Sex And The City S2 E1-3: A Retro SSL Review

This, my friends, is a new little segment I'm doing on the 'ol SSL blog. It's like an SSL Review, but it's also just me transcribing my 2007-2008 notes on depiction/discussion of female orgasm and female masturbation from Sex and the City. I missed the show while it was on, but being that it was a cultural phenomenon related to female sexuality, I thought I should watch it and note how it spoke to the audience about lady-gasms. So, I got the DVD's slowly but surely from my trusty public library and watched every single episode, taking notes on all depictions or discussion of female orgasm. I may have also noted on all depictions/discussion of female masturbation too, but maybe not. This was before I really started doing SSL Reviews, and my standards were not set yet.

Which all brings me back to why I am just transcribing my notes instead of actually doing an SSL Review on all of these Sex And The City episodes. The answer is because I'm lazy, but also anxious to get this info out on the interwebs before I or time itself ruins this notebook. If I did a proper SSL Review on these, I would have to rewatch all of these. I almost always do more than 1 watch fr SSL reviews, and I would really need to for these because I was 9 years stupider when I wrote them. However, I don't want to rewatch because it seems like a waste of time given that these are like 80% done and there's plenty of other things I'd like to watch for SSL Review. Although I have to say - I went into my SATC binging assuming I would not like the show, but I actually got way into it, so I won't say a rewatch would be a bore.

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.

The SATC Notes 
Season 2 Ep 1

  • Sam had small dick guy- no specific mention that not satisfying, but Sam, the most sexual one, really wants a big dick.
  • "Oh baby, I'm close now. I want you to get up here and slide inside me" --> she was disappointed
  • Resorted to using her vibrator, but he didn't like it and she stopped.
  • She was obviously unsatisfied by a small penis and wanted a bigger one fucking her in order to orgasm.
  • Men naked from the waist up and butts

[-big dick makes women come  -vibrator not needed in good sex -yet seems vibrator on the outside 'cause he was inside]

Season 2 Ep2

  • Sam still worried about small dick 
  • girl titties
  • thereapsit says "many women have problem getting orgasm through intercourse"
  • She basically says, your dick's too small. You can't, and I can't. Then she says to the therapist that she needs a big dick and the therapist agrees. 
  • Redhead talks dirty in bed + gets burned when talks about a finger in his ass.
  • Also mention of Samantha masturbating

[-males too fragile in masculinity - big dick makes ladies cum - masturbation exists]

Season 2 Ep3

  • S+M 1st date w/ Sam - seemed crazy
  • Guy who goes down and is legendarily good - seems as if all women agree going down is the best.
  • good girl gets ate out awesome style

[Going down is really awesome for women]

My notes on my notes: 
So, I didn't know everyone's names yet. Red Head = Miranda, Good Girl = Charlotte. The things at the end in brackets were actually written vertically next to the other notes and were my lists of what I thought the audience could reasonably glean from the episode about female orgasm or female sexuality.


The Orgasm Researcher of My Most Beautiful Dreams - Dr. Nicole Prause Doin' Experimental Design Right

Okay, so I learned of a scientist yesterday that, upon some investigation, made me incredibly happy for the future of lady-gasm knowledge and the Orgasm Equality Movement. Her name is Dr. Nicole Prause. She just this month had an article called Clitorally Stimulated Orgasms Are Associated With Better Control of Sexual Desire, And Not Associated With Depression or Anxiety, Compared With Vaginally Stimulated Orgasms, which I've skimmed (and will do an SSL Journal Article Summary of soon), but already love because it seems to be a much needed, and more scientifically rigorous re-investigation of some research topic favorites of the prolific and seemingly Freud obsessed researcher Stuart Brody. She also has recently opened her own sexual biotechnology company funded by federal and private grants called Liberos.

The thing I really want to tell you about her, though, is encompassed in the quotes below. Dr. Nicole Prause is straight up on point about what needs to be done to make scientific investigation into female orgasm better. In the article The Big O by Maria Konnikova, I read words I have been waiting to hear a scientist whisper sweetly into my ears from the moment I started making this blog:
Much of the previous work on orgasm has relied on self-report: I am having an orgasm, or I’m not. One series of experiments led by Barry Komisaruk, for instance, depends on people pressing a button to signal they have experienced sexual release. In men, such self-report is fairly straightforward. It’s based on ejaculation. In women, however, it becomes trickier. How do you know you’re having an orgasm for sure? How do you know if what you’ve always thought of as orgasm is, in fact, that? The problem is not necessarily unique to women. One early study looked at what would happen if men were blocked from seeing their own erections: They became highly inaccurate in rating their physical arousal. For women, it doesn’t help that the popular press is rife with misinformation. Women cannot have an hourlong orgasm, Prause points out, despite what the latest magazine cover might have you believe. 
To “take away some of the mystery,” in Prause’s words, she relies on more precise measurements. An EEG headset is used to measure brain waves. (In another version, the EEG is replaced by fMRI.) Around the chest goes a respiration belt, and on the finger, a device to measure skin conductance. A tiny disc-shaped electrode that measures temperature — a thermistor — is placed on specific locations on the genitals. A modified butt plug fitted with a specialized pressure gauge is placed inside the anus to measure contractions. And then the “task” — “though it’s not really a task at this point,” Prause says — begins.
She had me at modified butt plug to measure contractions. And then as I was dropping to my knees to praise all the gods for sending us a female orgasm researcher who cares to actually know what's happening to a woman's pelvic muscles when she claims to orgasm, I read the transcript of an interview with her for Only Human in a segment called The Science of Turning Her On (MH = Mary Harris , the host, NP= Nicole Prause):
NP ...You do whatever you need to do to do the science right. And if that means an anal probe, then by god, we’re going to build it, we’re going to test it and we’re going to do it right.”
 MH: This probe - it’s called an anal pressure gauge - is a device of her own design. She uses it to measure the physical sign of orgasm, those vaginal contractions. At the same time she uses an EEG to understand what an orgasm looks like in the brain. Looking at her results, she’s noticed something strange.
 NP: We found that many women in our lab when they reported having an orgasm actually were not having any of the physical signs of an orgasm.
MH: What does that mean to you?
NP: I have no idea. (laughs) Clearly they’re having a good time. There’s some pleasure peak there, there’s something that causes them to say “I feel like that I am having some type of peak experience right now.” But that experience appears quite different for some number of women than it is for men.
MH: Here’s another problem. Most research into the female orgasm relies on women simply telling scientists whether or not they’ve climaxed. Nikky Prause thinks that’s far too vague of a measurement. Because if women don’t understand what’s happening in their own bodies - scientists won’t, either.
NP: Basically, any study that you’re seeing that claims to have an image of the brain at orgasm, does not have an image of the brain at orgasm, they don’t know what they’re getting. They’re getting an image of the brain when women think they’re having an orgasm. And that’s all it is. So, that sets us back.
MH: This is just an initial finding with a small sample of women. But for Nikky Prause, it shows just how profound the disconnect between women’s bodies and brains might be.
NP: So I’ve started at this point it goes personal, I started asking my friends - how do you know you’re having an orgasm? What exact criteria are we using? And you know this is complete non scientific reporting at this point, but you know “I feel goosebumps all over my body” and I was like “well that’s great but --”
MH: That’s not a thing.
 NP: It’s not what we would physiologically call an orgasm. Or I’ve had some women say I have two types of orgasms, and they didn’t mean clitoral and vaginal. They meant, I have one that’s a body orgasm and one that’s a mind orgasm. And I was like wait what? Because we’re not asking about that in our surveys. (laughs) This is off the charts. And I think it might partially be due to, where do we ever learn what an orgasm is? Do you talk to your mom? Your dad, certainly not. (laughter) Sisters? Uhhhhh, I didn’t.
I'm sorry, did you hear that beautiful music? That music of a scientist doing research on female orgasm who actually acknowledges that just because a woman says she orgasms in a study doesn't also mean she is exhibiting the physiological signs of orgasm? It's so deeply exciting and needed. Just last week I specifically directed the last section of my post to generic lady-gasm scientist persons and asked them to start doing more rigorous research that can help the world actually understand and make distinctions between what is happening with these women who do and don't have physiological orgasm responses when they claim they are orgasming. I didn't even know at the time that Dr. Prause was out there gettin' to doing the damn thing. I LOVE IT.

