SPOILERS FOR GLEE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
I'm a total Gleek and proud of it.
Glee is everything I want in a TV series. Singing. Dancing. Lampshading (when a show pokes fun at itself). Characters actually aging and graduating high school.
Beyond that, I love how the characters start out as blatant stereotypes, but become more complex. Although Rachel was originally my favorite character—I totally identified with her—Santana is now my favorite by far. A bitchy, promiscuous cheerleader? Psh, like we haven't seen that before. Except, wait, she's hooking up with her best friend and fellow Cheerio Brittany? Just hot girl-on-girl action, right? Except, no, Santana is secretly a lesbian.
I also love how Glee handles sex, with only a few quibbling remarks. Virginity is addressed in multiple episodes, most notably in “The Power of Madonna,” “Duets,” and, most recently, “The First Time.”
As your foremost expert in virginity, having been one for twenty-something years and counting, I feel qualified to critique the way virginity—and losing virginity—is presented in Glee.
That Emma equates female empowerment with having sex. That Will lets her.
That Santana doesn't think it's a big deal to take Finn's virginity. That Brittany doesn't think it's a big deal to take Artie's virginity. That the girls are both using sex as a means to get something.
That Artie thinks Rachel and Blaine are unrealistic as Maria and Tony because they're virgins. That Rachel and Blaine listen to him!
That Rachel is presented as crazy and unrealistic for wanting to wait until she's in her 20s to have sex.
That Rachel tries to prove Finn's special because she's giving him her virginity, a gift she can only give once.
That none of the characters who want their first time to be special wait til marriage.
That Will recognizes he was an asshole and apologizes to Emma.
That Finn regrets sleeping with Santana. That Brittany feels badly for how she treated Artie.
That choosing to have multiple partners doesn't make Santana and Brittany sluts anymore than Puck is considered a manwhore.
The scene when Rachel turns to the other girls for advice. The different perspectives each of them offer on choosing to have sex.
That Rachel sees her first time as giving her virginity to her boyfriend and not losing it to him.
That Blaine and Kurt's first time receive the same attention as Finn and Rachel's.
That both couples wait until they're in love. That Blaine and Finn don't pressure Kurt and Rachel into doing anything until they're ready. (Blaine's drunken scene aside).
That Blaine casually refers to masturbation as an alternative to his otherwise conservative sex life.
That we'll maybe see Emma and Will's first time be on their wedding night?
I'm not the only one who thinks Glee could have done a few things differently. Therese over at “How to Lose Your Virginity” has a great post on it, although with a fairly different perspective than I present.
I'll end with this. Sometimes sex is a big deal; sometimes it isn't. Sometimes losing your virginity is special and romantic and involves singing & dancing; sometimes it's fumbling in the back of your mom's car. At the end of the day, sex is a personal choice, and no one has the right to tell you otherwise. Overall, I think Glee does a good job of showing that people will try and interfere with your sex life, but at the end of the day, what you choose to do (or not do) with another person (or alone!) is up to you.
Me, I'm waiting til marriage for that final, crowning act, but in the meantime, I'll enjoy a variety of alternatives...