Heartburn: The SSL Review

When I am alone in the house, I watch movies that I want to watch but that wouldn't count as deeply treacherous cheating if I watched them alone. That usually means I watch romantic dramas from the 70's and 80's. I'm looking for something with a little humor, but also serious - death/tragedy, long-term tangled extramarital affairs, or deep despair through the mundanity of domestic life are bonuses, and ideally it'll be something I haven't seen before. I like all these types of movies in their own way, but  they don't always hit the right tone I'm longing for. A couple weeks ago, though, one did - and extra super bonus - it also had an SSL Reviewable moment, so I can write about it here.

The movie was Heartburn with Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. It was just the right mix of serious and mundane and humor and passing of time that I wanted, and it was so so sweetly satisfying. Can I just say though, that it was kinda the final straw for me with Jack Nicholson? I mean, I'm not saying I don't like him as an actor. He's fine, and great in the right role, but it's like he's Jack Nicholson in every single role. I can't watch him in something without thinking that his character is just Jack Nicholson playing whoever this character is supposed to be...but that did not dull my enjoyment of this movie.

What is an SSL Review?
Anyway, let me get to this SSL Review...as my lovely and loyal readers will know by now, an SSL Review is a special type of review where I specifically critique only discussion/depictions of lady-gasm and/or lady-bation. I look for realism and also what the depiction/discussion reflects from and adds to our cultural understanding of female orgasm and female sexuality. (See all the SSL Movie Reviews HERE, and TV SSL Reviews HERE)

Heartburn Lady-gasm Scene Description
There was just one reviewable scene in this movie. It was simple but unique from similar situations in other movies...in a good way. Let me describe,

The scene starts at a bucket on the floor in the foreground catching drips (uh oh! stress due to home renovation!!!). We hear very gentle outlets of breath - just enough to let you know there's some sex happening out of frame, and then it pans to the bed where we see the couple. Rachel (Streep) and Mark (Nicholson) are having sex. Mark is on top of Rachel, and he's laying flat and close against her. We continue to hear the outlet of breath and some kissing as they tussle and wiggle against each other. There is really no humping motion from Mark. They stay very pressed against each other until Rachel lets out a slightly louder breath followed closely by another. It is subtle, but still seems pretty clear that she came.

We don't really hear any sounds from Mark, but just after her orgasm breaths begin, Mark kinda presses deeper against her and then releases and does it one more time, and when he releases after that, they both kinda stay still for a second and then begin breathing heavily like they just finished coming. At that point Mark kinda rolls off her and and they begin talking about the house.

Heartburn Lady-gasm Scene Breakdown
So the whole thing, from seeing the bucket to when he rolls off, takes 20 seconds, so it's a quick look at the end of their sex act, and it is clearly meant to insinuate that it was an orgasmic sex act. The main question, however, that we ask here in an SSL Review is whether the action happening in that scene seems like action that sensibly could cause a female orgasm. The answer to that is - yeah, sure.

This is actually one of the more unique lady-gasm sex scenes I've seen, and the uniqueness is what makes it better than your average. It was more realistic and gritty than most lady-gasm scenes I've come across because of how gentle the sounds and movements were, how close they were pressed against each other and how hungry and desperate their small movements against each other were. It was not showy in the slightest, but it was also not like two actors pretending to have sex. It felt to me like they were two people close to orgasm pressed against each other desperately vying for the position that will take them over the edge.

It's a dark scene and when I pause it on Hulu it gets even darker, but that's the scene...

I think it's safe to assume these two people were meant to be having intercourse, and it's true that most women do not orgasm during intercourse. However, if a woman were to come during intercourse it very likely wouldn't be because his penis was stimulating inside her vagina in some special way ('cause there's no physical evidence in all of scientific literature that inner vaginal stimulation causes orgasm).

It would most likely be because her outer clitoral glans was being stimulated during the act. That could happen because someone was manually stimulating or vibing the clit area during the ol' in and out (and man would I love to see that in a movie one day) or it could be because the clitoral area was being grinded against something like a partner or some bedding during the intercourse.

Because of how close Sarah and Mark were pressed together and how constant the pressure seemed to be (no up-down humping going on) that could totally have happened. Sarah's clit could be grinding against Marks pelvis while he's in her and pressed on her. I'm giving this situation a little extra bonus points because she didn't look passive during her orgasm. Her body was actively tussling against his body. That sense in this scene that the two were pressing and moving their bodies against each other, desperately vying to get the right position to go over the edge makes it all the more likely that Rachel was making sure her clit got the stimulation against Mark that it needed while he was inside her.

The Vulva Rating
At first glance, this was just missionary intercourse that ended in orgasm, and in a way, that quick understanding of this scene really reinforces the largely incorrect status quo idea that intercourse = ladygasm. However, this is actually a much more realistic, nuanced depiction of female orgasm. The close, constant body pressure, the subtlety and intensity in the sounds and movements, and the sense that Rachel was actively working her body against Marks to get where she wants to be makes it better than probably any lady-gasm-during-intercourse scene I've ever reviewed. I feel as though this kind of depiction doesn't just happen either. I feel like either Streep or someone else involved in the creation of this movie put thought into the realism of this scene. I'd love to interview her and see if she remembers...

I was going to only give this a 3 vulva review because at first I felt it was more ambiguous. It could really seem to the average viewer to just toe the line on the status quo. I mean, most people don't obsess over and dissect these scenes the way I do. But then as I was writing this, my appreciation for it grew, and I think I shouldn't hold societies systemic misconceptions about lady-gasm and people's status quo understanding against this very excellent scene...but I don't want to give it a full 5 vuvla rating either because it's not actively pushing progress in the depiction either. So, I deem this to be a very solid 4 vulva rating.



Random Hite Report #19

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. 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. 280 From chapter "Intercourse" in the section called 'WOMEN WHO ORGASM DURING INTERCOURSE: HOW THEY DO IT'
3.Touching of the pubic bones together during intercourse.    Getting clitoral stimulation by the man's pubic bone hitting against the woman's with each thrust was another method used by some women. In most of the examples, the man was doing the moving. Positions included the man on top, or one or both sitting up; the woman's leg position s included everything from together to apart to up or bent up and back. The thrusting makes it hard to keep the stimulation on just the right spot, so it is important to have freedom of movement for yourself.
    "I prefer having the man on top, but i move a lot because I am finicky about the timing and thrusting that's going on. It requires a lot of squirming around to get certain places that are pleasurable. Also, if I keep my legs together, my grasp regulated the pressure as I like it."
    "Usually I receive clitoral stimulation by pressing my mons area against the pubic area of my partner in a rhythmic fashion. It is difficult for me to come in a standing or rear entry position, because the vital pubic bone to pubic bone pressure is missing. When he is on top, I usually grab his buttocks with my hands and guide him in his movements, if he isn't already doing what I want."
    "We have intercourse with him on top, bodies arched slightly so that my clitoral area is exposed and receiving stimulation by the natural thrusts of our bodies together."
    "During intercourse, I am on the bottom. I am scooted down so that the penis is at a right angle to his body. The energy required to resist his weight, and to move my hips seems to concentrate in the clitoral area of my pelvis. At this point, I lift my feet to concentrate the energy even more."
    "There is one position with me underneath with my legs up over my partner's shoulders that i can come with no arousal. it blows my mind."
    "I like not too deep penetration, long and smooth..... 


The Hottest Man Sport in the Olympics

We're right smack dab in the Rio Summer Olympics, ya'll! I love the Olympics. I love them in the summer and in the winter too. I love curling, and equestrian, and luge, and fencing, and rhythmic gymnastics, and I so love the opening and closing ceremonies. I even loved Bob Costas's pink eye from the Sochi winter games.

Yes, the Olympics have very little to do with my movie Science, Sex and the Ladies, female orgasms or related subjects that are the make-up of this this blog, but I have eeked out connections in the past, like Olympic bulges and why Olympians should engage in mutual masturbation in the Olympic Village, and now for you I will again barely make the Olympics slightly relevant to this blog. I will do that by talking about the best hetero female masturbation fodder in the Olympics - dudes who dive.

So ladies who like dudes (and really ladies who like the ladies - because we're just talking about fantasy for your next Olympic themed rub-off, so it doesn't have to be something you'd actually want in real life. This is fantasy, so feel free to enjoy this too, my strictly lesbian friends), please prepare your fingers, palm, or vibrators for some serious clit action and assemble any masturbatory accessories.

Here are are the 5 hottest parts of the guy diver situation at the Rio Summer Olympics. 

1 Let's start simple. These dudes are obviously in great shape. Their physique is clearly easy on the eyes. The muscle definition, those muscles that only some guys have that are right above their junk, the six packs. I mean, a gal could really grind up against those washboard stomachs.

They shower after their dives! I mean, they're all wet and glistening with their wet hair looking all messy model-like as they sensually spread the water over their hard bodies. Come the fuck on. That is hot as hell.

