3.23.2017

You might not be beautiful and other things I want to say to the ladies in my life




I've been thinking about being a lady in this world today. Usually I think and write in this blog about being a woman specifically in relation to the sexual culture, but I want to broaden out a bit today because you know what? If the state of womanness during sex is such a hot mess; if we can live in this world fully knowing how women's bodies orgasm, yet ignore that reality at every turn - in our media, our education, and our actual sexual activity - then imagine what other non-sexual aspects of womanness we are treating with similar disrespect and disregard. So, I thought I'd approach the topic in terms of the 3 most common things I seem to hear us woman say to each other to build each other up; that we're beautiful, strong and can do anything we set our minds to.

I love these words in so many ways. I love the immense support I see women giving other women. I love women feeling strong and beautiful and full of possibility. However, I think these words, in many ways, are us ladies making the best of our situation, which is lovely, really, but I want to look at the gritty nasty center of these words and how they speak to the shitty realities of being a woman that we don't usually have time or energy to focus on. I want to do this because I think it's so important to acknowledge among friends, that sometimes things aren't so good. I think speaking truths about hurtful forces in our lives lessens the power of those forces, and I think we need to step outside our day to day lives from time to time in order to see how we might change our world for the better.

So this is for you, my ladies.

My mom and sis and me (2 of the many important ladies in my life. I'd love to add more, but I don't feel right putting all their faces up on my lady-gasm blog)

Dear ladies in my life,

You are all different parts of me. Some of you have helped shape me my whole life. Some of us helped shape each other as we grew into women. Some of you have been important parts of my adult life, some my childhood, and some of you I don’t see all that often and maybe we’re not even particularly close, but you have imprinted on me in some way that feels important. You are fellow scientists, writers, artists, activists, bloggers. You ran for office. You have advocated and volunteered to make your community a better place though boards and charities and organizations. You did all you could to raise people who would give more to this world than they took. You are doing the hard, slow work of parenting as we speak. You educate yourself in both traditional and nontraditional ways and you work. You build, create, innovate, cooperate, communicate, educate, and move. You work.

Some of you were brought into this world with more than others. More emotional support, more money and things, more people around you, more kindness and understanding, more education, more beauty, more positivity, and more sense of normalcy and comfort. Some of you with less. Some were born to the words, “It’s a girl” and others to “It’s a boy.” Some to more medical attention in their lives and some to very little. We are women, but we are all quite different. Our varied experiences gave us differing abilities to soak in, bounce off, embrace and ignore each little thing - the good, the bad and the downright ugly - that our culture insinuates about women. So, although in some ways it’s hard to relate to each other when it comes to our feeling about what it means to walk this world as ladies, I also know we share so much and sometimes it's hard to recognize that inside the nitty gritty of our own lives.

It’s easy to rally with each other around the uniquely exciting and bright parts that our world’s understanding of femininity allows us; the ability to cry, hug and create intimacy in platonic relationships without feeling scared of how you will be perceived, the assurance that nurturing and caregiving for our friends and families is valuable and important work, the acceptance of our prerogative to primp and sparkle and have style, the comfort in knowing that women are traditionally strong in our endurance of pain and in our ability to move through adversity and just get on with it. We can and should be excited that femininity allows and applauds these things. They are good things – not just for us but for all people to have.

It’s also easy to rally around our accomplishments - our shared history of obtaining certain legal rights and certain expectations of respect and fairness. We have come a long way in a short amount of time. It’s not really a matter of if we continue to make progress. It’s inevitable. The gendered stereotypes that held our mothers to restricted life experiences also held men to restricted life experiences, and humans don’t do well with restrictions. I believe the real question is how fast and which changes come first.

It's harder to rally around the uniquely shitty and limiting parts that our world’s understanding of femininity forces upon us, and sometimes even harder to admit to ourselves that we are affected by these forces.  And, I’m not talking about these forces affecting women of the past. I’m talking about us now, living our lives day to day. I think it's important to take a minute and consider what our shared situation of being women might bring to our lives now, the nitty gritty stuff of living as a woman; the stuff that often feels like it’s just part of life, but is actually just part of being a woman in this world, and a part that isn’t necessary or inevitable. It’s the invisible things men don’t have to endure – or at least not to the degree that we do.

I think it's actually hard not only to accept these things about being a woman, but even to see them at all. They are tangled in our shared humanity and have always been there, so it's hard to discern our personal situations and struggles from the shared struggles of womanhood. We often default to assuming our personal failings are to blame for things that actually have more to do with our situation as women. This is certainly true when it comes to orgasm. So, we need to talk with each other in utterly real ways from time to time to even begin to recognize these shared experiences. This was how the feminist movement of the 60's and 70's moved us forward. Women all over the country took part in Consciousness Raising groups where they talked honestly about their lives, and in doing so began to see what kinds of problems out there were common to being a woman and needed to be addressed through feminist activism.

The truth is that the unnecessarily hard parts about being a woman in this world don’t always come from people being outwardly sexist. It also comes from inside us and from inside the people we hold most dear. It comes from a culture that has evolved to accommodate men’s needs more than women’s and to expect different things from men and women. It doesn’t mean that all men or even most men are sexist assholes that disregard women (I mean clearly there are some that do, but mostly not). But it does mean that we all drag some of that culture around with us.

