Amy Schumer SNL S48 Ep5 - The SSL Review

SNL S48 Ep 4 Amy Schumer 
We all know Saturday Night Live, right? I hadn't seen it for a while because it used to be on Hulu, and then it disappeared, but I have access to Peacock now, so I'm checking it out again. As one might expect the one with Amy Schumer as host has a little lady-bation in it, so an SSL Review was needed.

An SSL Review (for those that don't know about them)
Only depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or female masturbation and/or the clit and/or cunnilingus are eligible for SSL Review. Nothing else counts, including plain 'ol sex if it doesn't include anything listed above. I specifically 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?) 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).

The Watcher (wherein Amy plays a mother that masturbates to Property Brothers)
I'll give you a quick rundown of the lady-bation stuff in this skit, and then give a quick assessment and vulva rating.

This skit is called, "The Watcher," and basically a family (mom, dad, teen son, teen daughter) get a letter from someone claiming to watch them. He describes things they each do in the house, and they all get freaked out. Things people are doing are basic things, but when it talks about the mom, it's stuff she acts like she doesn't do; like eat a whole 2nd dinner after everyone's asleep like a greedy, panicked raccoon. Then it describes what she does as soon as her husband goes out for his morning run.
"She gets a snack, turns on the TV and pleasures herself...to the Property Brothers"
We see her reclining on the couch from afar. She reaches down inside the front of her pants, and then the shot move in to her from the chest up. She's putting a chip in her mouth with one hand and aggressively moving her hand in small circles on what one can only assume is her clit/vulva area. She look wild.

The letter eventually begins talking about the mother having trouble in the bathroom and giving herself pep talks to get herself to poop.
"She gets so frustrated, she'll go downstairs and blow off some steam with one of Property Brothers. Why is she so aroused by that show? Is it the brothers...or the property?"
We see her on the couch again with a shot from the shoulders up, and her head's leaned back and eyes closed. She almost looks in pain, but then we hear a slight gravelly "ahhh" as she's breathing out, and then she tilts her head down in a kind of relief with an 'oooo', seemingly like she came.

It cut back to the family reading the letter, and the son has the remote and is pointing to the TV. He says,
"Oh my god! Mom, someone downloaded every episode of Property Brothers!"
The mom says, "What?!" as if it wasn't her and The Looker is like trying to frame her or something.

Then the daughter goes up to the TV and says, 
"And only watched 5 minutes of each one!" 
as we see shots of episodes with minutes watched like 5:01 and 4:48.

The creeped out family decided that they should stay at a hotel, but the mom volunteers to stay behind. We see her back on the couch watching Property Brothers, and she says, 
"If you're watching, it's the property I'm into, not the brothers."
 As she's saying this, we see her from afar on the couch in the same way, but this time she's pantless with her legs wide open and a big blur over her vulva. The shot moves to a close of her face. We hear a click and a buzzing sound and then she gets a goofy, cross-eyed, happy look on her face. 

I'm into it
I mean, I am definitely into this. It's a goofy skit, and the things the mom does that The Looker sees are personal, kind of embarrassing things, so it's not like this was a shining light of acceptance and joy regarding masturbation, but it also wasn't like humiliating or shameful. It was just like a dumb joke. It's a skit that probably any other time would have been written about a dad and his masturbation habits. So, to me, this skit is just normalizing ladies masturbating through humor, and I'm into. It also insinuated a vibrator, and I'm very into normalizing that. 

Oh - and she clearly masturbates from zero to come in about 5 minutes, and I love that. It's normalizing the idea that women can masturbates as quickly, easily, and reliably as men...because they can - in surveys and in actual lab studies that actually measure and observe physical orgasm. There's an strong idea out there that it takes women longer to come, but that's not true. It just seems true because so much of the time women are not just getting banged, and their vagina is getting stimulation instead of their actual pleasure organ - the clitoris (in the glans vulva area specifically - you know, where the clit nerves are). 

Vulva Rating
I'm gonna say this isn't a progressive take on masturbation acceptance, but it is something a bunch of 8 year old girls staying up too late on a Saturday night will see before they even reach puberty, and that is progress. They will see a woman masturbating on regular old TV and their whole life they will know that is a thing, and that's progress. That is not something most of us had available to us, so I'm gonna say fuck yeah to that. I'll give this a full 5 out of 5 vulvas.


Girls Seasons 1-6 SSL Review - The Cunnilingus Scenes

Girls SSL Review - Cunni-motherF'n-lingus
I watched Girls a few years ago and took notes on the SSL Reviewable scenes, but I just didn't do anything with them. I was kind of overwhelmed about how to do them. I was planning to write about all the SSL scenes for the series in groups by category (instead of by episode or episode group), but I just didn't. Then I got the chance to re-watch the series recently while I was doing other shit, and I was able to refine my descriptions of the scenes in question. It also allowed me to kind of think about the sex and sexuality and orgasms in the series from a wider perspective, which helped me understand a bit better how I'd like to write these SSL Reviews, and I'm starting with the eating out scenes.

What is a SSL Review? - The Basics (skip if you already know)
Only depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or female masturbation/cunnilingus and/or the clit are eligible for SSL Review. Nothing else counts, including plain 'ol sex if it doesn't include anything listed above. I specifically 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?) 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).

The General Sense of Eating Out In This Series
I'm going for the vibe...the feel...this time in these categories of SSL Reviewable scenes, because I think it's more important for this series than the one scene at a time details I usually do. I started the Girls posts in the old way, but only because Season1 Episode2 scenes struck me as a microcosm of the whole series and I wanted to dig into it a little - if you wanna check that one out. I also did a general feel post of the series way back when I first watched it. 

The thing I find interesting about this show is that: 

1. a lot of young women watched this, and with all the sex in it, it's influential media and thus important, I think. 

2. It's got a rawness and strange realness when it comes to bodies and sexual experiences. Granted the experiences depicted are in no way everyone's experience, but they are experiences that exists and that aren't usually dwelled on in this casual way in media....and to be honest, I think there are core elements of these experiences that are a lot more universal that we'd like to admit. 

And, 3. Girls as a whole really, and I think intentionally, does well at giving a sense of what sex is like for these characters, these girls, at this time in their lives. It's a truly mixed bag, some loveliness, and bravado, and hope, and confusion, and a whole lot of kinda fucked-up, and I don't think, if you step back and consider sexual culture for women as a whole, it feels that off-base - even though it's pretty intensely messed up at times...and I think that's incredibly interesting and telling.  

So, this post focuses on oral sex and how it fits in the lives of the characters based on how it was depicted. I'll give you the overview and then more details about each scene will be below for reference.

Here's my hot take. Cunnilingus is just not that common in their sexual interaction with men. It's WAY, WAY more outnumbered by simply getting fucked with no lady-gasm (but definitely a dude-gasm) associated. That's the 100%, for sure, #1 type of sexual interaction in this show by far. On the contrary licking lady junk is not at all common, and it's sex with a woman - not a man where it tends to happens. In fact, it's depicted often as surprising when a dude does do it.  

I'd like to say this is BS and unrealistic, but this doesn't feel that strange. It's pretty consistent with the idea of the Oral Sex Gap. The data on that largely originated from one study, but the idea that there is way more giving going on than receiving seemed to resonate with some - particularly in casual sex; and the orgasm gap, which is statistically found in many more than 1 study, also resonates (these articles are pretty good HERE and HERE about the issue of consensual, but shitty sex that I think Girls puts in full, unblinking view). Point is, I think pussy eating in this series isn't prominent because as much as we'd like to think otherwise, it seems not to actually be as prevalent as it should be in the single sexual life of liberal, city-dwelling millennials (or any other generation living anywhere and with any political stance, really). 

