On January 15, 2011 up-and-coming porn star Nicki Blue is going to lose her virginity live and on camera for your pleasure.
But what does virginity really mean?
Even in our modern world, women are being murdered because of their perceived “lack” of virginity. In the US, purity balls are hosted where a girl’s father (or another male guardian or patriarch) is named the protector of her virtue/virginity until the day she marries when that control is passed on to her husband. Women are judged negatively for having “too many” sexual partners regardless of health, consent, or desire. A woman’s worth, value, and integrity can’t not be measured by her vagina.
Before I go any further, I want to add that we are allowed to make our own choices about our bodies. This is not about whether or not someone “should” do something in private or not. I am not here to judge fantasies or desires. It takes a lot of chutzpah to organize something like this and I hope that the evening of January 15th is everything that Ms. Blue wants it to be. I can also speak to the respect I have for the 3 main male performers who will be participating. There is a lot of excitement and energy that surrounds sharing a first with someone whether that is the first time you engage in bondage, S&M, use a sex toy, eat at a new restaurant, travel to a new country, hike on an unexplored trail, etc. Hell, the internet is exciting because it exposes us to all kinds of new data. New information and experiences are deeply compelling. I have no issues with a declaration of independence and bodily autonomy. I do not take issue with Ms. Blue’s fantasy and desire to have vaginal sex for the first time on camera. I do not take issue with the fact that it can be incredibly hot and sexy to watch someone have vaginal sex for the first time. I do sincerely hope that it is a rewarding experience for everyone because I am a big cheerleader for all forms of consensual activity whether or not I enjoy them myself. My life has been dedicated to fighting for that very thing.
I do have issues with press releases that perpetuate dangerous myths.
“Prior to the event, a trained expert will insert Kink.com’s official hymen-cam to validate that Blue’s hymen is still in place and that she is a true virgin. Once her hymen is confirmed, the evening will proceed, the company said.”
- Myth #1: A woman’s “virginity” can be determined by the presence of absence of a hymen.
Contrary to popular belief, the vagina is not “sealed for freshness” with an iron hymen. It isn’t brittle, it does have openings, and the vaginal corona looks and feels different for each woman. For those of you unfamiliar with the term “vaginal corona” please allow me to back up. The term “hymen” is not actually a biologically sound term because it implies a solid piece of tissue that ruptures or breaks upon penetration. This is not the case. A “corona” is much more accurate for the mucous tissue just inside the vagina. Some women do have thicker and stronger coronas that may require medical intervention to help reduce pain in penetration whether that is for sex or for menstruation. Some women have very small, thin, and nearly transparent tissues that never causes them any pain or problems. Like every other part of our body, it is unique to us. The presence or absence of a “hymen” does not indicate virginity. To learn more, check out this helpful information here.
First time penetration may be painful for some women. Sometimes it is because she may be nervous and tense which certainly won’t help make penetration any more comfortable. Our bodies aren’t always as intuitive as perhaps they should be. It takes some time and practice to know when your body is ready to accept something inside of it. Many women, regardless of their number of partners, still appreciate having their vagina warmed up with lots of foreplay and the gradual introduction of foreign objects starting small (like a single finger or small toy) and gradually working their way up in size as they feel comfortable. Additionally, most women will not bleed the first time they have intercourse. The presence of blood indicates that it is definitely time to check in with your partner (whether it is their first or thousandth time having sex) and slow things down a bit.
- Myth #2: A woman’s “virginity” is defined by whether or not a penis has entered her vagina.
We put a lot of weight into penis-in-vagina sex but there are unlimited ways to have sex. Oral sex is a sexual activity. Anal sex is a sexual activity. Dry humping is a sexual activity. For some people, hair washing is a sexual activity. What about BDSM play? Is it sex if no one has an orgasm? Is it sex if there isn’t an erection? There are a lot of ways that we fuck and a penis has never been the bottom line. If there is any website that has demonstrated that, it is Kink.Com where sometimes people have orgasms from caning, whipping, or bondage. There are lesbian gang bangs. There are times when merely watching something is enough to bring you over the edge. Websites dedicated to alternative sex are a reminder that there are no set rules about what sex really is or can be.
