September 4, 2014
The Making of "V-Card The Film"
By Rula Al-Nasrawi
Dillon Birdsall has never had sex, and it's something that has plagued him for years. It wasn't until after befriending Matthew McLachlan in their Florida college when he decided to explore the concept of virginity further and take his virginity blues and make a movie. We talked to Birdsall about his upcoming documentary "V-Card The Film," and the process of making a film about that first time, whether it's been experienced yet or not.
OTC: Tell us about your role in the movie and when this project first took form.
Birdsall: I was twenty, going to an art college, and I wasn’t having any sex at all. And in art college that’s a bit weird. I got Netflix and I was watching documentaries religiously and I thought it would be interesting to see a documentary through the point of view of a virgin because I’d never seen that...I’d never seen anybody going through the stuff I was going through like not knowing what to do with women, not exactly knowing what to say, why wasn’t I having sex? All of those little tidbits of feeling bad about not being attractive to women and whatnot. And I told a bunch of people about it in college and then I kind of just filed it away.
I moved up to New York to pursue acting and after a year up here I discovered that I didn’t want to be an actor anymore or at all, and I kind of had a real big...I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I was considering moving back home to try and figure out what the next step was and one of my friends up here, Matthew [McLaughlin and I] went out to dinner, he’s one of my older friends, and I went to college with him, and he was like “Well what about that documentary?” Eight months later and we have a successful Kick Starter and we’re filming.
OTC: So are you still filming right now?
Birdsall: We’re going to be filming until mid 2015.
OTC: Who are the kinds of people you are talking to, are you just trying to get the virgin perspective?
Birdsall: We’re talking to everyone. Every type of person you could think of: gay, straight, trans, virgin, non-virgin, young, old. We want to cover it all because the premise of the film is about me discovering how I feel about virginity, but it’s really about the first time. What was it like YOUR first time? What was losing your virginity like? What is sex like for you? What does sex mean to you? And then overall, how do we view virginity in today’s modern society?
OTC: Tell me more about people like Natalie Dylan who attempt to auction off their virginity.
Birdsall: We’re trying to get her into the film....Natalie sold [her virginity] but then didn’t go through with losing it because the man who bought it was a married man and his wife found out. So, there’s that.
OTC: What is it about this topic that is so interesting?
Birdsall: It’s a universal topic. You either have been or are a virgin, so you can relate to something. For some people their virginity isn’t something to be worried about, and for me it was something I agonized over and or am still agonizing over—I haven’t had sex yet...I felt ashamed of being a virgin, I didn’t think that I was enough. I didn’t think I was living up to society’s expectations of what a man needs to be because I hadn’t had this pivotal moment in my life where I have sex, and I know what sex is like, and then you do all of those things. It’s a weird place to be in but the more you talk to people the more you realize that it’s not really about the sex, it’s more about the emotional connections you make on the way, it’s more about how YOU define what YOU want out of relationships and where you grow and mature with that. And we as a society don’t talk about that enough, we have a really narrow view of what sexuality is and we don’t give time to let it breathe.
OTC: Are you guys conducting only street interviews for the film or both?
Birdsall: It’s a real combination of everything. We definitely have a bit of on the street stuff, we have formal sit down interviews with sex therapists and sex authors and other documentary filmmakers who have kind of done the same subject. We’re trying to get some schools involved like Columbia or NYU or Cornell. And then we’re going to California to interview porn stars and sex workers and hopefully get a celebrity or two. But yeah, it’s my story, with interviews throughout.
OTC: Any interesting stories you’ve heard so far?
Birdsall: The average age that we’ve found from the 40 plus interviews that we’ve done already is like 16 to 18 when you lose it, so I’m behind the mark a little bit when it comes to that. Most first times are not very good. Everybody’s like “the first time wasn’t anything to remember in a good way.” I’ve also learned to be much more accepting of myself when it comes to not having had sex yet and coming to be more accepting to the fact that I am a virgin and all of those things. It’s just extremely interesting to talk to people about their sexuality.
OTC: Have you found that there are a lot of differences between female and male virginity expectations?
Birdsall: I think that everybody feels a certain form of pressure or need to lose it at some point, but as for the big differences, no we’re actually very similar.... Sadly we’ve only been able to interview one virgin so far. Finding a virgin is very difficult.
OTC: How are you finding your virgins?
Birdsall: Sadly we’ve only been able to interview one virgin so far. Finding a virgin is very difficult...The one virgin that we did interview, it was a lucky coincidence. She heard about the project through a friend and then came in of of the days we were doing an open call and she let that out and I was like “Oh my god you’re the first!” But it’s really difficult to find another virgin. Or at least who is willing to admit it on camera...They don’t want to air their virginity laundry out to the rest of the world.
OTC: What are your own thoughts on virginity now? Have they changed while making this film?
Birdsall: For me I’ve become much more accepting of the fact that I am a virgin. That it’s not a thing that you should have to worry about or even really think about. It should just be something that you are or you’re not. It shouldn’t be like “Oh my god I still haven’t had sex yet!” And worrying about it all the time and allowing it to affect your relationship whether it be with a man or a woman. There are going to be some people out there that aren’t attracted to you because you’re a virgin, or they’ll be intimidated by it because we as a society have built virginity up to be such a big deal. Through the movie, I want it to just be ok for people to number one talk about it, number two it’s not that big of a deal. Sex is, I imagine, awesome, and I cannot wait to have it. But on the same token, you shouldn’t beat yourself up because you haven’t had that experience yet.
**Learn more about the upcoming documentary here.