Those tiny little speedos, though. They leave so little to the imagination, but just enough, ya know. I seriously think they get smaller every year, and sometimes when they're taking showers afterward, you see the dudes from behind and those little panties are just low enough that you catch sight of just a touch of sexy little butt crack. I'm not talking about a big ol' hairy plumber crack. This heavenly view is more like the beginning glimpse of a smooth muscly man ass right as the undies come all the way off. Ain't so bad. Also, I do believe that NBC intentionally was framing these dudes so the lower thirds on the screen cover right over the dick area of the speedos while they are showering and toweling off, which is a bunch of bullshit, because I'm sure we would have seen some outlines.

They hug a lot - at least in the synchronized diving. It makes sense. They're partners that put vast amounts of blood, sweat and tears into training intricate and exhausting physical feats. They did something absolutely amazing together and like most any two people in this situation, they hug it out. The thing is though, they're still all hot-bodied, wet, and in those speedos when they do it. How do you expect me not to imagine them slowly moving into a 69? I'm only human. I will rub one the hell out to that.

Steele Johnson...That's an American diver's name. My head almost blew off the top of my neck when I read that on the TV. I had to get up off my couch and walk around my living room 'cause I couldn't even believe it. I was flabbergasted in the most delightful way - because that is the most steller name I have ever come across. This isn't in and of itself masturbation fodder, but I'll put it in here just because I want to talk about it. He's also, I find out, from right here in the Indianapolis area, which makes me excessively proud - maybe even as proud as his father who was wearing a Steele Johnson t-shirt. I mean, I don't want this young man's top notch name to overshadow his incredible diving talent, though. He's got a lot going for him.

So there you go. Get to jigglin' that clit to this beautiful man sport. I don't have pictures because the Olympics are assholes and would probably sue me. Plus, it's better to imagine.


SSL Review - Seinfeld S5 E1 "The Mango"

A Seinfeld SSL Review
Charlie's been randomly watching old Seinfelds during his lunch lately, and I happen to be around during a particularly SSL Reviewable episode, Season 5 Episode 1, "The Mango."

As my most of you already know, an SSL Review is a critique specifically of a depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or masturbation. I critique the realism (for instance, were the physical things happening to that women while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman?) and what the depiction/discussion reflects from and adds to the larger cultural discussion around lady-gasms and female sexuality.

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

I usually take each scene containing depiction/discussion of lady-gasm one by one and discuss them that way, but this whole episode is about lady-gasm, particularly the faking of, and it is better discussed as a full piece. So, I'm going to give you an overview of the episode with transcripts of key parts (from my ear to the paper, so forgive any misspellings and such). Then I'll discuss at the end.

Scene #1 - Cafe Lady-gasm Discussion and Discovery of Orgasm Faking
So it begins with Jerry and George eating at the diner and George is talking about his new girlfriend, Karen. He thinks it's all good except one part which Jerry guesses correctly is something sexual. George begins to explain.

George: I've never really felt confident in the...ah...one particular aspect.
Jerry: Below the equator?
George: yeah.
Jerry: Nobody does. You know, nobody knows what to do. You just close your eyes 'n hope for the best. I really think they're happy if you just make an effort.
George: I..I..I don't know. Last time I got the tap.
Jerry: You got the tap?
George: You know, you're going along, you think everything's alright. Then all the sudden ya, ya get the tap. You know it's like,  '(he whistles) Alright that's enough. You're through.'
Jerry: The tap is tough.
George: It's like the manager coming out and asking you for the ball.
Jerry: Yeah. Well, maybe she just wanted to move on to other business.
George: Nah, no this wasn't moving on. I got the hook. I wish I could get a lesson in that.
Jerry: It's a very complicated area.
George: You could go crazy trying to figure that place out.
Jerry: It's a hazy mystery.
George: Anyway, I think everything else is okay. Unless of course she's fakin'.

(Elaine comes in and sits down)
Elaine: Who's fakin'?
George: Nothing.
Elaine: Fakin' what?
George: Nobody's faking.
Elaine: Ahhh! orgasm?
George: She's not faking.
Elaine: How do you know?
George: I know, I can tell. It's one of my powers. Why? Did you ever fake?
Elaine: Of course.
Jerry: Really?!
George: You faked?
Elaine: On occasion.
Jerry: And the guy never knows?
Elaine: No.
Jerry: How could he not know that?
Elaine: 'Cause I was gooood.
Jerry: I guess after that many beers he's probably a little groggy anyway.
(Jerry and George laugh)

Elaine: You didn't know.
Jerry: What?
Elaine: You didn't know.
Jerry: Are you saying...with me?
Elaine: Yeah.
Jerry: You faked with me?
Elaine: Yeah
Jerry: You faked with me?
Elaine: Yeah.
Jerry: No.
Elaine: Yeah.
Jerry: You faked it?
Elaine: I faked it.
Jerry: That thing, that whole production? It was all an act?
Elaine: Not bad, huh?
Jerry: What about the breathing, the panting, the moaning, the screaming?
Elaine: fake. fake. fake. fake.
Jerry: I'm stunned. I'm shocked.

(Elaine shruggs her shoulders)
Jerry: How many times did you do this?
Elaine: Uuumm.....All the time.
Jerry: All the time! I thought I was so good.
George: I'm sure you were.
Elaine: Listen Jerry. it's not you. I just didn't have them back then.
Jerry: She faked...maybe they've all been faked.
Elaine: I'm sure they're not.
George: Maybe Karen is faking

Scene #2 - Jerry Goes Home And Talks To Kramer About It
Jerry tells Kramer he doesn't understand why she would lie. He says it's like sexual pejury.

Jerry: How'd she do it? She's like Meryl Streep this women. And I know how to work the equipment! I'm not unskilled. I'm in the union! How did she do it? I mean if she could have at least told me I could have done something about it.
Kramer: Yeah - I could have helped you out.
Jerry: What could you have done?
Kramer: Well, I could have given you some pointers. I know how to press those buttons, buddy.
Jerry: Well I'm feeling very inadequate about the whole thing.

Then Elaine calls because they are supposed to see a movie later. He's all upset and says he doesn't want to do anything with her, but then he does anyway.

Scene #3 Elaine's Office After The Phone Call To Jerry
Elaine: Renee, can you come here a second. Let me ask you something. Ummmm...have you ever, you know, faked it?
Renee: Yeah sometimes.
Elaine: Really, like when?
Renee: Like if we went to Broadway show, if we had really good seats. Well, and you know, if it's enough already and I just want to get some sleep.

Scene #4 George And Karen On A Date
They are eating dinner. After she finishes her risotto, she kinda ooo's an ahh's and moans all orgasmy-ish and lights up a cigarette. George is freaked out and tries to cryptically ask if she orgasms with him by asking if she feels the same way about the risotto as she does about him. He never gets any kind of answer and is just more freaked out.

Scene #5 Jerry And Elaine At Dinner - He Asks For a 2nd Chance
Jerry can't stop talking about the faking thing and Elaine keeps trying to tell him to stop worrying, but then Jerry blurts out:

Jerry: Give me another shot.
Elaine: What?!
Jerry: Another shot. I want another shot.
Elaine: You mean? No - I don't think so.
Jerry: Come on. One more shot. I can do it. I know I can do it.
Elaine: Jerry, we're friends. We can't do that. We're friends. It would ruin our friendship.
Jerry: Oh friendship sminship.
Elaine: No - that's important to me.
Jerry: Oh - we won't ruin the friendship.
Elaine: Yes we will.
Jerry: Elaine!
Elaine: It is out of the question. No Jerry. You know what sex does to a friendship. It kills it.
Jerry: A half hour. Give me a half hour.
Elaine: No.
Jerry: Okay, 15 minute. I guarantee you 15 minutes, and I can make it happen.
Elaine: No!
Jerry: You're worried I'll be able to do it, aren't you?
Elaine: What? No. It doesn't matter. Jerry, I don't caaare.
Jerry: That's it. That's it. You like having this on me. You don't want me to do it.
Elaine: That is so ridiculous
Jerry: Come on Elaine!.
Elaine: No!
Jerry: Elaine!
Elaine: No!

Scene #6 George And Karen In Bed After George Couldn't Get It Up 
They are laying face up next to each other looking up forward. He looks animated and neurotic, going over stuff in his head, and she looks unsatisfied. He tells her it was Jerry's fault, and she replies:

Karen: Oh I don't care. George, really it's alright.
George: So you feel okay?
Karen: Well, it's not like after the risotto.

Scene #7 Jerry, George, Kramer, and the Introduction of the Mango
They are all 3 at Jerry's apartment. George is basically telling them that he couldn't get it up with Karen, and he's thinking it'll never work again. Jerry had been calling ex girlfriends asking about if they had orgasms when they were together. He gets ahold of one and she says yes, and then he immediately calls Elaine to tell her other girls have come with him.
Then George eats some mango that is really good and starts to feel a tingling in his man junk, so he leaves triumphantly.

