1.10.2021

Shit Sex for the Ladies in Shameless: An SSL Review


Shameless
I'm on the 9th season of Shameless right now. People had been telling me to watch it for a while , and I finally did, and since me and Charlie are champion TV watchers, we've burned through it pretty damn quick. I believe the last season, season 11 is happening now, or will be happening soon, so we're almost through it. 



Shameless has a pretty fair amount of sex in it, and ya know what? Most, close to all really, of the sex is trash. And by trash I mean trash for the female orgasm. 

A different kind of SSL Review
Normally I do SSL Reviews (reviews specifically of depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or female masturbation and/or the clit or cunnilingus) by getting deep into each and every instance of those things. I'll detail what happened, how realistic it was (could the physical thing happening while that character came realistically be something that could cause a female to come?), and what part it plays in the larger cultural understanding of lady-gasms and female sexuality. I like the idea of having these detailed discussions of every scene in a show or movie because I thinks it will be cool some day for someone to look back on. 

I got kinda bored with Shameless though, and the idea of detailing out every bang against a wall where the lady-character kinda screamed and vocalized like she probably came made my ass tired just thinking about it. Plus, I think the whole of Shameless is maybe the more interesting story here because I think it so closely parallels how sex, lady-gasms, and female sexuality are depicted in the larger culture - which is unrealistically. 

All vagina-banging no clit
The main takeaway here is that there's a lot of sexual activity in Shameless and most of it is a dude banging his penis in and out of a lady without any hands or vibrators stimulating her clit and also without a sense that her vulva/clit area is even in a position during this banging that would allow her to grind it against his body or anything else. Sometimes in these scenes they both kinda vocalize in a way that one might assume means they both came simultaneously. Sometimes the lady specifically is depicted as coming, and sometimes it ends before the orgasm part. Very occasionally it seems like the dude came, but she didn't. No matter what though, there was never - NEVER - a scene in which there is some kind of stimulation to the clit/vulva area along with intercourse. 

I mean this isn't uncommon. Intercourse in movies, TV and porn, pretty much ignores the clitoral glans vulva area whether there is a depiction of female orgasm in the scene or not. That's just the way it is. A penis moving in and out of a vagina is depicted as enough. It's enough, in and of itself, as a sex act - no matter what happens, but it's often depicted as enough to get a female to orgasm. The crazy part is, though, that it's a bunch of made-up bullshit. 

Women need clitoral glans area stimulations to orgasm as much as men need penile stimulation. These very normal depictions are like showing dudes coming from rubbing their asses without any penile stimulation...and no one seeming to care or even notice how bonkers it is. Seriously, no orgasm caused from stimulation inside the vagina has ever been physically recorded in all scientific literature. Seriously. And it's not like people (and tons of scientists) haven't been desperately trying to prove once and for all that women can be banged into an orgasm for almost a century now. They've pushed the idea of the G-spot and the 'inner clit' as possible reasons that women might orgasm from inner vaginal stimualtion, but never, ever has anyone ever shown that this 'other' 'vaginal' orgasm even exists. So, my point is, all these very common and very absurd depictions of women getting banged into orgasmic ecstasy both reflect our culture's deeply incorrect assumptions about how lady-gasms work and also help to keep those ridiculous assumptions alive and well in our psyche. 

So that's the bulk of what's happening sexually on the show, but I did take a few notes on a couple more specific interesting situations, which I will describe below.

Dear, let me not give you an orgasm for de-stressing purposes
I think this is one of my favorites because it's so stupid. The character Fiona is in bed with her boyfriend. She's stressed out, and so he decides to give her a sexual gift. He starts fucking her, as in banging her missionary. He tells her to just breath and let him do all the work. So she's just laying there, and he's just pushing in and out of her (their bodies are under the covers, but it's pretty clear what's happening) like his dick is a golden orgasm wand, and then she comes, and he doesn't. What a gift! 

Listen, if a dude wants to 'gift' you an orgasm and he starts banging you, then just know the only gift you will be getting is a dick in your vagina and the chance to fake an orgasm so he will stop. Clits do lady-gasms make, people...not dicks. 

For real, though, if that scene was not a crystal clear misunderstanding of how female orgasms happen I don't know what is. I mean even the idea of asking her not to movie is extra looney. If, perchance, a lady is able to get her clit enough stimulation to come by rubbing it against the pelvis of the person fucking her vagina, she's sure as shit gonna need to be controlling the fuck out of how her clit is grinding - the pressure, the angle. The idea that a dude could just fuck on a motionless lady to make her come is truly bananas. 

The lone lady-bation
This one I like for the opposite reason. It's probably the very best scene for lady-gasms in the whole series. The character Debbie is at some kind of commune. I'll skip the details of why, but she is in a tent for women and an older woman gives her a big ol' Hitachi Magic wand style vibrator to use to relax her. Debbie basically says she's never masturbated before, and the woman tells her it's liberating and leaves her alone to do it. Debbie looks at it. The scene cuts, and then later we come back to her laying back, clearly satisfied from a good ol' orgasm. 

It's a pretty basic scene, but I think it's the only time in this show that a woman or girl explicitly discusses masturbation (I'm not 100% on that, but if I'm wrong I'm not wrong by much). There's plenty of ladies in this show that are VERY sexual and various elements of their sex lives are discussed and depicted, but they are all with dudes or occasionally other women. 

In contrast, I believe every single male main character in this show has explicitly had their masturbation habits discussed or depicted more than once. One teen male character is even masturbating in the opening credits that play in front of all 9 seasons so far. One of the male characters was just a boy...maybe early middle school and had multiple shows with numerous discussions and depictions of his masturbation habits. 

Cunnilingus. 
It does happen on the show occasionally, but unless it's 2 women, it is not a staple. Often, it's something that happens at the beginning of a sex act - as a little warm up, and the dude moves up to fuck before any orgasm is had. I've never seen a female character on the show say anything about preferring it. It's more likely to hear a female character talk about interest in a big dick. Listen, I like that it's in the show at all, but just as in the culture at large, it tends to be just a quick side dish when it's there at all.

Cunnilingus. With a splash.
There is one exception. The character Lip has a girlfriend that he's been fucking. After a few episodes of this, we see him coming up as if he just finished eating her out. She says something like, 'that was great. I wasn't sure if you'd be good at it. Are the sheets drenched?' Turns out she ejaculates when she comes. She says  to him that's how she comes sometimes, and he asks her why she never came with him before. She tells him that she can only do it when she's really comfortable with a dude. He loves it. She loves it. His friends are impressed when he tells them about it. 

I like the idea that female ejaculation is depicted - and in a good light. I even think the way it happens is not unrealistic. Female ejaculation, like male ejaculation, is a different thing than orgasm. Squirting stuff out is not an orgasm, but for males, unlike for the vast majority of females, the two happen mostly simultaneously. There's not nearly enough data about female ejaculations, but clearly there are some women that can get them from manually stimulating the female prostate that sits around the urethra which sets on the outside of the vaginal wall, low and toward the stomach. That's just an ejaculation though (unless you were able to stimulate the clitoral glans area at the same time, and get the ejaculation and orgasm to pop off at around the same time, though). 

That manual stimulation of the prostate area seems to be the most common way female ejaculation happen, but from anecdotal stories in books and papers I've seen on the subject. It also seems like there are some women, and it must be fairly rare, where their orgasm triggers an ejaculation similar to what happens for men. This is what I would imagine happens for this girlfriend character, and that explanations seems sensible enough to me given that she was getting a clit licking that ended in orgasm (as it sensibly could) along with ejaculation.

So, that's all good, but I do feel like also there was a sense in this whole storyline that ejaculating was not just a cool-ass rare thing that happens to this woman when she's stimulated correctly, but that it's a symbol of her higher sexuality and Lip's exceptional prowess as a lover. That feels a little gross to me especially because female ejaculation is becoming quite popular in porn as a 'higher level of female sexual pleasure.' It's often faked, but it, like orgasming from nothing but a penis banging one's vagina, is just one more thing that women are expected to do in order to be properly sexual even if it's simply not something their body is capable of.

Bang me, but do it in circles...Screw me...I guess?
Okay - this one I find hilarious too...mostly because it feels like the writers got their sex advise from a 1950's marriage manual. This is the character Lip again, but with a different woman. He hooks up with her at a wedding. She's drunk, and they do it in a closet, standing doggy with her bent over a deep freezer or something. She pukes during it, and he's maybe a little less into it than he normally is this type of thing. Otherwise it's just a normal in-out bang. 

So he sees her again and asks her out on a real date, but she's a complete asshole and tells him to basically fuck off because it was the worst sex she's ever had. (Honestly, what is she comparing it to - other sex she had that also didn't involve her clit and also didn't make her come. What the hell was she expecting from the non-clit involving doggy fuck she was getting into?) 

So, she tells him it was "jabby" and he just kept jabbing, and he should have fucked her hard. (So the answer to my questions is that like far too many women, she doesn't orgasm during intercourse, doesn't seem to understand that's a problem or how to fix it -I mean most dudes don't either so we're all fucked aren't we? - and so she desperately wants something, anything else from the sex to make her feel wanted and excited and as if the sex was worth it...and what better way to feel that than to have the dude fuck your brains out so hard that you don't even know what happened? - for real though I think that's some real shit women feel but don't realize they feel). 

Anyway, for some inexplicable reason he later does end up dating her even though she is still just the absolute worst asshole, and they end up having sex again in her car. She says it was a 6 out of 10. It wasn't jabby anymore, but it was thrusty. Then she tells him he has to rotate. 

Rotate. Seriously. 

I imagine the kernel of truth that is behind this is that if a woman is going to ever possibly come during intercourse without actually manually (or vibratorly...I'm gonna say that's a word) stimulating her clit during it, it's going to be because she is able to get into the right position to grind her clit against his pelvis while his dick's still inside her. And let's be honest, he's probably gonna have to stop moving and stay fucking still so that she can keep the kind of constant pressure against him she likes and grind it how she needs it grinded without him fucking up her movements. This situation is not the ideal clit stimulating situation, so it's precarious, and him trying to move in an out is a straight clit killer...in my humble opinion at least. 

