Random Male Hite Report #22

Hello, friends. It's time for another Random Hite Report! In 1976, Shere Hite dropped The Hite Report where she compiled detailed survey answers from over 3,000 women about sex, masturbation, orgasms, and relationships. It's insane to me how revolutionary this book still is. Read it, seriously. We really haven't changed that much in 40 years, and it's an incredibly insightful read.

Then in 1981, she dropped The Hite Report on Male Sexuality where over 7,000 men give detailed answers about sex, relationships, and women. It too is revolutionary, and the honesty, vulnerability, and detail in this book is so important and moving. I think everyone should read this too. So, I give you a taste every now and then to entice you to get these books. Seriously, they are both like 1 cent online.

Anyway, what I do is flip to one random page and copy the contents of that page, no more-no less, directly onto this blog. Enjoy.

 The Hite Report on Male Sexuality
Knopf, 1981 pg 1047

The following page is in the section in the Appendix about the participants answer to the question 'Why Did You Answer This Questionnaire?'

    "Why did I answer this questionnaire? Two months ago, I couldn't have done it. I could not have bared my soul, even anonymously, as I have done here if i had nt established communications with the best all-around woman I have ever met. The totality and utter completeness of the honesty that exists between us is now so great that I am unable to resist giving a response which I must suspect will be unique and will stand out among all the other responses received. I am well aware that I am probably not the only man in the world who has my sensitivities to the needs of a woman, but i am also aware that the likelihood of your receiving a response, from other men, similar to mine is very remote."
    "I am interested in filling out one of the questionnaires as I am perfectly squared away when it comes to sexual intercourse, I'm horny as hell, get great pleasure out of making sure my lady has orgasms, usually more than one, oral at first then using my fingers and tongue and finally one when I enter her as she is by now quite ready to go over the falls so to speak. I think I could set anybody in the world straight on their problems of sex. Confidence is the biggest factor."   
    A few mentioned enjoying the idea of being part of published study: 
    "I answered this questionnaire because I wanted to be part of making history and think what I feel and say is significant and useful."
    "I have often regretted that since most of my sexual relationships have been clandestine all my wonderful experiences will die with me. This is as close as I'll ever get to recording the kind of sex life I've had."
    "I answered this questionnaire because I feel I am part of a historical kind of research. and I want to be part of it. I also want to see if you will quote me and in what context, but I probably will not recognize my answers because I think many men feel as I do." 
    A few men said they answered as a way of changing society: 
    "I'm answering this questionnaire in hopes of letting other men realize that value of a true male-female relationship and the need for a positive move toward ending the stereotypes and the ideal of male domination over women."
    "I am interested in the alternative society and helping to hatch it."
    "I want to be part of the movement in our New Society and feel that answering this questionnaire is participating in the movement. I do all I can - I felt I answered with embarrassing candor - and think it's time men's feelings became known." 
    And one man gave as his reason: 
    "I am answering from the experience of over forty-three years of love of a wonderful sweetheart, wife, and mother. We fell in love just after she finished high school and our love never waned but instead, steadily grew deeper. I am seventy-four, and though she left this life some time ago, I am still in love with her. I am answering this to honor her memory." 
A few men had more frivolous reasons: 
    "I answered the questionnaire because the idea of a male survey fascinated me. Then, too, I thought it would be wild to tell friends I was part of the survey when the book comes out. Also my New Year's resolution was to do more things this year."
    "I don't know. It's ten o'clock in the morning, just got off midnight shift and am very tired. Maybe I like questionnaires."


Playboy 2006 SSL Review - March

Why I have a stack of decade old Playboys that I'm SSL Reviewing
Long story short I took them from my parents house thinking I would review them for this blog and then didn't actually do that for over 10 years but now want them the hell out of my house because I hate clutter and don't know how I've not thrown them away all these years. Also, I thought I had all 12 months, but some are gone. If you want the longer story, check out the 1st 2006 Playboy SSL Review I did.

SSL Review Basics
An SSL review - as many of you know is a critique ONLY of discussions or depictions of female masturbation and/or female orgasm. I critique the realism and also what the depiction/discussion adds to our culture conversations on the topics of female sexuality and orgasm. I usually do these SSL Reviews for either movies or TV, but magazines are fun from time to time. This SSL Review will be a bit more relaxed and simple than most. I'd like to have a little fun here (but I will still give it a vulva rating).

So, please enjoy the full SSL Review of the Playboy Magazine from March 2006. I will review each SSL Reviewable item starting from the front of the magazine to the back.

1. The Playboy Advisor (porn to fall asleep?)
My husband has been staying up late to look at porn on the computer. He says he can't fall asleep otherwise. I tell him he can always wake me, but he says he doesn't look at the sites because he wants sex. Do many men use porn to fall asleep? -J.P. Virgina Beach, Virgina 
Many men use masturbation to fall asleep. That's fine as long as it doesn't affect the sex life you share. Online porn is easier for a quick release than waking the wife, and we've never felt that every orgasm has to involve a conversation. That goes both ways.
Okay, mostly this is about a man's orgasm - a man's porn-induced masturbation orgasm to be exact. However, at the end they say, "that goes both ways," which insinuates that the ol' Playboy Advisor approves of some on-the-side wife-bation via porn action as well. I approve of the advisor's approval because, by golly, I think everybody, even (maybe especially) those who are coupled, should take some time for some self-orgasming....particularly the ladies. Anyway, my point here is that anytime anyone acknowledges that women might masturbate, that helps normalizes women masturbating, and that is good for women and our sense of entitlement over our own orgasms.

2. The Playboy Advisor (stretching your birth canal vs. multiple orgasms)
In October the Advisor implied men  would be willing to give birth if they could have multiple orgasms. Obviously the Advisor has never given birth. I am sure most women would give up multiple climaxes in a heartbeat. -K.B. Greenville, Kentucky 
We'd take that bet. The pain of childbirth lasts a day, while multiple orgasms lasts a lifetime. Notably...(then it goes onto describe how men might get pregnant).
First off, men can have multiple orgasm too (remember orgasm and ejaculation are 2 different things for males and females alike. They just usually don't. In this study HERE one of the men had multiple orgasms that ended when he ejaculated with the last one (and yes, my sweets, of course this study included measurement of pelvic muscle activity to verify the orgasms these people were claiming. I would not cite an orgasm study that did not).

Secondly, not all women have multiple orgasms, and those that do aren't like living some kind of orgasmic dream. It's just seconds - like seconds not really even minutes  - more orgasm. The all-night screamfest that I assume the advisor assumes women are engaging in every night is just bullshit from porn.

Thirdly, I don't like the advisor's smugness here. I hate when dudes act like women have this huge one up in the orgasm department  - like such a huge one up that it's sooooo unfair. That's bull to the shit. It's bullshit because the fake idea that women are bestowed some magical ability to orgasm for hours does not make up for the actual fact that women as a whole orgasm a shit ton less in sexual interactions than men do. As it is, multiple orgasms or not, men still have it way better in the orgasm department and acting like men would easily trade the pain of childbirth for what women have orgasm-wise is straight up ignorant of how little women actually orgasm when they're having sex with men. Fuck that insincere rewriting of reality.

Let men have childbirth and the perma-gasm myth that in reality pans out to having way too much intercourse without orgasm at all. It's all yours Playboy Adviso. I hope you enjoy the idea of a lifetime of ecstatic multi-orgasming as much as woman kind does!

3. The Playboy Advisor (hetero sex inclusive toys??)
Are there any sex toys that a man and woman can both use at the same time? -H.N. Montreal, Quebec 
Besides lube? You might enjoy the Blue Dolphin or the Diving Dolphin, available Babeland.com. These are jelly penis rings with two tiny vibrators attached like guns in a holster. One points up to stimulate her clitoris during penetration while the other points down to tickle his balls. Babeland also sells a variety of cock rings with vibrators attached to stimulate the clitoris during intercourse.
Yes, sir. I absolutely approve of recommendations for sex toys that include clitoral stimulation during intercourse (since, you know, women kinda absolutely need outer clitoral stimulation in order to come and all)

4. Sogbo's Wife (A bit of fiction)

So this is a fiction short story written by Tony D'Souza. It's basically about a guy that goes to live in a little African village - I can't remember why. (I read this magazine, noted the SSL Reviewable things, took pictures and then threw the magazine out...but that was about 2 months ago and I just don't remember a lot about it really). He tells a story in it about a local dude from that village that went back to his hut. His door was locked, and he heard his wife all moany-sexy and stuff, and he was all like, 'I bet she took a carrot or a slender sweet potato and she's pleasuring herself with it!' So, he starts beating off to her moans (which they mention is also a big sin), then he can't take it anymore and pushes in the door saying, "Remove the carrot wife! I am going to possess you!" He falls on her to put it in, but instead he gets in the butthole of the dude who's fucking his wife. Then, things happen after that.