Scene #8 George In Aftermath Of Sex With Karen
They are both sweaty, and Karen is giving little aftermath moans like it was good. George starts talking in a little bit of an arrogant way.

George: Thanks. It's not necessary.
Karen: What's not necessary?
George: The little extra moan you threw in there. Laying it on extra thick aren't we?
Karen: What are you talking about?
George:What am I talking about? Come on. You really think I bought all that?
Karen: What?
George: You're very good. You're very good with the moaning and the gyrations and all of that. You really had me going there for a minute
Karen: You think I was faking?
George: Come one. Oh George! Oh George! Come on. Not that I don't appreciate the effort that was put into it.

Then she kicks him out.

Scene #9 - Jerry's Other Shot
Elaine comes by to give Jerry some of his stuff from her apartment since Jerry can't get over it and the friendship can't go on. But, just before she leaves, she gives in and says she'll give him another shot. He's giddy, and they go into the bedroom.

It cuts back to them and they are next to each other in his bed. Elaine's on her side reading a magazine. Jerry's freaking out because he clearly couldn't get it up, and he's lost his 'other shot'. He says it's all George's fault. Then Elaine says, "You know, I'm a little hungry. You wouldn't happen to have any of that mango left?"
And there my friends is the punch line - Jerry's eye's widen at the thought of some mango giving him a boner again just like it did for George.

I'll try to keep this quick, so let me bullet point the things I want to say:

  • Jerry, I'm not sure if you're an idiot or an asshole. You wanna make Elaine come so bad? You wanna prove you can do it? EAT. HER. OUT. News flash: you don't need an erect penis to do that. You don't need a penis at all really. No mango required.
  • The fact that there was not even a nod to the fact that he could have used something other than his dick to make her come is quite telling. I would be blamey towards him for not knowing that most women (and probably even more than we currently acknowledge) don't orgasm during intercourse, but it's actually not surprising and ya almost can't blame someone for that. With the media and sex ed and every other part of our sexual culture insinuating that ladies come from penises moving in vaginas, one probably never hears the cold hard fact that there is absolutely no physical record of an orgasm caused by stimulation inside the vagina in all of science. Clits need to be stimulated, people. Clits.
  • I'm not trying to harp on this, but...listen, they spoke at the beginning of the show about going down on the ladies, so I know they know it exists, and I also know they can find ways to speak about it in the show and still get by censors. So, you tell me why there was no discussion or attempt by Jerry to orally get at Elaine's clit. You. tell. me!
  • I'm gonna side with George on one thing. She probably was faking...because the situation was about him being able to get it up....which means he was able to fuck her hole with his pole, which means he probably did nothing but stimulate her vagina...which means she probably didn't come.
  • Jerry's comment about women simply being happy that a man would make an effort at eating her out: Man, fuck you. Yeah, Jerry, we don't want to come. We just like to be aroused and then NOT come - kinda like the blue balls situation you dudes like so well. We are just happy you gave us an opportunity to help you come. Yeah, I know this is a joke line, and it fits the notoriously thoughtless style of Seinfeld characters, but this type of sentiment from men is too real to just be a joke. It acts equally as a reinforcement and normalization of that viewpoint, and sadly it isn't much different now, 20 years later. See this lady who gave up BJ's due to men all too often giving about as much fucks or less than Jerry did in that statement.
  • George's wishes that he could get some lessons on the ol' oral were nice, cause at least he's thinking about it, but it just reminded me how very much porn teaches us ladies about dick sucking and how little it teaches about clit sucking. Seriously, porn cunnilingus is showy, often painful looking (at least to me - those dudes do some rough shit sometimes), and rarely takes the lady to orgasm. I actually do feel more sorry for guys in that department. Ladies, if you can't figure out how to suck some come out of a man from watching porn, then you aren't great at learning. That said...it's still not that hard to do the ol' cunnilingus. If a dude puts in the time, he'll figure it out just fine. Lots of men have done it. It's not rocket science.
  • Why they gotta be straight up saying that the female orgasm is a mystery? It ain't. I'm not surprised it was said. That's an incredibly common sentiment, but it's BS. Female orgasm is a mystery in the way making a PB&J without the peanut butter is a mystery. You need the P for a PB&J and you need the clit for the female orgasm. Banging a woman usually doesn't include the clit. Women don't walk around tickling guys balls and being surprised at the mysterious nature of the male orgasm - we know that won't work, so men shouldn't walk around stimulating our vaginas and being surprised at the mysterious nature of the female orgasm - they should know that doesn't work, The lady-gasm isn't mysterious. You just stupid.
  • I call bullshit on Elaine telling Jerry it wasn't a big deal that she didn't orgasm with him. She says she just didn't have them back then. Let me tell you a story; Jerry never ate her out or touched her clit. That's why she didn't have orgasms with him. It's not like at 30, her body just evolved like an x-rated Pokemon, suddenly going from no orgasm to orgasm power even though she was doing the same shit she'd been doing before. That's ridiculous. Okay, to be fair maybe she didn't have orgasms back then, but it was probably because she has since started advocating for her orgasm. She dates dudes that go down and she makes sure her clit gets rubbed when she's fucking. So, just 'cause she didn't come back then doesn't mean it's fine and Jerry is a fine lover. He's still probably a selfish, clueless, penis centered lover. It's just that now Elaine either avoids, educates, or rubs her own junk despite those types of lovers.
  • All the stuff about women faking is unfortunate, but true. And it's true partly because of everything we talk about above. Lady-gasms are not prioritized, depicted correctly, and not a natural part of the 'normal' flow of a sexual encounter (ie. some, but not enough, foreplay to the clit and penis, then intercourse until the male orgasms). We women do the best we can to navigate a sexual culture that is very much not conducive to female orgasm and very much unwilling to admit it is not conducive. Sometime our best option is to fake. If people don't want women faking, people need to create a sexual culture where it doesn't make much sense to. Don't hate the player, hate the game.
  • Notice how the problem was framed as poor George and poor Jerry feeling like they weren't able to bring any woman they wanted to orgasm. It wasn't that poor Elaine had a bunch of sex with Jerry and probably other men without any orgasm at all. Take a minute and think about how much that sucks and how much a guy would think that sucks if that was his experience. It's a perfect reflection of how very little the female orgasm is valued as part of a sexual encounter and how not problematic it seems for a woman to go through all the work and grossness of sex without that lovely final orgasm that makes it all worth it.
  • Yes, I know these are pretend characters on a TV show 20 years ago. I'll talk at them like they are real anyway. The thing is though, pretend people that we hang out with over a period of years pull strong influence on us with what they do, how they dress, and what they say, so I think critique, even nit-picky critiques, are important.

So, this whole episode is a reflection of some of the worst aspects of our sexual culture when it comes to lady-gasms.
There is a reinforcement and normalization through humor of:

  1. The female orgasm and female genitals being confusing and mysterious
  2. The idea that to get a woman to orgasm, one needs an erect penis to put in and out of her vagina
  3. The sense that women don't need orgasms and that it's no big deal if she doesn't get to have orgasms when she has sex
  4. Male sexual pride, not the pleasure of the female is the most important loss when a woman doesn't come or fakes coming during sex
  5. Completely ignoring the clit and stimulation of the clit when it comes to sexual encounters and to making a woman orgasm

All of that adds up to a backwards step for Orgasm Equality and a ZERO VULVA RATING.


Vintage SSL - The Alternative Universe Orgasm

I decided to do something I haven't done on this blog before - put up an old post like it's new. It sounds nicer if I call it vintage, so that's what I'm calling it. This post was originally written on January 11th 2011, so it's had 5 years to ripen. I did make a couple small fixes to read better, but that's it. It's one of my faves. Enjoy.

From Sophia Wallace's 'Cliteracy, 101 Natural Laws' She's awesome. Check her out.

The Alternative Universe
Okay....Imagine, if you will, an alternate universe....Mostly things are the same except people extract eggs and sperm to make babies and thus think about sex a bit differently. Of all the sexual possibilities, what our current universe calls 'sex' is intercourse. In this new and exciting alternate universe, when people say 'sex', they mean that the woman's clitoris is grinded on the base of the penis (where it connects to the balls) - until orgasm. This is the general definition of sex in this alternate universe. But, grinding the clit onto the lower pelvis where it meets the penis or on the inner thigh close to where it meets the penis would also be considered sex - just different positions. Oral sex, manual stimulation, and intercourse all also exist, but are not the common type of "real sex" that is depicted and discussed so commonly in movies, TV, books, porn, and songs.

