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When To “Lose It”: Let’s Talk About Virginity

Whew.  It’s been quite a month, hasn’t it?  As much as I enjoy this season, I’m feeling relieved that the holidays are almost over.

I got this wonderful question in my Survey Monkey, and it’s an important one.

I read your blog about vaginal discharge and stuff. it helped me too cus I was having the same problem. here is my question: everyone was talking in school about whether they are virgins or not. they asked me and I just skipped the question. I am a virgin. should I lose my virginity just so people wont make fun of me for it. I think I am ready, but I don’t know if I should

I’m glad you enjoyed my previous post, my dear!  I love hearing that I’ve helped someone.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that people generally don’t find out about until much later in life: Virginity, meaning whether or not someone has had sexual intercourse, doesn’t matter at all.  Really.  No one is going to think differently of you when you’re an adult if you’ve never had sex.  They aren’t going to think of you differently if you have had sex.  It flat out doesn’t matter when you’re an adult.  I can think of two people that I am friends with (one male, one female) who have never had sex.  Both of them are in their mid-twenties.  No big deal.  Now, I know that doesn’t help you out right now, but it is something to think about.

The answer to your question is no, you should not lose your virginity just so people don’t make fun of you for it.  You should only have sex when you actually want to do it.  That previous sentence will be true for the rest of your life, not just about your first time, so let me say it again: You should only have sex when you actually want to have sex.  If you feel pressure to have sex because you think your friends are all doing it, and that sounds like the case here, then you should wait.  If your friends make fun of you for the fact that you haven’t had sex yet, then they aren’t very good friends.  It’s okay to say that you aren’t interested in having sex, or that you want to be in a good relationship first, or even just that you don’t think you’re ready yet.  All of those are valid reasons for waiting.

I know that in middle school or high school, it can seem like everyone else is “doing it”, but that isn’t actually the case.  Some people have, some people are lying because they want to look cool or they think that other people will judge them for not having sex yet.   In a study that was done a few years ago, they found that the average age that someone has sex for the first time (male or female) is 17.

There’s another thing to consider.  You said that your friends were making fun of you for not having sex yet.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t generally go away even if you do have sex.  You’re at an age where everyone gossips about everyone else.  People will probably talk about you and your sex life (or no sex life), if you and/or your partner are talking to other people about it, no matter what you do.  Teenagers and adolescents can be mean.  Try to not let the opinions of other people, even your friends, make you decide to do something if you aren’t comfortable with it.

If you and your partner want to have sex, then go for it.  Have fun, and be sure to use barrier contraception.  You can go to that link to find my blog post about barrier methods for heterosexual (male and female) couples and learn about condoms.  You should always use a condom, especially for your first time.  You can go to this link to learn about how to have safer sex with another female (and these safer sex practices also apply to heterosexual sex too!  Especially using a dental dam!).  You should make sure that your partner respects you, likes you (maybe even loves you), and isn’t pressuring you to have sex before you’re ready.

Sex of any kind will pretty much always be awkward the first time.  And yes, I mean every kind of sex.  Oral sex (giving a blowjob, more properly called fellatio; or “going down” on a girl, more properly called cunnilingus) is still sex, giving someone a “handjob” or “fingering” is still sex, and anal sex is still sex too.  It is so important to know that it’ll be weird: your bodies will make strange noises, there are new smells, putting on a condom is generally awkward (please stock up, and read the instructions!), and if you still have your hymen then it might be a little painful too.  Having a partner who you care about and who cares about you will make it more fun than awkward.

I’m not saying this to scare you, or to try and make you not want to have sex, but to give you as much information as I possibly can in a short blog post.  Get some books and read about sex.  I can recommend S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College.  It is a great book with a LOT of information (and if you buy it through that link, then you help me make some money!).  If you feel comfortable, talking to the school nurse might help too.

I can’t tell you when to have sex.  Only you know when you’re ready.  But I can tell you that you shouldn’t do it if you are looking to avoid being teased, or to make your friends happy, or even to make your partner happy.  You should only have sex when you want to do it.  I really hope this post has helped you.

Do you have a question about sex or relationships?  You can go here to ask me anything, completely anonymously!

What on EARTH Are We Teaching Children?

