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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...And Now the Original post from June 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Glamour Joins the Orgasm Equality Fight

So, yo, yo, yo. There's an article that actually came out last year, but it slipped through the cracks, and I am just now posting about it. That means nothing about how much I love it though.

It's an article in Glamour called, "Are you ready for the war on bad sex?" and it's about the bullshit that is our sexual culture when it comes (or more likely doesn't come, if you get me drift) to lady-gams. The ever awesome Gemma Askham, who has already made my list of Orgasm Equality Heroes, and who I write about HERE, wrote it and in it talks with a variety of women out there activating on the subject. I am proud to be one of those ladies she speaks with in the article, and I feel absolutely elated to be among those other women calling BS on our culture's ignorance and ambivalence towards female orgasm.

Honestly, it really is exciting to see some boldness on this topic. I love seeing people speak more directly to the idea that vaginas don't make orgasms and that clits are the organ of female sexual pleasure. I love seeing it clearly put out there that women are able to orgasm as quickly, easily and reliably as men do...and then seriously question why the hell we don't much of the time. I love that there seems to be some real movement on this topic i like to call orgasm equality.

Some of the other women Gemma talks with in here have already made my Orgasm Equality Heroes list (Jenny Block, who I wrote about HERE ) and some women I am for sure interested in writing about in the future (Breanne Fahs, Lydia Daniller who co-founded OMGYes that has been on my list to write about for quite a while actually, and Naomi Hutchings)

Anyway, I LOVE women speaking out and I LOVE women highlighting the women who are speaking out. This is how revolutions - orgasm equality revolutions - begin, my friends.

Go check out the Article.


Random Hite Report #23

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. 131 From chapter "Orgasm" in the section 'Are Orgasms Important' under the heading 'Women are now under great pressure to perform by having orgasms, especially during intercourse.'

   "I'm very wary about telling new partners I don't have orgasms because then they make it a contest to see if they can be the one to make me come. I really resent being expected to come, and almost forced if I don't."
    "Sometimes I have felt that reaching orgasm was more a matter of satisfying my partner's desire to satisfy me than my own need for orgasm."
    "You're supposed to be uninhibited and have orgasms, and when I do it makes him feel confident and secure. Orgasm is important, but not as important as he thinks: my orgasm is actually more important to m husband than to me!"
    "Yes, I must have an orgasm. Otherwise, I'm not a real person and making him feel bad and maybe he'll abandon me. Men enjoy making love more to women who have orgasms."
    "I would enjoy sex with no orgasm at times, if I felt other people weren't uptight about it, and if the reasons were my own. Maybe sex would be better if we'd never heard of orgasms."
    "I'm afraid that new partners will think I'm wierd and not as sexy as other women if I don't have orgasms-or that I'm selfish and aggressive if I do!"
    "I wish orgasms didn't exist. Then maybe sex would be fun." 
There is also a social pressure that says a woman who has an orgasm is more of a woman, a "real" woman.    
"I don't think orgasms are that important; the literature has given women another burden. But I'm ashamed to admit, because of the myth, I feel 'good' having an orgasm - like I'm a real woman! Arrrgh...."
    "I can enjoy sex without orgasm, but psychologically I feel like I'm a failure, like a not totally functioning woman."
    "Orgasms are continually talked about. Therefore if I don't have one, I feel inadequate."
    "The idea of having orgasms is important to me, but I can certainly enjoy sex without having them. Worse than not having an orgasm is the feeling that I've failed or that I'm frigid or unsexy. I feel a lot of pressure,...


How Women Rate Their Genital Sensitivity and Appearance: An Article I Read

Self-assessment of genital anatomy, sexual sensitivity and function in women: implications for genitoplasty
Justine M. Schober, Heino F.L. Meyer-Bahlburg, Philip G. Ransley
BJU Volume 94, Issue 4 September 2004 Pages 589–594

My Intro
So I wondered upon this article looking at references in another one, and thought it might be a good one to write about right quick. It's about something I am pretty interested in reading more about, and I think it is headed down a very necessary path - understanding the orgasmic and arousal capacity of different parts of the female genitals in an effort to preserve those qualities when feminizing surgeries are required.

So, in terms of 'feminizing surgery,' I think this article was mostly written with intersex people in mind. If you haven't heard the word intersex before, you should look into it. There are people born every day that don't fit neatly into the physical category of male or of female. It's a normal variation in the possibility of human bodies, but you may not know about it because it has traditionally been taken on by the medical community to correct these bodies to either male or female in a swift and secretive way - sometimes that included genital surgery at a very young age. However, intersex people are starting to advocate for themselves and the newborn intersex children that cannot speak up; telling the medical community that medical intervention is not always needed and that intersex people deserve to choose the level of gender-related medical intervention. I wrote a little about this in 2010. The activism of intersex people is something we should all educate ourselves on a bit.

Anyway, although advocacy on intersex issues has done a lot of questioning about when and if masculizing or feminizing surgery should take place, there are still times that surgery seems appropriate by an individual intersex person and their doctors. There are also gender confirmation surgeries, genital reconstruction surgery for patients who have undergone female genital mutilation, elective genital cosmetic surgery, and other medically necessary genital surgeries. All of these surgeries would do well to preserve areas of arousal and orgasmic capability.

All that to say that there needs to be good information about the sexual sensitivity and functioning down there in order for there to be good surgical decisions.

My Quick Summary And Opinions
This paper is a very small initial step towards better information about where people experience erotic sensitivity in their genitals so that surgery to them doesn't fuck up capabilities for arousal and orgasm in that area. The authors point out that the quality assessment of a feminizing surgery had, in the past, often been based on how the surgeon, instead of the patient, perceived the anatomy and function - which clearly is not ideal.