Later, another older man is talking to the non-local main character who is having an affair with a local woman. The older man seems to know, clearly disproves and insinuates that he knows by saying to the non-local guy, "Women don't really satisfy themselves with carrots, Adama."

So, basically there was a discussion from the perspective of some old-school, religious, masturbation-is-a-sin dudes about female masturbation. The assumption we get first is that if she were masturbating, it must be by sticking a phallic thing in her vagina to mimic intercourse. Obviously this is not generally how women masturbate. We ladies actually tend to rub our clits because that (and not inner vaginal stimulation) is what actually makes women orgasm. However, that is a common way men like to fantasize that women might masturbate, so it makes sense these men would talk about it. Later the older dude mentions that women don't actually pleasure themselves with a carrot, but he doesn't say that meaning that the whole carrot-intercourse thing is bullshit and if she were masturbating, she'd probably just be rubbing her clit. No, he said that to mean women don't masturbate - the have affairs so real non-husband penises can make them come.

Basically female masturbation is discussed in a skewed, male-centric, physiologically incorrect understanding of how women orgasm and thus how they might masturbate. But, I think it's probably a realistic way that these types of old-school conservative men would talk, so it's not the worst. It's just status quo...which, actually, when it comes to female orgasm is kinda the worst.

5. A Cartoon Orgasm Revolution

from Playboy March 2006
"I've got a lot of things to do, so I'd like to cut out the foreplay and go straight to the orgasm. So, I won't be needing you today."
Oh snap! She just called her sexual interactions with that dude the foreplay to her masturbation afterwards (where she finally gets to orgasm). I mean, she ain't just whistling dixie, am I right? Ladies get way too much of the ol' non orgasm-inducing penis-in-the-vagina pounding,and I appreciate that this buxom cartoon lady finally just said what needed to be said - 'Go the fuck away and stop bothering me so that I can actually orgasm.'

I mean another option would have been for her to find a guy that would go down, rub the clit, let her rub the clit (with her hand or against his body), or use the vibrator every time they fucked. But, hey sometimes (a lot of times) those guys are hard to come by, and you just need to trade them in for a vibrator.

*I'm choosing to assume the thing she has laying on her bed is a vibrator that she will be rubbing against her vulva/clit and NOT a dildo that this cartoonist thinks she will use to mimic intercourse like those dudes in the story up there thought.

Vulva Rating
Well, there was a metion of female masturbation that was normalizing, which I like, and there was a recommendation of a hetero sex toy that added clitoral stimulation during intercourse, which I also like. Then there was the cartoon that reminded us women don't need penises for orgasm - just clitoral stimulation - which is consistent with peer reviewed scientific investigation, so that's solid. there was a kinda neutral mention about conservative men talking about women masturbating by mimicking intercourse which is unrealistic, given the lack of clitoral stimulation, but acceptable given the circumstances of the fictional characters.

 However, there was a smug ignorance that both overestimated the amaze-balls-ness of multiple orgasms for women (and the exclusiveness of multiple orgasms to women btw) and heavily overestimated how much women women actually end up orgasming during sex with men even if they do have multiple orgasms. That's exemplifies the really incorrect and confused understanding of female sexual experience that plagues our world, so hated that.

So it's a mixed bag and I'll give this issue 3 vulvas.


A Good Study About Female Orgasm In The Brain: A Journal Article I Read

Well, my friend, this is another installment of A Journal Article I Read - a segment in which I read a lady-gasm related peer-reviewed journal article and try my damndest to summarize the article here for you without taking away too much of the detail and subtlety, yet making it readable and not too long. I do my best to achieve those goals, and that's all I can say. 

In these summaries, you can assume that anything I write is a genuine attempt to reflect what is said in the paper - even if it's shortened or summarized. My opinions, if I have any to add will either be inside brackets likes these [me:], or in a section headed in a way that clearly lets you know these are my opinions. All quotes are from this article unless specifically noted.

You can check out the list of all the past 'A Journal Article I Read' Summaries HERE.

My Quick Take On This Article (for those preferring a quicker read)

Regional cerebral blood flow changes associated with clitorally induced orgasm in healthy women. Georgiadis JR1, Kortekaas R, Kuipers R, Nieuwenburg A, Pruim J, Reinders AA, Holstege G. Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Dec;24(11):3305-16. 

What they did...very basically This lovely article investigates what parts of the brain are activated (by observing where blood flow is increased or decreased in the brain) during 1) non-sexual relaxation 2) imitation of orgasm 3) clitoral stimulation (performed by the male partner of the participant) and 4) orgasm. The study includes 12 different women, and each woman is allowed 3 tries to have an orgasm during the correct timeframe for being able to measure what's happening in the brain. 6 orgasms were ill-times and 2 did not have muscle activity that was distinct from the orgasm imitation, so those 8 were not used, leaving a total of 20 orgasms actually used for this study.

They physically verified orgasms with rectal pressure readings!
The beauty of this study is that the researchers didn't just take the participants' word for if and when an orgasm happened. Way too many lady-gasm researchers do that, and it severely lessens the usefulness of their data because there are so many reasons women may say they orgasm when they really did not physically orgasm - ranging from simply faking because they feel like they should be orgasming to not really understanding that 'orgasm' doesn't necessarily mean any old feeling of climax - which may lead a woman to say she orgasmed when she actually was experiencing something else like an emotional peak or a highly aroused state without orgasm. It'd be nice to say that a woman's say so is the best resource for whether she had an orgasm or not, but that's just not true - not in any way that works in a scientific study of the physical elements of orgasm. There's just too damn much confusion and misinformation permeating our culture about female orgasm that muddies women's understanding of their own sexual functioning.

Plus, frankly, this is science, and if a scientist is investigating what effect a particular event has on a body, they better be damn sure that the 'event' is happening before they see how the body reacts. That's just good scientific method, and not ensuring the event happened would muddy and confuse any results that came of it. It's like studying the body's reaction to a heart attack in people who say they've had a heart attack, but not verifying if they actually had heart attack and inadvertently mixing into the study people who had a panic attack but thought it was a heart attack. It's bad science, and it's really bullshit that lady-gasm scientists indulge in this regularly...so again, very pleased that these scientists did their scientific due diligence here.

Anyway, in this study the researchers verified orgasm by physically checking rectal pressure (basically the women had a small probe in their anus that was constantly measuring the pressure from the pelvic muscle). This way, they were able to observe the rhythmic pelvic muscular activity during the time the women claimed orgasm and could see if it was different than the muscular activity when the women were imitating orgasm  (including imitation of the rhythmic pelvic muscle activity), becoming aroused, or resting.

What they found...very basically
In the end their research indicated that there were particular areas of the brain that became more or less activated during orgasm as compared to resting or to the controls of arousal by clitoral stimulation and of imitating orgasm. The prefrontal cortex and left temporal lobe showed large decreases in blood flow during orgasm that would indicate, from previous research, that inhibitions were lowered and sexual arousal was high. There were also increases found in the left deep cerebellar nuclei indicating, from previous research, that there was increased motion in the central body muscles such as the pelvic muscles. These results were comparable to brain activation during orgasm/ejaculation and arousal seen in previous studies on men.

My thoughts
I am no neuroscientist and cannot comment on the specifics of the statistical analysis and methodology details, but as with all of these studies, I go with the assumption that they are using their tools well. What I can and do comment on is the broader use of the scientific method to make the conclusions they make about female orgasm. So, it's not really a high bar I set for these studies. They just need to not over-reach and not ignore important fundamentals. Happily, this study easily reached above my bar for a solid lady-gasm study.

The only thing I would have liked to see is probably a bit beyond the scope of this study, but I'll mention it anyway.  It seems that 2 of the 28 orgasms claimed by the women in this study happened at the correct time to record brain activity, but were dropped from the analysis because their rectal pressure readings (which indicate pelvic muscle activity) were indistinct from the controls - i.e. those 2 claims of orgasms cannot confidently be categorized as orgasms like the others because they didn't show rectal pressure readings that were distinct from the women's imitation of orgasm.

I completely agree with not including those 2 claimed orgasms in with the others for this study. They are possibly not physically the same things as the others. The researchers were absolutely on point with that. What would be cool, though, is if they also reported some data on those two sans-physical-marker-orgasms. A woman or two in this study did call whatever happened those 2 times an orgasm, and we know that sometimes women do claim orgasm when an orgasm cannot be physically detected. So lets start parsing out how to understand women's claims of orgasms vs. what's happening physically during the claimed orgasms. It'd be fantastic to get some details on that so scientists can begin having some data based answers for what women mean when they say orgasm.

