Lena Chen

is a reluctant sexpert, a feminist and queer advocate, and a walking case study on bad publicity. As a Harvard undergrad, she authored the blog Sex and the Ivy about her college sexcapades and misadventures. Her reputation has never quite recovered. Want to give her a book deal, send her hate mail, or misquote her in an article? Read her daily musings at The Ch!cktionary and check out her full bio.

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Hi folks! This week, I’m in San Francisco, where the Center for Sex and Culture is screening the new documentary by Therese Shechter. I first met Therese back in 2010 when she interviewed me for the film, and it’s been hugely gratifying to see this independent women-led project develop into a multi-platform educational tool for combating outdated gender stereotypes and sexual norms. Saturday’s screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director and film subjects. I’ve already seen it once on television and can’t wait to see this project on the big screen :) Here’s the synopsis:
It has launched both purity balls and porn franchises, defines a young woman’s morality–but has no medical definition. Enter the magical world of virginity, where a white wedding dress can restore a woman’s innocence and replacement hymens can be purchased online. Therese Shechter (who previously directed I WAS A TEENAGE FEMINIST) uses her own path out of virginity to explore why our sex-crazed society cherishes this so-called precious gift. Along the way, we meet sex educators, virginity auctioneers, abstinence advocates, and young men and women who bare their tales of doing it—or not doing it. “How To Lose Your Virginity” uncovers the myths and misogyny surrounding a rite of passage that many obsesses about but few truly understand.
Want more information? Check out the movie website and go beyond the film to the V-Card Diaries, a crowd-sourced collection of sexual debuts and deferrals.
"How to Lose Your Virginity" Sat, April 5, 8pm – 10pm Center for Sex and Culture1349 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
Tickets at the door: $8-25 sliding scale. Note: Because of the exhibits at the center, this space is 18+ only.

Hi folks! This week, I’m in San Francisco, where the Center for Sex and Culture is screening the new documentary by Therese Shechter. I first met Therese back in 2010 when she interviewed me for the film, and it’s been hugely gratifying to see this independent women-led project develop into a multi-platform educational tool for combating outdated gender stereotypes and sexual norms. Saturday’s screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director and film subjects. I’ve already seen it once on television and can’t wait to see this project on the big screen :) Here’s the synopsis:

It has launched both purity balls and porn franchises, defines a young woman’s morality–but has no medical definition. Enter the magical world of virginity, where a white wedding dress can restore a woman’s innocence and replacement hymens can be purchased online. Therese Shechter (who previously directed I WAS A TEENAGE FEMINIST) uses her own path out of virginity to explore why our sex-crazed society cherishes this so-called precious gift. Along the way, we meet sex educators, virginity auctioneers, abstinence advocates, and young men and women who bare their tales of doing it—or not doing it. “How To Lose Your Virginity” uncovers the myths and misogyny surrounding a rite of passage that many obsesses about but few truly understand.

Want more information? Check out the movie website and go beyond the film to the V-Card Diaries, a crowd-sourced collection of sexual debuts and deferrals.

"How to Lose Your Virginity"
Sat, April 5, 8pm – 10pm
Center for Sex and Culture
1349 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA

Tickets at the door: $8-25 sliding scale. Note: Because of the exhibits at the center, this space is 18+ only.

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Feminism/s Presents: Sex in Journalism

As part of their Feminism/s series, the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania is hosting a panel tomorrow night on sex writing. I’ll be speaking at 6pm in the Arts Cafe - come join us! The talk will be followed by a Q&A and reception :)

FEMINISM/S PRESENTS: SEX IN JOURNALISM
Wednesday, February 5th at 6:00pm
Arts Cafe, Kelly Writers House
(
3805 Locust Walk on the University of Pennsylvania campus)

What do we talk about when we talk about sex? Join us for a discussion on the role of sex in journalism. Panelists include acclaimed journalist JULIA ALLISON; blogger LENA CHEN; KELSEY McKINNEY, online editor of Foxing Quarterly; and DAN REIMOLD, media scholar and author of “Sex and the University.” Moderated by ARIELLE PARDES. Come join the conversation.

Co-sponsored by The Fund for Feminist Projects and the Povich Journalism Fund.

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Faith and First Times: Sex, Society and Religion

I’m speaking tonight at Pomona College and will be in Los Angeles until Wednesday. If you’re in the Claremont area, come check this out :)

Faith and First Times: Sex, Society and Religion
Thursday, October 4th, 7:00-8:30pm
Rose Hills Theatre, Pomona College

In today’s modern age, female sexuality has become less taboo to discuss. Whether through Cosmopolitan Magazine or Victoria’s Secret, society is beginning to explore a certain brand of female sexuality. Yet many women of faith are faced with the dilemma of embracing their sexuality while still maintaining religious traditions that value virginity and purity, while secular women often feel these cultural representations are not a true expression of their experiences. Come join the Pomona Student Union at Faith and First Times, an event aimed at exploring the influences of religion on virginity and how it effects women in today’s society.

