Crazy Ex Girfriend S1 Ep2: The SSL Review

Crazy Ex Girlfriend 
My sister and my niece are watching this show, and they were all like, "You should watch this," and I was all like, "fine." And then I realized that this was the show created by/starring Rachel Bloom, a woman that gave a bad-ass Orgasm Equality, Cliterific rant on Twitter earlier this year. She's on the ol' Orgasm Equality Allies list, people. So, when I realized this, I actually for real decided to watch because I hoped there could be some stellar SSL Reviews.

I'm only on episode 4, so I don't have much yet. However, there has been 1 SSL Reviewable moments so far, and it will be getting a positive review. So, for a reminder, SSL Reviews only involve depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or masturbation and/or the clit. I critique the realism (for instance, were the physical things happening to that women while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman? Did she come from getting her neck licked? - 'cause that's dumb and I will call BS) and also speak on what the depiction/discussion reflects from and adds to the larger cultural discussion around lady-gasms and female sexuality.

You can see all the SSL TV Reviews HERE (and as always you can find all the movie SSL Reviews HERE).

Season 1 Ep2: Orgasming Instantly
So, first off, it's important to know that this show is a full-on musical. The characters are always dropping into song, and they're all generally made for laughs as well as made to move the plot along or reveal inner feelings  - you know musical stuff. It's actually a pretty funny show when it gets going, and I do enjoy a musical, so I'm all in with binging this one.

Anyway, what's happening in this scene is that the main character Rebecca is in a yoga class led by a woman, Valencia, that her crush is dating. Valencia is fit and beautiful and great at yoga. Rebecca is not so great at yoga and also fears that Valencia is like perfection and could never be lived up to. So, during the yoga class, a musical number begins where Valencia is singing about how good at yoga she is, and it continues with her talking about all these other things that make her like a superior girlfriend.

One of the things she says is "I orgasm instantly!"

So that's it, that's the SSL Reviewable moment. The reason I kinda like this is not because it's a like progressive discussion of how women actually orgasm or anything, but because it is a realistic expression of what women fear about the orgasm capabilities of other women.

The song is clearly about all the ridiculous feelings of inferiority Rebecca has in comparing herself to Valencia, and although the song is through Valencia's voice, there's no question the song is really just an expression of Rebecca's insecurities.

Valencia says things like: "I'm so much better than you," "My father didn't leave me," "I do shit with my body that no human should be able to do," and my fave "Anal doesn't hurt at all. Most times I prefer it."

My Take (AKA the SSL Review part)
So, Valencia saying in this song that she orgasms instantly goes nicely with her admission of how much she likes anal. Both of them stem from women worrying that other women are sooooo much better in bed than they are (i.e. other women do and enjoy all the things we believe men love), and that worry, in turn, stems from the fact that our culture has an incorrect and confused understanding of female orgasm.

Let's break this down what I mean about culture's confused and incorrect understanding of orgasm, shall we? (*I do kinda break this down in lots more detail in the movie this blog expands on - Science, Sex and the Ladies - if you want more):
  • Intercourse is THE thing to do for hetero couples. It's expected, normal, accepted, and there is a general sense in our culture that it should be just as orgasmic for women as it is for men. 
  • Buuuuut....Intercourse is actually NOT as orgasmic for women as it is for men...and that's not because of bad technique or something like that. It's because women don't orgasm from stimulation inside the vagina. Seriously - there is absolutely no physical evidence of orgasm from stimulation inside the vagina in scientific literature...none. (ejaculation can happen this way for some, but ejaculation is not the same as orgasm - in men or in women). Women need outer clit/vulva stimulation and men need penile stimulation to orgasm. Only 1 of those things happens necessarily with intercourse. 
  • Not being able to orgasm from intercourse was officially deemed a psychological problem up until the 70's and women still often feel like failures and seek medical help if they cannot do this (and the professional medical community still largely goes about this problem like it is actually a problem instead of a normal thing that makes sense...which is insane. It's like seriously looking for a solution to a person who comes to you saying they have trouble blowing their nose through their ears. It's insane - did I already say that? ) 
  • Women in TV, movies, books, porn, jokes - they all orgasm quickly, and often for way too long than is physically possible, from a little in-out (this is rampant fictitious BS that we are force fed from birth)
  • Sex ed doesn't usually talk about the clit since it has nothing to do with reproduction - only pleasure. In fact our whole culture tends to ignore the clit...or only speak of it as merely one of a woman's many pleasure points, as if the vaginal canal, the nipples, or the back of the neck are as important to orgasm as the clit. People don't pull that shit with penises. We as a culture KNOW males need their penises messed with to orgasm. The outer clitoral glans is as important to female orgasm as penises are to male orgasm, but it's almost never treated that way. #Cliteracy
Okay, so given all that above, it really just makes sense that we women are insecure about how we experience/don't experience orgasm with partners because the reality of women's bodily capabilities rarely match up with the kinds of things we learn and see and talk about in our culture regarding lady-gasms. For instance, oh I don't know, have you EVER seen a woman in TV or a movies that reached down and rubbed her clit to orgasm while she was getting fucked by a man...or even one where the man reached down? How about a woman vibing her clit during intercourse without seeming to bother the male character in that scenario? Probably not, and if you have you can probably count it on 1 finger. Now that's some bull shit because females need outer clitoral stimulation to orgasm, yet people don't get to see women orgasming that way very often except for the occasional depiction of cunnilingus or masturbation (and even those aren't depicted realistically all the time). Realistic ways of reaching orgasm during hetero sexual encounters are rarely modeled for women the way we consistently see them modeled for men.