For instance, I'd love if this study could answer a few things: Was it the same women that claimed both these orgasms or was it one orgasm a piece from two women? Were these sans-physical-marker-orgasms either of the women's 2nd or 3rd orgasm attempt? What exactly was their rectal pressure readings like compared to the control? Was the brain activity that happened during these 2 thrown-out orgasms more similar to imitation of orgasm, to arousal, to rest? Did it have any similarities to the readings during other women's orgasms who did have distinct rectal pressure readings? Did the women who claimed these sans-physical-marker-orgasms say anything about the experience that set it apart from the other orgasm experiences? We absolutely need to look at claims of orgasm with and without the distinct pelvic muscle activity separately, but we should be investigating both so we can clear some shit up.

But these are hopes and dreams for the future. Now on to the summary.

  • Male orgasms, being linked closely with ejaculation, are coupled with reproduction but there is no strong evidence female orgasm is linked to reproduction in this way...even though ideas for how it might be linked have been proposed. 
  • Most female orgasm research has focused on physiological parameters. It has been shown that heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and even plasma concentrations of oxytocin and prolactin increase (They cite this Carmichael et al. study I summarized HERE and this Exton et al. one I have not HERE). Also, rectal and vaginal pressure change during orgasm likely due to the involuntary rhythmic contractions of pelvic muscles (They cite Masters and Johnson's Human Sexual Response and this study Bohlen et al. I summarized HERE.
  • "Experiencing orgasm is a function of the brain and this is confirmed by clinical studies: brain trauma, epileptic seizures and psychopharmaca may strongly influence the orgasmic ability and/or experience (Lundberg & Brattberg, 1992; Aloni & Katz, 1999)." 
  • Citing Sholty et al, the authors say conscious action and concentration seems to be needed for women to reach orgasm but things like pleasure and loss of conscious behavioural control are things some women describe during an orgasm (cited from this Mah & Binik study I summarized HERE)
Past studies on this topic
The authors then go over different methods in the past that have been used to study the brain during orgasm:
  • EEG on men during ejaculation  - no conclusive findings
  • SPECT on men during ejaculation - "increased activation in the right prefrontal cortex and decreased activation in all other cortical regions." No deep or subcortical brain regions analyzed.
  • PET - on men during ejaculation - "showed various activations during ejaculation, mainly in subcortical parts of the brain." This study was done by this team of researchers.
  • "In women only one study exists:" which is the Komisaruk one I've summarized HERE where MRI brain activity was reported for women claiming orgasm during cervical self-stimulation. "Unfortunately, the statistical power of this study was low, which makes the activations, which were scattered throughout the brain in each of the three subjects, very difficult to interpret." So not a lot out there about brain function during female orgasm.
"We aimed to investigate orgasm-related brain activity in healthy women. PET was used because it is more robust to motion artifact than fMRI." 

Hypothesis for brain activity during female orgasm:
  • Decreased activation of neocortex
  • Increased activation of subcortical parts of brain
  • Expect "involvement of dopaminergic cell groups in the ventral midbrain and their targets in the striatum" (because orgasms have rewarding nature)
  • Activation of the hypothalamus (because that's where prolactin and oxytocin are produced)

Materials and Method

  • 12 women
  • mean age 34 (range 21-47)
  • volunteered with their male partners
  • right handed
  • healthy and no history or psychiatric or sexual disorders
  • "Genital stimulation was provided by the male partners and was centered on the clitoris, because clitoral stimulation most easily leads to orgasm (Mah & Binik 2001; Lloyd, 2005). An adhesive band was used to restrain the subject's head. During scans the subject had her eyes closed. The couples were allowed to communicate verbally between successive scans."
RP (rectal pressure) and PSA (perceived sexual arousal) data acquisition
  • "Rectal pressure was measured continuously with a rectal probe ...The probe was positioned in the rectum by an experienced urologist."
  • "...after each scan subjects were asked to rate their perceived level of sexual arousal on a 10-point scale (0, not sexually aroused; 10, highest level of sexual arousal ever experienced)."
PET measurements
[Me: quick background: To get these readings of brain activity measured through PET, a radiotracer has to be injected into the blood. After injection, reading of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) can be detected in the brain for a very short amount of time, and this increase or decrease of blood flow is the 'brain activity' they are looking at. This study detects for only 120 seconds after each injection.]
  • The PET scans were made in 3-D mode
  • Each scan was 120 total seconds and was preceded by injection of the radiotracer (32 mL injected at 8mL/s). The 120 seconds of scanning was broken down to 8 dynamic scans; the first 7 lasting 10 seconds each and the final scan lasting 50 seconds.
  • Each participant had 8 of these scans consecutively with approximately 8 minutes in between the end of one scan and the injection of radio tracer for the next scan.
Scan 1: REST: "passive nonsexual resting state."
Scan 2: IMITATION: "voluntary repetitive contractions of the hip, buttock, abdominal and pelvic floor in a rhythmic 'orgasm-like' fashion, while receiving stimulation to the clitoris. This condition was included to control for the motor output during orgasm."
Scan 3: Another round of IMITATION
Scan 4: STIMULATION: "receiving clitoral stimulation without executing bodily movements. The subjects were encouraged to enjoy the stimulation, but were also explicitly instructed not to have an orgasm. This condition was included to control for the clitoral stimulation and high sexual arousal during orgasm."
Scan 5: Another round of STIMULATION
Scan 6: ORGASM: "orgasm induced by clitoral stimulation. The subject tried to reach orgasm in the first minute after tracer injection. After each orgasm attempt, volunteers reported whether they had reached orgasm and, if so, when they thought it had occurred relative to the moment of tracer injection."
Scan 7: Another round of ORGASM
Scan 8: Another round of ORGASM

Data analysis

RP (rectal pressure) and PSA (perceived sexual arousal) 

The women's claims of orgasm were only used in the study if:
1. "according to the subject, orgasm was unambiguous and occurred in the first minute of the scan"
2. "the orgasm report was supported by the rectal pressure of the same scan"
3. "within a subject the rectal pressure pattern of a reported orgasm and that of an imitation were clearly distinct, because both involved contraction of the same muscles, but probably with different frequency characteristics." (they cited Bohen et al for this)
  • Because past data has shown rectal pressure (RP) fluctuation to be an important feature of orgasm, the standard deviation in rectal pressure (RPstd) over the 1st minute of each woman's 8 scans were calculated and each woman's RPstd were normalized.
  • Their ratings of perceived level of sexual arousal (PSA) were not normalized 

PET measurements
  • The researchers describe the software etc. used for the PET measurements in the brain -  things like spacial pre-processing, global blood flow normalization, etc., but details weren't added to this summary.
Below is a basic list of what analyses were carried out. 
(The authors also describe a bunch of statistical analysis for how they do it, but that is too out of my realm to describe here.)
  • Main effect - this was investigating "which were the primary brain regions involved in any of the experimental conditions."
  • Comparison between conditions: Compared rCBF (regional cerebral blood flow, or loosely, 'brain activity') between stimulation vs. rest and orgasm vs. rest. Then orgasm vs. stimulation (which helps control for sexual arousal since sexual arousal should be part of both the stimulation and orgasm) and orgasm vs. imitation (which helps control for motor output since pelvic movement and rectal/pelvic muscle contractions are part of both). For the last 2 comparisons, "A less stringent significance threshold (P<0.0001, uncorrected) was used in order to be more sensitive to smaller brain regions that may be involved in female orgasm, such as the hypothalamus and ventral midbrain."
  • Regression analysis - the women's self-reported sexual arousal levels (PSA) were correlated with the rCBF in each area of the brain [me: the researchers mention there was only 8 women who provided the sexual arousal info instead of 12, but don't say why]. Also the RPstd (rectal pressure variability) was correlated with rCBF in the same way.


Number of orgasms studied
"Six women reached one orgasm, four women reached two orgasms and two women reached three orgasms each. Six orgasms were ill-timed and two had an indistinct rectal pressure pattern. Therefore of the 28 orgasms reported, 20 were included in the analysis. There was a high intersubject variability with regard to the orgasmic rectal pressure patterns, but in multi orgasmic women, rectal pressure patterns looked consistent between orgasms. Figure 1 demonstrated that orgasmic rectal pressure patterns were clearly distinct from those during imitation."

from Georgiadis et al 2006 p.3307

PSA  (perceived level of sexual arousal) results: 
shown as: median rating (lowest rating, 3rd quartile rating)
REST: 0 (0,0)
IMITATION: 4 (3,5)
ORGASM: 9 (8.1, 10)

RPstd (rectal pressure variability) results:
shown as: median ratings (lowest rating, 3rd quartile rating)
REST: 0.31932 (0.14852, 0.55158)
IMITATION: 0.91827 (0.5398, 1.4363)
STIMULATION: 0.45855 (0.3753, 0.65063)
ORGASM: 1.811 (1.3366, 2.1299)

PET measurement results
"...changes in rCBF are called significant in the case of a corrected cluster P<0.05. Subsignificant rCBF changes (P>0.05 corrected) are called trends."