While engaging on twitter regarding my post on Tuesday, one of the awesome people I follow re-tweeted some very disturbing images.  The original poster’s brother came home from school with a classmate’s paper.  This paper is supposed to be a debate piece, and it argues about rape and pregnancy by citing Todd Akin and 12th century British texts.  This kid is apparently 15 years old.

I took debate for 3 years in high school.  Let’s go point for point here.

You can view the pictures of the paper here and here.  For those of you too lazy to click, here is the entire paper, that I have painstakingly transcribed for you, typos and all, with my commentary:

Ladies and gentlemen: the topic for today’s speech is that: women who get pregnant after rape were not really raped.

I firmly agree that women who get pregnant after rape were not really raped.

Firstly, this is stated in the book of Fleta published in circa 1290.

In addition, this is a long lived legal argument and is also contained in Samuel Farr’s Elements of Medical Jurisprudence, published in 1814.

In this case, young sir, you are correct.  Farr did indeed make this argument, and the Fleta did discuss this very topic.  However, Farr also believed that the normal signs of puberty in a young girl were sufficient evidence that she could not be raped (because if she was undergoing puberty, then she probably was having sex), and he also believed that an imbalance of “humours” were the way that someone became sick.

Moreover, this valid medical point is supported by many reputable, well-educated and informed people such as Todd Akin, Senator Steve King, Dr. Fred Mecklenburg and GP John C Wilke to my first argument.

I’m sorry, what?  For starters, politicians are never a good source for a medical argument, so we are striking those two right off the bat, especially since they both cite your third and fourth examples of “reputable, well-educated and informed people” for their poorly informed arguments.

Firstly:

This is stated in the book of Fleta, which was the standard legal handbook of Britain in the 13th century.

“For without an excitation of lust, or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal act, no conception can probably take place.  So that if an absolute rape were to be perpetrated, she would not become pregnant.”

This paragraph is from book one volume two, although this is an old point, it makes it no less valid and is stated in many other medical journals.

This clearly demonstrates both the value of the book of Fleeta and even in the 13th century that people and Doctors knew the truth about rape and pregnancy.

Yes, the Fleta was the standard legal handbook during the time of Edward IV.  You have that correct.  But that is most definitely not from the Fleta.  In fact, that quote comes directly from your second source.  Not the Fleta.  Doctors in the 13th centry also believed in trepanning, bloodletting, and that birthmarks were a sign that a child was conceived via witchcraft.  13th century physicians are not reputable sources for your arguments here.

And now to my second point,

Sir Samuel Farr, who was a reputable doctor and medical researcher with over seven published medical journals, stated that:

“If, however, the woman should have conceived at the time alleged in the appeal, it abates, for without a woman’s consent she could not conceive.”

Although this was published in 1814, this was a time of many medical breakthroughs and is still constantly being proven by doctors and medical researchers and has the full support of many people.

Oh! There’s the quotation from the Fleta!  Really, young sir, this was poor debating strategy on your part, and indicates that you were not paying much attention to your paper.

I believe that there is an underlying point to both of the original arguments that you are missing.  At both of these points in history, doctors actually believed that a woman could not conceive if she did not orgasm during intercourse. In fact, both of these treatises drew from the ideas that a woman’s sexual organs were simply the inverse of a man’s.  The vagina was an inverted penis, the ovaries were actually testes, the uterus was a scrotum, etc.  I’m sorry, was that too much for your still-developing brain to handle?  Of course, “many medical breakthroughs” that are “still constantly being proven by doctors and medical researchers” have shown this to be patently false.

Thirdly,

This has the support of many reputable people such as:

  • Todd Akin, who is a reputable politician and Republican, he is also a strong Christian and family man.
  • Senator Steve king, who is a congressman for Iowa and scored a 100% rating with the National Right to Life Committee

Ohhhhh.  I see where you’re going with this.  I’m sure that much like these men, you believe that if a woman was raped, she was “asking for it”.  Or, conversely, that those sluts who dare to have sex before they are ready to care for a child should just keep their legs closed or suffer the damned consequences, right?

  • Doctor Fred Mecklenburg, who has four published medical journals on the subject.
  • And GP John C Willke who has a distinguished career as a physician.