Anyway, that's probably the kernel of why people may have gotten the idea that grindy or rotatey is better than poundy, but here's the deal. Either way we're talking about him doing the movements and about how the dick is moving in the vagina...which is realistically not going to make her come no matter how you do it. What she should have said was, "it sucked because my clit was not even an after thought. You were just getting your dick off in my vagina, and what needed to happen was something should have been diddling my clit, so I could actually come." But because the world has such strange, backward, misunderstandings of lady-gasm, this lady character is out here telling this dude character that he needed to rotate more. 

The other reason this is hilarious to me is that I know specifically that this rotating advice was something popular in marriage manuals of the 1950's because I learned that when I was doing research for my movie. And recently Charlie and I got ahold of some old 70's porn - like the stuff that was real high budget and in the era when there was hope that porn and mainstream cinema could be merged in a particular way...and all those dudes were rotating as they pounded. Like, there was a distinct difference in the way you see dudes generally pound in porn today, and we both thought it was hilarious because it seemed like they were going off that 50's advice they snuck-found in their parent's marriage manuals when they were teenagers. The women were still not getting their clits stimulated and still faking, but...at least the dudes were rotating more?

The Vulva Rating
This was not a traditional SSL Review, but I am still going to give it a Vulva Rating, and it's not a good one. 

This show is chock full of lady-gasms depicted as happening from physical activity that in no way could realistically give a woman an orgasm. Although this is not uncommon, it is a net harm to women's ability to learn correctly about their orgasm and how it can be achieved in partner sex, to feel empowered in asking and expecting activities during sex that stimulate their organ of sexual pleasure (their clit), and in educating men about what a sexual act that is orgasmic for females actually looks like. 

It's also chock full of men and boys masturbating, but not women and girls, which makes it seem like lady-bation is rare, weird, and that sexual women are sexual because they fuck a lot and masturbation isn't really part of it. Those ideas are already strongly out there keeping girls and women (more than boys and men) from exploring their own bodies and theri own orgasms. This show just reinforces it, which sucks.  

Overall, there are some moments where there is genuinely realist depictions of female orgasm...like when a woman goes down on another woman until orgasm, but they are few and far between. Shameless is a very sexual show that, not unlike our sexual culture as a whole, is informed about and focused on male sexual pleasure, fantasy, and orgasm but deeply and arrogantly misinformed about female pleasure, fantasy and orgasm. 

I'm giving this series 1 out of 5 vulvas. I'm feeling nice because there are at least a few good moments in there. Also, I still have more of the series to go. I, arrogantly, don't think my opinion will change, but if it does, I'll update here.
(!)

12.31.2020

Sparkles, Colored Lights, And Other Things I'm Thinking Of This NYE



About an hour ago I was in my kinda sunroom thing - it's a room added to the back of the house that has a lot of windows. We call it the window room. I have a little silver tree lit up with Christmas lights on the fold-up table that we use as a double desk for me and Charlie. He already works from home and I, ya know, have been a lot more this year - 2020 and all. 



Earlier in the year we also changed out the light fixture in there, and put LED lights that we can control with our phones to change any color we want. It was a dream, and it came true. I can't speak highly enough about these lights. They were on party mode, where they just keep changing colors. I'd say they were in party mode because it's New Years Eve, and they kind of are, but honestly I go party lights most weekends and also whenever I think of it. I also do other modes. I really just like them doing something interesting most of the time. Throughout the year, we also got them for the living room, the porch, the kitchen, and our bedroom. They are all on party mode, and that is because of NYE.

So, I'm sitting on the floor in the window room stretching, and I look behind me in a twisting sitting stretch, and I see all the sparkles coming off the strings of silver garland I hung on the picture frames back there, and I thought, this is pretty good. I'm pretty damn lucky. 

Now, this might just be that the only things I truly love in life are, in fact, sparkles and colored lights. Those are at the heart of my love of Christmas and lots of other things. Ya know, I don't know exactly what it was, but I had a sense of real gratefulness, and I also thought - I'm gonna write about this in my blog tonight.

I had been planning to get a quick post in this last day of 2020 after I'd finished stretching and took a shower. I was going to do a little thing about the 1985 movie Cocoon. Funny thing, you can't find this movie streaming. We got it, though. I won't say how. I'm not sure why we started thinking of it, but we did. We'd been wanting to watch it and finally did on Christmas day. I did enjoy it, but there was some SSL related stuff I thought I could talk about. It wasn't the kind of stuff that qualify it for an actual full-on SSL Review, but some stuff (old men thinking their sex life begins and ends with their boners, AmIright???). 

But those sparkles - let's call them magical New Years Sparkles - made me feel like I just wanted to write about that feeling, and frankly what I always try to do with this blog is write things I want to write when and how I want to write them. Anything else doesn't work long-term, I think. And I want to love this blog and this lady-gasm activism long term. 

That feeling, in relation to this blog, made me want to just thank all the people I've met on this road. I can't really describe what each of you means to me except to say that there are parts of me that are different and better because you were in my life. Shirley, Jill, Bex, Gemma, Paola, Colin, Adam, Reticula, MaldiveMart....Those are some that I have had the pleasure of engaging with multiple times from writing this blog, at least the ones I can think of at the moment. I also want to include all the people that have commented on articles of mine - especially the really mean or skeptical comments that I engaged with. Those interactions shaped me in positive ways. I also want to thank all the actors in the Science, Sex and the Ladies movie. They had no idea what we would do with it, but stuck with us anyway. The shooting of it was 10 years ago now, and all my friends and family that were all like, 'right on, what can I do to help with this crazy lady-gasm movie you're making?' That's love. 

Anyway love you all. Talk to you soon.


12.22.2020

5 Christmas Movies Directed By Women



Sooooo....it's been almost a month since my last post. I would say that there was some crazy thing that happened to keep me from this sweet sweet blog of mine, but there wasn't - just life and work and all that. I'm home from work real early today. I took a walk, put on my Christmas cat pj pants my sister got me, and it's still not even dinner time. So, Charlie went back to editing photos, and I decided a quick blog might be nice; nothing important or even that exciting, but just something so you remember I'm still around thinking about how more women can get more clit diddling in their lives. 

This blog is not gonna specifically be about clits though - more about Christmas and stuff (although let's never forget all the women in all those Christmas movies have clits that are probably not getting touched near as mcuh as they should).. As I'm writing this, I'm watching "The Princess Switch: Switched Again" You may have seen "The Princess Switch." Well this is the sequel. It's a Hallmark-style Netflix Original Christmas movie. Do I love it? Yes. I do indeed like a holiday themed movie. 

Here, my friends, are some more of these movies that you might want to enjoy this holiday season...ya know, if you're into that sort of thing.

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.

Get some hot chocolate, popcorn, marshmallows, cookies, and whatever else you like to eat in the winter, and enjoy.

The Movies

1 Home for the Holidays - This was directed by Jodie Foster. This is a 1995 movie, and I saw this way back sometime around then. I like Jodie Foster, but honestly don't remember the movie much. That might mean I need to watch it again.



2 Black Nativity - This was directed by Kasi Lemmons. I saw this on the plane to Brazil for a work trip right before Christmas in 2014. Thoroughly enjoyed it. It was exactly what I wanted to watch.


3 Christmas Crush - This was directed by Marita Grabiak. I just watched this recently streaming. It's a bonker Christmas movie, and if you are going to watch one of these (as I am wont to do), why not watch one directed by a woman?





4 The Preacher's Wife - This was directed by Penny Marshall. Okay, so the story with me and this movie is as follows. My 2nd date with my now husband Charlie...maybe my 3rd...The first was probably Snow Whirl, our high school's winter dance, and the 2nd was to Burger King and the movie Jerry Maquire. Anyway, the 3rd was like the Saturday before Christmas and we were supposed to go see The Preacher's Wife. However, as we were approaching, I suggested we park and make out instead, and that's what we did. I didn't actually see the movie until probably 10 years later, and I thought it was a lovely Christmas movie. Watch it.



5 The Knight Before Christmas - This was directed by Monika Mitchell. Listen, this is a Hallmark-style Christmas movie in all it's glory and I loved it. It's the same main character as the Princess Switch that I'm currently watching, and honestly, I kinda feel like the Christmas movies she's in are a bit more high quality - mostly as in the technically aspects and set design. Anyway, I watched this very recently, and it's about a Knight from medieval times that gets timetraveled to modern day Christmas time, and falls in love...so...it's awesome. 


11.25.2020

Just Watched the SSL Movie Bloopers



Hi and a Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope you all have some strange alternative plans to enjoy your families, but also not be anywhere physically near them. 

I wanted to quickly post a little something before the holidays. I'm currently working on an 'A Journal Article I Read' post summarizing THIS 1998 article that people are always calling the article that finally discovered the full anatomy of the clitoris. It did not do that. People like to say it though. It's alarming to think the clit anatomy wasn't known until 1998, and so it makes a good headline. What it really did, though, was assert that the vestibular bulbs should be named the clitoral bulbs and that they should be thought of as part of a 'clitoral complex.' Not a discovery at all, and frankly, I think it unintentionally did a lot of harm to orgasm equality because it strangely gave people a lot of baseless fire to insinuate that there's something inside ladies' vaginal canal region that penises can stimulate during intercourse to cause orgasm. ...And people do be insinuating that a lot in relation to the "newly discovered" inner parts of the clit, but like I said. BASELESS. Anyway, I'll be getting more into that next time. 

However, that subject and a recent watch of the Science, Sex and the Ladies movie cast and crew bloopers got me and Charlie talking about something I thought would be an alright post. 

First, that subject up there always gets me thinking of the movie simply because the trend of baselessly pinning the cause of the never-actually-physically-recorded-in-all-of-scientific-literature vaginally stimulated orgasm on the 'newly discovered' inner parts of the clit, was really just not in vogue when I finished writing and we started production of the movie in 2009. The G-spot was still the in-vogue way people baselessly explained how the vaginally stimulated orgasm (maybe) happens (if it exists at all...since there's actually not actual proof it does). So, I spent a lot of time showing how ridiculous the G-spot theory was and almost no time talking about how ridiculous the inner clit theory is, which is really the only thing that I would do different in the content. But ya know, it was a different time, and anyway, I'm planning a little supplemental video about that soon (*soon means I've decided it will be done, and it will eventually get done but at a snail's pace). 