So, to ascertain good patient assessment, these researchers did this here pilot study. They utilized a new (in 2004 at least) questionnaire that used pictures and questions to help a group of genitally "normal" women identify different areas of their outer genitals and inner vagina on a scale of 1-5 for the area's 'orgasm intensity' and for the effort required to achieve orgasm. They also had to select pictures and descriptions that best described their genitals.

From the results, the researchers found that women had the most orgasmic intensity above and on the clitoral glans, although they also had some (in order of greater to lesser) on the labia, the sides of the clit, below the clitoris, and around the vag-hole. There was less orgasm intensity inside the vagina, but the deepest part was rated higher in intensity than the middle or the part nearest the outside. Also women tended to rate their clits size as normal even when they picked a drawing to describe it that experts would describe as abnormally large.

So, the researchers said even with the preliminary nature of this study, they gained some insight. For instance maybe clits can be larger than experts now think and still be deemed normal and feminine - which may mean less need for clitoris reducing surgeries in intersex people. They also noted that since the top of the clit was rated as sensitive as the clitoral glans itself, then they should be real careful about snipping the skin up there.

Those are both well and good insights. They seem sensible and aligned with the data that was received, but I have to say there seems to be a general problem with the questionnaire in this study. It seems like these questions were actually pretty confusing to the women. 16% of these women said their vagina was not big enough for a penis and another 4% said it's not even big enough for a tampon...yet ALL of these women said they had intercourse. So there's something amiss that should cause one to wonder if the answers these women gave are reliable for the types of questions the researchers thought they were asking.

And on the whole question subject...Let's just be honest that women get real squirrely when they start answering questions about their orgasms. You know I don't trust women's self reports on this, and researchers shouldn't either. First off, women are known to fake orgasms - and that mental game-playing that goes into women pretending to have pleasure that they aren't actually having during sexual interactions could twist its way into how women answer survey questions about orgasm. Also, there is so much BS out there in the world about what orgasms are supposed to be like. I mean well up into the 70's medical professionals were telling women that they were sick in the head if they didn't have vaginally induced orgasms - (which is a way of achieving physical orgasm not actually found in scientific literature and for all we know might literally be an impossible feat). So, in all reality, with all the confusing and incorrect info fed into women's heads about what their orgasms are supposed to be like, it's very possible women call things orgasms that aren't actually a physical orgasm (i.e. the rhythmic release of pelvic muscle tension caused by arousal). They also might be making room in the survey for different non-orgasmic experiences. For instance maybe they are rating actual physical orgasms "Strong" and high arousal moments or ejaculations or spiritual climaxes as "mild" orgasms - or maybe even the other way around.

So, what I'm saying here is that women could be claiming they've had orgasms from stimulation of areas that they have not - for a variety of reasons. Maybe the researchers think they are hearing what women are telling them about where they can be stimulated to orgasm. However, they are really hearing a chaotic mix of where women can be stimulated to orgasm, where their partner likes to stimulate them, where they think they should be stimulated to orgasm, where they can be stimulated to arousal, where they can be stimulated to ejaculation, and where they most often get stimulated.

So, I think there are a lot of worries with this questionnaire just like any questionnaire where women are asked to self-report about orgasm...but I will say, the purpose here was to learn more about how women feel about their genitals, and even if a woman doesn't get an actual physical orgasm from wherever she said she did on the questionnaire, there is still some value in knowing that she answered the question about herself the way she did...although I do so wish researchers who rely on questions like these would fully acknowledge the limitations of female orgasm self reports.

Article Summary
Alright, and now for the details of this article - If you have any questions, please just check out the
Full Article. It's available! (big thanks to the authors letting this out into the world - I love that)
As always: Any quotes are directly from the article unless otherwise stated, and assume everything written is at least a rough summary of what the authors have said unless I write my own opinion in the  (Me: ...).

Also, check out all my summaries of SSL Journal Article HERE.

The researchers tell us that in the past the assessment of how good a feminizing surgery went was often based on how the surgeon perceived the anatomy and function instead of the patient, and that this kind of surgery has recently come under a lot of fire because there seems to be a lot of cases where the patient's sexual functioning was impaired. In fact, some intersex activists have called for a complete stop to this kind of surgery until more is known . So clearly research into how women perceive their genitals and orgasmic functioning before and after surgery is important and needed quickly.

The authors go on to say that there is some good info out there about anatomy, physiological changes during orgasm and sexual arousal, and some other aspects of male and female genital physiology,
"However, standards for measures of the visible aspects of the female genitalia are largely lacking. For instance, the average diameter of the glans in adult females and the length or protrusion of the clitoris in the relaxed and aroused state are not well documented."

The researchers tell us that "genital sensation and its underlying innervation is even less complete, especially for women." However, there's a lot of detail known about what kind of sensation and touch needed for lady rats to get into lordosis (which is their sexually receptive position). Obviously, rat stuff can't be directly compared to human-lady stuff, they tell us, but it may have some relation. One of the authors has done some rat clit research, so there's a lot of detail there I won't go into.

The researchers also point out that although there is some research about tactile sensitivity in female genitals (with vibration, heat and touch), that tactile response is not quite the same as sexual stimulation, and a complete mapping of that is yet to be done. They note Graffenberg (the G-spot guy) said there's sensitivity in the vagina close to where the urethra lays above the vagina (lower anterior of the vagina), and Kinsey decided from masturbation studies that the cit and labia were the most sensitive and Singer and Singer "indicated that there are many sites of sexual sensation which differ in the kinds of orgasm they produce." (Me: so there's a variety of claims among top sexual researchers about what areas in the female genitals are most important to orgasm and arousal)

There have been fetal nerve studies of female genitals and a recent study has expanded information on clitoral innervation. They show the greatest nerve density in female genitals is above and fanning out down to the clitoris.

