“There’s a dividing line between girls who have had sex, and girls who haven’t,” said Angela Chase, star of the cult ‘90s teenage drama “My So Called Life.” As melodramatic and myopic as Claire Danes’ Angela sounds, 21st-century popular culture still attaches transformative powers to sexual experience and views virginity (or lack thereof) as indicative of deeper character traits.
Take Lena Dunham’s viral video endorsing Barack Obama, called “Your First Time”. She uses the clichés associated with one’s first time having sex to describe her first time voting. A wave of conservative criticism attacked the analogy as sick and perverse. Ben Shapiro at Breitbart.com, for example, railed against Dunham for having “mocked virgins.” However, he himself mocked Dunham for having “actually saved herself for Barack Obama (she’s 26).” So, according to Cohen, abstaining from sex at the old maid age of 26 is super lame.
This problem is evident in other “first times” in the press recently. Twenty-year-old Catarina Migliorini sold her virginity for $780,000 in an online auction organized by filmmaker Justin Sisely for his documentary “Virgins Wanted.” Far less troubling than Migliorini’s decision to sell her sexual initiation is that someone could get funding to make a movie documenting and comparing every last second up to and immediately after the act. But that’s what TLC’s “Virgin Diaries” is all about. The series exploits the awkwardness of the participants to confirm the popular belief that virgins over 20 years old are wholly immature and romantically inept, but will be completely socially rectified once they have sex.