So, I’d like to start a discussion and hope you continue it with those closest to you. I’m going to do that by focusing on 3 things we ladies like to say to each other; that we’re strong and beautiful and capable of anything. I really want to say that to you all, because it’s nice and true in a way, but it also is not completely true or maybe it's more true of humanity than just women, or maybe it's true but not in the way we tend to speak about it. I don't know, but it's not the whole story about women, and it's not what I want to say to you all.

Maybe women feel like we're so strong because life forces us to be strong in ways it does not for men.
Strength comes in all kinds of packages. Sometimes it’s sudden and life dependent. Sometimes it’s short term and all consuming. Sometimes it’s constant and under the surface. Sometimes it takes everything we have to give. We, all people, possess potential for all these strengths, and if you ever really need it, you will dig in and find enough of it somewhere because that is what people do.

But I also want to say that maybe we talk about strength in women so much because women so often are in that position where we are forced to find it. Not necessarily in heroic spurts but in constant subtle ways throughout our lives. Maybe the amount of strength women must conjure into everyday things is more than for men because our culture evolved with male comfort in mind more so than female comfort.

Maybe every time you choose an outfit to leave in, you have to muster a bit of fortitude about your outward appearance; about what it does and does not say about you; about how people will react to you; about the aching sadness so deeply ingrained in all of us that we do not fit within the sliver of acceptable appearance afforded women.

Maybe every time you decide to go on a date or go somewhere alone, you have to overcome all those voices inside you fueled by years of hearing how vulnerable women are and centuries of men feeling like they can prey on women without consequence, and decide to take the risk anyway.

Maybe being the ‘first’ to do a job or to be in the minority population at a job takes a ton more umph to get there, stay there, and fit in than it does for those who’ve watched people like themselves do the job for years before they join and get to be with mostly people like themselves while doing the job.

Maybe we’ve been trained in ways boys were not to notice and accommodate and feel responsible for others, and so we are more often in the position of taking on the everyday drudge of putting others’ emotional comfort and well-being in front of your own,

And Maybe all that takes some endurant strength,

And Maybe women tend to bear this burden far more than the husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers and male co-workers in their lives.

Maybe we mostly don’t even notice that we are gathering strength for these things because we just do it. We just get on with our lives, but maybe it’s more draining than we realize, and maybe the next generation of men and women deserve better. So, maybe we should try an recognize this and acknowledge it more openly.

Maybe you're not actually beautiful and maybe that matters too much
I don’t want to tell you that you are all beautiful either. You probably look fine – and a bit better than that if you put work into it. What I want to say is that looking fine is, well, fine, and that we don’t all have the power of great beauty just like we don’t all have the power of great athleticism or great artistry.

It’s fine. You're fine, and I wish beauty wasn't so important that we feel we need to make sure every woman thinks she's beautiful.

I also want to say that I know it’s also in many ways not fine; that the pressure to look a certain way is so very heavy and the repercussions for not doing so are sometimes so severe and painful that the question of a woman’s beauty is not something to be sloughed off so simply. I also want to say that although this affects all women, even the most supermodelly among us, some of us get harshly confronted with their beauty-standard inadequacies more than others, and it sucks, and it starts to scar and twist us in a variety of ways from a very young age. And it’s not just men or ‘others’ or ‘culture’ that make it this way. Just because we are women doesn’t make us immune to the hatefulness toward women’s appearance we see all around us growing up. We often become the aggressors to other women (and certainly to ourselves), sometimes in silence and sometimes out loud and sometimes even with what we feel is good intent.

There is no easy answer to this, but I can tell you that although all people battle with this, women take the bulk of the hit, and you’re allowed to be sad and mad and hurt by this, but please don’t ignore it. We can’t change something we refuse to see clearly.

Maybe you can't actually do anything you set your mind to...at least not in the same way men can
I would also love to tell you you’re capable of doing anything you set your mind to, and you are. But, I think we should be real with each other about the obstacles. People still use gender stereotypes to box men and women into ways of being and jobs to do. This affects how easy it is to do things we might want to do. It just does, and although you can do whatever you want, you might have to bust shit up on your way there. It might be hard.

Let me just use female orgasm as an example. Yeah, you are fully capable of having an orgasm when you have sex with a man, but you're probably going to have to bust some shit up first...like:


It seems on paper like the ability for a woman to have an orgasm while having sex with her male partner should be just as natural as can be, but it’s not. It’s really not. Although women’s bodies are capable of orgasming as quickly easily and reliably as men’s they often don’t in a partnered sexual situation, and it’s due to the ways of the world, not biology, or personal problems or bad communication. It's because the culture is BS for lady-gasms and needs to be changed...we just don't notice how BS it is most of the time, because we just think it's the way things are and get on with our lives.

So if something as natural as our ability to have an orgasm when we have sex with a partner has been so strongly and deeply impeded by the sprawling roots of our male-centered history and norms of our still very gendered society, then imagine how problematic other things like stepping into a male dominated profession, or maneuvering a home life with non-gender-traditional roles, or creating gender progressive policy and laws might be.

So talk to each other, honestly. You deserve to see when your problems are not just yours and yours alone. You deserve to grieve together when your precious reserves of human strength are wasted on everyday bullshit to a degree that men's, in general, are not. You deserve to investigate with each other how your beauty, or lack thereof, defines and traps you in ways it does not for men. You deserve to understand the reality of the subtle and rarely discussed hurdles that await you as you seek to do or be things outside the norm in our male centered, gender-role obsessed world.

Women, like all humans, are survivors, but we need each other to not just survive, but to grow and change and make the world better.