Seriously, I have never heard a scientist studying female orgasm so clearly state something that really should be obvious to that community by now. Women are not always describing the same physiological event when we say the word 'orgasm.'

This my friends, is why I'm so excited about Dr. Prause and her work. It is so incredibly important because she just might finally be the one to jump the scientific study of female orgasm forward after almost 40 years of relative stagnancy because she is going to give the question of female orgasm the care and scientific rigor it deserves.

Here are 3 reasons I think her approach is so revolutionary for the field right now.

1. Past research has largely not taken seriously the possibility that women might not give accurate accounts of their own orgasm, but Dr. Prause does.

In Science, Sex and the Ladies - the movie, we talk about how female orgasm is an incredibly stigmatizing subject, but scientists don't tend to approach it with that in mind.  Orgasm is clearly something women believe is important, something men take pride in 'providing' to women, something sexperts have been saying for decades is important to a woman's relationship health and her mental health - especially an orgasm during intercourse. At the same time, it's something that many women cannot have as often as they'd like - particularly when in a partnered sexual situation - and especially during intercourse. On top of all that, there is a lot of confusing misinformation about female orgasm and female anatomy.

So, there are lots of reasons a woman might say she orgasms when she in fact does not. You would think that scientists would see this as an issue to consider deeply when studying female orgasm. You would think there would be considerable effort to understand which answers given by women about their own orgasm are accurate, which are lies or half-truths, which come from a different use or meaning of the word 'orgasm,' or which are based in misinformation or confusion. Scientists do this with other 'stigmatized behaviors.' There is real effort to get more honest, accurate answers when asking people whether they engaged in male-male sexual behavior or had an abortion or use condoms consistently. Scientists understand people might not be giving them accurate information on those topics, and so they take pains to get better answers. Women's ability to orgasm should be treated with similar care, but it rarely if ever is.

2. Dr. Prause's work could help clear up our orgasm vocabulary. 

The word 'orgasm' is used indiscriminately for female orgasm in a way it is not for male orgasm - not only in our common language, but also by sexual educators, and often by orgasm researchers. How can there be top-notch research on female orgasm, when the word orgasm could mean a feeling, a tantric/spiritual event, an ejaculation, or an orgasm that exhibits a set of rhythmic pelvic muscular contractions. When a researcher is studying 'orgasm,' which are they actually studying? Are they lumping these different experiences in as one, and how do different studies about orgasm actually relate to one another? Lack of clarity means lack of thoughtful conclusions. Dr. Prause is advocating measuring for anal contractions (among other physiological measures) to discern whether the physiological aspects of orgasm were exhibited or not at the time a woman claims to orgasm. It seems so simple, and obvious, but it's not. It doesn't happen often in orgasm research, but doing so could eliminate a ton of confusion and mystery that has surrounded female orgasm for decades.

Now, it's not that there aren't studies that have looked at pelvic muscle contractions in relation to orgasm.These types of studies are the basis for our knowledge of the physiology of orgasm. It's just that these types of measurements are largely abandoned to rely solely on a woman saying she had an orgasm as a way to define when an orgasm happened. This is where all the confusion comes in because it is not sensible (and bad experimental design)  to always assume a woman is having those rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions when she says she orgasmed.

Besides the work Dr. Prause discusses above, I know of at least one other study that found women who said they experienced orgasm but did not show the physiological signs of orgasm. The authors did wonder if the women who did not exhibit the physiological response were actually orgasming, but ultimately decided to accept all claims of orgasm as orgasm.  I loved that this study reported this discrepancy, but I was sad that this 2008 study, had pretty much no previous data to help them account for what was happening with that discrepency. I know of another study that also recorded anal contraction data during orgasm but chose not to publish that part of their data. I always assumed it was because the contractions didn't always coincide with women's claims of orgasm, and was thus inconvenient. Largely, though, female orgasm studies forgo the physiological check of orgasm, and are worse off for it. The discrepancy between what women claim about orgasm and what their body is doing is a real thing that needs to be acknowledged and incorporated into experimental design of all orgasm studies.

This is particularly important because sexperts and even quite educated sexual educators use these confused studies to teach the public about female orgasm. So, for instance, there is not physical evidence that an orgasm (and as always, I'm speaking about the thing that includes the particular set of muscular contractions) has been achieved through cervical stimulation or through thought only - with no physical touch at all. However, there are some studies (for instance, this one) that claim there is evidence- because they base that soley on whether a woman says she reached orgasm or not - as opposed to whether she physiologically exhibited signs of orgasm. This kind of thing has led to tons of women, based on what they read from sex advisers and the like, thinking that there is science backed evidence that they could achieve orgasm from things like thinking or ramming things against their cervix - when that is simply not the case.

3. She is brave enough to say a thing that needs to be said.

I think there is real nervousness and fear in saying it is possible that sometimes women say they orgasm when they don't. I'm not talking about 'faking' in the most common of meanings. That's pretty clearly something that is found in both surveys and common cultural knowledge - women intentionally faking for some reason or another. No, what I'm talking about here is a fear from sexperts and sexual educators and sexual researchers of saying that it is quite possible that sometimes when a woman says and believes she orgasms - nay KNOWS she orgasms in a situation, she might be wrong. She might not actually be showing signs of physiological orgasm, and although she might be experiencing something - even something pleasurable and enjoyable, she is not experiencing the physiological part of orgasm. The data indicates that sometimes women do this, and it needs to be acknowledged to move forward with honest inquiry. Dr. Prause is doing that, and it's awesome.

There is fear in saying this for a variety of reasons...like that the established medical community has a misogynist history of not listening to female's experiences, and no one wants to be seen as a misogynist that says women's explanations of their own experiences are wrong...for instance. Another reason, is that people lose their shit in the comments section of the interwebs when you even allude to this topic. Believe me. I know this first hand. It's a deeply personal and sensitive topic, and people are passionate. Getting into the weeds about this is time-consuming and draining, and I think a lot of sexperts and sex education or research professionals would rather just avoid it altogether.

