"Truth be told, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the idea of teenagers having sex in and of itself…I don’t think that having sex is something that’s “okay” for every teen (especially younger teens), nor do I think it’s something some adults are prepared for. I just believe that the decision to have sex has less to do with age than it does with being informed. I think that a sixteen-year-old who has had comprehensive sex education and who’s been taught to have a healthy perspective on the emotional and physical responsibilities that come with sex is a lot more prepared for a sexual relationship than a twenty-one-year-old who has known only shame-based abstinence-only education and virginity pledges."

Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth

"Instead, the fact that sex is supposed to be pleasurable is often omitted from sex talks with teen girls. Teenage girls’ authentic desire — as opposed to the manufactured sexuality that’s integral to Girls Gone Wild or to playing it up for guys — is a touchy subject for most…We’re living in a time when simply talking about women’s pleasure is taboo in itself and is considered dangerous by the virginity movement, since that kind of discussion frees women’s sexuality from its restrictive only-for-procreation, only-when-married, only-when-straight boundaries."

Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth

"The purity that the virginity movement is working so hard for is more of an illusion than it would like to own up to. Teens who make these pledges often do so in front of church members, peers, parents, and community leaders, and oftentimes they have no real choice in the matter. It’s not as if many twelve- to fourteen-year-olds are going to be self assured enough to refuse to take a chastity vow. (“No thanks, Mom, I’d like to keep my sexual options open!”) These pledges are little more than cultural farces created to make parents feel better about their children’s coming of age."

Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth

"For women…virginity has become the easy answer –- the morality quick fix. You can be vapid, stupid, and unethical, but so long as you’ve never had sex, you’re a “good” (i.e., “moral”) girl and therefore worthy of praise. Present-day American society — whether through pop culture, religion, or institutions — conflates sexuality and morality constantly. Idolizing virginity as a stand-in for women’s morality means that nothing else matters — not what we accomplish, not what we think, not what we care about and work for. Just if/how/whom we have sex with. That’s all."

Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth

"Shaming young women for being sexual is nothing new, but it’s curious to observe how the expectation of purity gets played out through the women who are supposed to epitomize the feminine ideal: the “desirable” virgin. After all, we rarely see women who aren’t conventionally beautiful idolized for their abstinence. And no matter how “good” you are otherwise –- even if you’re the all-American beauty queen –– if you’re not virginal, you’re shamed. The desirable virgin is sexy but not sexual. She’s young, white, and skinny…”Virgin” is a designation for those who meet a certain standard of what women, especially younger women, are supposed to look like. As for how these young women are supposed to act? A blank slate at best."

Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth

I would just like to point out that I hate the way the title of this article was worded. With that being said: This study has found that after a male loses his virginity, he considers himself more attractive. However, after a female loses her virginity, they found that her positive body image tends to decrease. The article discusses some of the possible solutions to this problem. It’s interesting, but I’m sad to say that the results do not surprise me at all. Women are practically taught to be self-conscious about their body. We’ve also been programmed to be ashamed of our sexuality through enculturation. One day people will understand what a horrible psychological impact this has on people — women in particular.

This article from Jezebel discusses a study that suggests the number of virgins between the ages of 15 - 24 are on the way up. The factors that may contribute to this rise in numbers are speculated. I find this difficult to believe, but maybe this is just the people I know. I personally don’t think this is necessarily a good thing. It’s a good idea to explore your sexuality when you’re young. It’s a part of growing up. It doesn’t exactly help society’s obsession with purity either. Then again, I suppose I’m a bit biased.

I’m happy to see someone is acknowledging this attitude that I noticed when I went to high school. Easy A takes a look at the sexuality of teenage girls and how they are expected to be simultaneously sexual and sexless. This contradiction was something that haunted me throughout the course of my high school career, when I was still coming to terms with the way people viewed 16 year old girls who lost their virginity. Was I whore even though I had only slept with one person? Or was I not open enough about my sexuality? The more I talk to other women about that time in their lives and those questions I had, the more I find out that I was not alone. This article discusses just how much Easy A tackles these questions and whether or not it reinforces this societal expectation.