Is there anything you’ve been hoping to see that we haven’t covered here yet (or lately)? Any topics you see too little of?
We plan two months out, so feel free to let us know what kind of posts would be most helpful to you and your feminist/activist/sexual-being journey as we approach the holidays!
PS I’ll be online for the next few hours working on this, so if you have any questions you’d like answered, now would be a great time to ask!
Many (most?) of us grew up watching Degrassi Next Generation. The long-running series follows the lives of teens at Degrassi Community School in Toronto, Canada and featured an incredible cast of young people. Perhaps best known as the jumping off point for rapper Drake, the show gave a real look at many of the problems teens face. Most notably for this blog, those issues often included sexual health, sexuality, and relationships. For those of us without a proper comprehensive sexual health curriculum at home or school, television shows such as this played an instrumental role in educating us about the dangers, rewards and details of sex.
What exactly can we learn about sex from Degrassi? Read on, but please be warned that this post does include a couple of major plot spoilers as it encompasses points across the progression of the series.
This is really complicated, and I am hesitant to really weigh in too much here. I think there is a really big difference between having sex with someone who isn’t consenting (which is rape) and consenting to sex when you aren’t in the mood. You aren’t wrong for feeling uncomfortable with this situation, but I do think its important to consider that many people do have sex when they aren’t in the mood for a number of reasons- and that is okay if they are consenting participants.
What I suggest is having an open and honest conversation with your partner about what happened, and why it made you uncomfortable. Telling him that you will not have sex if you aren’t in the mood is a good place to start. It is very important to discuss your boundaries. Communicating with your boyfriend is the only way you can work on this and get past it if that is what you want to do (or not if this is a deal breaker for you).
** This article is written from the perspective of a heterosexual cisgendered woman**
A few weeks ago, I lost my virginity to my best friend. And it’s not like the best friend I went to grade-school with or cliqued with at band-camp in freshman year…no, it’s my best friend who I met on the internet.
Rewind to two year ago; I was 16, lonely and desperate. I frequented this chat room full of weirdo’s and sexual deviants, to try to find people I could connect with; I was always an outsider in school. I usually would spend an uneventful hour or two in there before signing off due to boredom. One cool night in September though, would change my entire life and I didn’t even have a clue.
His name was Ted*. He was charming, sweet, a hell of a lot older and extremely intelligent (and no, he was not a perv). He did things to my heart I didn’t even know it could do. We ended up dating casually for a little while and to make a long story shorter, ended up becoming close friends over the next year and a half.
I had wanted to meet him in person really ever since I had first met him online. I knew I couldn’t though, because at that point I didn’t have the money and I was also too young; not being 18 meant my parents would have to give me their blessing, which I knew they wouldn’t. I wanted everything from him, because I was a virgin and I knew he would make everything perfect; he was so experienced and also cared about me, which I felt was the perfect combination to have in a partner.
So, I waited it out. Once I was of age, I was smart about it, scheduling the trip for when I was done with school and free of responsibility (at least for a few weeks). We had talked extensively about it and what would happen. I was also extremely inexperienced otherwise, which made me even more nervous.
I had never really had a real orgasm and I knew it was a lot of pressure for him as well, since he’d never been someone’s first. But I was nervous because of that. I knew that there might be something wrong, since I had tried many, many times to masturbate to orgasm but was never really able to get all the way there. He was very understanding, but I just wondered if I would derive any pleasure out of it.
When we met, we went up to the hotel room, put down our stuff, and got to it. It was perfect, because we had discussed all of the details before hand (including STD/STI’s and preventing unplanned pregnancy) and so we could just focus on the moment. It was really everything I could hope for in a first time and in a first time partner.
When it did happen, it was magic. It really was amazing and he made me feel very comfortable and secure with him. It was great and it’s something I’ll never, ever forget.
It’s important to me that other people also have great first times because there are so many lies about losing your virginity in our culture (including the concept of virginity itself) and they are preventing people from enjoying their first experience and embracing it because the messages that we’re receiving around this issue are so degrading and misinformed.
You should enjoy your first time and help others to do the same. It’s essential that we help guide each other, especially with a topic like this because a lot of times people don’t know where to turn or are too embarrassed to ask questions and talk about it. That has to change and the change starts with you.
