quality but with someone I've at least made out with once or twice/built up affection for, there is a basis on which to fall back on. I mean I am still super young and am telling myself that having some one night stands is a Life Homework Assignment.

BASICALLY, I would appreciate dishing about everyone's sex lives and how they Make It Work.

you're a kitty!

@Beericle see the funny thing is that that's basically how I'd like to have sex a lot of the time, but I don't know how to do it. Maybe it's a confidence thing? But mostly it's that most of my friends have been LTR-type people, so I just literally have never understood how hooking up works and I don't know how to figure it out now that I'm a proper (hah!) adult. Also, safety concerns. LONG STORY SHORT I would also really like to read that series.

packedsuitcase

@MrsLlama Yes! I had a terrible time finding interesting people to talk to (Dudefriend is the only person since my ex that became more interesting when I talked to him instead of less), but cute guys to bone were EVERYWHERE. Of course, it's a roll of the dice so sometimes the sex was terrible, but that always made a good story so I was fine with it. (Like my introduction to whiskey dick, or the time that the guy couldn't keep it up and humped my leg like a puppy to keep himself hard, or...oh man, the stories. Priceless!)

piekin

@iceberg I feel like my personal experience with one night stands is pretty mundane. Like, you live in NYC, you meet a hot dude from the internet for drinks, and then you both drink a lot, and then one of you suggests that you head to whoever's apartment is nearer/has more privacy and you engage in whatever level of boning you're both game for. Personally, I always tried to hook up at the dude's apartment, so I could take the initiative of leaving. (One time a dude insisted on walking me to the train and then told me he'd call me, and I just reactively laughed in his face. He looked so crestfallen - I still feel bad about it! SORRY REALLY TALL BED-STUY DUDE!!)

thebestjasmine

@you're a kitty! Yeah, I don't get this either. I would like a series on it too!

packedsuitcase

@packedsuitcase Also - the first (okay, only) time I snuck out of a dude's house after sex was a personal best.

Blushingflwr

@iceberg I'm not a "pick people up in bars" person (because I am distrustful of strangers), but I have had a few things where I met a dude from the Internet, fooled around with and/or boned him, and then been like "nope, not going any further". Never really a one-night-stand though. I am very easily physically seduced though. Pushing my buttons to turn me is easy, having a personality I want to hang out with for a while is harder.

tealily

@martinipie It's funny because this has neeevvvvver been my MO, but I totally get it. In my minimal experience with internet dating, there was one guy I actually connected with, and I would say it was 85% physical. First date, saying goodbye, amazing kiss and he whispered "or we could go back to your place," and I said "naaahhhhhhh." Second date though, BOOM. We would get together every couple weeks for more of the same, but the whole thing was only ever someone to go to restaurants with and have sex with. I can see skipping the meals and just having the sex part, and maybe swapping out the guys in between... just sayin'.

Brunhilde

@iceberg "how do you meet someone and then like invite them into your vagina two hours"

Oh it doesn't always take two hours...

Haha, but seriously I've had so many one night stands. I find guys mostly at bars. Once at a grocery store.

meetapossum

@piekin I also pretty much exclusively go to the dude's house for the same reason.

But stories, I've got them! That's pretty much the best reason to have one-night stands.

blueblazes

@iceberg Alcohol helps a lot. There was this dude that I met at a bar once and took home the second time I saw him there.It was a neighborhood hangout place so we were both there at least a couple times a week. After that initial hookup, we'd be there on whatever night on opposite sides of the pool hall with our respective friends but not even talk at the bar. And in my brain I'd be like "Yeah, he will be at my door 10 minutes after closing time." And he always was. And because we really never talked, it was like 18 months of one night stands with the same person. I can't overstate how perfect that was for where I was emotionally at 24.

you're a kitty!

@blueblazes that sounds a m a z i n g.

Bebe

@packedsuitcase You and I may have slept with the same leg-humping dude...was yours from Ireland?

I used to love a good one night stand, too - sometimes for the no-strings-sex, but more often for the story!

baked bean

@you're a kitty! Yeahh I am totally fine morally with one-night stands, but it freaks me out to think about doing it myself. I think I'm too socially awkward. Idk if I could bring someone I don't know home or into my bed. What if they aren't nice?
I could see myself banging some dude friends though.... that could happen. But these are guys I know and trust to not be selfish. Maybe that's just what's important for me. I also think though, if there was a dude I wanted to have sex with, I'd actually want to have sex with him more than once! I've never had sex with anyone just once.

TARDIStime

@baked bean "Idk if I could bring someone I don't know home or into my bed. What if they aren't nice?" BINGO!
I'm kind of scared of the idea of bringing a total stranger home for this reason - except it's not "not niceness" that bothers me, it's "potential to later stalk me/rape me/violence me in my own home".
Going to his place is also not an option because what if he throws me in a hole, lotions my skin and makes me into a jacket?

baked bean

@TARDIStime Yeah, my fear ranges from mild "what if he's not nice?" to rape, murder, etc.

baked bean

@TARDIStime Also, I am from a small town in the Midwest, and currently live in a slightly larger small town, and the idea of big city complete strangers is even scarier! Like howww do you even meet guys in the city? I can't just go to bars and meet random dudes... it has to be class, associations, friend-of-friend...

TARDIStime

@baked bean As a suburbanite who lives a short-ish distance from the city, I still meet my friends at work/school/friends-of-friends...
I think friend-making is the same wherever you are - it's the personality that makes the difference. If you're able to meet someone at a bar in the city and bring them home without a problem, than you're also probably going to do OK in a small town, too - you're just social and probably make more effort with people in general.
If you're mildly closeted, you're going to be that way in the city and also in the small town unless you move from one to the other and resolve to be become more social/make more effort.
I like being a little closeted, though - talking to total strangers I have nothing in common with is just... rarely stimulating.
However, all 'pinners are welcome in my closet. :)

baked bean

@TARDIStime Yes agreed about being closeted! I am fine with a group of people I already know, but it takes a while to get that comfortable...

I suppose I picture moving to a larger city and knowing no one, and knowing bars would not be the answer for me, fear loneliness. A silly idea, as I would just meet people at work or something and go from there. I did the same thing here, I suppose. It just takes longer this way, but it works.

Ellie

@blueblazes That is so hot and so awesome.

halfheartedyoga

@iceberg ooo ooo i can volunteer to be slutty mcslutterson number 3! and the transition from Serial Monogamy Mary to Satisfied Slattern Sara. (I'll stop...sorry...)

Anninyn

@iceberg I would HAPPILY be the interviewee.

Before I met my now husband I slept with 25 women and around 40 men.

In a year and a half.

Though my answers would mainly be 'I liked sex and was pretty enough to get it from most'. I know that sounds arrogant, but it was kind of true? I never really got to know them either.

halfheartedyoga

@iceberg here is my synopsis: friends of friends either
a)on business trips or
b) at destination weddings.

Ideal combination of pre-vetted as semidecent humans (as they are friends of your friends) and the relation, such as it is, is timebound.

iceberg

@iceberg @all get it girls (i am so glad no one was upset by my phrasing hahaha)! email Jia so we can hear your stories!!!
@blueblazes that sounds super hot.

packedsuitcase

@Bebe No, mine was American. He was super hot, which made it even funnier to me. We had a good chat when I was driving him home that night, and I really liked him as a person, but I will never, ever, ever forget the leg hump.

And I totally agree that the one night stands make for some great stories. I loved putting them up on my blog until I accidentally sent my dad the address and had to take them down because of The Fear. But now I'm back to the "If they want to read it knowing I'd rather they didn't, they deserve whatever they get" mindset.

you're a kitty!

@Mariajoseh yeah... how can you tell if you're attracted to someone just by looking at them??

meetapossum

@iceberg Has Jia agreed to do an "Interview with a Slut" column? I'll be all up on that.

@you're a kitty! I do talk to people before I sleep with them. Just sometimes even if they're kind of a jerk it doesn't matter as much if they're attractive. I'm not planning on spending my life with them or even dating them.

you're a kitty!