That brings me to the other things me and Charlie were talking about that I wanted to write on. It was a different time, man. I say that again, but now it's in relation to how movies were seen. It wasn't that long ago, but when we decided to make Science, Sex and the Ladies, online video content was not what it is today. People weren't considering dropping their whole movie on YouTube or Vimeo. Netflix was still mostly DVDs. We still did have shorts and weird little videos we sent to our mailing list back them, but we had to find a way to host those videos for people to get to and watch, and it was a hot mess. 

If I had this idea today, I would 100% have created the content of Science, Sex and the Ladies in short vignettes for interweb consumption. These little vignettes would still be as bonkers strange, blunt, and full of citations as the movie was,  but they would be much more easily findable, bite-sized pieces that could be viewed together to create the whole argument but also apart to at least get part of the argument out and maybe prompt viewing all of them. 

The reason we made a full length movie was really just because it seemed to be the medium that would best portray the content in the way we wanted - as a complete argument, with citations, while being entertaining and super weird enough that regular ol' people might engage with it (i.e. funny and not a piece of writing or talking heads doc that mostly academics and progressives might find). At the time, there wasn't a place you could just set medium sized videos on the internet. If we'd made a bunch of shorts, where would we even show them? Why? Why not just make a movie? Honestly, we had only made shorts up to that time, so it's not like that wasn't on our mind. SSL was our first full length, and it took us a long ass time to finish it. 

I mean, no actual regrets. Sure I would do things differently now. We learned and grew a lot making it, but I love that crazy ass movie warts and all. It was just pretty interesting to think about how different our mindsets were about how motion picture content could and would be consumed back then. It changes a lot of things and it was only barely 10 years ago.  

Also, watching the bloopers for the first time in probably 6 years was super fun. That cast that stuck by us were gold. I love them all, and even now I get a little tingle in my heart when I see one of them who would never have known another talk to each other on social media. 

Okay, here's the trailer for fun. 


11.14.2020

Wanderlust S1Ep1 - The SSL Review



Wanderlust
This is a British TV series, but I caught it on Netflix. I really liked this show, and bonus, it involves a long-time married couple's sex lives, so there are things to SSL Review. Overall this show was on-point about ladygasms. There are maybe a few imperfections, but definitely better than I would expect from a show in general. The first episode got me excited about its treatment of female sexuality, masturbation, orgasms, etc. and this episode is what I'll be reviewing today. Go check out this show. I recommend it.




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).

The First Scene: sorry, but this sex is trash
Joy is standing at the foot of the bed looking at her husband Alan. She has a cane and some kind of brace on her arm. It's clear from this and some intercut scenes that there had been a bike accident in her past. It seems like maybe this is a scheduled first attempt at sex after the accident.

Alan: Ready?
Joy: As I'll ever be.

We then see the two in bed, under the covers missionary style. He's pushing in and out of her slowly.

Joy: sloooowwww (softly to him)

Allen nods and continues the slow fucking, but then Joy scrunches her face up in pain, and Alan stops.

Alan: what?
Joy: No, it's good. (unconvincingly)
Alan: Good?
Joy: You know what I mean
Alan: Surely you want it to be better than good?
Joy: You're telling me pal! (with a laugh)
Alan: Joy, come on. (annoyed and a bit exasperated)
Joy: No, I'm sorry, sorry sorry. I'm just. I'm in a lot of pain and I'm really self conscious.
Alan: That makes 2 of us.
Joy: Well if you just, I mean, more of technique to kinda get in that way. (kind of angling her lower body)
Alan: Sorry? Technique? (pissed)
Joy: You know what I mean. (exasperated, but softening)
Alan: Nooo. No, I'm not sure I do, actually. I'm not the one with the problem, Joy. So don't try and needle
Joy: I'm not trying...
Alan: away at my craft
Joy: (smiles - trying to lighten the moment) ...Your craft?..I'm sorry skilled woodsman. You're right. We really need to work on it. (laughs some more)
Alan: You know what? instead of making jokes...
Joy: No -alright, all right (becoming more serious and trying to pacify the situation).
Alan: ...I'd like to finish, please. (Gets off her) I think you've been using all this as an excuse.
Joy: What? (incredibly offended)
Alan: And I think you have been for months. I don't think you want to have sex with me, Joy.

Cuts to alarm ringing in the morning. 

Alan gets up and goes to shower. Joy opens her eyes and reaches down under the covers, obviously masturbating. Her son suddenly opens the door and asks where his shoes are. As one might expect, She stops abruptly. They talk for a second. He's maybe a little weirded out from the what he maybe might have kinda thought he walked into. Then he leaves and the scene ends.

The Second Scene: once or twice a week
Tom, Joy's son, is walking to school with Michelle, who seems to be a close friend.

Tom: Here's a question. How often do you masturbate?
Michelle: Nice.
Tom: I'm interested.
Michelle: Why?

Tom shrugs.

Michelle: Once or twice a week
Tom: You're kidding. I'm at once or twice a day at this point.
Michelle: Well, you're nothing if not thorough
Tom: I think I walked in on my mom having a wank.
Michelle: Shit. I think that means the world has to pretty much explode now.
Tom: I'm just saying...
Michelle: She's allowed to masturbate.
Tom: But I thought old people were supposed to go off sex. It's like Darwin and shit.
Michelle: Your mum isn't that old.
Tom: She's pretty old.

The Third Scene: wanking in office bathroom stalls
So turns out Alan works at a school, and he's talking with Claire, his friend and coworker, who had just that morning walked into an office and found another male coworker with his pants down having an early morning jerk-off session.

They are discussing it and Claire says, "You know. The crazy think is, I don't know why he doesn't just use the disabled toilet like the rest of us."

The SSL Assessment

All the Lady-bation
So, I think the first and most obvious observation is a clear overall insinuation from these 3 scenes that women do in fact masturbate. All the women we're introduced to, all different ages - Joy, Michelle and Claire - we watch them admit through words or actions that they wank (if we're going with the British theme here), and without any real shame depicted in association. I mean, granted Joy's son walked in on her and stopped her cold, but that's just not wanting to rub off in front of your son -  not really a show of shame. Otherwise, from the look on her face, she had been clearly enjoying the masturbation. 

The ladybation admission is important because there is still a stronger, harsher stigma on female masturbation. Masturbation itself doesn't exactly have a stellar rep for anyone, but for boys and men, it is so seen in our media, and it's often depicted as an inevitable part of manhood and maleness. This is not true for the ladies, which is really sad because we ladies need to know that masturbation is a valid part of femaleness, that it's something other women do and that it's not bad or strange. We really, really, really, need to know this specifically because masturbation is a lady's best bet at orgasm in this sexual culture. Of course, masturbation for anyone is the best way to learn what one likes and how to get to orgasm. I mean, of course we should all be our own first partner. 

It's just that for females there is a double whammy of masturbation. First, it's less normalized/seen/accepted which translates to less women doing it, particularly at pre-sexually active ages. Second, masturbation for females is even more important for learning to orgasm than for males because the odds of a lady just stumbling into an orgasm blindly during partnered sex, without having previously taught herself how to get there, ain't great - ain't great at all. I mean, if a boy has basic ol' hetero sex before he ever masturbates, all the correct stimulation should still be there to get him to orgasm. All he or his partner needs to know is that the penis moves in and out of the vagina. They get that right, and that's great orgasm stimulation on the penis. A girl in that same situation, however, does not get the stimulation on her organ of sexual pleasure, the clitoral glans. All she gets in this scenario is stimulation on her vaginal walls, and contrary to popular belief, an orgasm caused by just that has never ever been physically recorded in all of scientific literature - and that's with over half a decade of research trying to prove females can come merely from a penis moving in their vagina. Unfortunately, getting banged into an orgasm simply doesn't seem to a real thing (seriously - like for real, for real). 

So not only do ladies live in an environment that is less conducive for masturbation, but they also have sexual interactions that are less conducive for orgasm...so the ladies get fucked twice, and the boys get a leg up twice. It's not an even playing field, so anything that helps lady-bation feel more possible and normal will up the odds a lady will masturbate, upping odds that she will have orgasmed at all, which should then up the odds she will know how she might orgasm again - possibly even in a partnered situation (spoiler alert: how she might orgasm again in a partnered situation is just by doing the things that made her orgasm alone...but incorporating another person into it).

Sex vs. masturbation: orgasm matters
Okay the other thing I want to point out relates to that first scene. I mean, the high level takeaway from it is that Joy, for whatever reason, wasn't into the sex with her husband, but she was into masturbating. 

The question is why? There's more later in this show that speaks to this, but just from what we saw, one might think that, yeah, she doesn't want to have sex with him, just like he said. One might think that maybe she's being a bitch because she's depriving her husband of the sexual interaction he really desires, but not because she's not into it, but because she's not into it with him...since she does it on her own.

Okay, maybe...but actually no. The only way one could really see it that way is if one were under the incredibly incorrect assumption that him simply moving his cock inside her was in any way equivalent to her masturbating, and they are not. I could forgive someone for seeing it that way because as a culture, we do hold strongly to a stupid and unsupported idea that intercourse is the same type of  orgasmic event for the penis person as it is for the vagina person. It's patently not. It's a sex act that does all the right stuff for getting the penis off and very little if anything for getting the clit off. 

So, let's just put this in a clearer view. A woman that has been injured and has pain, is opening her legs so that her partner can masturbate his penis inside her vagina to orgasm. She is not getting orgasmic stimulation in this situation and she is feeling actual pain. She is having a shit time and he's getting the possibility for orgasm. And that mother fucker gets mad at her? for not being excited enough? for putting her 2 cents in for how it could be more enjoyable? For allowing him to rub his penis inside her even though it's painful? Fuck that guys's face to the moon. He can fuck right off. And, yet she feels bad. When he gets mad, she tries to comfort him and tell him it's fine. I mean really. 

