Inside Amy Schumer S2 Ep7 - The SSL Review

Inside Amy Schumer 
This show makes me laugh, and here's the best part - Amy Schumer tends to bring it when it comes to realism and female sexuality. She brought it in her movie Trainwreck, in The Joe Rogan Podcast, and largely in the other episodes of this show I've SSL Reviewed so far. She has shown a strong willingness to give the clit the glory it deserves, speak some truths about lady sex experiences, rep for actual lady-gasms - all things largely absent in media and also incredibly important to Orgasm Equality.

As I often say, being a particular thing is only a first step in creating content that expresses a fresh and unique perspective of that thing. Just because she or anyone else is a woman doesn't mean that they automatically bring a thoughtful and unique lady-perspective to their work. I mean there's plenty of women that just regurgitate male-centric understandings of lady stuff as actual lady insight because, hey, I mean male-centric understandings of lady stuff gets soaked deep into all of us. It's hard to bring a new voice to the world when the world tries hard to define your voice for you. It takes something else in a person to parse that out and something even more to express the parsing and the unique perspective in an entertaining/relateable/interesting way. She has all that, and I think her voice has probably helped a lot of other ladies out there pull their own unique voice from below all the shit we soak from the culture we grew up in. To be fair though, I must say she could use some schooling and humbling when it comes to speaking about race though - but that's pretty true of a lot of us.

The SSL Reviewable
There is plenty to SSL Review in this show. And for those that don't yet know, an SSL Review is a critique specifically of discussions or depictions of female orgasm, female masturbation, or the clit. I focus on that and really only that (unless I want to talk about something else). I'm looking mainly at realism and about how the depiction/discussion plays in the larger cultural conversation about female orgasm and women's sexuality.

All that said, this scene doesn't quite fit the SSL Reviewable criteria. However, it does make an insinuation about orgasm that I think is worthy of addressing.

Please, my friends, do enjoy more SSL Reviews for MOVIES and TV SHOWS.

Mine is Doggy! S2 Ep7
I'll describe this (kinda murky) SSL Reviewable scene and then discuss it a bit. 

This is the final scene of the show and as in many of her shows it's her doing stand-up in front of a live audience. She has a container of questions from the audience, and she's reading one.

Amy: What is your favorite sexual position?
(crowd laughs) 
Amy: Okay. Actually like eight people wrote the same one. But before she lets me answer, she wants me to know. 'Mine is doggy style, hits the G-spot!'
(crowd hoots and hollers and Amy points toward the crowd like she's answering back to something someone said out there) 
Amy: I know!
(Crowd continues to laugh)
Amy: This is what happens when you're a pretty girl. Everyone, like tells you what you say is interesting and important and you get really confused. No one ever did that to me. O, my favorite sexual position.  Well, I'm lazy, so it's usually I'm laying there like - like an actual slug.

Then she goes onto another joke.

My Thoughts (aka - fuck a G-spot)
The reason I'm doing an SSL Review on this scene is because the audience member's comment (let's call her Katelyn) insinuates that a penis hitting the 'G-spot' causes an orgasm. Granted, she didn't say it caused an orgasm. She just said she liked it because it hit the "G-spot." But, I mean, it's sex. Why would your favorite pozish not include an orgasm? Why would ol' Katelyn bring up the G-spot if not to insinuate that it made the position orgasmic to her? I mean maybe she's just saying she likes the g-spot hitting as an extra bonus, like saying you like 69 because you get to have something in your mouth - we can assume that's just a bonus to the best (and orgasmic) part- which is getting ate the hell out.

Cool, but either way Katelyn is still telling us she orgasms during doggy style - whether it be because of the G-spot hitting or because of the additional G-spot hitting during the basic situation of intercourse (i.e. getting a penis rammed in and out of your vagina). And to Katelyn I call bullshit - not on it being her favorite position, but on it being orgasmic. Straight up truth is that stimulation inside the vagina, whether it be basic ol' penis banging, specific G-spot stimulation (which I will define here as the female prostate which can be felt through the wall of the vagina), cervix stimulation, stimulation against the inner legs of the clit through the vagina, or anything else that sexperts might say gets stimulated in the vag - NONE OF THAT HAS EVER BEEN PHYSICALLY SHOWN IN SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE TO CAUSE ORGASM. It just plain hasn't. Go through the literature (here's some to start with). There are scientists who claim those things cause orgasm because a small percentage of women claim that it does, but even after half a century of physical testing for orgasmic response, not once has any scientist been able to prove it physically, and it's not like it's that hard. Women and men have been having physically recorded orgasms caused by penile and clitoral glans area stimulation pretty easily since the mid century.

Yet still, there are women who claim to orgasm from a good ramming - with no additional outer clitoral stimulation. They could be telling the truth. They could have physical qualities that other women don't have ...that are almost impossible to detect in scientific inquiry (because these 'special' qualities that cause 'vaginal/G'spot' orgasms absolutely have not been detected in scientific inquiry)....or, and hear me out, they aren't having orgasms from getting banged. There is no G-spot that exists as a mysterious spot in the vagina that causes orgasms when pounded on. Maybe, just maybe, a percentage of women say they orgasm this way because they wish they could, they think they are orgasming but are not, or they speak about pleasure sans orgasm during sex the same as orgasm - all of which are related to how confusing the information is around female orgasm.

I believe Katelyn's favorite pozish is doggy style. I also believe that all the sexpert advice out there telling women (without scientific basis) that g-spot stimulation is the ultimate in orgasm and that doggy-style can make it happen - influences us women and can twist our understanding of our orgasm and pleasure. Truth is G-spot stimulation (female prostate stimulation) has been shown to cause ejaculation in some women, but ejaculation and orgasm are different events - even in men where they tend to happen at the same time. It has not been shown to cause orgasm. So, maybe Katelyn likes to ejaculate. Maybe she's getting a reach-around on her clit that she's not speaking about. I can get behind all that.

I imagine though that her comment was really quite simple. She likes getting banged from behind because it 'hits the g-spot,' and she 'orgasms' hard from that - which to me is like a dude saying he gets banged hard in the ass with no reach around and comes hard from that. It's just not physically sensible.

I think Amy Schumer saw it in a similar way I did. I think when she said pretty girls think everything they say is interesting and important and they get confused, she was really saying, 'Fuck a fake-ass G-spot. That's some silly, naive shit this Katelyn just said.' That's the way I took it at least. 

The Vulva Rating
Just as it is, this scene showed a woman being excited about G-spot stimulation in a way that makes one assume that it caused orgasm for her. Although me and my minutely critical orgasm eye saw Amy's response as a criticism of Katelyn's G-spot hype, I don't think anyone else would have. So, realistically, Katelyn's statement just stands on its own and adds to the already strong pile of shit that is women and sexperts hyping of the G-spot as an orgasmic spot in the vagina. It's scientifically baseless, but the more women and men see other women and men hyping it, the more it seems like it should be real.

So, overall this scene increased the misinformation out there about lady-gasms. However, it was not really Amy's words. It was another person's, and this show's only sin here is that it didn't challenge it enough (although I kinda thought Amy made a small attempt to poo-poo it). Maybe if Amy had made mention of the G-spot doing nothing for her or the unlikeliness of the G-spot's reality - all of which she's done before, I would give this a high vulva rating, but she didn't. I'm not giving it a low one either. To me this just kinda stood in the middle holding the status quo. I give this a very average 3 out of 5 vulvas.