So, obviously, we ladies (and men too) are confused and misinformed about how exactly a female is supposed to reach orgasm. The expectations on how women should perform (and orgasm) during a sexual encounter are often extreme and more related to what would be easy and enjoyable to the male partner (orgasming instantly during intercourse, for instance?) than to a female's actual bodily abilities for orgasm, and all that makes us ladies scared and uncomfortable and certain that we are the wierd ones. It seems like other women must have an easier, sexier time orgasming in normal sexual situations...otherwise why would that be all we see out there in the world?

So, all that up there is what I hear when Valencia, embodying Rebecca's insecurities about how other women are better in bed, says she "orgasms instantly." That type of insecurity rings true to the female experience for all the terribly misinformed reasons we just talked about. I like seeing that female perspective, and I think seeing a woman on TV with that fear helps to expose its ridiculousness because it starts to uncover for the viewer the reality that other women feel that way too. It starts to reveal that most women feel alone and strange and lesser than these 'other' women who are better at orgasm stuff...and if most other women feel that way, then maybe this idea of 'other' women who are sooo good at having orgasms the way women are supposed to have orgasms - is just a big mythical pile of bull shit. That is what women speaking truths to other women can do.

TheVulva Rating
I definitely like that women-speaking-truths-to-other-women part about this SSL Reviewable moment in Crazy Ex Girlfriend, but it's not like way super progressive or anything. It's a little more like a solid moment of female perspective in the writing that I dug deep into. It's good, but it's not like 5 vulva rating good. So, I give the a 4 vulva rating. Good work, Crazy Ex Girlfriend team!


***So, the Crazy Ex Girlfriend Fan Club @bunch _of_fans were awesome and tweeted me the explicit version of the musical number discussed above. Turns out, the "I orgasm instantly" line was actually written (before censor-proofing) as "I come vaginally." Uh, I love it. That is exactly what I thought the intention of that line was, and it makes it even more bold and awesome. I am tempted to up the rating a 1/2 vulva, but nah - I think this show will have plenty of excellent SSL Reviews in the future! Thanks again for the tip @bunch _of_fans!


Playboy 2006 SSL Review - May

Why I have a stack of decade old Playboys that I'm SSL Reviewing
Long story short I took them from my parents house thinking I would review them for this blog and then didn't actually do that for over 10 years but now want them the hell out of my house because I hate clutter and don't know how I've not thrown them away all these years. Also, I thought I had all 12 months, but some are gone. If you want the longer story, check out the 1st 2006 Playboy SSL Review I did.

SSL Review Basics
An SSL review - as many of you know is a critique ONLY of discussions or depictions of female masturbation and/or female orgasm. I critique the realism and also what the depiction/discussion adds to our culture conversations on the topics of female sexuality and orgasm. I usually do these SSL Reviews for either movies or TV, but magazines are fun from time to time. This SSL Review will be a bit more relaxed and simple than most. I'd like to have a little fun here (but I will still give it a vulva rating).

So, please enjoy the full SSL Review of the Playboy Magazine from March 2006. I will review each SSL Reviewable item starting from the front of the magazine to the back.

 1 Playboy Advisor

Thanks for publishing the question from the woman about having sex while high. I had been struggling with reaching orgasm, but when I smoked a little weed 2 nights this week, I had the biggest and best climaxes of my life. I had seen a doctor, switched my birth-control pills, masturbated - everything I could think of. Who knew reefer would be the answer?   -J.P., Chicago, IL
Glad we could help. Your assignment is to continue to search for other ways you could relax yourself to orgasm so you are bale to approach it from different directions (now we're starting to sound like a mystic.
I mean, hey, sometimes a gal's just gotta use a little something to get her mind to focus on the shit that's happening to her body, ya know...to let the pleasurable touches arouse her so she's primed to reach orgasm when the right stimulation come along.

Granted, this lady does not say what exactly was happening to her to get her to reach her top-notch orgasm. Was it some sweet manual or oral stimulation direct to the clit/vulva area, or maybe she grinded that clit the right way up against her partner while having intercourse? Who knows. I'm also not sure if she meant she was struggling to come for the first time ever...or just trying to come during intercourse - because honestly a lot of women talk about orgasm during intercourse as like the orgasm - and not having an orgasm that way often makes women think they're broken and they go to doctors and shit like this woman did (even though orgasm from stimulation inside the vagina is like not really a thing).

Either way, it's lovely she came, and it really does make sense that (as long as there is appropriate stimulation to the clit or penis area, of course) sometimes a person struggling with arousal and/or orgasm might be helped by getting a touch high. You see, getting aroused to the point of orgasm will just happen with appropriate physical stimulation, but (and this is a big but) the mind can halt that process for all kinds of reasons, so getting high might help a person keep their focus on the their body, their pleasure,and the present situation in a way that keeps the mind from halting the arousal process. Then again, for others, getting a touch high might make them paranoid as hell and put their minds on everything BUT the present sexual pleasures they are experiencing. 'Cause - you know -arousal is tricky and personal. You gotta figure out what works for you (and then if you want to actually orgasm make sure the clit is getting the attention it deserves while you are aroused enough to get there).