Prause - An Orgasm Equality Hero
So I'm so elated to see such thoughtful, honest discussion on this topic from an actual female orgasm researcher. I'm not saying all lady-gasm researchers are shit or anything. I mean there are a couple who are, but I am saying that she is bringing a particular perspective and a quality that will greatly improve the information coming out of this discipline - and for that I am grateful. So grateful in fact that I'm adding her prominently to the ever growing list of Orgasm Equality Allies because it is so, so absolutely true that more accurate information about female orgasm will help all us ladies better understand and more easily navigate our orgasms and our pleasure.


5 Movies With Names In The Title #DirectedByWomen

I started doing this categorized List of 5 movies thing where I showcase movies that were directed by women and that I have actually seen. It all started during the Directed By Women Worldwide Viewing Party in September, and it was pretty fun, so I've continued doing it from time to time.

It's a bit off-topic from my normal fare, ya know, being that it's not specifically about lady-gasms or anything like that, but I think it fits the blog because
1. this blog is also about indie movie-making, and
2. this blog is partially about getting the female perspective of sexuality into our media. So, to me, supporting female voices in our media  means we're creating more room for female voices to speak on all types of things, which sometimes will be sex, orgasms, and sexuality. You can find all my 5-movie lists HERE.

So, this is my LIST OF 5 MOVIES THAT HAVE NAMES IN THE TITLE! That's right, in these movies, there are names in the title! Right there in the title, can you beleive it?! Maybe one of the names is your name! So get a snack, a beverage, and get ready for an eclectic group of lady-made movies with names in the title.

1 Bobby Fischer Against The World - This one was directed by Liz Garbus. I saw this pretty close to when it came out, and I hadn't known much at all about Bobby Fischer, so it was not only a really great watch, but also pretty new info for me.

2 Billy Madison - This one was directed by Tamra Davis. I strangely did not see this movie back when it first came out in '94, even though I pretty much saw all the Adam Sandler, Chris Farley type comedies in that teen era of my life. I don't know why this one was missed, but I saw it later, in my early twenties, and enjoyed it as one would. It was the 1st 'Adam Sandler Movie' and it's a clear classic and fave for many. I might prefer Happy Gilmore over this one, but it might be because I didn't see it til' 10 years later. Either way - top notch work here.

3 Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason -This was directed by Beeban Kidron. This was a Saturday afternoon caught on TV one, and I do love a romantic comedy - a sharp, English one, and watch out people - you got yourself a good Saturday afternoon!

4 Michael - This was directed by Nora Ephron. I saw this on a rented VHS tape (probably from Blockbuster, but maybe Family Video) while on a date with Charlie. We were in this room at his parents house they called the blue room (guess what - it's because the walls were powder blue). It had just storage stuff and a couch...maybe a really old treadmill. It was quite crowded in there, and of course it had a TV and VCR. Anyway, I remember liking this movie fine, but I think I mostly was just making out the whole time, so who knows how much I saw. The room is now purple, well one wall, I think - and there's a bed in it 'cause his youngest sister lived in it for a while before she moved out.

5 Ruby Sparks - This was directed by Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Faris. I saw this one at the theater when it came out. I'll be honest. I remember the overall-ness of this movie, but I'm having a hard time thinking of any detail, but I know that it had a lot of unique interesting things going for it that made it well worth the watch. I believe it was a really solid piece of work - I'm just can't remember the details about why right now. Maybe I'll catch it again soon, and jog my memory.


Bex Truthbombs On Clarity of Language for Female Orgasm

I love me some Bex
Bex vanKoot is a superb feminist and writer that drops truthbombs about female sexuality and has already been deemed (by me) an Orgasm Equality Hero for their absolutely on-point article called Ecstatic Science and the Erotic BrainThey doubly deserve it now, writing another fabulous piece called Defining Orgasm for Myself over at Together Magazine. It's about needing precise language around female orgasm and how that can help create clarity and better groundwork for allowing those with clits to more deeply understand and experiment with their own sexual experiences. It, much like the first article, is so on point.

Some background
Let me start by saying that if you read my blog, you know that I am hell bent on letting the world know that female orgasm is not a mystical thing - quite the contrary. Scientific investigation over the last 60 years has pretty clearly shown that stimulation of the clit can cause orgasm in females just as stimulation of the penis can cause orgasm in males (and as a side note - everyone, even those whose bodies don't fit perfectly in the male or female category, also have parts that come from the same embryonic tissue as the clit and the penis which can be stimulated to orgasm. We all have it and it's not hard to find!).  Scientific investigation over the years has also - quite importantly, but rarely discussed - not revealed any physical evidence that stimulating the inside of the vagina causes orgasm.

So, clits cause ladygasms.  Vaginal stimulation probably doesn't, and orgasm has a physical marker - the rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions that are well researched, widely accepted as the physical aspect of orgasm in all sexes, and largely found to accompany a person's claim of 'orgasm' in scientific literature. That's where I stand, and Bex is largely in the same camp, but I feel like Bex's writing speaks way better to women and men who have tended to see 'orgasm' as a much looser, broader thing in their and their partner's lives, and Bex is also able to create much needed, and easily relateable vocabulary that can help clear up the conversation.

Shouldn't 'orgasm' be more than physical?
What about all the experiences out there that a person might describe as an 'orgasm' but that don't include the rhythmic pelvic muscle activity? Are those experiences not an 'orgasm?' Are they not worthwhile? Are they not as good? Isn't it demeaning to women that find great pleasure and fulfillment in those non-rhythmic-pelvic-muscle-contraction 'orgasms' to say that they shouldn't be called 'orgasms?'

These are valid questions that I have discussed with people - particularly in the comments section of articles I written. The way I have always tried to answer is to say that not creating a clear definition is confusing, makes it hard to speak and teach about female orgasms, and makes it almost impossible to discern different experiences of female sexual pleasure. I mean it's just true that an 'orgasm' with the rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions is clearly a different physical experience than an 'orgasm' without the rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions. It doesn't mean that sexual experiences without the contractions are worse or less fulfilling or less pleasurable - just different, and there needs to be clarity about that. But, like I said, Bex speaks to these points with a level of personal experience and thoughtfulness that I think is incredibly important and helpful.

That beautiful Bex speaking truths
Back to Bex vanKoot. The article made the claim that clarity in our language of female orgasm is of the utmost importance. At the same time it accounted for and acknowledged the variety of important climactic experiences females may have and may find deeply pleasurable and fulfilling in their sex lives.