Chewing Gum S2 Ep5 - The SSL Review

Chewing Gum!
Like I said in the first SSL Review I did on this, you should check this show out on Netflix. I continue to love the shit out of it in the 2nd season. It's a top-quality comedy that you should definitely watch. It may have a tricky British accent to follow, but turn on the captions and get on with watching it. It's great. It's also progressive in the ol' female orgasm department, and I feel like it has a unique perspective - not just because her gender or color or anything like that, well it is a lot of that, but I don't think the way a writer or director identifies is enough to bring a truly unique voice to a work. It's how they use their craft as well. To me, it seems like Michaela Coel (writer/star) really unabashedly dives into her own perspective and brings things into her story that are new and unexpected. In short, she's just a great creator and people should watch this show.

Michaela Coel - Chewing Gum creator, writer and main actress
And it's SSL Reviewable
This means I will be critiquing only discussions or depictions of female orgasm, female masturbation, or the clit. For these reviews I'm mainly interested in physical realism (like are the things happening to the woman's body actually things that would realistically make a female orgasm?) and about how the depiction/discussion plays in the larger cultural conversation about female orgasm and women's sexuality.

Please, my friends, do enjoy more SSL Reviews for MOVIES and TV SHOWS.

Pillow Riding
As the show opens, Tracey (Michaela Coel) is on her knees with a pillow between her legs on her bed. It's up against her junk. She's got a laptop on the bed in front of her and she's watching porn. We bounce at first between seeing the porn scene and having Tracey talk directly to the audience.

Porn guy: (drives up to lady on the street) What are you doing on the curb? Shouldn't you be in college?
Porn gal: I was waiting for you to drive me to your house and play with all my tight holes.
Tracey: pfff, but why are you just waiting on the curb??...and how did you know that he'd be there, first thing?
Porn guy: I even got a daughter that looks just like you.
Tracey: Okay, well that's just 100% disgustingness, isn't it?
Porn gal: My feelings are so intense.
Tracey: 'Feelings are so intense?' You just met him and now you go and get feelings? My mum is away for the first night since I was like born, and this is what - pft. Nah, man. I can't watch this stuff no more, you know, because one day I was like, 'Rah, hold on. If there's a camera that close to her face, she must know it's there. Hold on. What does this mean? There's some kind of acting or something. And from the time I realize that, yeah, me and my pillow are losing interest. See, my mind, yeah, is woke. I don't even think they're actually having sex. It's some kind of motion graphics or something. And it's good as fake, yeah, 'cause she ain't even ugly. She look like that blonde chic from Homeland. Why is she messin' with this tired and retired brokeback, man? pffft. This more comedy than sex.

Gettin' Banged
Tracey's sister, Cynthia (Susan Wokoma) has decided to lose her virginity and in Cynthia fashion makes a plan and executed it.

We see her  is in a towel on her bed with the laptop out. She googles "becoming sexual" gets to a site that says 'masturbation.' She reads the first bullet point aloud to herself.

Cynthia: Make sure you lubricate the finger / fingers.

She pours a lot of oil on her hand, kinda leans over to squat on the floor in front of her bed and puts her hand up her towel. There's a quick montage of her really getting that hand up there. It looks to me like she's really just trying to get her fingers deep inside her. It doesn't really seem sexual, and she looks much more like she's concentrating and really making an effort to get her hand up there rather than this being sexually pleasurable. Then she queefs and laughs before the scene ends.

She finds a dude out on the street, brings himhome talks to him for a short time and then they are in her bedroom standing and talking. He's a little cautious and wierded out by the whole experience so far.
Dude: Right, so you want to do sex? You're just going to give it to me.
Cynthia: Well, I'm not giving it to you, we're sharing it.
She hands him a condom.
Dude: This ain't a set-up? There ain't no cameras here?
Cynthia shakes her head no.
Dude: Alright.
Cynthia: Oh, great!, Well, I broke my hymen in preparation, so, I'll lie down...
She lies down as he's starts rapidly taking of his clothes
Cynthia: and you...
He hurriedly runs over kneeling between her legs
Cynthia:  at my pace please!
He's opening the condom, still kinda frantically
Cynthia:  Okay, and now just put it around my knicker area.
We are only seeing head shots of both of them, but it seems like he is following instructions.
Cynthia: Okay, you may now enter the dome, with your penis.
We see a shot from behind with the dude's bare butt on top of her missionary style. Then we get a close on his face again. He's starting slowish but strong pumps into her. We also see a close of her and she's fairly expressionless. She taps him on the shoulder.
Cynthia: Are you enjoying it?
Dude: Yes, but if you keep talking it will go down.
Cynthia:  Is it tight?
Dude: Okay, well, you can say stuff like that.
Cynthia: (straight) Is it tight?
Dude: yeeeaahh.
He smiles and continues pumping
Cynthia:  Let me tell you something Ryan. It's all a myth. Virgin tightness has been scientifically debunked. Intercourse does not stretch the vagina. Well, it does, but it just shrinks it down to what it was before. So that means if we do this again, we'll be having the exact same experience we're having right now.
Cynthia:  How do you think this is going ryan?
Dude: I'm gonna come! I'm gonna come!
Cynthia: (straight) I'm not coming at all.
Dude: I'm gonna come! I'm gonna come!I'm gonna come!
He starts coming, and she seems to take it as a cue awkwardly. She start moaning, but clearly trying to figure out how at first, and then starts screaming, but not sexy, almost scary, and he looks a little wierded out. Then she starts laughing, and he gets off her and falls down beside her on the bed.
Still laughing she says
Cynthia: (still laughing) I did a big come. My toes have gone all numb.
He takes his condom off, and she points to it.
Cynthia: Oh, do you mind if I give it a once over?
Dude: You're not supposed to let girls have your--
I need to check for holes because I don't want children right now. Oh, great. Tidy. Hmm. There's nothing there. Shouldn't you have...Then again girls don't always squirt, so the same must be true for boys. Good work, Ryan.
She puts the condom down and exhales.
Dude: Do you mind if I take a nap?
Cynthia: Why?
Dude: I just came, and also there is something very exhausting about you.
Cynthia:  Okay, I guess. but you have to stay here in my sister's room

The SSL Review

Tracey's Treatise On Porn
I LOVED her riding the pillow while fully dressed in her pajamas.

Firstly, it's not a style of lady-bation that often gets depicted. It's much more common to see a vibrator, shower head or hands/fingers directly on the vuvla/clit area. Those are fine and all, but you know what's quick and easy and awesome? Grinding against a pillow, that's what. You don't even need to take off your clothes. Just lay down, put a pillow under you, grind for a hot minute, come, fall asleep directly where you are. Perfect, and underrepresented. Thank you Chewing Gum.

Secondly, she speaks some truths of the female experience in a way. She stops masturbating because she's realized how gross and fake porn is. It turned her (and her riding pillow) off. In this show Tracey is incredibly naive, so the rather obvious recognition that porn is kinda 'fake' is a true revelation for her, and kinda funny for the audience.

I like this depiction of Tracey's naivety because I see it as a way to point out something a bit deeper and more universal. It seems like an obvious thing that porn is fake, but at the same time, I think her observation is not as obvious as we'd like to imagine, is it really? I mean, they are actually having real sex in porn -that's what makes it porn and not just a movie with sex in it. It's easy, I think, to know that the sex in porn is not like real life sex, but it's also really easy to just absorb the images in it and allow them to be a template for what sex is like...especially since few of us get to view actual people having sex in their bedrooms through a secret peephole. AND, even if we were able to do that I'd venture to say that 'real' sex might look more like porn than it should because porn images influence movie sex, TV sex, book sex, and ultimately how we all perform sex to some degree. So, my point is that I like Tracey's revelation and her point about it being a turn-off to her that it's so fake and silly.