Alternative Universe Sex Culture
Okay, so in this universe a few things are common knowledge:
  • Women average 3 to 7 minutes to reach orgasm. Men average about 25 minutes.
  • Only about 20 - 30% of men on surveys claim to orgasm from sex alone. 10% of men have never experienced an orgasm.
  • Men on average watch porn less often, masturbate less, have fewer sexual fantasies, are less interested in one night stands, and generally have a lower sex drive
  • Men tend to need more romance and emotional connections to feel aroused and satisfied during a sexual encounter
In the porn of this culture, often times the males don't have erect penises during "sex" but they still "orgasm" and very enthusiastically at that. People generally don't strictly associate an erect penis with a male orgasm.  Sex advice books for women are largely focused on how to please a man and advice books for men are largely focused on how to up his sex drive, find pleasure during sex, and how to orgasm. It is taken for granted that women need their clitoris stimulated to orgasm. It's as if you don't even have to say that. For men, the advice books always really emphasize the importance of the penis. In foreplay it should be manually or orally stimulated, and these could even be considered full sexual acts.

However, these books also go on about the different positions that could make sex more pleasurable for him. For instance, if he's on top and she's rubbing against the base of his penis where it meets his leg, and at a particular angle, the penis is in a position to get more stimulation against her navel. Yay for him! Oh and by the way, what's great about that position is that it not only gives him some penile stimulation, but he can also put pressure on the inner base of the penis. Most people believe that the inner base of the penis  (the part that extends inside the body a bit) is the "K-spot." The idea is that the K-spot allows a deeper caressing of the penis that accounts for a deeper, more full bodied orgasm than the penile orgasm does. It is, of course, not an orgasm that all men seem to be able to achieve, although there's not much research on the subject. Most advice books will tell you that the majority of men need penile stimulation in order to orgasm, even as they sing the praises of k-spot stimulating sex positions.

Alternative Universe Scientific Sex Knowledge
Strangely though, if you really look into the research of this culture you would find that when men masturbate they can orgasm as fast, easily, and reliably as women, and the way men masturbate doesn't look a lot like how they have sex. Also, there has been no scientifically and physically verified cases of a male orgasm through "k-spot" stimulation, even though it seems like there are plenty of men - in porn and movies and stuff like that - that have them all the time.

Flippin' That Script
If you think this alternate universe seems kinda blind and clueless, well.....we should probably look in the mirror. 'Cause we be treatin' the clit like the this alternative universe treats the penis. It's some BS. #Cliteracy #IMadeAWholeMovieAboutThis #SexSoMale


Giving Up Blowjobs For The Good Of Womankind

Writer Alison Stevenson is a bad bitch who should walk around with her hands pumping victoriously in the air most of the time. She did some truth-telling in a July 2016 article about how little she (and many women) orgasm during sexual encounters - particularly compared to men, and she said no more, my friends. No. More.
"If men expect to get an orgasm out of a hookup—without having to give anything in return—then I would adopt that approach, too."

Suck It, BJ's!
In an absolutely fabulous article from March 2015, she announced that she had stopped giving blowjobs, and in this new and equally fabulous 2016 article, she gives us a follow-up about why she's still not sucking dick. She, very rightly, decided that she had given too many goddamn blowjobs to boys that did not return the favor, and she's over it. She also rightly pointed out how the wrong-but-all-too-common assumption that women should just orgasm when a penis moves inside their vaginas (vaginae for you scholarly types) is the root of this problem. The reality is most women don't orgasm that way. The majority of women straight up do not orgasm from vaginal penetration (and I would argue it's even less than we are currently willing to admit).
"Penetration is great, but no matter how long, curved, or fat your dick is, it's not going to happen for me. That's true for plenty of other women, too—it's clit or bust. In other words, if a guy and I have sex, but I don't suck his dick, he can still come. If we have sex and he doesn't eat me out, I can't."
Tell Me Again How Orgasmic Sex Is...
I respect the hell out of what this women has done (and Tracey Moore at Jezebel does too) because the truth is women are set up to fail in sexual encounters in a way that men are not. None of us, boys or girls, were taught that the clit must be stimulated to orgasm. To drive that home, we were also taught that the most important and supposedly awesome part of a sexual encounter is intercourse - something which naturally involves the vagina and penis but not the clit. Fully involving the clit to the point of orgasm during a 'basic sex act' is not the norm. To involve the clit usually means that there are 'extras' given; extra effort, extra communication, extra sexual acts, extra willingness to do things a little differently. So the male orgasm is par for the course. The female orgasm is extra. It's some bullshit. Whether people realize it or not, the status quo sex act is male-gasm friendly but not female-gasm friendly.

Now, as Ms. Stevenson says in her original 2015 article, her lack of cunnilingus (and thus orgasm) in the past is part her fault too because she didn't used to ask,
"Look, I know that my years of being denied oral sex is my fault too. I was a different person then. I never asked for what I wanted, because I worried it would make me seem less attractive. It's something a lot of women feel, that it's more important to fulfill a man's desires over our own. You know, in order to "keep him." Even the most headstrong, self-reliant, progressive women fall victim to this line of thinking. I have finally been able to fully shed myself of my meekness when it comes to sex and I know now that I can not only demand what I want but also deny what I don't want: blowjobs."
I love that she takes some responsibility in this. She's clearly a sensible, thoughtful person, and I think it's true that a woman must become more proactive about asking in order to get her orgasm.

Men Just Get Orgasms, Women Need To Ask...For Extra
That said, can I also say WTF? Yes, she never asked, but can we take a minute and wonder why she has to ask in the first place? Why women must put so much work into getting their orgasm when men simply do not? Why men don't just automatically work the clit like women just automatically work the penis? Why we as a society fully understand and accept that men need their penises stimulated to orgasm, but are so clueless about what makes a woman orgasm that the default thing to do in sex with a woman is ram stuff up her vagina (seriously, contrary to popular belief, getting a woman off is actually not that difficult but trying to do it by stimulating the vagina instead of the clit sure makes it seem difficult, doesn't it?).

The frustration that led Ms. Stevenson to her no BJ decision is much bigger than boys aren't trying hard enough. Yes, that might often be the case, but the truth is we're dumb about lady-gasms. We shouldn't be because they're actually not that complicated at all, but yet we are, and since we're dumb about them and they seem so wierd and mystical and fickle, the female orgasm just gets ignored.

  • Men and often women don't know how to make them happen
  • The way sex is depicted and joked about and taught either doesn't include or misrepresents the physical needs for lady-gasm
  • The normal ways we go about sex don't leave room for it 
  • We don't prioritize them
  • Women often don't feel we deserve them (I mean they're so hard to get and your partner has to put extras in to get you there!)

All that adds up to males orgasming and ladies having to 'ask'.

Rock The Hell On Alison Stevenson!
This woman looked at her sex life and made a decision to put priority on her own orgasm over her male partners'. It's such a revolutionary thing to do because it throws a wrench in the age old sexual status quo and makes a bold statement that flies in the face of people (and I really think this is most people) who don't want to acknowledge how skewed towards male pleasure our sexual culture is. What she did is not easy. It takes self knowledge and courage, and it's inspiring.

So, for all that I am adding Alison Stevenson to the Orgasm Equality Heroes List. Her article and her sentiments fit into something I see as an exciting movement where women are acknowledging that status quo, run of the mill, normal sex is actually pretty bad sex for the ladies. What I mean is that the normal flow of sex, the normal expectations of sex, and the normal skills used in sex are just A LOT better for the male orgasm than for the female. Let me say it another way. When it comes to men, sex is like pizza - even bad sex is kinda okay because they come. For women, though, most sex is unorgasmic, some of it is downright gross, rapey, mean, utterly boring, or painful, and then only really extraordinary sex is even good or orgasmic at all.

This is important because as a culture there is still this entrenched feeling that the simple act of intercourse is a mutually orgasmic experience for both the male and female. It is hard to convince people that we should be going about sex differently because what could be wrong with the way it is? So, we need women speaking out and telling us about their actual experiences. How we go about sex and the expectations we have about sex and orgasm could be so much better. We need to hear more and more women getting real about this and pointing out the unequal playing field.

Bravo, Alison Stevenson! Every time one woman speaks out it makes it that much easier for another, and if we get enough we might have a full-on Orgasm Equality Revolution on our hands!

(and you really should read both her BJ articles - 2015 and 2016. She's also quite funny. Check out her Tumblr)


5 Not-Set-In-America Movies #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 DON'T TAKE PLACE IN AMERICA! That's right, these movies don't take place in America! They are fun and cool and not full of Fords, fast food, American flags and other American things I can't think of right now, so get a snack, a beverage, and get ready for tiny cinematic world tour!

1 City of God - This was directed by Fernando Mierelles and Katia Lund. This is coming to you from Rio De Janeiro, and it's just a fabulous movie. I saw it a few years after it came out on video, and although it was over a decade ago, and I don't remember a lot, I remember it was a lovely, well made, and important movie. Watch it if you haven't.