[me: So at this point the researchers write out in detail which parts of the brain show increases or decreases in rCBF between different experimental states (REST, IMITATION, STIMULATION ORGASM). There's a lot of information and a lot of brain words that are pretty foreign to me. So, I'm not going to summarize that here. Luckily the authors themselves kinda summarized it in pictures, so I'm just going to use those, because I think they are pretty simple depictions of pretty complicated results. As always, if you are truly interested in this detail, then you can probably get a hold of this article somewhere, and you should do that, and then please let me know if you have any thought. I'd love to hear them.]

from Georgiadis et al 2006 p.3310

from Georgiadis et al 2006 p.3310


In relation to hypothesis
  • The decreased rCBF in the neocortex during orgasm was observed and was consistent with the hypothesis.
  • "Active limbic and subcortical involvement in female orgasm was less than anticipated"..."however, significant orgasm-related increased rCBF was found in the deep cerebellar nuclei." 
  • "the perceived level of sexual arousal was positively correlated with rCBF in the ventral midbrain and right caudate nucleus." [me: the caudate nucleus is linked to dopamine production, so the researchers did, with a little extra statistical oomph, find correlation between dopamine related brain areas and orgasm as they hypothesized]
  • [me: the researchers did not find activity in the hypothalamus as expected, but they discuss why they might not have later in this paper.]

PSA (perceived sexual arousal) 
  • Orgasm was the condition where the women claimed the highest level of PSA
  • PSA was much higher after stimulation than after imitation of orgasm, and actually most of the women later said that the act of intentional pelvic muscle contractions during imitation actually kinda prevented sexual arousal - even though they were getting clit stim during imitation. However, the women said the stimulation phase was quite enjoyable, and they often had to restrain themselves from coming during this phase.
  • "Indeed PRstd was significantly greater during orgasm than during the other conditions, despite the fact that during imitation there were strong rhythmical contractions of muscles in the pelvic region."

rCBF changes during STIMULATION
"The importance of the clitoris for female sexual pleasure is undisputed. However, this is the first account of brain regions involved in the experience of clitoral stimulation."

The strongest rCBF increase for this study was in the left SII (secondary somatosensory cortex).
  • In past studies rCBF increase in left and right SII has been associated with blood increase in the penis and increase in the right SII has been associated with stimulation of the erect penis. 
  • Increases in the SII is also consistently associated with visual erotica, and has been associated with non-sexual stimulation of the dorsal penile nerve, penile skin, and in women, the vaginal vestibulum. 
  • In fact, the SII increase in that past vaginal vestibulum study was stronger when the vestibular stimulation was perceived as painful. The researchers wonder if SII might assign a particular conscious label to stimulus - in the present study the sensation being 'sexual.'
There was also significant rCBF increase on the dorsal (upper) right SI (primary somatosensory cortex) with a non significant increase on the dorsal left side.
  • This result adds to the variety of results creating a controversy about the location of the external genitals on the SI. 
  • Originally and in some later studies the genitals were said to be located ion the paracentral lobule of the SI, but this study agrees with some others that place it dorsally on the SI.
There was increased rCBF in the left side OFC (orbitofrontal cortex), which is interesting because "it has been suggested that increased activity in this region may inhibit sexual behaviour." [me: this result of increased rCBF in this area is unexpected because decreased activity in this area has been associated with decreases inhibition and increased sexual arousal. The researchers put a pretty good hypothesis for why they might be sseing this result later in the paper, though]

"Decreases of rCBF were not statistically significant." (during STIMULATION)

rCBF changes during ORGASM
"Despite liberal statistical thresholds, there was no orgasm-related increased rCBF in the hypothalamus, the brainstem or the striatum, regions known to be key players in the sexual and/or rewarding behaviours." [me: if you recall, the researchers had hypothesized that they would see increased activity int he hypothalamus, but did not]

There was a cluster of increase around the clitoral part of the SI (seen increased during STIMULATION as well), the cluster also included areas corresponding to abdominal, hip, leg and pelvic floor muscle control.

There was also a significant increase in areas of the cerebellum.
  • Activation of this area was also seen in a previous study by these authors during male ejaculation/orgasm.  
  • These areas are also known to be crucial for axial (central part of body) sensorimotor control and be associated tightly with the primary region of motor system (primary motor cortex). 
  • In previous studies, similar increases were found with voluntary contraction of the pelvic floor indicating these activations are probably related to control of the central body muscles.
Significant decreases were found in areas of the frontal and temporal lobes.
  • In previous studies similar decreases were found in men during sexual arousal and orgasm. 
  • There is also lots of clinical evidence (like cases where there is damage to these areas) that show less blood flow (similar to decreased rCBF) to these areas of the brain affecting orgasmic and sexual behaviour - particularly showing that these areas have inhibitory control over sexual behaviour. 
  • Thus, it seems lowered blood flow (decreased rCBF) to these areas "would release the inhibition and enable sexual behaviour."

STIMULATION and IMITATION as control measures
  • Comparing "rest" in the brain to any "activity" in the brain can be problematic because you're not just seeing the "activity." You may also be seeing other things your brain needs to be involved in to do that "activity," like focusing on a goal or something like that. So, that's why the researchers added the states of "STIMULATION" and "IMITATION" into the study as controls for the activity "orgasm." "More specifically, stimulation served as a control for the genital stimulation and heightened sexual arousal during orgasm whereas imitation served as a control for the orgasm-related motor output."
  • The large rCBF increase in the area of cerebellum related to central body (axial) motor function between STIMULATION vs. ORGASM was not there between IMITATION (motor output control) and ORGASM. "We therefore conclude the rCBF increases in deep cerebellar nuclei were related to axial motor output, regardless of the behavioural and emotional context."
  • An interesting result was the particularly large decrease of rCBF in the OFC from STIMULATION to ORGASM (because it had actually increased from REST to STIMULATION even though it was also expected to decrease). If you remember, this area is known to be related to sexual inhibitions. So increase means more inhibited (less sexually aroused) and decrease means less inhibited (more sexually aroused). During ORGASM, it decreased a lot which made sense with previous studies indicating that type of decrease correlates with less inhibition and more sexual arousal. However, it was strange that there was actually an increase from REST to STIMULATION. That does not make sense given that the women said they were very aroused, and past data has shown genital stimulation and arousal decrease rCBF in that area. The authors think there is a simple explanation for this though: A previous study showed a similar increase in men watching erotica who "voluntarily suppressed emerging feelings of sexual arousal." These men intentionally were inhibiting their arousal. In the same way, most women in this study said (off the record) that during the STIMULATION portion, they often had to intentionally 'hold-back' from orgasming because they were specifically asked not to orgasm. These women's brains, like the men's in the previous study, may have been showing us the intentional inhibition.
  • Although the decrease in rCBF was greatest between STIMULATION>ORGASM, it was also present when ORGASM was compared to REST and to IMITATION. So, no matter what, the decrease of rCBF in the OFC was a clear quality of ORGASM.
  • "From these control comparisons a very interesting distinction emerged regarding the rCBF decrease during orgasm: rCBF decrease were predominately 'prefrontal' for the sexual arousal control comparison (orgasm <stimulation) and mainly 'temporal' for the output control comparison (orgasm<imitation). These control comparisons provide evidence that the temporal lobe deactivation is related to the level of sexual arousal, but that the prefrontal cortex deactivation causes the behavioural release that characterises orgasm."
  • "RPstd reflects activity of the muscles in the rectal vicinity. RPstd correlated positively with rCBF in the left deep cerebellar nuclei, confirming the results from the t-contrasts that this region is related to axial motor output."

Changes in dopamine related brain areas
  • After some small-volume corrections with the data, areas of the ventral midbrain and caudate nucleus showed increased rCBF in relation to increased perceived sexual arousal (PSA). 
  • The A10 dopaminergic cell group is located in the vental midbrain and plays a role in rewarding behaviours including; euphoric states induced by drugs of abuse, pleasurable music, and even eating chocolate. 
  • "In the present study PSA was highest during orgasm and because PSA correlated positively with rCBF in the ventral midbrain, this finding underlines the reinforcing nature of orgasm in women."

Limitations and considerations

Why measure rectal pressure?
  • Because the reports of orgasm in this study are crucial to getting appropriate results, the researchers felt that the measuring of the rectal pressure helped in two ways. 
  • First, since the women knew it was being recorded, it may dissuade from them giving false reports. 
  • Second, of the reported orgasms, the researchers could check to see if the rectal pressure during the reported orgasm could be discerned from the imitation. It could in all but 2 of the reported orgasm, which were then thrown out. 
  • So, the researchers feel that, "the orgasms included in the present study are likely to be 'real'."
Was increased blood pressure during orgasm an issue?
Although orgasm is known to induce a big blood pressure increase, the researchers are not worried that the increased blood flow in the cerebellum (the only area of significant rCBF increase in the brain during orgasm) was merely a result of heightened blood pressure. There is no worry largely because it happened also during the imitation of orgasm, and also because past literature showed activation in that area during voluntary motion of pelvic floor muscles.