Take this exchange:

Alan: Surely you want it to be better than good?
Joy: You're telling me pal! (with a laugh)
Alan: Joy, come on. (annoyed and a bit exasperated)
Joy: No, I'm sorry, sorry sorry. I'm just. I'm in a lot of pain and I'm really self conscious.
Alan: That makes 2 of us. 

Really Alan? That makes 2 of you? You're both actually in pain, and you're both getting your organ of sexual pleasure ignored because you have a hole that your partner wants to wank into? Nah. Alan, if you want to see something close to what it's actually like to be in the same boat as Joy, then you need to be getting a dildo up your inexperienced ass (no reach-around included) while you vibrate your partner's clit. Then take time and energy to placate her when she gets offended and mad after asking her to be patient with you, telling her an angle you'd prefer, and expressing your pain. Do all that knowing from experience that she's on the road to orgasm and you are not.

I have more to say, but before I move on, I want to dig into the pain part here a touch more.  Joy was doing this even though she was in actual pain. What fucking sense does it make to pursue orgasm while the thing happening that's supposed to cause you orgasm is instead causing you pain? (I swear ya'll better not @ me about S&M stuff). Why would she even try to keep going? I mean, the real deal is she wasn't doing it for an orgasm. She could jerk off if she wanted that. She was doing it to be nice to Alan; to allow him her body in his pursuit of orgasm. Even though we as a society act like we think a basic fuck is a mutually orgasmic experience, I think deep inside we all also know it's not. That's why women push through all kinds of pain during intercourse; from shitty first times to being too dry to getting your cervix excruciatingly banged. We know it's not really about us. It's about that dick getting off, and the person attached to the dick also knows it. It's a secret unspoken agreement that we don't even want to think about. And when Alan gets mad, it's not just about her 'making up the pain.' It's also about her unwillingness to endure whatever pain or bother to get him off inside her, something one can only assume he had been previously accustomed to (and I am aware they are character, not real people). 

Too many sex acts, too little orgasms
But moving on, I really like this Joy / Alan scene because it feels super rich and poignant to me. It hits at the heart of the female experience of sex, particularly in a long-term relationship. The simple, physical truth is that basic intercourse is great for male orgasm and absolute shit for female orgasm. So, please just imagine how many sex acts involve a man coming and a woman not coming. That's a hard pill to swallow, but stick with me here, because now imagine a wife avoiding sex or trying to speak up about other things she'd rather do, or different ways to have sex. It can seem incredibly odd if not completely fucked up of her to do that if one assumes (and we all do to some extent ) that intercourse for her is as exciting and arousing and orgasmic as it is for the person ramming their penis in her vagina. Why would she ever want to avoid that pleasure? Is she fucking crazy, or physically cold and dead inside, or mean and withholding, or dumb? I mean, that's another level in why Alan got pissy and why she got all sorry about it...because her actions don't feel sensible.

But. They. Are. So. So. So. Sensible. It makes complete sense. Ya wanna know why she wasn't into fucking her husband but was into masturbating the next morning. Because she wanted a goddamn orgasm. Given how deep our incorrect assumptions about intercourse are, she, like many a woman out there, may not be able to verbalize that, but that's the real deal. If we open our eyes and see clearly how often women are in sexual situations where they are expected to find orgasmic pleasure, but no way sensibly could attain that orgasmic pleasure given the physical nature of the sex, then so many of women's ambivalent or negative reactions to partnered sexuality make All. The. Sense. In turn, men's negative reactions to women's ambivalent or negative reactions can be seenvas desperately selfish.

Anyway, that's what stuck out to me about that scene. Joy had an actual injury with pain, maybe, but even if she didn't, that interaction was a version of a category of interactions that many a female has had with their long-term male partner. And the roots of those interaction are in the multitude of scars and twists and misunderstanding brought about by thinking ladies can get banged into an orgasm.

Vulva Rating
Clearly, my top SSL highlight in this episode is that it helps in normalizing lady-bation in the culture - and in ladies of a variety of ages. That is well received at this blog, and is helpful to the cause of Orgasm Equality.

I also love the depiction of the couple's sexual interaction because there is some rare intimate long-term couple realism that I appreciate. Although I break this scene down above in a way that probably most viewers would not have any reason to consider, I think there is still some value in an uncritical viewing.  For instance, I think it is certainly played in a way that the husband's reactions, particularly his resistance to adjustment, are not simply set before us without any culpability. 

Overall, we see the words that are said. We see the reactions they elicit, and the viewer takes what they will. A woman might see herself in Joy masturbating after shit sex. She might also see herself in Joy's complete offense at Alan blaming her for not pushing through painful sex. She may also see a woman that she deems negative and unaccommodating to a well-meaning husband. The men watching may also identify in different ways with the couple in this scene. It's hard to know exactly how this scene fits into our communal understanding of ladygasms and female sexuality; how it might change or solidify a person's assumptions and opinions. However, I give it props for just existing, because I think the responsible thread in this scene, despite what any individual may take from it, is that there is realism in how these people act and react in this very intimate situation. 

As for me, I see a depiction of a woman that may not be so excited about getting fucked, but is excited about making herself come...and that's cool enough, my friends.

This gets 4 out of 5 vulvas
(!)(!)(!)(!)

10.10.2020

5 Halloween Season Movies #DirectedByWomen



Good afternoon. Here is another 5 Movie list for you, again, while I'm procrastinating on the next post. It's mid October, so these are scary or creepy or suspenseful, or just Haloweeny type movies directed by women that you might just enjoy for your Halloween season viewing. I'm including a couple that I've already put into lists before - but just because they are classics. 

To be completely transparent here, overall I'm not that into horror or the Halloween watching season. I love me a lot of movies and will pretty much watch any genre, but horror just feels boring and thirsty to me most of the time, so I don't often choose it (same with super hero movies). I'm biased. I get that. I'm obviously no expert on the genre and probably miss a lot of the homages to past classics and all Easter eggs people really enjoy, I also get that there's a particular humor in certain horror niches that people love, and I've actually seen a fair amount of the indie B-movie horror of the last 10 years because I know a few people working in that game. So I've definitely seen some stuff I'm into, it's just at the bottom of my go-to type of movie. That said. I really did enjoy and do recommend all of these 5. They truly are all worth a watch in my opinion and this is for sure the month to do it. 

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, grab some snacks (maybe Halloween candy or some popcorn balls or something like that), and check of these lovely documentaries directed by women.

The Movies

1 The Babadook  - This is directed by Jennifer Kent. Even though friends were telling me I should, I was resistant to watch this simply because, as I discussed above, I'm not that excited about horror movies. However, I was wrong. It's a really well done movie. Highly recommend. Also, bonus, I SSL Reviewed it (reviews specifically on depictions or discussions of female masturbation, female orgasm, cunnilingus, or the clit) and it got a full 5 out of 5 vulva rating (!)(!)(!)(!)(!). 




2 High Life - This was directed by Claire Denis. I saw this at the theater, and granted, it's pretty bonkers, but I really liked it. Maybe not for everyone, but it's got the kind of shit I go to the movies hoping to find.



3 The Love Witch -  This was directed by Anna Biller. I couldn't resist including this one because it's just a lovely Halloween watching choice. I just happened upon this one on Netflix...or some other streaming thing. It's a modern indie movie, but created like a particular 60's genre, and it's fun and witchy as shit. Also one of the characters has my name, and I always like that.



4 Woodshock - This was directed by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy. I happened upon this streaming fairly recently. It was an early pandemic watch for me. It's also weird as fuck, and guess what? I liked that shit. Again, maybe not for everyone, but if you are into a psychedelic, suspenseful movie with a somewhat incomprehensible plot, this is the one for you...and I say that with the utmost love - for real.



5 Pet Sematary - This was directed by Mary Lambert. I mean it's a classic. I happen to see it at the Drive In last year. Excellent Halloween-time watch. Plus, Herman Munster is in it as the neighbor.


9.19.2020

Still Here, but Sadly Shere Hite is Not



I wanted to put a post up this weekend because it's been too long. I don't want anyone thinking I'm uninterested in this blog or the fight for Orgasm Equality or generally fucking up the deeply embedded, far-reaching cultural assumption that it somehow makes sense that banging into a vagina would cause the attached lady to orgasm. 

Listen, I am still dedicated to fucking up that assumption, and it needs to be fucked up because it doesn't make sense - not anatomical sense, not sense based on peer reviewed scientific investigations, not sense based on historical knowledge, not sense based on actual experiential accounts from ladies. 

It doesn't make sense, but yet it feels sensible enough. 

It feels sensible enough that degreed and experienced scientist are often willing to turn a blind eye towards the appalling lack of evidence for a 'vaginally stimulated orgasm."* - allowing baseless claims in articles to go unchecked in peer review.

It feels sensible enough that everyday women all over the world believe they should have them and will desperately scour sex advise for ways to have them, or pretend to have them, or convince themselves that feelings and sensations related to intercourse are vaginal orgasms. 

It feels sensible enough that despite no physical evidence that vaginal orgasms exists, sexperts will refuse to say this blunty in their advise. Maybe it's because their status quo sexpert curriculum holds the incorrect assumption that a percentage of ladies are known to orgasm vaginally. Maybe it's because they aren't sure enough or are too scared to say that there is not physical evidence for vaginal orgasms because they don't want to offend or rock the boat. Maybe they had some kind of spiritual/emotional climax while getting their brains banged out, assumed it was an orgasm, don't care to put thought into why defining "orgasm" as anything and everything is confused, scientifically inaccurate, and harmful, and now they just want to have fun talking and advising about sex in a surface, uncritical, and ultimately problematic way. 

And that's the problem, it's hard to get past the feeling that women can/should have vaginal orgasm. It's seems wrong and mean and narrow to burst the bubble of vaginal orgasm, to tell people that the things they have heard and assumed and seen and learned their whole life from basically everything that could give them clues about sex is pretty wrong about the ladies, and that the idea of vaginal-penile intercourse being orgasmic for both parties or about the vagina as an orgasmically sensitive orgasm is bullshit. It's scary to even insinuate that. 