Love to you all,
Trisha



3.19.2017

Random Male Hite Report #21



Hello, friends. It's time for another Random Hite Report! In 1976, Shere Hite dropped The Hite Report where she compiled detailed survey answers from over 3,000 women about sex, masturbation, orgasms, and relationships. It's insane to me how revolutionary this book still is. Read it, seriously. We really haven't changed that much in 40 years, and it's an incredibly insightful read.

Then in 1981, she dropped The Hite Report on Male Sexuality where over 7,000 men give detailed answers about sex, relationships, and women. It too is revolutionary, and the honesty, vulnerability, and detail in this book is so important and moving. I think everyone should read this too. So, I give you a taste every now and then to entice you to get these books. Seriously, they are both like 1 cent online.



Anyway, what I do is flip to one random page and copy the contents of that page, no more-no less, directly onto this blog. Enjoy.

 The Hite Report on Male Sexuality
Knopf, 1981 pg 83

The following page is in the section called 'Longer replies about growing up male and being a man' in a chapter called What Does It Mean To Being A Man. (This is one man's response)
    "My father taught more by example than words. He didn't encourage me to be tough, and he pointed out that another neighborhood father (a street fighter) was stupid to act this way. Fighting back, I learned from him, didn't have to be active. You could refuse to concede to pressure even if you couldn't change things. In fact, the stroke he suffered was the tail end of his being fed up with people who bought a going away gift for their boss who treated them all like shit: my old man wouldn't agree to it and refused to be quiet about it (it was over a set of golf clubs that he exploded).
    "I cannot say whether or not I was directed on 'how to be a boy' or 'not to act like a girl.' Our universe was a local schoolyard. Boys and girls interacted a great deal - not in baseball, however. Sports created a separation.The only 'male only' activity in our house was a strange annual Communion Breakfast organized by my father's union. Only men and boys could attend. We all thought it was strange. My father (and my mother) taught me to do my part - whether that was shopping, going to the laundry, or washing the floors (my specialty!). These were my chores, my contribution.
    "I liked to read as a child - which was unusual in my world (I was one of those kids with a thousand comic books, The Hardy Boys, etc. ). He encouraged me-my mother even more so. My parents wanted me to do well in school, but in absolute terms, not 'do better than Joe' stuff. Other than grades (the point of which was to graduate) there was no parental pressure to compete.
    "In high school and my short time in college I didn't belong to any particular group. I was lonely - had no social life. I stayed active in Boy Scouts, teaching kids to camp, etc. Then, on bad advice, I pledged for a fraternity, as a sixteen year-old freshman. The forty-eight hours of humiliation almost killed me. Walked out in the middle of hazing, created a lie about being hurt to explain my exit. I told that lie for years.
    "When I was fifteen I played in a band whose average age (except me) was eighteen. Pressure to score with girls came from them. I would become the butt of their conversations about their adventures, because I had nothing to report. I was embarrassed and had no idea as to how to make things better. Eventually, we simply parted company. But I was fairly tough and tough-acting as a kid and while I was different (not the neighborhood brain, but certainly smart)you wouldn't call me a sissy unless you wanted to fight about it (even if I lost, I'd still fight).
    "Today I have more friends than I did in those days. My best male friend is the same age as I am (thirty-three). He has some physical problems - bad back, etc. - which he worsens by playing softball, etc. (I run for exercise and am in good shape.) We take care of each other when one of us needs it and we care enough for each other (1) not to butt into each other's life and (2) to pick each other up when things are a mess. We do not share details of our personal lives. For example, he does not know about my lover. But I helped him when one of his brothers split with another brother's wife - the help consisted of talking and avoiding judgments. He helped me when work pressures built up and threatened to blow my head apart: minor corporate expense padding blown out of proportion - my job was to act as the go-between for the company, the employees, the press, the law. He walked me through it."

3.15.2017

5 Indie Movies With Words Related to Size and/or Femaleness #DirectedByWomen



I started doing this categorized List of 5 movies thing where I showcase movies that were directed by women and that I have actually seen. It all started during the Directed By Women Worldwide Viewing Party in September 2015, and it was pretty fun, so I've continued doing it from time to time.

It's a bit off-topic from my normal fare, ya know, being that it's not specifically about lady-gasms or anything like that, but I think it fits the blog because
1. this blog is also about indie movie-making, and
2. this blog is partially about getting the female perspective of sexuality into our media. So, to me, supporting female voices in our media  means we're creating more room for female voices to speak on all types of things, which sometimes will be sex, orgasms, and sexuality.

You can find all my 5-movie lists HERE.

So, today you get a very special list. I like this list a lot. The theme is INDIE MOVIES THAT INCLUDE SOME TYPE OF WORD FOR FEMALE OR A WORD RELATING TO SIZE. That stupid category turns out to be a pretty solid group of 5 movies. I mean, I usually like most if not all the movies in these lists, but this time I think it's a particularly solid list that you should actually find and watch. So get a snack, a beverage, and get ready for a selection of of lady-made movies that I highly recommend (although some are not for the weak of heart).

1 Certain Women - This was directed by Kelly Reichhardt. I saw this movie when it was in the theaters lasts year, and I was just plain pleasantly surprised. Not that I was expecting it to be bad or anything. I just wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. It is a truly solid piece of movie-making. It's quiet and lovely and poignant.