Why wasn't hypothalamus activity seen?
The hypothalamus is known for its role in female reproduction, and during orgasm it might release oxytocin or prolactin, but it did not show any significant involvement in orgasm for this study. Here are reasons the researchers think this might be the case:
1. "synthesis of these hormones is unaltered and release requires no metabolic increase and hence no rCBF increase."
2. the PET scan may have not had the resolution to detect the activity
3. Komisaruk's 2004 study suggests that stimulation of the vagina and cervix may actually be better at activating the hypothalamus
4. "there was high intersubject variability in orgasmic RP (rectal pressure) patterns and although no objective proof exists for orgasmic typology (Mah & Binik 2001), these different RP patterns might still reflect a qualitative difference in the orgasmic experience."

"We conclude that the decreased rCBF in the prefrontal cortex and left temporal lobes is the main feature of orgasm in women. In particular, activation in the left lateral OFC seems to reflect the level of behavioural inhibition during sexual behaviour. The deactivation of the temporal lobe is directly related to the level of sexual arousal. As the regressive analyses revealed, the deep cerebellar nuclei appear to be involved in orgasm-specific muscle contractions while the ventral midbrain and right caudate nucleus suggest a role for dopamine in the orgasm. This novel finding might have important implications for the treatment of anorgasmia, a prevalent female sexual disorder which probably originates in the brain." [me: or originates in years of the clit not being touched properly, yet expecting orgasm anyway...Seriously, I know there are cases of anorgasmia that exist despite appropriate sexual touch, but I dare say there is also a portion that originate because we live in a world where women are expected to orgasm from a penis in their vagina and where the clit is all but ignored in most sexual education, sexual depictions, sexual advice/therapy, and sexual interactions.]

***Bonus fun fact: a short list of words I had to look up while writing this: axial, perfusion, salience, conversely, precluded***


Black-ish S3 Ep18: The SSL Review

Blackish, chicken salad, blog posts, etc.
This might be my simplest SSL Review yet, which is good because I want to again post something quick since I'm still not done with the journal article summary I'd hoped to be done with. (Check any of the other journal article summaries HERE in case you're jonesing for one and need it quick).  It is possible I didn't get this summary done (it's pretty darn close now) because instead of working on it today, I was watching episodes of Black-ish and eating freshly made chicken salad on crackers while resting after a morning of Pride parade viewing.

The chicken salad in question is the chicken salad recipe of my youth and one that I crave often and make rarely. I recommend it. The chicken should be shreddded not fucking cubed. You should get one of those grocery store whole rotisserie chickens if you don't want to roast one yourself. Meticulously shred all the meat (minus gross fat and gristle) into a bowl. Mix in sliced almonds, halved seedless green grapes, and Miracle Whip to taste. For the love of god don't use slivered almonds, and don't use some bullshit other type of non-Miracle Whip mayo. I will accept the use of light (not fat free) Miracle Whip, the use of red grapes, and the 1/4th-ing instead of halfing of the grapes.

That is the first and maybe only recipe ever posted to the SSL blog, so you're welcome.

An SSL Review
Anyway, the luck of this whole chicken salad eating situation today was that there was a tiny little SSL reviewable moment on a Black-ish episode. Like the above recipe, it is the first and maybe only SSL reviewable moment of this network TV family show. As the loyal readers will know, an eligible SSL reviewable scene, of course, is one that includes depictions and/or discussions of female orgasm and/or masturbation and/or the clitoris (the clitoris part was recently added btw). That's the only thing I care about in these reviews. I don't review the show/movie as a whole. I'm particularly looking for physical realism (if a lady orgasms from toe-sucking alone, I will call bullshit on scientific and basic anatomical ground), and I'm also looking for what part the scene plays in our cultural conversation about female orgasm and sexuality. So, thems the basics.

If you want more TV SSL Reviews head HERE. Want some movie SSL reviews? Go HERE.

The Greatest of Technologies - Black-ish S3 Ep18
So, in this episode the grandmother, Ruby Johnson played by Jenifer Lewis was looking all over for her iPod Shuffle. She was asking all the kids where it was, and they were all like, 'what are you even talking about?' because it's a super old-school device to them. Anyway, she says,
"I'm talking about the iPod shuffle; the greatest non-vibrating technology the world has ever seen!"
So that's it. That's the  SSL Reviewable moment. I say this because I'm going to take this as a clear 'discussion of female masturbation.' I mean, she's clearly making a statement here that the vibrator is the greatest invention of all time, and she clearly loves to masturbate if she thinks that. Sure, it's possible that she was talking about a vibrating back massager...but she just wasn't.

After she said it, there was absolutely no reaction to the vibrating comment at all. no side eye or halted beat. Nothing. I can only assume that was because this is network TV, and it was just slipped in there for the grown folk to laugh at without having to explain it to kids.

Cheers to you Ruby Johnson; you and your vibrator.

The Vulva Rating
What I like is that for those who watch the show and got that joke, it was a admission that this grandmother masturbates and loves it...as she damn well should. In the show she is written as super old-school, but a particular old-school type of lady. She's incredibly conservative in some ways and incredibly liberal in others, and as the series progresses, she is clearly written as a sexual woman - but she's certainly not 'the sexual lady character' like Blanche Devereaux or Samantha Jones or Sandra Clark. So, her character is not largely there for sex jokes. She is just a normal older women; sexual but also traditional and motherly, and an admission that she might masturbate joyfully normalizes masturbation for all women, and I'm fo sho about that.

Also, writing that paints the vibrator as the greatest technology the world has ever seen is on point.

This tiny SSL Reviewable moment gets a full 5 vulvas.



Sex and the City S2 Ep7-12: A Retro SSL Review

So, I thought I'd be ready to post a new lady-gasm Journal Article Summary today, but I'm not. Yet, I still need to post something, so I'm posting something easy while I watch TV. Thus:

My new little segment is back for a 5th round (Here's the others). It's a modified, lazy version of an SSL Review. It's just me transcribing my notes, page by page, on all of the Sex and the City episodes. I watched them all - not necessarily in order - during 2007 and 2008, and I took notes on the depiction/discussion of female orgasm and female masturbation. It was my early attempt at this type of lady-gasm review stuff. Anyway, I never actually created reviews from these notes, but since they exist, I'd like to get them out there on the interwebs before they get burned in a house fire or something...thus this series.

Ramona and my SATC Notes

Anyway, the fun of this will be that I will transcribe these as word for word as I can while still trying to make it be a sensible read. I'll post a pick of the notes for your reference. I'll do one or more episodes at a time - from the beginning of the notebook to the end. I may add notes for clarification.

Hopefully these won't make me look like a dumb asshole. I will add them in the TV SSL Review Master List  (of course you are also welcome to check out the Movie SSL Review Master List as well). Here we go.

SATC Notes S2 E7-12

Season 2 Ep 7
-Guy was fucking Sam missionary. He was pumping away. She was making orgasms noises until she realized she fucked him before then stopped.

Season 2 Ep 8
-Sam of men "and 97% of them can't fuck worth a damn."

-Miranda and Steve have sex for 1st time missionary. He's pumping -can see their feet and hers ar not moving - his are moving. Voice over says, "Steve the bartender served Miranda 2 orgasms straight up."

Season 2 Ep 9

Season 2 Ep 10

Season 2 Ep11
Charlotte looks like she orgasmed during missionary while he was doing the work and she was not (just laying there).

Season 2 Ep 12
-Miranda gets head and looks very pleasured
-Miranda sounds like going towards orgasm in missionary - not working - him definitely pumping. She stops when realizes his parents are there.

Modern Day Me Comments
So looks to me like the theme for the end of season 2 was dudes pumping into the SatC ladies missionary while they just lay there like logs yet somehow still orgasm a bunch.

Don't get me wrong. I don't got no problems with missionary. I think it gets a bad rep actually. People are always telling women to get on top to have orgasms like women's vaginas will just magically start being able to orgasm from penis banging because she's on top. But that's bullshit advice because, of course, women need outer clitoral/vulva stimulation to orgasm, and a lady can get clit stimulation along with intercourse in any position as long as she (and her partner) do whatever is needed to make that happen. Anyway, my point is I love missionary actually because I have developed solid clit grinding skills during intercourse in that positions.

So, the fact that these ladies are orgasming in missionary position is not troublesome to me. That they are orgasming while laying there motionless and getting boned on is what's problematic. That's some bullshit. None of those women or dudes had a hand on the clit. There were no vibrators placed in between pelvises. None of them were grinding that clit up against their partner while they did the nasty.

So, basically end of season 2 was just a bunch of unrealistic orgasming from PinV pounding. Not top notch, Sex in the City.