The rundown is this. Marnie gets ate out twice. The first time it's with a boyfriend she's dated for 6 years, but then breaks up with, and they get back together. She's super surprised at how good he is at it. Which, ya know, kinda indicates that in the their long 6 years of relationship, this was not something that was a common and/or super pleasurable part of their sex. Later in the series Marnie is eaten out by a casual, but regular, hook-up guy, and we just see him go down and her face seeming to really enjoy it. This is really the only uncomplicated, hetero cunnilingus scene in the whole series. The other 2 scenes are Jessa and then later Hannah going down on a woman they met at, I guess you could call them both certain types of retreats. They were both one-night stands, really. The final scene was just a dude on a one-night stand telling Shoshanna, "I like to eat pussy too. I know it seems really weird, but I do." She is trying to lose her virginity - which means to her (and unfortunately is also the most standard cultural definition) getting a dick in her vagina, so she's not into it, and there ends up being no pussy eating. 

All in all, no character is depicted getting her pussy eaten in a 1 night stand (and many are depicted getting banged).  Only 1 character gets any pussy eating at all, and it's only twice. One time in which it's indicated this is uncommon for their 6-year relationship. Half of the pussy eating scenes are lesbian encounters, and the only significant discussion of cunnilingus is a dude saying he likes it and knows it's weird to like it. There is ton of intercourse in this show and all the women characters are shown having it a number of times, so that 3 of the 4 main characters aren't shown getting ate out at all, is a marked absence. 

The Vulva Rating
A vulva rating on these Girls scenes are hard. On one hand the lack of actual physical actions that could realistically cause female orgasm is not great. It normalizes the basic hetero sexual script of intercourse and dude-gasm as the main (and often only course) in a sexual encounter. It reinforces these sexual expectations that make the physical act easily orgasmic for penises and barely if at all orgasmic for vulvas and vaginas. 

On the other hand, it depicts a sort of gritty, realism in the way sex plays out for these characters, and I have an appreciation for that because telling the truth is always important, and the truth often looks, quite rightly, shitty in this show. On the other other hand, even though the truth is shitty and should be seen, continuing to show hetero sex acts that are not inclusive of realistic female orgasm simply piles on the already large problem of our culture's normalization and expectations of male-gasm-centric sex, and that's not progressive. I can't give a good vulva rating for that even if I do have a strong appreciation for it and an understanding that laying the truth out in the light of day is an important part of creating real change. To get a great vulva rating, I want to see depictions of lady-gasms from sexual acts that one could sensibly assume would physically cause an orgasm in a female...AND I would love for it to feel normalized and contribute to the culture of sexuality as something people could/should expect of a sexual encounter. 

So, all that to say this is getting a low vulva rating because of the lack of cunnilingus depicted in hetero relationships, and especially hetero hook-ups, but not the lowest because the truth in these sexual scenes resonate. I will give this 2 vulvas out of 5.


The Scenes In More Detail

Season 1 Episode 4 - It's weird, though, right?
Shoshanna is about to have a one-night stand with a dude. She's trying to lose her virginity and is trying to get him to have intercourse with her specifically. She, and sadly ya know all of our culture, sees losing her virginity as getting a penis in her vagina, so she's in a hurry to get this done. They are making out and talking about it, and he says, "And I like to eat pussy too. I know it seems really weird, but I do." She seems freaked out by that - maybe because she's weird about sexual things and oral seems more freaky or maybe just because she just wants to lose her virginity and be done. So, she just asks if he wants to have sex. Things happen after that, but there is no cunnilingus or discussion of it again.

Season 2 Episode 10 - Wait!? What did you learn when we were broken up?
Marni and Charlie were dating for 6 year. They broke up, but recently got back together, and the show cuts to a scene of him eating her out. She's on her back, and he's facing her down between her legs - a classic position. She says it feels so good and asks him seriously how he got so good at that and how many women he's been with since they've been apart. By her face and her movements, it clearly is feeling real good to her. He tells he's not going to do this with her and tells her to relax. She obliges and lays back. The scene cuts just after that and before any orgasm, but the insinuation is it's going in that direction.

Season 3 Episode 1 - Rehab treat
Jessa is in rehab, and well, basically she hooks up with this woman. We see Jessa eating her out. The woman laying on her back and Jessa is laying with the face in between her legs, and her legs out towards the bed - again - a pretty classic position. The woman is moaning. It's loud but not too porny, and it's working up to, but not an orgasm yet. It's maybe a bit exaggerated, but I think that's because this is this woman's first lesbian sexual experience, and she's been closeted for her whole life. All in all it seems authentically like it could bring her to orgasm if the scene didn't cut.  

Season 4 Episode 3 - Going Down
A casual but regular guy sex partner is eating out Marnie. It's a quick scene, and it's above the waist, but there's certainly a mouth on the vulva, and she's clearly enjoying it and aroused. There is no orgasm by the time the scene ends, but the insinuation is that they are on their way to it.

Season 5 Episode 4 - The hottest oral sex
So, for reasons, Hannah ends up eating a woman out in a sauna. Hannah is not experienced with giving cunnilingus, but this woman clearly seems to be an old-timer at this receiving of it and likely giving too. The lady is very into it and aroused, but Hannah is getting way too hot (literally temperature-wise) and stops. The woman really wants to orgasm, and tries to get Hannah to do it for just like 30 more seconds. She even tries pushing Hannah's head down, but Hannah slips away and gets up. The woman rubs off in about 10 seconds and comes loudly...and then cries.


Match - The SSL Review

Match - The Movie
So, I wouldn't blame you if you hadn't seen this move. It was pretty independent and low budget, and it's based on a play, so it's one of those movies that were obviously a play because it has like 2 sets and a lot of dialogue. 

All that said, I was into it. And, it's not just that it stars Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise, who I've had a heavy crush on since the 80's when I started watching him and Data and all the fab starship crew. It helped, obviously, but I actually think Patrick Stewart usually for real brings it to a role. Anyway, I liked the movie, and he said one thing in it that makes it SSL Reviewable. It's super simple and barely SSL Reviewable, but I just wanted to write about my Jean-Luc saying something I would like to think he actually says in real life. Also, somewhat recently Patrick Stewart married a brunette white lady, who is not famous and my age, so I feel like I missed out on my true path somehow. 

An SSL Review (for those that don't know about them)
Only depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or female masturbation and/or the clit are eligible for SSL Review. Nothing else counts, including plain 'ol sex if it doesn't include anything listed above. I specifically 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?) 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).
Eat ME Out, Captain
So, I won't give away anything about the plot of the movie, because I don't want to spoil anything. It's that kind of movie. What I can tell you is the my Jean-Luc plays Tobi, a high-end ballet teacher at Julliard that back in the day used to live the good dancer life. He tells some stories of the old days, and in one he says:

Tobi Powell: God, I used to love to perform cunnilingus. Sorry, too much information. 
Lisa Davis: Uh... no. 
Tobi Powell: I was actually quite good at it. A little like the slip stitch knitting that I would later take up, over and under... mark thumb placement in the gap between needles, [both laughing a little] 
Tobi Powell: break yarn, thread tail, draw up, fasten off...I've offended you. 
Lisa Davis: No, uh... just catches me a bit off guard. 
Tobi Powell: Well, most good cunnilingus conversations do.

I mean, I'm gonna give this a good vulva rating - not the very best, but good. It wasn't like anything super amazing was said here. It wasn't like there was an incredibly progressive discussion about how banging a vagina was not a good or even slightly sensible way to get a lady-gasm. It was just a dude talking about how he enjoys eating out pussy, but ya know what? We could use more of that, so I will celebrate it a little. I do believe each year the idea that pussies (or if you want to call them by their proper name, Vulvas) should be eaten as much as dicks are sucked, grows the tiniest bit, but we still have a long, long way to go. The Oral Sex Gap is sadly very much still alive and well, and certainly a no small part in the overall Orgasm Equality Gap. 