To make it even more simple, I’ve broken down 5 of the most common myths about what your first time should be like, according to society and the media and what it can actually be like, if you take an active role in your sex life.
Remember, your first time can be special (if you want it to be), but it’s probably going to be a lot different than you think it will! Just relax and have fun and focus on the moment and the experience. Don’t get lost in the details or trying to live up to an impossible standard (thanks, media). Instead, focus on you and your body and your partner and their body and enjoy each other. Be safe, smart and practical and take delight in the beauty of the experience itself, without expectation.
Erin is a student, activist, fearless feminist, blogger and writer. This fall, she will be attending attending college as a Women and Gender Studies major with a hope of eventually working full-time with non-profits and perhaps even starting her own. Read more about Erin here.
The concept of virginity has been intact almost as long as recorded history. Records from even ancient Greece and Rome show that virgin goddesses were venerated, and that exclusive societies, such as the Vestal Virgins, only granted entry if candidates kept their hymens intact. Despite our history’s seemingly expert knowledge regarding the intimate anatomy of a virgin, the issue of the hymen still poses many questions even today. For instance, what is the hymen? What function does it serve? And what relation does it have to virginity and sex? Today, we can explore the answers to these questions and more.
To first answer the most basic question: the “hymen” (actually the vaginal corona,) is a small piece of tissue located just inside the vaginal opening. According to Scarleteen, “it consists of thin folds of mucous tissue, which may be tightly or more loosely folded.” It is not an intact piece of tissue, but rather tissue that surrounds the vaginal opening and, for some people, partially covers it. It is not something that you “pop” or “break” the first time you have sex. Actually, it cannot break. If you experience pain or bleeding with penetrative sex, it may simply be the hymen stretching. Or, it could be something else entirely, such as micro tears in the vaginal wall due to not enough lubrication, or any number of things. In fact, were it an intact tissue, you would not be able to menstruate or insert anything into the vaginal opening without considerable force. Some people have them, while others do not. Some have more intact hymens than others.
Another common regarding the question involves pain during first time penetrative sex. While you may feel the discomfort involved in your hymen stretching the first time you have penetrative sex, you don’t have to. If you and your partner work to ensure that you are comfortable and sure of your decision to have sex, and that the vagina is well lubricated, you should feel little to no pain during first time intercourse. However, some people do have thicker hymens, or hymens which do cover the entire vaginal opening. While these cases are a rarity, you should see a doctor in order to have the vaginal corona opened, so you can menstruate, insert a tampon, and have penetrative sex.
The function of the hymen itself is still widely unknown. Some researchers believe it to be a remnant of fetal development. However, there is no question of the social function the hymen has served. Throughout time, the hymen itself, or expected signs of it (such as bleeding with sex), have been used to validate virginity, secure a dowry, or in some cases, to assume the throne. Even today, we hear stories of parents forcing their daughters to undergo gynecological exams in order to prove that their hymens are intact. These attitudes, and the historical significance of the hymen, are very much important issues to explore; however, that deserves an article of its own.
Finally, the question of virginity and the hymen. The presence, or absence, of the hymen does not determine virginity, or sex. The hymen can be worn away for a myriad of reasons, including menstruation, vaginal discharge, using tampons, horse or bike riding, or penetrative sex. A number of problems are run into when we assume that an intact hymen and virginity are equivalents. For instance, this excludes those who may have been born with little to no hymeneal tissue, or those who may have been sexually assaulted. These people haven’t “had sex,” yet they still lack a hymen. This also denies the proven fact that just simply living your day to day life can wear away at your hymen.
There is no question that this method of associating the hymen and virginity has been a very effective tool for making people feel guilty about engaging in sex, or just about their bodies in general. And, for those worried about it, a doctor cannot tell that you have or have not had sexual intercourse of any time unless you tell them. However, in order to ensure optimum care for you and your reproductive system, you should be honest with your health care provider regarding your sexual history.
Well, hopefully, I’ve managed to dispel some of the myths surrounding the hymen and its function. As always, any questions regarding this issue can also be addressed by a health care provider, counselor, feminist friend, or, for those preferring anonymity, any internet sexual advocacy source (including this blog!)