TV & Radio
MTV, a channel renowned for pushing the limits of privacy and good taste, has broken new ground with Virgin Territory, a reality show that follows 15 virgins from across the United States.
"Some will keep it. Some will lose it," goes the tagline.
The series, which debuts in the US this week, features hour-long epsiodes tracking "four different V-card-carrying cast members from all walks of life".
Luke Conger says 'the toughest part about being a virgin is not being able to have sex.' And it's not for lack of looking. Photo: Facebook
"Some of them are hanging on to their virginity and others are desperately trying to lose it."
Mikaela is one of those actively looking to lose her virginity, but only to someone special. Kyle too doesn't want his first time to be a one-night-stand. Luke, on the other hand, firmly believes sex should be saved for marriage.
Virgin Territory unabashedly focuses on sex, but euphemisms still abound.
"No ringy, no dingy," is Dominique's motto. Another contestant says: "I didn't offer you my cookies, so don't ask for them, 'cos they staying in the jar".
The format is guaranteed to anger conservative and religious groups but Virgin Territory has also won praise for challenging the idea that all young people are, or should be, sexually active.
"Rather than paint virginity as a young person's affliction to be avoided, like acne, the series follows a handful of people who are principled about their abstinence, whether for reasons religious, emotional or psychological," wrote New York Times reviewer Jon Caramanica.
MTV spokeswoman Lauren Dolgen told Britain's The Telegraph newspaper: "MTV has a legacy of documenting the lives of young adults and openly talking about sex with thought-provoking programming.
"Through our ongoing partnership with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, MTV will continue this tradition by elevating the discussion of responsible sexual health to include the topic of virginity in a way that our audience might find surprising."
Virgin Territory is the latest in a string of recent US series to put shock twists on traditional dating programs.
Dating Naked, which debuts on American cable network VH1 this week, involves couples getting to know each other in the nude on a "primitive island resort".
"These days we're supposed to be more 'connected' than ever, but it's actually harder than ever to truly connect," the website blurb observes.
"Online dates, blind dates, and the latest in ridiculous dating apps all make it hard to see people for who they are."
Dating Naked offers an alternative to such ridiculousness by providing the lovelorn a "radical dating experience where before they bare their souls they bare everything else first".
Married at First Sight, meanwhile, reverses the usual progression of courtship by getting complete strangers hitched.
- Sydney Morning Herald