An Interview with TLC’s “Virgin Diaries” Virgin (well, not anymore)+comment
Some of you may not be familar with TLC’s “Virgin Diaries.” If you are, it may be due to the first season’s worst, most creepy first kiss ever (the couple didn’t even kiss until they were married – and it showed). After the youtube video of the kiss was passed around, it kicked up the promotion for Season 2. So my curiosity was definitely piqued when I recognized an old friend of mine in the Season 2 commercial.
When my friend, Karissa, moved to Seattle a few years back, I definitely didn’t think the next time I would see her would be on a TLC’s “Virgin Diaries.” Karissa was always very open and direct about her virginity. I will admit, most people were surprised (myself included) when she mentioned she was a virgin. We worked at a very rowdy sports bar, and no one walked in that place assuming anyone over the age of 18 was a virgin – especially since Karissa is a fun, flirty, tattooed gal. Her look is part Olsen twin, part rocker, as if Pink and Nicole Ritchie had a love child. Needless to say, she wasn’t the girl that a) couldn’t get guys attention or b) super religious or nerdy (which seem to be the reasons most people think of when they meet a virgin over 25). So when Karissa was promoting her upcoming episode of the TCL show “Virgin Diaries” on Facebook, I was very curious to watch.
After the episode aired, Karissa appeared on “The View” (with special guest Roseanne Barr) and on “Dr. Drew” to discuss her story. I reached out to Karissa to discuss why she did the show, what she thought about the whole process, and well, about virginity and discussing losing it on tv. Luckily years of dealing with drunks together gave me an in that equalled Dr. Drew and Roseanne. Or more likely, she did an old friend a favor.
Me and my close friends have always joked about the idea of me having my own show since it’s pretty rare these days to find someone around my age and still a virgin. Let alone someone who isn’t a troll or massively religious. So after I saw the first episode (which was absolutely ridiculous) I sent in a short email about myself, pretty much as a joke. And from there things just started rolling. I had to do a phone interview (which was a tad awkward since I was in Barnes & Noble at the time and speaking very crudely), then send in a short video, more phone calls. I got pitched to the execs at TLC, they liked me so there you go. I never set out to actually film a tv show.
2. What was your guy’s reaction when you told him you were a virgin?
He already knew quite a bit about me before we started hanging out since we’d seen each other in AA meetings together and spoke candidly. So his initial reaction, that I dont know. It never seemed to be an issue. Partly because he’s not a huge slut kinda guy, so the relationship was being built on something other than sex.
2a. What was his reaction to your being on the show?
The show was kinda in the works when we initially started hanging out. I wasn’t “booked” on it but it was a possibility. Since the show got set up before we became serious, it was never supposed to highlight me in a relationship. It was just supposed to be me going out with my friends and having fun being a 29yr old virgin, I guess. Once our relationship developed I couldn’t film the show faking a bunch of stuff so I came clean to the producers and we decided to change the concept. He kinda just went along with it but I was adamant that his name nor his face would be on camera. It took a long time to decide to do the show, weighing the pro’s and con’s. I didn’t think it was a good idea to really involve someone else.
3. What is the biggest misconception people had about you because of your virginity?
In all honesty the biggest misconception was that there was no way in hell I could be a virgin. People see the tattoos, hair, and clothes and just assume I’m an average rocker girl. About 95% of the people who learned that I was didn’t believe it at first.
4. How did you feel about the episode and how you were portrayed?
I was extremely happy about the way I was portrayed on the show. It was very true to form. No stories were molded or manipulated. Filming there was obviously a few things that weren’t realistic (like I’m not asking everyone I meet for tips, or trying on lingerie like it’s my wedding dress). I got out lucky because my “co-stars” said there stories were definitely a little more cut and pasted.
4a. Was there anything they didn’t show (or edited out) that you wish they’d kept in?
Basically just how much fun we have and how ridiculous me and Katrina are. There were a lot of jokes that didn’t make it on camera.
5. What has been people’s reactions to the show?
All the reactions I have gotten have been completely positive, especially about the tv appearances that followed. Well, all the ones that have been said to my face have been completely positive. I was suprised how many commented on how poised and lady like I was.
6. Are you still dating the guy?
Yep, still together. Almost 7 months.
7. Do you think you were ever afraid to lose your virginity?
Absolutely. The idea that I could become a locker room joke terrified me. But that was when I was picturing it with a random or just a recent date. I warmed up more to the idea as me and Simon got closer and I realized how much he cared for me. All the awkwardness went away. No matter how uncomfortable things got, I never felt scared.
8. Do you think you used your virginity as protection from being vulnerable or intimate?
Probably. It used to be the first thing I would say to people when we met. Like “Hi, I’m Karissa. Have I mentioned I’m a virgin?”. And I think that was a protective barrier. Also I think I definitely used it as a stepping stone to stand apart from others and make me memorable, or so I thought.
9. What’s your biggest piece of advice to women out there that are virgins (besides those who wait for religion or marriage).
Wait until YOU want to do it. My life didn’t dramatically change when I started having sex, it went on as normal. I always wanted to wait till I found someone who eased my nervousness and made me comfortable. That was it. I wasn’t looking for my Prince Charming or my Happy Ever After. When I made the decision, I knew it wouldn’t be one I’d regret no matter how our relationship unfolded.
10. What’s been the best thing about losing your virginity? What’s been the worst?
It’s given me more freedom to connect with my body and my sexuality. And it didn’t take long for it to become enjoyable. The worst thing is that I’m in the mindset to make up for lost time Plus it changed the dynamic of our relationship now that there was another connection. In times when I’ve considered ending our relationship, the sex thing is another factor to think about.
11. How was Roseanne?
Actually all the ladies on the show were very sweet to me. Roseanne was probably the most talkative and the most genuine. I treated it very professionally, I was in and out. No autographs or pictures needed.
12. What was your overall feeling/impression of the whole televised experience?
It was fun and I’m glad it’s something I decided to do. The reason I agreed to do the show was that I kinda wanted to stop the virgin stereotype that’s out there. I wanted to show people it’s not something to be ashamed about. And that you don’t have to fit into a certain category to remain a virgin. It is a personal choice anbd one that you should be confident and comfortable with and I feel that was well portrayed on the show.