2 Raw Data

A pig's orgasm lasts 30 minutes
This was a fun fact on this page, but I'm skeptical. Looking internet stuff up on this, it seems this is only in relation to male pigs because there's just not data about if and how female pigs orgasm. It's also in relation to ejaculation not necessarily orgasm - because orgasm and ejaculation absolutely are 2 different things for both men and women, but in men they most often happen at about the same time and in women ejaculation mostly doesn't happen at all. The two words are frequently used interchangeably even though they shouldn't be.

So, not to the whole 30 minute orgasm situation. The physical part of an orgasm is defined loosely as the rhythmic release of muscle tension built up through arousal in the pelvic muscles. So, and this goes for all the BS talk of women orgasming for 30 minutes as well, you simply can't be releasing muscle tension for that long. There's only so much tension to release. You can be aroused for 30 minutes, but physically orgasming for 30 minutes just doesn't make any goddamn sense.

Anyway, it seems pigs do ejaculate (that is expel semen out) for an extraordinarily long amount of time, but there's no evidence they orgasm for that long.

3 Playboy Party Jokes

A man met a blonde in a bar, and after a few drinks they went back to her place and had wild, passionate sex. "I guess that was just about the best sex you ever had, " he said when they were done.   "What makes you say that?" she asked.    "Well," he replied, "while we were doing it, I couldn't help notice how I made your toes curl."    ""Oh,"she said, "that was just because most men take off my panty hose first."
I mean, honestly, as Playboy jokes go, this one was pretty solid because they are often less than humorous. Anyway, this kinda speaks about orgasm so I'm SSL reviewing it. I'm actually not sure what to say about it in a critical way. It's just a joke about how dumb men are about pleasing women, I think. I don't have strong feeling about this one, so I'll leave it at that.

The Vulva Rating
This was a pretty light SSL Review Playboy, and none of it was that problematic. It wasn't progressive or anything either. So, I'm going to give this one a bit better than neutral. The May 2006 Playboy gets a 3 1/2 vulva rating.



Bodybuilding Thread And The Clit: A Retro SSL Adventurepo

So, I posted this like 4 years ago, but I love it, so I'm reposting. Do enjoy....

It all began 3 minutes after midnight on September 3rd 2013, when HorseCawk created the thread to discuss the "gay chit" that people were posting on FB.

A little background. I googled "Cliteracy 101" a couple days ago and happen to come across a thread on the bodybuilding.com forum about just that...Cliteracy 101. I couldn't help reading the entire thread, and I just really thought you needed to know about it too. These particular body-building folk are what some call miscers. They are people on bodybuilding sites that only post on the miscellaneous non-body-building sections of the site, and they really just post to make the other people laugh or react, so it's usually dumb as shit. It might have enraged me, cause there was a lot of pretty backwards comments, but honestly, who cares. I do think it reflects the underlying current in our culture that keeps us resistant to accepting a realistic understanding of female sexual release, but that's a subject that goes far beyond the shit these dudes were saying. Plus, I was in their space. They didn't take their shitty comments to the source. They kept in their home - their very public home, but home none-the-less.

So, sit back and relax because I'm going to give you a run-down of this awesomely awesome 3 page thread. It was Sophia Wallace's Cliteracy 101 posters that HorseCawk had wanted to discuss. I, obviously, think Cliteracy 101 is on point as "phuck" (HorseCawk prefers phuck to fuck), but HorseCawk felt it was
gay as phuck and says things like "the clitoris is larger than a flaccid penis" women who are into this $hit are just so dense. finding a "cause" and getting behind it!! POwEr in our sexuality! "Penetration Is Not the Only Sex!!" "you shouldn't have to ask a man to rub your clitoris during intercourse!"
He didn't see why anyone would share such things with him.


DK91 quickly gave HorseCawk props for a strong username (I agree) and a strong post.

I'd like to point out that late in the thread, Nessa1 (1 of 3 women in this thread) came back at HorseCawk with: "You do realize that all of that is correct, right Opie?" to which HorseCawk replied, "its not you stuppid chit. u are misinformed" Bravo Nessa1 - 5 vuvla rating to you (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

Quickly, everyone then got a bit riled up by the idea that a clit could be larger than a flaccid penis, retorting with things like richard noggin's "brb pulling on my cawk with pliers" and H34T's "4 inch flaccid checkin in. never seen a 4 inch clit before. also this is why I never would degrade myself by licking a snatch."

However, PoliciaLoco (inquisitive mofo) pipes in with the absolutely correct statement: "Most of a clit isn't visible as it extends into the body..." And then Musik85 quotes some internet lit supporting the whole big clit thing and includes links to more info.

HorseCawk comes back though and tells PoliciaLoco
this is debatable. the feminist hipsters promoting this "the clitoris so is vast" view are preaching that the labia minora as well as other pussy tissue is "the clitoris"
That big ol' HorseCawk actually has a point here. There are definitely people out there saying that all the "pussy tissue" should be considered "the clit" because it is all important in sexual pleasure. I, as you can imagine, take the side that organs should be called their correct name, because if they are not, it is both confusing and inaccurate, but that's another story. He is off base in this particular discussion though. I mean the clit really does extend inside the body, and it really is at least as big as a flaccid penis, so not actually debatable, HorseCawk.