I am always awed by and grateful for Bex's logical, practical, and often personal writings about the harms that come from viewing female, but not male, orgasms as mystical, elusive and complicated.
But we like to mystify women’s orgasms, assuming they are inexplicable, unable to be defined by cold, hard science, all the while normalizing men’s—orgasms so straightforward that we don’t need science to understand them.
There is no complaining though - only solutions. Bex speaks about how specific language and more focused thoughtfulness towards one's own experiences can fairly simply clear up a lot of confusion and personal angst - all while acknowledging concerns about the narrowness of a physically based definition of orgasm,
If the pulsing climactic rush I experience during penetrative sex doesn’t end with this clinical muscular response, is it still an orgasm because of the way it engages my core and light up my brain? And if it is, then how do I talk about the specific orgasms I want and when I want them? I already found communicating sexual desires difficult enough, without the added ambiguity around what is and is not an orgasm. So I decided to make a change.
I started by asking myself, where am I being touched? How does the energy peak change my body? How long does it last?
Bex speaks so easily and thoughtfully about how they have been able to fit personal experiences within their growing knowledge of female orgasm. Although Bex believes it is important to have precise language and that an orgasm should include in its definition the physical element of the rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions, they don't see how not calling something an orgasm hurts the value of that thing. It just makes talking about one's experiences more clear.
When I’m being penetrated and have what might be called a “vaginal orgasm” by others, I’m coming. I climax from sexual sensation that isn’t directly genital-related, such as nipple stimulation or BDSM. Orgasmic experiences from touch-free practices like intense breathing, or the aftershocks that hit in the wake of really intense sex, I lovingly refer to as blissing out. These aren’t technical terms, obviously. They are arbitrary labels on experiences I’ve had to observe and categorize myself, while I wait for science to catch up.
Lady-gasm scientists - we're talking to you...
I think the statement about 'waiting for science to catch up' is particularly important. As anyone who reads my blog knows, I think the scientific investigation around orgasm, both male and female, paints a pretty clear picture. However, I also know that the scientific community has largely refused to be clear with its language around female orgasm in particular. Because of this, the experiences Bex speaks about - coming, climaxing, and blissing out - get lumped in to investigations of orgasm without the acknowledgment that these experiences are actually physically different. That causes two main problems.

1. Research subject's self reports of orgasm are often taken at face value without a clinical check of what is happening physically in the pelvic muscles when they self-report. That means investigations into 'orgasm' are often not investigations into orgasm. They end up being investigations into orgasms, climaxes, blissing out, and coming. These are physically different things but treated as the same thing in the results. So just because a result says women can 'orgasm' from a particular type of stimulation, it often doesn't actually mean that they can be expected to experience rhythmic pelvic contractions from that stimulation.

This is problematic in a practical way because sexperts take their clues from this confused research and often tell women they can do things like orgasm through inner vaginal stimulation, cervix stimulation, or through mere fantasy. This leads people to believe that the same rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions that can happen as a result of clitoral stimulation can also happen from stroking the vaginal canal, the cervix or from thinking oneself off - but the truth is, there is no physical scientific evidence this is true. So, to the huge numbers of women really trying to figure out what to expect from their sexual encounters and how to finally have the orgasms that seem to elude them during their partnered sexual encounters - the confused use of the word 'orgasm' can create unrealistic expectations about what they might physically experience during different sexual situation - and that sucks.

2. Again, because in general the female-orgasm scientific community insists on lumping any experience a woman calls an orgasm into one thing called 'orgasm,' they miss out on so much detail about the female sexual experience. Because they don't parse out these 'other' experiences to investigate, we have ended up not knowing about what is physically happening to women during these experiences. We also don't know how women feel about each of these experiences separately, and we don't know how common they are. In fact, these experiences are essentially invisible, so they are in many ways erased out of cultural knowledge. So things like blissing out, coming, and climaxing don't receive any actual, thoughtful scientific inquiry, and both the women who value them and our scientific knowledge on female sexuality as a whole suffers.

Both 1 and 2 up there are unnecessary evils. They're harmful to women's knowledge of their bodies, to females' ability to understand and achieve pleasure during sex, and to better scientific understanding of female orgasm. We deserve better, and like Bex vanKoot is advocating - more precise language can help!

Love you Bex.

Go read Bex's post. Seriously. Read it. Then follow Bex on Twitter.


SSL Takes Russia By Storm (or so we hope)

Science, Sex and the Ladies has been around the good ol' US of A. It's had small screenings in places like England and Australia and India. It's been seen online through Vimeo On Demand in over 60 countries around the world.

СЕКС, НАУКА И… ЖЕНЩИНЫ (that's the title in Russian btw - Google translates it back to English as 'Sex, Science and Women...')
But for the first time, SSL will be translated into another language - and that language, my friends, is Russian. We've been talking and looking into translations for a while now, and I assumed we'd start with Spanish - ya know, 'cause that seems most relevant here in the Americas, but in the end we didn't choose it, it chose us.

Love.DOC Film Fest
The fab people at a super cool, Russian, green documentary film festival called ECOCUP started a new festival called Love.DOC, and they contacted us this summer to see if we'd like to be a part of it. We were like, 'yeah - that would be awesome. One little thing though, we only have it in English,' and they were like, 'Oh we translate all the movies to Russian, so no biggie. We just need a transcript, and you can have the translation when we're done.' Then we were all like, 'Hells yeah - we're totally in. We'll get that transcript to you ASAP.'

At that point we (well, Charlie did 90% of it) spent a week creating English subtitles - which was something we had been wanting to do for a while now, but finally had the fire under our asses to do. So after a variety of the normal types of BS that go with trying to get a giganto video file sent over the interwebs to someone, and getting that English transcript with time code created, we will be in this kick ass Russian film fest AND, we'll have a Russian transcript!

Москва, Санкт-Петербург and Екатеринбург
So, we'll be showing on Saturday, October 15th and Sunday the 16th in Moscow, and on the 15th in St. Petersburg and Ekaterinburg. There are some other really cool looking movies playing there that look like things I'd like to see. You can go to the movie page on the site. It's in Russian, but most of the trailers are in English or have English Subtitles (and if you feel like having fun you can copy stuff into Google Translate and get the gist of most of it).

Russian folks are gonna get to knowin' about orgasm equality, ya'll, and I love it!

Science, Sex and The Ladies from AnC Movies on Vimeo.


The Night Of S1 - The SSL Review

The Night Of
After hearing some this and that about it, we watched The Night Of  a couple weeks back. I liked it. There were parts where I liked it more or less than other parts, but all in all it was a good watch. Plus, there were some really thoughtful points made about the justice system in this show. I'd give it a look  - especially if crime drama is your sort of thing.

Sex between a guy and gal was a main plot point in the series, but neither the point in the sex where orgasm might take place nor any insinuations or discussions of that aspect of the sex where a relevant part of the plot, so there was no SSL reviewing to be done there. However, there was a couple SSL Reviewable scenes.

What is an SSL Review?
As always, an SSL Review is a critique specifically of a depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or masturbation. I look toward realism (for instance - were the physical things happening to that actress while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman?) and to what the depiction/discussion reflect from and add to the larger cultural discussion around lady-gasms and female sexuality.

I will continue adding these reviews to the big ol' list of TV SSL Reviews HERE (and as always you can find all the movie SSl Reviews HERE).

I will first describe the scenes and then I'll discuss their relevance:

S1 E3 Prison Bangin'
There's a large portion of this show that takes place in prison, and there is one inmate, Freddy played by one of my very faves Michael Kenneth Williams, is a famous boxer and is kinda like the king of the prison. He has a private room. The guards bring him take-out. He basically does what he wants with the permission and/or turned heads of the prison employees.

So, we see him in handcuffs being led somewhere by a female guard, but then we find that this was not some normal ol' prison guard moving a prisoner around, but was in fact a hook-up. We see the guard in a stark room, facing the wall and bracing herself against it with one hand while the other is on (or maybe cuffed to) a pipe above her. Freddy is standing behind fucking her.

