I got to see a preview of Trainwreck Wednesday, and frankly I couldn't be more excited to say that, as I expected, there is definitely an SSL Review here. As you know, I can only SSL Review movies with depictions/discussions of female orgasm or masturbation, and the SSL Review is only a review of those particular scenes. So a shit movie could get a 5 out of 5 vulva rating, and a fabulous movie could get a 1 vulva rating. It's all about the lady-bation and the lady-gasms here. I'm critiquing realism, insinuations, and what these scenes add to the cultural conversation about orgasm and female sexuality.
I usually like to say something about the movie as a whole too- ya know for context and stuff. So, let me just say a couple things.
- That shit was funny. It's in league with any top-notch funny movie you would be happy to unexpectedly happen upon some future Saturday morning.
- The audience for this movie is people who like comedies, so take that into consideration when making your movie plans.
- Go see it. It opens July 17th.
The Scene of my Dreams
On to the SSL Review. To my heart's delight, the movie opened with a scene that led a friend to ask me later at dinner whether it had felt like I finally scratched some awesome itch. It was a thoughtful question, and the answer was yes. For a variety of reasons, that scene fulfilled things that needed to be fulfilled, things that I'd see a rare movie or two inch up to, but never quite hit. So let me describe it first then break it down.
Description and Details
Amy (that's her character name too) is having a drunken hook-up with some dude. They get into bed. She's laying down on her back, and he's on top of her. **Okay, here I'm going to point out that I only saw this once, and it doesn't come out til next week for me to see again, so I don't have exact quotes and my memory/notes may be a bit fuzzy sometimes, but I have the gist).** She gives him some line about getting it warmed up and pushes his head down to her lady parts. He says something like, "oooh a little foreplay. I like," or something indicating he thought it was a start into some good stuff.
While he's down there she gives him some directions which includes something about just writing the alphabet on it with his tongue, and also for him to stay towards the top because everything important is at the top. So then we see a shot of her face, and she has a quick (not porny at all, but it is vocal so you know it happened) orgasm and then shuts her eyes and starts some exaggerated snoring. The dude comes up, tries a little to get her to continue, but quickly realizes that she's not going to wake up. Before it cuts we see her eyes open a little which confirms that she was faking the sleeping.
Okay, so first let's do the nuts and bolts here. In this scene a woman had an orgasm that resulted from a tongue to the clit. We know it's a tongue to the clit because she specifically talks about the tongue and where 'down there' he should specifically put it (up top - that's where the clitoral glans is). That's important because it's all happening where we can't see, and without those details we audience folk might be left to assume something that is probably assumed far too much - that oral sex means tongue fucking the vagina hole (Just ask this dude who wrote into Playboy advisory). Luckily there is no speculation here. This scene depicts a realistic way for women to achieve orgasm, and I love to see that, cause it's not common. I also absolutely love that she specifically says that all the good stuff is at the top. She's basically giving big props to the clitoral glans, which gets sooo little love both in our culture and in the ol' bedroom.
But there is so much more that is important about this scene.
It's about an actual sexual woman
There is a long list of really sexual women from movies and TV that are touted as women with the 'sex-drive of men.' In Sex and the City, Samantha, a perfect example of this archetype, is actually and quite famously described as "having sex like a man." She, like others in that archetype, wants to have sex A LOT and with random people. They do it just for fun. They can be selfish. They want their orgasm just like men, by golly!
There is a huge, gaping, and strangely invisible hole in these depictions, though. These women are not orgasming. Now, I realize that they do 'orgasm' in these shows and movies and that they are characters not people, but bear with me here. These are doubly fake orgasms. The women are obviously acting so that's fake, but they are also physically depicting things that would not actually make a woman orgasm. It's like if we saw men in movies orgasming from ball tickling all the time...but completely failed to recognize that it was not a way men orgasmsed.
The orgasms these ladies are depicted as having almost never result from stimulation of the clitoral glans. No, it's almost always the vagina stimulation that gets them there. Now it might seem like I'm taking a leap here (unless you've seen Science, Sex and the Ladies - the movie this blog is related to -or have been reading this blog for years), but women don't orgasm from vaginal stimulation. I'm not saying that willy nilly. I'm saying that because an orgasm caused from stimulation inside the vagina (be it on the G-spot, on vaginal tissue, or as is the modern way of discussing it - by stimulation/crushing of the inner clitoral legs through the vaginal wall) just doesn't exist in our scientific literature. It just plain doesn't. Some women say the can have them, but ain't a scientist verified that in even 1 woman to date. (Feel free to go HERE and HERE if you want to read more about my crazy no vag-gasm statement). It's ridiculous that this reality is so far off from our media depictions, our cultural understanding of lady-gasm, from sexpert advice and from personal expectations, but it is. Women orgasm from stimulation of the outer clitoral/vulva area. This is heavily verified in scientific literature and in fact the female body is as capable of orgasm as the male body. Women can masturbate as quickly, easily, and reliably as men can.