2 Speculation Nation - This movie was directed by Bill Brown and Sabine Gruffat. This doc is coming at you from Spain. We saw this at the Gateway Film Center for their Documentary Week because our movie was in it too and we ended up in this one because it played at a convenient time. It was a good stroke of luck because it turned out to be a pretty fun interesting film about Spain's housing crisis.

3 Monsoon Wedding - This was directed by Mira Nair, and it's coming at you from Delhi. I happen to see this on TV or maybe Netflix years after it came out, and I really enjoyed it. It was fun and sweet, and well worth a watch.

4 The Hurt Locker - This was directed by Kathryn Bigelow. This movie takes you to Iraq, and it's a good one. I saw this in the theater, and quite enjoyed it.

5 Bridget Jone's Diary - This was directed by Sharon Maguire, and this movie takes you to jolly old England. I also saw this one on TV years after it came out. It's a good Saturday afternoon movie.


The Holy Mountain - The SSL Review

A couple weeks ago a local art collective called Big Car had a showing of a classic art film, The Holy Mountain. It was created in 1973 by Alejandro Jodorowsky and funded by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

I'd never seen it before, and I'm always up for seeing an artsy classic movie, so me and Charlie went to check it out. Turns out it included one of the weirdest depiction/discussions of female orgasm I've yet seen in a movie. That, as you know, means I simply must SSL Review it...that special type of review where I specifically critique only discussion/depictions of lady-gasm and/or lady-bation. I look for realism and also what the depiction/discussion reflects from and adds to our cultural understanding of female orgasm and female sexuality. (See all the SSL Movie Reviews HERE, and TV SSL Reviews HERE)

What is this movie exactly?
Like I said, this was an odd scene, but what can one expect. This movie is a full on 70's artsy-ass film...kinda like a shorter, slightly more comprehensible Cremaster Cycle (Those of you who have given 9 hours of your precious life to watch that Cremaster Cycle know what I mean, right??)  So, I'm not gonna explain The Holy Mountain to you, and probably couldn't anyway, but I will but a series of pictures from the movie up, so you can get a feel for it.

So, as you can see there is a lot of stuff, and symbolism, and nudity, and also tiger head tits shooting milk out on a dude's head. I actually have to say that this movie was of a normal movie length and it was actually fairly entertaining - it never made me want to scratch my eyes out with boredom, and that's pretty damn good for this type of movie in my opinion. So, if you like watching artsy, wierd, or crazy-ass movies then definitely get a hold of this one. If you saw those pictures and clearly know it's not a movie for you, then don't get a hold of this. You know you.

The Love Machine
Now, let's get to the SSL Reviewable scene. Again, can't explain how we got to this point, but there is a love machine that one needs to coax into orgasm using an electronic rod. The narrator says as we are introduced to this love machine:
"With this electronic rod, he will rub its mechanical vagina. The skill of a spectator will determine the machine's ability to reach a climax."

One guy (the narrator/other guy in the scene's chauffeur) tries to get it to orgasm by pushing this rod into a kinda hole/slit in this big machine. It's so very much a big-electronic-dick-trying-to-make-a-womanmachine-come-by-ramming-in-its-holes kinda thing. He even positions this giant rod between his legs to really drive the phallic-ness of the rod home. He fails and the narrator goes on:
"My chauffer is a bad lover. He didn't know how to satisfy it, but this woman, I know her techniques very well. We'll produce the electronic orgasm."
The narrator guy gives a women (who for some reason strips naked) the rod, and she easily gets the machine to open and by moving the rod in and out of a hole, gets it to orgasm...and when it does, some brownish sludge comes out the end of the rod...because...I don't know. Then the narrator and woman raise their hands in victory. (Oh do please check the whole scene out below)

Anyway, this is machine orgasm here, not technically woman orgasm, but this certainly is supposed to parallel human sex...it's like super symbolic for dehumanized machine based sex or something like that.

And guess what that sex looked like? A penis going in and out of a vagina.
Guess what made the lady-machine come? A penis moving in and out of her vagina.
Guess what part of the human female anatomy wasn't paralleled in this lady machine? The clitoris.
Guess what part actually needs to be stimulated for a woman to come? Well, it's not the vagina. It's the clitoris.

What does it all mean???
So as is too often the case, the clit is completely shut out of a scene specifically about female orgasm even though it is as crucial to orgasm in females as the penis is in males. Once again, sex is equated with a penis moving in and out of the vagina, and it is depicted as being as orgasmic for women as it is for men. It's a super duper bullshit assumption that is not based in science or reality, but for some reason, we just cannot seem to get past believing it.

So, it just goes to show that in 1973 just as today, people simply and wrongly assume that a penis stimulating the vagina makes women come. Oh - and also just as today we can completely cut the clitoris out of a depiction/discussion of female orgasm and no one seems to bat an eye.

And that my friends is why we still have far to go for Orgasm Equality. Feel free to pass around some #Cliteracy or some Science Sex and the Ladies

What's the vulva rating???
I give this movie a 0 vulva rating. No clit, no vulva.


1977 Hustler Review Series #3: Bondage Article

Why I'm SSL Reviewing a 1977 Hustler
So there is a fab lady named Jill Hamilton. She made it into the Orgasm Equality Allies List a good while ago for her various writings. She's awesome and she's goddamn funny. She writes the blog In Bed With Married Women, which you will not regret reading.

Now here's where Hustler comes in. She had a give away on her blog, and we readers had to comment and tell her what we wanted so she could pick randomly and ship shit out to us. I saw she had a vintage Hustler, and so I asked - nay begged - for it. I promised to SSL Review it cover to cover, and here I am doing just that.

An SSL Review is a critique specifically of discussion and/or depiction of female orgasm and/or female masturbation in media (usually I do this for movies or TV not magazines, though). I particularly pay attention to the realism and scientific accuracy of the depiction/discussion and how it fits within the larger cultural conversation about female orgasm and female sexuality. However, this SSL review is a bit of a fudge on the rules, because it doesn't involve a specific discussion or depictions, but I think it is interesting and related, so I wanted to write about it. Plus, this should be quick.

Feel free to check out the previous SSL Reviews of the Advice Column and the Porn Movie Review sections.

Glory Bound by Chris Cassel (pg35-36)

The Gist
This is an article by a Hustler reporter who saw a sexual restraint catalog that made him hard and took it home where his girlfriend Cindy eventually found it. Low and behold, Cindy was all like 'let's try some of this shit.' So they did. They've been doing it for about a year. They love it, and this article is sort of a primer about what it's like and what to buy and all that.

He talks about how sexy it is and how Cindy feels it's sorta a way to act out fantasies about being dominated without actually getting hurt. In fact he says bondage is not dependent on pain like sadism or masochism. He also thoughtfully talks about some safety issues (ropes are bad for novices 'cause circulation constriction, ya need to be careful with neck stuff, some positions are not for long term, use good quality stuff - that kind of thing). He also mentions a few different types of things that can be used. That's where the SSL review comes in.
"The 'spanker's belt' has an extra-wide crotch strap to force the ass cheeks apart for paddling. Some companies offer options, such as vibrators or dildos, that snap into the crotch strap and are forced into either the cunt or asshole when the strap is tightened."
Why I'm SSL Reviewing This
Okay, so like I said before this SSL review is a little unorthodox because there's no specific discussion of lady-gasm or lady-bation. The above quote is the only thing that gets close in this article, though. I would have just skipped this piece of the magazine and gone to the next depiction/discussion, but an element of the above line caught my eye.

Basically it just struck me that the options for vibrator placement are up the v or up the butt - not against the clitoris/vulva. 1. Only 20-30%  of women claim to orgasm regularly during intercourse. 2. Stimulation inside the vagina (or butt) has never been shown in scientific literature to cause orgasm, but clitoral/vulva stimulation has been shown in scientific literature to cause lady-gasm numerous upon numerous times. So to me, if you're making a vibrating crotch attachment for a female wearer - I say skip the hole stuff and press that vibrator against the clit, ya'll. AmIright?

What That Line Says About Lady-gasms
Now, there's actually nothing wrong with what this article says about lady-gasm. It's actually saying nothing at all about it. No one is saying in this article that putting a vibrator up those holes is supposed to cause an orgasm. It might just be something fun that has nothing to do with the spank-ees orgasm. Maybe it's merely one type of the lady-giving pleasurable accouterments in the restraint accessory arsenal and just happens to be the one Mr. Chris Cassel decided to talk about. That's cool.

Truth is many a woman have very much enjoyed a vibrating dildo up the junk, but giving pleasure and giving an orgasm are not always the same thing. Insertions can, without a doubt, be pleasurable to women, but the large majority of women have never orgasmed from it.