It's not a long scene, but the insinuation with her screams and moans was that she came. There was nothing, including his or her hands, anywhere near her clitoral/vulval area at all. So, if she came it was from the penis stimulating the inside of her vagina...which if you look at the scientific literature on female orgasm (and you know I do), you will find is something that has never ever been shown to cause an orgasm.

So, was this a common depiction of female orgasm? Absolutely. A depiction of a woman being banged into orgasm from mere penis-inside-vagina-friction is standard fare in TV, movies, books, and porn.

Was it a physically realistic depiction of female orgasm? No, absolutely not. If the outer clitoris/vulva area was not stimulated, then it's simply an unlikely (if not impossible) way for a woman to come. So, as common as that type of depiction may be, it's still not a good one.

S1 E4 Prostitute Gettin' Real
The lawyer Jack Stone played by John Tuturro, sometimes hires a prostitute named Ciara (played by Racquel Bailey). He also represents her when she gets into legal problems. Anyway, in this scene he's having sex with her missionary. He's on top. She's laying pretty motionless below him. He's pumping on her. None of their hands are near her vulva. There is also no grinding or writhing that might insinuate she's stimulating her vulva against his body. So, my point here is it's real unlikely she's orgasming. However, she does...well, she pretends to. As he's getting closer, she starts saying "That's it. That's it. That's it!" before 'coming. ' Then we see her roll her eye's as he's coming. It's clear that she was faking so he would finish up and think she enjoyed it.

My Thoughts
So the prison scene was about as classic as you can get - a woman getting banged and coming with no external clit stimulation. That's pretty much how lady-gasms are portrayed the majority of the time in porn, movies, TV, books, all of it - even though the majority of women have never ever orgasmsed during intercourse and no orgasm from vaginal stimulation has ever been recorded in scientific literature. So, it's just a bunch of bullshit that reinforces the incorrect assumptions about how a woman orgasms. It's keeping that status quo alive.

The prostitute's scene was solid. I like it. I like seeing something that I think we can all agree is a very real part of life - a woman faking orgasm. So, this part gets a good SSL Review from me. However, I want to point out that depicting a prostitute fake an orgasm or not have an orgasm during intercourse is not that uncommon, and I would argue, not super duper progressive. Prostitutes in movies can have orgasm-less sex while standing or get banged in missionary or anything else, and those depictions often physically look no different than depictions of non-prostitute couples where the female is shown orgasming.

Why? Well, here's my 2 cents. Maybe the world knows deep inside that banging a woman's vaginal cavity does not bring her to orgasm, and we can openly acknowledge that if the sex involved is emotionless like we assume prostitute sex to be. However, it's hard to openly admit that when it comes to a romantic couple because doing so might open up the door to another possibility; that the sex nice, loving couples, couples like many of us believe we are, are having is ladygasm-less too...and that's just a little too real maybe.

The other part is that a link between emotion and orgasm for women is deeply embedded in our culture in a way it is not for men. I mean, yeah, arousal is important to orgasm and a good partner is important to arousal, but the kind of strict connection between emotion and ability to orgasm that we attribute to women seems ridiculous when we apply the same standard to men.

So, it makes sense (in a very nonsensical way) to depict a prostitute in a sex act faking orgasm even though depictions of a woman deeply in love with her partner doing the exact same physical sex act might very well be depicted as orgasming enthusiastically.

SSL Review
So, the prison scene is not realistic, but it's also not taking the plight of female orgasm and female sexuality backwards. It's completely status quo, and just reinforces all the same incorrect assumptions about ladygasm that already strongly exist.

The prostitute's scene is realistic and I very much appreciate that. However, I wouldn't say it's pushing the culture much farther forward in our understanding of ladygasm or female sexuality. It fits easily into the misguided but strong cultural feeling that women's orgasm is governed more by their emotional connection than by the actual physical things that are happening to their genitals. So, it's a very middle of the road scene for me.

Overall, I rate The Night Of - season 1 Three Vulvas.


The Get Down S1: The SSL Review

The Get Down, Baby.
We watched the whole season of The Get Down a few nights ago on a whim. The truth is the first 2-hour pilot episode was, for my taste, a bit too frenetic and unfocused, and we weren't sure what to expect from the rest of the series. However, I liked the premise of it a lot, and there were some really cool aspects to the style and story, so we kept on, and it was worth it. I'll definitely watch the next season too. I recommend checking it out.

It's set in 1977 Bronx around the birth of hip hop, largely following a group of young friends to tell the story. It's a mix of kitsch, and seriousness, and magical realism and pieces of actual footage from the Bronx in that era were cut in from time to time. The series was created by Baz Luhrmann who directed movies like Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, and Great Gatsby. The first and last of that list I kinda actively don't like...and that first long episode was particularly Luhrmann-esque, but yet I still really enjoyed this show.

And BONUS. There was 1 SSL reviewable moment. As most of you already know, an SSL Review is a critique specifically of a depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or masturbation. I look toward realism (for instance, were the physical things happening to that women while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman?) and to what the depiction/discussion reflect from and add to the larger cultural discussion around lady-gasms and female sexuality. A show could be good with a bad SSL review or vice versa.

You can see all the SSL TV Reviews HERE (and as always you can find all the movie SSL Reviews HERE).

So here we go:

Forced Cunnilingus - Disco Style
So, being that this show is about the birth of hip hop in the Bronx, it's also got elements about the end of disco. So, without giving away too much for those of you who will be going to watch this soon, let me explain the situation.

Jackie Moreno (played by Kevin Corrigan) is a has-been record producer and song-writer that has a drug problem and shitty past. However, he must go to 'the record pool' to try and get a particular record listened to and recommended for play in disco clubs. It's where all the big Disco DJs go to find new music. The thing is there is this woman, Leslie Lesgold (played by Alexis Krause) that listens to all the records there and has the say in what gets played and what gets thrown out. Other thing is, what we learn when ol' Jackie Moreno goes in to pimp his record is that Leslie used to intern for him in his heyday, and that he was an asshole and she hates him.

In fact, she reminds him that she blew him in the back of a car, and is clearly pissed that he 'fucked her and fired her.' He says she was a terrible intern, and that's why she was fired, but she ain't havin' it. However, he's desperate for this record to get looked at, and asks what she wants him to do, to which she says:
I'm going to exploit you like you exploited me. I'm gonna abuse my power like you abused yours. And if you're compliant, then we'll see.
At this point she gets up and is talking to him right up in his face. This is clearly sexual now.

My aside about getting dudes back sexually
At this point, I look over at Charlie and say (I think these were my exact words), "If she doesn't make him eat her out, I'm gonna flip this coffee table," because I have seen too many movie/TV situations where a woman 'gets back' at a man by fucking him real demanding and aggressive like.

It enrages me. It's always just plain ol' penis in vagina ramming till coming sorta thing except she's usually on top, and she's being pretty rough and saying mean things and stuff (oooo - poor, poor guy, right?), but there is never any clitoral stimulation happening - you know, the thing that actually makes ladies orgasm. So you tell me - how the fuck is engulfing a man's penis until he comes a way to get back at him? That's some male-centric, don't-get-how-women-orgasm next level bullshit writing right there. That's some forgot-over-70%-of women-don't-orgasm-during-intercourse kinda shit.

