Lesson to Unlearn from Glee – Season 3, Episode 5

Ah, the virginity episode. Excellent.

The lesson: Musical theater makes you horny. So Rachel lost her virginity to Finn, and Kurt and Blaine lost their virginities to each other. And maybe Coach Bieste lost her virginity to the football recruiter dude. And they were all involved with the production of West Side Story, and much of the “We need to have sex” stuff happened around the musical. Ergo, participation in musical theater makes you horny.

Wait a second, I’m pretty sure that’s true.

I really . . . don’t know what to say. They did a sort of reasonable job covering issues related to sex and virginity and being a teenager and whatnot. It should be about love, not some random thing like bringing authenticity to the role of Maria(?) or being really drunk and, like, high on life or whatever. It’s a big deal, but it’s not like you’re a dirty lollipop if you do it. Boys want love as much as girls, and girls like sex as much as boys. The only thing I have to add, having gone through sex ed in the early-to-mid-’90s, is CONDOM CONDOM USE A CONDOM DON’T CARE USE A CONDOM. NO GLOVE, NO LOVE. NO SLEEVE; NO, STEVE. NO RUBBER, NO . . . FLUBBER? Yeah, I’m done.

The truth: Since I have no objections to the “Glee” episode (Well, okay, first of all, not that I care, but why wasn’t the Will/Emma chaste romance covered, and second, what was up with the . . . sound . . . mixing . . . on “America”? It sounded weird.) I may as well use this time to give my incredibly important advice to any future teenagers/young adults regarding the loss of virginity. Really, this column is for future Zoe, because probably by the time she needs this advice, she won’t talk to me about it. But I think it might be useful to, you know, my masses of virginal readers.

1. CONDOM CONDOM USE A CONDOM. And if you’re in a heterosexual pairing, a chemical form of birth control like the Pill would not be amiss, as well.

2. Really, really want it. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, like, duh, you’re a teenager and/or a human, you have hormones, you want it. But there’s wanting it and then there’s wanting it. There’s “I’m really curious about it.” There’s “Everyone cool does it.” There’s “My partner seems to be really jazzed by the idea and I have no objection.” There’s “I really love my partner and want to express that” (which is a great thing to feel, but not what we’re talking about). There’s “Isn’t it time already?” I’m not telling you you’re wrong for feeling all that other stuff. But that’s not really, really wanting it. Really, really wanting it is more like, “Oh, my God, I need it NOW NOW NOW please!” Wait for that. Wait for that, and then wait for a few more days/weeks/months after that, because it’s way, way better to have sex you really, really, REALLY want than it is to have sex you sort of think maybe you should have because come on, really, it’s sex, why wouldn’t you?

3. Love is good. But trust is key. I know I’m supposed to be all about “Wait until you’re in love before you give away your special flower,” but love is tricky. For one thing, if you are still a teenager, you’re likely to fancy yourself in love with any dipshit. I know, I know, not you, because you are a super mature teenager, not like all those other fools, and your love is real, and how dare I in my stupid 30-year-old-ness doubt your love. But look, I’ve been a no-seriously-I’m-really-mature-for-my-age teenager. And I was a moron. My moronity resulted in a whole lot of not-sex-having, which is less dangerous and also less fun than sex-having moronity. But I was still an idiot, and you probably are, too.

But also, while love is absolutely great- and I definitely recommend having sex with someone you’re in love with, because you’re in love with this person, whether you’re a virgin or not – it’s not the key. The key is trust. (It’s very likely that the person you trust is also the person you love. So that’s convenient.)

In the Bible, they use the verb “to know” to mean “to have sex with.” I’m not trying to get religious on you, but it’s a good euphemism (seriously, some of these Biblical authors could write) because ideally, that’s what sex is – getting to know someone intimately and completely. And if you’re going to let someone know you, you need to trust them. So think to yourself – would it mortify me to fart in front of this person? Cry? Fight with my mother? Would I want to see this person fart, or cry, or fight? Because if those situations are not tenable, you don’t trust each other enough to have sex.