The more we hear people in the media say they like cunnilingus; the more we hear women saying they masturbate; the more we see the clit being rubbed out or a vibe used on the vulva during a fuck; the more we hear a woman say she expects her clit to be as involved in the sex act as much as the penis is, the more normalized all those things will be, and that's a big part of what's needed if we ever want lady-gasms to be as prominent in sex as dude-gasms. 

So, thank you Jean-Luc. I'm going to masturbate tonight to you cunnilingussing me. 4 out of 5 vulvas from me.



Girls S1E2 - The SSL Review

Reviewing Girls
I put up a post about the overview of the entire Girls series in 2017 - 6 years ago. I just reread it, and I liked it. It did present the feel in that show of female sexuality and orgasm pretty well as I remember it  - a mixed bag of old-timey and contemporary notions and experiences with sex; where the women are overly accommodating yet straightforward, invested yet taking things as they come with a lightness and humor, enjoying it yet having a pretty shitty time. It feels very raw and real in a certain way, and I appreciate it, even if I'm not so sure this complicated relationship to sex is particularly thoughtful and intentional. I suspect it's more likely just written from earnest experiences and it comes off this way because real women are existing in this plane and writing from that point of view. You can give it a read. It's a good starter to these Girls SSL Reviews that I'm finally doing. 

My plan is to do these reviews in categories based on the series as a whole. Like, I'll have a post about all the masturbation scenes and then all the scenes where a girl gets fucked and just doesn't come, and then another where a girl gets banged and "orgasms." However, the sex scenes in S1 E2 spoke to me a bit. It feels to me like they need to be discussed together as their own thing because, well basically, I see them as two sides of the same coin. Women not caring about their own desire and orgasm; men not thinking about anyone but themselves.

There are 2 scenes. The first is with Hannah and Adam - not even really dating - just some hook-ups. Hannah is desperate to please him. Adam is aggressive, says disgusting shit, does whatever he wants. The second is Marnie and Charlie. They are 23 and been dating 4 years. Marnie seems over him. Charlie is gentle, says loving shit, and does things he thinks will please her. What the two men have in common is that neither notice how completely unaroused the woman they're fucking are...and it's pretty obvious. The thing the two girls have in common is that neither has brought their physical sexual desires into the bed. 

SSL Review basic (skip if you already know)
Only depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or female masturbation and/or the clit are eligible for SSL Review. Nothing else counts, including plain 'ol sex if it doesn't include anything listed above. I specifically 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?) 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).

The Scenes!
Let me explain each scene quickly, and then I'll give the big overview. It'll be very exciting. 

Hannah and Adam
They're on his bed. Adam's pounding her, missionary with her legs pushed up against her stomach. He's way into it and saying all kinds of gross shit. She's in no way aroused and just kind of talking back to him in a very casual way.  He's telling her he found her in the street. She was 11 with a Cabbage Patch lunch box, and he's going to send her back to her parents covered in cum. At first she's slightly confused but nonchalant as he's saying this stuff, but then she starts to catch on that he's role-playing and starts to play along. She's doing that in a way that is not her getting aroused by it, but her understanding what she is supposed to do in the situation and doing it. He flips her around a bit, then pulls out and asks where he should come. She's incredibly nonchalant and still not at all horny in this situation too, and he starts wanking to come on her tits. He's like crazy aroused, and she is absolutely not. He tells her to touch herself. She asks where, and he tells her she knows where. To that, she says that honestly it's a little hard from that angle. He drops it and is continuing to say dirty shit. He goes into telling her she needs to ask his permission to come, and if she even thinks she might come she has to call him. She just says, "you want me to call you?" Then he puts his hand on her cheek and presses her face sideways on the pillow, comes, and rolls off.

She says, "That was really good. That was so good. I almost came." He doesn't care. He just asks if she wants a Gatorade.

Marnie and Charlie
They are on her bed in her and Hannah's shared apartment, in the same position as Hannah and Adam when their scene started. She is also very much not into it, and he very much is, but he's not pounding. He's slow stroking, but not grindy. He's saying sweet things like asking her to look at him so they can look into each other's eyes when they come. First, she's nowhere close to even thinking about coming, and also she's clearly annoyed and looking to the side. She tells him she wants to turn around and do doggy. They talk about how he thought she hated doggy, and then he gets inside her and starts going on and on about how good it feels and how he's going to have to go slow. She clearly just wants him to finish the fuck up so they can be done.

Later we see them arguing in the living room as he's about to leave. He's telling her he doesn't even know how to make love to her anymore. She's annoyed by that and tells him he should just do what you want and go on with his day because that's what guys do. He's annoyed by that. He tells her it's crazy, and asks her if he should just be some dumb abusive sex dude. 
Then Hanna gets home and the two gals have a conversation where Marnie tells Hannah that Charlie is too busy respecting her and just looks past her. Hannah points out they've been together 4 years, and it's probably normal if she's just bored. That annoys Marnie in its simplicity, but Hannah holds her ground and says she doesn't buy that Marnie's problem is that she has too good of a boyfriend. Then Hannah tells Marnie that Adam's still on with the gross stuff; the hooker stuff, daddy stuff, a platter of 'stuff'.' Clearly it's a thing they'd previously discussed as gross. Marnie is appalled and tells Hannah that Adam can't do that to her - he's not her boyfriend.  

The Discussion
First, in neither of those sex situation was there anything even slightly involving the clit. There were no hands, no vibrators, not rubbing the pelvis against bodies or bedding. For these ladies, there was just a penis moving in and out of a vagina. That does not an lady-gasm make. Contrary to popular belief, the stimulation of the inside of the vagina has never been shown to cause an orgasm in all of scientific literature (For Real). For the vagina-haver, that is. A penis rubbing into a vagina, on the other hand, has many a time shown been shown to cause orgasm in scientific literature for the penis-haver. That is also true for stimulation around the vulva/clit area. Many a time has that brought about observable, physical orgasm response.

 All that to say that the sex these 2 girls were having might seem different, but they're not. They are both doing what so many a lady have done for ages - having intercourse and not orgasming. It's the most basic it can get. The talking and the style of the two dudes is kind of irrelevant because either way, their partner's bodies are in no way getting the kind of orgasmic stimulation that their own bodies are. And, yeah, one might be saying gross things and one sweet things, but neither of them are looking at their partner and acknowledging what a very, very different experience their lady is having. Both of the dudes, in the end, are authentically and understandably getting incredibly physically aroused by their penis being simulated by a vagina and then, very incorrectly, assuming their partner is feeling similarly. 

Both the women are having sex with a person in a completely unaroused state and are doing their very best to ensure that their partner orgasms while having absolutely no expectation or intention to come themselves. Even Marnie, through her annoyance, is determined to get him off. She absolutely doesn't even want to be there at all. She is annoyed as hell with him, but she doesn't have any intention to stop until he comes. Granted she wants it done fast, but she is letting him use her unaroused body to come, like it's his right or something - just as Hannah is. 

I like these 2 scenes juxtaposed because I see it as examples of how big a part non-physical things become in a sexual relationship when the physical parts are not in the equation. I mean, this must be how Marnie and Charlie have done it for years, right? He seems like he's confused about why her attitude suddenly changed. He says he doesn't know how to make love to her anymore as if he's doing the same thing, and she has changed her attitude about it. He's confused, and she might be to some degree too, but I'm not. It's the oldest story in the book. I highly suspect she never or rarely came while they were making love for the past 4 years, but she was enamored with him - just like Hannah is with Adam right now. We're so fucked up and confused about sex and lady-gasms in this world that she probably just thought that's how things were. That's what sex is like, and she focused on the love and closeness and all that jazz, but when those things drop out, the sex is just a piece of a body poking inside her body. It's not arousing. Charlie, on the other hand, had always come, so even if the feelings leave, at least the orgasm is left. 

Marnie and Charlie have likely been experiencing sex completely differently for the last 4 years, but don't really realize it. The same is true for Hannah. She's the same as Marnie, but early in the relationship and willing to put ups with just really bothersome shit because she likes that he is engaged with her when they fuck. I feel like the extreme sweetness from the long-term relationship and extreme grossness from the new relationship really drives that point home.  

