VLOGGING – Can Virgins Have Oral Sex?

This is the first episode of Sex-Positive Gamer, where we play popular videogames whilst answering your shagging questions. Now your male friends have no excuses for not knowing their sex education (unless they were too busy with Planned Parenthood volunteering). Our adviser is occasional Feministe contributor Echo Zen.

From outside, it probably seems we quit the Feministe vlog after just 4 months of vlogging. In actuality, despite scepticism from professors, we’ve been labouring for 4 months behind the scenes to reboot the vlog, brainstorming ways to deliver content with appeal beyond the feminist blogosphere. Frankly your mates and ours might need this more than you, if they never got sex education in school. So come, judge what we came up with. For one thing, it involves Call of Duty


Hello and welcome to the first episode of Sex-Positive Gamer.

It’s where we sex educators kick back, with our violent videogames…

…and answer whatever sexy-time questions you email to us.

Today we’re showing some CoD: Ghosts gameplay, from Love Cuffs…

…because her skill with phallic-shaped instruments of death is frankly inspirational.

So, let’s explore today’s question, which you may have guessed from the episode title…

Can virgins have oral sex?

Hmm, good question.

Let’s examine the rest.

“Hey, I’m confused.”

“I’ve always heard abstinence is when you don’t do anything sex-related, like working as a Catholic priest.”

“But my teacher says if you don’t put a penis in a vagina, you can go ahead and call yourself a virgin.”

“So I decided to ask if all lesbians are virgins, if they only do vaginas, and he said only I can decide for myself…”

“…whatever that means.”

“Out of curiosity, am I still a virgin if a girlfriend goes down on me?”

“What exactly are abstinent folks allowed and not allowed to do?”

Hmm, I used to ask myself the same thing in secondary school.

The local church was always railing against the sinfulness of intercourse…

…so I wondered if oral sex was morally superior, but we can debate this another time.

The key issue in your question is virginity versus abstinence.

Now, most parents assume the two mean the same thing…

…the way everyone assumes Fox News and “stupid” mean the same thing.

Well, they do mean the same thing, but those other two certainly don’t.

We talked with our mates at UC Berkeley about it, because they did a study on this in 2007.

You can find it, by searching “abstinent Berkeley virgin” on Google.

So, they surveyed almost a thousand people, asking who they consider a virgin or abstinent…

…and they discovered, according to our generation, virginity and abstinence are often unrelated.

In fact, 70 percent think you’re still a virgin if you have oral sex, but only 35 percent think you’re also abstinent.

Another example is feeling your partner’s baby-making parts, AKA genital touching.

In such cases, 85 percent think you’re a virgin, but only 45 percent consider you abstinent with all those genitals.

So, if you want democracy to define virginity, then yes, virgins can have oral sex.


…just because most people define virginity a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the best definition.

In fact, if you think about it, today’s definition is pretty limited and homophobic.

I don’t know your gender, but what if you’re a lesbian?

If you have sex with hundreds of women, but never with men, are you still a virgin?

If so, that means sex only counts if you’re penetrated by The Almighty Penis.

I suspect many lesbians would be offended, if you say penises are required for “real” sex.

Ultimately though, it’s not my place to dictate which definition to use.

Definitions are always changing, the way “queer” has a different meaning now, versus decades ago.

Everyone can have a different definition, based on their family, religion, Facebook friends, etc.

The right definition is the one that works for you.

So, make sure you know what your partner means, if your partner claims to be a virgin.

It’s craptastic to get Chlamydia, when you assume a virgin partner has always been abstinent, if that person hasn’t.

Well, hopefully this answers your question, because we’re almost out of gameplay footage.

If you have other questions for us, post a comment on Feministe or message our Tumblr.

Till next time… farewell.

So, why did we reboot Feministe’s vlog to what it is now? Three reasons…

1) A recurring theme last year was that more people were reading vlog transcripts than were watching the vlog. Now, that was fine by us – we’ll always provide transcripts on anti-ableist grounds, and lots of people simply find transcript-reading to be faster than video-watching. But having digital artists onboard, and not just sex educators, was our biggest advantage as a team, and failing to leverage that seemed wasteful. We could have simplified the vlog transcripts into a simple blog column as well, but again, that felt like ignoring our unique skills.