Seriously, it's like the stupidest pubescent male fantasy (that somehow doesn't get called out in the real world) of how a woman might get back at him ...like, 'Oh man, maybe she'll be so mad at me that she gets real hot for my body and makes me come real hard with her vag!'

Listen to me carefully. Depictions of men sexually exploited by women should include a man doing something to a woman to make her come that doesn't also make him come. If it's gross or annoying or kinda painful, all the better. this would be more of a mirror to the way we depict men sexually exploiting women. So fucking him until he comes is not a good way to sexually exploit a man...even though men probably don't mind us believing that it is.

Forced Cunnilingus - Disco Style, Round 2
Okay, so I went on a big ol' tangent there, but I didn't need to flip my coffee table. She, to my utter delight, makes him eat her out till she comes. She sticks her fingers in and out of his mouth like she's face-fucking him first. She says, "I want you to taste just what it's like to be powerless." Then hooks her finger in his mouth and guides him as he's crawling on his hands and knees to a couch where she sits. He's on the ground in front of her, and she guides his head down to her crotch area.

We really don't see much detail about what's going on except that it's pretty clear he's using his mouth area on her clitoris / vulva area. That is absolutely a physically realistic way to get a lady to come - stimulating that area, so I'm all good with that.

The cuts after that are very quick. We see her head go back like his mouth is moving her in the right direction, and we also see him look up at her desperate and pathetic before she pushes his head back down. We see her with her hands on his head working herself up to orgasm with his face, and then we see her looking up towards an overhead camera letting out a scream groan as she comes.

In the end, she doesn't give him what he wants, and the conversation goes:

Jackie: Come on. I'll go to the police.
Leslie: For what?
Jackie:That was rape. I was raped.
Leslie: So was I.

This is the way to do a lady sex revenge scene, people
So, I actually really liked this scene in a lot of ways:

  • Listen, I'm not about anyone taking sexual advantage of anyone, but there's so much depiction (and reality) of men taking sexual advantage of women, that I think it's kinda awesome and important for balance that we show some women taking advantage (actual advantage - not BS advantage. See my rant above) of men. 
  • The depiction of how Jackie was forced to make Leslie Lesgold come was physically realistic. What was happening, physically, could certainly make a woman orgasm. Now, that seems like not too hard a hurdle to leap - to get that physical part right- but so many things don't. Here's a quick clue: the clit needs to be involved
  • I think this scene brought up rape and spoke about it in a way you don't often see, but we probably should see more of. It was more about a power balance during a sexual encounter rather than some type of forced, violent interaction. And, the way the guy got his comeuppance was more about power balance during a sexual act rather than the classic theme of kicking him in the balls or something. I thought that was surprisingly thoughtful and refreshing - even if it was not specifically related to an SSL review, it makes me like it even more.

Maybe think about what scenes you're cutting around it though...maybe?
However, this scene was also intercut with 2 other scenes all with the theme of 'power.' One with a young man of color verbally agreeing to the general idea of doing things that are hurtful and counterproductive to his community in order to gain power, all as he's sitting across from a rich, powerful white man working in government. The other with a young man being forced to murder someone for the first time.

Now one of these is not like the other. The whole montage was so dramatic, and the intercutting seemed to equate the gravity of all these experiences. The murder one - yes, quite serious. The one with the degrading of a young, promising kid's moral direction as he's coming up out of the Bronx - I mean it's serious if you think he actually means it (and honestly, that wasn't exactly for sure to me), but I can get behind that this is a serious and important thing, especially within the context of the script. However, the one where a scumbag has to eat out a woman that he once treated very badly (in a similarly sexual way) in order to get something as trivial as a record listened to by the right people? Um...no. That's not as serious as having to murder someone.

So, why was that in the mix? What was that supposed to say to the viewer? Is eating a lady out (especially if you had previously forced her through your power to suck your dick) so demeaning and sad and shows such a lapse of moral character that it gets thrown in there with the other two? It makes me feel like the people writing this really think cunnilingus is gross. So, point is, in the context of the montage it was in, the cunnilingus scene is less progressive and exciting to me...at least a little.

The SSL Review
So, I liked this scene on its own for all the reasons I gave above, but I think the context of the surrounding scenes slid more insinuations to the audience beyond just the scene as is; things like eating girls out is gross, dehumanizing, etc. or that even though boys do gross things to girls, when those boys finally get their comeuppance it's not as much awesome as it is really terrible for the poor man - as bad as being made to murder someone for the first time or losing your moral fiber.

So, I would give this a 5 vulva rating if it were the scene on its own, but I'm only giving it a 4 vulva rating.


Non-SSL Side Note About Gender In This
The young females in The Get Down are all into Disco and don't 'get' or respect the hip hop stuff the boys are into. Now, whether it was meant to or not, this show has that 'boys are on the leading edge doing cool, daring, important things and girls are still stuck on boring, old, silly stuff because it's pretty and familiar' thing. I could go on, and maybe someone on the internets has, but I feel like the whole dynamic between the males and females could have been written more thoughtfully. Just wanted to mention that.


Broad City S2 E8 (part 1) - The SSL Review

SSL Review Intro for Broad City S2 E8 (part 1)
I'm continuing to move through Broad City, SSL Reviewing eligible scenes when they arise, and I'm well into my Season 2 rewatch.  So here we are at Episode 8, which has a couple eligible scene to SSL Review. They will be broken into 2 blogs.

An SSL Review eligible scene being those that include depictions and/or discussions of female orgasm and/or masturbation. That's the only thing I care about in these reviews. I'm looking for physical realism (if a lady is orgasming from a mere ass-cheek spank, I will call bullshit on scientific and basic anatomical ground). I'm also looking for what part the scene plays in our cultural conversation around female orgasm and sexuality. So, thems the basics. If you want more TV SSL Reviews head HERE. Want some movie SSL reviews? Go HERE.

Ilana's Masturbation Scene
Well, to be fair, it was more like a masturbation prep scene because it was abruptly ended shortly after it started. I will do this in list form because it seems more fun

Things Ilana did to prep for her masturbation

  • light a candle
  • put in earrings
  • put on sea foam green lipstick
  • squeeze lemon into an oyster on the half shell and slide that oyster into her mouth
  • turn down a family picture with her parents and brother
  • set up her phone with a picture of Abbi on it
  • roll out a yoga mat to lay on
  • drop her robe so she's wearing only a sparkly bra
  • jimmy-rigged a full length mirror, face down, between a bed and a chair, so she could lay on the yoga mat and watch herself do the damn thing
  • check how the junk looks in that mirror and give an approving nod to herself
  • sexily gesture for her computer to come to her
  • find some porn on that computer
  • pick up a vibrating dildo placed close to her, and turn it on

Then it begins. She lays back, and we don't see her middle area, but she seems to have the vibrating dildo placed on her vulva/clitoral glans area - which is an incredibly sensible and realistic place for a woman to place a vibrating dildo if she's interested in orgasming.  So I'm all for that. However we don't see more than about 3 seconds of it because she noticed a familiar face in her porn and stops the whole thing.

Ilana's Retraces Her Porn Steps
Later, she's telling Abbi about it, but begins by retracing her porn steps first.