2 Phat Girlz - This was directed by Nnegest Likke`. I saw this in the theaters when it came out back in 2006. Fuck haters and their hating. I like this movie, and not in some kind of ironic way. It was independent for sure, but plenty of great movies are. I hadn't thought much about it lately until I googled it just now, and it has a lot of hater reviews. I thought it was touching, important, and frankly a bit before its time...and that's all before I throw in my deep love and respect for Mo`Nique.




3 Valley Girl - This was directed by Martha Coolidge. I saw this on TV sometime back probably in the early 90's. I remember bits and pieces, and I remember liking it. I generally like this type of movie...and the reviews look pretty good, so all that together means go, like totally, watch this.




4 Tiny Furniture - This was directed by Lena Dunham. I saw this at home a year or 2 after it was released. I hadn't seen any Girls (although it had started by this time) and didn't know much about her. Some movies I like because they are a solid, well-crafted piece of movie-making that kinda get it all right in just the right way. Other movies I like because they are just fun to watch. And others I like because they are particularly interesting or unique or poignant in one or two particular ways. They don't do everything right, but they do something very right. I love seeing the risks these movies take and how they do with them, and I very much appreciate that they take them. Anyway, this movie is one I like for the latter reason. Also, I SSL Reviewed this one.




5 Fat Girl - This was directed by Catherine Breillat. This is the last, but very much not the least, one on the list. This was made in 2001, but I just watched it on Hulu (I thought...although it doesn't look like it's on there now) earlier this year. Charlie was away, and I just chose this one to watch kinda randomly.  As I started watching, I immediately felt bad for watching it without him.Watching good movies alone is cheating. I watched it again with him when he got home that week. I want to tell you about it, but I also don't want to tell you anything about it. It is a very French movie. It's triggery in the rapey sense. It's also so, so, so well done. Listen, this very well may not be your type of move, but it's a top one for me.

3.10.2017

Girls - An SSL Review Overview



GIRLS: I Watched It
Girls. The HBO series created by Lena Dunham. I took a while to start watching this, largely because I saw a piece of it, and the girls seemed so rich and whiny, I couldn't do it. However, it is clearly a thing I should know about given that it is a popular, progressive, and highly sexual show made by and made about women. I need to be up to date with what the feel is out there with lady-gasms. Are people starting to get it anatomically right? What's popular out there for female orgasm and masturbation depictions? How're people talking about sex and orgasms these days? You know that kind of stuff.

So, Charlie and I started in last year and went through all 5 seasons (we haven't yet started on the newest and final season), and you know what? I got into it. Granted, there are plenty of things in that show that grate on me. However, there's also some elements I liked and some elements I haven't really seen done that way before, and I always appreciate that kind of thing. There were risks taken, and even if a piece of media also has a lot of tired ass shit in it (and Girls does have its share of that in my opinion), I'll give a lot of props for taking those risks - because I think media that takes those risks are what drive taste and style and subject matter forward, and I respect that.



An SSL Overview
Before I start doing SSL Reviews on Girls episodes, I want to just give an overview - because in a lot of ways, after watching 5 seasons, I think a discussion of the feel about female orgasms, masturbation, and sexuality is as important if not more important than the details.

For those not in the know, an SSL Review is a critique of specific instances of depiction or discussion of female masturbation or orgasm in media, particularly TV (list of all TV SSL Reviews) and movies (list of all movie SSL Reviews), but also other types of media from time to time. I detail out exactly what happened in the scene and then break down how physically realistic it was. For instance, were the physical things happening to the woman leading up to and during orgasm actually things that would realistically physically cause orgasm? So, I speak on the realism and also on the way the depiction/discussion fits into the larger cultural understanding of female orgasm and sexuality.

All that said, I think the way Girls, as a whole, addresses female orgasm is poignant and interesting. I think it has a particular kind of contemporary female voice; a voice that is at the same time both outspokenly sex-positive and also incredibly detached from physical sexual desire while with a partner. It's a wierd dichotomy, but I think it is a very real, very common and very woman dichotomy that doesn't get the kind of open dialogue it deserves.

The First Sex Scene Says It All
I happen to relook at the first sex scene in this show, and I feel like it embodies many of the things that are important about the depictions of female sexuality and female orgasm in this show. It has a level of raw reality to it that deserves attention. The feel of this scene is not unlike the sex scene in Tiny Furniture, Lena Dunham's 2010 movie. Reading back over my SSL Review of it, though, I don't think I discussed the importance of the raw realness in that scene the way I should have.