Search Party (movie) - The SSL Review

Search Party
We watched this movie called Search Party a couple weeks ago. It was there on HBO Go, and we took a risk, and that's how it happened. It's not the TV series 'Search Party' with Maeby from Arrested Development. I hear that series is pretty good, although I've never seen it. This movie was not great. It wasn't the worst I've seen by far, but I mean, I'm not out there recommending it either. Anyway, it's about some dude friends who have to deal with shenanigans gone wrong in relation to a wedding. It's got all the tropes for that kind of comedy but it's only got a few actually funny parts, the plot doesn't really even make sense most of the time (and not in the hilarious way that comedy plots can make no sense), and if I remember correctly there is some hella bad green screen work that was clearly unintentional, but seems like maybe Tim and Eric did the composite.

SSL Reviews - An Update
I'm writing about this movie, obviously, because there was a something in it I want to SSL Review. An SSL Review, of course, is a critique of a depiction or discussion of female masturbation or female orgasm in a piece of media. I focus on the realism of the depiction/discussion and also what it adds to the larger cultural discussion about lady-gasms and female sexuality. An SSL Review is just about those depictions/discussions. The movie could be fab overall and have a bad SSL Review or vice versa. I'm not Siskel and Ebert here. I don't review in thumbs. I review in vulvas.

This brings me to a new phase of the SSL Review. I am adding another element that is technically eligible for SSL review: discussion of the clitoris. It doesn't have to be discussed in relation to orgasm or masturbation - just any old mention of the ol' clit will do. It,like the penis, is absolutely integral to its owners orgasm, yet we rarely hear the word in media, so I think it's mention is fully worthy of an SSL Review. That is where the SSL reviewable moment in search party sets. Normally I would say this isn't technically SSL reviewable, but I want to t review it anyway. I've done this with mentions of clit enough times that this change of rules seems fully warranted and by golly I'm excited for this new chapter in the SSL Review rulebook.

On to the review.

Wedding Song About The Utter Sexual Boredom of Marriage 
There are 2 weddings in this movie, both for the same couple. The first gets stopped in the middle of it, and the other goes through and is the final resolving point in the movie. In the first wedding, there are 2 women with a guitar, presumably friends of the bride, that sing during the ceremony about how 'everything is better because I get to do it with you.' It actually touches on some insecurities of the groom and is a bit cheesy and there for comedy and such. Anyway, in this instance it is a little wierd, but it's clearly meant to be an actual part of the ceremony.

However, the second wedding is the end of the movie, and these bridesmaid and their singing just start during the ceremony. They are in the back of the church and then we see them in differnt places as they continue the song, like outside the church and in front of the gift table at the reception. It's kinda like an ending credit song played for humor although it's just before the credits roll.

Anyway, here's the lyrics. The first couple lines are sweet like actually might be sung at a wedding.
...two hearts united in wedded bliss. As you say your vows remember this:
He's got the last penis you're ever gonna see. The last penis you'll feel inside your mouth. I hope he touches your clit not just your heart because he's the only one who will to death do you part.
She's the last woman you'll ever be inside and last mouth you'll have wrapped around your dick. she'll find you less attractive as the years go by, but that's the only vagina that will ever make you come until you die. So congrats to the man and wife for only fucking each other for the rest of you life.

Respect for Repping Clit
I have to say, I didn't love the movie, but I love that they repped the clit...and not only do they rep the clit, but they speak of it in the same way they speak of the penis. It gets the same status - as it well should. They are making jokes about how getting married means you don't get to enjoy any other person sexually for the rest of your life, and what is beautiful about this is they didn't focus that enjoying of sexuality for a woman on her vaginal canal and on intercourse or on her man's penis. They focused it on her clit just as they focused the male enjoying of sex on his penis.

Men generally (and correctly) get their sexual needs focused on their organ of sexual pleasure, the penis  - i.e. the thing that needs stimulated to give them an orgasm. Women, however, often incorrectly get their sexual needs focused on their vaginas and more specifically on how a penis or phallic object stimulates their vagina. This  - both stimulation of the vaginal canal and specifically the stimulation of the vaginal canal with a penis - does not cause orgasm. There is literally nothing in scientific literature that shows physical orgasm is caused by stimulation on the inside of the vagina.

Now, stimulating a vagina with a penis does often cause orgasm for the penis, and that, we can all assume, is why we so desperately want to believe it causes orgasm for the vagina too. Which is probably why we tend to focus - in media, sex ed and sex advice - women's sexual needs inside their vagina instead of where it should be focused - her outer clitoral vulva area, and that's why I appreciate this simple little song so much. It puts credit where credit it due.

But Why Leave Out the Eat Out?
HOWEVER, it does do one annoying thing. It speaks in the lady section how his is the last penis she'll have in her mouth, and you'd think they'd reciprocate that by saying in the man section that her clit is the last he'll have in his mouth, but they don't. Instead they say it's the last mouth he'll have wrapped around his penis. So, they speak about the couple only having oral sex with each other from that point on, but they basically limit the oral sex to dick in mouth and completely ignore that the poor woman will only get his stupid mouth on her junk for the rest of eternity. I mean, getting eaten out right is for real important, and worth a line in this dumb song if you ask me.

Vulva Rating
So I like that the vagina in this song is used as it should be - as a top-notch stimulation device for making penises come. I love that it gave props to the clit as the organ needed touched for lady-pleasure - just as the penis was given props as the organ needed touched for male pleasure. I didn't love, however, that there was both a bride and groom perspective about blowjobs but no mention at all about the most important type of oral sex to clit-bearers - cunnilingus.

So, this has some progressiveness because truly, the clit is almost never mentioned in movie at all, much less in relation to sexual pleasure for women and rarely without also giving equal (and undeserved) props to the vagina. It gets some points removed for focusing of blowjobs over clit-tonguing though.

This movie gets 4 of 5 vulvas


Parenthood - The SSL Review

Parenthood (the movie not the TV series) will always remind me of my best friend Leslie. I don't know exactly why. I'm pretty sure we saw it together at the movies, but there aren't a lot of quotes or anything in it that we kept saying to each other or anything like that to keep her and it connected in my brain all these years. None the less, it just generally always makes me think of her. I also just kinda like the movie. It's a comfort food movie to me.  None of that has anything to do with this SSL review. I just wanted to say that stuff.

Okay, so SSL Reviews - that's why we're here. This movie has something that is maybe not technically SSL Reviewable, but it is close enough that I want to do a review anyway. As you know an SSL Review is a critique of depictions or discussions of female masturbation or female orgasm. I only discuss those scenes - not the movie as a whole (unless I feel like talking about more), and I try to focus on the realism of the depiction/discussion and also how it fits into a larger cultural discussion of female orgasm and sexuality.

Check all the SSL Review movies HERE and TV SSL Reviews HERE.

The Vibrator!
The SSL Reviewable part of Parenthood is pretty simple. The whole fam-dambly is over to this woman's house; her teen son and daughter, her parents and grandma, her siblings and their children and spouses are all there around the table eating. Then the lights go out, and her brother gets up to get flashlight.
Brother: "I'll get a flashlight. Where is it in the bedroom?"
(The family murmurs about this and that)Brother: (coming out of the hallway with the 'flashlight') "Where's the switch. Oh here it is." (There's a buzz) "What is this?"
(The lights come back on. The brother sees it. Laughs out loud and heads back into the bedroom.)A kid "What was that?"
Kid's mom: "That was an electric ear cleaner."
Kid: "It was kinda big."
Great Grandma: (with a big smile on her face) "It sure was!"

Wrong idea about how a vibrator is used, maybe...
First off, this vibrator was an old school kind. It was completely phallic - looked like a dildo. Just an off-white, plastic, rounded tip, long cylindrical thing. It looked like it was meant to be put into the vagina. Granted, people do put vibrators in their vaginas, and it can feel quite pleasurable and all that, but let's be honest, the real beauty of a vibrator is the vibrating of the outer clitoral area (because clitoral stimulation creates orgasm not vaginal stimulation...at least as far as scientific research has told us thus far). Not that you can't just put those long, dildo-ish vibrators against the ol clit/vulva area instead of inserting it. In fact, that's probably what most women do with vibrating dildos if they want to come, it's just that I think to many viewers, the understanding they get from what they saw is that this woman uses it to mimic a penis - a vibrating penis, but a penis none the less. And so, to me this movie easily puts out the impression that women masturbate by mimicking sexual intercourse with something that vibrates. There was even that joke with the kid saying it was 'big' and the grandma liking that. That's a joke that relates the vibrator to a penis. It doesn't make as much sense if one is thinking about that vibrator as something that sets against the outer vulva/clit area.