These two scenes feel very real. Like these are situations, give or take some elements and extremeness, that many a woman or her friend have gone through, and don't ya just know, we can, as always, thank a male-gasm centered sexual culture that has very little realistic room for clitoral stimulation and thus very little room for female orgasm. 

Vulva Rating
I have to say, because these scenes struck me as speaking, in their juxtaposition, about the plight of a female sexuality devoid of orgasm across the timeline of a relationship, I'm feeling generous with the Vulva Rating. It feels poignant to me. It's also realistic in its lack of orgasm depictions, because there were simply not physical things happening to these women that could realistically be said to cause a lady-gasm. I, obviously, appreciate that...and further - I appreciate that the lack of orgasm wasn't sort of hidden. It was really obvious neither of these women were even aroused. There was no ambiguity there. 
On the other hand, my hot take on this is a bit in the weeds here. I think it'd be easy for someone to just watch this and see two gross/funny/strange sex scenes. In the end they are in some ways like most sex scenes out there - a woman getting banged. So, it's not really progressive in that it's not modelling better, more lady-gasm friendly ways to go about sexual interactions, and we desperately need scenes like that to make clit-focused sexual interactions seem more mainstream and expected. So, I can't give it a full 5 vulvas, but it gets a super respectable 4 out of 5 vulvas.



Firefly Lane Season 2 - The SSL Review

Firefly Lane - Season 2
I SSL Reviewed the first season of this show, and it only got 1out of 5 vulvas. One of the characters on here is a classic Samantha from Sex in the City archetype; a woman that is touted as being uber-sexual and confident by simply being REALLY into the types of sexual interactions that are realistically orgasmic for males but not females. It's kind of a pretend (but not uncommon) idea of a strong female sexuality. Tully in this show is that - HERE's the S1 Review. This is a Netflix show recommended me by my BBF. We've been friends since about the 2nd grade, and this show is about childhood BFFs as they move through life. It's originally a book, I think. I'm always looking for shows to have on while I'm doing stuff. They keep my interest but not too much; a little bit drama, a little bit sappy, occasionally genuinely sweet. This show meets the requirements. I actually burned through this season 2 while I was cleaning, and it was pretty much exactly what I wanted. This season has less SSL-reviewable moments, but don't worry, they're still pretty bad.  

As I often say, just because women are involved in the making of something about female orgasm, doesn't mean you should expect it to be more sensible or anatomically accurate than something made by dudes. The sad truth is we're all largely miseducated and confused. I mean, Romance Novels are written largely by women, and although there's some with very sensible lady-gasm scenes, there are also tons of wildly inaccurate ones - often hilarious, but completely unrealistic and sometimes straight up bonkers.  

An SSL Review (for those that don't know about them)
Only depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or female masturbation and/or the clit are eligible for SSL Review. Nothing else counts, including plain 'ol sex if it doesn't include anything listed above. I specifically 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?) 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).
Office Closet Bang - The Basics - 1st scene
I'll cut straight to the chase. There's a scene where Tully gets banged in an office closet. It's quick. You see them making out and then she's sat on a shelf, facing the dude (we'll call him 'Dude'). He's facing her with her legs straddling him. They seemingly start the intercourse. He really bangs her, and then they both seem to come at the same time. There's no hands or vibrators down there near her clit area. Her pelvis isn't grinding up against him. It's just straight bangin'...just a penis stimulating the inside of her vagina (which is absolutely not something one should realistically expect to cause orgasm - for real) They finish, and it was clearly amazing for both of them. HOWEVER, if we throw in the reality of female anatomy, and what is actually known about how females orgasm in the scientific studies over the last...oh, say, forever years, then it's incredibly unrealistic that the action we saw would actually get Tully off. That ol' Dude got off, however, is completely in line with scientific, anatomical, and real-life experience understanding of how a male body might orgasm.

As is often the case this very common and basic scene just reinforces the very incorrect assumption that ladies should just come from getting banged...or maybe even more damaging - that certain (special) women can just come from a penis stimulating their vaginal barrel because, well, their lady junk is somehow different than others or they are cooler or more relaxed/sexual/confident or something like that. It's not an assumption has a base in reality, but it is a super common assumption and one that haunts many a person as they navigate their sex life. Scenes like these keep that alive and well.

Sometimes A Girl Just Likes To Get Banged - 2nd scene
This is a line Tully says to her BFF Kate...and Kate agrees. I find this scene incredibly troubling. Basically, Kate is talking about her boyfriend - a guy we know she will not end up with because we already know who that guy is. Kate's saying how nice and perfect he is. Tully starts calling bullshit because she's too syrupy. I actually like that part - she was absolutely too syrupy and bullshit should have been called, but Tully makes an assumption and starts questioning the sex in their relationship. Basically Kate says he's great and attentive, and sensitive, but eventually, against Tully's continued skepticism, agrees with Tully when she says, "but sometimes a girl just likes to get banged." In fact, clearly it's a bother to Kate that this dude doesn't just ram the shit out of her. 

Okay, so I get that getting and certainly giving a hardcore bangfest can be fun, crazy/wild, arousing, and lots of other things, but for all the reasons I talked about above, it's very, very, likely not orgasmic - women are already not coming nearly as much as we could/should. So, yeah, maybe Kate wants a good banging. I'm not against a bang or someone wanting a bang. We already know Tully loves a bang. But, I am against glorifying the already overly glorified bang by throwing under the bus the very attitude from a man that could realistically create lady-gasm inducing sexual situations. So, this scene hits a nerve for me. It strongly insinuates that a man who is attentive to a woman's sexual needs and is thoughtful and sensitive is lame in bed, and what women really want is a dude that fucks her brains out. It's egregious to me because this isn't some hot take that only women could give about what women want with sex. It's not a funny, interesting tidbit between close women friends about the no-hold-barred reality of what sex is like for the ladies. It's just the basic cultural story we're told about what sex should be like, but spit back out thorugh the mouths of lady friends. And the gross part is that this cultural story is the very age-old cultural story that keep vaginal intercourse as the be-all-end-all of sex and thus keeps the female orgasm largely out of sexual encounters. 

Listen, if Kate were a real person that said this, and not a TV character, I'd put insane amounts of money down that she'd be changing her tune down the road. After a few years of getting banged by the same dude over and over, of largely not orgasming when she has sex, of still being aroused after he comes and not getting the physical relief of an orgasm, of watching her dude orgasm almost every single time while she doesn't so much, of naturally losing all the excitement that comes with a new person/new sex/ new love that made orgasmless sex seem so exciting...I mean you know that other cultural story we often hear about where women stop wanting to have sex after they get married? It comes from some place, and I venture to say that place is a sex life full of lady-gasmless banging that over time lost the excitement/newness/arousal that it had at the beginning and slowly makes sexual encounters less desirable for her but fairly similar to him and his orgasm-full sex life. I think this is incredibly common - and sadly neither party truly understands why. 

Anyway, this scene just that shitty cultural story deeper into our collective conscious and makes it seem like it's a story women want and need in our lives, when it's quite the opposite. 

The Vulva Rating
For all the reasons above, and because I just really hate that "sometimes a girl just likes to get banged" scene so much, especially because this should be more of a lady-centric show, and is in other ways, I give this season 0 vulvas out of 5.


5 Movies Related to Friendship #DirectedbyWomen

I have never let this blog go so long between posts. 2 1/2 months is too long. I mean, obviously my ideal is to write a lot, and I'll get back to it. I've been consciously focusing on other stuff, but I'm feeling more available lately,. Baby steps, though. Right now, it's late on a Thursday, and I'm watching The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. I earlier walked to the store and got some Cheez Wiz and Triscuits, which I'm eating and it's great. I also got a box of strawberry cake and strawberry icing. I just pulled the cake out of the oven and am waiting to ice it. I like to add a little sugar sprinkles to give it a bit of a crunch. Anyway, I thought I could get a quick 5-movies-by-lady-directors list up, and since I'm watching one about friendship, I figured I could do the list with that theme. So here ya go. Enjoys.