@meetapossum Oh man, true — attractive body+brain does not necessarily equal long-term potential... but man can it be effective.

does it need saying

How does it happen? Bang a lot of people you already know, with the occasional stranger (or friends of friends, if you will) thrown in with the others. This method does make for a lot of multiple partner encounters. Plus confidence goes way up when you realize that (as a vagina holder) you hold all most of the cards. I sometimes wish I wasn't in a monogamous relationship so I could have more of the sexy stranger fun.

mustelid

I would also like to read a Slutty McSlutterson interview series, and would also totally volunteer to be interviewed.

Where to meet them: bars, parties, the library one time.

I didn't really get into one night stands per se. Short term casual sex partners are a good way to get the essence of a one night stand, but knowing slightly more about the person to vet them. Meeting them through friends is a good way to make sure they're not going to make your skin into a jacket, but then you kind of have to be okay with people knowing you are a slut (which kinda means you have to be okay with being a slut).

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Also, Scarlet, your brain releases oxytocin after it orgasms, regardless of how that orgasm was achieved.

aphrabean

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I mean, realistically, you don't even need an orgasm to release oxytocin - simple touching can release it. My understanding is that most grooming behaviors in mammals causes a surge of oxytocin. This is to say: as mammals, we're kind of built to bond, and it's pretty hard to get around that fact.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@aphrabean Right! Nipple stimulation can release oxytocin, which bonds mothers to their babies during breastfeeding, for example. Anyway, I'm not meaning to harsh on Scarlet, I just think she should know her body isn't trying to trick her into bonding with another human, which would then make her emotionally vulnerable, which sounds like something she's not into.

katiemcgillicuddy

@aphrabean I believe it is also released when women breastfeed, so there's that.

aphrabean

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Totally, totally. And I also want to be clear that I'm not wagging my finger at Scarlet, either. Most of my twenties were also spent trying to avoid emotional vulnerability, so I get it! I just went about it in a different way.

la.donna.pietra@twitter

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Dudes' bodies require it to get an erection, near as medical science can tell. (Researchers have found it in elevated levels in penile veins during erections. Don't think too much about how they found it.)

Lily Rowan

There are no magic p-in-v hormones, girl! You can totally hit it and quit it, if you want. I mean, depending.

skyslang

@Lily Rowan I came down here to say the same thing. Scarlet! Having vaginal sex will not make you feel desperate, fall in love instantly, or change you in any significant ways.
Vaginal sex does not cause heartbreak! Heartbreak is a natural byproduct of living a full life. If it happens to you, you'll deal with it. You'll be sad, you'll cry, then you'll be fine. Trying to avoid heartbreak your whole life will only cause you to lead a really boring life.

Lily Rowan

@skyslang Oh yeah.

I was going to re-emphasize that you can catch feelings just making out! And can still be heartbroken if he doesn't call back. Shit just happens, and it's fine.

And like other people have said, Scarlet: You continue to do you!

redheaded&crazy

@Lily Rowan if you're me, you can catch feelings just thinking about how dude is totally the one, okay no you haven't met him yet, sure you don't even know if he looks like his picture, BUT he likes dogs, this could really be it!

redheaded&crazy

related: i find online dating stressful

eta: not related to the actual post, sorry, just related to my own brain tangent. ummm. anyway.

Ellie

@Lily Rowan The first time I "had sex" (see above) it didn't involve "literal intercourse" but I became so instantly hung up/attached, like textbook definition of "girl gets totally hung up and attached on guy she first has sex with," like I STILL feel kind of hung up and attached and it was years ago and I never talk to or see the peson! I don't know if that's an argument for or against. It might be the psychological distinction you make. Clearly I made the distinction, subconscious or otherwise, that it was sex( incidentally, the reason for lack of "literal intercourse" was the same as Scarlet's guy - he didn't want me to get attached! I totally showed him!), and Scarlet ruled otherwise, so I actually am inclined to go along with that you do get attached to whoever you lose your virginity to. The first person I had "literal intercourse" with I never saw again and could not care less about.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Lily Rowan I'll be real: I keep giggling at all the "you do you" comments because, as we already know, Scarlet has that on lock.

wee_ramekin

@Lily Rowan So yes, I agree with you completely and scientifically, but I will say that at this point, I think Scarlett has assigned enough significance to P-in-V sex that she may become more attached to whoever's P she lets in her V than she would with other types of sex.

Lily Rowan

@wee_ramekin Oh, for sure. I didn't do p-in-v for a looong time, due to similar feelings, but eventually got over it, as I said in the last one of these threads, and just did it with someone I liked well enough, and it was a good call! For me, at that time.

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Hee. Absolutely.

whateverlolawants

@Ellie I didn't get attached at all to the guy I had P-in-V with the first time. I have gotten very hung up on guys I only had oral with, though, both before and after I had my first P-in-V experience. I don't know if there's a big correlation. I guess if I get slutty again I'll have a larger sample size from which to extrapolate.

Ellie

@whateverlolawants Yeah, there's no way to tell what the correlation really is. Now I'm thinking it's possible that I would have been less hung up if we had actually had sex (I would jump at the chance to actually do that, but it is definitely never to be), because the other person I've been the most hung up on/obsessed with is also someone I did basically everything but, but didn't actually have sex with, despite this encounter coming much later in my career. Hmm.

packedsuitcase

Okay, so this rush of bonding hormones thing. First, has anybody researched it? I feel like I've been hearing a lot about it lately but haven't had a chance to look it up. Second, if it is a thing, why would only vaginal sex stimulate the hormones? It seems like anal sex has most of the hallmarks of vaginal, so why would only vaginal release those hormones?

I really loved this interview and it was a really great perspective (and clearly gave me a lot of questions, which is always something that makes me happy). Thanks, Jia!

packedsuitcase

@packedsuitcase Okay, I see about 5 people have answered this. Thanks!

evil melis

@packedsuitcase It's like that tunnel vision that women get.

you're a kitty!

I'm pretty sure that the "bonding hormones" (I assume this means oxytocin) happen after an orgasm, not after PIV per se. Of course if PIV has personal meaning for someone then the first time could be an emotional experience, but chemically nothing different is happening than you'd get from an orgasm induced any other way.

Blushingflwr

@you're a kitty! I was going to say the same thing. Any kind of sex (especially if it involves orgasms and post-coital cuddling) is going to crate oxytocin. Also, the degree to which those hormones affect you is an individual and situational thing. I remember the first time my Gentleman Friend and I had sex, and I was laying there in his (king-sized, super-comfy) bed and just absolutely blissed out and crazy for him. But I have had sex (and I'm using a pretty inclusive definition of sex here) with people where afterwords it was like "okay, that was nice, ciao".

I think if you survived a "friends with benefits" deal with the steak guy (which I would totally do if I liked anal, that sounded like a sweet deal).

It's funny, I save anal for relationships. I can orgasm from it, but there is a bit of a squick factor for me and also if I don't do it with a high enough frequency it's painful and that makes me not want to do it.

Bebe

@you're a kitty! It's probably also worth noting that these same hormones get processed by the body in a short amount of time, and then their effects are gone within a few hours (I think? Writing this from a dim memory of a bio class I took a while back) - it's not like, orgasming once with somere bonded to him for life. It's just a little rush of affectionate feelings towards someone who just did something to your body that felt really, really good.

D.@twitter

@you're a kitty! Actually, the joke's on her, b/c any pleasant social interaction will release a combination of dopamine and oxytocin.

josefinastrummer

I think if she had told that shitty guy in college that she would have anal sex, he would have had a different response.
So many Catholic girls in high school had this attitude. I would ask them if you could get AIDS or any other S(exually!)TD from it, and if so, that makes it sex. But like others have already said, virginity is subjective. We all do what we have to.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@josefinastrummer I went to a Catholic college, and there were plenty of girls there who would have anal sex and feel like they hadn't lost their virginity, which was supposed to be for their husbands. Whatever gets you through the day.

thatgirl

This feature is just cementing for me what bullshit "virginity" is.

Scarlet, I am glad you've got a thing going that works for you.

Are you getting tested regularly, and are you disclosing that you engage in anal intercourse? Because they'll swab there, too, which is pretty important.

yrouttasight

A virgin, really? You know, you can also call yourself a fluffy kitty cat but that doesn't make it true either.

