West World S1 E2: The SSL Review
I started watching this new HBO series with a friend at another friends house while the first friend was house/cat sitting for the second friend. The house had HBO Go. They, I believe, had it because they used their father's account. We saw one episode there. Then, because we use a family member's HBO Go account as well, we could continue watching, and so we did. Honestly, I was pretty blah about it after the first episode and actually I still pretty much am. It's got a lot of bullshit aspects that are irksome to me, but it's also an okay watch, so I keep on just because I started it. I'm dedicated. I watch movies and TV of all stripes - sometimes even if I hate them...because I also love to hate, so in the end it's enjoyable to some degree too.
This is HBO, so there obviously has been lots of sex and boobs, but not a lot of lady orgasm. Thus there hasn't been a lot of SSL reviewable moments, but I did catch one in the early episodes - and I will be reviewing that scene forthwith, my good ladies and gentlemen of the SSL audience. As most of you already know, an SSL Review is a critique specifically of a depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or masturbation. I look toward realism (for instance, were the physical things happening to that women while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman? Was she perma-gasming while a dude spanked her butt cheeks or something stupid like that - 'cause I call bullshit on that kind of stuff - and that kind of BS is depicted much more than I'd like to think). I also look at what I think the depiction/discussions reflect from and add to the larger cultural discussion around lady-gasms and female sexuality. A show could be good with a bad SSL review or vice versa.
You can see all the SSL TV Reviews HERE (and as always you can find all the movie SSL Reviews HERE).
So here we go:
Episode 2 - The Bouncing Lady
This will be quick and easy. There is a scene where Logan (played by Ben Barnes) is in a brothel. He's having sex and there are other people in the same room, but no one else is touching this couple. He's laying on his back. She's on top, sitting straight up - by that I mean she's not leaned forward so that her pelvis is pressed against her partner. The angle happening is just straight up penis touching vagina hole and her clitoral/vulva area is touching only the air in front of her as she's bouncing up and down on his junk. Neither her hands or his are touching or anywhere near her lady parts, so there is no manual stimulating happening for sure. She's making perma-orgasm sounds which would insinuate that what's happening physically there is stuff that would cause her to come...porn-gasm style.
The SSL Discussion
Although this is a most common situation in movies, TV and definitely in porn - depicting a woman having sex and orgasming this way, I none the less deem this rather unrealistic as a depiction of how a woman might actually physically come.
As I say in almost every damn post here, the majority of women do not claim on surveys to orgasm from vaginal penetration alone*, despite it seeming like every woman on TV or film does. On top of that,I would also remind everyone that a woman orgasming from only inner vaginal stimulation has never been physically recorded in scientific literature - even after over 50 years of orgasm research. Point being that although it's common to believe a woman could come just from a penis moving inside her with no extra clitoral glans stimulation, it's just never been shown to happen, and likely it's at best a very rare occurrence.
Now, granted, in this particular situation the man is a human and the woman is an android prostitute that is created to give the humans any sort of experience they want (I'm not spoiling anything with that. You learn about the circumstances of West World from the very beginning). So that could add a layer of complexity when thinking about what this type of depiction contributes to our cultural understanding of female orgasm and sexuality. I mean, it's known to some degree that a woman being paid to have sex with a man (much less an android made to please a man sexually) might fake their own pleasure to make the man's experience better, so one might look at this scene and assume it's just a prostitute faking for her client.
However, I also don't think people think about scenes like these too deeply. I think scenes like these just fit into our brains amongst the already large pile of other scenes that show a woman coming from nothing but a penis up her junk. I think this scene confirms the status quo of thinking a woman can be fucked into orgasm. I think it, like so many other scenes, reinforces the invisibility of the clit in sexual interactions and in it's little way, encourages all of us to tend toward having sex that is orgasmic for men but rarely orgasmic for women...all the while assuming that sex is highly orgasmic for women. So, boo to that scene and all the scenes like it.
I give this scene 1 vulva. I'm feeling generous. Although it reinforced the shitty status quo of assuming women can come from nothing more than a good boning, it didn't insinuate anything more nefarious or harmful than what is already out there.
*I always have trouble citing this with an internet link because I want to send you to a link that takes many of the different (and differently worded) studies into account, but that's hard to find on a page in the internet. So, if you really want to look this up, find the book The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution by Elisabeth Lloyd, and read the first chapter. She goes over the studies on this comprehensively and concludes it's somewhere in the range of 70%ish of women who report on surveys that they cannot orgasm through intercourse alone (stimulation of the inside of the vagina with no additional outer clitoral stimulation).