A Little History of These Lists
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, here friends, are 5 great lady-directed movies that touch on motherhood.

The Movies

1 The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood was directed by Callie Khouri. I think that I saw this back when it came out in 2002. It seems kinda familiar as I'm watching it right now, but not completely.  I read the book back then, so I'm not sure if it was just that making it seem familiar. Anyway, my mom had read it - maybe for a book club - and recommended it to me. I might have actually listened to it on tape. I had a long commute to college and work back then, and I would often get books on cassette tape from the library. Anyway, I enjoyed it. I say if you want to watch a fluffy and dramedy about rich old southern women that have been friends since childhood, it's a good bet. 

2 Girlfriends - This was directed by Claudia Weill. I actually just saw this movie today as well. It just popped up when I was searching on the HBO streaming app. It's from 1978, and I thought it was a pretty solid movie - especially as 70's indie movies go. I almost wondered if the movie Frances Ha had been influenced by it. The director, doesn't look like she did much except for an after school special after it, which sucks because I would definitely watch another movie from this write/director. It's for sure about friends. 

3 Attenberg - This was directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari. I caught this a few years ago streaming. It's a Greek movie, and the friendship between 2 young women is a huge part of it. It's strange, and sweet, and sad, and I think it's well worth a watch. I'm just now thinking I should probably check out another of this women's movies.

4 Troop Zero - This was directed by the directing team Bert and Bertie. This was a sweet, fun ol' movie about a bunch of kids forming a Girl Scout style troop. It's a good watch if you haven't seen it. I think it was a pandemic watch for me.

5 Babysitter (2022) - This was directed by Monia Chokri. I'm telling you what. I just happened upon this movie, not thinking it'd be much, but I was wrong. It was weird as fuck, and I was into it. I'll let you make your own decisions, but I'd watch whatever this women makes. I can also say it's at least a little about friendship. 


The New York Times Recent Clit Article - To Better Clit Knowledge in Medicine!

Just in the off chance anyone was hoping for more content in the last month and a half and was disappointed at my disappearance, I'd like to assure you I'm still here, and I'm still thinking about clits and lady-gasms and all that. 

So, at the end of October an article came out in the the New York Times titled, "Half the World Has a Clit. Why Don't Doctors Study It?" I kept seeing people post it on social media. Obviously, I was super interested, but I'll be honest, when new clit or lady-gasm related media comes out, I get...I don't know...exhausted, maybe?  So, I avoided it for a while. I get worried that as is the case often, I will find they reinforce ideas that seem progressive and are super popular among the sex-positive, educated crowd, but are actually quite scientifically incorrect and backwards. I have to kind of get in the mood for them because I know I'm going to want to write about them in a critical and detailed way. I know that not only will it take a fair amount of time and effort, but it will just be a drag that this shit fake-science is still making its way into high end media outlets where a large chunk of otherwise educated, thoughtful people take it in as if it's settled fact. It's annoying and little depressing, ya know. However, a cousin in New York sent me the link, and I was like, 'alright, it's time. I gotta check this out now.'

And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised because this article really just stuck to the absolutely sensible assertion that there is a lack of care and knowledge related to the location of nerves, which is a huge problem for surgeries, etc. I'm 100% down for getting that info to a wider audience.

It begins by following the story of a woman that had a biopsy around her clit that resulted in damaged nerves to her clitoral glans which seemed to sever her ability to orgasm. It was possibly related to some extremely hard pressure from the doctor's hand put against her pelvic bone to stop some bleeding. When she realized what happened and how permanent it seemed, she talked to all kinds of doctors. They didn't really believe her, and suggested things like hormone creams, that she get over the trauma of the biopsy in her mind, or get an "o-shot" in her vagina (a completely unverified, and frankly silly attempt at helping women with low libido and orgasming). She said the doctors just avoided the topic of her clit all together. 

I mean, this so tracks in my opinion. Even though the clitoral glans is absolutely as important to female orgasm as the penis, it is ignored and minimized constantly in discussion about female orgasm. It's bonkers actually. It's similar to if the penis were often only mentioned in discussion of how males come after a long discussion of mental relaxation, overall arousal, hormone balance and all the other erotic spots on the body like the anus and nipples (and vaginal canal - but that doesn't fit in my male body metaphor at this moment), and then only mentioning the penis as just another important erotic area - and if there's real progressive thinking - that 'most' men need penis simulation to come. It's like even though the clit gets name dropped by the sex-positive and progressive professionals, it still doesn't really factor in a deep, real way as the central piece for female orgasm. It's just skipped over. Why would the medical profession be any better? The discussion from her doctors, just like general discussion about female orgasm, minimizes the clit and focuses on those same things that get thrown around to try and justify why women seem to have such a problem reaching orgasm with a partner; hormones, mental strength, and vaginal-related topics. The very first topic that should be discussed is ensuring that the clitoral glans is getting the stimulation it needs. Is there actual, appropriate, physical simulation happening to the clit, and such as in the case above, is the stimulations getting where it needs to go through healthy nerves? These would be the first thoughts given to a male and his penis if orgasms were not happening. All that to say this lack on knowledge, interest and focus on the clit is a whole world problem, so of course it's a medical problem. I very much love that there is more and more push on the medical community, with things like this article, to not be so fucking stupid about it...because that just might trickle down into the rest of the world. 

The article goes on to talk about a Dr. Rachel Rubin , who after an internship with Dr. Irwin Goldstein, has focused on the clit in her practice and advocates for other gynecologists' to take more notice as well. She exams women's vulvas and clits when they come in. There are common problems that could be easily helped with this simple practice, such as "clitoral adhesions, which occur when the hood of the clitoris sticks to the glans and can lead to irritation, pain and decreased sexual pleasure." Also, it is noted that, "There have been documented injuries to the clitoris in procedures including pelvic mesh surgeries, episiotomies during childbirth and even hip surgeries. When performed poorly, a labiaplasty — a procedure to reduce the size of the labia minora, and one of the fastest-growing cosmetic surgeries worldwide — can also damage nerves, leading to genital pain and loss of sexual sensation."

I only had one problem with this article, which in the scheme of things is pretty small and nitpicky. There's this 1998 article authored by Urologist, Dr. Helen O'Connell that sometime in the late 2010s got picked up in pop-science media as a scientific article that finally discovered the full structure of the clitoris - as in that there was this huge inner portion that people didn't know about. You might have seen things online showing the outrageous "fact" that the the full structure of the clit wasn't discovered until 1998! Yikes, right? But, it's 100% not true. I have a whole, long-winded, piece showing how that article did not and never claimed to have discovered the inner structures of the clit, and that it actually only asserted that another known structure close to the clit should also be called part of the clit - a still controversial, not settled anatomical idea. 

However, TONS of pop-science media refereeing to this article goes even further, and absolutely incorrectly assert that O'Connell article also now allows us to understand where vaginal orgasms come from. It in no way does, and now I've been seeing pop media less referencing the 1998 O'Connell article, and more references to some of her later articles that expand on the work in that 1998 article, but again, don't assert the things pop media says they do. So, when I saw O'Connell's name in this NY Times article, I was worried, and indeed it incorrectly spoke of her 2005 article as "showing that the outer nub of the clitoris — the part that can be seen and touched — was just the tip of the iceberg."  As I said, her article did not do that, and she does not claim in the article to have done that because the full clitoral structure was well known for at least a century prior. 