For the record, I think you should go do whatever with however many people you desire. You should cut it out with the "virgin" nonsense, though.

sophia_h

@yrouttasight You and I and a lot of other people would not call her that, but she obviously has something invested in that identity, so it's not really fair to be snarky about it when she's the only person it affects.

honey cowl

@yrouttasight Yikes that was harsh! Scarlet's doin' Scarlet, you know?

josefinastrummer

@sophia_h But she consented to an interview about...virginity. Why does Scarlet get to re-define the term and expect everyone to just be okay with it?

sophia_h

@josefinastrummer I admit, halfway through the article I said out loud "You are not a virgin, honey." And then I thought -- who cares what I think? She hasn't had P-in-V, the cultural definition of sex, and she wants to discount anything else orgasm-y she's done, she must have her reasons. I definitely think she's doing mental gymnastics to avoid getting intimate or heartbroken or what have you, and that she'd be happier if she dropped the label, but since it affects me to zero degree there's no point in me arguing over someone else's identity that works for them.

SarahDances

@sophia_h So I'm trying to be thoughtful about this, and I am posing this as a general opinion, not necessarily specific to this case, but do I think there's a point at which an individual's behavior can become fatally incompatible with an identity they're claiming, no matter how invested they are in it. For example, some women who are (actively, politically) against abortion rights, but consider themselves feminists.

While I think there's value in trying to phase out certain concepts which are in many ways outdated and which do nothing to help anyone (virginity, I'm looking at you!), I think there also has to be recognition that so long as we are still using those words, that they have a certain meaning, as all words do. If that makes sense.

sophia_h

@SarahDances I think she'd be happier and have a more consistent identity if she accepted herself as a sex-having person. But just like I wouldn't tell antiabortion feminists that they can't hold both those beliefs, I think this is a pretty personal thing that mostly just affects Scarlet herself. So that's why I take the "so what?" attitude.

yrouttasight

@honey cowl Y'know, I was going to apologize for my snark, but I just can't. Whether she wants to admit it or not, she is a sexually active adult, and her views are a bit warped.

I've been trying to come up with an analogy for her bizarre rationalization, and all I can come up with is this: It's like running 26.2 miles and then saying you've never run a marathon.

piekin

@sophia_h I'll chime in to say that Scarlet's use of the virgin label does rub me the wrong way. While superficially her adoption of this term doesn't appear to affect anyone else, it's part and parcel of a larger societal mindset that holds P-in-V sex above all other sex acts and sets young women up to view vaginal sex an emotionally-wrought holy grail that they should both desire and fear. IMO, this cultural script is ultimately detrimental to healthy sexuality, and it's a bummer to see this bright young woman buying into it. Like, this chick has found her g-spot through her butt - I wish she'd just let her (awesome) freak flag fly.

ramalamadingdong

@piekin I think it'd probably help if the attitude that heterosexual women are freaks for enjoying anal sex changed. I'm in agreement with the commenters who are saying that putting PIV on a pedestal espouses a lot of heteronormativity, but I'm pretty bugged by the comments that are wondering why Scarlet does anal when there's a less icky alternative in the same region.

honey cowl

@yrouttasight Wellll that analogy might not be apt; I am a marathoner & I view a regular ol' 26.2-mile run as very different from a goal race. Only my start-and-finish-line races get counted as marathons.

But that is beside the point! Hah. I'm just going to let everyone else say the things they already said here that were smarter than I might have.

yrouttasight

@honey cowl Yeah, I know you're right. I didn't say it was a great analogy- I guess it's more like running in a marathon without a number, but saying you've never run a marathon because you've never registered for one. It still counts! You put in the miles, you know?

However, this is all beside the point. All I had was shade to throw at this lady. I'm glad everyone here is more thoughtful than I am.

Ellie

@yrouttasight I don't know if it's that it's "icky" (though I know a lot of people do tend to feel that way) but that, I think, a lot of people think of it as even more intimate than vaginal intercourse. I mean, I kind of think it is. And other women I've talked to say they consider it to be. But I know everyone feels differently about things like that.

whateverlolawants

@Ellie Yeah, I agree. Anal is way more intimate and requiring of trust... for me. It's fascinating to me that not everyone feels that way, and that's fine.

klemay

@sophia_h I completely disagree that Scarlett's definition of her "virginity" affects her and no one else. It reinforces the idea that PIV sex is the only "real" sex, which is completely heterosexist and definitely harmful.

Danzig!

@josefinastrummer I don't think the feature's so much about exploring mechanical virginity (there's a term!) per se, so much as profiling people with variable points of view regarding sexuality at a certain time in their lives, ie a time in which they feel they lack experience or knowledge. It's about being a neophyte. Jia's very good at honing in on the anxieties and doubts that accompany that feeling of being on a different path than the one you're ostensibly supposed to be treading.

*Oh I didn't see that Jia was already here and articulating her vision, so uh, ignore me!

fabel

Eep. I know there's an inherent distaste for what seems like that Catholic school "everything but vagina!" mentality, but if it's working for her right now, then who are we to judge? I'm getting kind of a patronize-y tone from some of these comments, which is odd, as I usually read this feature & find the comments to be super supportive? I don't always think this should be a feel-good fest, but I feel kind of icky reading these & am wondering what's so different about Scarlet's experience, rather than one of the many boys they've profiled on here.

aphrabean

@fabel I wonder if this is because it really points out how arbitrary the virgin label is, more so than the other articles I've read here? I personally think that the whole concept of virginity is just. . .goofy, but I'm not going to fault someone for trying to formulate their own identity within such a culturally fraught framework. I would, however, like to investigate why it IS so culturally fraught, and how these kinds of myths around PIV = magical uncontrollable emotional force sprang up. So fascinating!

Probs

@fabel Thank you. Scarlet isn't some "Saved" style Christian mean girl going around with her purity ring tut-tutting all the PinV whores the day after anal sex. Just someone with her own thoughts for her own self about what constitutes her own virginity, which, uh, we all clearly have here.

thebestjasmine

@fabel I don't think anyone has a problem with her behavior. She can do whatever she wants when it comes to sex, that's cool! But I mean, words have meanings.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@fabel I think some of the sass is probably targets at the hierarchy of sexual acts she subscribes to, in which vaginal intercourse is the defining act and everything else is lesser-than. @nerdshares has a nice comment on it below...

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Right now, there's an article on Slate headlined "Does How We Lose Our Virginity Scar Us for Life?" Just eff why eye.

Bittersweet

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Aaaaaaannnnnndddd....just the title of that article has put the cherry on top of my "Totally Done with Slate" sundae. Ugh.

whateverlolawants

@Bittersweet They are driving me nuts on the regular. I don't know if I even care enough to read Dear Prudie so often.

par_parenthese

@whateverlolawants Ohhhh man, me too. The only things I read anymore are Dear Prudie and TV Club recaps of Downton and Mad Men. Everything else has such a tone. And I just CANNOT with DoubleX. *tears hair out in frustration*

whateverlolawants

@par_parenthese It's exhausting.

par_parenthese

@whateverlolawants "Haha, guys, jk. We were just trying to demonstrate the most off-putting ways to be a feminist and I think we've hit them all now so we can go back to our normal jobs. Love, Katie Roiphe, Amanda Marcotte and the rest of the laydeez at XX."

whateverlolawants

@par_parenthese Yes. And all of the "You're doing it wrong" articles. AAAAARRRRGGGHHH. Headline format: Make a bold, hopefully contrarian statement in a short sentence. Follow with "Here's Why." or "It's Not." or "They're Wrong."

par_parenthese

@whateverlolawants You're an Idiot If You Don't Agree With This Glorified Opinion-Piece Propped Up by Big Words and a Tone of Intellectual Superiority. Here's Why.

Danzig!

@Bittersweet you're resilient! I think it was a William Saletan "you can jack it and still be a devout catholic!" post some years ago that put me off the site. Not because I found the post offensive, I just realized the sole purpose of the article was to allay William Saletan's guilt. I realized at that point that a lot of the stuff I was reading every day was pointless.

That's when I started reading Gawker!