Reiterating the notion that virginity is defined by whether or not a penis has entered a vagina has dangerous implications because it is so very closely related to the idea that virginity will keep you safe from sexually transmitted infections or the emotions that can arise from engaging in sex. The language that we use around sex has real world implications and yes, semantics do count especially when people’s lives are literally on the line.
- Myth #3: “Virgins” are better for sex because they’re tighter.
The vagina is an amazing part of the body. It is important to distinguish between the muscles of the pelvic floor and the vagina itself. Much like the penis, the vagina has a flaccid and an aroused state. When the brain starts to feel aroused it sends messages down to the vagina encouraging it to open, lengthen, lubricate, and widen. It will actually lengthen by several inches and there will be an increased blood flow to the area which will also increase its sensitivity. The idea that “men are from Mars and women are from Venus” is silly when you take into account that we posses very homologous genital tissues. An unaroused vagina is incredibly tight, so much so that it can hold a tiny tampon in place without falling to the ground. “Tight” though it may be, it isn’t actually prepared to accommodate the rigors of penetrative sex. This process has absolutely nothing to do with “virginity.”
The vagina is surrounded by the muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles do have a lot of power in regards to our sexual functioning and ability to regulate our bladder and bowels. Exercising the pubococcygeus (also known as the PC muscle) will help “tighten” the vagina and give women more control over their pelvic floor muscles in general. The added benefit? The vagina will still swell, expand, and widen to comfortably (and pleasurably!) accommodate penetration and the orgasmic contractions may become more intense. These exercises are known as kegels and male bodied people can reap their benefits as well.
In other words, sex with a virgin can be a totally hot turn-on or fantasy but it has far less to do with muscle tightness than most people believe.
I find the marketing and publicity around this shoot to be the issue at hand. To decide that you want to engage in any particular sex act for the first time in a way that you will find really enjoyable is sex positive. There is no inherent exploitation involved in filming it and for some of us that just adds to the experience. When I read, “We strive each and every day to bring the best possible content to our customers and sacrificing Nikki’s innocence is in perfect alignment with what our fans expect and deserve,” I feel that the sex positive message is lost. That same sentence also reminds us that commercial value is of a much higher importance than sex positivity. For most porn sites that comes as no surprise. The only reason that a lot of people are speaking up about this has to do with the expressed mission statement to, “…demystify and celebrate alternative sexualities by providing the most ethical and authentic kinky adult entertainment.” In this case, sexuality is not being demystified; it is being further obscured. It does not celebrate alternative sexualities because it so very deeply phallocentric and heteronormative.
Again, I cannot say it enough: I support Nicki Blue in what she wants to do. It is 100% her choice to make and no one has the right to say that she should or shouldn’t do go forward with her plan. I do not think poorly of any of the other performers on the set, either, because it is an honor to have someone request your presence at their first time doing anything. A request like that indicates trust and comfort and it is an honor when someone entrusts you to be a part of something that you’ve never done before. I am not worried about Nicki Blue. I know that she is in very good and capable hands on set. It’s the rest of us that I’m worried about when the packaging of the shoot includes blatant misinformation.
Kink.Com has the right to say whatever they want about their content. I am experiencing disappointment by their unwillingness to rise to the occasion. A press release is, by its very nature, designed to spark interest and by that standard is was inordinately effective. Buzz words were selected with deliberation and it is true that if you want to sell a product, the press release may not be the best place to do so. However, when I look at the pride flags waving in the wind from the rooftop of the armory I have to wonder if they match the words in those press releases. They are in possession of numerous outlets to dispel dangerous and sex negative mythology and they have done so numerous times in the past. It isn’t too late for Kink.Com to address these issues head on and I hope that they will. Kink.Com has influenced and inspired so many people over the years and I do hope that they remember their ability to affect real change even when it doesn’t directly increase the profit margin.