In fact a while later in the movie idea of the devise as a penis/intercourse substitute is further strengthened. The vibrator owning woman is chastising her daughter about her sexual relations with her boyfriend and the daughter storms out of the room saying, "Well, I thought at least someone in this house should be having sex, I mean with something that doesn't require batteries." 

Mama gets real pissed off at this point and yells a lot through the daughter's closed bedroom door ending with, "Do you know why I'm having sex with machinery? It's because your father left to have a party and I stayed to raise 2 kids, and I have no life."

The truth is a lot, if not most verging on all, people get from our culture a deep and strong yet very incorrect sense that women orgasm from things moving in and out of their vaginas, and scenes like the ones above don't do anything to remedy that incorrect notion. I really think plenty of viewers watch these scenes and are left with the idea that she is using the vibrating dildo as a substitute penis, having intercourse with it instead of just rubbing it against her clit like most women actually do.

It doesn't help that the woman who owns the vibrating dildo is a divorcee who in the movie is clearly lonely and struggling to raise her teenage son without a father figure. So, I feel like her use of a vibrator in this movie to some degree was specifically intended as a way to show how much she needs a man. Thus, I feel in this movie, the use of a vibrator is mocked in a way. It's not depicted as a normal and fun thing any woman might have. It's shown as a sad thing that a woman might have to resort to if she doesn't have a man in her life.

But it is still a depiction of a vibrator at least...
On the other hand, I do like the simple fact that a woman was depicted as owning a vibrator. It means she masturbates, and anytime we see a woman in movies or TV masturbate, even if the circumstances are not exactly positive, it normalizes that women masturbate...and that's a good thing because more normalizing of lady-bation means more ladies masturbate, which means more women learn to orgasm, which means more women might be able to transfer that knowledge of their orgasms during masturbation to their partnered sex experiences...which is a great thing for womankind given how little we ladies orgasm during partner sex as compared to men.

The Vulva Rating
So, the depiction of the vibrator and thus female masturbation was not exactly progressive. Whether intended to or not, the shape of the vibrator and the way it was discussed as a substitute for sex with a man made it seem as though she might use it by sticking it in her vagina a la intercourse, and that's not a very realistic understanding of how women orgasm (clit stim, people!) or how women tend to use vibrators for orgasm. Also, the general feel in this movie was that she wouldn't need the vibrator if she had a man, and by god, that's BS. Vibrators are fantastic to have with a man because penises in vaginas do not make orgasm...but penises in vaginas accompanied by a vibrator on a clit sure can make one. It's not all bad though because at least a vibrator and female masturbation was spoken of. So, this gets 2 1/2 vulvas. It's not a terrible contribution to the world of lady-gasm knowledge, but it's also not that great.



A Few Lady-Bation Memes

I have been doing other things that are not writing this blog the last couple weeks, and so, well, I don't have anything written and I need to post something. All that to say that i'm going to post something easy and non time consuming tonight. I'm watching TV right no and I don't want to stop doing that.

Thus, I've looked up a few lady-bation memes to post here. I, clearly, am heavily pro-ladybation and I also like things that are mildly amusing. So here you go - for your viewing enjoyment...

This, I genuinely like...'cause sometimes you do wake up with raisin fingers ya know?

This is barely amusing, and I actually don't care if my cats watch me masturbate. They don't care either. Sometimes they so don't care that they try to sleep on my legs and stuff while I'm doing it. That's a little annoying, but anyway, I like pictures of cats so that's why this one is here.

Again, not that amusing, but I do like other memes that dude is in, so...

 I just thought this was a good idea for how to watch porn on your phone while masturbating. I'd never thought of this before. Would it actually work well? I don't know. I know you should not get too aroused before you pull the panties down, am I right? Anyway, this is just here as a not to innovation.

This one is just true. It is less work. Sometimes you just want to rub one out with no fuss.

I don't love this one, but I like the word schlick. I like saying it.

Good night. Enjoy a good shlick if you want.


Retro Post: Skeptic Ink Article Critique and the History of The Debate It Led To

Retro Post Intro
This is a retro article. I originally wrote this in June of 2014. I re-read it recently and still feel strongly about what I've said here, and think it's worth a re-issue. 

Plus, this article actually sparked a pretty long blog-to-blog discussion, which I think is also worth going over and linking to here (which I will do below).

The history of the debate that this post led to
You see, after I let commented on the author's (Edward Clint's) original post that I had done some critiquing. He, to my surprise, graciously agreed to further debate.on this topic. He replied to my critique I'm re-posting on his own blog HERE. I replied back HERE

At that point he didn't respond back and about 4 months later, I emailed him seeing if he was still interested in the debate. We had a very cordial relationship, and I told him I hoped I hadn't been too harsh and offended him. He was very nice in his reply, and let me know he 
I am not offended by your style saying, "By internet standards, you're practically Ned Flanders." He went on with a bit of a gripe though. "However, you do appear to have taken a swipe at me in order to pick a fight on the topic you prefer while ignoring the fact that I was not speaking to that topic. I find that borders on disrespectful, not that I believe you intended any offense. You sense that we disagree on that topic, and I think you are straining to find a way to see that disagreement in what I have written, but it is not there. You had, and have, a much better option if you want to have that other discussion: you could have just asked what my position was and if we could discuss that. There's no reason that couldn't happen without us endlessly dissecting whether or not my essay about bad io9 reporting was sufficiently deferential to your sense of history and fact."   

So, I took a little issue to that and emailed him back a long-winded email describing how I thought maybe he wasn't actually reading my arguments because he is speaking on the topics I'm critiquing him on and that we do, in fact, disagree. He, as you might expect, took a bit of issue to that, then wrote me back the following after writing some nice small talk that we'd been engaging on:

Let me clarify some things for you. I am not ignoring or failing to understand what you have said. I am asserting the autonomy and rules of engagement as they apply to your actions. There are two arguments I am perfectly inclined to have and one that I will refuse you. I will call those A, B, and C
A) What is the factually correct definition, description, and nature of orgasm as it relates to stimulation of the clitoris and vagina?
 B) How defensible was my post on clitoral anatomy and bad science reporting?
 C) Whether or not my resolution of A caused my resolution of B. 
I am not wiling to engage with you on C. My reasons for this are that it strikes as not entirely appropriate (as I wrote before, it seems like picking a fight). You don't think that you are, and I take you at your word, so I will give you two other reasons why I will not engage with C. One, we will never get past the "B" component, ever. You are mistaken about your belief here. I am sure you believe your interpretation, but I have access to my own beliefs, intentions, and memories and you are not correct. I simply did not ever intend to say VIO is real and true and should be taken as the truth. I knew it was contentious territory when I wrote about it, and so I tried to stay out of that particular debate, deliberately, knowingly. I've read your arguments to the contrary and they will not succeed. But whatever your beliefs, know that we will never get past "B" and to "A". I will simply not allow a false point criticizing my writing to stand.I will counter every one of your points, and we can go around and around doing that if you wish, as I said I am fine with "B". Reason number two: "A" is a very big debate. It should stand alone, and not be muddied by blog politics about whether I was right in some tangentially related earlier writing or not. It deserves to have its own debate where one side, mine, is not instantly set to the defensive and put in a pit of assumed wrongness. It must begin on clean, neutral terms, or not at all, just like any formal debate.  
 These reasons are why I could not just take you up on your offer, you prefaced it with a C argument against me, forcing me to defend B and preventing me from ever getting to A, because I will not permit this water to be muddied, even if you believe that it already is. I do not, and I will not agree to that as a term.  
 So pick one, A or B, or none of the above. But whichever you pick, you must let the other one go, and if you choose A, then the exchange must be reset and not a direct continuation of the discussion up to now (though of course it can be justly called a consequence of it). Those are my terms. 
I wrote him back a quick email letting him know that if those were his boundaries, I'd be happy to debate A. So, that is the explanation for why we shifted focus, and at that point we started a new and separate debate. He started it HERE. Then I responded HERE . Ed responded back HERE. And I responded a 2nd time HERE

I really enjoyed the chance to debate. I think responding to him and thinking about all this from a different perspective helped clarify a lot of things for me and I'm grateful to that. I'll let you go through all these as you will and get what you get from this debate...it's only like a thousand million trillion hours of reading, so super easy spare time reading - yay!  

...And Now the Original post from June 2014

Charlie sent this article to me (The Clitoris Revealed and How io9 Got It Wrong) from Skeptic Ink. The author (Edward Clint) was lambasting a recent i09 article on its terrible coverage of a 2009 study that used a sonogram to look at the full clitoral complex (there's a lot of erectile clitoral tissue below the skin). The study linked an area where part of the clitoral complex got cozy against the vagina during penetration to an area the 5 women in the study felt was a pleasurable one in the vagina. The researchers suggested this may be the "g-spot" (as in the "g-spot" may actually just be the area where the root of the clitoral complex butts up against the vagina during penetration and not be some piece of anatomy within the vagina). There is a suggestion that this "g-spot" is linked to the "vaginal orgasm" the 5 women in the study claim to have, but there is no specific causal connection asserted in the study's conclusion. 

