Few human experiences are as universally shared, and yet as diverse, as the loss of virginity. The Virgin Project is a collection of first-time sexual encounters that illustrate a small sample of the breadth of human experience. Some people consider virginity as a prize to be given away. Some consider it a burden to be disposed of. For some, it was stolen and can never be restored. A few place little value on it at all. As one remarked, “I didn’t lose my virginity any more than I ‘lost’ my pacifier. I outgrew it.” The very moment of losing virginity among same sex couples can be a gray area and a topic of debate. Some focus instead on gaining their sexuality, and the opening of a new world of human experience.

In one sense, losing one’s virginity is an antiquated concept, because society no longer regards sex outside of marriage as shameful. Yet it still marks a passage from adolescence to adulthood for every generation. Most everyone remembers the “first time,” some with regret, but many with fondness. According to Dr. Alex Comfort, writing in “More Joy of Sex,” “Sex is the only social skill we do not learn by watching,” which may account for the great variety in the stories.

This first volume of The Virgin Project is the product of a collaboration between two artist-storytellers. They collected stories at various times and locations, including the Seattle Erotic Art Festival and the Victoria Erotic Art and Film Festival. All of the stories in this book are true. The names have been changed to protect privacy, and fictitious names were supplied by the people telling the stories, resulting in a few duplicate names. The variety of stories includes everything from teenage experimentation to wedding night nerves, including the humorous and tragic, gay and straight – all of them different. The introduction is by Ellen Forney, a professional cartoonist/illustrator/author and college instructor. In retelling these stories, artistic license has been used, but sparingly, to ensure that these real-life stories ring true.

Toni

K.D. Boze is an award-winning cartoonist and advertising artist from Seattle. He can’t remember a time when he didn’t draw. He got his first job at age 14, drawing houses for an architectural firm.  In high school in Stanwood, Wash., he was the co-founder of the high school newspaper and also served as the first editorial cartoonist for the publication. While serving in the U.S. Army in Germany, he created and drew the daily comic strip “Cpl Kev” for the European edition of Stars and Stripes from 1981 to 1984. For this effort, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for significantly contributing to the morale of the troops.  More recently, he is the creator of the online comic “Camille” about a sarcastic Somali purebred cat. “Role Call” is another popular virtual comic strip that skewers the online gaming world of battle-scarred heroes and impossibly voluptuous combat vixens: www.gorolecall.com. His work has been recognized with awards from Cartoonists Northwest, among others. A graduate of Cogswell College with a degree in digital art, he also has taught at every level, from cartooning classes for children to college lectures about graphic novels and the art of visual storytelling. Mr. Boze conceived of The Virgin Project in 2006 as an interactive art project to document and express real-life first-time experiences with sex. He is responsible for the graphic layout, character design and storytelling of most of The Virgin Project pages. Collaborating with his cousin, Stasia Kato, on the artwork has added great dimension and humanity to the people and their stories. In addition to fine art, Mr. Boze also is a writer, actor and director in community and professional theatre. He still lives in Seattle with his family and a cat and pursues a career in 3-D design as well as 2-D comics.

Stasia Burrington (born Stasia Kato) grew up in a loving and supportive family who always told her she could do whatever she wanted when she grew up. She decided a while ago that what she enjoyed most was making pictures to go along with stories. Naturally, while growing up she devoured all of the Elfquest and Tintin books she could get her hands on, and upon graduating from high school, moved from Kalispell, MT to Seattle, WA to go to Cornish College of the Arts. Her cousins Grace Reamer, Kevin Boze and Katt Carlson took her into their family and taught her many new, exciting and profound things, and even took her and her beau to Paris! Miraculous things such as mochi-icecream, Eddie Izzard, countless classic and obscure movies, fascinating slang and life stories were disclosed to her by her wonderful new family, and Stasia sucked it all in like a sponge.  While at Cornish, she studied painting, sculpture and printmaking, and took a couple of enlightening classes on comics by local cartoonist Ellen Forney. In 2007 she moved back to Kalispell to marry her high school sweetheart and returned to school the next year at the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID, where she currently resides. While formally studying fine art, Stasia is actively pursuing a career in book illustration and cartooning, reading everything she can find on graphic design and business. She has been collaborating on the Virgin Project with Kevin D. Boze since 2006.