Everyone is still a virgin

La Pudicizia Velata by Antonio Corradini "the veil of modesty"

La Pudicizia Velata by Antonio Corradini
“the veil of modesty”

Every time I write one of these Hinky Chicago books, I wonder if I have anything new to say about sex. Jewel is a busy girl, and Randy has a lot of imagination, and Clay is always standing by in case Randy drops the ball.

The Hinky Bearskin Rug is one of those books that sells itself to the publisher if you focus on the adult entertainment aspects. In fact a good chunk of the story is set in an adult printing company building, including a sex-fantasy film shoot (in Randy’s demonspace) and plenty of random still shots. And I was fortunate to get a phone interview with an eighties adult film star, now producer Candida Royalle (NSFW) as part of my research.

What I learned from her helped inform much of the serious subtext of the book—a long way from thongs and high heels.

I wanted to draw comparisons between workers in the adult film industry and pink collar workers—iffy working conditions, low pay rates, and double standards everywhere: Act virginal but appear available, torque yourself into a pretzel until you appear weak and submissive, work hard but never appear flustered. And remember, if a man whangs up a boner, shame on you, because it’s all your fault. In the 80s and 90s when I worked in major corporate offices, the world of Mad Men wasn’t far away. Blaming the woman was rule number one.

Shame isn’t exclusive to women. David Henry Sterry in Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent, a memoir of his work as a male prostitute, speaks movingly about how shame operated in his sense of self, his social group, and the industry at large. I found material there to help with Randy’s journey through this story.

In a few lines of The Hinky Bearskin Rug, Randy, who was forced into sex demon service for two centuries, explains his philosophy about shame:

“If she only knew that she is whole! She’s always been whole. She was involuntarily despoiled in some way. But the despoiler can take from her only what she believes he can take. She is still whole.”

“But she isn’t a virgin,” Lena said.

“No. She is. She thinks she is no longer a virgin Everyone is still a virgin. What is a virgin? Clean, whole, honest, pure. When is a virgin despoiled? When she feels dirty, broken, dishonest, as if evil has been stirred into her insides.”

Randy says that shame is a garment society forces us to wear. We’re told, “Your virginity is a thing.” We’re told that you can give it away, lose it, sell it, be robbed of it—it can be stolen, sold, damaged, broken, spoiled.

This is a lie. But once we are ashamed, we feel naked. And society says, “Here, wear this, and never take it off, because you are broken, and no one must know that.”

Ironically, shame is visible. The heavier the garment, the more obvious it is that you believe you are no longer a virgin.

But you are a virgin.

Under all those words, you’re still a virgin.

This book gave me a chance to work with that. And it surprised me, because I found more to say about sex.

Give it a look here.

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Everyone is still a virgin — 5 Comments

  1. I like to think of having sex for the first time (or the second, or third, or 100th…) as gaining experience, not as losing anything. You are not lessened by having sex, you are enriched.

    Being whole and honest and pure – another matter. Having sex doesn’t take those away from you. Having sex taken forcibly FROM you may. Being shamed about sex certainly does. Those are the evils we should fight.

    • Well, Randy’s viewpoint (two hundred years of servicing women and learning to see deep into their sexual desires) is that sex is not *taken from* you… it is part of your life force and your being…but people can pile a lot of their crap on top of it. Sort of like “loading you up with their baggage,” if you want to use 70s psychobabble.

      And he’s distinguishing from sex (the act, or the desire for it) and virginity, the sense of being full of power and life force and potential. According to eastern thinkers, we are all full of power that we learn to ignore and never use. But without it our hearts wouldn’t beat. We’d be just a bag of dead protoplasm.

  2. I’ve been reading a lot of historical fiction set in the 1200s to the 1500s or so and this sort of connected some dots for me.

    If you think about it, with a loss of “virginity” what was actually being lost, according to the values of the times, was your marketability. And it wasn’t even YOUR marketability, it was the price your father or male guardian could get when shopping you around for marriage. People as merchandise is certainly nothing new, on any level. What seems to change with the times are the ways culture rearranges to accommodate this, never really changing the fundamental attitude that lives beneath the surface.

    I did not ever get the impression while reading about those times that this was applicable to men and boys – quite the reverse.

    We’ve not yet come far from those values – about which there are many ways to explore and insights to gain – suffice it to say the more things change the more they stay the same.

    • >>What seems to change with the times are the ways culture rearranges to accommodate this, never really changing the fundamental attitude that lives beneath the surface.<<

      There are always men who cling to their power over others. At the very bottom of the economic ladder, the only thing a man may feel he "owns" is his family–his children because he begot them and his wife because she's his woman (chattel). This is a class thing. Some women cling to their ownership of their children long after those children are grown and gone–they're closer to the bottom of the heap than their husbands, because their husbands own them but at least they own their children. In caste societies it's the lower classes who work hardest to reinforce the rules. Gotta have *somebody* to stand on.