Dear Kim Cattrall,
I'm writing this to you because I used a small clip of you as Samantha from Sex and the City while you were orgasming on top of a super hot farmer (Season 4 Episode 9) in my documentary, Science, Sex and the Ladies. I feel like I should write all the actresses in the clips I have used, and so I'm starting with you.
|Kim Cattrall as Samantha in Sex and the City|
The clips (and there actually aren't that many) in my movie are all used as examples of how media depictions of orgasm and sex fail women. I feel it's important for me to let each of you know why I chose something you were in and let you know that my criticism of the clip is not also a criticism of you as a person or even your choices as an actress. All of us are just women living in a culture that is way more confusing when it comes to our orgasms than it should be, and you are all women working in industries that I imagine are a lot harder for women than for men. I don't have any qualms about critiquing the culture that has made the clips I chose so problematic, but honestly, I do feel bad if these criticisms make particular women feel targeted or shamed. I do not want that. I don't think it is useful, and most importantly, I don't think it is deserved, My greatest hope is that your image in Science, Sex and the Ladies will spark you to become part of the conversation that this movie elicits and not a target of that conversation, and I invite you to add your 2 cents in however you'd like.
So, Ms. Cattrall, the scene that I used of you is set between a similar scene in a porn movie and a scene we created that depicts a similar situation happening in a private home between an everyday hetero couple. All 3 scenes show a woman, quite vocally, having an orgasm while having intercourse sitting straight upward "cowgirl style" on a man who is lying flat on his back (You can see the SITC scene HERE. It's YouTube age restricted and the part I use starts at about 2:26). There is clearly no stimulation of the clitoris happening during her orgasm - either from a hand or from friction against the partner's body. These scenes all show a woman orgasming from nothing more than a penis rubbing the inside of her vagina, and an orgasm caused only from that is something that simply doesn't exist in scientific inquiry. It seems impossible, but orgasms caused by stimulation of the inside of the vagina have never been recorded, described, and observed in scientific literature. If these types of orgasms exist, we have only heard tell of them and never validated their existence, and they are probably even more rare than we already imagine they are. Seriously - I explain that more HERE. The point being, that the action that happens in all 3 of those scenes would make a man come, but there's no reason to believe it would make a woman come also...Well, I guess one reason to believe women could come that way is that we see women in the media orgasm with only inner vaginal stimulation all the time, and therein lies the problem. Women need clitoral stimulation to come, but porn, movies, and books overwhelmingly depict women orgasming from nothing more than some good ol' thrusting. It's confusing and misleading, and in the movie, I wanted to point out that the clearly fake female orgasms we see in porn influence how orgasms are depicted in TV and movie, which further influences what actual women think is normal and thus how they react in bed.
As for why you - I did specifically mean to choose a Samantha scene from Sex in the City. It is an incredibly popular show that was groundbreaking in its depictions of female sexuality, and Samantha was widely discussed as a new type of sexually progressive women...a woman that could "have sex like a man." To many this meant something about her ability to enjoy sex for sex sake without being held back by the pressures and guilt and emotional baggage many women feel. The Samantha character was often touted as a new understanding of what a free female sexuality could look like.
What was never discussed, though, was that the sex Samantha was engaging in and orgasming to, the sex that she so loved, was almost always sex that would be orgasmic for a man but that lacked the clitoral stimulation that would realistically make it orgasmic for a woman also. It was, well, a fictional sexual situation, but no one seemed to see it that way. To me, Samantha's character clearly showed how ignorant our culture is about what physically makes females orgasm, and how invisible that ignorance is. I thought using Samantha in the movie would be both automatically recognizable and also quite representative of how media depicts sexual women's lady-gasms. As for the actual scene I used - it was practical. It was picked because the physical action on screen matched a porn clip I had. In both scenes, the orgasms were vocal, and both clearly showed that the clitoris was not getting any stimulation.
So that's what I wanted to tell you. I'm going to send you a DVD and a letter too, but honestly, you're pretty famous and I don't know if it will get to you. I don't know how these things work, but I feel like it's probably hard to make contact with stars. If you do get it or read this, I would so very much love to talk with you. I actually wrote a blog post about you in 2011. It involved a lovely book you wrote and an interview that showed me that you were just a woman - a woman that wants other women to know that your sex life was not like Samantha's. I thought, and still think, you were brave for talking about your sex life the way you did. It seemed to me like you had put a lot of thought into the contradictions between your life and the women you tend to play, and I would love to talk with you more about that. You can always reach me at anc at anc movies dott com. I think you probably have more to say and more people need to hear it. I really believe that if we women can come together and be honest and accepting and realistic, we can change things.
All the best to you,
p.s. Although I critique Samantha and other orgasm related stuff on SITC, I still very much enjoyed watching it and you in it.