I'm happy to say, though, that this NYT article stopped at that first incorrect assertion about the O'Connell article and didn't take it to the place that really infuriate me - very incorrectly asserting it shows us how 'vaginal orgasms' are actually 'inner clitoral orgasms.'  All that to say, it was actually quite a delight to see that. It's truly a relief not to read a wildly popular article in a widely respected news outlet that isn't riddled with backwards, uninformed, incorrect lines of discussion about clits and orgasms. 

Actually O'Connell, interviewed in the NYT article, was beautifully advocating for better understanding and awareness of nerve structure in the female pelvis from the medical community. "By failing to appreciate this anatomy, she warned, surgeons working in this region risked damaging the sensitive nerves responsible for pleasure and orgasm, which run along the top of the shaft. In procedures like pelvic mesh surgeries or urethral surgeries, 'things are potentially in the crossfire,' Dr. O’Connell said. 'You always need to be thinking of what’s underneath, what’s hidden from view that you’re potentially altering.'"

The article goes on to point out some doctors and advocates that are doing the damn thing. They are investigating female pelvic nerves, relaying information to areas of the medical community about this and showing 'danger zones' for cutting to surgeons. There is advocacy for more information in medical books and medical training, and social media consciousness raising. 

If you area able to get a free read or have a subscription to the NYT, I highly suggest a read. Despite my sometimes avoidance of and exhaustion with clit/ladygasm pop science article, this was a good one that gave me some hope. This element of the Orgasm Equality Movement is getting a bit of traction. I mean, a good first step in ladies having more partner orgasms is to, ya know, not accidently sever their clitoral nerves during routine procedures and for gynocologists and urologists to actually care about and talk about the clitoris. Love it.


5 Classic Style Horror Movies #DirectedByWomen

It is Beggars Night in Des Moines. If you don't know what that is, I'm not surprised. It's the strange way they do trick or treating in Des Moines...and I just now realized when I linked to the Beggars Night Wikipedia page that there are actually a few other cities that do it. It's usually the night before Halloween, although it could be different. The city sets it, and in Des Moines, the kids have to tell jokes to get candy instead of saying "trick or treat." In my few years of experience, though, a lot of kids don't tell jokes, which is a little disappointing, but I love it anyway. It's the best part of Halloween for me.

Another part of Halloween that is less cute and fun is the scary movie portion of Halloween, and that is why I'm here: to give you a list of movies you can watch while waiting for kids in costumes to knock on your door and ask for candy. 

A Little History of These Lists
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, here friends, are 5 great lady-directed movies with that classic horror feel.

The Movies
1 The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)- This was directed by Amy Holden Jones. I just saw this a few days ago. I looked up a list of women directed horror movies, and I had to check this one out, amiright? Glad I did. It was an interesting watch because it was like it was trying to do some 1982 style feminist shit, but it also had to be a horror movie of the time, which is super misogynist. Like there's a whole shower scene that's just about T&A for no good reason, so many of the shots are ass level, and there's a whole drill-as-metaphor-for-dick killing a woman...which ya know thinking about it could be a feminsit statement too depending on how you look at it...maybe... Anyway, it's all classic in that way, but also, the slumber party gals are all on a basketball team wiht a cool woman coach - granted they don't seem to wear bras when they practice, but ya know they tried. Also, the telephone repairwomen and the carpenter are women, and the slumber party gals know how to check the fuses when the power goes out. I mean it's not everything, but I feel like it's an attempt at representation, and I appreciated it. Also, I looked it up, and it was written to be a spoof on the horror genre, but ended up getting shot as a  straight up B horror movie - I'm assuming because that's what could get funded. Either way, I liked the little peak of progress in it, and it was silly in only the way a 1982 horror movie can be. As of Halloween 2022 - this was on Amazon Prime, so no reason not to watch.

2 Slumber Party Massacre (2021) - This was directed by Danishka Esterhazy. There's some sequels to the original directed by men that I did not seek out, but this 2021 lady-directed remake of the original, I definitely did. It's a solidly fun, yet classically ridiculous horror-style  re-imagining of the original complete with Easter eggs. It also had some gratuitously unnecessary (but oh so necessary) hot-bodied dude scenes. Top notch.

3 Near Dark - This was directed by Kathryn Bigelow. It's the whole 80's western vampire teen movie vibe. Never heard of it until I found and watched it, but well worth the watch. Check it out.

4 The Velvet Vampire - This was directed by Stephanie Rothman. I mean, if you wanna check out an oh-so-70's B-movie swingin' vampire in the desert situation that makes sense sometimes, maybe...and you really do want to check it out, I'm pretty sure, then do watch this movie. I saw it on Tubi - free with commercials. 

5 Buffy the Vampire Slayer - This was directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui. I saw this movie back when it came out with my BFF. We loved it - particularly that Pee-Wee Herman made his post-jacking-off-in-an-x-rated-theater-and-getting-kicked-out-of the-biz debut as a vampire in it. I hated the tv show when it came out and never watched it. I'm definitely team movie Buffy. Anyway, it's a pretty dumb, fun teen vampire comedy. Worth a watch if you haven't already seen it.


Firefly Lane Season 1 - The SSL Review

Firefly Lane - Season 1
So this is a Netflix show recommended me by my BBF. We've been friends since I was 8 and she was 9, and this show is about childhood BFFs as they move through life. It's originally a book, I think. I'm always looking for shows that I can put on and not pay too much attention too but that also hold my interest to some degree- and if they make me cry for sappiness sake - even if it's not that great, well that's just icing on the cake. This show meets the requirements. I watched Season 1, and there were a few SSL moments for me to review. Spoiler alert. It's not gonna be a great vulva rating. 

If you were of the mind that something made for women with women involved in the making of it should be well done in the discussion/depiction of lady-gasm department, then you are mistaken. They might be, but they also very well might not be. Romance Novels would be a case in point. 

An SSL Review (for those that don't know about them)
Only depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or female masturbation and/or the clit are eligible for SSL Review. Nothing else counts, including plain 'ol sex if it doesn't include anything listed above. I specifically 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?) 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).
4 Wild and Crazy Orgasms - The Samantha Effect
Basically there are 4 scenes where Tully, one half of the Tully-Kate BFF unit that is the center of this show, has wild, vocal orgasms in situations that are super unlikely to ever cause a human female to orgasm. Basically, she's just getting banged by a dude with a penis, and there is no sense that anything  (a hand, bedding, a vibrator, the dude's pelvis area) is stimulating her clitoral glans/vulva area. Despite pop-sexpert, pseudoscientific talk about how the "inner clit"/c-spot or the G-spot is supposed to be a valid thing that can be stimulated by penises and dildos in order to make a woman come just from getting banged - it's just not backed by any of the serious, physical scientific research of the last century - despite LOTS of trying to do so. Seriously

I call this the Samantha Effect because it makes me think of Samantha from Sex and the City. She's a disticnt type of female character. She's the sexual wild-child of the bunch and part of her whole deal is that she orgasms so easily. She's the envy of the all sexual women in that she loves sex. She is confident and creative in her sexuality, and she can easily come from doing any and/or all the hot things one may have seen in movies or porn or read about in books. She IS the epitome of female sexual vivacity. Unfortunately, that basically means that she is pretend. She is largely a fantasy of dudes and ladiers. She is what a woman would need to be to happily, easily, and orgasmically fit into a sexual world set up largely for the penis's pleasure (AKA - our current world). In other words she comes from nothing more than an object stimulating the inside of her vagina - something you may not think of as pretend, but probably is according to all of our physical data on the topic

Anyway, this Samantha-like archetype is what Tully is in this show, and as always, that archetype is giving viewers a super unrealistic and twisted view of how orgasm actually works for the ladies. It reinforced the idea that ladies can come from the mere act of intercourse and that the most lucky, sexually confident ladies always do. It's a big crock of shit we keep eating by the spoonful. Anyway, I talk more HERE about the Samantha Effect and about how the actress who plays Samantha has had to grapple with the unrealistic sexual nature of the characters she plays. She's actually pretty thoughtful on the topic of sexuality. 