So, let me just set the scene here. Hannah (Lena Dunham) goes over to this dude Adam's apartment (Adam Driver). They have been texting, it seems, and he's not good at texting her back, and she ends up just going over there after a bad day. They talk a bit and then she initiates stuff by kissing him on the couch. They do this for a couple seconds, and then he tells her to get on her stomach, and she does. Through all of the dialogue below, both are generally in a fun-loving space.
Adam:  You modern career woman, I know what you like. You think you can just come in here and talk all that noise.
Hannah: Umm. no.
Adam: Grab your legs.
Hannah: Uh, what'd you say? (she grabs her legs)
Adam: Okay. Okay, this is good. I'm going to go get some lube.
Hannah: Uuuuuummm...Why do we need to get lube?
Adam: When I get back, I want you in the exact same position, but take all the rest of the shit off. (He walks out)
Hannah: Will you get a condom?
Adam: I'll consider it.
She is taking off her tights awkwardly as he comes back in the room. 
Adam: Jesus fucking christ.
Hannah: This is really hard. (laughing) 
He takes off her tights, kneels behind her, opens a condom, throws the wrapper to the side, then throws the condom to the side, and then pulls her up into doggy style. 
Hannah: Is that okay? Are you putting on a a condom?
Adam: No!
Hannah: Wait. You are right?
Adam: Yes. (he isn't)
Hannah: Alright, 'cause when you said the thing about (words fall into mumbles then starts to clear up) I thought you were gonna do that...(voice gets real clear). Please don't do that. That feels awful. Thank you. Okay. Thank you. That's the right spot.
Adam: Yeah, sorry. (continuing without missing a beat).
She relaxes and just kinda impassively moves back and forth with his thrusts.
Hannah: So, I can just stay like this for a while?
Adam: Yeah.
Hannah: Do you need me to move more or like...
Adam: What?
Hannah: I just didn't know if you wanted me to be more like...that (pushed her arm out in front of her then back towards her and then back and forth that way a couple times) 
Adam: Oh. No. This is fine, You're doing great. This is all you need to do. (He's impatient and definitely concentrated on the his dick, and she's just kinda chillin' on her hands and knees).
Hannah: I'm just. I'm sorry about the wrong whole anal thing. I just don't want to do it now, I just feel like if we did, I'd just like want to talk about it and just figure out what....it's just not comfortable for me...
Adam: (cutting her off) Let's play the quiet game.
Hannah: Okay so you're not mad at me?
Adam: No, I'm great. Having a great time.
The scene cuts to another character's storyline, and when it cuts back to Hannah and Adam. They are naked sitting on the couch having a nice friendly conversion. It's kind and intimate and jokey, and then she gets up to go to a dinner party she's late for.

Let's Revisit that Scene, Shall We?
What I think this scene and this show do so well is capture the wierd, kinda fucked-up way women have found to force their sexuality into the limited existing space allowed us within the reality of our sexual expectations. It's confused and a bit nonsensical, and also it's sad and gross from an objective perspective, but doesn't often feel as sad as it probably could to the women.  Let me point out some things:

  • Hannah's clit nor orgasm had any space in this sex
  • Hannah initiated it. She also kept an open dialogue and expressed some preferences clearly. (so, in a way, she's doing all the things a modern, sex-positive woman is told to do)
  • She was pretty fun-loving and jovial most of the time. She laughed a lot, and didn't seem to have had an overall bad sex encounter - especially given the kinda intimate post-sex scene. (to me that points to an appreciation of and humor for the wierd awkwardness and intimacy of sex, and her satisfaction with that seems to me a way of making the best of the sexual situation presented her)
  • Adam didn't force her into sex, and he had a jovial - although somewhat exasperated and  Asperger-ish - feel to him (so, he's not technically, like, a rapist or anything, and there was a level of humor and play-acting that I think was clearly meant to be part of his sex persona)
  • Adam straight up ignored her clear, multiple-time ask to wear a condom (I mean that is shitty)
  • Adam tries to put his dick in her butthole without asking, but doesn't push the issue when she very clearly tells him to stop. (see, not a rapist. He tried something just in case she let him do it, but she didn't so he stopped)
  • Hannah apologizes to Adam for not being okay with Adam's unannounced entrance into her sphincter ring (because women, for some godawful reason *see: all of culture for all of time* really buy the idea that men deserve whatever they want during sex)
  • Hannah opens up dialogue about what Adam needs and wants but Adam never opens up that dialogue about what Hannah needs and wants, (Again: Hannah's doing exactly what modern sex-positive sex advice tells us to do - talk about things...but it does no good for her if it's not reciprocated)
It's all the things about sex that we progressive, feminist, sexually knowledgeable ladies would like to think we are above. We speak up about our needs and communicate effectively with our partners! We know that foreplay is important and that our needs deserve to be met as much as his! The men we pick wouldn't disrespect us! We are beyond this type of sexist tom-foolery!

Kids These Days And Their Hook-ups, Am I Right?
Okay, at this point, I want to tell you that this is not going to be a rant about how terrible hook-up culture these days is or what a problem the influence of ever-available internet porn has been on men and the way they have sex. I am going to say something much more simple.

Sex kinda sucks for all women to some degree, but the reasons it sucks are so deep in our psyche and our culture and we women are so used to how much it sucks, we don't even seem to mind, and I think this scene captures the reality of this situation beautifully. 

Seriously, do you think it's a new thing that men don't want to wear condoms and try all kinds of tactics to avoid it? ("Don't you trust me?" "My dicks too big for condoms." "It takes all the fun and feeling out of it for me - if I have to wear one, I don't even want to do it." "I'm allergic" "I'll pull out. It'll be fine." "Of course I put one on"). These are straight classic. Men have always been dicks about this.

And...is it really a recent phenomenon that men try to push the envelope about what a woman is willing to do sexually. Granted, the interest, some surveys and a quick look at porn will tell you, in anally penetrating women has gone up in the last 40 years, and so the fact that Adam's pushing of the envelope involves trying anal is kind of a contemporary twist, but that kind of pushy mentality in a sexual situation is not. And, to be clear, I'm not talking about full on rape here. I'm talking about being pushy as fuck. I'm talking about making out and the hand goes down to the panties, and when it's moved away, it tries again, and even a few more times before giving up. I'm talking about getting a blowjob and knowing that she doesn't want the jizz in the mouth, but trying to make it happen anyway. I'm talking about not wanting to have any sexual contact at all, but husband keeps rubbing up and poking the dick in her back until it's easier and faster to just let it happen than to keep trying to avoid it. It's tiring, and it turns a perfectly sexy situation into one of avoiding potentially stressful, painful, gross, or scary situations. Sometimes, like Hannah, we avoid it, but sometimes, it's easier not to make a fuss - either way it sucks, it's not sexy; and it doesn't allow a woman to focus on what she wants and needs sexually...but it happens all the time and I suspect has all through history.