The researchers then point out that although it is possible and important to actually watch and measure women as they touch and arouse their genitals for data sake, it is a hard thing to do for a variety of reasons. Also,even if one were able to get that kind of physical, observational data, one would also need a good questionnaire to get the subjective perspective of the woman's experience to pair with that objective anatomical data (me: true dat, true dat). So, either way, a good questionnaire is important for this type of work.

This pilot study was used to test the questionnaire out on genitally 'normal' women to better understand its feasibility before it was tried on women having genital surgery and to "test whether women can discriminate between various genital areas in terms of erotic function in this self-report format."

A new questionnaire was used, the Self-Assesment of Genital Anatomy and Sexual Function, Female version (SAGASF-F) (me: I really tried to find this full questionnaire online, but couldn't find it anywhere. It has been used in several studies since though.)

"The SAGASF-F was designed to obtain a woman's perception of what her genitals look like, to map her experience of cutaneous sensitivity, sexual pleasure, discomfort/pain and orgasm across specific areas of her genital region, and to elicit reports of perceived changes in sexual function after surgery, if applicable. Genital pictures and descriptive phrases are used to facilitate systematic self-reporting. The pictures were based on the digitization of selected drawings of the clitoris and vagina, which were digitally modified to represent variations in size and location, and to identify specific areas of the genital region for sensation ratings."

Subjects and Method
The participants were women employees of a hospital. They were recruited and given the survey that they could complete anywhere and drop off anonymously into a box at the hospital. The 1st 50 women to return the survey are the participants.  Half had a college degree. Their education spanned HS diploma to doctorate. Mean age was 38.7, and 42 of the 50 were white. It took about 25 minutes to take the survey.

The Survey
There is an intro to help understand the rating tasks. Then that participant is asked to "select one of several options of appearance, size and position of her clitoris and vagina. In addition, she rates on a 5-point Likert scale her orgasm intensity and the effort required to achieve orgasm for several graphically and verbally demarcated areas at and around the clitoris and within the vagina."

The results were calculated and a visual depiction of orgasm intensity and orgasm effort were created over genital pictures.

(me: I'm a little confused about exactly how the questions and pictures were presented to the women in the questionnaire, but it says women were "presented with sets of response options in terms of graphs and phrases, and asked to select the best description of their anatomy..." I'll quote whenever they describe the survey because that's the only clue we have to how it was worded, etc.)


For the clitoris:
46% 'moderate-sized and raised'
42% 'small and raised'
6% 'large and slightly long'
4% 'large, raised'
2% 'enlarged and long'
(me: there was an option of  'I cannot locate my clitoris' and no one must have chosen that)

For vaginal location:
92% 'vaginal opening in midposition'
8% 'near anus (far back)'
(me: 2 other options were available to choose, but the paper does not say what they were)

For vaginal opening size:
78% 'adequate for sexual penetration'
16% 'just large enough to insert finger or small object, but not large enough to insert average sized penis, regular tampon or speculum'
4% 'not large enough to even insert small dilator or finger or small tampon'
2% 'very large'
(me: no one chose 'cannot locate my vagina' 'I have no vaginal opening' 'other (describe)' or a 4th option that must be a size somewhere smaller than 'adequate for sexual penetration' but not the other ones listed above)

All women reported their vagina was 'deep enough for intercourse with and average penis'

Deeper blue indicates stimulation area creating the most intense orgasms and deeper red indicates area most easily stimulated to orgasm, from Schober et.al. 2004

"to rate orgasm intensity the women were presented an item of the following form for each of the anatomical areas (after a written introduction to facilitate the understanding of the ratings). 'sexual touch/stimulation of this area by a partner or yourself, ... , has produced (rate 1 through 5):' 'Orgasm' (followed by a line with the anchors: 1/none, 2/mild, 3/moderate, 4/strong, 5/intense)."

For orgasm intensity, these are the areas with the highest to lowest mean ratings: clitoris, above clitoris, labia, below clitoris, sides of the clitoris, around vaginal opening

"For orgasm effort the women were asked for each area: 'If orgasm was achieved, please describe the effort required.' (followed by a line with the anchors: 1/very strong, 2/strong, 3/moderate, 4/little, 5/very little)."

For orgasm effort, these are the areas that had easiest to hardest mean ratings: clitoris, above clitoris, labia, below clitoris, sides of clitoris, and around vaginal opening

"For relationship between vaginal depth and orgasm intensity and effort, the women were presented with highlighted pictures representing vaginal depth at 3 levels' the introitus (Area A), mid vagina (Area B) and deep vagina (Area C), along with the same questions as above about orgasm intensity and effort."

The most intense orgasms and least effort went from deep to mid to introitus.

From Schober et.al. 2004

"Whereas only two-fifths of the women indicated a clitoral size that would typically be regarded as normal, a similar proportion selected a descriptor 'moderate sized and raised' and a picture showing a clitoris that experts judged as larger than normal" The researchers wonder if that means there is less need than thought for clitoral reductions, but they also point out that 16% of women said their vaginal opening couldn't fit a penis yet all the women in the study 'reported being sexually active and engaging in sexual intercourse.' So maybe more work is needed on how women understand genital size - and also some direct anatomical measurements from a professional would probably be good to add to this type of data as well.

The researchers found things they thought were surprising:.
1) Both the clit and above the clit show about equal ratings of orgasmic sensitivity - both rated much higher than other areas. This does correspond to where the largest bundle of nerves are though.
2) The areas inside the vagina rated most orgasmically sensitive is deep in the vagina. This seems odd because the lower part of the vagina towards the belly-button (lower anterior region) is where researchers often say women have more vaginal sensitivity and where the location of the G-spot is often discussed. The researchers wonder if this is because their research is self reported and other research has used data that includes response to touches in different areas.

"For vaginal sexual stimulation, the scores of orgasmic sensitivity of the vagina at any depth are less than the scores for external surfaces."