The Scenes
Back to Tully - in true Samantha-sex-confident-lady mold, she is always having wild orgasms from sex that in real life should never be assumed to cause a woman to actually, physically orgasm. Here are the scenes in questions.

S1 Episode 1
We're only seeing the very end as they are winding down, ya know - the thrusts are slowing down and they start taking deep breaths and laughing a little, so we don't actually see Tully orgasm or the dude she is with for that matter. What we see is her up against a wall facing him with one leg around his waist, both of them fully dressed as if he just unzipped and she just pulled her panties to the side under her skirt. It feels as though they had a super quick, passionate fuck that ended in both simultaneously orgasming right before we cut to them. There's no sense that she is in a position to grind her clit/vulva area against his pelvis while fucking, and there's certainly no hands anywhere near her pelvis. It's just a scene reinforcing the unrealistic idea that if it's passionate enough a lady can just come from a dick moving in and out of her. 

S1 Episode 6
The episode opens with Tully, cowgirl on a dude bouncing up and down. All 4 hands are above the waste, and she's perpendicular to him in a way that is unlikely to give her clit/vulva area stimulation against his body. She's screaming and moaning as if in a perma-orgasm. It's the kind of vocalizations you regularly hear in porn. Kate is in another room trying not to hear it. Both her and the dude come in this position in a crescendo of her vocalizations. She rolls off and they have the following conversation.
Dude: That was...
Tully: I know.
Dude: You are...
Tully: I know.
Dude: So good.
Tully: I know. I am so good.
Dude: I was pretty good too.
Tully: (questioningly) yeah. (playfully) But not as good as me. You don't think Kate heard, do you?
Dude: Oh definitely. Don't pretend you don't love it. You are an exhibitionist.
Tully: I am not!
Dude: Pfhhh! If Tully heart has an orgasm and 5 strangers aren't around to hear, did it really happen?
I kinda feel like this conversation is revealing about this sex-lady archetype character that Tully embodies - about the many of us women who might play at that type of character in bed. Like if you look at it in the way I do as if all this happened as we see it, but she was a real-ass person and not a character, it feels very real and the orgasm very fake to me. 

It feels like her making a big thing of how sexy and sexual she is. It's her playing at a type of sexuality that she is not actually experiencing - whether she consciously understands that or not. It's not that it isn't fun or exciting or arousing or pleasing to her, but she didn't orgasm like the dude did. He did orgasm with all the physical and chemical things that come with it, and she made him do it. She played the part of a person that not only can make a dude come but also make him feel great about it because she came too, and she did it by allowing him to do nothing more than enjoying an action (getting his dick bounced on) that is super orgasmic for a person with a penis. It's a win-win win if we pretend her experience was the same as his - which is what we are doing. And, I'm not saying that she is consciously making a choice to 'fake'. I'm saying she is existing and acting inside of this sexual situation in whatever way she figured out how to be while growing up and living inside a fucked-up, misleading, lady-gasm-ignorant sexual culture. 

I think that it's a real thing in real life for women to do what we believe should be orgasmic, and although we don't actually orgasm, we go through the motions and vocalizations of it, and the climactic feel of it, plus the power of giving that pleasure to a partner is enough for the moment - and maybe even enough to make ourselves believe we came. I think this is real because I've done it myself, and I don't think I'm that strange of a person. This play-acting can be fun and satisfying until it's not anymore. Anyway, I think this scene, although fiction, sort of holds that reality inside it. 

It's a complicated sexual world for the ladies, people. 

S1 Episode 8
This episode starts out with almost the exact position and situation of the last Episode 6 scene. It's just a bit shorter scene. She's screaming less, and they don't have that conversations after. All that to say it's exactly as physically unrealistic that she would orgasm simultaneously with that dude when there is absolutely nothing happening to her clit/vulva area and EVERYTHING happening to his penis.  

S1 Episode 9
Cloud is Tully's hippie mother, and she is talking about Tully's birth to Kate and Tully when they were teenagers.
Cloud: Katelyn, it was magical! The moon was full, my cervix was ripening, and then this Sagitarian creature just slithered out of me like some aquatic beast. I actually orgasmed. It was the most exquisite pain. I became a woman that night, so it was my birth too.
Kate: Oh. That's really cool.
Tully: Yay. Birth-gasm! (with two thumbs up) Totally appropriate story to share with your daughter.
Listen, I'm no fan of throwing around the idea that women can orgasm in pretty much any situation. I'm very against it, actually, on a scientific reality-based terms. I mean, even progressive, educated sexperts say the craziest, baseless shit sometimes about how women can orgasm by doing just about anything from getting their necks kissed to sucking dick. That's some bullshit I will rail against. 

Birth-gasm, though. Not sure what to say exactly. It's definitely something I've heard said before. I can also say there's no physical record of it in scientific literature, but also how could there be? No one has physically investigated it. I would also say that an orgasm is a sudden, rhythmic release of the blood pooling and muscle tension that has been built up through arousal, and there's a lot of intense stuff going on in the pelvic region during birth. That type of release very probably isn't a common part of birth, and you really don't hear this as any kind of even slightly common sensation among the many births that have happened, but there is certainly all kinds of muscle action and blood action going on down there, so if any of that happened to feel like an orgasm to you when giving birth, FAB. I say go with it. As long as we don't start hearing people saying it's common or that ladies should expect a birth-gasm, or that a birth-gasm is a goal (since who knows what that even physically means) or an indication of a 'better' birthing experience, or that you should feel any type of way about not having a birth-gasm, then hey, whatever. Not every woman will even ever be in the situation to have a birth-gasm, and if they are it's probably only a couple times, and it's a BIG, tough physical experience, so I won't say shit about anyone's unique experience as long as we all understand it's just a personal unique experience. 

Vulva Rating
So, overall, because of all the reasons stated above, this season of this show is not getting a good SSL Review. All Tully's orgasm scenes reinforce the incredibly unrealistic, but insanely overly-depicted idea that ladies, at least the most sexual and cool ones, should be able to orgasm merely from a penis moving in and out of the vagina. It's just dumping that idea on top of the already plentiful pile of like depictions taking up real estate in people's heads of all ages and genders. It's just extending the misunderstanding of how lady-gasms realistically might happen and fucking up sex for everyone.

For this, Season 1 of Firefly Lane gets a 1 Vulva Rating. 


Good Luck To You, Leo Grande: The SSL Review

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande
To begin, I do recommend this movie, and it will get a good SSL Review - just FYI. This movie is about Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson), a late middle aged woman, who hires Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack), a male prostitute, 2 years after her husband dies. She reveals (early in the move - I'm not spoiling anything) that she had never been with anyone sexually but her husband, never had anything but basic missionary intercourse, and never orgasmed. She wants to do some of these things she's never done. Clearly, this is a movie of interest for an SSL Review.

An SSL Review (for those that don't know about them)
Only depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or female masturbation/cunnilingus and/or the clit are eligible for SSL Review. Nothing else counts, including plain 'ol sex if it doesn't include anything listed above. I specifically 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?) 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 movie Reviews HERE (and as always you can find all the SSL TV Reviews HERE).

The Orgasm Scene
So, I don't think telling you about her journey towards orgasm will spoil this movie, but if you like to know nothing about a movie before you watch, I suggest you check it out and then read this review...because I do recommend you watch this movie. I will overall try not to reveal too much, though.

Long story short, she does orgasm. She does it by herself with her own hand. She is lying on her back after a variety of sensual and arousing but not orgasmic (for her) sexual acts with Leo. He gets up to get a drink and a sex toy that "usually works" to help aid her in trying to come. We know it's a vibrator because he calls it the little buzzer, and we see the little thing later when he turns around after finding it. It's buzzing in his hand. 