HorseCawk's comments to Musik85 are a touch less poignant (and probably false on all accounts, although I don't know the status of Musik85's sexuality), saying:
nice scientific source dumbchit
 your statements are firstly false.
 secondly debatable in scientific literature
 and thirdly you are a homosexual.
On a side note Musik85 comes back at him with: "How many clits have you seen exactly? minus your mums on the way out..." To which HorseCawk jovially replies: "lmao" Sadly, Musik85 loses his earlier steely feminist/real-life leanings and finished up the exchange with "Who gives a fuk anyway? gona get mine then get out... don't care if some stupid sloot cums or not." PoliciaLoco loses his way also and concludes his postings on the 2nd page with: "The artist, Sophie Wallace shows her teddies on her tumbler. Just FYI."

There are also randomly distributed comments relating to one of my favorites of the laws - Cliteracy Natural Law # 14 which says "The vaginal orgasm is a myth invented by Freud in 1905" with richard noggin changing the topic as follows:
I would pay lots of money to see a 4 inch clit lmfao 
but.. girls do orgasm from their vaginas dont they? my girl does? am I a brodcaster status now?
richard noggin's avatar. 
and Stannis saying:
Girls can't orgasm from penetration? Not sure if srs..? I don't think she was faking. (hmm)
and ItsNerfOrNothin with:
Vaginal orgasms a myth? GF is in so much fuken trouble SRS
Gonna fight about this tomorrow wish me luck
Then lui9806 with the following comment and anime-rage gif:
So where just gonna let that "vaginal orgasm is a myth" go unchecked?

 And bossavery with:
are u kidding me? women saying vaginal orgasms aren't real? pretty sure ive got girls off multiple times by fingering/massing that G spot and the girls werent frauding. 
fuk this ghey world
BushrodButtram gets a bit more investigativey on the subject and writes:
All this "women can't climax from intercourse" stuff is greatly exaggerated and is supposed to delegitimize normal sex. Some proponents basically think that all straight sex is basically unpleasant for women and that men like it that way:
BushrodButtram then links a kinda stream-of-consciousness post from a self-described radical feminist in which she talks about the dichotomy that exists for women about wanting too much or too little Penis-in-Vagina sex and the sense that P-i-V sex is THE only type of sex. (Her whole post is  HERE. Granted, it is a too obsessive with terror-of-pregnancy and also too blamey for my taste, and it's written a bit aggressively, but if you shake off all the dirt, it honestly has some thoughtful points....could be good for a future post). Anyway, BushrodButtram is kinda pissed about it and finishes his comment with:
Therefore, from their point of view, of course women should insist on "cliteracy" since women's collective sexual self-interest is best served if men don't want to have intercourse, seeing it as an inferior and ineffective form of sex.
I mean, let's be honest, as lady-gasms go, intercourse is an inferior and ineffective form of sex, but that's neither here nor there. Bushrod clearly has his Buttram in a bunch because the whole issue gives him too much feels. He feels the whole Cliteracy 101 thing comes from some crazy motherfuckers thinking intercourse sucks for women and that men want it to suck for women (and I'm sure Mr. Buttram doesn't actually want sex to suck for Mrs. Buttram - seriously. I really think he doesn't and it is offensive to him to think women would think he does). I hear ya Buttram, I do, but sometimes things must be said that are hard to hear, and we all need to listen - no matter whose fault it is.

Synth1230 chimes in with:
i like how all the slogans are presupposed to make it the man's fault. If you get off on clit stimulation then rub your fuking clit you pleb. Not to mention that going down on these chicks is impossible cos of the 10 coks theyve taken earlier in the day.  
The Quality of Women is going down yet their standards become higher and higher. If youre a good women ill gladly eat you till the cows come home and rub your clit during penetration but you better give me a blowjob when i tell you to.  
 vaginal orgasms are infact real or rather orgasms for simple penetration are.
Simplistic as it may be, Synth1230 has a point about rubbing one's fucking clit - I mean just do it, right? But I suspect he may not quite understand how strangely not easy that is to do in real life...I mean sometime our culture can get aggressively anti-clit...ya know? He is likely wrong about how many cocks the average women who asks him to go down on her has had in the 24 hours prior to asking, but I'm not him, so I won't pretend to know his circumstances. If this is true, then yes, I think a shower would be appropriate before any eating out, but it's not technically impossible. Let's be honest here. No one wants the disease of 10 other men's ejaculate on their tongue or the taste of 10 latex condoms. Plus, she's probably dehydrated at this point and would do well to just go home, take some time off and drink some water....although on the other hand, after taking 10 coks in 1 day - and likely not orgasming (cause Cliteracy Law # 14 is actually pretty accurate), doesn't she deserve a good eating out so she can finally get the fuck off? As for orgasms from simple penetration being real, as you know, I stand by the statement that there is no evidence of that being true.

EDcellent let everyone know about his experience too:
*Finger banged a girl and she squirted crew* checking in. Not a single part of her clit was touched that night. 
Or any other night.
Thanks EDcellent, and true story. Fingerbanging is actually a pretty good way to get a girl to squirt. It's called an ejaculation, and if the clit wasn't touched, definitely doesn't include an orgasm...but maybe EDcellent's girl isn't into orgasms anyway. To each her own.

LikeAMachine didn't like the idea of saying the vaginal orgasm was a myth either:
A myth? lol ok, right 
fukking hipsters rustling jimmies
Two ladies got into the discussion too. Staberella just wanted to get practical:
LOL this is silly. Instead of making a big fukking deal over their man sucking in bed to the world, they should let their partners know what they like in bed. No need to make it public.
It seems she is gently acknowledging that dudes who bang with no clit game suck in bed (even the toughest of body-building chicks like that mouth on that lady junk, am I right?) , but fair enough, Staberella - keep that shit to yourself.  4 vulva rating to Staberella for her subtle insinuation (!)(!)(!)(!).