Believe me. I know. You get real pushback saying this shit. People will tell you you're arrogant and that their personal experience says vaginal orgasms are real. Although honestly, those are just the loudest (sometimes very loud) people. If you really listen, you will not find this is what most people have to say - quite the contrary in my experience. But I do get why it's a controversy sexperts and researchers don't want to touch. And listen, I don't doubt what anyone feels about their personal experience, but I see no problem in doubting what people know about their personal experience. Frankly, without some bit of objective corroborating evidence I don't have reason to trust anything anyone says about what their bodies are doing. You say had a heart attack but didn't go to the doctor? Maybe. Might have been a panic attack. You're think you sprained your ankle? Could be. Could be something else too. You think you orgasmed when Kevin was pushing his dick in and out of you and your clit wasn't being touched in any way? Maybe. Maybe you just had fun and made noises like you orgasmed, but that's not an orgasm. 

I really do get it. The feelings and pleasure and emotions around sexual activity are personal, complicated and no one is here telling anyone else what they can and can't enjoy or find pleasurable. But any person with some authority on the subject - sexperts, researchers, doctors, therapists - have a responsibility to be educated (really educated) and clear about the physiological, anatomical knowns of orgasm. And there are knowns. The female orgasm is no more a mystery than the male orgasm. Ignoring the facts and perpetuating the baseless claim that "vaginal orgasms" are a known, observed phenomenon is fucked up at this point in history. If I may be blunt, it breeds ignorance, continuation of the current state of sexual culture and sexual politics, and mostly it perpetuates the confusion, shame, and lack of orgasm that have been plaguing the female population for centuries. 

And this brings me to Shere Hite. I just happened to write about her in my last post. She said the shit that needed to be said, and she didn't pull punches. She asked and really listened to women's specific, detailed experiences with orgasm, masturbation, pleasure and sexual interactions. And she also really listened to what the science actually can tell us about lady-gasms and our bodies. Since then, almost 50 years later, the science hasn't uncovered anything yet that contradicts what she was saying in any significant way (no way I can think of, really). She told us straight up in the 70's all the basic things I'm saying in this blog now. If we had listened to her, we would know that women need clitoral glans area stimulation in order to orgasm just like males need penile stimulation. We would know that sexual interactions between any 2 (or more) people can and should create ample opportunities for any body to orgasm as long as the correct stimulation is given to the penile or clitoral areas (or, might I add, the organ that is a little bit clit / a little bit penis for certain intersex individuals). The vagina is not the female organ of sexual pleasure (although you might call it an organ of male sexual pleasure ;)



Everyone is capable of and deserves a real opportunity to orgasm during sexual interactions. Making that statement tangible through her epic information gathering and spot-on assessments was the gift Shere Hite tried to give the world. 

She made a mark - an important push towards Orgasm Equality, but the world wasn't quite ready to embrace it. We still aren't in 2020. In fact, when I said there's pushback for saying these things, I meant it. She was loved, certainly, and her book changed lives. However, it pissed people off. Saying women don't need a dick up inside them to come is not a popular opinion. Despite the fact that she did an insane amount of serious research and created a straight up revolutionary piece of work, she was shit on for years. Apparently Playboy at the time dubbed her book, The Hite Report, "THE HATE REPORT" and Times did a shitty article on her as well.  I wish I could have read a bunch of the stuff that was written at the time about it, but ya know, the internet wasn't around at the time, so tricky to find. 

But the hate isn't really the saddest part to me. Hate is a side effect of any good revolutionary thought. It's the eventual disregard and marginalization of her work that really fucked her (and all of us) over. As soon as there was any way for people to "reasonably" disregard her hard statements about vaginal orgasms not being realistic, they did. The G-spot craze that started in 1982, less than a decade later, was a great way to ignore the truths Hite was telling us. It shouldn't have, since the G-spot doesn't cause orgasms, and everything Hite was saying was still absolutely as valid as it was before...but people don't want to believe you can't bang a woman into orgasm, so we mostly don't. The G-spot is out of vogue now among the hip, but believing the inner clit somehow causes orgasms from maybe, kinda, being pressed upon during a good fuck is SUPER popular. It's as ridiculous and probably even less supported by evidence than the idea of a 'G-Spot Orgasm," but it has been widely and un-critically accepted - especially and sadly by people that thinks they are knowledgeable and progressive around issues of sexuality. Even recently I had a debate with a man that called himself a skeptic and progressive that basically said Freud's idea of vaginal orgasms being more mature than clitoral orgasms is similarly extreme and harmful as the feminists of the 70's saying that vaginal orgasms did not exist (He used Anne Koedt's essay The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm  *Read it. It's good stuff btw* as an example, but she was of the same time and was in agreement with Hite's point of view). My point is, the sentiment out there is the same. People think it's crazy to say dicks don't give women orgasms. As I said before. They don't like it and don't wanna hear it.

After I read The Hite Report on Female Sexuality, I tried reaching out to Shere Hite. I looked for emails and addresses and social media, publishers - anything. I think it was partly because she got so much hate that she kept her info more private than most. Then in about the late 2000s to about 2011, she seemed to pop back into public. She did a Colbert Report interview, some interviews, and then I found a random blog post where someone had gone to a talk of hers in England. The woman said Hite seemed confused and acted a little strangely. I have no idea where it was and can't find it now.  I couldn't really find anything about Shere Hite out in the public after that. I assumed she was ill in some way and assumed I probably would never get in touch with her. 

I was right that I would never get to talk with her or interview her. She died this month. Although I had kind of settled on Shere as a person not in the public eye any more, hearing that she had died really struck me. It reminded me one more time of how very resistant this world is to hearing truth about female orgasm. Hite's work should have been held in high regard and incorporated deeply into our sexual culture from the moment her book was released. Instead of slow marginalization through the years it should have been fundamental to sexual learning. She deserves more than she got, but I do believe her legacy, though sometimes invisible and put upon, exists as a small but mighty beacon of light that guides others towards lady-gasm truth and inspires those working towards those same goals.

Shere Hite, you gave us all a gift, and one day we will open it properly. 

*(vaginal orgasm/VIO or Vaginally Induced Orgasm/Gspot Orgasm/uterine orgasm/cervical orgasm/inner clit orgasm - or whatever the new hip term is for an "orgasm" causes by something pushing in and out of the vag)

8.30.2020

The Hite Report is bad-ass, but not much has changes - AKA I love you Shere Hite



Shere Hite, ya'll. This is a tribute, kind of, because someone sent me an old article of hers that came out about the time were shooting Science Sex and the Ladies  

Her book, The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality, her research, her conclusions are golden. They are also largely forgotten, ignored, misunderstood, or downplayed in lady-gasm research and advice, but that's not her fault. That's because we are a world obsessed with the idea that P-in-V intercourse is/should be equally as orgasmic for women as it is for men. It's not. It never has been and never will be. Everyone kind of knows that, but whenever that is really specifically called out as bullshit, the world kinda hardens to the idea and bounces it out of site until we all forget about it. That to me is where Hite's work (and all like it, really) exists at that moment. 




Everyone should read her book. Years ago I used to write posts about how you could get it for 1 cent on Amazon. It looks like it's closer to about $5 now, but still worth every penny. That's also why I post the text from 1 random page out of this book (and her different, but incredibly intriguing Hite Report on Male Sexuality book) every now and again. I call it Random Hite Report, and I was hoping it might interest people enough that they get the book and read it. 

I mean she said it straight out in that book...in 1976 - that women NEED external clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm. She had gotten written surveys from over 3000 women about the specific details of their partnered and solo sex life; the details of how they stimulate themselves, when and how they orgasm, how their legs are positioned when they masturbate. It's bad ass, and it tells a story of women with clits that are completely functional. Clits that can be stimulated to orgasm as quickly, easily and reliably as the penis, but unlike the penis, they are under-used, unused, ignored, misunderstood, and certainly not discussed. They are the organ of female orgasm, but they are almost never the focus and often not even part of partnered sex.

Hite wrote this groundbreaking book just after Masters and Johnson did their groundbreaking research that gave the physiological, scientific backing for the clit (not the vagina) being the cause of female orgasm. Hite gave Master and Johnson's research the feminist perspective it deserved. She (and a few other feminists of the time) filled in the reality of what M&J's physiological scientific revelations meant to everyday sexual encounters. Basically, it was clear that we're doing it wrong (for women of course, certainly not men). Our understanding of women and sex needed to change. The way women's bodies were engaged in partnered sexual encounters needed to change. The way we depicted and talked about  and taught sex and orgasm needed to change. 

None of it changed, though. Not really. 

I feel there may have been a small window of time in a small sliver of the population that got to live in the golden era between Hite's book and the point when the book introducing the public to the G-spot was dropped in 1982 telling everyone something like, 'Just joking! Women can still orgasm vaginally...it's just that it's the G-spot not the vagina that makes it happen!' (It's not true at all, but whatever). That's the time during which the movie 20th Century Women took place. I SSL Reviewed that movie quite highly

But for real. It's 2020 now. Everything Hite was saying should change still needs to change. The G-spot has recently gone out of vogue to talk about in the progressive, even feminist, world of sexperting, but the idea that something about banging penises into vaginas can cause lady-gasms hasn't. It's just now, people point to the inner legs of the clitoris as causing orgasm-from-fucking....because supposedly the penis pushes on the vaginal walls which kinda press against the clitoral legs (not the clitoral glans, mind you, which is on the outside of the body and has all the 8,000 nerve endings people know the clit for) or against the vestibular bulbs (that people call part of the clit, but it's not), and I guess that's what's supposed to cause an orgasm. It doesn't. Or at least if it does no one has ever seen that happen in all of scientific research, just like they've never seen a 'g-spot' cause an orgasm, but whatever. People say it, so the world believes it. 

The world wants to believe it. It's easier to just pretend women can orgasm from intercourse rather than acknowledge the incredibly sad truth that women are having SO MUCH sex with no orgasm and then do the hard work to change how we teach, depict, and do sex so that everyone gets what they need to orgasm. 