2) Multiple times our mates suggested it would be easiest to just stick one of us in front of a camera and talk. But given the tendency of women who voice opinions online to receive death threats, this was out of the question. Incidentally that’s one reason we’ve always had a gendered male narrator for the vlog, to avoid dealing with threats against classmates. But even if we could be on camera, we’d rather do something different, rather than encroach on what Laci Green and other YouTube educators are already doing.

3) “If everyone on Feministe reads the vlog instead of watching,” a professor said, “then you can redo the video content so it’ll interest non-readers, right? Your current readers wouldn’t notice.” Well, theoretically that was true, but we didn’t know what video content would interest people who aren’t inherently interested in sex (education). To which said professor said: “Crunch the data! What do normal folks watch on YouTube, when they’re not watching Internet porn in the South?”

The most popular category on YouTube is music videos (and parodies of music videos), followed by gaming videos. Since music videos fall outside our budget, we decided playing Call of Duty was easier, for demographic reasons – we want to hit up people who aren’t necessarily watching out of feminism. So began 4 months of figuring out ways to integrate sex education with orbital killstreaks.

That’s how simple the reasoning was behind the vlog’s reboot.

Of course, after months of redesigning over and over till our eyes bled, it’s outside our objective power to judge if the vlog has deviated too far from what people here feel a Feministe vlog should be, no matter how good it looks now. So here we’re asking for your input. Please, judge our efforts harshly in the comment section!

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8 comments for “VLOGGING – Can Virgins Have Oral Sex?

  1. April 18, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Yeah. And what about gay men?

    Someone, maybe Jessica Valente, suggested you determine end-of-virginity in terms of when you first had great sex. That way the first time can’t be disappointing.

    It’s all so arbitrary.

    And the original meaning had nothing to do with sex. As Marilyn Frye put it, she was,

    “a free woman, one not betrothed, not bound to, not possessed by any man. It meant a female who is sexually and hence socially her own person. In any version of patriarchy, there are no Virgins in this sense.”

  2. Dank
    April 18, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    I think the key point which gave the idea of virginity so much cultural importance is that a virgin can’t be pregnant.

    • pheenobarbidoll
      April 19, 2014 at 2:22 am

      Yes they can. Sperm doesn’t have to be released inside the vagina, it can impregnate her if released close to the vaginal opening, or even just on the vulva. The chances are slim, but it can happen.

  3. April 19, 2014 at 2:41 am

    “Crunch the data! What do normal folks watch on YouTube, when they’re not watching Internet porn in the South?”

    Kitty videos. Sometimes dogs or rats or wildlife, but 99.999999999% of my youtube watching is kitties.

    I don’t watch any porn, btw, and I’m way further south than anywhere in the States, even if we do suspect we’re the 51st state here in Oz.

    Regardless, I’m still going to be in the reading rather than watching category. I’m not interested in listening to someone talking on video (unless it’s one of zefrank’s True Facts or the Engineer’s Guide to Cats). I’d much rather read the transcript at my own pace, skim if I want, and so on.

    As to determining one’s virginity or lacka – well, I’ve never had any sexual contact with anyone in an earthly sense. No kisses, nothing (entirely my own choice, too), so I absolutely fit the bill for “virgin” and “abstinent”, though the latter doesn’t really apply since I’m not abstaining from anything I want to do.


    (you knew that was coming)

    I don’t consider myself a virgin or abstinent or anything of the sort, because my beloved and I make love in Spirit (across the veil, paradise, call it what you will) and I have very clear memories of that. Memories, take note, not imagination, not fantasy. My married life takes place largely in a different geography, and since there will never be a situation in which I’d be willingly involved with another person, “virgin” or not here isn’t relevant.

    • ldouglas
      April 19, 2014 at 5:01 am

      I don’t consider myself a virgin or abstinent or anything of the sort, because my beloved and I make love in Spirit (across the veil, paradise, call it what you will) and I have very clear memories of that.

      What does this mean? I get that you have never had physical intercourse, but that you consider your emotional relationship with your SO sexual, but then I got totally lost.

      I don’t mean to pry for intimate details re: ways to have sex in a long-distance relationship, I just didn’t follow even the general outline of your point.

      • April 19, 2014 at 7:22 am

        ldouglas, I suggest taking a look at kittehserf’s blog (linked to her username) for more details. Pursuing the topic on this thread is probably a derail.

      • April 19, 2014 at 9:08 am

        Thanks, tigtog! You’re right, it would be, and I’ve prolly done more About Me than I should.

      • ldouglas
        April 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm

        Apologies, and thanks.

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