WaityKatie

@Danzig! William Saletan's articles about abortion/birth control (which are mind-bogglingly frequent on Slate) are my primary reason for being Done with Slate, although these others mentioned are also strong contenders! Hm, what do I need to read today...Oh I know! A sanctimonious diatribe about the morality of how I should handle my vagina, written by someone who never has had and never will have one! Again!

iseeshiny

I... wow. I'm so curious about what Scarlet thinks about homosexuality, gender, feminism... I feel like this whole "women release bonding hormones" thing (with the implication that men don't) as well as her definition of sex means there's a whole lot of unexamined gender roles at play. Except clearly she's spent some time thinking about this? I. I'm just kind of flummoxed.

polka dots vs stripes

@iseeshiny Yes! On the one hand, I think she's really sex-positive and has obviously thought about this a lot and articulates herself well and seems so progressive about it all, but then I look closer and realize, this girl still has A LOT of hangups about PIV sex, and by the end of this I was starting to think it was actually kind of unhealthy.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@polka dots vs stripes This might sound kind of dumb and obnoxious (and if it does, I'm sorry) but I think if anything it's proof that there is SO much that our society tries to make us believe about sex, and that so much of it is heavily gendered.

nerdshares

As karion touched on a bit upthread, it's the idea that anal and oral sex are "less than" that bothers me, because that worldview essentially devalues gay sexual experience. Yes, we can assume that Scarlet means vaginal sex is more significant to her personally, but: she doesn't exist in a vacuum. Sure, she can define her sexuality the way she wants to, but the cultural assumptions that underlie WHY she considers p-in-v sex a defining experience are pretty fucking problematic.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@nerdshares I tried to like this about six times, then figured I should just tell you I AGREE WITH YOU.

iseeshiny

@nerdshares Right? "It doesn't mean as much if you couldn't make a baby doing it" is an attitude that makes me a little side-eyey. And maybe why some of the commentariat is getting so irked about her self-defining as a virgin.

Mira

@iseeshiny Yeah as a gay lady I side-eyed this particular "virgin" super hard. Also words have meanings and you don't get to redefine what they are based on your preferred identity.

Scarlet reminds me of my infuriating friend who calls herself a vegetarian and always orders the fish.

iseeshiny

@Mira There's a word for that and it doesn't start with a V....

sunflowernut

@nerdshares Yes to this a million times.

City_Dater

@nerdshares

It's a completely heteronormative view of sex, which is not surprising for a woman who was raised Catholic (even though she stopped going to mass in her teens). She probably doesn't mean to devalue anyone else's experience.

However, it's interesting that the majority of commenters here would probably not describe Scarlet as a virgin, though that's where she places herself on the sexual continuum. All sex counts as sex around here! :)

sophia_h

@nerdshares I would like to think that her Catholic background makes her part of an older generation of thought on this issue (my friend's college gf was evangelical, and all her friends thought she was a 'ho for having sex, like, twice a year with him, whereas they were doing everything but all the time). I don't think I've run across anyone with this point of view on virginity who hadn't at least had some religious experiences in their formative years.

Mira

@iseeshiny Right? And it's like, just say you don't eat beef or whatever, it's fine! But you're not a vegetarian. Similarly, if you have had consensual anal sex, there's really no definition of virginity that still applies to you. The part about how the dude would make her steak and put his P in her A on the regular, and then she didn't want to tell him she was a virgin, legitimately made me laugh out loud.

p.s. I grew up in the South and I knew a lot of girls from evangelical families who thought everything but p-in-v was still "virgin" territory, and the whole attitude is really problematic, based as it is in very retrograde ideas about gay people and gender.

evil melis

@Mira The idea of eating a bleu-cheese smothered steak and then following it up with some vigorous anal sex is just...Scarlet, you're a very strong woman.

Mira

@evil melis So true. The more I read that paragraph, the funnier it gets.

karion

@nerdshares: this was something I very much wanted to say as well.

I usually make a deliberate choice not to read more into something than what was actually said or written, but the (GOD HELP ME I HATE THIS TERM) privileging of vaginal sex is inescapable here. If PIV sex is the only real, bonding, meaningful kind, and the only kind that "counts," that viewpoint sure has a lot to say about gay sex. Not real, not bonding, not meaningful. GAH. No me gusta.

karion

I went back and reread, to make sure I wasn't reading something into this that wasn't there, and lo, it was there:

Yeah, I think it does stem from a distinction of vaginal sex being more meaningful than anal/oral, but I feel like that's sort of natural? I mean, at the root of it, vaginal sex is at least imitating the act that ends in conception and babies and making a whole 'nother life. Which, while totally awesome, is also some heavy shit.

barefoot cuntessa

"The idea of eating a bleu-cheese smothered steak and then following it up with some vigorous anal sex is just...Scarlet, you're a very strong woman."

@evil melis I just want you to know I laughed out loud for a good 60 seconds.

Killerpants

@barefoot cuntessa @evil melis - seconded. I am dying over here.

olivia

@evil melis I have to poop just thinking about that.

WaityKatie

@iseeshiny I agree, and maybe it's because the "it matters more if it can lead to a baby" argument is disturbingly similar/identical to one of the main arguments that has been traditionally raised against gay marriage. Marriage is for procreation! Gays can't have it! Blech.

Allie7

@evil melis "The idea of eating a bleu-cheese smothered steak and then following it up with some vigorous anal sex is just...Scarlet, you're a very strong woman." Still laughing! Thank you, because the unacknowledged (and probably unconscious) devaluation of gay sex was pretty depressing.

EngNaturalBeauty@twitter

Scarlet can define herself however she wants, but like someone above stated, she's sexually active. Also the mental gymnastics she's doing trying to avoid heartbreak, just don't seem worth it. You can fall in love with someone and never have been physically intimate with them. Also I think she's placing way too much emotional importance on PIV sex. Bonding hormones are released when you orgasm, so as long as she's orgasming with someone, she's bonding. Maybe she should look more closely at this fear/anxiety she has about becoming emotionally and physically attached to someone.

polka dots vs stripes

@EngNaturalBeauty@twitter You can fall in love with someone and never have been physically intimate with them.

This is probably going to be a weird connection to make, but her unwillingness to have PIV sex because of the hormones reminds me of Quiverful types, who don't "date" but "court" because "courting" protects your heart - even though courtships/engagements are broken off all the time and hurt just as much as "dating."

If you're getting intimate with someone, whether it's over a heartfelt conversation or in bed, you're bonding. And you can fall for someone either way - no penis-in-vagina required.

sevanetta

@EngNaturalBeauty@twitter There have been a few very well phrased comments like this, so I want to say, I Agree. The no p-i-v sex thing is a red herring... relationships are the issue here.

par_parenthese

@polka dots vs stripes *shakes fist* COURTSHIIIIIIIIIIIP!! Signed, person who is so glad she was never courted even though she totally grew up in that world.

piekin

I think Scarlet is kind of weird, but "there are plenty of dicks I've sucked and been like 'meh'" is my new catchphrase.

Hey,Lookit!

Look at all this energy we're wasting deciding whether Scarlet should get to call herself a virgin or not, when we could be joining forces to make sure all teenage girls have such aware and self-empowering sexual experiences. Let's keep our eyes on the prize, Sisters!

josefinastrummer

@Hey,Lookit! Seriously? You think the Hairpin posted this article to get us to join forces to re-define the word "virgin"? No way. They posted this article so we would discuss it. Not start a task force.

Not everything has to be about something bigger. What's wrong with just talking about what is right in front of us, which is an interview with a virgin who isn't actually a virgin, by popular definition?

Hey,Lookit!

@josefinastrummer Ha. Yeah. You're probably right. :) It's just a bummer that we end up fighting fights like this when we've also popularly agreed that people doing what they want with their own bodies and labeling themselves in a way they themselves find accurate is A-ok, too? People have to extricate themselves from the Jerk-Circus in their own way and I don't think it helps our Overall-Jerk-Circus-Escaping-Goals to tell someone she's doing it the wrong way.

josefinastrummer

@Hey,Lookit! To me, Scarlet sounds pretty secure. She would have to be to do such an interview, I think! And I like hearing what everyone has to say. If we all just said "Gee, I never thought of it that way. Cool" there would be no discussion. I don't really see it as fighting. But again, just like sex, to each her own!

j-i-a

@josefinastrummer I want to say that, on my end, the motivation behind this series IS much more "let's redefine 'virgin' and all that word's baggage as the deeply personal and often-somewhat-bullshit concept that it is" than anything else. I have thus far stuck to the territory of relatively gentle and sweet people with non-controversial perspectives but of course there are of course plenty of people who are virgins, or consider themselves virgins, or whatever, for reasons that a lot of people would have problems with. When I've done those interviews I've kept them to myself (and didn't consider Scarlet's as one of them)--but I haven't really been able to define why and I'm thinking more about all these things now!