So...nothing too much has changed. Hite acknowledged it herself in an article from 2008

"As noted, The Hite Report on Female Sexuality showed that most women could orgasm easily and regularly via separate stimulation of the exterior vulva or pubis, and that the definition of sex should change to include such stimulation to orgasm as a normal part of sex. This would make sex more egalitarian. While this research showed that sex should no longer be so exaggeratedly focused on coitus as the sole high point or climax of sex, images of sex in pornography, popular culture and media did not change."

I get frustrated thinking about how little has changed since I started researching this stuff in the early 2000 and certainly since I released the movie in 2014. I can't imagine how frustrated Shere Hite was while writing that article over 30 years after sexual norms should have crumbled under the weight of her book's truth-telling. 

I'd love to talk to her about it, but honestly, she just dropped off the face of public life after about the time she wrote the article. I've tried many a time to get ahold of her in lots of different way, but nothing so far (anyone know her??? - I'd love you forever if I could talk with her). 

But, she did important work, and just because the world didn't take to it right away doesn't mean her work wasn't monumental. It just means that the change her work suggests is so monumental that it needs generations of work. She was not the first, but she grew the fire, and it's still smoldering, giving other people the fuel to light more fires. 

For me, her book changed everything. After a year or so of reading shit about lady-gasms, I started thinking...'it doesn't seem like a vaginal orgasm is real.' I can't find evidence that it actually exists, but even if it was hinted at, no one would say it, and most people just acted like vaginal orgasms were a given. Hite said it. She gave me the confidence to continue forward. It made me feel finally like I wasn't crazy.

That's how we do this. One fire lighting another fire, lighting another fire, lighting another...until we burn down the fucking P-in-V obsessed, clit-ignoring norms of sex. 

We'll get there.  

8.15.2020

5 Docs #DirectedByWomen That I Hope You'll Like



Good afternoon. Here is another 5 Movie list for you while I'm procrastinating on the next post. Listen, it's been a little heavy at work lately, and ya know, I kinda just want to watch a fab movie and eat dinner when get home. Maybe eat some ice cream, maybe. 

But I don't want you to think I'm gone or that I'm not thinking of you. I most definitely am. So, here's some good ol' docs for you to enjoy in the meantime.

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, grab some ice cream (I'd go with Ben and Jerry's Milk and Cookies, if it were me), and check of these lovely documentaries directed by women.

The Movies

1 Wrestle  - This is directed by Suzannah Herbert  with co-director Lauren Belfer. I saw this streaming a few months ago. It's a good fly on-the-wall doc following a few members of a high school wrestling team. Engaging view - I recommend it. 




2 There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane - This was directed by Liz Garbus. I saw this streaming about a year ago. If you're into true crime stuiff you'll enjoy this - even though it's not really true crime, but it has the feel.




3 Athlete A  - This was directed Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk. I just recently saw this one. It's about The Indianapolis Star's investigation into the USA gymnastics abuses on their female gymnasts.  Strangely, although I have lived in Indy almost my whole life, and was there when this all news came out, I didn't realize that it was originating from The Star. I love good solid investigative journalism doing better for the world, and this is a good doc on it. Recommend. 




4 Hillary -This was directed by Nanette Burstein. It's about Hillary Clinton, ya'll.  I saw this a few months ago. Good shit. For real. - definitely worth a watch.




5 My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn - This was directed by Liz Corfixen, who happens to be Nicolas Winding Refn's wife. Refn directed some movies I really love (and a couple I could live without), and this is her documentation of the time during the shooting of Only God Forgives, a movie I quite like and which got a pretty good SSL Review (solid ladybation scene for sure). I say check this out - especially if you want to see a director lose his shit about whether his movie's good or not. I kinda love this doc. 


7.26.2020

30% Is A Stat About Female Orgasm, But It's Not What You Think...probably, unless you read my blog a lot...



30% of Women Orgasm from Intercourse??? 
I have been recently using a set of pages in a book to cite the numbers I use in regards to how many women claim to orgasm from intercourse alone. I use the stat of 'around 30%.' The book is "The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Study of Evolution" by Elisabeth Lloyd (Harvard University Press 2005), and the pages are the first 22 pages after the introduction, actually the whole first chapter titled 'The Basics of Female Orgasm' (p21-43). 



So that 30% number. It, or numbers close to it, are thrown around quite a bit as the stat on how many women vaginally orgasm. It seems like it's a real number that is scientifically backed up. Actually, it is a real number. It comes from somewhere, but as they say - it doesn't mean what you think it means.  The truth is that there is no number out there that realistically reflects the percentage of women that orgasm from inner vaginal stimulation alone, with no additional clitoral stimulation. At best that 30% number is a loose, but certainly over inflated to some degree that is unknown, estimate based on a variety of studies that reflects not how many women vaginally orgasm, but how many women claim to orgasm during intercourse. There are known and uncontroversial biases in all of these studies that cause that almost certain over inflation of that number. There are also more complicated, slightly more controversial problems and biases that likely cause even further inflation of that number. I'll get into all that in detail below, but first I want to break this down a bit. There are mainly 3 categories that these numbers get related to. They are very different, but these important differences are rarely acknowledged and get jumbled up together in the conversation causing unnecessary confusion and misinformation. I'll separate them out and for fun give you my best prediction of what the percentages on those questions actually are.

Vaginal Orgasmers
If you ask me, the % of women that orgasm vaginally, that is orgasm from stimulation in the vagina but without external clitoral stimulation, is most likely, well, about zero. But, that's just like, my opinion, man. It's not willy nilly, and I have plenty of arsenal I use to back up that prediction, but also, despite what it may seem,  there simply isn't actual existing data on it. So, anyone that says they know, even vaguely, what that % is, well, they are either ill educated on the subject or lying. 

Hands-free Intercourse Orgasmsers
The % of women that can and/or regularly do orgasm during intercourse with no hands and/or vibrator, is truly unknown because the questions asked in surveys about this stuff are generally thoughtless, uninformed, and unfocused, so the results are shitty and don't allow for the distinctions needed to get real answers. 

I'd guess it's somewhere under that 30% - closer to the 20-24% in the Hite and Fischer studies below, but to me, the thing to remember here is there's no reason to assume this % reflects some sort of innate ability some women have and some women don't. Let's not forget that that the act of intercourse is not an act that necessitates the involvement of the clit, the organ of female sexual pleasure, like it does the penis, so getting a lady-gasm is not something that will just happen...unless you believe the vagina has some magical ability we don't understand yet, for some women, that causes an orgasm. I clearly don't buy that, but even for others that don't buy that, there is still a push to show that some women carry an innate quality that makes it more likely for them to orgasm during intercourse without using hands. It's still related to the external clit stimulation, which I appreciate because, well that is how women do in fact orgasm. It's become recently repopularized among sexperts (and unfortunately Lloyd herself has gotten into this) to explain why assert that the distance between the clit and vaginal hole is an innate quality in women that affects her ability to orgasm this way. The closer it is, the more a woman is able to come. 

I call hardcore bullshit on that. Besides not having strong evidence to back it up, let us not forget a woman can grind out her own clit stimulation. I highly doubt a clit a couple millimeters further from or closer to her vagina than average would have anything to do with the innate potential. The truth is there is every reason to assume every woman is biologically capable, with time, experience, and a partner that doesn't fuck it up for her, of grinding her clit against her partner or some bedding while she has a penis in her vagina (honestly though, that penis might need to just fucking stay still for a minute while she grinds). 
also, I'd like to reiterate that a partner that doesn't fuck it up is uberimportant because angle, pressure, and freedom of movement are key and need to be figured out on a case by case basis depending on how 2 people fit together. Where her clit is would certainly affect how she angles her hips to get the right grinding pressure on her clit, but there's just no reason to assume it says something about her biologically innate ability to orgasm. The only sticking point here, and it's actually a big one, is that the lady has to figure out this grinding thing on the fly while dealing with all the restrictions of movement keeping a penis up inside her creates. That's likely way more of a challenge than it should be and is likely why the numbers for this are so low...not because some women are biologically incapable of finding a situation that works for grinding her clit into an orgasm. 

Orgasming During Intercourse
The % for women that can and/or regularly do orgasm during intercourse is also unknown because again survey questions about it are generally shit, but at least some surveys either discern between hands-free vs. manual stimulation intercourse orgasm or acknowledge that additional manual stimulation during intercourse is a thing. I would guess that the numbers could be a bit higher than the 30%, like the 50%ish  Kinsey's study showed. Kinsey's team assumed manual stimulation was a normal way to orgasm during intercourse and so those numbers are intentionally included but not discerned from their overall intercourse orgasm numbers.  

Here's the deal though. Any woman that masturbates can do this. Ya just do what you do to masturbate but with a dick up your junk. There is absolutely no element of innate ability that some women have and others don't. It's open to any woman. Of course easier said than done. It's clearly not something that is modeled much and it unfortunately feels to a lot of people like a cheat, or an ego punch to the partner. It's something we consider and do in our culture much, much too seldom. 

But also, why are we so worried about having a dick in us when we orgasm?
And on that note, let me end my number best-guesses here by pulling out (pun intende) a bit and asking this. Why do we give so much of a shit about orgasming during intercourse at all, much less hands-free during intercourse? I mean, I get why Lloyd does. Her book is about the evolution of the female orgasm so she was specifically investigating how often lady-gasms arise form nothing but the reproductive act. But, most of us aren't writing Philosophy of Science books. We're just trying to have a good time fucking, and the truth is orgasms arise from penis and clit stimulation, not penis and vagina stimulation. 

The fact that we as a sexual culture are obsessed with women back-bending themselves into orgasming during a sex act that is shit for their orgasm just so their orgasm doesn't inconvenience anyone by needing something other than the very male-orgasm-centric act of intercourse - is kinda sad. God forbid the sex act include the kind of intentional focused stimulation to the clit that we almost always, under any circumstance, afford penises in a sexual situation. 

