MTV's 'Virgin Territory' Is Way More Relatable Than TLC's 'Virgin Diaries' — And A Lot More Normal, Too
In the department of teen sex going wrong, MTV has covered all their bases with 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom. Now, it's time to show the other side of the coin: What happens when teens and twenty-somethings end up not having sex at all? The network's latest reality show, Virgin Territory (which premieres Wednesday night at 11 p.m. ET), will take us into the lives of a group of young adults who, either by choice or by circumstance, have yet to rid themselves of their virginity — and in some cases, what happens when they eventually do decide to have sex.
If you felt a strong sense of deja vu while watching the trailer for Virgin Territory, don't worry — you're not alone. In 2011, TLC launched a series of their own, Virgin Diaries , which explored the same concept, but as most TLC shows tend to do, the cases were super extreme and occasionally, totally unbelievable. (Remember Skippy? Oh wait, how could you forget?) It doesn't sound like MTV's trying to repeat what TLC did, though — Virgin Territory, much like the guys and girls featured on it, is forging its own path. Rest assured: Virgin Diaries and Virgin Territory are two totally separate entities and I can prove it.
Everyone on Virgin Territory is under 25
In order to better reach its audience, Virgin Territory is keeping the subjects of the docuseries in the same age range as the network's target demographic, while Virgin Diaries featured people who were virgins well into their 30s or 40s. Teenagers and the college-age crowd will, obviously, handle being virgins in a totally different way than adults would, and the reaction from their peers would be different, too.
Virgin Territory normalizes the concept of not having sex
Through TLC's persuasive editing lens, we were obviously supposed to think the folks on Virgin Diaries were freaks. Come on, who goes around giving out t-shirts with slogans about their virginity? Teens at home watching the show who aren't having sex can't identify with that. Instead, they can relate to the experiences that everyone documenting their journey on Virgin Territory is trying to share: Having the sex talk with their parents, confessing to friends that they have yet to have sex, and trying to make the decision about what time is the right time — or if there even is a right time in the immediate future. And if their answer is still no? That's completely fine.
Yeah, this is how everyone's attitude should be. Whether you decide to have sex or not is a personal decision, and in no way reflects the person you are. But when the presence of peer pressure can be suffocating, being able to connect with others who feel the same way you do can offer a huge relief.
MTV has a message: Promoting safe sex
I mean, yeah, they're looking for viewers, and a show with shock value like this one is sure to get them. But MTV has the bigger picture in mind: Showing firsthand accounts of the importance of taking sex seriously, just in case Teen Mom didn't scare you into using birth control religiously just yet.
Sex sells — there's no doubt about that one. But telling the story of those who say no? They're filling a void that will benefit (and maybe even educate) the less sexually experienced, and there's nothing bad about that.