CallMeOniichan was quick to get to the real issue, though, when he replied back to her, "I don't think the artist is into guys." Classic move CallMeOniichan.

and conceptions, well she didn't really care much about all this, but she was a bit better informed than most of the dudes so far about the vaginal orgasm is a myth thing. She says:
I think that claim comes from the belief that the nerves etc of the clitoris extend into the vaginal walls/g-spot, so they're all clitoral orgasms. No. 4 on the list in one of the pics seems right. I don't get what all the fuss is about.
The Cliteracy Law #4 conceptions speaks of is, "The clitoris is not a button. It is an iceberg" So she's got sense about her in that she's acknowledging that there is an inner, larger part of the clitoris. She's also right that there is a going trend that believes orgasms from penetration are due to the inner legs of the clitoris being stimulated to orgasm during penetration - so that even "vaginal" orgasms are clitoral. However, there is no scientific evidence of orgasm ever actually happening from stimulation inside the vagina, so there isn't really a "vaginal" orgasm to speak of at all, and thus speaking about what causes it is not useful since it doesn't really exist (at least in scientific literature). She gets 4 vulvas (!)(!)(!)(!) on her comment though, cause it's kinda thoughtful at least, and she tried to calm the fire. *No one cared though, I guess, because there were absolutely no comments to what she said.

A few other brave comments worth mentioning...theRealGriNC was just honest:
Does anyone else mess around with the clit or is it just me? I didn't think it was such a big deal.
It is a big deal - because it's not done enough. Thank you, theRealGriNC. Also, solidus2k3 kept his comment simple, but effective with: "Pussy eating crew" Different "crews" are always checking in. For instance, InfraRed407  said "can navigate the clit crew checking in" Yes sir, please do check in.

 Hmmmm. I'll give a final word to richard noggin who added this toward the very end of the 3 page thread:
alright boys lets all just admit it the clitoris is a myth, a made up fairy tale that was conjured up by feminists to scare little boys before bed. Has anyone seen this so called "clit"? no. no one has ever seen one because it doesnt exist. that dangly thing down there is just the bull**** that feminists are full of trying to escape.
Wait no. I want to give the last word to snowyowl, who actually made a top notch 5 vulva rating post  (!) (!) (!) (!) (!).  Bravo to him...and he never said anything super ass-holeish....and he had the hottest pic.

snowyowl's avatar 
 I'd rub my clit all over those abs. Here's his post. It was simply the juxtaposition of the 2 memes below.



Twitter Lady-gasm Truths: Rachel Bloom Is An Orgasm Equality Hero

Rachel Bloom Schools Twitter on Lady-gasms
I just started watching Crazy Ex Girlfriend. I'm on episode 3, and I already have an SSL Review to do for it (which will be positive). However, before I started watching this show, I caught some buzz about the creator/star's epic rant earlier this year on Twitter about basically all the shit this here movie and blog are about. So, what I want to say about that is fuck yeah, Rachel Bloom!

So, she basically saw a CNN article about the the Orgasm Gap (i.e. women are orgasming much less than men during sex), and she was pissed that it didn't even mention the clit until halfway down. For real, the article was all like,
'geez-oh-pete guys! What could possibly be causing women to orgasm less than men???? Could it be evolution making women have variable abilities to achieve orgasm?? Could it be women are so darn nervous about their bodies?? Could it be stigma against women initiating sex?? Could it be our clits are too far from their vaginal openings?? Golly gee - why oh why can't women just come from getting fucked up the vag hole like we want them to?? I guess there's no possible answer.' 
She, rightly, pointed out that this article, like most on the topic, was deeply focused on women's ability to orgasm during intercourse...because that's apparently the only way of lady-gasming anyone cares about. She also rightly pointed out THE CLIT. Seriously, women need their clit stimulated to orgasm, so if we live in a world obsessed with penises-in-vaginas and rarely depict, discuss or engage the clit in sexual situation, could it possibly be that - oh, I don't know - the main reason women aren't orgasming more during sex is because WOMEN'S CLITS DON'T GET STIMULATED MUCH DURING SEX. Just a little ol' thought. I mean, men need their penises stimulated for orgasm as much as women need their clits stimulated, and wouldn't you know it, their penises are pretty much the focus of any sexual activity they are a part of. and guess what?!? Men don't seem to have a group orgasm problem.

Why I Do So Love Her Rant
1 I love this because she says as boldly and clearly as anyone I've seen speak on this (and this includes most progressive sexperts and sex educators) that women would be orgasming more if we all just collectively realized that women orgasm from clitoral stimulation and penetration (because for real - no scientific research has ever shown that women orgasm from stimulation inside the vagina).

2 Can I just say again how much I love Bloom's rant. I love how specific and bold she is about the need for clitoral stimulation, because even well meaning, sex-positive, feminist stuff often demurs and really just kinda reminds that the clit is also important...as opposed to outright saying the the clit is THE important part and without understanding THE sole importance of the clit to female orgasm, orgasms ain't gonna happen. It reminds me of an article by Annamarie Jagose (I discuss it HERE) that really digs in on this issue, warning us that we'll be in a never ending cycle of worrying about the orgasm gap but never really fixing it unless we fully accept that intercourse on its own is not, has never been, and never will be as orgasmic for women as it is for men because it doesn't necessarily include external clitoral stimulation in the same way it necessarily provides clear penile stimulation. That is correct, Ms. Jagose, and although it is truly rare to hear people speak the truth on this, it really gives me hope to see these rare, but I venture to say increasing, bold statements from people like Ms. Rachel Bloom.