So given that insight, I'd say a more realistic take of these characters is that they are a weird, twisted mix of male desire projected onto female bodies and women's fantasies of being sexual in the way we believe we should to be. These characters, above all, desire and do the very things that, traditionally, men would really like their sex partners to desire and do. These women want lots of intercourse, in fact they NEED lots of intercourse, and they want those pussies pounded into oblivion. In fact they want all their holes filled - don't forget the mouth and anus! The men they are with get something soft and warm to encompass their penis, and these characters get to have the almost magical ability to get off easily from simply the act of encompassing those dicks. Now, how can we ladies not be a little jealous of that. Wouldn't it be nice if that encompassing dicks thing gave us orgasms too? Wouldn't shit be so much easier? It's a nice fantasy, but these women, these super-sexual-lady characters are facades of actual females. They want lots of sex but they aren't actually orgasming. They talk and act like they are, but they aren't. They are not 'having sex like men' because men (the stereotypical ones in my scenario at least) have sex so they can have orgasms, so wouldn't a realistic depiction of a super-sexual-lady be a woman who selfishly goes for her own orgasm? A woman who doesn't fake her orgasm, and doesn't give a shit if the dude gets off?
Amy might be the first female character I've ever seen in a movie who actually is 'having sex like a man.'
It is Joyful
Things that are funny are usually mixed with other emotions - sometimes sadness, anger, excitement, joy, and I think for far too long humor around selfish comes have been mostly sad for women.
So when one person gets off and ignores the other person there is always the humor element of meanness. Mean people and the situations they are in can be funny. We have seen plenty of guy fucks girl, he orgasms, she clearly doesn't, and he rolls over without another thought (there's even one in this movie - see below). Sometimes in a drama this is used as straight up sad, but a lot of times it's used to be funny because the guy's such a complete dick. But, it's still sad. It's too fully real to be a good joke. I mean, what, may I ask, is so fun for all the many, many woman watching who regularly do have sex with no orgasm. HaHaHa - oh, yeah, I forgot how frustrating and non-orgasmic my sexual encounters are HaHa!
On the the other hand there is the occasional flip of the script situation in which a woman 'uses' a guy just to get off. She just fucks him, gets hers and moves on, or more commonly keeps making him fuck her into multiple orgasms over and over again until the poor guy has no more cum and can barely move. It almost never involves stimulation that would actually cause a woman to orgasm. She, like our super-sex-loving-ladies above, just loves the dick in the tang. It's supposed to be funny because it's a girl using guys for sex and cause she's crazy with lust or sexually selfish or something like that that makes her mean or crazy or weird or something that's supposed to make the audience laugh. The problem is, it's still sad in a deeper, more invisible way.
It's sad because women aren't watching a female character doing something that would be fun to do if only they were so bold and uncaring - the way a man might feel watching a male character orgasming and falling asleep. No, women are watching a strange male-centered fantasy about a woman having orgasms in a way women actually cannot have orgasms, even if she were so bold and uncaring. Really it's just a lucky dude who gets to pound his dick in a vagina so much that he orgasms until he can't orgasm anymore. It'd be nice to have those problems - am I right ladies? It's a sad fucking situation all around.
Then comes Amy - literally - she actually comes, and the dude actually doesn't, and she don't give no fucks. That's what I'm talking about. It's goddamn joyous. What woman in her right mind doesn't think that would be awesome. It made me want to do fist pumps in the theater. I've often thought a sex life that's about 90% dudes eating you out and then leaving you the hell alone would be not so bad at all really. That scene was unexpectedly joyous to the ladies in the audience, and it was also funny - and frankly I like the joyous funnies better than the sad funnies.
The Intercourse Scene
I won't give out all the details, but she and a big ol' muscly dude were in bed in the missionary position with her knees bent and on either side of his hips. He was just a poundin' away at her and she was just bored. She asks him to change it up a little bit and asks him to talk dirty to her. Long story short, he's terrible at it, and in the end says something that is surprisingly hot to him, and he comes hard on top of her while she's just kinda confused and a little weirded out. However, in the middle of his bad dirty talk she gets him to start saying a few things that are slightly in the right direction, so she starts getting more into it and making vocalizations that seem like she's moving towards an orgasm - not an imminent one, but in that directions. She never orgasms, cause he just gets up after his, so this is technically not SSL reviewable, but I think it's worth a mention because the insinuation is that if he talked dirty better and got her more aroused, she could have come.