4. Be ready. This is sort of sex-ed classic, here. (From back when I was taking sex ed, back when they educated us about sex. Not now. Now the sex ed classics are stuff like dirty lollipops and not telling your knight in shining armor how to rescue you from the dragon or some shit.) If you can’t face the idea of buying a pack of condoms in a drug store; if you can’t have a conversation with your partner about sex and whether you want to have it and the details of where and how and when; if you can’t think to yourself, “What would happen if a baby resulted from this sex?” and then have a reasonable thought process about it, both to yourself and with your partner*; if you are excessively worried about your parents finding out, not in an “Oh my God, that would be embarrassing” way but in a “Oh, my God, they’re gonna ground me” way; if you’ve never done anything adult or independent before, like hold a job or take care of another creature or perform a household task because you knew it needed to be done and not because your mother nagged you 800 times – you might not be ready for sex. It is a grown up thing to do. You need to be a grown up to do it.

*If you’re gay, I know that’s not applicable. So do some other thought experiment instead. Think about if you’re ready for a lifetime of the care and feeding of a relationship. Think about what you and your partner would do if some other crisis befell you, like if your partner had to move in with you or something. Is your relationship crisis-ready? Are you?

5. Be, um, ready. This is for heterosexual girls*. Readiness is not just a physical or a mental state. It’s a physical one, too. If he can’t get three fingers inside you without a considerable amount of pain, don’t have sex. I’m not saying three fingers needs to be pleasurable or comfortable. But if it’s painful, sex will be, too. So see rule #6.

*I imagine that this rule is also applicable to some forms of homosexual sex, especially male homosexual sex. But I don’t know enough to offer advice there. Maybe talk to Dan Savage?

6. Foreplay is your friend. This is related but also separate from #5. Spend lots of time – weeks, months, even years if you’re really young – doing all the other stuff but not having sex. Do this because it’s fun. Do this because it helps take your body from “Well, sex could be interesting” to “Oh my God, NOW, PLEASE.” Do this because it gives you time to get to know your partner and whether or not you can trust them and enjoy them and maybe love them. Do this because you won’t be able to have this kind of fun quite as much as an adult; you’ll just move more quickly on to the actual sex and then kind of go nostalgic for this part. Also, come on, people. I’m not asking you to eat your vegetables or do your math homework. I’m asking you to spend time fooling around. Why wouldn’t you?

I feel weird even bringing it up, but I feel like in most teen comedies, it seems as if couples go from kissing occasionally to sex right now. This does not seem to me to be reflective of real world experience. I could be wrong.

7. Masturbate. Think of it as self-foreplay. You get to know yourself. You get to have orgasms without worrying if you’re gonna respect yourself in the morning or if some other dire consequence of sex will happen. And you will gain the relative confidence of someone who’s already had an orgasm in the past twenty-four hours and therefore can make thoughtful, reasoned (or at least more thoughtful, reasoned) considerations about the source and circumstances of the next one.

8. If you really don’t want to, don’t. If your religion or your own heart says you ought to wait for marriage or at least the assurance of permanence; if you kind of want to but are kind of scared; if you think you ought to want to but don’t really; if you ate too much or drank too much or your body is not responding to overtures – stop. Just stop. Say to your partner, “Gee, you know I think you’re the bees’ knees, but I’m not up for this right now.” If your partner’s response is anything other than, “Okay, we’ll try again some other time,” do not have sex with that person. Because even if your virginity is a thing of the distant past, you should always be able to say, “Rain check?” to a partner who says, “Sure thing!”

9. You’re not a dirty lollipop. Sex isn’t bad. It isn’t good. (I mean, hopefully, it’s good, but it’s not, like, moral.) It’s sex. It doesn’t make you tainted or dirty or bad if you have it. It doesn’t make you frigid or cold or prudish if you don’t. I know I just put a lot of rules up here, but these are not rules along the lines of, “And if you ever have sex that doesn’t follow these rules, you’re a dirty, stupid, used-up whore.” They’re rules along the lines of, “If you want to have an ideal first time, or an ideal any time, these are good rules to follow.” But not having ideal sex doesn’t make you a bad person. It just makes you a person. Maybe you already lost your virginity, and it wasn’t ideal. Don’t worry about it. Do the things that make you happy that, if they involve another person or people, make them happy, too. That’s all.

The only thing that makes you a bad person is hurting or disrespecting others. Don’t do that. Don’t pressure other people into sex they don’t want. Obviously, don’t force anyone into sex they don’t want. Don’t make other people feel that their sexual choices or desires make them stupid, or bad, or gross, or weird. That’s what makes you a bad person. Having sex, or not having sex, those are perfectly acceptable human options.


Darling, sometimes I can almost believe that we are, in fact, the same person.

We are, Sophia. You live in my imagination.

You have quite the imagination.

That I do.

2 thoughts on “Lesson to Unlearn from Glee – Season 3, Episode 5

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