Ellie

@Hey,Lookit! I don't think it's a fight, just a really interesting discussion. Comments don't have to be supportive to be valuable and interesting.

Danzig!

@josefinastrummer Honestly, we're free to start discussions and shit-talk as much as we like, but I'd like to think this isn't Jezebel.

Danzig!

@josefinastrummer I don't think we can presume anything about Scarlet's disposition. I loved talking to Jia but I admit that I was really nervous (and excited! but nervous) prior to the publishing of my interview. I had bad experiences with sharing my story online before in message boards and the like, run-ins with Dworkinites denying me my status as a survivor, etc. I was really worried that someone would come out of the woodwork and call me on something. I would have been devastated. I cannot even imagine what it would have been like for Scarlet to come across a near-unanimous consensus that she is (a)an imbecile (b)deluded (c)a homophobe, or some combination of the three. The commentariat is very clearly passing judgment on her, feeble affirmations of individual prerogative aside. It seems clear that a lot of people don't think that her choices affect only herself. They want to make her an effigy of the patriarchy to be interrogated and dismantled. I won't be part of it.

I realize that you're having fun, but real talk here: Scarlet agreeing to this article was not a tacit agreement of any kind, to anything. She is not a celebrity, she is not a public figure, she isn't even taking a policy position of any kind. She holds views that could be described as regressive, if you really wanted to. That does not make her an object of sport.

whateverlolawants

@Danzig! Thank you. I was wondering how Scarlet must feel about all this. I hope anything I said didn't make her feel judged.

Ellie

@Danzig! The thing is that when you agree to an interview that will be published online on a site that has comments you KNOW that people will have thoughts about it and will share them and that maybe they won't all be supportive. I wouldn't do such an interview for that reason! I'm really sensitive. One of the many reasons that I don't have a blog or the desire for fame is that I can't stand criticism. While I appreciate civility approximately as much as the next person, if you're going to get offended by people's criticism you think, don't say what you think, except to close friends whom you know won't criticize. So to my mind Scarlet agreeing to this article IS a tacit agreement that it will be published and commented on. I don't think anyone has been egregiously uncivil or even mean.

I think the Hairpin has a slight tendency toward knee-jerk defense of the "house views" and I value dissent over supportiveness when it contributes to an interesting dialogue. I really disagree that commenters are making Scarlet "an effigy of the patriarchy" or even that there is a near-unanimous consensus that she's an idiot, and particularly that commenters are making her an object of sport or "having fun" - I think this is a big overreaction.

For what it's worth, she seems to feel pretty good about her sexual identity so I would be surprised if this were so terribly jarring.

VirginHoelandia

@josefinastrummer

So I should..... not start a taskforce???

(Puts taskforce-starting materials away discretely...)

VirginHoelandia

@Danzig!

I very much HOPE that Scarlet (she looks slight more like Vermilion to me! Awesome hue, though, quite lovely!) feels very MUCH supported, in the controversy surrounding this interview. I hope (and somewhat trust?) that she sees the spirit in which this spirited discussion is taking place, which is totally to support her as an autonomous person with full ownership over her body.

People may be arguing over how to support her:

By praising her keen determiniation to be herself and do things her own way, and take things as they come to her & feel right...

OR

By expressing concern that she may hold some believes that are sort of misguided at best, and potentially diminishing of her personhood and sexuality (and every other woman's who participates in that line of thinking, and possibly other casualties as well, such as gay people, and let's not forget the straight dudes... who will think of the straight dudes who are being harmed by this build-up to romantic vagtastic vessel of completion. Poor dudes.)

I'm totally kidding...

because I think that sex combined with love (anal, vaginal, finger, toe or oral sex... even just "sexy bedroom eyes" or sexy voice) is totally vagtastic.

Can we use the word vagstatic to describe all things over-the-top amazing from now on. Gay dudes, can you give us this one? As a gesture of goodwill for the laydies?

I'd hope Scarlet can feel that people are well-intentioned and respectful, even while holding strong views. She seems very smart, and I think this is an honest wrestling with some potentially kind of sticky, layered subjects of gender, sexuality, and intimacy.

Sunnydaze

@VirginHoelandia

I think you mean vagtastic for over-the-top amazingness.

Vagstatic should be like, "hey, stop with the vagstatic" or, "I think people are giving Scarlet a little too much vagstatic about her virginity/non-virginity status" (I don't think this, but I do think we should remember to be a little bit gentle when we voice our strong opinions about others who may or may not be in the room).

Stop with the vagstatic! My pussy needs a wholesome and emotionally healthy environment to thrive and be wonderful.

(But definitely never stop with your strong and thoughtful opinions, they're amazeballs.)

redheaded&crazy

For a long time after I thought I had thrown off most of the shackles of Catholicism (and I was raised on a very casual diet of it), I still thought I would wait until marriage to have sex because if there WAS a hell, I would't want to end up there for THAT reason.

Good ol Catholicism

polka dots vs stripes

@redheaded&crazy DITTOOOOOO

I see a lot of myself and my upbringing in Scarlet.

MissJudgeMental

@redheaded&crazy it's powerful stuff, the ole religious learnin' as a kid. Sneaks right in and pops up at the oddest times even when you're no longer religious.

renegadeoboe

I just wanted to pipe up (after not-posting several comments) that several commenters have defined exactly what I feel: both "you're not a virgin, honey, and to say so kinda devalues the sex of other people" and simultaneously feeling bad about labeling someone else's sexual experience. This isn't a simple issue. Discussion is healthy.

And Scarlet, regardless of whether or not you are a virgin (or care about it in terms of identity, or should), you're awesome.

wee_ramekin

@renegadeoboe OH GOD YES THIS EXACTLY

My head's been 'splodin over here with all the cognitive dissonance.

honey cowl

@renegadeoboe This is how I feel I think. I agree with the "you're not a virgin, honey..." but at the same time, to be Scarlet reading this, with what everyone is saying, I would be absolutely dying, I would dig myself into a hole & not come out for a week.

Hurricanoes

@renegadeoboe Discussion is great! I think it would be even healthier if we tried to use "I" statements. (And I don't mean to target you specifically, renegadeoboe--this just seemed like a decent place to put this comment.)

"I don't usually consider people with your history to be virgins." "I feel that this definition devalues the sex of other people." (And so on.) Less judgey, no?

"Scarlet, you're awesome," on the other hand, needs no "I" statement because it is clearly an objective fact :)

renegadeoboe

@Hurricanoes you'll notice both my statements happened after a colon preceded by "I feel". FEELINGS. I hear they're subjective or whatever.

@wee_ramekin that is precisely the feeling.

SylviaWrath

Scarlett definitely has every right to do call herself a virgin, if that's how she wants to define it for herself and how she wants to live her life. No problems with that. BUT this mentality starts to rub me the wrong way when women think they are more pure or respectable because of it. The no vaginal sex thing somehow creates this "circle of respectful, non slutty women" category. All others are the dot outside of it (I feel some men look at women who have one night stands this way too).

This is where I think a grey area is created and why the comments above are so messy. IF Scarlett was going around saying she was more pure or respectful because she's never had P In V sex but has had anal THEN you can say that's not a valid argument because she is definitely sexual and sexually active, therefore her position makes no sense and she really has no right to judge others. Personally, I never understood this concept. I never view my vagina as greater than my asshole or mouth. Either way, they're all the same, I'm engaging in sexual activity.

j-i-a

Hello dear everyone! I found Scarlet to be an extremely intelligent lady who knows full well that virginity (or, more accurately, all the things that are attached to it by various people/cultures/subcultures) is subjective, and is choosing to define hers one way, and do something that is hurting zero people and benefiting her quite a bit. I didn't get the impression that she thought that virginity or purity was particularly precious, or that she was better or even laudably different for making the choices she's chosen to make; her story is purely personal and non-prescriptive, like all of these stories. Just wanted to step up and give this second-hand perspective in light of some of the comments. As always if anyone wants to talk to me, my email is my name with a dot in between it, at gmail.