Assuming, as an audience member might, that she could have come, I'd be a little skeptical about whether the physical stimulation that was happening could realistically cause an orgasm, but just a little skeptical. At the beginning he was clearly just pounding P into V. He was propped up on his arms so he seemed inclined in a way that wouldn't allow much touch of clit to his body. Plus she wasn't grinding her hips up against him like she was trying to get that C some touch. There were also certainly no hands ever on the clit either. It makes sense in this clitless situation that she was bored, and if I was sure that their body positions stayed the same throughout the rest of the scene, I'd say that the insinuation of a possible orgasm was uncalled for.
However, later when she was getting more into it, I believe the shot did not include their pelvis areas, and he was definitely not propped up as high, so he could have been in a position where he was pressing his pelvis into her clit area, and she could have been grinding up against him while he was banging her. So, I'm not going to ding the movie for this, especially since there was not an orgasm, and the whole vocalizations could just be her making sexy sounds to get herself riled up or something. She might have been planning to whip out a vibrator and stuff it between them to finish herself off for all I know. However, it does kinda play along to the default cultural assumption that ladies will just come during intercourse if everything is just right. So, I'm clearly not as crazy about this scene as the last, but I've seen much worse.
Cunnilingus Discussion Scene
Okay - this is not about orgasm or masturbation, but I think it's worth mentioning too. There was a scene where her and her man were in a fight, and she started saying some dumb shit like that him eating her out a lot is actually selfish cause he just wants to show he's like a good guy and stuff. Then he's all like I'll stop then, and then she does a lot of back peddling. Anyway, it was funny, and it was also clear that she likes getting ate out a lot and that she should not have said anything that might ruin that. I will always give props to cunnilingus showing up in movies and always give props to pointing out that women like it. Because we do - or at least I do.
This movie really did scratch an itch for me, and part of it was that it was the right thing to do comically. I feel like there's so much untapped comic gold in an authentic female sexuality. Seriously, I so often watch a scene and think how much funnier and shocking it would have been if she just reached down and rubbed one out or something like that. Comedy about the facade of female sexuality we talked about above is common, but unfortunately I think a female sexuality that includes authentic female orgasm is so out there that it's still even edgy in edgy comedy. I would argue that female orgasm is still such a confused, twisted, contentious, badly misunderstood subject that men simply have no idea about what an authentic female sexuality might look like much less how to joke about it. Women barely have an idea, and when we do we find that it's a super scary thing to be vulnerable about.
So, to me Amy Schumer is revolutionary in this way. I have SSL Reviewed a couple of Inside Amy Schumers HERE and her stint on the Joe Rogan podcast HERE, and I feel like she is intentionally investigating that kind of thing in her comedy. I'm not sure how she would express her feelings on it or if she's thought about it as specifically in terms of orgasm as I'm speaking about it, but I imagine she finds this kind of thing funny because it's true, untapped, shocking, and it feels maybe unwieldy and uncomfortable. I also think that when funny-ass women get together and get to talkin', radical authenticity about vulnerable topics such as this will start popping up, and I think she likes to surround herself with funny-ass women. Or maybe I'm completely wrong, but however she feels about it, I think it's brave and maybe more importantly for changing public perspective, it's good comedy.
I give this movie 5 out of 5 vulvas. It had one scene that was edging toward status quo lady-gasm depictions, but it had another scene that blew my ladygasm-depiction-obsessed mind with its revolutionary comedy. It also talked about pussy lickin' and that's always a vuvla boost.
This is Amy's 3rd 5 vulva rated review (the two mentioned above), but her first movie rating. It joins the ranks of other 5 vulva movies like The Babadook, Monster's Ball, Philomena, Blue Valentine, and Pleasantville. More commonly though, people get less than a 5 vulva rating, so Amy (I'm pretending like you'll ever see this), you'll be happy to know Trainwreck blows the lips off movies like They Came Together, Bridesmaids, Coming to America, Fading Gigolo, American Beauty, Nymphomaniac Volumes 1&2, Up in Smoke, Blue is the Warmest Color, Dallas Buyer's Club, Her, Don Jon, Porky's, and Hysteria
***Edit - 7/12/2015 - I was talking with Charlie today and realized that I didn't officially designate Amy Schumer an Orgasm Equality Hero. I guess it felt just too obvious to say, but she is. I also realized she has the first SSL Review Rating 5-Vulva Trifecta - one in TV, one in podcasting, and one in movies. Eat that all you other assholes competing for the SSL Review Trifecta.