Also, is it odd or new in any way AT ALL, that a man and woman had a sexual encounter that consisted of little more than intercourse (and presumably HIS, not her, orgasm)? That's the oldest story in the book. Little known fact: never has a scientific study found that stimulation inside the vagina caused an orgasm. True story. It's possible to get outer clitoral glans stimulation while fucking, but largely that doesn't happen because neither the man nor the women realize they need to do that. So, presumably like Hannah, most women do not orgasm during most sexual encounters because sexual encounters usually look much too similar to the intercourse-focused one described above.

In the end, the scene above at first glance looks a lot like a tale of caution for that crazy, porn-soaked, millennial, hook-up world we have out there these days, but actually it's just a modern take on the age-old story of how women find the best in the shitty, male-orgasm-focused, sexual culture that does not punish men for pushing more than they know their partner wants or for ignoring female sexual needs.

Girls Got That Raw Realism
Well, the thing is, and let me get back to the feel of Girls, is that I actually don't know if this scene is as self-aware about the age-old plight of women and sex as the paragraph above would indicate. I think it's more that the scene is just real as fuck. It's raw and true, and it's from a woman (maybe a generation of women) that is way more open about the gritty parts of her life than we're used to. The sex is apologetically real. It's kinda shitty and she doesn't orgasm, but she likes the awkward comedy of it and the closeness with him afterwards. That's not a thing that's new to her or this generation (read The Hite Report from 1973 - those women dealt with the same shit - or just talk to a random friend probably).

What is new is putting it all out there without smoothing the rough edges; without pretending it was actually pretty orgasmic, or pretending that the lack of lady-gasm and lack of respect the dude showed was, like, totally not something any respectable, strong women would put up with. Bull shit, I say. I mean, I get it, it feels like we women should not stand for that and that the men we love should be really thoughtful and caring and knowledgeable about our sexual wants and needs, but the truth is, women have bad sex all the time - strong women, feminist women, liberal women, married women, women with really nice partners...and honestly, we don't complain as much as you'd think.

The dirty, truly embarrassing truth is that sex sucks because we have not changed, in a deep way, the culture of lady-gasm ignorance and male privilege...but...at the same time, we ladies make the best of it. Girls, I think, captures the kinda sad, kinda nonchalant, kinda fine, kinda ridiculous rawness of this women's reality; a reality where it's not wierd at all to not even blink at the fact you just initiated sex that wasn't even close to making you orgasm; a reality where a man can do something to you that literally hurts your body and that he knows damn good and well you might not want, but yet you feel bad for not letting him do the kinda shitty thing he tried to do; a reality where you make extra effort to accommodate his needs, but he doesn't do that for you.

But Overall It's Confused...Like Real Life Girls
So there definitely is that strange sexual realism in this show that sets the feminine reality of common bad sex right in front of us and points out how little we, the world, and our partners care about women's desires and orgasm, but at the same time it's also very 'sex positive.' Masturbation is nonchalant, all variety of kinks and sexual exploration are touched upon in non-judgy ways, sexual health is advocated. It's, to me, such an on-point reflection of the status quo liberal sexual culture - still strangely in much the same place with lady-gasms as we were in the 50's but progressive in lots of other ways.

So that's the deal with Girls. It's a mixed bag. It lays bare some of the most enduring absurdities about how women navigate sex, and I love that these types of scenes are there for people to stare at face to face. I think that helps bring change, but at the same time, it's not really modelling better knowledge and behavior, so it's in some ways just reinforcing the normalcy of shit sex and shit lady-gasm knowledge. Sometimes too, Girls kinda reverts back, loses it's rawness and displays unrealistic lady-gasm scenarios. And at the same time, still, Girls had one, only one, of the most orgasm equality progressive scenes I've ever encountered - the only scene I've ever witnessed in TV or movies (porn not included) where a woman rubbed her clit to orgasm while a man was having intercourse with her.

Girls, even with it's faults, is important because it is a modern voice of women and sex - which means, unfortunately, that it speaks in dichotomies, it's confused, it's kinda sad, and in many ways it isn't saying anything much different that it did 50 years ago.

***P.S  - Of course all men aren't as asshole as Adam up there and all women aren't having as non-orgasmic, thoughtless sex as Hannah up there. BUT, just because everything isn't the worst all the time for every woman during sex, doesn't mean that there's not a HUGE problem with the expectations and norms surrounding sex and women's part in it.

3.05.2017

Playboy 2006 SSL Review - February



Why I have a stack of decade old Playboys
So, several years ago, and honestly I don't remember the exact circumstances anymore, but my parents were getting rid of some of my dad's old Playboy magazines. At the time I was probably in the early stages of this blog, so I was all like, "Hey let me take a whole year's worth, and I'll review one year of Playboy. That should be fun!" Fast forward to now. I have not reviewed any of them, but I'm sick of having this stack of Playboys cluttering my nightstand drawer I've moved with these bitches. They've lived with me for years. so I've put in the time and I'm not just going to throw them away now without SSL Reviewing them - even if I hate them cluttering up my life (I LOVE to throw things away). So the only option is to actually do what I set out to do all those years ago - SSL Review them.