P.S. Please don't hate me

@j-i-a
"something that is hurting zero people"

That's sort of the heart of it, isn't it? I'm inclined to agree with your description, but I can see how others might have some reason to disagree.

Danzig!

@j-i-a not now Jia, there are THINGS we have to SET STRAIGHT

Sigh, this is such a drag. I'm sorry Jia! And I'm sorry to Scarlet, too, she deserved the same support that I was given.

VirginHoelandia

@Danzig!

Wow, Danzig! you seem so sensitive. In one way I want to swaddle you in super-soft warm-fuzziness and tell you not to feel things with so little outer protection (maybe you feel the bumps a bit too keenly?)

and in another way I want to learn from you, and be like: teach me. It's great to be sensitive and aware of people, we run roughshod over each other and ourselves so much, it's a lost art to really take the extra care to notice and take extra measures to be kind.

AuntAgatha

Of course you can personally choose to ascribe less significance to anal or oral sex if you want to, and I guess if it really means a lot to you to call yourself a virgin despite engaging in anal and oral sex for whatever reason then knock yourself out. But can't we all (even Scarlet) agree that it's objectively wrong to use the word "sex" as though it exclusively means "penis-in-vagina sex"?

Miss Maszkerádi

Awright so.....orgasm = bonding hormones, orgasm = possible to give to oneself, therefore masturbation = profound ego boost?

Brb.

redheaded&crazy

@Countess Maritza I just had a real intense bonding moment with myself.

Springtime for Voldemort

@Countess Maritza Correct. Which is why I never give up masturbating just because I'm partnered - it's a great way to set aside time to let me know that I love myself and am worthy and all that. Self-care ftw.

Danzig!

@Springtime for Voldemort I have friends (all of them self-identified women, mind) who swear by dating oneself. Going out and doing all that couples-y stuff solo, complete with a coup de grace, so to speak, at the end of the night.

redheaded&crazy

@Danzig! I am one of these people! complete with a coup de grace, as you say. And if I'm having a date night with myself, I get dressed up and shit too! I think it's very important for my sexual health. :D

Summer Somewhere

All this "bonding hormones" nonsense just seems insulting to me. Have you confused me for a baby duck? Will all my future lovers have to wear a mask resembling my first so that I'm reminded of the one I imprinted on?

Danzig!

@Summer Somewhere I heard a sad story once about a girl who had sex with a tractor and just followed it around for the rest of her days

Minx Whatmore

Honestly, the more I read these interviews with virgins, the gladder I am that I have been sexually active from a youngish age. I am way too anxious of a person to have been dealing with this stuff into my early or late 20s. Not that I had everything worked out, just that I actually think the messiness of relationships was a lot easier and a lot more fun than if I had still been working out whether or not to have any kind of sex with someone.

Maryaed

I want to read one of these that's about someone who has engaged only in bundling.

I feel like the moral of this one is "I am very invested in definitions."

UM, alt-text. OMG.

TARDIStime

@Maryaed Is the alt text some kind of cloaked reference to gerbiling, except with a lime or coconut instead of a gerbil?
I wouldn't to either, personally, but for animal cruelty reasons, lime > gerbil (somebody tell me if my maths symbols are the wrong way around - this is very possible)

iseeshiny

@TARDIStime I think it depends on whether the coconut is bigger on the inside?

Sorry, I couldn't not... Sorry.

iceberg

@TARDIStime apologies if I'm missing something, but I think it's just about this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LxC3M-Yngs

Maryaed

@TARDIStime I assumed the lemon and lime were attempting Scarlet's preferred act of penetration, and being redirected to a more conventional location. But perhaps I am reading too much into it.

Bed Monster

This series has just made it more and more apparent how much I hate the concept of virginity.

lizard

would scarlett consider me a virgin if i have had penis in vagina sex but not anal?

Liz Riegel@facebook

(First off, just to get it out of the way: she's a virgin. Of PiV sex. Many people in this thread who've had PiV sex are probably virgins of other kinds of sex, like anal sex, or something else. Chillax, people.)

So it totally doesn't surprise me that Scarlet grew up reading sexy fanfiction. As she knows, a lot of it is written by people who haven't had actual sex, so it's full of all these tropes about sexuality that aren't true but get reenforced when one virgin writes something, another virgin repeats it in her story, and so on an so forth. And the idea that sex automatically floods the female body with love hormones is one of those tropes, because in the context of the story it can seem super romantic and shit. But really, it does NOT work that way- and even if it did, as other people pointed out, there's no reason it would be limited to only that one specific type of sex.

I sympathise because I actually used to believe this. Then I had sex, and as it was happening I was like "WOW I'M HAVING SEX OMG," and afterwards I didn't become more bonded to my boyfriend at all. I liked him before, I liked him afterwards, but nothing really changed.

Scarlet, you could never have PiV sex for the rest of your life, and that would be fine! But don't get your sex info from fanfiction, please! It is not very realistic! (And the real thing is better...)

iceberg

@Liz Riegel@facebook "she's a virgin. Of PiV sex." YES THIS LET'S ALL JUST AGREE THIS.

whateverlolawants

@iceberg After I had anal for the first time, I laughed and said I wasn't a virgin anymore. I'd been having P-in-V for 5 years. I feel like the concept is flawed and mostly useless, but I suppose I personally feel like there are a lot of virginities out there? (Oral, anal, vaginal, in a relationship, with a girl, with a guy, one-night-stand, fuck buddies, with a blindfold, etc?) Like, I lost my standard cultural virginity at 21, but I lost some other virginities before and after that.

VirginHoelandia

"she's a virgin. Of PiV sex." YES THIS LET'S ALL JUST AGREE THIS.

Penis-in-Vijnana?

(I'm not from this planet, so I might not be getting the terms straight...? This may be a language-translation issue.)

I don't think I had a penis in my vijnana til quite some time after I started having "sex". Was I a virgin than?

Thanks for your help on this clarification.

enic

I'm sort of surprised that in all these comments nobody has seriously brought up the question of possibility-of-getting-pregnant as potentially a defining aspect of Scarlet's definition of virginity. Maybe this is a Catholic thing? I was raised Catholic, but very liberal Catholic with none of the sex-shaming, guilt, etc. However, there was an emphasis on the fact that PIV sex can lead to babies, and that's a big deal! It's entirely possible to be super safe birth controlwise and be pro-choice and be like, hold up PIV sex is a really big deal for me because it could potentially result in having to make a difficult decision about whether or not to get an abortion and/or BABY. Of course that doesn't mean that non-PIV sex is any less significant or meaningful to other people. But for Scarlet, it could be that the possibility of pregnancy from PIV sex makes it the most emotionally charged situation for HER.

whateverlolawants

@enic It's true! It was a big deal for me almost totally because of the pregnancy possibility.

whateverlolawants

And I mean because I could get pregnant and have to make a big decision, not because I felt like it made the act more cosmically/spiritually/esoterically important or whatever.

josefinastrummer

@enic It was mentioned in one of the threads above, towards the very top.
And I think it's interesting that people use anal sex as a way to prevent babies. Are they completely ignoring that the easiest way to get AIDS is through anal sex? You can deal with pregnancy, can you really deal with AIDS?

enic

@josefinastrummer Hmmm, at least in the thread I think you're referring to, the focus is on anal-sex-as-birth-control, not the possibility of the author's personal associations with PIV sex as creating the possibility of pregnancy and how that might explain the author's identification as a virgin.

The AIDS thing.... The likelihood of babies from PIV sex >>>> likelihood of AIDS from sex, so the risk calculus wouldn't be as straightforward as "which one is more dangerous." Plus, you can get AIDS either way, even if it's more (about 10x) more likely from anal sex. You can only get pregnant from vaginal sex. (I mean not from anal, obviously there are other ways of getting pregnant.)

panquecito

@enic @josefinastrummer You guyyyyys I hate to be a know it all but you can't *get* AIDS from anything. Yeah, HIV is most likely to be transmitted during unprotected anal sex, but since AIDS is the name of an advanced stage of the virus, you can't pass a stage to someone else.

