House of Cards Season 4: The SSL Review
Well, I just finished House of Cards Season 4 . I love me some House of Cards...and that's even true despite my previously acquired Kevin Spacey aversion. I think he works in that particular role, but that's not why I'm writing this. I'm writing this because there was 1 single SSL reviewable moments in the season, and by golly I'm here to SSL Review it.
As a quick refresher, SSL Reviews only look at scenes containing discussion or depiction of female orgasm or masturbation and focus on the realism and the impact the scene has on the larger cultural conversation about female orgasm and sexuality.
So here we go, and lucky for you, I don't need to give any kind of spoiler away to talk about this one.
Season 4 Episode 7: On The Bathroom Counter
So a lovely young woman goes into the bathroom where her husband is brushing his teeth*. She is in a sort of nighty slip thing, and she stands behind wrapping her arms around him, and presumably gets to touching on his man-junk. He quickly gets the picture, starts kissing her, and scoops her up onto the bathroom counter. They are facing each other, her sitting and him standing between her legs. Very quickly we see him sorta grab in his crotch area in a way that would lead us to assume he's pulling the D out and putting it in the V.
At this point there is clear intercourse happening, and she is being somewhat vocal about her pleasure - not over the top, but uhhhs as he's pushing up, ya know? Their hands are accounted for at all times. No one is diddling the clit while he's banging her. This goes on for about 4 seconds, and she lets out a final uh and it seems like they start to slow like it's over now. Just after that they are interrupted, and they have to leave the situation.
To be clear, I'm not positive that her final 'uhhhh' was intended to be a orgasm, but it feels possible enough that I'm allowing this as an SSL Reviewable scene. Frankly, even if it wasn't specifically meant as an orgasm, the sex here, I think, was meant to be the kind that would be orgasmic for her (had it not been interrupted). It was meant to show a mutually pleasurable, connected and sexy situation for these two people. I think that much is pretty clear because this scene was intercut with another couple in a bathroom that was, in my opinion, meant to show the other couple's comparably unsexy and unconnected interaction. This countertop sex was intentionally created to seem like good sex.
How Likely Was That Orgasm, Really?
The problem here is that there didn't seem to be any way that her outer clit area would be stimulated in this situation. There was in and out movement of the hips, but no close grinding of pelvis against pelvis. At best, this lovely lady would have gotten a couple taps of the clit area if his dick went in far enough to get his pelvis close enough in that seated position. But frankly, it didn't look promising. So, even if this was pleasurable to this lady, it likely wasn't orgasmic...
...unless she's a woman who has orgasms just from something stimulating the inside of her vagina.
Funny how almost every women in porn, movies, TV, and books seems to be able to easily orgasm this way, yet only about 15-30% of women ever even claim to have these types of orgasms at all. And even funnier that these types of orgasms have never been observed or recorded in scientific literature - ever. What does the ubiquitous nature of these depictions say to people about what is normal and expected of women and their orgasms?
My Ranting Rants about Status Quo Sex Scenes and Stuff
Here's the deal. I have great skepticism about whether it is possible at all for females to orgasm from stimulation inside the vagina, but either way, the vast majority of women do not orgasm that way. That's uncontroversial. Yet, time and time again when good, hot sex is depicted, it's a woman getting her vagina banged into an orgasm. We as a culture are used to that whole penis and vagina thing. We are not used to the idea of the clit being as involved in sex as the penis is. So, it leaves us all continuing to associate sex with scenes like this bathroom one. It leaves us all thinking 'sex' is intercourse and intercourse is mutually orgasmic for men and women. It leaves us all feeling like clit stimulation is some sort of extra, or bonus or a thing the poor women who 'need a hand' have to get.
As things are now, depicting clitoral stimulation as part of a sex scene seems odd. It makes a scene a little too graphic, a little too dirty. It makes the woman seem a little too aggressive or the man not man enough. It's also just a little funny and a little too foreign. I mean even in real life situations, it's not included as much as it should be. There are still a lot of women out there having sex without it because, well, for lots of reasons, and there are a lot of men who (wrongly) think all the partners they've ever had just orgasmed from their penis. So it's a bigger problem than just media depiction...These clit-less media depictions suck, but they reflect a reality, and that's hard to argue against.
But I will argue against it, and I will continue to call out unrealistic depictions of female orgasm because it's weird and sad that the female organ of sexual pleasure is left out of sex and no one seems to care. I assure you if men were orgasming in movies without their penises being touched, people would notice. We have a long way to go before women and men feel like the clit is a principal member of the sex team the way a penis is, and scenes like this one in House of Cards don't help. It reinforces the status quo - which is too bad because it could have included something cool, avant-garde, and totally realistic like a hand on the clit or the woman intentionally pressing the clit in a continual grinding position against her partner...or better yet, that dude could have put the vibrating toothbrush he was using to good use - now that's good TV. *Okay, I now realize he was shaving with an electric razor not brushing his teeth with a vibrating toothbrush, so I no longer support him laying that against her clit area...at all.
The Vulva Rating
So, House of Cards Season 4 gets a 2 vulva rating. Why? Because it was status quo. There was nothing backward being insinuated in this season, but it was in no way progressive. I love that all these new TV series are getting more bold and interesting in a variety of ways, but I hate that the lady-gasm depictions are as constant as ever. I said it before and I'll say it again. A little bit of clit could go a long way for changing minds, ya'll.