Ilana: I don't watch anything but solo porn because regular porn is like (pounding hand with fist and in a forceful voice) 'Shut up little girl! Wash my feet!' and she's all like, (in a wierd tiny cartoon voice) 'Uh don't tell my dad ok? 'cause I'm just barely legal. I love shaved pubes and tan crispy bellies and tans.' (back to normal voice) It's like ugggk. So I started with Average Sized Penis Jerk. That led me to Twins Squirting, hello!, which then brought me to Frosted Tips Masturbation.
Abbi: Wow. I just Google 'porn' - which is probably why I really, really don't like most of it.
The SSL Review Stuff
So, there was no orgasms in this. This situation was all about lady-bation, and I love a couple things about it.
1 When Ilana masturbated, she touched herself in a way that was a sensible and realistic for a woman wanting to masturbate to orgasm.
2 The pre-work to masturbation was maybe a bit much, but it showed a woman really reveling in and enjoying her masturbation. That's bad-ass because we need to see all masturbation in a better light, but especially lady-bation. The thing is, female masturbation has all the shame associated with it that male masturbation has, but without being something that is alluded to often in media and without a cultural sense that it is a normal, yet maybe funny/pathetic thing to do - a cultural consideration men enjoy but women really do not.
3 It was all done for humor, but the discussion about porn was poignant. I love that the discussion assumed that porn was a fine and normal thing that can aid masturbation, but also recognized that a shit ton of porn is not made for women - and can in fact be pretty straight-up distasteful to women. In a way, I see the message from that scene as something like: watching porn is pretty hot, but only if it is actually hot...but a lot of it is not, and maybe the main reason women seem to  like porn less is because most of the porn out there (and thus most of the porn women see) is shitty, gross, kinda distasteful porn (that I would add - rarely shows an actual female orgasm yet almost always shows an actual male orgasm). That is a nuanced look at porn that is rarely put forth in pop culture, and it's the kind of discussion that needs to take place. I talk a lot about that in the movie Science, Sex, and the Ladies.

Vulva Rating
I think these scenes had a more progressive sense of lady-bation and of women's relationship to porn than we normally see in the media. I also feel good that the masturbation scene was both positive and reflects a physically realistic way a woman might masturbate to orgasm.

So overall this gets an excellent SSL Review - 5 vulvas!


My Lady-gasm Blogging Rabbit Hole

You probably don't know enough about my blogging process, and I know you deeply crave that kind of knowledge about me. I'm here today to provide that. You see, the last few months have been kinda crazy for me in my non blogging life, and I have a shit-ton of  backed up blog ideas I want to get to. They all exist in little fragmented sentences, each in their own new, unfinished, unpublished Blogger posts. Instead of getting to the ones I really want to do, I seem to always search for the easiest, least time consuming one so I can get something up before I go past my self-imposed limit of 4 days between posts. I've had some that I've been excited about, but the ones I'm really itching to do just take too long right now.

Probably what me and Tina look like when I blog

The ones I really want to do are usually summaries of lady-gasm related journal articles. If I didn't have a day job, those bitches would be all I did. I would eat lots of cheese and crackers and drink lots of random non-calorie soda type things, and I'd write about all the articles! But I do have a day job, and they take a long time, so I need a couple ready-to-go posts in my arsenal before I begin so that I have things to post during the week or so while I'm working on it. I'll get there again, soon I'm hoping.

Actually, I have about 3 journal article summaries half written, but here's a little about me. I get kinda obsessy about them. I start summarizing the intro, and the thing about the intro is that it's the place where all these bold, sometimes shady assertions get put, and they always have citations, but sometimes I'm all like - are the assertions made here really backed up by that citation? And then I have to go read the article that was cited and it has wild assertions that are cited in another paper, and I have to read that, and I get into a time-sucking rabbit hole. It's fun and I like doing it, but sometimes I can't find the articles I want for a while, and that's all not very helpful when I'm trying to get a summary done. Anyway, that's why I have about 3 half done - 'cause I got in a rabbit hole with all of them. I've now gotten most of the cited articles I wanted to read though, so hopefully I'll get them done soon.

So that's me. Honestly, after you read these articles for a while, you start to get to the point where you've read a lot of the cited article or are at least familiar with the author and their work in general. It's actually a fairly small world in lady-gasm research.

That's my rambling post about my blogging and my journal article summaries. Later Skaters.


Random Hite Report #20

Hello, welcome again to one of my favorite segments on the SSL blog, Random Hite Report! It's simple really. I flip through the pages of the The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality  (or sometimes The Hite Report on Male Sexuality) by a one Ms. Shere Hite and copy the contents of the page where I land - no more no less. Anyone who reads my blog will know that this 1976 book is a fave of mine; not only because of its realistic and progressive insight about the female orgasm that is still shockingly relevant 40 years later,  but also because of its very touching insight into the lives of the women who took part in this huge, comprehensive survey. Most of the book involves hearing the respondents describe and discuss very personal and often quite detailed and physical based aspects of their masturbation, orgasm, and sexual encounters. This is an under-appreciated and under-read book if you ask me - I suggest you buy it online (seriously, you can get them for like 1 cent) and read it.

 So, sit back, getcha a beverage, and enjoy a little...Random Hite Report...you never know what yer gonna get!

The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality Dell. 1976.
Pg. 159 From chapter "Orgasm" in the section called 'CONTRACTIONS''
    "Orgasm occurs to me like an intense tickling in the front of my vagina, with a sudden releases through rolling pulses inside my vagina."
    "I feel involuntary highly pleasant spasms in my clitoris, vagina, and anal areas. Sometimes my whole body seems to be in spasm. The pleasure is basically in my genital area, but my whole body does react."
    "I experience a series of profound contractions in my vagina with immediate reactions of sweating, hyperventilation and release."
    "I feel vaginal contractions at the moment of release, and in a strong orgasm, uterine contractions also. (Sometimes my whole body jerks, but I'm not sure how involuntary that is.)"
    "The sensation of orgasm feels to me like a fantastic excitation of my clitoris and a general explosion through my entire body. There are definite contractions of the uterus and vagina, which were most apparent to me when I was a good deal pregnant."
    "I feel the muscles in my vagina rippling open and shut, sometimes powerfully, sometimes lightly. A few times it has been so intense that I felt brief cramps in my uterus." 
    Although a slightly arched position may be natural during arousal and the moments up to and just including orgasm, during  the contractions the hips tend to move forward somewhat, as does the head, in a kind of bending inward.
    "I arch back before orgasm, then during the contractions my hips raise and my back makes the reverse of an arch, sort of bending inward - almost a fetal position."
    "During the orgasmic contractions, I convulse toward the direction of my stomach, like doubling over." 
    This bending inward sometimes takes the form of the whole body spasm, reflecting the uterine orgasms that often accompany orgasm. "During the arousal period (buildup), my whole body's muscles tense, and my limbs may jerk. Then the release is accomplished in...


Broad City S2 E1: The SSL Review

SSL Review Intro for Broad City S2 E1
I'm continuing to move through Broad City, SSL Reviewing eligible scenes when they arise. Now I'm rewatching Season 2 - which is fine because I love the show. Turns our S2 Episode 1 has an eligible and an honorarily eligible scene to SSL Review. An Eligible scene being those that include depictions and/or discussions of female orgasm and/or masturbation. That's the only thing I care about in these reviews. I'm looking for physical realism (if a lady orgasming 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 Colin Farrell Sex Tape Scene
So this scene described below does not technically have a specific discussion or depiction of female orgasm or female masturbation, BUT it kinda does. Plus I like it, and I'm in charge so I'm counting it. Here's the scene, I'll discuss after.