Sorry, I'm at work, where my clients are all HIV+ individuals, so this is something that sticks out for me. End of tangent!

MissJudgeMental

@enic @whateverlolawants agreed. That is how I read Scarlet's comment - it being potentially reproductive or an analogue of a reproductive act (I guess if you're using reliable protection it's an analogue?) made it something that she saw differently from other sexual activity. To me as a lapsed Catholic with pro-choice views that I reckon I could not bring myself to exercise, the accidental pregnancy risk still preys on my mind, so I can see how to her it might be in a special "intense potential repercussions that are too scary to consider right now so I'll not have vaginal intercourse right now" category all of its own.

enic

@elenachicago Sorry you're totally right!!! I'll definitely be more careful about this in the future, and thanks for the work you do--whatever it is, it sounds like you're doing good things :)

fondue with cheddar

I don't like all the judginess here about Scarlet's ideas about virginity or what is more or less special to her. Sex is intimate and personal, and everyone chooses for themselves what it means to them.

I've had vaginal sex with lots of dudes, but have not had oral with nearly as many. I think blow jobs are a way bigger deal than vaginal sex and I usually need more of a connection with someone before I will do it. Are you going to tell me I'm wrong?

iceberg

@fondue with cheddar You're not wrong, but there is just a disconnect because for many, many (I would argue "most") people "virginity" includes anal sex; I don't think anyone *likes* the concept of virginity as is, but as @thebestjasmine and others said, words have meanings - you can call a sweater a pair of pants, but it's still actually a sweater.

and, why people are a bit emtional about it, may be because her calling herself a virgin means that they feel she is verbally devaluing a specific kind of sex that for other people means they are not virgins, by her redefinition.

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg I don't think she's devaluing anal sex, I think she's just placing a higher value on vaginal sex. I can understand the distinction between putting two babymaking parts together in a way that could possibly make a baby versus other kinds of sex, and making that distinction doesn't necessarily devalue the other kinds of sex. Particular sex acts have different meanings to different people. I don't think she said that anal and oral sex aren't sex, she just has different standards about when and with whom she is willing to perform vaginal sex, just as I have different standards about when and with whom I am willing to perform oral sex.

Technically, virginity means p-i-v sex. Some people subscribe to the traditional definition, while others have a broader definition, and that definition may vary from person to person. Does anal sex make you not a virgin? Oral sex? Hand job? Kissing? There are a lot of ways to draw that distinction, and I don't think any of them are necessarily wrong.

iceberg

@fondue with cheddar well, but she's saying that even though she's had buttloads (sorry) of anal sex, she is a virgin, because "anal doesn't count" (not her words, paraphrasing) and for people for whom it does count, that might be a little insulting?

I dunno I like someone's suggestion above that she is a PiV-virgin. I like the idea of qualifiers because everyone can understand and agree on those, I think?

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg Yeah. To be fair, she isn't just walking around telling everyone she's a virgin and leaving it at that.

The best and worst thing about labels is their simplicity.

iceberg

@fondue with cheddar <3 u fonduie :)

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg <3 icebergie! Who says frozen things and melty things can't be friends?

bluebears

@fondue with cheddar
"Technically, virginity means p-i-v sex."

Virginity is not now nor has it ever been a "technical" term. Across both cultures and centuries the term has meant slightly different things to different societies.

Virginity doesn't necessarily mean what our hetero-normative, western, mid-20th century definition of it means/meant.

fondue with cheddar

@bluebears I had no idea! If that's really the case then it's kind of a useless word, isn't it?

Betina@twitter

@fondue with cheddar If she's elevating PIV, she's devaluing the other forms of sex. Easy, peasy. I'm being judgey because I disapprove of how heteronormative her definition of sex is? So be it. While she's putting it in nicer words, and so are you, you're being far more judgemental.

whateverlolawants

@Betina@twitter I'm just wondering, though, if her definitions apply only to hetero sex. Or just to herself. Because that was the vibe I got. I totally see your perspective -- it's pretty much mine as well -- but I thought Scarlet seemed pretty aware of the limitations of the label. And I hate to tell her what to call herself or how to value certain actions for herself. It calls into question, though, how much our personal values perpetuate unjust societal values. Especially when they're being voiced in a public forum like this.

anachronistique

man, everything else aside, I haven't seen smutty fanfic referred to as "lemon" or "lime" in about ten years. MEMORIES~

Springtime for Voldemort

@anachronistique Yeah, I'm enjoying the trip down memory lane.

bluebears

While I think Scarlet has the right to define her sexuality in an terms she cares to I don't see a huge problem with commenters discussing how her idea of "virginity" seems to not mesh with theirs (or whole communities of non-heterosexual people).

That's the thing about a bullshit concept like "virginity" no one's right and no one's wrong because it's 100% MADE UP. Just say sexually active or not. Or don't because who cares?

Also "bonding hormones" are not a thing. As others have pointed out.

aphrabean

@bluebears If your dog looks at you, it increases your oxytocin levels! SAVE YOUR EYES FOR THAT SPECIAL PUPPY. (Sorry, the faux-science around bonding hormones has gotten me increasingly sassy as the thread has progressed.)

Danzig!

@bluebears no no you don't understand, Scarlet does not exist in a vacuum!! She must be brought to answer for her crimes

whateverlolawants

Am I the only one who thought of Meredith from "The Office" during the steak-for-anal anecdote?

snakelet

@whateverlolawants Ohhhh man, I just watched that episode and you are absolutely right! Amazing.

D.@twitter

You guys, re: "bonding hormones"...the most extensive research has actually been done using prairie and Montane voles. Here's a good summation: http://whsc.emory.edu/_pubs/em/1998summer/vole.html
Human studies are rarely conclusive b/c of so many confounding factors! Beware anything that purports human behavior using simplistic explanations.
Btw--ANY social interaction--even virtual ones (why do you think you keep coming back to see if anyone has responded to your latest comment?)--is going to release cascades of hormones/neurotransmitters. However, as higher mammals, we are not slaves to our hormones; we can use executive function to overcome pretty much any instinct.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@D.@twitter
So you're saying that vaginal intercourse is going to make me bond with a vole? Sounds like solid research! I will watch out for that!

LadyLouche

@D.@twitter

Oh my god! Executive function!

my executive goes kind of off the rails sometimes. looooong lunches, watching porn/cat videos at the office, etc. etc., generally kind of mismanaging and screwing up on the oversight... I think maybe it needs some inspirational training seminars?

Sometimes my executive function just looks at the squabble.... I'm hungry! I want candy! Why won't you love me? Get out of my way! I'm tired! I don't want to sit still! Now my tummy hurts! Rub my tummy!... and it throws up it's hands. Tucks the In box into a drawer and goes back to watching cat videos on the internet... bad executive function!

MissBitters

Continuing to uphold the idea that only p-in-v sex counts is not 'you doing you', it's reaffirming really damaging ideas about sexuality and is incredibly cissexist and heterocentric.

evil melis

@MissBitters Whoa whoa whoa, are you trying to define boundaries here? Because I find that defining words is, for me personally, an act of emotional violence.

MissBitters

@evil melis I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. I'm trying to say that she is a) putting vaginal penetration on a pedestal b) grossly misinformed about "bonding hormones" and c) continuing to adhere to the idea of virginity, which is an absurd concept in the first place, as if it will somehow protect her from struggles with relationships and sex in the future, which it will not. She is free to feel that vaginal penetration is more intimate and meaningful to her and that she is not comfortable with it right now, but attaching the 'virgin' label to it is problematic.

MissBitters

@evil melis Words have meanings, whether you want them to or not. Virgin is a word, with a lot of baggage attached to it that is ultimately restrictive to women (and to men to a degree) and by perpetuating the idea of virginity, and believing that it is something with value or as a very specific act is a HUGE PROBLEM.

evil melis

@MissBitters I am truly and unironically distraught that the day came when someone on the Hairpin thought I sincerely believed that defining words was an act of emotional violence. There are not enough sad-faced emoticons in the world right now.

Betina@twitter

@evil melis That was priceless, thank you (sincerely.) If this person's sexuality was somehow under siege I'd understand the social justice buzzwords being thrown around. However, the way she defines sexuality is exactly the opposite of devalued, and exactly the opposite of inclusive.