3 I particularly love that Rachel Bloom is really open and honest about this in her life personally. She admits that even being a feminist, progressive, and sexually aware women was not enough in this culture to give her the correct information about her body and her orgasms. She felt bad for many years that she had to have clitoral stimulation to come. She struggled with the cultural expectations of her orgasmic capabilities versus the reality of her experience. Her saying that is so important because it:

  • informs us that coming from clitoral stimulation alone is actually not wierd. It's as normal as a man who can orgasm only from penile stimulation (sadly though, that piece of knowledge is not something we learn...ever)
  • lets other women know that we all struggle with this bullshit that we really shouldn't have to struggle with, and
  • points out that this problem is larger than just sexually progressive vs. non progressives because the cultural misinformation goes way deeper than that, and none of us are immune - even if you were raised by hippies and got a degree in sexology - these truths of the clit are still buried.

I also love that she is addressing this AND she actually has some power over depictions of sex that she intends to use for good. In this Mic article by Anna Swartz that has a follow-up interview with Bloom about the tweets. Bloom says...
"We need to educate women about how every woman's body is different," she said. "In movies, when you see a couple having a love scene ... you never see the woman reaching down and stimulating her clitoris, or a man reaching down." 
Yes, you lovely women, YEEEEES! She is so correct, and I know that for sure because I specifically critique that exact thing in tons of movies and TV for SSL Reviews. The article goes on:
The second season of Bloom's show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, recently ended, and it's been renewed for a third. The show airs on the CW, which means that, as Bloom said, she's limited in how much she can show in sex scenes. But she and the other writers try "as much as possible to show what sex is really like ... people coming up from going down on Rebecca, we've shown Rebecca coming up from going down on other guys," Bloom said. "We try the best we can to capture what we know to be true."
Bless you, Rachel Bloom. That gives me so much hope and joy. It's the small things that will change this culture. It will take time, but I feel like I'm seeing things happening. It's a writer for Cosmo Sex Position Lists opting for inclusion of clitoral stimulation instead of incorrect references to how 'hitting the G-spot' will make a position orgasmic. It's Bridget Everett singing a hilarious song in her comedy act pointing out that ladies don't need the dick, They need mouth stimulation on their clit. And by golly, it's Rachel Bloom and the other writers trying their darndest on an extremely accessible over-the air network TV show that sexual activity, including intercourse, can and should include external clitoral stimulation (seriously, this never happens, so if I see it in Crazy Ex Girlfriend, I will flip my lid).

Go get 'em Ms. Bloom. You have officially made it onto my Orgasm Equality Heroes list. Good on ya, my lady.


Retro Author Interview: Miriam Reumann and American Sexual Character

A Retro SSL Post for this most American of Weekends!
Since it's almost the 4th of July, which is very American, and since this blog is about female orgasm, I thought to myself, 'what is the best combination of these two things?' And almost immediately I thought of the Amazing book American Sexual Character: Sex, Gender and National Identity in the Kinsey Reports by Miriam Reumann. I cannot recommend this book enough. I used a lot of info from that book in the movie from which this blog sprang, Science Sex and the Ladies. 

Science, Sex and The Ladies from AnC Movies on Vimeo.

That part in the trailer where a dude from the 50's is doing his wife - that's inspired by info in this book, and where there's a family from the 40's at a table and where there's 2 types of 50's women standing around a man on a couch, and where there's a dude and his wife grilling hotdogs - all inspired by info in this book. I love this book. Read it. 

Also, in October of 2011, I was lucky enough to interview the author of this book, and I'm re-posting that here for you now. Enjoy.

The 2011 Interview with author Miriam Reumann I will not mince words here. I like Miriam Reumann's book. I've read a fair share of long dry books as I was researching for this movie. Yes, many were quite useful, but honestly Reumann's book was one of the most useful and most informative, and it was not a bit dry. It was fun, and quirky, and tells a unique story about an iconic time in American history. In fact this is such a well-researched and interesting book that as I was looking through it to find questions I wanted to ask her, I found it a little hard to come up with any. I kept reading a few lines and thinking, "wow – that’s so interesting," but there just wasn’t a question because the book was so thorough. It’s just a really great read. 

This book, American Sexual Character: Sex, Gender, and National Identity in the Kinsey Reports  is actually the main inspiration for a section of the movie. Part of the story Reumann tells involves America's "discovery" of the female orgasm in the period after WWII, and she does a fantastic job of discussing the expectations, worries, and talking points  surrounding this new idea that women (married women of course) could and in fact should orgasm. The middle section of our movie Science Sex and the Ladies, considers the impact of this cultural shift on our current understanding of female sexuality (here's a clue - surprisingly little has changed). The historical point of view I was able to take from this book  really helped me illustrate the stark differences between the status quo perception of female sexuality and the perspective of female sexuality that Science Sex and the Ladies promotes.

However, as I said before, this book is chock full of great info, and it tells many other stories too - about marriage, masculinity, and homosexuality among other things. The larger idea in the book goes something as follows: The cultural climate after WWII facilitated a unprecedented public discussion of sex, and in fact, sex became a matter of American "character." How Americans dealt with sex was often discussed as related to the very core of what America was like as a country. Although there were disagreements among experts at the time (were Americans too repressed or too promiscuous?), there was widespread agreement that these questions were utterly important to the American way of life. Screw the 60's. This was the real American Sexual Revolution. 