The Details
Abbi and Ilana are in separate dressing rooms talking to each other through the walls. Abbi tells Ilana that she is having a date tonight where the dude is cooking her dinner and that she thinks it's pretty cool of him to do as a date.

Ilana:"You should check out the Colin Farrell sex tape, just to get back in the swing of things. specifically 8:58. He is feasting on her pussy like it's a dang milk skake. (In bad Irish accent) "It's me breakfast, lunch and fucking dinner, right here."
Abbi: (Also in bad Irish accent)"It's 8:58, you said, sire?"
Ilana: "Yes, but then you're gonna wanna swap the digs over to 9:44 for some master asshole play and then round it out at 12:47 with some good old fashioned fuck, fuck goose..

They then leave the dressing rooms and realize there was a huge line, with lots of little girls and their moms listening to everything they said. As they're moving past the line one woman says to Ilana:

Woman: "You said 8:58?"
Ilana: You're gonna like what you see. I guarantee it.

The SSL Review Stuff
I mean, they didn't specifically speak about lady-bation, but the insinuation (at least what I got from it) was that Ilana is telling Abbi to masturbate to this hot sex tape before the date so she's well practiced for game time. It's a funny scene that involves both the main characters and a random woman being totally cool with the idea of watching porn, masturbating ('cause that just plain goes along with watching porn), admitting and talking about porn/masturbation among close friends, and being turned on by watching a hot dude star eat someone out.  So, to me this is clearly a scene that normalizes things that need to be normalized in order for women to feel more entitled to their orgasm to their own clits and to their own sexual desire. What this scene is subtly telling it's viewers is that women masturbate, women like to watch hot dudes enthusiastically pleasuring women, and that it can be hot for women to objectify male stars in the same way men objectify female stars. these kinds of things can level the orgasm playing field. Bravo.

Finishing on Male Stacy
This is also not as direct an SSL Review as normal, but this scene sequence does specifically mention lady-gasm. It also involves some female on male rape jokes, so that happens.

The Details
So the whole episode revolves around the fact that it is so, so, so hot out, and Abbi does not have air conditioning. Well Abbi is dating a guy (Seth Rogan) named Stacy (they call him Male Stacy), and he came over to her apartment to cook her a meal. So, he's cooking, which clearly makes it super crazy way hotter, and they're both dying. But, they get it together enough to go into the bedroom and get to doing it.

It's awkward and ridiculous because of various things related to the heat. Pretty quickly, Abbi is on top of him having the ol' intercourse. She's fairly upright and facing him. He's flat on his back, and she is not orgasming, but she's saying it's good and clearly really enjoying what's happening so far.

Then he starts saying that he's feeling crazy - which she awkwardly thinks is sexual, but it's just because he's overheating and then he passes out. Abbi starts freaking out and yelling his name (Male Stacy), but she doesn't disengage - if ya know what I mean. So, she's still cowgirl on passed out Male Stacy and she says, "oh shit," and looks right into the eyes of the Oprah poster on the wall in front of her.

It cuts after that, but when it comes back, Ilana and Abbi are walking down the street talking about it,

Ilana: "To clarify, you raped him?.
Abbi: "No, no, he passed out from the heat. He seriously, wanted it."
Ilana: "oooo - that is lit-relly what 'they' say."
Abbi: "Yeah, but I really mean it."
Ilana: "So do 'they'"
Abbi: "Well..I..."
Ilana: "Dude...did you...finish?"
Abbi: "My god, I raped him. Dude, I...I raped male Stacy. I'm a monster. I need an air conditioner immediately."

The SSL Review Stuff
There's some interesting things to discuss with how they approached jokes about rape - things I have no interest in blogging about, but I just wanted to acknowledge it, so if you are interested, you might find other people who will talk about that much better than I.

I have my SSL laser focus on what was insinuated about female orgasm. All we know from this 'discussion' of a lady-gasm is that it happened, and it happened with Male Stacy, while Male Stacy was passed out. What it does say is that she came. It also says that she must have desired her 'finish' so much that she did it even after her partner passed out.

It doesn't tell us how she physically got to orgasm, so I can't dissect whether the physical things happening to her could realistically have elicited orgasm, which is what I normally do. Anything could have happened. She could have reached down and rubbed the clit while she rode him. She could have leaned forward and started rubbing her clit against his pelvis. She could have grabbed her vibrator and pressed that against her vulva. All realistic possibilities that incorporate clitoral glans /vulva stimulation (cause we ladies need that for orgasm even if TV and movies usually show us orgasming from a dick stimulating the inside of our vaginas with no clit stimulation - which is BS).

So, the physical realism is there because there are realistic possibilities, and we don't know for sure either way. So, what else does this discussion of lady-gasm say to us?

I think the most important thing it says is that it insinuates females might want orgasms from a sexual pairing. This is important because there is such a strong sense in our culture that women are just not as interested in orgasm as men; that women can be fully satisfied with sex that doesn't involve the female orgasm. I mean women (and men) can be fully satisfied with a sexual encounter that doesn't involve orgasm, but it should be a choice every individual makes, and I think men largely have that choice and women don't. I think women just get what they get most of the time.

I think the feeling in our culture that women don't need orgasms as much as men arises less from a choice women make and more from women dealing with a shitty reality that men don't have to deal with - because penises in vaginas are orgasmic for men but mostly not for women. The reality is that women simply don't orgasm as much as men in hetero sexual situation because women don't get the physical stimulation they need and men do. We accept and ignore this reality, and when women end up not coming, instead of raging, we just tell ourselves that we don't need it as much.

Well, Abbi needed it, and hopefully that told all her viewers out there, that they can need it too...just not with a passed out partner.

Vulva Rating
This gets a 5 vulva rating for the simple fact that it showed characters we love and identify with asserting their need for orgasm in a way we rarely see from female characters.

They enjoy good porn where ladies get ate. the. hell. out. This is poignant because that particular act was harped on, and it is an act that would actually bring a woman to orgasm. This is in contrast to the most common thing we see in porn, i.e. ladies getting their vaginas banged, because that act would not, and notice it was not harped on. That means we saw women praising, enjoying, and desiring seeing explicit material that depicts things that would actually get them off.

They also do things that make it clear they want, nay need, to orgasm when they are in a sexual encounter. This is not usually a way females are depicted, and it normalizes (and again there's some more complicated things here about what is being insinuated about rape here...so keep that in mind), the idea that women, like men, have that driving, almost animal desire to get that damn orgasm once they get horny. We cannot even the orgasm playing field and get women's orgasms the status and necessity given males if we as a culture do not accept that males and females have a similar need and drive for orgasm.

Like I (and plenty of other people) always say, during masturbation, women can orgasm as quickly easily and reliably as men, but when ladies hook up with men, they simply don't. Why not? Because as a culture we don't physically understand how women orgasm, and we don't believe lady-gasms are as important as male orgasms. We need more shows like this to change that.

This gets a full 5 Vulva Rating