Strangely, although I remember getting all 12 months of 2006, I have found I'm missing some. I either have a bad memory, a bad moving technique, or a niece or nephew that found this stash. Either way, we are missing a few months, but so be it. That is why I'm starting with February.

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 February 2006. I will review each SSL Reviewable item starting from the front of the magazine to the back.

1 An advertisement that sells you some useless penis lotion (AKA Playboy insinuates dicks give women orgasms part 1)


So this is written as if some average woman with a boyfriend having "confidence issues" (i.e. limp/small/non-lasting dick) surprisingly got the most amazing orgasmic sex of her life, snooped around to find the secret was this product, wrote the company a glowing thank-you letter, and asked them to print it - which they clearly did. T.J from Phoenix, AZ says, "He achieves harder, stronger erections, and my orgasms go through the roof!"

Okay, so firstly, this lotion in no way makes dicks harder in any way more than a placebo effect, so this ad's just some BS mumbo jumbo anyway, but I just want to point out the cultural assumption it's playing on (the cultural assumption this whole blog and this movie are here to destroy); that big, hard, long-lasting, deep-pumping cocks are the makers of lady-gasms. They are not. Seriously. The outer parts of the clit are the makers of lady-gasm, and I hate to be blunt, but we don't need no dicks for that. So, the fact that this lady's dude puts some lotion on his dick that made it more able to fuck her vagina is...something, but it's not something that would actually make her orgasm.

*To be fair, the ad does mention the clit, saying the product, "is a lotion applied topically to either the clitoris or the penis."  I appreciate teh mention, but ol' T.J. from Phoenix's clit had nothing to do with the fab orgasms's she speaks of. The truth is, if she had been talking about her orgasms going through the roof as a result of lotion on her clit instead of on his penis, it'd still be an ad full of false promises for a shitty product, but at least it would have been attributing female orgasm to the correct anatomical part. However, the ad only speaks of her orgasms in relation to his use of the product - so it's a double shitty way of reinforcing the incorrect idea that dicks make women come.

2 Centerfolds On Sex! (AKA do the damn thing, Miss January)
So, this is a little 1 page segment that has past centerfolds discussing sex. The following was from Cara Wakelin - Playmate of the Month January 1999, and frankly, I like this lady.


"You can tell how good a guy's going to be by his personality. If he's attentive and observant, that's probably how he's going to be in bed. So when he goes down on me, instead of going right for the clit, he'll kiss and touch my thighs. When I wait, things are much better. The anticipation is so much fun..."
Okay technically she didn't actually discuss female orgasm - just the clit and going down, so it's not technically eligible for SSL Review, but to me, that's worth a mention. I like her general style here. Playboy asks her about sex, and she goes right to the dude's style of eating her out.
  • Yes to her sense that she'd like some teasing and arousal - around the clit, but not quite on the clit at first. 
  • Yes to discussing that slowing things down and waiting in the arousal stage for a bit before the orgasm makes it all a bit better (at least that's what I took her statement to mean). 
  • And, yes to speaking about the clit as if it's the main course (because it is). She could have gone the status quo route of talking about a dude arousing her before going right into intercourse, but she didn't (maybe, no hopefully, because she knows that just as the penis is the main course for men, the clit is the main course for women - not the vagina hole)
Bravo Miss January 1999.... respect to you and your clit-attention-getting self. You are a Playboy centerfold, and so I hope the following for you: I hope you are still out there continuing to catch some tongue.  Keep at it, and maybe live our dreams for us from time to time. Pick up hot random dudes, have them go down on you and then say thanks but don't retaliate. Instead bask in your recent cunnilingus-induced orgasm by getting some ice cream by yourself, watching some good TV, having a nice walk or whatever it is that gives you pleasure. It's a little selfish, yes, but it's also awesome, and if you can't pull that off, none of us can.

3 Not that funny pretend poems (AKA Playboy insinuates dicks give women orgasms part 2)
This is a 2-page spread of mock poetry as if written by famous writers of the past. It's called "Love is a much rewritten thing," by Josh Robertson. It's classic Playboy humor - meaning mildly amusing.


One of them is titled "The Flight" by Sara Teasdale, and it ends like this:
"...But what if I heard my first love calling me again?
I'd hesitate, pondering. A moment would pass between us:
Dear lover, you're richer, but he has the bigger penis."
Okay, so I'd never heard Sara Teasdale's name, so I looked her up, and she was a poet in the early 1900's that died of suicide. It seems she may have married a guy for money, but divorced him and rekindled with her first love who had since gotten married and had kids. He died of suicide a couple years earlier. So, I guess the poem was a joke about her life, kind of?

Anyway, this doesn't actually specifically talk about female orgasm or masturbation, so it's also not technically eligible for SSL Review, but it does insinuate that a bigger penis is really important to women - which I would say is largely based on the cultural assumption that...you guessed it...big dicks are needed for female orgasm. Again, THEY ARE NOT, but jokes like these help keep that myth alive....and really, wouldn't it have been more shocking to say something like 'but he has the faster tongue.' I'm sure he could have found a way to rhyme with tongue.

4 Mildly amusing cartoon (AKA Playboy insinuates dicks give women orgasms part 3)
This is called Not So Different by Juan Alverez and Jorge Gomez. Like all Playboy cartoons, it sits somewhere between barely comprehensible and a slight chuckle, so this particular cartoon at mildy amusing fits in well.

