MTV’s newest docu-series TV show: ‘Virgin Territory’ aired this week on it’s currently scheduled weekly slot of Wed nights 11/10C PM. It has received a mixed reaction of emotions in response. From this Psychotherapist/Marriage & Family Therapist’s perspective who specializes in relationship based issues, below you will find my brief commentary of each “character” introduced on the 1st episode as well as my rating of ‘smiley face’ or ‘frown’ for Episode #1.
The viewer was introduced to 4 real life people with 4 different life stories as it relates to their virginity in Episode #1 of MTV’s Virgin Territory.
Dominique age 22 – “No ringy no dingy” we learn in the opening episode is her motto.
This young woman who did not have a mother and father parenting unit of stability throughout her upbringing, we as the viewer quickly learn she does not want to follow in the footsteps of her family history where having children out of wedlock is not uncommon. It is clear that she yearns for connection in an adult relationship with a male that will stand the test of time. Presents as having the belief that sexual intercourse should be reserved for the person who has vowed to be with you forever, analytically one might think this is so as to assure that she does not experience the lack of having a significant person in her life. By comparison the lack of having her mother and father in her life the way in which she would have yearned to have and have, she desires an adult relationship with a male to be different and yearns to have a more connected relationship with her mother.
In scenarios like these where a child is raised lacking in feeling her parents are there for her the way in which she would have liked, it is not uncommon for the female to be overly sexual in an effort to connect with men. Or, it is not uncommon for women go the other way which is to hold on to their virginity hoping that true love will find them so that they can have in their adult male-female relationship what they never saw nor had growing up. In my work with women in similar circumstances, feeling loved, feeling that someone is there for you who has your back is the yearning desire.
Kyle 20 – Fatherless male.
This is a young man whose father passed away when he was in High School. In my work with young men who have had this type of loss during their teenage years, it is quite common for them to report feeling unsure of themselves with women. They yearn for a serious relationship, not just a one night fling. Young men whose father has passed away, it is these young men who learned in the loss of their father – that the giving and receiving of love is not something they take for granted. For these young men have experienced the loss of a loved one young. The void in one’s heart, one’s mind, one’s body, one’s full self runs deep. In addition, a very significant piece of the puzzle in these types of scenarios is that not having a father to feel a male can go to and discuss relationships with is a void that leaves fatherless men feeling awkward and inept at how to experience a male-female relationship.
Often sexually, males whose father has passed away are not what one would refer to as a smooth operator in their relationships with women. Males who are fatherless through death are often high on the scale for candidates to benefit from experiencing the type of woman in their male-female relationship to help guide them on their journey of sexual confidence and relational connective comfort, as this is a significant piece of their life puzzle that is a challenge for them. It can be helped, learned and improved upon when with the right woman. In my counseling work with young men, I have seen men who have grown tremendously in their emotional confidence and relational comfort from feeling inept to quite able and grow in self confidence through individual counseling that helps them to gain insight into understanding the connective nature of the loss of their parent to their male-female relationship challenges. In counseling, therapeutic tips and strategies also allow for the opportunity for men to gain confidence and comfort in their interactions with women, and in life overall. For it is not uncommon for fatherless men due to the death of their father during their teen years to experience the loss in its impact in many areas of their lives.
Lisa 23- Engaged to be married, Christian values guided her decision to wait until marriage before having sexual intercourse.
A young woman who is a virgin and is about to be married, the viewer gets to watch this process. Expectations of what sex will be like, the experience in and of itself and what it will mean in a relationship is often misunderstood or simply not understood. Lisa presents her vulnerability and her lack of experience and understanding of sex. She is not alone. Her sexual relations pre-wedding concerns are not shocking (e.g., what sex will be like, how often sex will be in their relationship…). When couples come in to see me for pre-marital counseling, the sexual relationship is often a piece of the puzzle that they wish to discuss.
During Episode #1, we the viewer see Lisa get married and have the opportunity to hear her reactions post wedding night sex. As the viewer it becomes clear that the message she shares about her sexual experience is that she has nothing exciting to report post having intercourse. The viewer observes an intimate communication between she and her husband where she asks him if he thinks sex is something that they will grow into. This interaction between the couple, along with her reports to the viewer was valuable for young males and females to hear and a reminder for all couples at any phase and stage of their sexual relationship. Why do I feel it was of significance for the viewer? The reason is that a couple’s sexual style is not always something that happens the first go around. Rather one’s sexual relationship is a journey. Expectations of what sex will or will not be, may or may not be met initially.
Mikaela 19- Wants to have intercourse.
A young woman who wants to have sexual relations with a male, but would like to find someone she likes is what she presents in this opening episode. She mentions her interest in being with a guy with tattoos and describes what he may be wearing. The viewer sees her and her friends joking about sex, which is quite common for young adult females who are single as they are interested in being in a sexual relationship. There is also a moment within the joking that one of her friends shares a serious comment that it is in her experience that the first few times sex hurts. The jokes and playfulness of dialogue between the gal pals, as well as the serious conversational moments and personal stories is a reminder of how young adults learn about sex. Perhaps a good reminder for parents to consider that it would be helpful to have an open communicative relationship with one’s children, and include dialogues about sex with their children so as their children age they will feel informed. Young adults don’t have to only learn about sex from friends’ experiences. They will of course learn through their own experiences. They can also learn from their parents, if their parents take the time to communicate about sex.
The overall experience the viewer receives from Episode #1 with Mikaela is the playfulness of sexuality and her desire to find a man to be sexual with. This is not uncommon for some males and females as their hormones and emotions yearn to connect and explore sexually. Her story is a basic reminder of the human urge for sexual companionship with someone you find appealing. For some, appealing is about a person’s personality, for others it is about their visual appearance, for others it is about their intellect, for others it is a combination of all of these factors and/or additional variables. Mikaela is a reminder that we are all human and sexual desires are not taboo and rather simply normal.
Dr. Karen Ruskin’s Rating:
I rate Episode #1 with a smiley face. My rationale is as follows. Many young adults will identify with the stories listed above. Each of these stories are identifiable. To have a young woman who doesn’t wish to follow in her own family history footsteps of having children out of wedlock, to a young man whose father passed away affecting his focus and comfort with women, to a woman’s religious beliefs guiding her decision to wait till marriage, to a gal who is ready to be sexual with a males she finds appealing – this is real life for the young adult. Young adults who are virgins often feel alone in that many of their friends are sexually active. To have relate-able characters and observe their struggles helps the young adult to consider their own life story and not feel so alone. It is clear from this first episode that although the focus of the show is absolutely about virginity, which is an interesting topic in and of itself for many young adults, the surrounding pieces of the lives of these young men and women as it relates to their virginity will be of interest for many young adults as well. As it is not uncommon for there to be an inter-connective nature between one’s sexual self and other aspects of one’s relational life.