Although this is a preliminary study, the researcher thought it suggests 2 important things things about genital surgery:
1) Many healthy women perceived their clitoral size to be something an expert would say is too large. Maybe this means women will accept a larger clit size than is commonly believed. This could mean maybe less surgical intervention in clitoral size in the future.
2) Healthy women find the area above the clit as or more orgasmically sensitive than the clit itself. This, plus the fact that nerve placement is densest above and on the clit, "makes a strong case against surgical separation of the skin above the clitoris to prevent nerve disruption..."


Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories S1 Ep 5: The SSL Review

Great Job!
So, let's talk about Tim and Eric. You might know them from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! which you might have seen on Adult Swim between 2007 and 2010. Maybe not. I was a bit of a fan. It's some wierd fucked up shit in that show, and it's not everyone's bag. Below is the show opening just to give you a little taste of it.

Okay, so I recently watched Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories, which apparently originally aired in 2014, but I only noticed on Hulu last week. These are very much Tim and Eric -ish, but with a very different production quality aesthetic and more of a narrative format. One of these, "Roomates," Season 1 Episode 5 has an SSL Reviewable moment in it, and that's why I'm here - to review that.

An SSL Review
As my loyal readers know, an SSL Review is a critique of depictions or discussions of female orgasm and/or masturbation. That is it. Nothing else gets critiqued in an SSL Review (unless I feel like critiquing something else). In general I'm focusing on how realistic the depiction discussion is and how it fits into the larger cultural narrative about female orgasm and women's sexuality.

If you'd like to see all the SSL Reviews I've done, check 'em out for MOVIES and for TV.

Mutual Masturbation with Mamacita
I discussed above how wierd Tim and Eric stuff is, and this episode of Bedtime Stories is no exception. It makes it a little hard to SSL Review because nothing in these shows can be taken seriously, but at the same time, all depictions/discussions are part of the cultural discussion, and I find them all worthy of some scrutiny.

Here's the details, it's pretty simple. One guy, Franklin Bing, gets suspicious of his mother who is visiting and his roommate, Tony Dort. Franklin comes home to his apartment and hears some muffled sexual moaning and grunting. When he opens the bedroom door, his mother and his roommate Tony are kneeling on the bed facing each other. They are pant-less with shirts on. Their private areas are scrambled so  we can't see the details, but they are clearly masturbating. Both are making kinda moany vocalizations as they rub their own junk. They stop and try to cover up when they are discovered.

Franklin goes into the living room and the two follow him in. (p.s. -There is kind of a running gag in this episode where the two men sprinkle Spanish words in their talking, but they are sometimes incorrect or off in some way.)
Tony: Franklin, las siento mi hermana, but me and your mom have something special, something real, and I guarantee you it's not sexual in nature. All we're doing is looking into each other's eyes, and then we mutually masturbate, comprende?
Franklin: No comprende. Masturbation is sexual. Masturbation is sexual, Ton!
Later after thinking about it, Franklin tells Tony he's okay with it, and they hug it out. As they're coming out of the hug, Franklin says to Tony in a jovial way, "Why didn't you tell me you jerked off? To which Tony replies very seriously, "We don't touch," before Franklin seemlessly moves into another subject.

Later they go looking for the mother and find her with a guy who makes juice (it's related to the story kinda - you'd have to watch). He's hot and has an accent. The mom says it's over and it was just a fling. Then the juicer guy identifies Tony as "Tony Cheese" a porn personality with a tiny penis. He denies it at first, but we find it's true and see a clip of him in a porn where two women kick him in the junk.
Juicer Guy: I always say to myself, what would life be like having such a small penis, you know, having all the girls make fun of you.
(The mother kinda laughs)
Juicer Guy: You know because I have a very large penis so it's not problem for me.
(The mom smiles in a satisfied sorta way)
Franklin then gets pissed because Tony didn't put that on his roommate application, and Franklin evicts him. As Tony's leaving the mom says
Mom: He does have a very small penis.
My Thoughts
First off, I am a longtime fan of mutual masturbation. It's fun, hot, low mess, no fuss, disease-free, pregnancy free, and everyone comes in the end. Please feel free to read more about my love for it, HERE and HERE.

Point is, I like seeing it depicted because it is largely not something that one sees in TV, movies, or books. I also like that the small snippet of the mom masturbating while looking into Tony Dort's eyes was realistic. She had her hand over her vulva area and was moving it around. So, basically it was stimulation of the outer genitals in the general clitoral glans region - which is certainly the kind of stimulation that could bring a woman to orgasm. So all is well there. Mutual masturbation is also treated here as something loving and that the two people involved really enjoyed (I think this sense of mutual masturbation exists even despite the general weirdness of the show's tone).

However, that sense of mutual masturbation, I think, is then taken back after the conversation with the juicer guy. I feel like the choice to have Tony turn out to be a dude with a micropenis and for the mother to have left him for a hotter guy with a giant penis puts the mutual masturbation they were having into a whole new light. I don't know what the actual intention for these choices were (honestly, one may never know such a thing for a Tim and Eric episode), but I think the audience could easily come away from this with the sense that the two were mutually masturbating not because it was what they really wanted to do, but because Tony's dick was too small to have intercourse with...and that he's a lesser person and lover for it.

Granted, all these plot points are also just wierd and may be there for wierd-sake, but I think in the overall scheme of things this episode reinforced incorrect ideas about large penises being better for ladies. Penises, even large ones, do not create female orgasm. Stimulation of the outer clitoral glans does, and do you know what sexual act involves plenty of orgasm-creating stimulation of the outer clitoral glans? Mutual masturbation, that's what. This show could have given a nod to orgasm equality by allowing their characters to genuinely choose and enjoy a little discussed sex act that is equally orgasmic for both men and women, but instead they held the status quo and passively mocked it while endorsing the incorrect feeling that big penises and intercourse are more pleasurable and desirable for women.

