I'm Lena Chen, a writer, activist, and media producer who's been called a "skank" (by Bill O'Reilly) and "a small Asian woman" (by The New York Times). My favorite part of my workday is the hate mail.For the unlikely story that is my life, read on.
I’m speaking tonight at Pomona College and will be in Los Angeles until Wednesday. If you’re in the Claremont area, come check this out :)
Faith and First Times: Sex, Society and Religion
Thursday, October 4th, 7:00-8:30pm
Rose Hills Theatre, Pomona College
In today’s modern age, female sexuality has become less taboo to discuss. Whether through Cosmopolitan Magazine or Victoria’s Secret, society is beginning to explore a certain brand of female sexuality. Yet many women of faith are faced with the dilemma of embracing their sexuality while still maintaining religious traditions that value virginity and purity, while secular women often feel these cultural representations are not a true expression of their experiences. Come join the Pomona Student Union at Faith and First Times, an event aimed at exploring the influences of religion on virginity and how it effects women in today’s society.
And this is just the latest example of how I am terrified by and disappointed in society on a daily basis.
I’d be curious to see where you’ve witnessed me being derisive toward virgins! I’ve written quite a bit about the topic of virginity, researched it for my senior thesis, and organized a conference on it. Most of my friends didn’t have sex until college or after college and I’ve openly supported readers who want to wait. (To the extent where I was once mischaracterized by Slate as an abstinence advocate!) To be clear: I don’t advocate anything but freedom to choose and freedom from stigma. The bottom line is that your sexual decision-making has to happen on YOUR terms, not anyone else’s. That’s an integral part of sex positivity.
For more on this topic, you should check out some of the following posts I’ve written about virgin-shaming and choosing abstinence:
“Are feminists guilty of virgin-shaming?”
Reader Question: “Am I making a big deal over ‘saving it’ for marriage?”
Reader Question: “How do we ‘rethink virginity’?”
Reader Question: “What are the wrong reasons for someone to be abstinent?”
Would you like to see me do sexual health coverage and reader Q&A’s on video? Head over to SHAPE Magazine to vote for TheChicktionary.com in the Best Blogger Awards. (It’s super easy to vote, just a click!)
These are not all-encompassing examples, but I think it’s harmful whenever people alter their sexual behavior:
All of the above leads to a culture of silence around issues of sexuality. The result is that this incredibly integral part of our lives becomes a topic of misinformation and stigma, which translate into real-world consequences for human health and well-being. And let’s be real: waiting for intercourse nowadays doesn’t mean that one abstains from sexual activity altogether. Because if that were the case, kids with purity rings wouldn’t be getting pregnant. Anyone ever hear of “Just The Tip”? Yeah, thought so. (I’ve written before about how murky definitions of “virginity” become when moving beyond heteronormative conceptions of sexuality.)
I’m not going to be the arbiter of who’s Doing Sex Right. There are a lot of good and bad reasons for having sex, just as there are good and bad reasons for not having it. Bottom line: If you’re RSVP-ing to Rainbow Parties, don’t do it because all your girlfriends are going to be there. If you’re delaying sex, don’t do it because you believe some bullshit about “damaged goods”.
More burning questions? Ask Lena.