I don't think all women come to it or express it the way Tracey did, but I imagine a lot of women have gone through a time when the initial newness and dirtiness of most porn wore off and revealed something that was a bit distasteful. So, in that way, I think Tracey's speech was both funny and poignant about women's actual experience with porn, and I appreciate that.

I'd like to take a sec and go a little further with this line of women getting a distaste for porn because I think there's more to it, though, than porn not being like 'real' situations or 'real' sex. I think porn's greatest sin against ladies' sexual sensibilities is that it's acutely focused on male fantasy, desire and orgasm and not much at all on ladies'. The truth is the fakest part of all about porn is the fake-ass female orgasms. The stimulation of the inside of the vagina  (i.e. a penis banging into the vag without any extra clitoral glans stimulation) is not a way one would expect a female to physically orgasm (seriously), but for fuck sake if it isn't just about the only way women orgasm in porn. Ladies watching ladies fake orgasmic pleasure during sex acts that are actually orgasmic for penises but not for us might not be something we consciously find appalling (because honestly that type of faking is so common it might not even seem weird), but I truly believe we must feel the absurdity and unfairness of that deep inside and it must at least be a piece of the type of distaste we see Tracey displaying.

Thirdly, as always, I simply appreciate seeing a female character acknowledge that she masturbates and that she likes it and is not ashamed. It helps to normalize jerking it for the ladies. Women overall are super susceptible for not giving masturbation a try or feeling overly destructive guilt if they do and that sucks because: hetero partner sex sucks for lady-gasms, the cultural knowledge about lady-gasms is the worst (it's the clit, ya'll not the vagina), and the only way a lady is really going to get orgasms on the regular when she's having partnered sex is if she figures out on her own how to get herself off. Thems just the truths, and so it's nice to have anything in our media that helps women get past hang-ups about masturbating.

Cynthia's wierd-ass first time
Okay, I'm pretty into this scene.

1. It's so Cynthia. You'd have to watch the show - which I highly recommend - but the strange mix of straightforward as fuck, naive, uber-determined, and wanting to fit-in is perfecto in this scene.
2. I wasn't sure exactly what she was intended to be trying at when fumbling around her junk with her oiled fingers. Was it actually masturbation? I mean maybe, but when later she said she already pre-busted her hymen, that seemed more like what the outcome of all that would be. Either way, it clearly wasn't pleasurable to her - at least not sexually or orgasmically pleasurable, and so even if her character was attempting masturbation, she was not depicted as doing it well. She was just trying to ram her finger(s) up her hole, and that does not an orgasmic masturbation session make. I appreciate that the writers didn't act like that was actually good technique.
3. During the sex act, there was just a dude pushing his dick in and out of a pus-hole, no hands touching the clit, no grinding her clit against him...like, she was completely still. It was in no way a sex act that would be expected to make a woman come, and indeed it did not. As he said he was coming, she quite clearly and calmly says, "I'm not coming at all." She wasn't coming, but she did fake one, and I feel pretty confident in saying that it was written as being her specifically faking it because of how she so awkwardly moved into it as soon as he started coming.

But saying she faked it is a little too simplistic, I think, and I like that about this scene. It's real in a way we don't often see. Cynthia does some research and she thinks she's got this. She tries to act as if she's knowledgeable and in charge, and in a way she is. She gets to lose her virginity like she wants and she does control what is happening, but she doesn't actually 'got this.' She is very unclear about how this all should work in relation to her body, her pleasure, her arousal or her orgasm. In the end, the dude is the only one that gets to come. And like so many feamles before her, instead of seeing that this intercourse thing isn't all it's cracked up to be, she simply makes do. She adjusts her perspective, moving from "I'm not coming at all" to screaming like she's seen women are supposed to do at that moment in sex and saying she "did a big cum" and that ever so stereotypically her "toes have gone all numb." I'd go so far as to say she kind of believes it, and I'd go further to say that story is not uncommon. Faking happens for a lot of reasons, and one of those, I think, is because we don't know what's happening exactly so we make the sounds and motions we believe we should be making and feel okay believing in retrospect that was an orgasm.

Vulva Rating
Here's the things I thought reflected our sexual culture or female orgasms realistically, put out into the world things that positively affected our cultural understanding of lady-gasms, or helped create a world where female orgasms were as prevalent and understood as male orgasms:

  • The PJs on pillow grind type of masturbating, which is a physically legit way a woman might orgasm, was depicted. It says to the world - women can masturbate unabashedly and and that grinding in the vulva area is key to masturbation/orgasm (not getting poked in your holes).
  • Tracey's porn speech both normalized a woman's interest in using porn for masturbation and also pointed out how fake it is. Both are important because women deserve good porn and lots of masturbation (AmIRight, yall?), and when porn depicting authentic female fantasy, pleasure and orgasm is as hard to come by as it currently is, it's problematic for everyone. 
  • The sex Cynthia was having was physically unlikely to ever bring a female to orgasm - no clit stimulation and all pumping into a vagina....which is bullshit for lady-gasms, and I appreciate that she wasn't shown actually orgasming from it.
  • When Cynthia did fake, I felt like it was clearly acted and written to be fake, and I appreciate that. 
  • The way Cynthia faked was interesting yet, I believe, incredibly realistic. It didn't seem to be malicious or premeditated in any way. It seemed to me like she thought she should do it, then did it, then stuck to her guns that it was an orgasm. She's naive, but I'd say not much more naive in that department than any of the rest of us.

For the realistic depictions and overall positive impact on our cultural understanding of lady-gasms, I give this episode a 5 vulva rating.


Sex and the City S4 Ep 13-17: A Retro SSL Review

***First, sorry for the delay in posts the past week. I'm still trying to balance out my life to write more. I'll get there one day.***

My new little segment is back for a another round (Here's the others). It's a modified, lazy version of an SSL Review. It's just me transcribing my notes, page by page, on all of the Sex and the City episodes. I watched them all - not necessarily in order - during 2007 and 2008, and I took notes on the depiction/discussion of female orgasm and female masturbation. It was my early attempt at this type of lady-gasm review stuff. Anyway, I never actually created reviews from these notes, but since they exist, I'd like to get them out there on the interwebs before they get burned in a house fire or something...thus this series.

Ramona and my SATC Notes

Anyway, the fun of this will be that I will transcribe these as word for word as I can while still trying to make it be a sensible read. I'll post a pick of the notes for your reference. I'll do one or more episodes at a time - from the beginning of the notebook to the end. I may add notes for clarification or add my SSL-Review-style comments.

Hopefully the notes I took privately 10 years ago won't make me look like a dumb asshole. I will add them in the TV SSL Review Master List  (of course you are also welcome to check out the Movie SSL Review Master List as well). Here we go.

Sex and the City Season 4 Episodes 13-17

Season 4 Ep 13
-(asking each other about) secret single behavior - Sam: "like masturbating?"
-Miranda - What if he's a really good fuck? Will all that poking hurt the baby?
-Saw Sam's boyfriend's flaccid penis (only one ever seen)
-Miranda had sex with a dude missionary and cowgirl both definitely bobbing up and down and seemed to be on the verge of orgasming both times.

Season 4 Ep 14
-Sam - missionary w/ her legs up - he pumping her and on ecstasy - orgasmsed
-girls watched gay por - just laughed and screamed

Season 4 Ep 15
-Sam in shower w/ guy - shower head is taken off and put down toward her nether regions. She looked like ti felt real good.
-Sam gets fucked - she just does it because boyfriend is fucking others - he goes limp - she's uninterested

Season 4 Ep 16
-v.o. "Steve gave Miranda multiple orgasms."

