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TLC's 'Virgin Diaries': Does It Mock the Choice to Abstain?

Photo credit: TLC

Did you happen to catch the premiere this week of TLC’s The Virgin Diaries? The show is an hour long exercise in awkward. Days later I am still cringing. There’s something about watching 30-something virgins talk about their inexperience with sex that feels even more voyeuristic than is typical of reality television.

The most hyped scene of the show appeared in the trailer during which a featured couple, Ryan and Shanna, experienced their first ever kiss at the altar.  I wish I could tell you that it was a sweet and magical moment between two people who had waited their entire lives for each other, and maybe for them it was, but for the rest of the millions watching it was kind of weird and awkward and gross. You know, the way first kisses often are. You can check out their lip-locking disaster in this clip.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCv3c_DWhq0&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Watching this show, I couldn’t help but wonder about the parents of these later in life virgins. Was the decision to wait to have sex made of the couple’s own volition, or were they encouraged to save themselves for marriage by a moral code instilled in them from childhood?

My children are still years away from dating, but when they do reach an appropriate age I plan on promoting safe sex rather than abstinence. That’s not to say I’ll be tucking condoms in the pocket of my grade schooler, but I won’t exactly be demanding that they save their virginity for their wedding night either.

If I’m being completely honest, I wouldn’t be disappointed if they chose to live with their partners for a while before tying the knot and, if I were one to be easily swayed by the things I watch on television, this show would only reinforce my stance on premarital sex.

As much as I don’t want to think about my kids’ sex life, I also recognize it as an important part of a healthy relationship and I can’t help but feel like these things should be worked out before they are contractually obligated to make the relationship work.

Much like the TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras, Virgin Diaries doesn’t exactly cast a flattering light on it’s subjects’ lifestyle choices. I hope that future episodes are edited with the network’s title, The Learning Channel, in mind.

If done correctly, this show could be a refreshing change of pace from the highly sexualized content available on pretty much every other reality show.

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