Still, they did utter the words mutual masturbation and depicted it with physical correctness, and that in itself is a feat, so it's not all bad. I give this episode 3 out of 5 vulvas.



Do All Orgasms Feel Alike?: A Journal Article I Read

Do all orgasms feel alike? Evaluating a two-dimensional model of the orgasm experience across gender and sexual context. 
Mah K1, Binik YM.
J Sex Res. 2002 May;39(2):104-13.

*Find all the SSL Journal Article Summaries HERE*

My Intro 
I decided to write about this article because it is heavily related to another one that I have been wanting to do for a while. I figured I should have a good understanding of this one before I do the other. Anyway, I'm gonna be real frank here. This is basically a paper about surveys that the researchers do a shit-ton of statistical analysis on. I do not have a strong enough grasp of statistics to really comment on and certainly not critique at all on those statistic specifics. So, I will move forward with the assumption that the type of analysis they are doing is correct and appropriate for the type of experiment this is. I'm also probably gonna skip over descriptions of some of their statistical analysis by saying they did some statistical stuff or something like that because if you really want to look further into it, you can see their description in the PDF of the full article (which is awesome - hats of to these authors for making it available btw).  I will however, do my darndest to get a fairly full understanding of the other parts of this study and present it in as simple a way as I can without skipping over too much important elements. So, basically, I'll do the best I can.

An Overview For You by Me
The result of this paper is the creation of a method for assessing the full bio-psyco-social aspects of both male and female orgasm. This is done by having the participants fill out a questionnaire about their last orgasm.  In the questionnaire, the participant rates a series of adjectives on whether each word is not applicable at all as a descriptor of the orgasm (0) up to perfectly describing the orgasm (5). From these ratings, researchers could categorize orgasms and also compare and contrast qualities of orgasm across gender and across factors like how the orgasm was achieved.

It's basically a statistically tested way to subjectively describe orgasms that includes more than just how it feels in the body - it also takes into account situational and psychological elements of what the orgasm was to the person.

Clearly, these descriptions come only from surveys, and there are no elements to these descriptors that include objective physical characterizations of these orgasms. So, in essences the method described in this paper could be a good solid way to understand how people describe and feel about their orgasms - which I think is an interesting and important path of inquiry. I imagine that this type of learning about how people perceive their orgasms matched with objective physical data about the orgasm (including measurement of the rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions that physically identify orgasm) could open up huge avenues of understanding.

Anyway, that's the deal. The researchers in this paper do a preliminary study to figure out how best to do a big study. Then do a big study and then a 2nd study to confirm the results of the first study still held up. In the end, they find that, as they hypothesized, using a 2-Dimensional Model to analyze how each participant rated the adjectives in relation to their orgasms is a strong method that checks out statistically (although why it checks out is kinda unclear to me - but I assume they are on point with their statistical analysis) and allows insight into qualities of orgasms among different variables.

*2-Dimensional, btw has to do with the fact that when they are analyzing the adjective ratings, they group the adjectives into different "components" and then those components are grouped into 2 dimensions: 1) The "Sensory" dimension which kinda means orgasm descriptors involving the bodily sensations and 2) the "Cognitive-Affective" dimension- which kinda means the orgasm descriptors involving mental, emotional and situational things. So for instance: adjective "Tender" is one of the many adjectives and it is rated on a scale of 0-5 by the participant. Then the researchers do some statistical analysis and the data about how people rated "Tender" gets assigned to a component like "Emotional Intimacy" along with other adjectives like 'loving.' Then that component "Emotional Intimacy" is put into the dimension "Cognitive-Affective" for further statistical analysis.

The researchers also try statistical analysis using only 1-dimensional models (meaning the components are treated as if they are all in the same Dimension "Sensory-Cognitive-Affective") and also using a 3-dimensional model (meaning the components in the "Cognitive-Affective" dimension get split into 2 groups for further analysis; the "Cognitive" or kinda mental/emotional descriptors and the "Affective" or situational related descriptors). So, what I'm trying to say here is that a big part of this paper was letting other researchers know that the 2-Dimensional statistical method was really the best way to go in doing this type of work.

Overall, it seems like they did some pretty thorough work to create a clean way of helping researchers understand how people feel about and experience their orgasms - which is cool.

Details of the Paper
Here is the full PDF for you to enjoy. Seriously, if you are a statistician, I'd love to hear your thoughts or how I screwed up this summary or even if you have any lessons for me. I'd just love to hear from you.
*assume I am always summarizing or reflecting what the authors of the paper are saying unless I add a (me: ... ) in there. That means I'm giving you my opinion...which is like an asshole as the saying goes.

(me: these can be a little boring, but I think they are almost the most important part of a paper because it gives you an idea about what the researchers were trying to do, what research they think is faulty and which they respect, and I think you can often gain a glimpse of  the deeper intentions for why they chose this type of experiment and what they'd really like to prove.)

They begin with "Research efforts to systematize the variability in orgasm, primarily female orgasm, have resulted in several anatomically based typologies of female orgasm. The distinction between clitoral and vaginal orgasm has drawn the most attention...""

However, they say...

  • evidence for anatomical based distinctions of female orgasm are mostly taken from self-reports and not actual anatomic data (me: truer words never said...)
  • that anatomical based distinctions ignore other non-anatomical qualities of an orgasm
  • describing orgasm by how they are triggered problematically conflates the cause of an orgasm with a description of an orgasm
  • that distinction does not help describe the core characteristics that all orgasms share

They also point out that a lot of the literature out there on the psychology of orgasm, particularly about female orgasm, assumes that the female orgasm is psychologically different than male orgasm. However, the limited data out there on this seems to indicate that there are more similarities than differences between male and female orgasms.