Once again, your failure to delve deeper into the subject at hand has failed you, young sir.  Mecklenburg and Willke used the one test performed by the Nazis on the very same prisoners who they were starving, beating, raping, and putting to death by the millions to inform their opinions regarding rape and pregnancy.

The Nazis chose women who they believed were ovulating, and put them in a gas chamber, but didn’t turn on the gas.  Because, as the Nazi researchers claimed, these women didn’t ovulate, Mecklenburg and Willke then extrapolated that data and spun it to assume that when under extreme stress, like, oh, during rape, that women were incapable of ovulating.  Never mind that most of these women were literally starving!  Did you know that women who are malnourished won’t ovulate?  Of course you didn’t.  And I bet that you didn’t know where Mecklenburg and Willke got their information.

In fact, according to research done by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (a peer-reviewed journal, unlike the publications that your illustrious doctors have published) in 1996, at least 5% of women who are raped annually become pregnant.  That’s over 30,000 unwanted pregnancies due to rape.  A separate study in 2001 showed that the number was closer to 6.5%.

You forgot one other politician in your list of crazies, young scholar.  Former Pennsylvania state Rep. Stephen Freind claimed that women have some special secretion that will kill a rapist’s sperm even before it reaches the uterus.  I can only imagine that when he was asked how this occurs, he just threw up his hands and said “I dunno, MAGIC!”

You see, your examples have been proven wrong, time and time again.  [Hold onto your seats, dear readers, you're not going to believe the next part!]

And finally,

The bulk of people opposed to this argument are feminists and people wanting to cash in on child support.
Evidence of this is that the mother of a child can receive 10% of the father’s income, which can amount to large amounts of money.

You’ve got to be kidding me.  10% is a large amount of money?  According to the US Census Bureau, in 2006, the average wage for a man in the US is $39,403.  Do the math, kid.  10% is $3,940.30.  The average cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is currently estimated to be $295,560.  No, that piddly 10% figure that you have quoted does not mean “large amounts of money” to the average person.

[Here's where we veer into the territory of the truly crazy.]

With the issue of Feminists, these people are women, usually with poorly paid jobs with no skill or training who wish to receive more money than men doing the same job and are more often than not balding.

I laughed so hard at this point that I had tears streaming down my face.  No, young sir, we are not.  More often than not, we are college educated, have high paying jobs, we just want to be paid the same amount as a man doing the exact same job, and we have hair in all colors and styles.  Yes, some feminists are bald, but I imagine that’s only because they choose to shave their heads.

I suppose that, being all of 15 years old, you have embraced the popular culture’s idea of what a woman should look like, right?  Thin, gorgeous, impeccably dressed, perfectly shaped big breasts, long hair, makeup (but not too much, or she looks like a whore).  Well, kid, you’re in for a rude awakening when you learn that not everyone lives up to your impossible standards.  I’m a feminist, but I have long hair.  I’m a little overweight, and I prefer to wear jeans in my everyday life.  Your idea of what a real woman (and a feminist!) looks like is skewed so far that I feel sorry for you, and any girl you date.

So look at the facts, would you trust a balding woman attempting to cash in on child support or many reputable people, including doctors.

I’ll take the bald feminist any day of the week over the men you cited.  At least they will research their positions thoroughly, and have credible sources to back up their viewpoints.

I hope your teacher is a feminist.

Let’s Get Idealistic

There’s been so much in the news in the past few months about abortion, contraception, and a woman’s right to choose that as I said in a previous post, I’ve been overwhelmed.  I’d like to take a moment to get a little idealistic.

When I was in high school, I took a class about early human development.  We learned about the stages of pregnancy, and the different stages children go through in their first two years of life.  At one point in my class, we were given the task of brainstorming the ideal situation to have a child.  We already knew that adoptive parents had to fulfill certain criteria in order to be able to have a child, so we were told to imagine a “test” of sorts that a woman (or a set of parents) would have to pass in order to have a child.

If I remember correctly, we came up with the following points:

  • Financially stable, with at least six months worth of income in accessible savings.

We came up with this because pregnancy and raising a child are both expensive.  There’s also the risk of complications with the pregnancy or child’s health leaving one or both parents unable to work for a period of time.  We thought that at least six months of income in the bank would help ease that potential burden.

  • Emotionally stable, with a supportive network of friends and family.