Season 4 Ep 17
-Sam gives her man a 3-way with a girl for his b-day, but she is young and they don't like her

Season 4 Ep 17
-Sam catches her man with a woman spread eagle eating her out

My Thoughts
I must have been like half asleep when I made these notes because they're pretty shitty...short and not a lot of context. So, I'm going to give my thoughts on how these SSL Reviewable moments (depictions/discussions of female orgasm, masturbation, or the clit) affect and are affected by the sexual culture and our understanding of female orgasm in a general way related to the 2 characters that were highlighted in these episodes.

Sam, as always, is a mixed bag. Her character is both an authentically sexual and orgasming woman and also an archetype of the 'overly sexual woman.' She is depicted as a person that orgasms through things that would actually be physically likely to cause a female to come. Yet, she is also depicted often as orgasming in ways we are used to seeing 'sexual' women orgasm, ways that are also conveniently congruous with things that make men orgasm but in reality would not realistically cause a female to orgasm.

So, yes, I like that she speaks about masturbation casually and often in this show because it normalizes women masturbating, which very much needs more publicity given that too many women do not do it. Plus, frankly, women really must masturbate in order to figure out how to orgasm when with another person. Yes, I like that we see her getting some shower head on her vulva because that water massage on the vulva/clit area is a sensible way to stimulate a woman to orgasm. AND, I like that she's with a partner yet instead of of simply p-in-v fucking, they choose to do something actually orgasmic for her instead. That is not often depicted. I also like that when she catches her man fucking someone else, he's not just sticking his dick in her. She's getting ate the fuck out. Both those things depict and normalize a hetero partnered sexual encounter that are actually orgasmic for the lady.

BUT, Sam is also always getting a penis banged in her, with no additional clitoral stimulation, and coming like a banshee. Stimulating the inside of the vagina as one does when getting banged, does not a lady-gasm make...for real...and it's a disservice to our cultural knowledge of female orgasm every time a woman is shown orgasming from something that would never actually cause a real female to have an actual physical orgasm. Unfortunately that is depicted more often than not, in porn, in movie, in TV, and maybe most sadly in the 'sexually strong lady' characters like Sam...because we really need to have a different understanding of what a sexual woman is than just a woman the really likes, seeks out, and (fakes) orgasms during sexual acts that men really enjoy and orgasm from.

Miranda's orgasms tend to be a bit more realistically depicted than Sams overall in the show. She talks more about the clit and talks about how just getting fucked isn't always that great, and about the wonders of getting your junk licked to orgasm - you know the good stuff. However, like all the women in this show (and most shows really) all the good depictions always seem to get counteracted by other depictions of them getting railed into orgasm; no vibrator, no hands on the clit area, no grinding the vulva against something, just a penis moving in and out of their vagina. It reinforces the already strongly held but deeply flawed notion that one can just fuck a woman into orgasm (or multiple orgasms as was insinuated of Steve and Miranda in episode 16 up there).

Other Shit
As for the other things in the notes; first SATC look at a  flaccid penis, the hilarity the women felt at watching gay porn, and the 3-way gone wrong - they are not actually SSL Reviewable qualified things - just things related to sex that at the time I thought might be relevant. I do, however, want to say 2 things. 1. Sex-based shows for hetero women should have more penises and specifically more har or semi-hard ones. 2.(male) gay porn is umm, pretty damn hot. Dicks on dick, ya'll. It's much better to masturbate to it than laugh at it with your friends. Get it together ladies of SATC.

Also, Ramona always be sitting on my SATC notes.


5 Fun Romp Movies #DirectedbyWomen

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

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

You can find all my 5-movie lists HERE.

These are movies that you might simply call a fun romp; an adventure, a fun night, These are good movies to just chill with on a lazy night. 

So, relax in whatever way you so choose and stream one of these for an ejoyable romp of a night.

1. Half Baked - This was directed by Tamra Davis. Although this was released in 98, I just saw it recently on some streaming site. It's a late 90's weed comedy, but to my taste, not near the movie Harold and Kumar is. It's definitely a romp, though. So, if you wanna see Dave Chappelle and friends get crazy high, fall in love, get into shenanigans, and try to make a lot of money in a short time (and why would you not want to see that) definitely check this one out.

2. Desperately Seeking Susan - This was directed by Susan Seidelman. I saw this a long time ago - like in the 80's or 90's on TV, and then I've seen parts of it here and there on TV ever since. I mostly remember about it that I thought Madonna was cool. I honestly don't remember the plot much, but I remember that it's kind of a chase movie, and that it was a little wild and fun. Check it out and let me know what you think about it some 30 years later.

3. Out To Sea - This is directed by Martha Coolidge. I saw this at home with my parents back about the time when it came out in '97. I'm gonna say we rented it from Blockbuster because that seems pretty likely. A fan of Grumpy Old Men, we all thought that Ol' Matthou and Lemmon would bring it again as brother-in-laws pretending to be dance instructors on a cruise ship. Unfortunately I don't remember how much I liked it. I'm assuming it was funny enough - and certainly a wild adventure where many a shenanigans ensued, but I don't really have memories of it. Again, feel free to let me know how it holds up 20 years later.

4. The Wedding Plan - This was directed by Rama Burshtein. I saw this about a year ago on a streaming site, and I was truly pleasantly surprised. It's an Israeli movie, classically about a woman wanting to get married, but it's such a fresh take on it and the movie is just well done with a sweetness and sincerity that is often not achieved in this genre. I enjoyed watching this one.

5. Blockers - This is directed by Kay Cannon. I saw this in the theater with some friends, and again was pleasantly surprised. It was funny and it dodged a lot of stereoyping, sexism, slut-shaming, and meanness that a comedy about parents worried about their daughters trying to fuck for the first time might normally be riddled with. I SSL approve of this one actually. Check it.


.Destination Wedding - The SSL Review

Destination Wedding
I'm not exactly sure how it happened. It was a lazy Saturday. Charlie and I were looking for a movie that didn't take too much of our attention, and there it was. It had Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder. It was called Destination Wedding. It wasn't a mistake. We enjoyed it. It's straight up like a 13 year old angry nerd dude wrote a movie where the characters talk like he does in his fantasies of telling people off and showing how smart he is with his awesome philosophy brain and big words.

It's set like a play where it's just those 2 talking forever in different places with a wedding vaguely going on in some scenes at a slight distance. It's so much verbosity, ya'll! It's out of control.

As icing on the cake, it also has a very unrealistic, yet super basic depiction of female orgasm. Thus the SSL Review.

An SSL Review
For those that need a refresher, an SSL Review is a critique specifically on depictions or discussions of female orgasm, female masturbation, or the clit. I look at the realism of the depiction/discussion (does the physical things that seem to lead up to the orgasm actually make physiological sense as something that could cause an orgasm?) and also at how the scene fits into the larger cultural discussion about female orgasm and sexuality.