Another problem with existing literature on the orgasmic experience is that most of it is about whether or not an orgasm occurred or about when and how often. There is currently no universally accepted measure of the potentially wide range of subjective qualities making up the orgasm experience. They tell us there is a piece of literature out there that has attempted this, but the problem is, it actually asks about peak arousal - and not specifically about orgasm. So in this, orgasm and arousal get conflated and there might be very negative feelings involved because of the possibility that some participants were answering about an event that was a failed attempt at orgasm.

Hypothesis this paper is testing:

  • "the pattern of adjective ratings of orgasm experience can be characterized by a two-dimensional model comprising physical and cognitive-affective dimensions"
  • "the two-dimensional model will adequately characterize both male and female orgasm experience"
  • "sexual context (me: how the orgasm was achieved - i.e. oral, intercourse, masturbation, etc.) differences will be apparent in the following ways"
  • Orgasms had during sex with a partner will have higher rating on the cognitive-affective (emotional/mental/situational) than orgasms attained through solitary masturbation.
  • If you break down the types of orgasms had with a partner, the researcher hypothesize that the ones where it was during intercourse will have higher rating on the cognitive-affective (emotional/mental/situational) components over the orgasms from oral or manual stimulation.

Preliminary Study
To begin the researchers did a small preliminary study to tune in their experimental methods before doing a larger study.

They found in previous literature 141 words that have been used by people to describe their orgasms. They then had a total of 48 males and 41 females rate each word on a 0-9 scale (0=doesn't describe, 9=perfectly describes) for how it described their last orgasm. The participants each did this test 2 times, once for their last masturbatory orgasm and once for their last orgasm with a partner.

The most relevant 50 words were kept and 10 negative adjectives were added to make a new group of 60 total word.

First Study - in which each participant rates both a partner and a solo orgasm
Then the researchers gave the same test to a new group of 523 women and 365 men, except this time it was only the 60 words, and they used a 0-5 (0=doesn't describe, 5=perfectly describes) instead of a 0-9 scale for each word.

Again each person rated each word once for their last solo orgasm and once for their last partner orgasm, and this time the researchers also gathered information about whether the partner orgasm was from intercourse, oral stimulation from partner, manual stimulation from partner, manual stimulation from self, or other. Obviously, the subjects had to have experienced an orgasm both with a partner and during solo masturbation to participate.

"Participants who had 25% or more missing data were eliminated from the analyses. In the remaining sample, missing ratings for adjectives were replaced using the mean rating for that adjective for the corresponding gender x sexual context condition (me: sexual context meaning whether it was solo or partner). In the sample, 94% of men and women had only two or fewer missing ratings in both sexual contexts."

They the researchers did a bunch of statistical things and knocked it down to 28 significant adjectives (all 10 of the negative words they added were knocked out), and again did a bunch of statistical work.

From that statistical work, certain important adjectives were grouped into 12 'components'. Those 12 components were put into the 2-Dimensional Model and so the components either landed in the 'Sensory' (bodily sensation)  or 'Cognitive-Affective' (emotional/mental/situation) dimensions.

They tried the 1-dimensional model, but it was not as reliable. When they tried a 3-Dimensional study, separating the Cognitive and the Affective descriptors, it worked well, but didn't show improvement over the 2-Dimension Model.

There didn't seem to be any important difference related to the age, religion, education (although it was mostly University undergraduate and graduate students in these studies), sexual orientation, relationship status, or the time between the orgasm and the taking of these surveys, so those variables weren't investigated further.

Second Study in which each person rates either a partner or a solo orgasm
To make sure they were on the right track, though, the researchers did another study using those 28 adjectives plus 12 other random ones from the previous group of 60 and had 227 women and 129 men rate the adjectives only for their last masturbatory orgasm. A completely different group of 276 women and 166 men rated the adjectives for their last partner orgasm (indicating, as the last group did, how that partner orgasm was achieved: from intercourse, oral stimulation from partner, manual stimulation from partner, manual stimulation from self, or other).

The researchers did similar statistic stuff using the 2-Dimensional Model. Again, age, religion, education, sexual orientation, relationship status, or the time between the orgasm and the taking of these surveys, didn't seem to matter to the results, so only gender and the way the orgasm was achieved were compared and contracted in the results - just like in the last experiment.

This time there were 10 components instead of 12 that sat in either the 'Sensory' or 'Cognitive-Affective' dimension of the 2-Dimensional Model. You can see the 10 components and the mean scores (0-5 scale) below.

Overall, findings from both studies supported the hypothesis that orgasms can be characterized by distinct sensory and cognitive-affective experiences. Basically, they are saying the 2-Dimensional Model works well. Again, they say the 3-Dimensional Model also worked but not better than the 2-Dimensional Model.

They do say that using the 3-dimensional model might help investigate the impact of Cognitive on the Affective and also the changes in one of those independent of the other. For instance, depending on a variety of factors, the ratings of adjectives within the component "Pleasurable Satisfaction"(Cognitive dimension) for a particular orgasm might have more to do with how the person rated the adjectives relating to bodily sensations (Sensory dimension) or with how they rated adjectives like "unifying" "close" or "tender" i.e. words having to do with the situation in which the orgasm was achieved  such as during masturbation vs. casual sex vs. loving partner (Affective Dimension).

So, although the 2-Dimensional Model worked just fine for this study, they wonder if it might be because most of the subjects were young, unmarried, hetero undergraduates. Maybe the 3-Dimensional Method would make more sense for a group of older married people for instance. They wonder if maybe neither the 2-Dimensional or the 3-dimensional is superior, but that each is more useful for different situation. The researchers think further studies could help with understanding.