Again, the line itself isn't a problem, but I feel like it is part of something larger that is a problem. When talking about women's sexual pleasure, insertion is just too often discussed exclusively, with no mention of the the clit - the female's actual organ of sexual pleasure - which is just wierd because few if any women ever actually come from ramming stuff up their holes. It's just strange that overall as a culture we focus so much on insertion to the exclusion of the clit.  I don't think it's nearly as common for penis and penis stimulation to be left out of articles about male pleasure to speak exclusively about non-penis pleasure like ball touching, anal penetration, or nipple stimulation.

So that's why I wanted to comment on this - because, well, it's part of the terribly wrong-headed all insertion no clit sexual culture.  In this article, while describing the fun of restraint, Chris talks a lot about Cindy's positioning through restraints and how it allows him to enter her vagina and bunghole (his word not mine). So the pleasure for him clearly involves his penis getting stimulated inside her holes - and we assume that pleasure includes his orgasm (and that's a sensible, scientifically backed assumption). His scenarios would also insinuate her holes getting stimulated by his dick are part of the pleasure for her - and we would probably assume that includes her orgasm as well (a not very likely, not scientifically backed assumption). So, he mentions insertion with his penis (orgasmic for both parties we assume) and then later with options from the belt above (orgasmic for her we assume), but he never ever mentions anything about how her clit gets love. His penis gets love and her vagina (and bunghole) get love, but does her clit?

Maybe we don't have the whole story, maybe he's all over that clit making ol' Cindy come hard. Maybe...but if the clit were part of this sexual stuff, why wasn't it mentioned or insinuated. I venture to guess Cindy's clit wasn't getting love. Clits all over the world get ignored in favor of the neighboring vagina, and I think that is both reflected in and perpetuated by how invisible it is when talking about sex. This Hustler article is just one of so, so, so many that blatantly ignore the clit. It might not seem wierd at first glance because we're so used to it. When sex is discussed it's the penis and the vagina not the penis and the clit (I'm talking even to you Last Week Tonight with John Oliver), but it is wierd. It shouldn't be the norm.

Point is, this article is fine, but it just reminded me about how very invisible and undervalued the clit was back then and continues to be.

P.S. Big ups to people like Sophia Wallace who are doing badass things to remind us that the invisibility of the clit in our sex talk and sex culture is wierd, and stupid, and needs to change. #Cliteracy


Random Male Hite Report #18

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
Shere Hite
Knopf, 1981 pg 46

The following page is in the chapter Sex and Physical Intimacy Between Boys.  The answers on the page I transcribed is preceded by the  passage below:

Early sexual experiences with other boys, of men who were exclusively heterosexual as adults, were surprisingly common and seem to have been, for most, a lot of fun:
...acts until we were able to start fulfilling our sex cravings with girls. Our last experience was sixteen. I don't think that either of us ever had sex with a male again."
    "I first experienced intense sensations and my first orgasm at about age thirteen. About this time also several boys and I engaged in mutual masturbation that eventually led to fellatio and anal penetration. As I remember, all I thought about was how good it felt."
    "My first experiences were with other boys--we talked about sex a lot, compared organs, masturbated together, and also did have some homosexual sex play--I was jerked off by a male friend when I was thirteen and I jerked him off--we did this occasionally for about one year. At the time I thought it was fun but forbidden fun. The homosexual aspect bothered me but I didn't have the confidence to attemp sex with a girl. The thought during this homosexual play was also heterosexual--the fantasies were always heterosexual. A girl's genitals were a mystery that I very much wanted to solve and a girl's breasts were things I very much wanted to play with."
    "In seventh or eighth grade, a bunch of us guys discovered masturbation and then discovered that the others had discovered it, too; we held jerk-off parties trying to see who could come first and shoot the farthest."
    "At summer camp, another boy was proud of 'beating his meat' and one night showed us his 'cream.' I remember touching his cock once, feeling slightly naughty about feeling his cream, and feeling jealous that he had a big cock and could do this trick."
    "I remember my older friend's penis was beautifully built, about six and a half inches long erect, and would erupt in white pearly spray that shot at least 12 inches in the air. It was a beautiful sight, like watching the geyser Old Faithful erupt."
    "My oldest brother once had me masturbate him while he was in the tub. He was sixteen. I was eight. I thought his cock was huge and beautiful, and I enjoyed doing it."
    "When I was int he sixth grade my best friend and I tried anal intercourse, after a classmate explained how he and his friend practiced for fucking a woman on each other's ass. I don't think we ever got more than the cap engulfed, but I remember it tickling something fierce."
    "My first physical experience with a man was with my best friend in high school. We'd go to the state fair together and sleep in a motel in the nude. We'd slowly creep ourselves over to each other until our hard-ons touched each other. We'd masturbate each other until orgasm. We'd do this every year, but never thought of having sex with each other at any other time. We just needed the bed environment."
    "I used to suck my brother's penis when I was seven or eight. It felt natural and easy at the time."
    "When I was ten, my twenty-year-old cousin and I played around. I liked it and so did he. He called me 'Wanda'!"
    At age thirteen, I had fellatio with an older man. I kept asking myself, 'Am I gay?' I was petrified and didn't tell anyone about it."


The 40 Year Old Virgin: The SSL Review

I've been meaning to SSL Review The 40 Year Old Virgin for a long time. It came out in 2005, and I certainly thought it was funny when I saw it at the time, but I was also researching for this movie then and noted some things it insinuated about lady-gasms. I've kinda been waiting for it to be on Netflix to watch it again for review, but it never happened, so I finally dropped the 4 bucks and rented it on Amazon Prime.

As a reminder an SSL Review focuses exclusively on depictions or discussions about female orgasm or female masturbation, and looks specifically at the realism of those depictions/discussions and how they fit into the larger cultural understanding of female orgasm and female sexuality. A movie could get an overall good review but have a bad SSL Review or vice versa. They are not necessarily linked. Find all the SSL Movie Reviews HERE.

Rape Culture At Its Finest
Oh, and also if I feel like it, I can comment on things that don't specifically involve the depiction/discussion of lady-bation or lady-gasms. As it happens, I feel like it now because, see, I noticed something in the movie that must not have struck me when I first watched it 10 years ago.

Some Character Background
I assume you've seen the movie. Most people probably have. It's about a 40 year old dude Andy (Steve Carell) who is still a virgin. His co-workers at pretend Best Buy find out and want to get him laid, particularly 3 dudes David (Paul Rudd), Jay (Romany Malco), and Cal (Seth Rogan). Andy is both embarrassed and annoyed that they want to force him into having sex. He's depicted in this movie as a 'nice guy' (the eventual woman he meets and finally makes love to on their wedding night even says to him on their first date that he's a 'nice guy' and that to her own peril, she's never dated 'nice guys'). And he is a 'nice guy.' He's thoughtful and kind and adorably quirky. He's awkward around women, but a genuine soul. His only real fault is he still has a child-like innocence. He doesn't really masturbate much. He doesn't like porn. He doesn't like to say the word pussy or bitch. He 'loves and respects women.' It's just he's awkward, guys - that's why he hasn't had a relationship with a woman in 20 years! Seriously, though, it really does seem to feed into this fantasy that 'nice guys' finish last because women only respond sexually to men like the 3 co-workers who are assholes to women and that 'nice guys' only get some if they are assholes too, or if they find the rare woman (like the one Andy eventually finds) who finally wises-up, stops dating assholes and finally sees that the nice guys are where it's at (even if he does need to 'grow up' a bit).