But back to her situations. When he goes to get the buzzer she tells him no need. She thinks she's done. She's laying there all flushed and exhausted-looking from the sex they were having, but then she starts watching his naked body and moves her hand sensually down her chest to rub her vulva area. There's not a lot of detail here - and we can't specifically see what her hand is doing, in fact we don't even get much indications through shoulder movement. It is obvious that she is not doing a penetration, in and out type movement though. It's an on-the-vulva, not an in-the-vagina situation. It's about 11 seconds from when she gets to her vulva to when she comes, and when she comes, I think it’s clear that she does so. However, we don't see the wild vocalization and movement that is so common of orgasm depiction in women (but not men). Instead, it's a head back, intake of air and quick breath out, and then a stillness. There's a quiet intensity and focus that feels very real to me. 

The Good Stuff
If you know this blog, you know I'm incredibly happy with this depiction. Here are the 4 major reasons why - in true overly explainy SSL fashion.

1 No one 'gave' her a first orgasm. I love this because I think it’s incredibly important we see more depictions of women figuring out their own orgasm. We need to normalize this because it's really a must if a woman is to become an active, experienced and knowledgeable party to an orgasm with a partner. Ladies need to be their own first partners, just as men need to be their own first partners (and they tend to be - way more often than women). 

Now, a first faked orgasm or a first I'm-assuming-this-is-when-I'm-supposed-to-orgasm-so-I'm-gonna-go-with-it orgasmy sounding vocalization...well, those I assume are almost always with a partner. However, a first physical orgasm (the rhythmic release of pelvic muscle tension that both males and females and all in between have during orgasm) – those do tend to be home grown just as Nancy's was in this movie. I mean, it's not unheard of for a woman's first physical orgasm to be because someone else was stimulating her, but it's certainly not common (Check out all the women's stories in The Hite Report), and it’s BS that we so often see it that way in all kinds of media from porn to romance novels to TV.

Constantly seeing ladies be ‘given’ that first orgasm is an unrealistic and ultimately harmful way to depict a lady’s first orgasm. It sends the message that women are not in control of their bodies or desire or arousal; that they are a vessel waiting for male sexuality to awaken them; that their orgasm is given instead of taken. 

And as selfish as it sounds, having orgasms is an active process from the orgasmer. A collaborative interaction with a partner could move that experience more towards a sort of 'given' orgasm, but it would, I think, be rare for the receiver to be a completely passive recipient. Plus, if a person does not know what their body needs before working on their orgasm through collaboration with a partner, it would be real unlikely they just happened into the movement and stimulation needed to get themselves there. More likely, they helped get themselves there with some experience and knowledge of how their body needs to move and what needs to be touched in what ways. We expect this active participation in orgasm from men, and we should expect it from women as well. 

Depicting first-orgasm scenarios for ladies thorugh masturbation instead of through the actions of a partner is a solid step in the right directions. Well done, this movie. 

2 The physical actions happening during the orgasm could sensibly and realistically be assumed to cause orgasm in an actual lady. Basically, there’s a hand on the vulva. We didn’t see the detailed movements, but that’s the basic way the majority of women masturbate to orgasm (again check out The Hite Report among almost every other study on how women orgasm). It’s important to see ladies orgasming through stimulation of the outer vulva/clitoral area because that is basically THE way physically recorded female orgasms have happened to date in all of scientific literature. Although there are so many depictions of women orgasming from penetration by a partner, it’s just not something that has ever actually been observed to cause orgasm. For real

I will say I'm not surprised they did the physical masturbation realistically. In general movie and TV depictions of female masturbation does tend to be realistic - with outer clitoral/vulva stimulation, so the realism in Nancy's masturbation technique isn’t particularly surprising or revolutionary, but it’s still nice. Honestly, it’s orgasm with a partner where media depictions fuck up. Besides a sprinkling of cunnilingus scenes, which I'm all for and are usually not bonkers ridiculous, partner lady-gasm depictions generally fall back into showing penetration making ladies come - just your basic not-clit-touching in and out. It is a rare situation where you see active stimulation of the clit during penetration, which is a damn shame because it's a quite sensible way for a lady to come with a partner. I always point that out because, man, I’d love to see more of that clit stim during a banging in my media. 

Also, I don't think this is an unrealistic depiction in this situation, but I should speak to how fast it is from the time she starts stimulating herself to the orgasm - we're talking around 11 seconds. I realize in TV and movies, time-to-orgasm is always a bit quick just because they aren't usually trying to waste a bunch of time showing the process. 11 seconds is quick though - but only if you are going from zero to orgasm in that time - from absolutely unaroused to popping off. This is because the building blocks of orgasm are in creating that physical arousal in the body, the pelvic muscle tension and blood congestion that the orgasm physically releases. One needs a little time for that, but only a few minutes, really. Averages in studies usually come out somewhere between 3 and 10 minutes. In Human Sexual Response, Masters and Johnson found that men and women masturbate to orgasm in around the same time - women averaged a bit longer but only a minute or two. Subsequent studies found similar results including this study that didn't find any significant difference in duration of self-stimulation between men and woman.

So, I'm saying she realistically only needed a few minutes to get from zero to orgasm. However, she was not at zero. She had just had a lot of sexual things, including cunnilingus, happen to her. She could very likely be almost to the edge of arousal, ready to drop off into orgasm. She was also flushed on her neck and chest when she moved that hand down. I'm assuming that was an intentional make-up choice on the set because for more light skinned people, a visible-to-the-naked-eye 'sex-flush' often occurs on the neck and chest. It would indicate heavy arousal. Point is, with all that was happening in this scenario, 11 seconds of direct clitoral stimulation doesn't seem too short a time for her to get to orgasm from where she was starting.  

Anyway, all that to say that someone watching this move and trying to figure out how they themselves might make themselves actually come, would not be led in a incorrect direction (as they would with a penetration orgasm depiction), and I appreciate that.

3 She didn't scream and shout and moan and move around all wild and sexy like. She just came. Watch dudes in porn. They are almost always actually coming. They, mostly, don't scream and shout and moan and move around a bunch when it happens. They tend to concentrate and get quiet, focused, intense, and deeper into the movement that was getting them there. That's what this woman did. It's realistic, and as a culture, we need to normalize that this is a way a woman's orgasm can look. We see so much wild faking from women, it skews women and their partner's expectations.

4 It shone a positive light on a vibrator helping a lady come. Leo got up to get her a vibrator to help her come, when she figured it out herself. That's a sexually experienced man not only being fine with a woman using a sex toy, but also encouraging it. It's a man saying, 'hey, if you wanna come, a sex toy is a good option'. Vibrators are, in fact, great options alone and in partner sex for lady-gasms. Yet, there is still a sense out there that it means the man has failed or it's a distraction from the couple sex. That's a bunch of bullshit, and the more vibrator use is normalized, as it is in this movie, the better.

The Vulva Rating
This was not only a realistic and much needed depiction of how an actual woman might realistically physically experience her first orgasm, it was also a thoughtful depiction of the emotional, cultural, and experiential roadblock that women face as they explore an orgasm and an authentic sexuality. 

If I had any critique of this movie's discussion/depiction of lady-gasm, it would be that it maybe didn't speak to the expansive cultural issues with lady-gasm that are not unique to Nancy's situation. Specifically, I would have been overjoyed if there was a nod to how very (and unfortunately) common it is that a woman might not have come ever from partner sex, and how the lack of clitoral/vulva simulation in common sex acts (for instance most penetrative sex on its own) is a huge reason for that -  given that the clitoral/vulva stimulation is no less important to the female orgasm than penile stimulation is to the male orgasm. It's not really a criticism, though. Good Luck To You , Leo Grande tells a story about lady-gasm that is rare in media and important, and one can't expect everything from everything. It did what it meant to do well. I'm just saying that if the experienced male prostitute had mentioned that her situation is not actually that uncommon in his experience, and that it might have a bit to do with the fact that her clit was never part of the sex equation...well, that would be nice too. 

Altogether, for all the reasons I spoke about above. This gets a full 5 vulva rating.