I thought it was important to interview Reumann in this SSL interview series, because, outside of the fact that aspects of her book have added unique insight into the movie we've made, I also appreciate that her work is an intensely researched and incredibly innovative look at America’s relationship to sexuality. Deeply held assumptions about gender, that she clearly reveals to be important influences on the cultural discussion of sex, are as pervasive today as they were in the post WWII period. Her discussion is progressive, thoughtful, and relevant to a more realistic understanding of female sexuality.

I contacted Miriam Reumann earlier this year and was happy to find that she was funny, engaging, and happily open to an interview. We eventually worked out a time, and I conducted an interview over email. I wrote a question. She answered. Then I wrote another question. The email thing was her idea, and I loved it. I am 10 times more relaxed writing than talking, so I had a great time, and I think she did too.

How did you get interested and started in the type of research you did for American Sexual Character? 

In grad school, when I started thinking about dissertation topics my parameters were pretty broad: I knew that I wanted to do something in the early or mid 20th century, and that I was interested in gender and sexuality. One of my professor/mentors, Anne Fausto-Sterling, said in passing one day that there was very little work on Kinsey, so my interest was piqued. I knew the general narrative about the Reports (huge, shattered common perceptions, important and controversial, etc., etc.) but realized that I’d never actually read any of either Sexual Behavior in the Human Male or Female, so I checked out incredibly thick and heavy copies from Brown’s library. Now, I wish I could say that looking at them filled me with exciting and original ideas, but the reverse was true – I found them so incredibly dull that I instead wondered how on earth anyone had ever seen these studies as remotely sexy, or threatening, or even readable! 

That, as it happens, wasn’t a bad question, and so as the dissertation research – and later the book – evolved, my central concern remained how they were USED, as opposed to what they actually found, or meant. That turned out to be useful in keeping me focused, since it meant I didn’t have to get mired down in the kinds of debates about accuracy or representativeness that Kinsey’s biographers cared about, and it also meant that I got to look not only at sources like serious journalism but also wacky popular culture – for years, I looked at every Kinsey artifact that cropped up on ebay, and lots of them, like cartoons or film posters, made it into my research. That said, I also got pulled in lots of unexpected directions, like when I discovered foreign policy analyses from the 1950s that focused obsessively on American sexuality as a key to our success or failure in the Cold War, and the central concept and title just flowed from there.  

I'm impressed you read through both the Kinsey reports. I have looked a tiny bit through them, but really couldn't bring myself to do any more than skim slightly and to read books like yours - that were about them. From reading American Sexual Character, it really does seems as though you went though an insanely immense amount of resources. How long were you researching and what were some of the most surprising or interesting things you came across?

I'm sure there are still large sections of both reports that I've never actually "read" - very few people then actually read them either, just pulled out whatever numbers and statements seemed most relevant or helpful to their beliefs.

   On the "immense amount of research" issue, I plead guilty - and you should be glad that the book version is much more streamlined than the dissertation, which had to be bound in 2 volumes because it was so embarrassingly long! I probably could have written the same basic dissertation in a year or 2 less if I'd trusted more in my own observations and felt less commitment to look at as much as possible. Some of that simply reflected that this was my first big intellectual project; it is probably also relevant that I did my grad work in an interdisciplinary program (American Studies) and was very conscious of having to make sense of how these different conversations (between sociologists, physicians, clergy, politicians, etc., etc.) linked up. At the time I thought that meant citing endless sources; nowadays, I trust I have a much better sense of when enough is enough. Lastly, of course, there simply was a huge amount of stuff on Kinsey, and a lot of what I used was things that I stumbled across rather than being able to find through, say, the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, since they didn't index pulp magazines and the like (again, hooray for ebay, one of a pop culture historian's best friends).

   I spent about 8 years on the dissertation, and, as noted above, it was probably longer than really needed (although I was about average for my department in terms of time to completion). There were certainly times when I researched less and wrote more, put the whole thing aside to work at side jobs for more money, or - more than once - got overwhelmed and just disengaged. As for sources, some of the most helpful material came late in the process, when I finally got to the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, which didn't happen until I was revising the dissertation into a (different and much better) book. By that point, I could use it more to support my sense of where I was going rather than as brand new ideas. Most surprising was probably the cartoons I featured in the book, which did a fabulous job of crystallizing many of the kinds of fears and reactions that I was finding in much more "serious" sources. Also, I ran across a number of material culture items that I couldn't feature in the book because they were so ephemeral, my only access would have been to buy them (and, really, who needs a Kinsey toilet paper holder, or bobble-head? Okay, maybe I regret not purchasing the bobble-head

You really should have purchased the bobble head :) 

Marie Robinson pops up in the book several times. She seems like an interesting character, and I’m sure you’ve read a lot from her. What is your personal take on what kind of person she was and what kind of figure she was to that era?

  I’ll ask the same question of Paul Popenoe, and if you don’t mind, could you comment about what you know of Abraham Franzblau (“...It is as though the broad plateau of ecstasy can be reached only after climbing over the top of a high hill. In a happy marriage, the female lives up near the top and can reach the peak with ease…")? We actually had actors play all 3 of these people to convey some of their quotes from your book on frigidity and marriage. The one who played Franzblau was curious about him, and I didn’t have much to go on, so I thought you might be able to help out.