The components (like in table 5 above) stayed consistent across these two studies and "are similar to many constructs  investigated in studies of female orgasm." There were some differences between results of this study and others searching for similar subjective description of orgasm, but that could have to do with other studies including descriptions of high arousal instead of orgasm and including descriptions of failed attempts at orgasm - the latter which might explain the negative language found in other studies,

"Findings concerning the sensory components were consistent with the lack of evidence for physiological differences in masturbatory verses coital orgasms (e.g. Masters & Johnson 1966)." There was simply not much difference between the rating of adjectives in the "sensory" dimension (i.e. - bodily sensations) between orgasms had with a partner and those experienced alone.

On the other hand, "as hypothesized, the pleasure/satisfaction and, in particular, the emotional aspects of male and female orgasm were greater when orgasm was attained with a partner than with masturbatory orgasms." When it came to how the orgasm was attained during partner sex, (intercourse, oral, manual by self, manual by partner or other), however, there wasn't a big difference between them,

So, the researchers' assumption that an orgasm had in the presence of another person would get higher ratings in the Cognitive/Affective dimension (i.e. mental/emotional/situational) seemed to be true. However, their hypothesis didn't hold up about intercourse orgasms in particular having a higher rating in the Cognitive/Affective dimension than the other types of partner orgasms like oral sex or manual stimulation.

"The same 2-dimensional model could consistently describe the data from both men and women. This would suggest that male orgasm encompasses experiences beyond ejaculation and bears more similarities than differences with female orgasm (e.g., Vance &Wagner 1976). The only meaningfully large difference involved the higher ratings of shooting sensations by men, which presumably reflects the male capacity for ejaculation." The researchers do think, however, more research could be done to see if the shooting sensation has more to do with the visuals of ejaculation rather than an actual 'shooting' feeling in their bodies.

"Gender differences in other components, while reliable, were not substantive and could be attributed to gender differences in response style or semantic interpretation of particular adjectives." Again, the researchers wonder if further studies, for instance where males and female rate adjectives for something neutral and not sexual, could help parse out if those types of gender differences are an effect here.

The researchers also say that there may be issues with any of the following that further research could help clear up:

  • the relatively small size of the participants - especially the males
  • the fact that most of the participants were young college students
  • all the issues that might come with a person using their memory to describe a personal experience
  • not being able to control for time from last orgasm and for sexual experience

"The adjective-rating approach  appears to be a flexible methodology appropriate to the study of human orgasm. It lends itself to both correlational and experimental paradigms, and its application to non-student populations will help further knowledge about the psychology of human orgasm."

The researchers go on to say that it could be used to help assess, diagnose and treat orgasm problems.


Workaholics S7 Ep4 - The SSL Review

I will not lie. I very much like Workaholics. It cracks me the fuck up, but the downside is that the dudes in this have started getting actual movie careers, and I absolutely cannot take them seriously in any role ever - particularly Anders. Anyway, it might not be everyone's bag, but I'd recommend it for some pure laughter-y.

Now, although this show has a generally raunchy nature to it, it has very little storylines that speak of or depict female orgasm or masturbation. It has PLENTY about male masturbation, but that is par for the course. Men have been making comedy about their wanking since the beginning of time. It's old news and it really, really heavily outnumbers discussion/depictions of female masturbation. That's just one reality of our sexual culture that keeps me doing reviews like this. Anyway, point is, there are only a few SSL Reviewable moments in this series, and I'm going to get into one now.
**I can't be sure that there weren't more in the earlier seasons that I just didn't write down because at that time I wasn't in the habit of doing that. So, if I ever re-watch the earlier stuff, I'll get to those SSL Reviewable moments as well if they exists**

SSL Reviews
As my oh so loyal readers know, an SSL Review is a critique that focuses solely on depictions or discussions of female orgasm or masturbation. Nothing else really matters, and if it doesn't have those types of discussions/depictions, I don't SSL Review. Regular ol' no-ladygasm-included depictions of sex don't count.

In an SSL Review I focus on how realistic the scenes are (don't try and act like a woman's gonna come from a couple strokes of penis in vagina with no extra clit stimulation. I will slice your throat...or write a scathing SSL Review). I also usually talk about what the depiction or discussion adds to the larger conversation about female orgasm or female sexuality.

Please do check more SSL Reviews for TV Shows and also for Movies.

So here we go.

S7 Ep4 Bill and Tez's Sexcellent Sexventure
So, Bill is a character who is put upon in the office. He's quiet and submissive and everyone makes fun of him. This episode is fully a fantasy of Bill's where he is out with his cube-mate Tez for a work related pick-up, but he's also secretly this underworld bad ass and his underworld dealings get mixed up in their outing. In the process Bill wows Tez and everyone else with his awesomeness.

During this, Tez, who in real life fancy's himself a cool ladies man, tells Bill that his wife is interested in a cuckolding fantasy. For those who don't know, this is when a husband watches another man fuck his wife...there are some other elements usually attributed to it - like it's often depicted in porn with the guy doing the fucking having a much bigger penis, and that sort of thing. It's a pretty big porn category actually. But anyway, Tez tells Bill this. He says they haven't done it yet and his wife is getting impatient. Tez goes on to say it's not because he's uncomfortable about it. He loves freaky shit, but he just hasn't found the right guy. Bill has an inner dialogue that clearly paints himself as more knowledgeable and experienced at that type of sexual debauchery and he internally corrects Tez on a few things he is saying. However, at this point in the fantasy, Bill still seems like a lame-o nerd to Tez.