Anyway, it's just a woman talking 'girl-talk' with another woman about dating 2 guys that are completely different. Why oh why date 2 guys so completely different, you ask? Because they both have big dicks of course!

I guess big dicks can ram that vag and at the same time also worm its way up to tease and grind that clit into orgasm, right? Oh they can't? They just do the same thing smaller ones do, but they're bigger and more likely to painfully jab the cervix from time to time?  Oh.

Dear world,
We don't care. Big dicks are kinda fun and pretty to look at and they don't fall out of us as much during intercourse when we change position, but get a fucking clue and focus on our clits. It's a bit up from the place your big dick is ramming.
Love, females.



5 Nuns, am I right? (AKA Playboy insinuates dicks/dildos give women orgasms part 4).

This is a nun giving another nun a dildo. She calls it St. Peter. It's mild humor. I get it.

Let me just say, I'm pretty sure nuns know how to masturbate, and it's not by ramming something up the junk. The clit is not that hard to find, and all you need is a hand or maybe a pillow to rub against, and nuns have all those things. You know though, maybe some nuns wouldn't mind spicing it up and pushing up on a dildo while they play the clitar. I can see that. Or better yet, maybe it's a vibrating dildo and she can use it, badly shaped for the job as it is, on the clit. That makes sense too.


From Playboy Feb. 2006 pg.122


6 Do you actually know what women do with vibrators? (AKA Playboy insinuates dicks/something inside the lady-junk give women orgasms part 5).

So a woman goes into a gyno. He tells her there's a vibrator in there, and he'll get it out. She says, "Oh no! I don't want you to remove it! I just want you to change the batteries!"

Okay, I'm not saying women don't put vibrators up our hoo hoos and butts. We do, for sure, I mean some of us do. But it's like an accoutrement; like a tweak to the nipples while you're wanking. It just gives some spice...I mean it can be really good spice because enough vibrating anywhere down there can spread to other close parts. It's nice, but it's still not stimulation at our organ of sexual pleasure - the clit. It's like a dude with a vibrator taped to his taint - nice, but still not on the penis. (and to be clear: the new popular idea that stimulation inside the vagina can transfer to the inner clitoral legs which can cause orgasm is a fun idea, but there is no scientific evidence that this has ever actually happened....ever. The parts of the clit that can be reached from the outside is where it's at for orgasm)

Meaty Myths from Playboy Feb. 2006


Anyway, it's just humor, and I fully understand it's not that deep, but this kind of humor really does reinforce incorrect ideas about how women's bodies work when it comes to orgasms. And the truth is, humor might seem like just humor, but the underlying meanings in humor are meanings that stick with us deep in our bones.

The Vulva Rating
Seriously, though...reading this Playboy makes me feel like guys are obsessed with the idea that women are obsessed with penises. I mean yes, some of us like them plenty, but we lose interest real quick when the attachments to the penis ignore the clit - the one part of our body that we use to orgasm...and they often do ignore it, so in reality, we often aren't that interested #RealTalk

Anyway, the 5 instances where it was insinuated ladies orgasms are jones'n for some phallus ramming  in the vag were both anatomically incorrect and problematic in that it ignores the clit, the only organ as important to female orgasm as the penis is to male orgasm. If it weren't for Cara Wakelin and her excellent discussion of how she likes her clit approached, this would be 1 vuvla rated magazine (it keeps one star because all those insinuations are indeed bad, but they are also quite the status quo). So thanks Cara, 2 vulvas it is.
(!)(!)

3.02.2017

A List and Mac n' Cheese



Umm, okay. I need to get a post up today. I'm already behind my self-imposed blogging schedule. I have some things in the works...for instance...a bunch of 2006 Playboy issues that I'm SSL Reviewing; a shit ton of SSL Reviews from Girls, Chewing Gum, Inside Amy Schumer, The Young Pope, Bob's Burgers, and many many more; a letter to the ladies in my life; discussion of the most seriously bad assest of books Technology of Orgasm by Rachel P. Maines. Anyway, those are in the works, but I can't finish any of them in the 1 hour 45 minutes left in today.

So here I am, starving to death because I went straight to work to a middle school talent show to see my nephew kick ass with his electric guitar (and I saw so, so much other a-mazing shit. It was sooooo worth the trip) and am now watching Charlie make a smoked sausage and macaroni and cheese combo that would be done now if he hadn't been talking too much and put in 1 cup of milk instead of 1/4 cup and now is trying to burn off the excess liquid. I'm starving.

Thus, I'm going to give you a quick list of things I haven't yet written about, but are pretty Orgasm Equality friendly and also worth your time.

Chewing Gum -  It's a British TV show on Netflix, and it's pretty fucking awesome. If you are American, it might take you a minute to understand their language, but you'll get there, and it will be worth it.

2 20th Century Women  - This movie is good, AND has some of the boldest orgasm equality, clit-motha-fuckin-centric dialogue I've ever seen.

3 The Young Pope - It's an HBO series with Jude Law. I get it if it's not your style, but I was into it. Also, bestest surprise real-talk female orgasm religious dialogue in all of history.

4 The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction - If you can get through some fairly technical writing about history, read this book. It is the best and most on point thing I have ever seen about female orgasm through history. (The 2011 movie Hysteria was kinda based on this book, but please do not compare at all. I gave that damn movie a negative 1 vulva rating - the very worst SSL Review of all SSL Reviews...the book and that movie are not comparable).




And my dinner is done. I'm going to eat it.