I usually don't talk much about the qualities of the film that are unrelated to the SSL reviewed scene(s) in questions, but this movie is bonkers, and the sex scene I'm going to talk about is especially bonkers. In fact I read an article called 'Destination Wedding' is 'The Room' of Romantic Comedies by Lea Palmieri at the Decider. She explains the sex scene accurately and excellently, so I'll just let her set it up before I get into the physical details related to the ridiculous orgasm Ryder performed.
This then leads to a NEARLY FIVE MINUTE sex scene of them humping on a hill, including him repeatedly asking “How is it now?” and them discussing following topics: the exact species of cat they previously ran into, his mother, condoms, diseases, his childhood home, the gender of their potential child, and her astute observation that “you look like you’re going to throw up,” before she moans a bunch of nos in the place of oh yes’s because she’s “a very negative person,” returning to the small talk of the current temperature and kelp before he gives it his last few thrusts and joins her in completion.
Pleasantly Familiar
So, they are in a field. They kind of reluctantly, I guess, decide to have sex. She is in a dress and takes of her panties. He is in a suit and takes his pants and underwear off. It's missionarish - She's on her back with her knees up near his hips. He's on top. He gets right on there and puts it in and starts pumping. He asks her how it is, and she says fine, although they both sound like they are in pain. Then he asks.
Keanu: How is it now?
Winona: It feels strange but pleasantly familiar, kind of like coming off a long diet or going back to smoking.
Keanu: How about now?
Winona: Do you have any diseases?
He then starts talking about missing all the sexual revolutions. They both seem highly unaroused or even aware they are having a sexual encounter other than the kind of grunting that is mostly related to the fairly forceful pumping he's doing and she's absorbing.

Then after she says something nonchalantly and in a seemingly unexcited state, she starts screaming,
Winona: Oh Jesus! Frank! Jesus Effing Christ! OOO! OOO! Oh God, you look like you're going to throw up!
Keanu: Why would I? You're a very attractive woman.
Winona: Not from that.
Keanu: Oh. Right. Sorry.
Winona: Oh God! No, No, No
Keanu: No?
Winona: No. Not No. (kinda calmly and matter of factly) I'm just a very negative person.
Keanu: Ok
Winona: OH! (screaming) I'm expressing incredulity!
Keanu: Got it.
Winona: Oh! No! OH! No, no, no no! (screaming in orgasm, I guess) Oh boy! Oh Boy! Ohhhh!

She's chill again, and then tells him to get to his anytime now. He continues pumping into her exactly as he had been the whole time. They do a lot of talking about unarousing shit and then he has his own overly loud screaming orgasm.

We don't see anything below the belt (except 1 very wide shot from a good distance away), but it's clear that he's pumping into her and that she is not grinding against him. All 4 hands are clearly in view and absolutely not doing the only thing that might have actually realistically made this woman come - rubbing her clit.

My Thoughts
Basically, Winona's character came simply from a dude moving his penis in and out of her vagina with no additional stimulation against her clitoral glans area. She came the way women in media from romance novels to TV to porn have been depicted orgasming for ever and always - by doing exactly the kind of sex stuff that makes a male come but is highly unlikely to make a female come. It's so common a depiction that it seems like it should be real, but it's actually some unrealistic bullshit that for some insane reason doesn't include the clitoral glans - the organ of female sexual pleasure. It's like depicting males always coming without ever touching the penis or from occasional ancillary brushes against the penis and thinking that's how males orgasm. It's as bonkers as this movie which makes it all the more terrible that it's so normal.

I will say I appreciate the fact that the two of them didn't orgasm simultaneously. The mystical simultaneous orgasm from a penis pumping into a vagina is a classic yet horribly unrealistic way to show sex, and I'm happy to not have to see it in a sex story. If the non-simultaneous orgasms happened along with her orgasming during physical stimulation that realistically would have caused a female to orgasm, I would really have given this a good vuvla rating, but it most assuredly did not.

The Vulva Rating
Thus this gets a terrible vuvla rating because it is just another of many, many sex scenes that insinuate to the audience that women can and maybe should come from nothing more than getting their vaginal canal poked a lot with a penis, and that is simply incorrect. It just piles onto the already huge amount of clues in our culture that give this very wrong impression about how women orgasm, and it hurts us all.

I give this 1 vulva.


The Favourite - The SSL Review

The Favourite
First off, I love this movie. I saw this bitch in the theater twice. It's lovely and weird and funny and has these rich, meaty lady-stories. It's just goddamn good movie making. Granted, it might not be everyone's taste, but it sure the fuck is mine. Secondly, it had an SSL Reviewable moment, and it's going to get a good vulva rating, so even more respect to this movie.

An SSL Review, for those that need a little refresher, is a review specifically of any discussion or depiction of female orgasm, female masturbation, or the clit. I critique the realism of the depiction/discussion and also write about what the depiction/discussion says about and/or adds to our cultural understanding of female sexuality and orgasm. I try my best to just stick specifically to those SSL Reviewable moments, so it usually stays pretty focused on those parts of the movie only, but sometimes I like to digress.

So here we go. I have tons of these reviews btw. You can find all the other movie SSL Reviews HERE and the TV SSL Reviews HERE.

The Pain!
This will be a quick one. Although there are few sexual scenes in this movie, this is the only one that depicts a ladygasm. If you haven't seen the movie, and you want to, go see the movie first and then read this. I don't think this would spoil the movie as a whole because it's such a rich movie, but it does tell you one spoiler. Your choice though.

Abigail is a servant that gets called in to the queens chambers. It's happened before and she's familiar, even friendly with the queen, but this time is different, and Abigail knows what's up.
Queen: Rub my legs
The Queen is laying in bed, and Abigail sits in the bed next to her. She rolls up the Queen's nightgown to around the knees and begins rubbing her ankle area.
Abigail: Does it hurt a lot?
Queen: coolly, and with an unwavering gaze: They're agony
(It's poignant that she says this so calmly because in past scenes where her legs hurt she is opposite of calm...Queen be fishin' for some other kind of relief...if ya know what I mean).

Abigail start moving up the legs with each massaging squeeze. Her gaze is as unwavering as the queen's. She clearly gets under the nightgown and looks to be in the lady-parts range.  The shot moves to the Queen and she makes a face with an intake of air which indicates Abigail is touching a pleasurably sensitive area now. We see Abigail with her hands deep under the gown, still massaging. Her arms are definitely moving as if she's really giving a good massage to that area. We cut back to the queen, and she has closed her eyes, opened her mouth, and dipped her head back. She kind of shifts her body the way one might to get the right angle when one is getting a handie. She's really feeling this vulva massage, ya'll. Abigail continues to massage rhythmically, looking dead at the queen, and we hear the queen begin to moan. It cuts to her, and she is eyes closed, mouth agape, head back, and she says in a burst,
Queen: Oh, the pain!
The scene cuts to another situation and the next time we see Abigail and the queen, they are sleeping nude together.

I actually wouldn't necessarily say that the orgasm was depicted there. To me it felt more like the lead up to an eventual orgasm, so maybe this is a little in the technical gray area for SSL Review eligibility, but the assumption of an eventual orgasm caused by that physical situation seemed clear enough to me, so I'm cool with it.

The Review
I mean, this is a pretty easy one. Although the minute details of what was going on under that gown were hidden, it was clear that there was consistent massage-style stimulation happening in the vulva area, and it clearly didn't look like some porny finger-banging into the vag-hole situation. That's realistic enough for me. You get consistent manual stimulation going on the vulva/clitoral glans area, and by golly, that right there is something that has been shown both in peer-reviewed scientific papers and under skirts around the world, to cause an orgasm. So, the realism is there. The physical thing depicted as happening to the woman is something that could reasonably be assumed to cause orgasm. Not all (not most, really) depictions of lady-gasms are realistic, so I'm very happy about this.

I will say, though, that this was a depiction of 2 females in a sexual situation and those more often than not are more realistic (I mean not in porn - those often are still ridiculous and vagina-hole focused for some godawful reason). I think the fact that there is no penis attached to anyone allows more flexibility to depict sexual acts that don't include pushing a penis in and out of a vagina - which contrary to popular belief is shit for lady-gasms, so more chance for realism. I'm just pointing this out because honestly, I'm more excited when I see lady-gasm realism in hetero sexual situation given realism in those scenes are so much more rare. In the same way, I'm also more disappointed when lesbian interactions are not realistic...so I'm very happy this did not disappoint.