Okay, so fast forward to the end action movie climax of this episode where Bill, Tez and somehow Tez's wife (although it's like a supermodel and not Tez's actual show wife) are captured by the 3 bad guys played by the 3 main characters of Workaholics. They've decided to kill Tez, but Tez has one last wish.
Tez: Before you kill me, I have one last wish. My wife has this cuckolding fantasy.
Villain 1: It makes sense she would want to schtup another man.
Tez: ...and I said I was okay with it but I'm really not.
Wife: What? Baby why wouldn't you tell me?!
Tez: I was insecure, but now that I know that I'm the love of your life, if it's okay with you guys, I would like Bill to fuck my wife.
Villain 1:  Okay, wait...
Tez: I wouldn't expect you to understand, but this is for her happiness.
Villain 2: Still wierd for me.
Villain 1: No, no, that's okay with me. I obviously don't want to watch, but I will out of curiosity sake.
Villain 2: I'm watching.
Wife: Thank you baby!
Tez: I love you.
Wife: I'll always love you.
Tez: Go on, baby
Villain 3: And now the main event
 Wife goes up to Bill as soft music plays.
Wife: God, I've been wanting you for so long.
Bill: Duh
Bill and wife start making out.
Villain 1: Bill has an animal magnetism.
Villain 3: And look at the schwanken in his shorts!
She is laying in a black nightie on her back on a circular bed with satin sheets that has somehow appeared. He is on top of her missionary, holding up his upper body with his arms and looking straight at Tez as he's pumping into her. The pumping is very slight and not animal at all. It looks very pretend.
Wife: (permagasming with these constant screams) Oh! Oh god Bill! You're the fucking man! You're the best! The best I've ever had! Oh! Never stop! Never stop fucking me!
Then her screams seem to die down like her permagasm is subsiding
The villains chuckle and say things like, "whoa" while they fan themselves and so forth
Tez: Boy's got hips don't he?
Villain 3: 14 times he's brought this woman to climax. 14 times, dude.
Wife Screams in Orgasm again.
Villain 3: Okay, that is 15. That is 15!
Tez gives a small appreciative clap.

My Thoughts
This scene is unrealistic and although it's played for pure humor, the fact that it is derived from incorrect assumptions about how women orgasm makes it an overall negative to a progressive sexual culture.

So, clearly if you read this blog you know that women do not orgasm from a penis moving in their vaginas. Women need stimulation - however they can get it - of the clitoral glans in order to orgasm, just like men need penile stimulation. This woman was flat on her back. Her hips weren't thrusting or grinding and thus not likely getting any clit-against-his-pelvis stimulation. Neither her nor Bill's hands were anywhere near her clit. As for her vocalizations, they were over-the top and porny. It seemed as though she was having some kind of giganto permagasm that lasted way longer than is sensible for the rhythmic muscle contractions of orgasm to last. So, it's super unrealistic.

But, I mean that's clear. It's supposed to be super unrealistic. This is all for humor. It's a lame guy's fantasy, so it's over the top and supposed to be built on childish ideas of coolness and masculinity and sex. In many ways it's making fun of these ridiculous things he's fantasizing about, and it's not really supposed to be taken seriously.

However, the simple truth is this scene was intentionally created and put into the world, and it does add into the cultural understanding and cultural dialogue of female orgasm, so it's criticizable. And I will criticize, because that is what I do.

Why choose this Scenario?
The biggest point I want to make is that this incredibly unrealistic depiction of female orgasm was put out there, but it wasn't commented on as unrealistic...at least for the right reasons. I mean, the whole tone of the show is an indication that we should see it as unrealistic for Bill to do anything cool, so there is an insinuation that Bill making a woman come a lot is ridiculous. Also the fact that the other 4 men in the room are so impressed with Bill's 15 number, insinuates that making a woman come that many times is over the top as well.

But there is nothing in this scene that insinuates to me that her coming without clitoral stimulation is a silly or over-the-top ridiculous part of this scenario. No one said anything to indicate that they were amazed that Bill didn't have to even touch her clit. I mean Tez could have said something like, "Shit, I have to go down on her to make her come - and she don't do it 15 times!" That's not what happens though. The fact that a woman might come from intercourse alone is not the unrealistic part. It's just unrealistic how hard and often she comes and how ridiculous Bill looks doing the sex, what with his eye-contact to the other men and his barely moving hips. In fact Tez comments on him having good hips because it's funny given how little he moved them.

So, to me this scene reinforces the very incorrect, yet very status quo cultural understanding that women might orgasm through intercourse alone. It also ignores the existence of the clit. Yeah, I know these writers aren't obligated to write anything about the clit, but the fact that they didn't makes me question their sexual progressiveness. All the events and dialogue in the final cut of this scene were intentional choices. They chose to show a man exhibiting sexual prowess and make the surrounding men look dumb by having him bang her into 15 orgasms. They could have as easily exhibited his sexual prowess and ability to embarras the men around him by making him eat her out to 15 orgasms while maintaining full eye contact with her husband, or making him just have to wiggle his fingers down there for no more than a second for her to orgasm. Those things could have been as ridiculous and funny and creepy, but also they would have started from a correct understanding of how women actually, physically come.

But they weren't. The writers chose to create this scene on top of the same ol' ignorant, P-in-V obsessed, clit-ignoring, not-knowing-what-makes-women-orgasm, status quo bullshit understanding of lady-parts and lady-gasms that sadly permeates our whole culture. they just wrapped it in a shroud of humor.

Vulva Rating
I can't go too rough on this because it's not like there were any insinuations in here that were pushing the understanding of female orgasm backwards. The sexual culture already operates under the assumptions women can orgasm when you fuck them, so this scene was really just staying on an already well-paved, steady course of lady-gasm ignorance that was there long before this show was a twinkle in its daddies' eyes.

On the other hand. It continues to perpetuate incorrect assumptions about how women orgasm, so it's not really a net zero situation here. Scenes like these are a force that hinder progressive understanding by reinforcing the bullshit. So, I'm going to go with 2 1/2 vulvas. I love the show, and I think it's super funny, but I am always amazed at how shows put so little thought and creativity into depictions of women and sex when they do so often put that creative effort into other parts of the show. It's unfortunate because there is such a wealth of hilarious untapped scenarios about women and orgasm and sex that too many men (and women too) either don't know about or don't have the creative will to investigate.