Danzig!

@evil melis I was on your level fwiw

* well not truly, I mean I understood. Melis level is a pretty high level to claim

Springtime for Voldemort

@evil melis I wanted to thumbs up you like a thousand times for that, but then I thought, no, we must put an end to the tyranny of phallic symbols as a sign of approval. So I just thumbs uped you the once.

VirginHoelandia

@evil melis

Evil Melis, you talk tough, but sometimes "just a joke" is more than just a joke. Sure, you can laugh and play it off, oh ha ha, that's not what I really meant, just kidding! Of course.

But I know.... you are harmed by the emotional violence of my defining words. There, there. Cry it out. I never meant to hurt you.....

It's okay to be vulnerable.

Miss Maszkerádi

A theory about why some of the commentary has seemed harsh? I know that for me and some others I've commented with on previous Interviews with Virgins, it's been reassuring to hear stories of other twentysomethings who just haven't managed to get a sex life going yet. Like, it's not just me alone in the universe staring at my books and wondering when I should start hoarding cats, y'know?

Then Scarlet comes in, describes her active and varied sex life, and insists that she too is a virgin. And then I'm right back to looking at my lonely, frigid, missed-the-boat self as a freak all over again - like, man, even other VIRGINS get more action than me.

I'm not exactly scarred for life or anything, and I wish Scarlet only the best, but I kept getting this twinge of petty "people who have sex don't get to call themselves virgins, because meanwhile I worry if anyone will ever ever love me and if I'll ever be brave enough to be seen naked" thoughts.

WaityKatie

@Countess Maritza Haha, word. I think there would have been a lot less backlash in the comments if this had been titled "Interview with a Technical Virgin." It's an interesting interview and all, but someone having all kinds of sex but *for whatever reason* not having p in v sex is not really the traditional "virgin" experience. Not that there's anything wrong with this woman choosing to have/not have whatever kind of sex she wants! But "virgins" are something else.

AshaShangri

@Countess Maritza You nailed my feelings exactly. I normally really enjoy these interviews because there's something I can relate to in my daily life, but here, I kept getting that petty twinge. As I was reading, I just had to keep reminding myself that I probably would never be brave enough to talk about this in such a public forum and I should be grateful to Jia and Scarlet for that much at least.

Sunnydaze

@Countess Maritza

Hey there!

Scarlet seems also pretty worried about if anyone will ever love her too.... I think that is a very common fear. Whether you are having sex, or not having sex.

As for being concerned about "being on the sexual market place" That is another matter. I struggled for years with this idea of love being tied to beauty. In fact, I intentionally DIDN'T beautify myself (my mom offered to pay for plastic surgery) for the very reason that I knew that this problem affects "beautiful" ladies just as poorly.

How would I ever grow out of this fear of being unlovable if I felt I was being "loved" for a totally awful reason (because I was/or was not "acceptable" by some standard that I found totally alienating and morally wrong and harmful)...? It is like that song... the love you take is equal to the love you make.

I had to get down with a little self-love. Which involved me having some chats with my supergoovy stuffed animal bunny rabbit, if you want to know the process, and there were also some tears involved. I am serious about the stuffed bunny rabbit. That dude is my friend to the end. Speaking of friends, they definitely helped in the process. And, voila, presto! Now I can be loved even though I am not a barbie!

We can draw people to us (and even that can have it's downsides and be an unhealthy coping mechanism - I speak from experience, oh lonliness! Why must you be so scary???) or push people away/discourage them (again, speaking from experience - In my case, oh! Fear of intimacy, what am I ever going to do with you? Why must you be so scary Intimacy?)

Basically, I am just a big chicken. Maybe that's why me and the rabbit get along so well?

;)

Sunnydaze

@Sunnydaze

Edit: maybe for you sex isn't tied to love and acceptance and care. For me it really is, so I see things thru this lens. I might have generalized to something that has nothing to do with you.

Although I do think people sometimes tend to seek validation thru sex, like.... ooohhh! I am desireable, and therefore: worthy. People want me.

When often people are using it to hide behind (if people really knew the real me, they would not want me, but since I can provide this fantasy & pleasure, I am wanted).

Being comfortable with yourself is what really counts. And finding loving wonderful supportive friends and lovers who will help you to accept and feel good about yourself! :) :) :) :)

Danzig!

Oh man the "bonding hormones", I didn't go to church much but that is DEFINITELY a thing that was bandied about. It's weird because they separated boys and girls for our Talks so I figured the hormone bullshit was just something they gave to boys to dissuade us (instill an ample serving of commitment-phobia in addition the standard sex-negativity, I guess) but I guess they'd level that at girls, too.

It's definitely one of those pseudoscientific things that religious right groups concocted to override the skepticism that smart young people tend to have toward scripture. See also: The "doubts" about the reliability of carbon dating re: the age of the Earth (there aren't any, really).

Aphrodite

@Danzig! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxytocin

It's actually not pseudoscience, it's sciencescience. BUT everyone is affected differently, and just because you feel close to someone/all warm and fuzzy after you have an orgasm doesn't mean you will instantly become painfully, overwhelmingly IN LOVE ATTACHED OMG to that person.

Danzig!

@Aphrodite right! I also kind of ironic that the church would rush to these sorts of extreme deterministic arguments given that a good deal of religious ethical underpinnings require a freedom from such things.

It's not just a religious thing, it's also a misogynist thing, as it ties into the whole PMS / pregnancy "hormones make girls wackadoo" school of thought

Miss Maszkerádi

@Danzig! and @Aphrodite - it amuses me how on the one hand, this particular brand of religious folk will go on and on yelping about how evolution is such a filthy lie because "we're not ANIMALS! we have MINDS AND SOULS!" ...and then they turn right around and claim that we (especially the female we) are TOTAL SLAVES TO OXYTOCIN and, essentially, incapable of free thought. Keeeeep working on that theory, guys. :-D

Although PMS hormones do genuinely make at least me completely wackadoo. A day of existential despair here, a day of raging bitch temper there....it happens. It's not a patriarchal myth. It's a thing.

mustelid

@Danzig! In my church experience, the way they explained oxytocin was by taking a piece of printer paper and sticking a piece of duct tape on it. I don't remember if they explicitly said the paper was the girl and the duct tape was the boy or what but they basically said (paraphrasing here) once the paper had enough slutty tape action it was just left as this thin shell of nothing, and the tape could no longer stick to anything because it had slutty paper all over it.

Yeah.

evil melis

STEAKBLASTING

Danzig!

@evil melis you had my curiosity, now you have my attention

Springtime for Voldemort

@evil melis How many hours until this is a thing on Kink.com?

Danzig!

Gotta say guys, the comment section of this article is not as edifying as the last one... for some reason

Danzig!

@Danzig! *(the reason is that I'm a narcissist)

indiemaiden

Obviously I do not have the most objective viewpoint on this (nor does anyone else, since we all only have one first time), but I was a huge fan of the hit-it-and-quit-it first time. I lost my [p-in-v] virginity to a friend of a friend that I'd met in person once before and spoken to online a few times, but he was properly vouched for by the in-between friend and we had a great time and I didn't feel any hang ups afterward. AND the best part is that there was no messy ending to that relationship like there might be if you're like "but we made LOVE" with the boyfriend who was Your First but has since become a total juicebox. The most important part is just to be really honest with yourself about how you feel about that person and the situation and your vag.

allencarter13

I really like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and coverage! Keep up the superb works guys I've you guys to blogroll. buying instagram followers provides quality social services. it is possible to buy followers on instagram.
by high pr backlinks

383740544@twitter

The first ever luxurious executive condominium is launching soon in the maturing estate of Sembawang. This EC come with full condo facilities, with modern design architecture, and the finest interior finishing to be expected. This new Sembawang EC is within the close proximity to various amenities, and also just a stone throw away to Sembawang MRT station. Buy Windows 8 Professional Key

Edmon

Basically to follow up on the up-date of this issue on your site and would wish to let you know just how much I liked the time you took to produce this helpful post. In the post male enhancement

Edmon

A person necessarily assist to make severely posts I would state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual put up incredible. Wonderful task! vigrx plus

mks778

I hope one day I will be as successful with my blog as you are.Great Job!Dermaslim

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account