Pop-Culture | Posted by Marie B on 11/18/2011

The First Time: Glee or Not

the first time for Rachel and Finn and Blaine and Kurt

losing your virginity: Glee style

There’s a first time for everything. Last night was the first time I watched a full episode of Glee from start to finish by myself. The fifth episode of Season 3 is all about first times. For those of you out there who haven’t seen the show, here’s a quick rundown: Rachel and Blaine are starring in the West Side Musical. Artie calls them out mid-way through rehearsal for not having enough “passion” and wants them to pull from their sexual experiences to convey that passion to the audience. Rachel and Blaine are clearly embarrassed as they both admit that they’re virgins. Over the course of the next 40 minutes, the two go back and forth between consummating their relationships with their respective significant others.

This episode was clearly created for shock value and to create controversy with the chastity-belt endorsing set rather than an opportunity to actually provide viewers with some real sex-education (which would’ve been nice). But, honestly, there’s a lot of sex on TV. Insert sex into any teen show and *boom* instant conflict. “Does he really like me?” “Am I pregnant?” “She slept with my best friend? I must destroy her now!” With shows like Gossip Girl and 90210 all over the airwaves, it’s usually just assumed at some point in the characters’ backstory, their innocence was destroyed. And I guess that was the one really nice thing about this episode of Glee. We’re not just supposed to assume everybody has already slept around a lot (like in other shows) but are rather faced with multiple people deciding whether or not to trade in their “V-Cards”.

Just because you’re a virgin doesn’t mean you’re alone. In fact, it wasn’t until I started college that I realized just how few people actually were having sex regularly in high school. As Artie says, “It’s a human experience”- one that changes people. Sex is totally normal but it’s something that needs to be thought about. And it was made clear in this episode that sex was something these characters had taken their time with.

That being said, there’s a lot of pressure in this episode to wait for love before having sex. I’m totally for this but come on, we’re teenagers. What we believe is “love” today may very well be gone tomorrow. First love, true love – I don’t think these things necessarily have to be set as a standard for losing your virginity. Time and time again you’ll hear stories about people who had sex for the first time because they were in love, then soon after regret it after a nasty break up. So instead of finding someone who just loves you, or even whom you love, look for someone who most importantly respects you and your opinions. During the girl chat in Glee, Tina discloses the reason, besides true love, that sex was such a great thing: she talked about sex a lot with her partner, who she clearly shared mutual respect and trust with, ahead of time, which allowed her to come to terms with what a huge step she was taking.

So whether you’re having sex the first time with someone you love, or with somebody you like and respect, know that you must ultimately live with that decision. Feelings and emotions you never anticipated will surface no matter what the situation is and you can’t control that. Sure, Glee makes it look beautiful with all the cuddling at the end, but life exists after the pillow talk. Losing your virginity is just one decision among many you’ll make for the rest of your life. So do what needs to be done. Make a pro/con list, talk about it with your partner/best friend/sibling/Mom/cool Aunt, even take a pledge of abstinence if that’s what’s right for you. But above all else (and yes it’s cliche, but it’s true) do what’s right for you.

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  • Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth @ at 12:48 pm, November 21st, 2011

    Really liked your post from a youth perspective on navigating your own path. Here’s mine from a CDC vs. TV Hollywood hype-fest fouling up perceptions and realities, creating teen stress and edging twd behavioral social norming (e.g. making teens feel like they’re missing a non-existent party)

    http://www.shapingyouth.org/?p=17371

  • AntiSlice @ at 11:51 pm, November 22nd, 2011

    So I just watched it (after reading this, actually), and while I’m not an expert in TV “first times” I didn’t think it was that bad. All parties were willing and enthusiastic participants, Finn and Rachel both talked about condoms (boo on Puck though..), while there was pressure people respected any noes.

    The whole “love” thing was overdone, I agree. Although I really enjoyed Santana’s reason for waiting, that she should find someone better in bed.

  • Emma E @ at 3:04 pm, November 23rd, 2011

    I didn’t see this episode. Which is not good. I never, ever, ever miss an episode of Glee. It is not done. But anyway: I completely agree with what you said about how losing your virginity is only one decision of many that you’ll make. Losing your virginity is hugely important and usually emotional, but it ISN’T your life, or the end or beginning of it. It’s just something you do in your life, something usually fun and a big step, but not your entire life. You’ll do other huge things: Maybe get married, have kids. And Glee (from what I can tell) put way too much emphasis on true love and the importance of your ‘first time’ and that frustrates me. But it IS Glee, so all is forgiven.

  • Rosemary @ at 8:21 am, November 25th, 2011

    Totally agree that we should emphasize respect rather than love. My first time, I didn’t love him but he respected me. My second time, I loved him but he didn’t respect me. Guess which one was more hurtful.

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