The Vulva Rating
Love the movie. Love the realism. These kinds of depictions help to remind people that the female pleasure organ (the clitoral glans) is on the outside of the body and not deep up in the vag. We need as many reminders of that as we can get to counteract all the BS depictions of women getting boned into orgasm without even a hint of clit stimulation. That kind of dumb shit is what gets into all our heads and fucks with our sex lives. All that to say, The Favourite - I give you 5 out of 5 vulvas!



The Technology of Orgasm: A Meticulously Researched, Awesome, Orgasm Equality Book (A Retro SSL Post)

I am behind on my writing. Sorry. I will write some real posts this weekend. In the meantime, please enjoy this retro SSL post from 2017 about one of my very most favoritist awesomeist books . 

Rachel P. Maines is bonafide badass feminist researcher, and not only that, but a straight up Orgasm Equality Hero. I hadn't heard of her book until I went to the Kinsey Institute Library and got my eyes on a whole bunch of cool things, and The Technology of Orgasm:  "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction was one of the best of those things. It was first published in 1999, so it's been out there a while, and if you've heard about the idea that doctors used to masturbate women as a treatment for a largely made-up disease called hysteria and that the vibrator was first created and used in this context, then you can largely thank Dr. Maines. She seemed to have put all that shit together and told the world about it.

The art it inspired
Actually, a play I have not seen but heard about on NPR called In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) was inspired by this book. Also the 2011 movie Hysteria with Maggie Gyllenhaal was kinda based on this book, but I have to be honest. I gave that movie the worst SSL Review (a review only of depictions and discussions of female orgasm, female masturbation, and the clit) I have ever given a movie. I didn't even know this book existed back when I reviewed Hysteria and I was more harsh in reviews back then, but I thought that movie was putting backwards ideas about female orgasm out there and that it missed such an opportunity to be so progressive. I still think that, but that is sooooo not true of the book it's based on. The movie Hysteria, now that I know about this book, really truly for real does not represent the information and tone of the book - which is sad because it could have been a revolutionary movie.

There was also a 2007 doc inspired by this book called Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm that I finally bought and watched a couple weeks ago (and will do an SSL Review on eventually). The author, Rachel P. Maines, is interviewed in it and so is Betty Dodson, and those women are clearly orgasm equality champs, but even this doc did not get to the heart of what Maines was saying with this book. It instead focused more on the interesting history of vibrators, modern vibrator laws, a vibrator home-sale company's business structure, and the 70's sexual and women's revolution, and focused very little (if at all) on Maine's revolutionary assertions about how Western culture -to this day- does its best to believe that penises rubbing in vaginas create female orgasms even with tons of evidence to the contrary.

This book, my friends, is the most researched historical look at female orgasm that I have ever seen. It's quite epic, really. I am no historian, so something this book taught me that I had not really thought about before was that the things a society makes its machines do, how their machines are used and how they are advertised says a lot. And what our long history of technology-to-make-women-come says is that our society has always had a complicated relationship with female orgasm in that we desperately want to believe it arises from a dick moving in and out of a vagina, but also know deep down that it doesn't, so we create both things and lies that allow women to get orgasms from time to time without actually having to adjust our sense that women should orgasm during intercourse or to expect women's partners do the work to get women to orgasm.

A more cumbersome name for this book, in my opinion, might be: Let's pretend intercourse gives females orgasms and then deceive ourselves into believing crazy shit like stimulating a woman's clit until she has a 'paroxysm' is not sexual or that we don't need to pay attention to women's clits when we have sex with them even though we kind of know that we do. -by All of Western History

Desperately clinging to female orgasm through penetrative sex
This book starts from and stays aligned to a basic truth that my loyal readers will know is a major thesis of this blog and my movie:  Vaginal penetration is not good for female orgasm and great for male orgasm. I tend to take that one step further and say that as far as all of scientific literature is concerned, there has never been a recorded observations of physical orgasm from something stimulating the inside of the vagina. Seriously, Either way, though, it's pretty undeniable that outer vuvla/clit stimulation causes orgasm in women just like penile stimulation causes orgasm in men. That means basic P-in-V penetrative sex with no additional clitoral stimulation is a terrible way for women to orgasm. It's absolutely fabulous for men though. So, that means getting a woman off takes more than just having a man get himself off inside her vagina through intercourse.  Women need clitoral stimulation, and that simply doesn't (or rarely ever) just automatically happens at the same time she's getting banged.

But, man, wouldn't it be cool/easier/convenient if women did just orgasm during a ramming like men do?

Maines shows us in this book that somewhere along the line, long-ago-Western-society said 'Yeah, that would be cool! I will go ahead and believe that!' And so it was believed. It was believed ever so strongly, and yet...it was also kinda known that it wasn't true. I mean, it's. just. not. true., and so it's hard to look past actual real life facts, but by gods the world has tried! This wierd dichotomy of believing strongly that women should and could orgasm through vaginal penetration and also kinda knowing that they don't has created all kinds of strange interactions between the world and the female orgasm.

How western society has rationalized our incorrect beliefs about female orgasm 
Okay so, in rectifying what is true of women's  orgasms and what is believed to be true of those things, Maines argues (in great detail and with tons of primary references, I might add) that since ancient times physicians have employed 5 basic strategies.

1 (least common) Straight-up acknowledge that only a minority of women can reach orgasm during penetration with no additional clitoral stimulation. She says this usually comes with advice about providing appropriate stimulation during coitus, not through masturbation. This is close to what we see from progressive, sex-positives today. It's better than not acknowledging the reality of clit-stimulation-to-orgasm at all, but it a. still keeps intercourse front and center, b. still hangs onto the idea that there are some women, even if it's just a minority, that can orgasm from stimulation inside the vagina. However, there just doesn't seem to be physical evidence that this is true. Now, Maines doesn't come right out and say in the book that orgasm from vaginal stimulation alone is a completely unverified thing and that there's no good evidence to believe any women can orgasm that way, but she does do something that I almost never ever see - she argued that the number of women in surveys who say they can orgasm this way (it tends to be around 30%) are quite likely inflated - which is real talk and soooo needs to be said.

So, although this is really how the most progressive in our society society deal with this, it still leaves so much room for the belief in vaginally induced orgasms and the uber-importance of intercourse that it doesn't really do enough to combat the status quo feeling that intercourse should be as orgasmic to women as it is for men.

Confusing desire, arousal, or enjoyment/pleasure with orgasmic resolution. Ummmm...
Having reaffirmed the norm as coitus, twentieth-century physicians tended to blur the distinction between orgasm and satisfaction much as their nineteenth-century predecessors had done. A propensity to equate enjoyment of coitus with orgasmic satisfaction remains embedded in both medical and popular discussion despite nearly a century of study of female sexuality." p 63
True. True .True. This happens today all. the. time. And this brings me to where Maines goes next with this argument. She insinuates that it's not just male physicians. Women seem to use this conflating of pleasure and orgasm to hold the line on this as well. I have to tell you, I just about flipped my lid when I read this. It's just simply not a thing people are willing to talk about (for real, it's the thing I say that I find people get the most pissed off about) - that women might be reporting orgasms from penetration minus any extra clitoral stimulation even though they are not actually experiencing orgasm that way.
Jeanne Warner, who wrote about this in 1984, used Joseph Bohlen's 1981 definition: "Only the unique waveforms of anal and vaginal pressure associated with the reflexive contractions of the pelvic muscles provide distinct physiological evidence of orgasm." In the absence of these signs, the emotional and physical enjoyment that women experience in coitus is frequently elevated to the stature of orgasm, both in the women's reports and in the medical interpretation. Women are under pressure to appear normal and feminine in their sexual response - defined, of course, in the androcentric model - and physicians have traditionally sought evidence that validated this model. Warner thinks it is likely that female orgasm in coitus is substantially over reported owing to women's tendency to say what their husbands and doctors want to hear... p 63
3 They gave the female orgasm a different name and identity. "Hysterical Paroxysm" was a term used for something that women had...and it was obviously an orgasm, but they either failed to see it as that or intentionally didn't call it that. So, by calling the female orgasm something different no one had to acknowledge that orgasm was what was happening from certain clit-stimulating situations - particularly medically induced ones.