Finding Really Drunk Chicks To Screw Scene
Anyway, let's get back to these 3 friends. Their first attempt to get Andy laid is at a bar. Jay is talking to Andy about what to do, but Andy is mostly annoyed at the advice.
Jay: This is what's about to happen, alright. You about to go run down some drunk chick. Don't confuse that with tipsy. I'm talking about drunk. I want vomit in the hair. Bruised up knees. A Broken heel is a plus. That's what you want to find. Ok?
Andy: No, alright. Dave already told me I didn't have to have sex tonight, and now he's gone...so...
Jay: Dude, just stop thinkin' for a minute. You ain't got to think on this one. All you got to do is use your instinct. Show me your instinct.
They go through a thing where Andy talks about his heart as an instinct and dude tells him it's in his dick and makes him point to his dick to show where his instinct is.
Jay: That's how a tiger know he's got to tackle a gazelle. It's a code written in his DNA that says tackle the gazelle.
Andy: Ok (exasperated) 
Jay: And believe it or not, in every man there's a code that says tackle drunk bitches.
Andy: You know what? I don't feel comfortable hitting on drunk bitches (he says bitches like it hurts his mouth). You know...I don't think that's right.
Jay: Ok, Ok, hold up. First of all you're making it out to be some kind of bad thing. I didn't use 'bitches' in a derogatory sense. You did.
Andy: It's just. This doesn't feel right.
Jay: Of course it doesn't feel right. What has felt right for you doesn't work. You need to try some wrong, dog.
Andy: Ok, how do, uh,  I tell which ones are drunk?
Jay: Ok now you're talking.
Then Jay starts pointing them out, but telling Andy to not look directly at them (Andy doesn't feel comfortable doing that anyway) but to use his peripherals, which Andy reluctantly does.
Jay: Now with your peripherals, you got to scope out a hot drunk chick, and then you got to make your move. Ok?
Andy: OK. yes (still a little exasperated)
Jay: Alright. And remember it's more important that she's drunk than she's hot for this first one. Go get em'. Peripherals though, all the way...all peripherals.
Andy is walking away, but kinda stumbling because he's trying to use his peripherals. David comes over to stand next to Jay and watch Andy.
Jay: The boy is stubborn.
Andy stops and talks to a woman we can't see.
Andy: Hi I'm Andy. You look comfortable. 
She's revealed to be passed out on a couch.
Andy: Can I get you another cocktail?
David: (from across the room) Too drunk!
Jay: But you got the right idea!
David:  But clinically alive!
It cuts to Andy who finds Cal and asks him for help finding the drunk people. Cal makes a joke but then tells them he found a bachelorette party they should hang with. Well, turns out there is a really drunk bitch in the party, and Andy does indeed go home with her. Andy hasn't drank anything but he rides a bike, so she drives. We find she is a habitual drunk driver. She almost kills them a lot and eventually crashes and pukes on his face (I actually like this scene a lot, though, for real). She says she'll still have sex with him, but he passes. The next morning at work he's talking to the 3 guys who are laughing at him.

Andy: It was a very bad night. Yeah laugh. You know you guys wouldn't be laughing right now if some girl had just vomited shellfish sandwich into your mouth.
Jay: Oh, you know what? You're right. It's my bad. Let me apologize first of all for not mentioning in detail that when you pick up a drunk women who's falling down on her way out of the bar, that you should probably drive.
Andy: I drive a bike
Jay: Alright Mr. Schwin fucking Armstrong. Who asked you to drive a bike?
The Analysis
So, I get that the three guys are supposed to be, in a way, terrible people, so you could say the movie tells us the rapey-ness is bad by indicating those guys are bad, but they are also endearing, lovable characters with hopes and dreams that end up doing right by Andy in the end. Opposed to being bad people, I would say we are meant to relate to them and grow to like them. I also know that Andy's nice-guy reluctance to 'tackling drunk chics' might also seem like the movie's indictment of such tactics, but I don't think that's the case. I would say this movie never really indicts the idea of intentionally coercing people who are barely coherent into having sex they cannot fully consent to. No, the indictment seems to be more about not forcing your friend to engage in meaningless sex and not looking at sex as meaningless. There is never a 'don't try and rape women' lesson here. The three men never get their comeuppance for being involved in a situation where someone drives a fall-down, puking, bruises on her knees, drunk woman back to a place to fuck her. I mean, it is a pretty intentional method to fuck someone without actual consent (i.e. rape) but that's not what the movie faults them for. Instead the lesson these three men learn is that Andy is right about wanting to fall in love and not just fuck. So, there is a sweetness to this movie, sweetness many critics have happily pointed to, but that sweetness does not override the movie's casual acceptance of rapey-ness as part of finding meaningless, one-night-stand sex.

P.S. I looked up to see if there's much written about this. There's not. It's mostly awesome reviews of this movie, but I did find 2 thoughtful articles about this movie's endorsement of rapey-behavior HERE and an especially good one HERE.

A Quick Lady-Bation Reference
Okay, that was a long aside about the surprising rapey-ness in the movie, but here's the first of the actual SSL Reviewable scenes. This occurs when Andy tries to pick up this bookstore worker (Beth played by Elizabeth Banks) at her place of employment. On advice from Cal, he answers her only in questions. He is somewhat unintentionally playing with sexy innuendo (remember, he's kind of pure and nice-guyish), and it starts to turn her on, and she too gets all innuendo-y. He's been asking her what he should get at the bookstore.
Beth: We have a lot of books. It depends on what you like.
Andy: What do you like?
Beth: We have a great, um, section on do it yourself.
Andy: Do you like to 'do it yourself''?
Beth: (giggling) Sometimes (giggling)...if the mood strikes.
Andy: How is the mood striking you now?
Beth: (laughs a lot, then gets sexy-serious) What's your name?
So, really it's just a quick reference from a woman about masturbating. She gets the innuendo about it, and admits to it in a sexy way. I'm always happy to see a woman in a movie admit to masturbating because it is still so often not depicted, and so many people feel as though women masturbating is wierd. So the more women in media admitting to it, the more it is normalized in our culture, which is a good thing for the female orgasm.

 However, as you will see, Beth is later depicted in this movie as a super sex freak. So, in a way, all the good aspects of this scene eventually get erased. The men in the movie (including the pure, nice-guy Andy - even if he doesn't do it much) all admit to masturbating. However, only Beth does for the women. Andy's eventual love interest is not associated with masturbation at all. So, in a way, instead of normalizing female masturbation, I think at least partially this movie makes lady-bation come off as a freaky-deaky-wierd-lady thing instead of a normal-lady-you'd-actually-date sort of thing...and I think the next scene supports that perspective further.

The Bathing Masturbating Weirdo
Andy falls in love with Trish (the one who used to date jerks like a dumb bitch, but finally learned that nice guys are where it's at with Andy!), but because of insecurities related to his virginity (which Trish doesn't know about yet) they have a fight. Andy gets drunk at a bar with his friends, and decides they are right about him needing to have meaningless one-night-stand sex  with a throw-away for his first time. Anyway, he sees Beth again. They decide to go home and do the nasty.

How We Know Beth's A Freak
They are in her bedroom. They both seem a little drunk, but not super drunk, and he is super awkward but pretending to be really into it. He says they should do it, and she's like, yes! Then she speaks kinda sexy-cryptic, and he only somewhat understands what's happening. They don't do anything physical with each other, but during this time, I think it's safe to say we are supposed to get the impression she's freaky. She shows this in 5 ways.

1 She mentions that they could do it in the butt, (but he doesn't get it).
She gets all excited and says he's 'kinky' after he takes off his shirt and reveals a botched, patchy chest wax job that his friends made him try. She says they should shave each other, and they go into the bathroom where she draws a bubble bath.
She takes of his belt and gives him a little whip on his still pants-wearing behind. He reacts like it hurt (which to be fair, if we're talking about not being rapey - she probably should have taken his cue that he was starting to not be into this anymore and stopped, but she doesn't)
4 She kisses him (this is their only physical contact), and when she leaves the kiss, she pulls on his lower lip hard.

Now this is the big one. She gets in the tub and masturbates with the shower head. I know, crazy right? Seriously though, he really seems freaked out. Let me set the scene.

How The Masturbating Goes Down
As she's leaving the kiss, the following exchange happens. During this whole time, Andy becomes more disinterested because it seems like he knows he doesn't want to be here doing this.
Beth: I want to please you. What do you like?
Andy: I don't..I don't  know. What do you like?
Beth: Can I show you what I like?
Andy: Ok (pretty disinterested)
Beth gets in the fully filled tub and picks up the silver shower head.
Beth: I want to  introduce you to my friend.
Andy: Your friend is so shiny (nervous and like a child)
Beth: This guy knows exactly what I like.
She turns it on (let me quickly say, the water pressure does not seem up to the task if you ask me) and puts it under the bubbly water and between her legs.

Andy: Where's your friend going? (kinda freaked out like a scared kid)
For some reason, Andy seems not just disinterested, child-like, and sad that he's in a position of cheating on Trisha, a woman he loves. He also seems like what she is doing is totally perplexing and fucked up. He's appalled at what he's watching.
Beth: This is how I'm gonna warm up for you.
Andy: (completely perplexed) That's always good to warm up.. You don't want to pull something.
She leans back, closes her eyes, and starts breathing like it feels real good. She seems to set the shower head in place and has her hands free to kinda swoosh water around as she's still lying back eyes closed. It cuts back to him, sad, perplexed, and a little terrified still, then back to her. It's closer on her face, and she kinda lets out some squeaky moans. Her eyes kinda flutter, and it seems she is either getting really excited or may even be heading to orgasm, and then cuts back to him, even more horrified.

Andy: pheww. Wow, this is graphic.
It cuts back to her and she is still laid back, focused on her pleasure, but giggling like she had just come and is going for more. When it cuts back to him, he's over this shit and decided to turn and leave, but when he heads to the bathrooms door, he runs into his 3 friends watching. He's surprised (obviously) and asks them why they're there. They say they were worried about him doing this so they came to stop it. (See! The've learned their lesson and realized love is more important than meaningless sex!). He asks how they got in.
Jay: I hit it like 8 months back. I never gave her key back. Man, you have no idea where this is going. That girl is s freak.
From the bathroom, we hear her orgasm again.
Andy: (freaked the fuck out) Oh you think? Look you guys, I don't know what I'm doing anymore. I don't even know where I am. All I know is that woman scares the shit outta me, and I just wanna go home.
So, he leaves with Jay and David, but Cal, who was clearly WAY into the show from jump, stays back and as the others file out, he gently steps into the bathroom, looks towards the tub (we can't see the tub, though), and says, "hey" with a little wave. She giggles, and he starts taking off his shirt before it cuts.

