Dear Mary Carey
I'm writing this to you because I used a small clip of you from the movie Mary Carey AKA Living Legend in my documentary, Science, Sex and the Ladies. I want to write all the actresses in clips I have used, and so here we are. You are my second letter blog (I previously wrote Kim Cattrall HERE).
|Mary Carey (PacificCoastNews.com)|
The clips (and there actually aren't that many) in the 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. I said the same thing to Kim Cattrall, and I'll continue saying it because it's true. 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, 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 creates and not a target of that conversation, and I invite you to add your 2 cents in however you'd like.
So, Ms. Carey, the scene that I used of you is set before a similar scene in a mainstream TV Show (it's Samantha riding a hot farmer, cowgirl style in a Sex and the City clip) and a scene we created that depicts a similar situation happening in a private home between an everyday hetero couple. It is meant to show how porn influences mainstream media and mainstream media influences what goes on in our bedrooms. In your clip, you are riding a guy, cowgirl style, on a bed. I chose that clip simply because it looked like very normal porn. It was quite vanilla as porn goes, so I didn't feel I was misrepresenting what is commonly available in pornography.
All 3 scenes (the porn, the TV, and the "homemade" clips) show a woman, quite vocally, having an orgasm during intercourse while 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 these orgasms - 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 research. 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. As a culture, we know that only about 1/3 of women claim to have these types of "vaginal" orgasms, but we are somehow okay with letting our porn and other media depict that rare type of orgasm almost every time an orgasm is depicted. Plus, these "vaginal" orgasms are probably even more rare than we already imagine they are. Seriously - I explain that more HERE.
So, the movie I made, Science, Sex and Ladies, is definitely critical of the fact that porn, more often than not, shows women orgasming from the ol' in and out alone. It is critical because it's unrealistic, and it gives women and men a bad education about how ladies achieve orgasm. The movie is not, however, critical of porn as a thing. In fact, we were trying to get across that porn is important to our sexual culture and that porn could be incredibly influential in changing our cultural understanding of female orgasm for the better. One of my greatest hopes is that Science, Sex and the Ladies could help start more conversation among the women of porn about the realism of female orgasm in pornography. I know there are lots of issues that affect what is in mainstream porn, but my feeling is that women have been gaining more and more influence in the industry, and they want porn to be the best it can be. I got obsessed with listening to Vivid radio during a time I got it free with my new(ish) car, and I found the women on there to be so interesting, smart, thoughtful, and funny (I talk more about that HERE), and it made me feel very hopeful. In fact I heard you on there a lot and loved it. You actually said some things that made me really excited and interested to talk with you.
The first one I heard on May 17, 2014. Your guest was Nadia Styles, and you were doing a thing that I think you called "truth or truth." Anyway, you asked whether she'd ever faked it, and she said something like, "I can't lie. Yes." Then you said something like, "Sometimes you just want to get it over with," and she said she'd actually done that a lot unfortunately. You both laughed about it and continued the "truth or truth." It was funny and true and what I loved was your honesty about something most women (and I'd assume especially porn stars) don't want to admit in public. I also liked the way you made it easy for your guest to be honest. To me it's a revolutionary and very feminist act to speak honestly about aspects of the female experience that are widely shared, but that can feel like personal failures. I thought it was awesome.
The second one I heard on July 1, 2014. Your guest was Lucky Starr. The fabulous Debi Diamond was in the booth and in on the conversation. The conversation went to positions that would allow you to come, and you said you liked to be on top because you could come from the grinding that way. You said you needed something in the vagina and on the clit. (At this point Debi said she could come 4 different ways and then explained those. I will go into that in a whole other post, but I'll just say it was interesting, and I would love to talk with her about that because I think she and I are actually on the same page. We are just using different vocabularies....but I'll get to that another time). Debi said you were sheltered, but you were pretty clear about always needing some clit stimulation to orgasm, and then I think the conversation went to Hitachi wands from there. Anyway, I saw that as another super brave thing you did. Admitting that you don't orgasm just from a dude banging you is not a simple or easy thing to do. I don't think most women want to admit that to their partners or themselves, much less a huge listening audience. I also don't think it's uncommon to get comments like Debi Diamond gave you when that sort of thing is admitted. I think women can easily feel that they are not living up to their full sexual potential if they must have some clitoral stimulation to orgasm, and that is unfortunate because women do need clitoral stimulation to orgasm just as men need penile stimulation. It's not strange. Our society just makes it feel strange.
Anyway, my point is, I didn't know much about you when I chose the clip, but now that I have heard you on the radio, I couldn't think of a better person to have chosen. I really think you might connect with this movie, and I'd really love for you to see it. I want to get a copy to you, so I'll be trying to get a hold of you to do just that.
I think you are kinda badass, and I hope you feel that the movie I made about the ol' lady-gasm is fair and interesting, and I hope what I'm saying about porn in it is clear and not offensive. There's a lot of thoughtless and kinda mean stuff being said about porn, and that's not what I want to be a part of. I want to hear your thoughts, though, so please send them my way.
All the best to you,