4 Many physicians just believed women didn't have sexual feelings and desires.
It is in the nineteenth century that we see the fullest flowering of the third and fourth approaches to reconciling perceptions of women's sexuality with their observed behaviour: believing that women enjoyed intercourse sufficiently with or without the resolution now medically defined as orgasm, or that normal women experienced no sexual feelings at all. pg 59
hmmmm. Women enjoy intercourse with or without orgasming...where do I hear that? Oh yeah - all over modern sex advice that assures us women can be fully satisfied by sex even if there is no orgasm. You know, because we're more interested in the emotional/closeness aspects of sex or something like that.

Also, you see how nicely 3 and 4 play together? You can send women with 'Hysteria' to a physician to get a medical procedure (a doctor masturbating her with his hand or a vibrator) until she experiences a paroxysm (orgasm), and since women don't have sexual feelings at all or at least not without P-in-V sex, then that medical visit is fine, and pure, and cool for upstanding ladies to partake in.

"Finally, some medical authors omit all mention of female orgasm, even in discussing female sexuality." p51

I mean, just ignore it completely is a good plan too.

Hysteria (or how misunderstanding female orgasm makes normal female reactions seem pathological )
Maines lays out a fab argument that hysteria and its "sister" disorders in western medicine have been used as catchall for reconciling the reality of female sexuality and sexual response with the baseless beliefs about how women's orgasms and sexuality should be.

Imagine (and it's not hard to really since it's actually not too far off from the female situation today) the wierd position a woman was in.

She should be pure sexually but also supposed to enjoy or at least be fine with sexual contact from her husband only.
  • ...but the sexual contact she and her husband mostly have is intercourse, and being that it doesn't do much for the clit, he comes and she does not. 
  • ....so, it's actually not that exciting of a thing for her and there's not quite the same motivation for her to do that again as there is for him and she starts to be less interested in him and their sex life
  • ...but that very natural response to shitty, orgasmless sex is deemed as pathological because no one is willing to acknowledge that she isn't having orgasms that she could very well be having if they just did sexual contact differently. 
  • ...but, at the same time, if she does either try to stimulate herself in a very sensible and orgasm-creating way, it's considered a bit deviant given it doesn't include a dick in her vagina, so this also makes her a deviant.
  • ...and if she does anything that might be considered a sensible reaction to living in an orgasmless marriage, like crying or being bored or sad or being too interested in seeking sex or companionship elsewhere - that'll get her a hysteria or hysteria-like diagnosis as well. 
Basically, when women's sexuality is viewed through the idea that hetero-penetrative sex is the ultimate in sexual satisfaction for all, things start getting wierd and women's quite normal reactions to things don't make sense. It's some shady business that results in reframing normal female sexual functioning as diseased. Can't orgasm during intercourse? Diseased. Masturbate? Diseased. Feel frustrated and bored with your sex (because you actually can't orgasm during intercourse)? Diseased. Want sex a lot? Don't want it enough for your husband? Diseased! Diseased!

This desperate attempt to believe that women should orgasm during intercourse despite all kinds of contrary evidence created a lot of confused damned if you do, damned if you don't statements and ideas about female sexuality. Talking of famous 18th century doctor Richard von Kraft-Ebing and his statements about sexual "anesthesia" (i.e. not able to enjoy/orgasm), Maines writes,
Nineteenth-century physicians noted that their hysterical and neurasthenic women patients experienced traditional androcentric intercourse (me: normal ol' in-out sex) mainly as a disappointment. Richard von Kraft-Ebing , who thought that "women...if physically and mentally normal, and properly educated, has but little sensual desire," nevertheless considered the failure of his female patients to enjoy sex a pathological condition. p 39
So, women aren't supposed to have sexual desire, but if they don't they're diseased? Hysteria and its sister diseases, of course, were sometiems treated by masturbating a woman to orgasm (or as they liked to call it - paroxysm). It was lovely way to get women an orgasm, something quite important to most humans, without admitting that penetration is not great for orgasm or that women need clitoral stimulation to orgasm and without inconveniencing women's partners in the slightest.

Technology for the job no one wants
A large portion of the book involves setting the scene for discussing the technologies-to-get-women-off. It needs a lot of background and context because frankly we modern people are not much more enlightened about the female orgasm than the Romans and the 19th century physicians Maines writes about. We still hold a strong belief that women can and should orgasm from intercourse alone despite piles of evidence to the contrary. If you are skeptical of that just quickly check out how we depict sex in porn, movies, TV and romance novels. What Maines calls the Androcentric Model of sex (penile- vaginal intercourse to male orgasm as the ultimate in pleasure for both parties), is still deeply embedded in our modern beliefs about sex. We are a touch more progressive in some ways, but not enough so that Maines can assume all the stuff about how intercourse just plain doesn't work for lady-gasms is obvious and skip through it with a line or two. Like...she must argue that point and get us to understand/believe that before she can even begin her main technology related argument.

I'll let Maines introduce the technology-focused part of the book.
The overloaded and leaky vessel of androcentric sexuality, as we have seen, has required systematic bailing out of contradictory data. Some of this has been accomplished, I have suggested, by medicalizing the production of female orgasm, thus relieving husbands and lovers of the chore of stimulating the clitoris, a task rarely compatible with such reliable masculine favorites as coitus in the female-supine position. Physicians did not relish the job either, however lucrative it might be as an office visit cash cow, and from ancient times to the end of the nineteenth-century they sought some means of literally getting the female orgasm off their hands. Their efforts to mechanize and expedite the task while retaining the profitable character of orgasmic treatment are the subject of the next chapter. p. 66
The description of how lady-gasm was mechanized from ancient times to now is pretty fascinating, and Maines makes in-depth arguments for the high importance society has put on the mechanization of this task.
The first home appliance to be electrified was the sewing machine in 1889, followed in the next ten years by the fan, the teakettle, the toaster, and the vibrator. The last preceded the electric vacuum by some nine years, the electric iron by ten, and the electric frying pan by more than a decade, possibly reflecting consumer priorities. p.100
The history she gives us about all the contraptions people created to get women off, how the vibrator got into the home, and how it was eventually advertised is fascinating (I won't go into it, but you should get the book and read about it).

As for the vibrator and modern life; concrete, physical, mid 20th century scientific knowledge that women do in fact come from clit stimulation and not vaginal stimulation (Masters & Johnson)  as well as the birth of film that showed women getting off  from vibrators on their clits has taken the safety cloak off women getting 'non-sexual' 'medical procedures' to orgasm as well as advertisements of vibrators in respectable women's magazines. We know it's sexual now and most people at least recognize that clitoral stimulation is a way to get women off, even if there is still widespread belief that vaginal penetration is also a way to do that.  It is progress, but frankly not enough. We still largely cling to the idea that women should orgasm during intercourse just like men, and that directly stimulating the clit (which is what actually makes women orgasm) is 'extra' or 'foreplay.' As Maine writes in the end of her introduction,
The women's movement had completed what had begun with the introduction of the electromechanical vibrator into the home: it put into the hands of women themselves the job that nobody wanted.
Progress, yes, but we're still largely working from the assumption that p-in-v intercourse is as orgasmic for women as it is for men, and if women want to get off in a way other than penetration we, not our sexual partners, are generally the ones expected to do it.