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Here are some snapshots from last month’s second annual Sex, Love, & Dating Conference at Rutgers University :) Since I had a big gap between my two workshops, I took the opportunity to sit down and chat with some really lovely students.

Below are the workshop descriptions - I’m becoming bored of talking about the hook-up culture, to be honest. After writing my thesis on the topic and blogging at length about it, it seems like I’ve learned all that I can. That said, I’m thinking of developing the slut-shaming workshop into a full-length talk for next year…

Hooking Up & Getting Down: The State of Casual Sex & the College Romance

Half a century after the sexual revolution, premarital sex is today the norm, and social conservatives lament the rise of the so-called hook-up culture. What does dating in college look like today? Are abstinence advocates onto something when they warn that casual sex has effectively killed romance? Will fooling around before marriage endanger your future marital bliss — or even make you less likely to marry?  What if you want to opt out of hooking up altogether? Part-interactive workshop, part conversation, this talk takes a humorous look at dating through the ages and encourages audience members to explore modern courtship through their personal experiences. Come prepared to share your opinions and questions on topics like first-date sex, consent, peer pressure, and dating rules.

Slut Walks, Walks Of Shame, & Sexual Double Standards

Hussy. Whore. Harlot. Tramp. “Slut-shaming” may be a modern term but the stigmatization of women’s sexuality has a rich cultural history. The fear of social reprisal can affect everything from the way we dress to how we communicate with our sexual partners and peers. In a society with supposed sexual freedom, how does slut-shaming reinforce existing gendered norms and threaten young people’s identity and emotional well-being through cyber bullying and real-world harassment? How does the “slut” label limit our ability to vocalize our desires or express ourselves, and how are double standards stratified by race, class, and religion? Most importantly, is there a way to reappropriate the term “slut” and reclaim it in the name of sexual liberation? This talk discusses the speaker’s personal experiences with “slut-shaming”, the “fallen woman” as a social construct, and the ways these stereotypes manifest themselves in pop culture and in our everyday lives.

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In the latest episode of Sexy Times, I give advice to girls who aren’t quite ready to come out yet. Do you have an obligation to tell your friends and family about your sexual orientation? What happens if you aren’t ready yet? Watch the above video and check out the past editions of the Sexy Times series over at gURL.com.

(Source: lenachen)

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Headed to California for Sex:Tech & Pomona College event

Hey guys! I’m headed to San Francisco to attend Sex:Tech, the 5th Annual Isis Conference on New Media, Youth, & Sexual Health, where I’ll be speaking on a panel about online intimacy and relationships. Then I’ll be in Los Angeles from April 3rd to 6th to do an event at Pomona College. It’ll be a hectic week of work and travel, but I’m hoping to see both of my parents and some friends while in town. I’m going to try to make it back to California at least one more time (when I don’t have any professional obligations) before I make the big move to Berlin. And maybe next time, I can bring the two boys?

Below is the info on the two events :)

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xoxosms: Authentic Relationships and Online Identities
11:30am, Monday, April 2nd at Stanford Court Renaissance in San Francisco, CA

How do we navigate online identities and relationships? Can you really “know” someone you’ve never met? Is it safe to form relationships online? Enjoy a film screening of “xoxosms”, a new short documentary by Nancy Schwartzman that follows two star-crossed lovers in the digital age. Following the screening, we’ll discuss the idea of “digital intimacy”, and the authentic and healthy relationships to be found and nurtured online. Featuring Nancy Schwartzman (Filmmaker and The Line Campaign), Cory Silverberg (sexuality.about.com and ISIS Board Member), Heather Corinna (Scarleteen), and Lena Chen (Sex and the Ivy).

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Writing Sex Positively: A Discussion with Lena Chen
7pm, Thursday, April 5th at Pomona College in Claremont, CA

What is sex-positive writing, and at which point does it become a political act? How has the feminist or sex-positive blog-o-sphere reshaped social activism and cultural criticism? Is the Internet an effective tool for social change or does it merely maintain the status quo and replicate offline power structures? In a moderated conversation, Lena Chen, a “reluctant sexpert, a feminist and queer advocate, and a walking case study on bad publicity”, will discuss her career as a blogger, speaker, media commentator, and activist. She’ll answer questions about the future of new media and publishing, professional options for feminists and progressives, and the pros and cons of working within the non-profit industrial complex. RSVP for the event on Facebook.