Edward Clint rightly details how the io9 article covering the study is characteristically silly in the way media interpretations of scientific studies always seem to be, and I appreciated that he pointed that out. In fact, I loved that this article pointed out a lot of things about scientific reporting that annoy me (not telling the full story, over exaggeration, only picking out the parts that seem exciting), but then at the end of the article, there is a section called "The vaginal orgasm and the G-spot debate: We can all stop caring now," and that's where it all goes wrong. 

Frankly, I don't think that Clint (and he's not alone - honestly his tone and arguments are very much the status quo) has a good handle on some important aspects of this subject, Let me tackle the larger issue first.

An orgasm caused by stimulation of something inside the vagina (a Vaginally Induced Orgasm or VIO),  has never actually been recorded. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. It doesn't exist in scientific record. (I explain that further HERE and HERE if you are interested).  Most people writing about g-spot/vaginal orgasms don't know or completely ignore this. They, quite wrongly, take for granted that VIO's exist, and I think it twists the entire picture of female sexual response into a confused mess that is not helpful to anyone. Take for instance Clint's discussion about the "vaginal vs. clitoral orgasm debate." 
In the first half of the 20th century, notions of vaginal vs. clitoral orgasm took hold (thank Freud, who coined the term vaginal orgasm), along with the ignorant and sexist notions that women incapable of the “vaginal” orgasm were “frigid” and that penis-vagina sex was the only source of orgasms that counted. This lead some feminists to adopt the opposite and politically-valenced position that the vagina was irrelevant to pleasure, and that the vaginal orgasm was a lie. Just in case you think I am overstating, feminist Anne Koedt wrote in 1970, It has also been known that women need no anesthesia inside the vagina during surgery, thus pointing to the fact that the vagina is in fact not a highly sensitive area. (This quote was repeated to me in a 2012 gender studies classroom by a professor, quite seriously) This is why it’s good to remember the opposite of wrong is not necessarily right and that it’s a bad idea to confuse facts with moral values: facts can change. 
He seems to play Anne Koedt as some crazy ideologue, but she is not. Koedt was part of a larger feminist campaign that emerged from the then recent Master's and Johnson physiology of orgasm research. M&J's research described how there was no evidence of VIOs and showed how stimulation of the clitoral glans caused female orgasm. That research is, to this day, still relevant and foundational. Let me be clear. Orgasms caused by stimulation of the clitoral glans have been described, documented, and there is a clear understanding of what is needed to get them and who is capable of having them. Orgasms from vaginal stimulation have not been documented or described and there is no clear understanding of what is needed to have them or who is capable of having them. 

Koedt's statement that the vagina has very little sensitivity to touch and that the vaginal orgasm is a lie is not just a willy-nilly opposing reaction to Freud. It is what the science says (this was true in 1970 and still today). Freud's theories, including the "vaginal orgasm" that he so kindly birthed into this world, are just some completely untested ideas a famous dude had that really, really caught on - that's all. To pose Freud's bullshit against Anne Koedt's article, an article that is backed up by good science, is just plain silly.

Even after the G-spot was "discovered" and brought into the public eye in 1982, there still has been no causal connection documented in a lab between something in the vag being stimulated and an orgasm. From the G-spot's 1982 "coming-out,", we did learn that there are prostate-like ducts surrounding the urethra that protrude out from the vaginal wall when excited (this is what I would define as the g-spot), and that when there is sufficient pressure and stimulation of that area, some women ejaculate (which is different from orgasm) through their urethra. That is the only type of sexual release caused by vaginal stimulation that has been documented, and yet strangely this article and almost all like it ignore this very real and concrete quality of the g-spot. Instead the focus is on its possible part in a type of orgasm, that frankly, may not even exist. 

Another issue I have is that Clint confuses two different " clit vs. vag debates." There is a debate about whether a vaginal orgasm exists at all. This is the debate I'd like to have and the debate that was in question with Anne Koedt and similar feminists of the time. Then there is the debate about whether VIOs are caused by something actually in the vaginal structure  vs. the idea that VIOs are caused by indirect stimulation of the deep clitoral roots through the walls of the vagina. Clint sort of lumps these two together as the clit vs. vag debate, but they are actually quite different. The first follows what is scientifically known and simply sees no evidence for a VIO. The second assumes that VIOs obviously exist and is simply asking whether the clitoral legs stimulated through vaginal penetration is the cause or the vag itself. 
The modern research tells us that everyone is right! Or, everyone is wrong, however you’d like to parse it, because all of the parts are important. And right on cue, both “sides” of the G-spot debate have claimed immediate victory with the anti side saying “See, it’s just clitoral!” and the pro side saying “see! it is real, and just where we said!”. The correct answer is, researchers aside, who cares? 
What if the orgasm some women experience during vaginal intercourse is caused by the internal clitoris? Does changing the mere label and invisible mechanism for the event from “vaginal” to “internal clitoral” change a thing about the event for anybody involved? Does it somehow change moral arguments about the political equality of women? I don’t think that it does. Isn’t it cool if it’s a fact that the G-spot that some women report actually is the spot where the clitoris contacts the anterior vaginal wall?
This is annoying to me because the very important debate about whether vaginal orgasms even exist, the debate he unfairly poo-pooed as just a feminist reaction to Freud's nonsense, is further being pushed into irrelevant obscurity because he's incorrectly lumping it with a debate about which undefined mechanism causes an undocumented, not understood, orgasm that may not even exist. "Is it the thing in the vag we can't find?" vag side says, "or the penis pushing against the wall of the vagina - which then pushes on the surrounding tissue - which then pushes on the clitoral leg that causes VIO?" clit side asks. Framed this way, Clint's right, who cares? It probably doesn't exist anyway. (and P.S. when it's said that the clit has more nerve endings than the entire penis, it is meant that the clitoral glans, the part on the outside, has that many nerves, not the whole clitoral structure. I can't find anything that says how nervy the inner clit legs are, but I think it's fair to say it's a hell of a lot less nervy than the glans. The inner legs engorge with blood when aroused, that seems to be their claim to fame - not intense nerviness). 

My other major problem with Clint's last 3 paragraphs is a little more complicated. You see, although I've already pointed out that a VIO is neither understood nor documented, and that wondering which part (the inner clit or the vag) causes these VIOs is kinda useless since we can't even describe the thing they supposedly cause, the idea of a VIO is still incredibly important to tons of women and their partners. Women and men hear it exists, and the details of what exactly may cause it are a matter of great interest. A quick scan through advice columns, magazine articles, books and the internet would easily show how interested people are in this. It shouldn't be taken lightly that women are in search of better information about these types of orgasms, and I was bothered by the flippant way Clint speaks about the level of actual interest non-research people might have in the specific details of how a VIO might be achieved. 

Frankly, I think Clint underestimates the amount of worry, confusion and frustration women (and men) carry about VIOs. Just think about it. These VIOs are over-abundantly depicted in porn, romance novels, and everywhere else sex is depicted. They result from the most common of sex acts - vaginal-penile intercourse. They are low maintenance (just get banged!), supposedly wildly amazing orgasms, yet only 20 to 30% of women say they can experience these elusive trophies of female sexuality. Why wouldn't people hang on every tidbit of information about them? People are not stupid, and they know that understanding these detailed mechanisms are the key to both learning and teaching how to achieve VIOs.(Does the inner clitoral leg really butt up against the vagina to cause these wildly elusive VIO's or is there another stand-alone piece of anatomy some women have that makes them unique and lucky vag-gasm princesses?!? Are all women's bodies capable of VIOs, or just some? What is the anatomy difference among the haves and have nots? Is it the sex position or the dude's junk size that makes it possible?). Just telling people that it's a vague area that can be reached through the vagina is not enough. People certainly want more. I think it's ridiculous, given how much of an importance our culture puts on VIOs to say, who cares? 

So, again, my larger issue with this article and the g-spot/vaginal orgasm debate in general is that the discussion begins from the assumption that there is something that causes these vaginal orgasms, but no one (even quite skeptical people) thinks to say, "hey, wait....what exactly is a VIO? Oh, there is no real definition? It's never actually been physically documented? Why is that? Hmmm, maybe it's kinda problematic to be looking for the cause of something that is not actually defined." 

Having straight-faced discussions about which possible anatomical configuration causes vaginally induced orgasms is as gross to me as discussing what causes women's intuition. Yeah, people talk about it as if it exists, and women will even tell you that they have it, but it is not defined. It may not even exist, and there is no way someone can identify the cause of something when no one knows what exactly that something is. This is pretty basic stuff, and critical people should be looking at and talking about this debate differently. In the future, I would love to see skeptics be as thorough and skeptical about female orgasm as they are with evolution, religion, and global warming.