Day 129: Let’s Talk About Sex

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May 8, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

Let’s talk about something awkward – or rather, something that we see as awkward, but that really doesn’t deserve to be at all.  Let’s talk about sex.

Birds do it, bees do it; even educated fleas do it (though interestingly, Aphidinae only does it sometimes, and the genus Timema doesn’t do it at all).  It’s no less significant in the prairies and jungles and forests, where elaborate rituals, ceremonies, song and dance put courtship and copulation at the top of life’s priorities.  In many ways, we humans are similar; we have our own songs and dances, and certainly spend a lot of time thinking about sex, but we differ in one very remarkable way: we have sex without the intention of reproduction and actively take steps to prevent reproduction as a result of sex, thus defying our pre-programmed, genetic imperative to propagate our genes.  Thus, we are able to have more sex, more often than is ecologically or biologically necessary (or prudent).  Thus thus, we can be flexible with our cultural ascriptions  of sex – we’ve been able to ascribe non-functional roles to sex; we can, in fact, have sex for fun!  Thus thus thus, sex takes on whole new dimensions of meaning to human relationships, societies and cultures as a whole.  This, of course, brings complications not found elsewhere (so far as I’m aware) in nature.  Guilt, for example.  Or taboo.  But amongst the most complicated of these complications is the social implications of one’s sexual preferences and lifestyle.  Same-sex vs. opposite-sex gets a lot of attention, but there’s another dichotomy at play that is carries a whole different stack of cultural implications; today’s project is exploring one of the more frequently (and undeservedly) awkward but no less prominent social sexual significances.

How to Lose Your Virginity is a documentary that’s going behind closed doors and between the sheets in order to discover what lies at the heart of our nearly-ubiquitous fascination with virginity.

Our goal for How To Lose Your Virginity is to undo centuries of myths and contradictions around virginity, and to encourage an honest conversation with people navigating the confusing process of deciding when and why to become sexual. What do a rock violinist, an Ivy League blogger and an Ohio engineer have in common? They’re all subverting the virginity narrative in our film.

Sex is personal.  I’d say it’s private, but that’s hardly true.  Some people go to great lengths, in fact, to make sure that sex plays a very public role in their lives.  And you know what?  There’s nothing inherently wrong about that.  Why?  Because it’s personal.  That means that it means something different to different people.  That means that nobody’s right about it, and nobody’s wrong (though with the advent of Rule #34, I tend to believe that some things are just plain wrong) – nobody has the right to pass judgement or give the decisive final say.  Still, most of us choose to play by rules, and this film is taking a long, hard look not just at what those rules are, but how they’ve impacted us all in meaningful ways.  It might make you think twice or question the premise of some of these rules.  Maybe it will prompt you to rewrite a few of your own.  No matter what, this movie is going places seldom traveled, telling stories seldom shared and asking questions seldom pondered.  Become a part of this exploration, and maybe share in a little enlightenment by backing it on Kickstarter in the next 24 hours (May 9).  But don’t don’t let me rush you into it.  Take your time, go at your own pace.  Relax and enjoy it.  You deserve that much.


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