I mean, if you have figured out a great way to reliably get orgasms during intercourse, cool. But also, like fuck intercourse (so to speak). We should be less focused on intercourse when talking of female orgasm and exponentially more on external clit stimulation...because it's literally as important to lady-gasm as penises are to male orgasm. 

Back to the 30%
Why it's important to understand correctly
What is Lloyd saying and doing in those pages, why is she doing it, and why do I choose to use those pages over everything else out there as my citation on the lady-gasm during intercourse stats. I'm doing this post because I was reminded about the importance of that 30% stat recently by my incredibly Dedicated-To-Orgasm-Equality webfriend who keeps me honest, supplied with resources, and filled with thoughtful reflection. She quite rightly worries about how other people, and in fact Lloyd herself in later work and interviews, uses the orgasm-from-intercourse stats from this book. 

Specifically, these stats are often (I'd actually say mostly) incorrectly used as an indication of how many women do/can orgasm vaginally as opposed to how they should be used; as a loose and likely overinflated indication of how many women claim to orgasm during intercourse. It's important (and worrying) because without that discernment, and without having a full background understanding of the significant biases in the studies from which these numbers come, it gives the impression that about 1/3 of women have some quality that other women don't - an ability to orgasm from nothing more than a penis moving in and out of the vagina intercourse-style, when that is almost certainly not the case at all. 

But why even use the number at all
That said, these very imperfect, often misleading stats are all we currently have, and I refer to this chapter because the starting point from which I must begin many of my arguments is that stats seem to show, and lots of people believe, that there is a percentage of females that can and do orgasm from nothing more than stimulation inside the vagina. Those stats don't actually mean that, but I can't ignore that there are numbers out there, numbers like the ones we're discussing, that people (everyone really) use to make that argument. 

What I can do is begin by pointing out the reality of those numbers: What do studies really suggest is the % of women that claim vaginal orgasm? What exactly are the studies behind these stats and what story are the numbers really telling?  Why does claiming a vaginal orgasm not strongly indicate that the person actually had a vaginal orgasm? Lloyd's overview of these studies and those stats are the best out there for actually getting an idea of what women claim. Referring people to Lloyd's chapter has been s a shorthand for me to reflect the complexity and the flaws in these stats without having to detail it all out like I'm doing here. But...I'm probably going to start sending people to this page instead of her chapter, given that someone randomly reading my blog on the internet can find this page, but probably won't go buy Lloyd's book and read the first chapter unless they are REALLY into this stuff...

So to dive into these numbers we have to go through a few levels (listed below). I'll hit on each and how Lloyd's chapter and how I deal with them.
  • Understanding what stats are out there that speak to % vaginal orgasm among us ladies
  • Understanding the % of women that we can fairly assume orgasm during intercourse given the existing data
  • Digging deeper into the study assumptions from which these numbers came
  • Critiquing how these numbers are used
Understanding what stats are out there that speak to % vaginal orgasm among us ladies 
There are lots and they give a variety of numbers. Lloyd's all over this. Her review is comprehensive and touches on 32 major studies. The only really big one I know of that she doesn't include is Master's and Johnson's groundbreaking study, but that study was focused on the physiological investigation of orgasm as oppose to getting the % of vaginal orgasmers in a random (or at least somewhat random) population. However, if she had included it, it would not be counter to either Lloyd's argument or mine.  

Understanding  the % of women that we can fairly assume orgasm during intercourse given the existing data
This can only happenof course, after  taking into account widely understood weaknesses of these many studies and how they negate and/or confirm each other, but also taking them generally at face value because they are all we have so far and any argument that outright ignores these stats would hold no water in a scientific argument. 

Lloyd nails this. She's goes through the studies and discusses how they relate to each other along with their strengths and weaknesses. It is a comprehensive review of these 32 studies, and in the end she doesn't come out with an exact % of women. She takes the pulse of all these studies and gets to a general scientifically conservative (meaning the reality is probably much lower) estimate of around 1/3 of women could be expected to claim orgasm during intercourse with no additional manual clitoral stimulation. She uses this number with full understanding of the huge problems with the studies from which these numbers arise. I usually say about 30%, and use this whole chapter as a reference for why that's a solid conservative number to start out with. What I'm saying is that there is no one number. the 30% I use and the 1/3 Lloyd uses are just best estimates. It's complex, but we have to start somewhere that scientists can agree on based on existing scientific data.   

Now here's some of the main points in her review. If you are interested, though I do recommend reading this chapter.

Important studies in Lloyd's review
There are two studies I, and I'd say she as well, take with more weight because of how they discern the questioning. Hite (1976) and Fischer (1973) both discern orgasm from additional manual stimulation during intercourse from orgasm during intercourse without additional manual stimulation (those who say they don't need any manual stimulation at all - Hite 24%, Fischer 20% - Hite's number is only among respondents who have ever orgasmed under any circumstance and who have had intercourse). 

Kinsey (1953) and Gebhard (1966) did not make that discernment in their numbers, although they acknowledged that they did not. Their numbers for orgasms during intercourse intentionally include women that used additional manual clitoral stimulation to orgasm and don't discern them from the overall total, so if you are looking to find percentages of women that orgasmed without additional manual stimulation of the clit, these aren't it. They are certainly and admittedly inflated if looking for vaginally orgasming women, but to what degree, we don't know (Gebhard 35-59% always or almost always depending on how happily married the women said she was) (Kinsey 50-62% anywhere from always to regularly).

No other studies Lloyd looks at make this discernment in their stats nor do they acknowledge that they don't. So, that alone would indicate to me that none of those other stats about intercourse orgasms give any kind of clear indication about how many women can orgasm from merely a dick moving in and out of her vagina without manual stimulation of the clit.

Biases and problems to consider
On top of all that messiness, Lloyd points out a variety of other problems with comparing data from different studies about women's claims of orgasm during intercourse. First, she notes the populations the studies used. Many were quite small, some were only gynecological patients, some only college educated people, and they were all from Europe or the US. These all may have a biased impact on the resulting stats.

Also, they all use different, and sometimes non-quantifiable ranges for their categories of how often the women claim to orgasm during intercourse. Some studies break it down to Always, Sometimes, Never. Others break it down by % of times. Others have a Always/Almost always category or a Sometime/Never category. It's almost impossible to really compare. 

And if I might be so bold, I have an additional problem with this, because...what does 'sometimes' mean to someone?  I have talked to a few women who when we first discussed it said that yeah, they do orgasm sometimes from intercourse. Then later in the conversation, it adjusts to that they have orgasmed once or twice, they think. Eventually, and usually not in that same conversation, they tell me that they probably have never orgasmed during intercourse. I bring this up not as a fact, but as something to think on. People can convince themselves of things when they want to, and doesn't it sound nicer to say 'sometimes' you do something rather than you 'seldom' or 'never' do something that you believe you should always be able to do. It's a way of hedging your bets without really feeling like you're lying. But this is really a personal sidetrack to the larger, and well-known problem in science of inaccuracy in all self-reporting studies, and Lloyd does indeed bring this up as another problem with all these numbers. Also, she very rightly says the following:

"Furthermore, the fact that all of the survey results reviewed earlier in this chapter are based on self-reporting, either through interviews or through questionnaires, probably biases the results towards reports of orgasm higher than those experienced. Ever since Freud, there has been a heavily normative equation drawn between a woman having orgasms with intercourse and her true womanliness and femininity, thus producing great pressure to have orgasm with intercourse. Given this enormous social pressure, the surveys are most likely to yield higher rates of orgasm than actually exist."

So given all those problems that Lloyd openly acknowledges, she asks an important question in the final paragraphs of this chapter.  

"Given the methodological problems just discussed with the sexological literature, what should our approach be to treating it as evidence? Simply put, we must use the evidence we have but without illusions about some of the studies apparent flaws. First, no one study should be treated as representative of the population at large. We should instead look to trends in the studies taken as a whole for a more representative understanding. Second, we should be aware that face-to-face studies may artificially inflate reported rates of orgasm, especially of orgasm during intercourse. And third, we must bear in mind that almost none of the studies draw the crucial distinction between assisted and unassisted orgasm with intercourse."

 She goes on at the end of the paragraph to comment on the use of existing evidence as the professional standard in scientific arguments.

"...if a researcher is writing about the evolution of female orgasm, then he or she should use the best, most scientific description of the phenomenon being explained. The fact that "the best, most scientific description" may, in fact have faults is not a good excuse not to use it."

I agree wholeheartedly, but that doesn't mean one shouldn't also critique that evidence with all the appropriate gusto it deserves.


Digging deeper into the study assumptions from which these numbers came
Once you have a sensible starting number from existing data, what are the underlying assumptions in the creation, execution, and conclusions of these studies and how do they affect the numbers? 

Vaginal orgasms are assumed to exist, but, like, do they???
For instance: that orgasms caused by stimulation inside the vagina (vaginal orgasms) exist is an assumption that is absolutely not proven but affects everything about these studies. Seriously. There has never been a physically observed or physically recorded orgasm caused by stimulation of something in the vagina (cervix, 'g-spot', inner clit stimulated through the vaginal walls) in all of scientific literature. 

One would assume when a women says she orgasms that she knows what an orgasm is, if she's had one, and reports it accurately, but like, is that a smart assumption???
Also, it's well understood that self-reporting can be flawed and that the female orgasm is a behavior women very likely feel pressure to exhibit. Lloyd touches on the way this might inflate orgasm, particularly orgasm during intercourse, numbers when she is going through the sensibly understood weaknesses of these studies. However there's a further question of underlying assumptions that's harder to swallow: Can women accurately report whether or not they have orgasmed? Do women have the correct understanding and underlying assumptions/knowledge about female orgasm to correctly differentiate a physical orgasm from other sexual, arousing, climactic mental or physical experiences? 

The hard truth is there are very real concerns that for a variety of reasons women might say they orgasm vaginally when they don't. Female orgasm is a very special case when it comes to self-reporting - much, much more so than male orgasm because of the quite unnecessary but nonetheless deep and ubiquitous confusion and misinformation surrounding the physical realities of female orgasm...for instance most people are misinformed that there is physical evidence of vaginal orgasms. there's not. 