So, Here Is What We Learned:

  • If a woman asks to show you what she likes sexually, say no. If you say ok, she might actually show you how she gets off by actually masturbating, and there is nothing more appalling and horrifying than seeing a woman bring herself to orgasm.
  • Bitches that would masturbate right in front of you are Freaky. As. Hell....terrifyingly so.
  • If you are into freaky bitches like Cal (Cal has previously shown himself to be into freaky shit), just show up and start doing sex things with any ol' freak. If she freely went into 1 freaky sexual situation, she will certainly be up for any other freaky sexual situation that might arise...like a completely random stranger climbing into the bath with you after the person you chose to have sex with randomly disappears.

The Analysis
But for real, that scene was ridiculous to me. Could Apatow, Carell, and the rest of the writing crew not think of anything more radical for her to do other than to masturbate with a shower head - or is that the freakiest and most humorous thing they could possibly think of? Seriously, why did the men writing this think that was such a wierd thing to do? What does that say about them and about our sexual culture. It's actually like the most awesome thing a woman could do - to show you how she gets off. Come on, people.

Anyway, in an SSL Review sort of way, we couldn't actually see what she was doing with the shower head once it went under the bubbles. At one time she was using it hands free, and it's possible a viewer might think there was something about sticking the thing up her vagina, but she never made any movement that looked like that to me, and she never seemed to be moving anything in or out. I think the assumption for most (and I hope the movie-maker intention) was that it was spraying against her vulva/clit area - giving it stimulation similar to a vibrator. That is a way women have admitted to masturbating - especially, quite classically, as a first intro to masturbation when they were young. Anyway, the idea that water stimulation against the vulva could cause orgasm is sensible, so no qualms there. My only qualm with this scene is how negatively the other characters reacted to it.

He Gets Un-Virgined!

The Scene Begins
So, it's Andy and Trish's wedding night, and they're about to do the deed. He's on top of her totally missionary, mostly under covers. It's a bust shot from the side. He puts it in.

Weirdly though, she looks him in the eyes questioningly, and he says, "yes," and she says kinda happily and surprised, "yeah?" It was like he had to tell her it was in?? I don't know - just seemed wierd so I wrote about it.  Anyway, there's really no hip movement that I can tell, but it's a super short scene. They kiss, and then she stops and says, "Whoa, you're officially not a virgin." To which he says, "Cool." They kiss again for a sec. It fades out and says:

"1 minute later."
It cuts back, and they are now laying face up next to each other. He's all starry eyed, and says "wow." She has one hand behind her head, looking kinda like, 'well, what's next?' She lets a little phhhh through her lips, and says, "Wanna do it again?" He says, "Yeah," and she says, "Good....yeah. That was good. That was okay," (meaning it wasn't really good, but she's a nice, encouraging person) as he gets back on top of her missionary style. He says, "Ready? Are you ready?" She says "Yes" with a laugh. They start to kiss, and it fades out. It says:

"2 hours later"
When it cuts back, they are laying next to each other just like before but she looks like shit - like she's flattened into the bed, drained, and dehydrated, desperate looking even. He has a far off look in his eyes, but doesn't look bad or dehydrated or anything. He looks good. She's breathing like she's tired and maybe dying and can barely keep her eyes open, and she speaks with very little energy, "So how was that for you?" He has plenty of energy and begins to sing, "When the moon is in the 7th house..."

Dancing Sequence
It cuts to a dancing sequence with the whole cast  then back to them lying next to each other in bed. She is singing with barely enough energy to mouth the words, still looking like death. She wipes her face and momentarily covers her eyes. He still looks energetic. In the dance sequence she is vibrant and in a white dress, though.

It cuts back to them in the final scene. She is still all sweaty and terrible looking but we can't see her face much anymore. They are now facing each other lying in bed and gently kissing each other. She is moving, so clearly she's slightly more energetic. He vibrantly turns toward the camera above him and sings the final words of the song, "Aquarius" as she buries her head into his neck with arms wrapped around him caressing his back gently. They sorta move into what might become more sex, and it cuts to the dance sequence again for credits.

How Realistic Is This Scenes?
Okay - so this scene also is not technically SSL Reviewable because we don't actually see an orgasm or masturbation, but I think it's related enough to talk about. So first off, there's the old joke that it's his first time and he comes in merely a minute and that's totally not pleasing for the lady. Hilarious, right? She clearly wasn't satisfied, and wants more - that's why she asks if he wants to go again. I'm reaching a bit for this SSL assessment, but I think the insinuation is pretty clearly that what she needs from him is more intercourse time. I mean a man's staying power during intercourse has long been associated with a woman's orgasm, so it makes sense the movie makers would make the joke that his excitement of the first time leaves him coming too quick and her unsatisfied.

Looking at this realistically, I buy that she wasn't satisfied, but it's not because the short intercourse. It's because penises stimulating vaginas do not seem to make lady-gasms. Time isn't the problem, only stimulating the inside of the vagina and not the outer clitoral/vulva area is the problem. If you are stimulating the wrong thing, doing it for 1 minute won't be much more helpful than doing it for 2 hours...but strangely I'm not sure if the movie-makers intended for it to seem like she was satisfied after the 2 hours or not...  

So, what Happened During the 2 Hours?
Now, I don't know what happened during those next 2 hours. Maybe there was some clit stimulation, but I don't think it makes sense to assume that. The whole tone of the movie seems to insinuate to me that he intercoursed her for 2 full hours. This movie kept a hard line for the status quo of sex = intercourse. It was sooo about putting penises into vaginas, and it deemed ladies touching themselves gross, so I can only assume in the world of this movie that when nice, sensible girls like Trish have sex, they do so by intercoursing.

However, I have no idea what Trish being near-death looking was supposed to mean. What was the joke? Did the writers have some sort of misguided porn understanding of what intercourse does to women, and we were to assume Trish was orgasmed out because Andy went so long that she must have just come and come and come till she couldn't even function anymore? Or did the writers not even think much about her orgasm situation and only considered how funny it would be to think about what 40 years of pent-up non-intercoursing would do to the man's first partner. Was that it? Was it that he just used her pussy the hell up with such vigor that she was basically plastered into the bed like a flattened porn cartoon character. I really don't know because I can't really comprehend how Mr. Apatow and his crew might have conceived of a woman's experience in this situation.

As she was lying there half dead, Trish asked Andy how it was for him, but he didn't reciprocate. All in all I guess whatever this scene was intended to insinuate about women's orgasms is not exactly awesome. Either the constant ramming in her vagina made her come like a porn star on overtime or her orgasm and pleasure were an irrelevant part of this scene, focusing instead on showing that the bodily-harming endurance of too much intercourse portrays her as a loving partner, allowing Andy to get to an "Age of Aquarius" euphoria. Both are kinda gross options and neither a great addition to the culture of authentic, female orgasm.

The Vuvla Rating
The 40 Year Old Virgin is funny, but it's not getting a good SSL Review. It heavily equates penis in vagina intercourse as 'sex,' making other ways of engaging in sexual activity with a partner (ways that might actually stimulate the clitoris) either invisible, lesser, or just plain wierd. In fact when a woman did one of the most orgasm-equality, progressive things a woman could do, showing her future partner what she liked sexually by masturbating, she and the act were portrayed as fucking crazy. Her craziness that involved non intercourse, unattached sexual activity was contrasted against the main female love interest (the 'one' for our hero) who's sex interests only seemed to involve traditional intercourse. Trish is sexual but sane because she's not into kinky shit. Beth is sexual and crazy because she is into kinky shit and from Andy's reaction, the kinkiest shit she did was bring herself to orgasm. That's some anti-lady-gasm bullshit, my friends.

Also, all the rapey find-a girl-to-fuck-who's-barely-conscious-'cause-it'll-be-easy shit makes me less charitable with my vulva rating. I really wonder how that would fly if that came out now, ten years later. I feel like it would be called out. I hope so. I feel like there has been a small but mighty shift in consciousness with that. I feel pretty certain all the gay jokes in there that flew back then would not be in there if it were made today. I do think the sentiment around those kinds of gay jokes has definitely evolved to be distasteful in movies now. Let's hope the same is true of endorsing rape in a movie also.

This gets 0 vulvas because I think it's actually backward in terms of what it adds to the conversation about female orgasm and female sexuality (and sadly, I think that was even true 10 years ago when it was released also).