Just like the financial cost, pregnancy and raising a child can be unexpectedly difficult, emotionally.  We learned about postpartum depression, and how the woman’s emotional state can affect the child’s development in the womb.  Having a supportive network of friends and family, especially people who are geographically close, is important to making sure that the parents can have a break occasionally.

  • Good health, and good health insurance.

Making sure that the woman is already in good health when she gets pregnant, and maintains her health during the pregnancy were also stressed during my class.  Proper nutrition and regular exercise, as well as the ability to see a doctor when necessary, were things that we deemed of highest importance to the development of the child.

  • A stable and safe place to live.

Being teenagers in the suburbs, we were imagining owning a house with a large backyard.  While I no longer think that is necessary, I do think that living in a relatively safe neighborhood, and taking the proper precautions to baby-proof your house are incredibly important.

  • Ease of access to hospitals, schools, and other important services.

I think this one is self-explanatory.

I am close to many women who have had children without checking any of these boxes.  Their children are happy and healthy, and they are excellent mothers.  I still think that all of these are important things to have in place before I consider having children, and that is why I chose to get an IUD.  When I decide to have children, it will be because I am ready.  This is not a criticism of any woman or her choices.  I fully realize that this is an idealistic list.

I would posit that is also idealistic of the Republican Party to expect to reduce accessibility to contraception and abortion and to somehow still not have any unwanted pregnancies occur, or for parents to not need some sort of assistance to care for their children.  Abstinence education just exacerbates these problems.  People are going to have sex, and sometimes, despite precautions, pregnancies occur.

If you had to come up with a list like this, what would you put on it?  Do you think that the list we came up with in high school was good?  Have you formulated a similar list?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thursday Links

Short post today, dear readers, but some great links for you.

After introducing the pill to the “abortion capital of the world”, the ladies of Georgia are no longer having quite as many abortions.  In other news, water is wet.

Carrying condoms can get you arrested, and are being used to profile women, both cisgender and transgender, as sex workers. As someone who used to carry condoms in my purse when I was going on a date, this is disturbing.

We already know that our elected representatives don’t like to hear the word vagina especially when they’re trying to regulate yours, but they’re grossed out by menstruation too.

One of my followers on Facebook was awesome enough to tag me when linking this blog post by Carsie Blanton.  It’s a fantastic read, and of course, I agree with all of it.  Take a look, tell me what you think!

The Contraception Controversy: A Nice Girl Perspective

This picture has been making the rounds on Facebook recently.  It has a lot of really important statistics, but I would like to point out a couple of things.

1. Millions of women use hormonal birth control for reasons other than for contraception.  If a “house of worship” would be happy to cover the cost of Vicodin for post-surgery pain, why wouldn’t they also be happy to provide pain relief for women’s menstrual cramps, or the awful pain that is related to endometriosis?

2. Why is it a big deal if women want to be on birth control because they want to use it as a contraceptive?  Religious leaders seem to be absolutely obsessed with the state of a woman’s uterus.  For Christians, the argument seems to be that using contraception goes Genesis 1:28 (“Be fruitful and multiply”).  With nearly 7 billion people on the planet today, that argument just isn’t relevant.

3. Religious leaders seem to honestly believe that they should be able to force women into the false dichotomy of “married women who have sex are saints” and “unmarried women who have sex are dirty sluts who deserve to be punished by being unhappy, disease ridden, single mothers who will never get out of poverty”.  There’s no middle ground in this argument.  At some other time, I will discuss The Purity Myth, which I believe is required reading for nice girls who like sex.

4. I would like to see an additional statistic here.  I recently read in the New York Times that areas with wide access to information about contraceptives, and contraceptives themselves, have fewer incidences of abortion.  One can correlate that there are fewer unintended pregnancies, and therefore fewer abortions.  (For those of you that somehow don’t know, abortion is a widely discussed and controversial topic in the US, and is particularly reviled among the religious.)

Lets get religion out of health care, out of legislation, and OUT of the bedroom.  What you or I do in private is nobody’s business.  If a woman wants to have sex, she should be able to do so without her employer or her health care provider making her feel like she is a bad person for wanting to do so without getting pregnant.  In the end, the only people who should have any voice in the matter are the ones in the sexual relationship, who would be the parents of any child that was conceived in that relationship.

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