The word 'orgasm,' is not clear (well, when speaking about female orgasm, but not so much when talking about male orgasm) and so why would we expect clear answers when questioning about it. Although it has a widely agreed upon physical quality in science that discerns it from other sexual experiences like arousal, ejaculation (in both men and women) or spiritual/mental climaxes, 'orgasm' is used wildly (again - for women, not so much men) both in the public and sadly also by scientific researchers and sex professionals. It is often said to mean whatever one believes it to mean. Any climactic experience can be described as orgasm without a 2nd thought. So, it is incredibly naive, in my opinion, to trust that when a woman says she orgasmed during intercourse, that she actually physically did so. The want for intercourse orgasms is so socially desirable, the discussion and depictions of female orgasm so unrealistic and convoluted, and the evidence that anyone ever in all of scientific literature has ever had a vaginal orgasm so non-existant (seriously, this is a real problem, people), that any study that's using only women's self-reporting about intercourse induced orgasms is suspect at best. 

And, have we talked about how grinding orgasms factor into answers about intercourse orgasms?
How might people report orgasms during intercourse without additional manual stimulation, but while specifically grinding the clit against the partner's body or against a surface like bedding or a pillow.  I imagine there are women who orgasm this way and distinctly understand it as creating additional clitoral stimulation for themselves, and there are also women who are specifically moving in ways that stimulate the clit, but internalize and express it as general movement during intercourse to get to an intercourse-induced orgasm. This is opposed to internalizing and expressing it as moving during intercourse as a means for getting the appropriate external clitoral stimulation they need for orgasm. It's a subtle but important difference and it might affect how a woman answers a survey on orgasms. I feel like it could easily be reported as a vaginal orgasm for some, but others may put it under 'orgasm during intercourse with additional clitoral stimulation' or something like that. It's really just a matter of how the person came to and internalizes that orgasm, but it can easily affect the numbers in ways researchers don't get because they simply haven't considered these possibilities and thus haven't created their research in ways that would account for issues like this.

Lloyd and I are interested in different types of intercourse orgasm discernment: An Aside
On that note, I'd like to mention that for Lloyd's argument in the book, the discernment I just made between orgasm during intercourse caused by hands-free stimulation of the external clit vs. orgasm during intercourse caused by stimulation from the penis inside the vagina are not necessarily a discernment important to her argument. Her book, The Case of the Female Orgasm, is not really about female orgasm. I mean, not really. It's a book that uses mainstream theories on the the evolutionary beginnings of human female orgasm to make important points about bias in evolutionary biology - I assume the female orgasm got chosen because it's such a fucking blatant example of the bias. Lloyd, the author, is not a sexologist or even a biologist. She is a philosopher of science, and the book is squarely a philosophy of science argument. 

Lloyd is interested in how many woman can orgasm from only the sex act that is responsible for reproduction. We know men are closer to 100% on that. But what about women, she asks? The center of her argument is that the majority of women absolutely do not orgasm from this reproductive act, no matter how you look at the relevant studies that exist out there. She elegantly and decisively fucks up all the theories about female orgasm evolution that refuse to acknowledge that very clear reality (pretty much all of them). It's a thing of Philosophy of Science* beauty, but she is not interested in quite the same thing I am. For her, it doesn't matter that grinding the clit against a partner during intercourse isn't a 'vaginal orgasm' but instead a clitoral orgasm during intercourse. Either way the point to her is about ladygasms that happen without anything more than the reproductive act - even if it's because the clitoral glans just happens to get some action in the process. It's nice to note, though, that what she finds, even with the assumed inclusion of these hands-free grinding orgasms during intercourse, is that the numbers still clearly show most women don't orgasm from just the reproductive act. 

So while Lloyd's point, when looking at female orgasm and intercourse, is related to what the existing scientific inquires can tell us about how female orgasm relates to reproduction and what that says about how female orgasm evolved, my focus on the topic is different. 

Mine is focused on the use of the existing science related to specific details of physically achieving female orgasm. I use this in order to build understanding of how female orgasm happens and what anatomical parts and types of physical stimulation are important to achieving female orgasm. From this, a base physical understanding of how lady-gasms might realistically happen during sexual interactions can be attained. Further, my activist hope from clarifying the scientific understanding of the physical female orgasm (a clarification that our culture is incredibly resistant to illuminate, by the way), is that it will lead to substantial change in how female orgasm is studied, depicted, taught, discussed, and real-life attempted in a way that eventually results in as many female orgasms during sexual interactions as male orgasms. 

In more casual terms, my point here is to use actual existing physical scientific evidence to convince people how fucking ridiculous it is to assume women will come from getting fucked. I want to make it clear that stimulation to the inside of the vagina has never in all of scientific literature been shown to physically cause an orgasm and probably isn't a way orgasms are induced and that the overall indication from the scientific literature is that the female orgasm needs stimulation of the clitoral glans and surrounding external tissue as much as the male orgasm needs stimulation of the penile glans and surrounding external tissue. And, if our culture were to understand those things, I mean truly, fully 'get' it, we'd all be appalled at how shitty and unorgasmic most sex is for porn stars, movie/TV/novel characters, and most importantly - actual women in actual relationships...particularly, but certainly not limited to cis hetero ones. 

Even without digging deeper into these underlying assumptions, Lloyd's numbers are still important
These are things I live/love to pick at. However, although these questions are not something that would have been outside the realm of what Lloyd could have delved into, these questions of the existence of vaginal orgasm or of women's capacity to accurately identify an orgasm much less specifically an orgasm caused only by stimulation to the inside of the vagina are more controversial questions and would have put her lady-gasm evolution argument on shakier ground. 

What she did do, though, I think is still important. She showed that the data we already have in front of us indicates that most women don't orgasm at all during intercourse most of the time. That was all she needed in order to move forward on her argument from rock-solid ground, and personally, I think that's powerful in itself. That even in a quite conservative (scientifically speaking) accounting of what we know, we KNOW that intercourse is shit for lady-gasm. We KNOW it, yet it's still the most culturally beloved, go-to hetero sex act. 

The 30%ish  number that come out of her review in that chapter are powerful to me because it really highlights that even without all my uber-orgasm-equality-activist critiquing of the stats and studies, the scientific world should know better. Scientist and studies regularly ignore that reality, and it's bullshit. There's no excuse for scientists to uncritically take claims of vaginal orgasm at face value or to create studies and conclusions with underlying assumptions about a strong connection between intercourse and female orgasm. Yet they do.  Most women don't orgasm when intercourse is happening to them. Full stop.  

Lloyd's numbers are not the whole story, and clearly there is a lot more critiquing of them that is needed, but if even just these uncontroversial stats would be taken seriously, there could be some progress just from that alone. 

Critiquing how these numbers are used 
After looking deeply at the simple biases and weaknesses as well as the larger problems with the underlying assumptions, one simply cannot abide by something like a sex advisor saying that 30% of women orgasm vaginally. It's misleading and not actually backed by the studies that produced those numbers. 

1 The studies, all of them, are quite literally not giving us numbers for how many women orgasm vaginally. They, I'm saying it again, are only giving us numbers for how many women claim to orgasm from vaginal stimulation alone (if they even do that - most just give us numbers for claiming orgasm during intercourse, which might include women orgasming from a variety of clitoral stimulation options that happen during intercourse, but not necessarily because of vaginal stimulation). 

2 A vaginal orgasm isn't even a verified physical thing that has ever been known to happen, so it's a little problematic to be spouting off, without qualifying it, that 30% of women do this thing that we aren't even sure exists. 

Some may counter that there are a few studies out there where researchers assert that vaginal orgasms happened in their lab during experimentation.. These kinds of studies aren't included in Lloyd's chapter because they are usually super small, but more importantly, they aren't surveys out to get intercourse orgasm numbers within a random(ish) population, so they wouldn't make sense to include. However, they also wouldn't contradict neither Lloyd's nor my arguments. Although the researchers in these studies may have taken the time to bring these women into the lab to orgasm, and they may have gotten some things like blood pressure and heart rate measurements during orgasm, they didn't didn't get physical verification of the orgasm. Heart rate and blood pressure aren't able to mark orgasm. They needed to check for the rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions that mark orgasm in both men ans women, but they didn't. So yes, there are claims of women in labs orgasming through only stimulation inside the vagina (cervix, G-spot, inner clitoral legs through the vaginal wall, whatever), but not one of those studies actually verified physically that the orgasm happened. Not one. These studies are still all claims of orgasm. 

And of the studies that have taken the time to physically verify orgasm claims, none of the verified orgasms were from stimulation anywhere inside the vagina. Clit, baby. 

(I review a lot of those studies HERE if you're interested in seeing more)

Make sure your local sexpert gets it right
So, next time you see a stat for the number of women that are able to orgasm 'vaginally' or 'from intercourse' or 'with no additional clitoral stimulation' or 'during intercourse,' I hope this helps clear up the different meanings those statements have, where those stats come from, what they indicate/don't indicate, and what kinds of problems, biases and silly underlying assumptions are at play. I hope you see, frankly, how complicated and ultimately unreliable they end up being and how casually they are thrown around. I hope you see how nobody ever seems to make sure it is known these stats are indicating women's claims orgasm even though that is what they indicate. 

Most importantly, I hope you notice that when they are used, they reiterate the incorrect but widely, almost universally, believed assumption that there are women out there who can orgasm from a penis rubbing the inside of their vaginas and that this is a known of science. It absolutely is not, and it is harmful to women and to the sexual culture that this is believed so strongly. 

Correct the next sexpert you hear that uses these numbers incorrectly.



*Although, unlike Lloyd, my focus is not a specifically Philosophy of Science argument, I have deep love and respect for the discipline. I 100% credit my Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Biology classes in college for flipping my brain and making me think of feminism, science, and orgasm research completely differently, for allowing me to put the infant thoughts of this work together in the first place. Those classes sparked my lifelong passion and activism in the lady-gasm space - so big love from me to Philosophy of Science (Thanks Dr. Stuart Glennon).