Public Service

Let’s Talk Sex: Wrap it Up, People. (And support Planned Parenthood!)

Well, it’s been a great week talking sex with all you lovely Persephone commenters. This week we covered changing sexuality, masturbation, slut shaming, and the discovery of sexual pleasuuuuure. You all have been great with your comments and I thank you all kindly for taking the time to pay attention to my little ol’ questions.

I wish I had some broad, overarching awesome question to wrap up the week and bring it to an outstanding conclusion, but unfortunately I don’t. I do, however, have a question on virginity and our changing definitions of sex. So let’s have at it, dear readers, one last time!

How has your idea of virginity changed over time? How has your definition of sex changed over time?

See, there are always these kids on my lawn saying they’ve never had sex, and won’t be having any until marriage, but then come to find out they’ve been having oral sex and anal sex and all kinds of sex that don’t involve direct penis-in-vagina sex. I tell them to get off my lawn, but they never listen. Damn kids, knocking the garden gnomes over all the time. I don’t know if I can really blame these kids, though; I remember back in the day considering only P-in-V as “real” sex, and anything less meant you still got to hold on to your pretty flower rainbow virginity (blame the public school sex ed). Then, I grew up and learned about lesbians and gay men and a whole manner of things that didn’t include penises in vaginas but still sure as hell seemed like sex to me. I don’t consider it a coincidence that this was also around the time I started having any form of sex myself.  One thing that would be nice is if we could start instilling this idea of personal meaning when it comes to virginity and sex early on. Wouldn’t it be so much more freeing to not have any of these stuffy definitions right from the start?

Bringing it back around to Monday’s topic, our sexuality – and even our definition of expression of that sexuality – changes and evolves over time, which seems only natural, obviously. I’ve had fun this week seeing everyone’s own opinions and experiences. I hope you’ll pardon my lack of inspiring questions, but thanks for putting up with the ones I was able to come up with (not without help from my internet pals). I wanted to start this discussion because, well, I like talking about sex and picking others’ brains for their thoughts as well. Plus, reminiscing is fun. I’d end on a more thoughtful note, but I’m not very thoughtful.

Edit: Instead, due to the appalling passage of the bill to defund Planned Parenthood and deny millions of women (and men!) access to basic healthcare, I’m going to leave you with this message from Planned Parenthoods’ Facebook page:

BREAKING: The House just voted to bar Planned Parenthood from federal funding. That’s funding for HIV tests, cancer screenings, birth control and more, putting millions of women and families at risk. It’s time to stand with Planned Parenthood. Sign the open letter to the Reps who voted for this bill ““ and to the Senators who still have a chance to stop it.

Click here to say “I stand with Planned Parenthood.”

We’ve had a fun week talking about sex, but let’s remember the vital importance of reproductive services when having this discussion. Please stand with Planned Parenthood.

5 replies on “Let’s Talk Sex: Wrap it Up, People. (And support Planned Parenthood!)”

Hey I know I’m late to the pary, but I thought I’d share an observation from a teenaged, European Persephoneer. A year ago one of my best friends asked me if a particular encounter had resulted in the ‘loss’ of my virginity – I told him that “to be honest, there wasn’t much left of my virginity”. That one flippant comment made me realise that I did in fact consider the ‘losing’ (I prefer ‘giving’) of one’s virginity to be a gradual process, which many people are involved in. I didn’t really consider my (straight) viriginity completely given until the third time I had p-in-v sex, probably because the third time was the first time that it actually felt any good. So it seems I have the opposite view (to the adolescents described above) of what virginity is, namely that it is more about pleasure than physical achievments.

Both my undergraduate and my master’s thesis are about virginity (the former about the history of virginity in American culture and the latter a survey-based project about queer virginity), so I’ve done a lot of thinking and writing about the subject. :)

My ideas first began to change when I acquired a friend with benefits who loved performing oral sex my junior year of college; at that point, I’d had a bit of PIV sex and it was fun enough, but I realized how absurd it was that I hadn’t thought of oral sex as sex – if it’s enjoyable and it makes me come that much, how is it not? That was by far the most significant sexual “first” that I had – not the first time I had PIV sex but the first time a partner gave me an orgasm.

Personally, I reject the idea of virginity for myself. Frankly, it’s heterosexist and it’s deeply rooted in misogyny and all different kinds of oppression. I think that expanding our definitions of it is better than letting it remain uninterrogated; I think there is some power in reclaiming and adapting it (that’s what my MA thesis is about) and I can most definitely see why some people would find it worth reclaiming, but it’s a concept that I think we’d be better off without overall, though I think it’s far too ingrained in American culture to ever really be gotten rid of. There are just so many significant firsts when it comes to sex, why privilege one particular act?

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