Virgin Territory: How 'Doing It' Gets Done on TV

For better or worse, the most memorable ways that television has portrayed young women losing their virginity since the late '80s

TV virgins

Jane the Virgin (Photo: Shomi)

This season of Jane the Virgin has been a “will she or won’t she” crossroads for the titular character—a capital-V virgin. And while we wait to see if she decides on Michael or Rafael (or maybe her hot thesis advisor), we’re fondly reminiscing about our first time watching other people’s first time on TV.  (Fun fact: Natalie from The Facts of Life was the first female to punch her V-card on TV. Today, actor Mindy Cohn is godmother to a few of Brad and Angelina’s children. See, it all worked out!)

Brenda and Dylan, Beverly Hills, 90210
Look, it was hardly Dylan’s first time on a coital merry-go-round—the guy lived alone and drove a Porsche in high school—but still, there was something momentous about that prom night hotel romp. IRL, censors were so offended by a teenager having sex (Brenda, not Dylan, obvi) that they threatened to boycott sponsors. After the big night, Brenda had a pregnancy scare, and she and Dylan conveniently broke up, never to reunite (biblically) on screen again.

Pacey and Joey, Dawson’s Creek
It took awhile, but the teens on Dawson’s Creek finally managed to keep quiet long enough to have sex (well, as long as teenagers need). On the last night of a ski trip, Joey and Pacey got down in a secluded cabin. This was a slow burn, and like many TV plotlines, the two characters that seemed to butt heads eventually fall into bed together. (Looking back, Pacey was an excellent choice.)

Buffy and Angel, Buffy The Vampire Slayer
After a lot of brooding, Buffy and Angel escape the rain and run straight into each other’s arms (and hugging + rain = sex). But if you think the aftermath of your first time was awkward, consider this: the effect of pure joy on Angel’s soul turned him back into Angelus, a demonic vampire. So basically, after they slept together he turned into an unavailable jerk. She later stabs him (out of love, of course).

Julia and Justin, Party of Five
The Salingers may have been a genetically blessed bunch, but they had some horrible, terrible, no good luck. It seems that everything they did had consequences with a capital C, and that includes Julia having sex with her boyfriend Justin. She gets pregnant her first time out the gate, and agonizes over whether or not to terminate. Ultimately, it’s not her decision as she miscarries.

Seth and Summer, The O.C.
Summer may have been a big talker, but was it really any surprise that she was a virgin? When she and Seth finally have sex, it was awkward and terrible the first few times, so they deserve some points for realism.

Blair and Chuck, Gossip Girl
After Blair got burned by her best friend Serena and boyfriend Nate (they managed to not only have sex, but passionate standing up sex), she is devastated and a little vengeful. Enter Chuck Bass, who shows a teeny bit of heart when he tries to pump the brakes and asks vulnerable Blair if she is sure she wants to have sex. She does, and in what we can only assume is an homage to ’80s excess, they do it in the back of a limo.

Three High Drama Shows to Binge Watch Now!
If You Love Music You’re Going to Be Obsessed With Noisey
Fierce-O-Meter: The Week’s Most Fearless Females on TV