 I didn’t do a ton of biographical research on commentators, even though some of them popped up a lot! Those three are each fascinating, and each also, I think, speaks for a particular niche.

  Marie Robinson, as a female MD, probably had a pretty hard time positioning herself as an expert in postwar debates on sex, and to me that helps explain the way in which she authorized her writing as a maternal act, based on concern for young women who could easily make a sexual mistake that would doom their lives. That was, of course, still largely true for the middle-class young white women who were her subject and the target audience for her books (well, their mothers would have been the main purchasers). Despite writing books that sold well and reached a wide audience, she never quite appeared in the top category of sex experts of the era, who were overwhelmingly male and usually had university scientific credentials. But her work quite possibly reached more people, through being excerpted in places like the Readers’ Digest. So, I see her as an interesting example of the “type” of the concerned yet educated/professional mom, who was called on to speak for many women.

  As for Popenoe, he – and the legacy he left that continues through his son – was and is much more widely known, and has been discussed by a lot of historians (Wendy Kline’s book, Building a Better Race, is good on his popularization of eugenics, along with the work of other historians of medicine). He, to me, usually was called on (in regard to Kinsey’s work and mid-century sexuality in general) to fill the role of the good cop/bad cop, predicting to the public that Behavior A will result in happy marriages, healthy children, and good mental health, while Behaviors B through Z will not.

  Franzblau has been much less well documented. Like you, I find his theory of sexuality as a marathon in which women are located in the home stretch (Heartbreak Hill?) hilarious, but my memory of his other ideas isn’t vivid after all this time. I think he represented a very Americanized and partial version of Freudianism, which is a big theme in much of the heated negative psychiatric response to the Reports. (I just pulled up my long-ago notes on his book The Road to Sexual Maturity, and see that he did a lot of arguing with deBeauvoir on female nature, and also described any interracial couple as an example of “blemish mating” and maintained that women who steal other women’s men are actually repressed lesbians. There may be a reason I’ve blocked my memories of his work). Franzblau, who also wrote on modern Judaism, also raises the issue of religion and its place in the postwar sexual debates that I chronicled in the book. In retrospect, I think that I didn’t pay enough attention to the really wide range of attitudes towards Kinsey’s work and sexual change in general that there were – it was easy to bring in some of the fire-and-brimstone voices, and I did note that many mainstream Protestant pastoral counselors, among others, were cautiously in favor of greater sexual information and education, but there is a much more complex and interesting story there waiting to be told.

 Am looking forward to seeing/hearing these voices appear in the movie! 

"Blemish mating," huh?
 If you don’t mind, could you tell us a little about the research relating to sex studies of the 20s/30s that you are currently working on? 

 Yeah, "blemish mating" is just . . . words fail one.  

 Sure, historians love to talk about that! While finishing the Kinsey book, I got interested in what had come before him: Kinsey was invested in seeing his own work as utterly original, and so downplayed American research prior to his as poorly done, inadequate, etc. At the same time, though, it was increasingly clear to me that he relied on earlier work in human sex research and also on a network of supporters that included many of the advisers who had conducted it, mostly in the 1920s and 30s before he really got going. So, I thought it would be interesting – perhaps just as a brief article-length piece of research – to examine these studies, some of which were funded but never published.

 As I got going, I discovered a lot more examples than I had known of, and was lucky enough to work with an archivist who dug up a collection of sex histories taken in that period by Dr. Adolf Meyer, head of psychiatry at the Phipps Clinic at Johns Hopkins, and known as probably the preeminent educator in psychiatry at the time and also very active in the mental hygiene movement).

 So, I’m currently working on this generation of sex researchers, from the well-known, like Robert Latou Dickinson, to the forgotten, like Meyer, who has become the center of my work. The material is so rich and complicated that I’ve been working very slowly (teaching 4 courses a semester as an instructor doesn’t help with that). Meyer’s sex histories, taken primarily from his students, range from a few sentences to close to 30 detailed pages, and cover everything you can think of – the subjects’ upbringing, sex ed, fantasy lives, education, various kinds of experiences, moral beliefs, etc., etc., etc.

 I’m still figuring out where they fit, but do feel clear on two main things. First, there was a big struggle in the early 20th century between 2 groups of human sex researchers; those who wanted to focus on quantitative evidence and count acts (as in Kinsey’s eventual approach) and those who distrusted numbers and preferred to privilege narratives, stories, collected through individual life histories. Secondly, the sex histories that Meyer collected, which he hoped would bridge this divide by allowing him to correlate individual studies with larger numbers, speak to the post-WWI era as a really confusing one for the middle- and upper-class young men (plus a few women) whose histories he collected. The transition between what you might call Victorianism and modernity was fraught, with distinctly different values systems and behaviors coexisting among men in the same cohort, as the histories feature men who boasted about their varied sexual conquests (including a great deal of same-sex activity, especially during wartime) right next to those who were deeply conflicted and others who denied any sexuality whatsoever and railed at the modern expectation that they should exhibit desires at all. So, fascinating stuff, but slow going, in part because it involves actual individual participants rather than the broader social and cultural patterns I was looking at in the first book.


 ***Thanks again to Miriam Reumann. I really appreciate that she took the time to do this. If you get a chance, and you like history or fun or books that are good, check out 
American Sexual Character: Sex, Gender, and National Identity in the Kinsey Reports.