I've read reviews of this book and seen art created from it, and what struck me is that often the really subversive punch of this book seems to have gotten lost. Yes, all the info about how women were masturbated through history is funny and interesting. Yes, the fact that women's normal sexual functioning was deemed pathological is infuriating, but underneath all that is the truth no one wants to speak too loudly. We as a society still. don't. get. it. Women don't orgasm through intercourse, but we arrange our society as if they do and then expect women to fit themselves into that fiction however they can. Maines is incredibly clear about this.
What is really remarkable about Western history in this context is that the medical norm of penetration to male orgasm as the ultimate sexual thrill for both men and women has survived an indefinite number of individual and collective observations suggesting that for most women this pattern is simply not the case...Since women cannot alter their sexual physiology in order to achieve compliance (consistent orgasm during coitus), they have employed a variety of strategies to reconcile reality with the normative mode. p 49-50 
A-fucking-MEN sister. Although this book is already almost 20 years old, and I can confidently say, it's still relevant because SHIT STILL HASN'T CHANGED. If it had, then speaking out against belief in female orgasm through vaginal stimulation like we do in my movie and this blog would not get the kind of combative, offended reactions they often gets.  Maines wouldn't have gotten those kinds of reactions from her research and this book either, but she most certainly did. She discusses it in detail in the preface of her book. This topic has created quite a fuss. She describes a variety of presentations and interactions surrounding this research that were surprisingly shitty.
At this point I discovered what I should have realized all along: that some people, most of them male, take my findings personally and resent them as implied criticism. p xiii
I am right there with her, although I'd say I get quite a lot of women in that boat as well. The truth is, though, that the harsh reactions to the idea that women might not get off from penetrative sex just proves her point even further. The need to believe dicks make women come despite tons of evidence to the contrary was and is still STRONG.

She ends her book with a chapter called "Ending the Androcentric Model" She makes no bones about the fact that our society has been living a long and strange lie about how women orgasm, and that it's long past due to come clean.
Many questions can and should be raised about the persistence of Western belief that women ought to reach orgasm during heterosexual coitus. Certainly its importance to impregnation must have contributed to our doggedly maintaining it in the face of abundant individual and societal evidence that penetration unaccompanied  by direct stimulation of the clitoris is an inefficient and, more often than not, ineffective way to produce orgasm in women. It is hardly worth belaboring the point that most men enjoy coitus and that men have been the dominant sex through most of Western history. Yet the fact remains of our normative preference for coitus, in which the constant from Hippocrates to Freud - despite breathtaking changes in nearly every other area of medical thought - is that women who do not reach orgasm by means of penetration alone are sick or defective. The penetration myth is not a conspiracy perpetuated by men; women too want to believe in the ideal of universal orgasmic mutuality in coitus. Even the sexual radical Wilhelm Reich could not see beyond this time-honored norm. The feminist questioning of androcentric sexuality over the past three decades is recent and, one might say, long overdue. p115
Her last lines in the book
The rifts of this ancient wall continue to be patched with exhortations to women to avoid challenging the norm even if it means faking orgasms and sacrificing honesty in their intimate relationships with men. In the past we have been willing to pay this price; whether we should continue to do so is a question for individuals, not historians. p123
She basically said, 'I laid this shit out for you. I told you that our society has been and is still obsessed so deeply with the belief in mutually orgasmic intercourse that it has twisted and contorted female sexuality and stunted female orgasm in a wide range of ways. There has barely started to be real discussion in this arena thanks to a few decades of feminist criticism, but not nearly enough. It's now up to the people. Are you going to acknowledge the ridiculousness of our culture's most precious sexual belief and affect change, or are you going to continue ignoring it and awkwardly plastering over the cracks in its facade?'

I am telling you, this is as bold and revolutionary a book on female orgasm as as I've seen. I have read a shit-ton of books and articles about female sexuality and female orgasm from the time I started researching my movie in 2003. Nothing else, besides The Hite Report, has floored me with its absolutely unabashed realism and clarity on this topic. It's kinda insane to me how tame people are when they write about this book or make movies/docs related to it. They rarely speak about the orgasm-during-intercourse-being-BS part and speak on other more palatable things. It doesn't surprise me at all, though. If it's anything like the reaction I get to my work, it's one of 3 things. 1. some level of pissed 2. Some level of mind blown or 3. completely ignore all the uncomfortable parts about problems in our current society and focus only on how thing 'used to be' or on the interesting, fun, or sexy parts. I think #3 is what's happened a lot with this book. (OMG! So crazy about hysteria and vibrators, right?)

In the end this book, her bold stance, and all the detailed research she did is important. Period. I know there are plenty of people out there who have read this book and deeply moved by it. I was. I just wish I'd found it like 15 years earlier - some parts of it surely would have made their way into my movie.

I believe there is a revolution boiling that could really get a strong-hold on flipping the male-focused model of sex, but these things take time. It's been brewing decades and will probably be brewing for many more, but even if it seems like things aren't changing, I truly believe books like this add a few more hands and a lot more power to the fight. It moves the Orgasm Equality Revolution forward.

Cheers to you Rachel P. Maines. You deserve an awesome award, but all I have to give you is a place of honor in my Orgasm Equality Allies list.  Do enjoy all the power and prestige that goes along with this distinct honor.


Insecure S2 Ep7 - The SSL Review

Insecure S2 Ep7
I watched seasons 1 and 2 of Insecure last fall and took notes, but hadn't gotten to writing any SSL Reviews until this past September. Much like that first Insecure SSL Review, this SSL Review will not be given a high Vulva Rating. Again, this scene was a really basic - and terribly unrealistic - sex scenario were a dude bangs a woman and she orgasms with no thought of the clit at all. There are really a lot of scenes like this in Insecure, except most of them cut before we see anyone orgasm. We're just left to assume that what they were doing, which is ramming a P into a V with absolutely no clit stimulation, was supposed to be orgasmic for both parties. I mean, that's pretty much the status quo for sex scenes in general whether they be on TV, movies or porn, so it's not surprising, but like I said in that other post, I was hoping for better.

SSL Reviews
As a quick reminder, SSL Reviews are depiction or discussions of female orgasm and/or masturbation and/or the clit. Only those specific things are reviewed - other discussions or depictions of sex or sexuality not within the above confines are for the most part not of interest to me. In these reviews,  I critique the realism (for instance, were the physical things happening to that women while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman?) 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).

Fucked on a sink - S2 Ep7
The scene in question is a pretty simple one. I won't put in a lot of details about the people and circumstances surrounding this scene so I don't spoil anything. However, I want to say that I think there is a discussion related to this scene around sexual responsibility, how people in relationships consider each other, and about how pushing for sex irresponsibly and giving into sex that is not healthy are things that happen all too often and naturally in part due to our internalized gender roles. But that's a whole other blog. On to the scene description:

Molly is getting fucked by a guy in the bathroom. She is sitting on a sink, facing out. He is standing and facing her. They are having intercourse. They are fully clothed, but she's got a skirt on, so I guess the panties are just pulled to the side or something. He's just got his jeans undone and pulled down enough so we just see the top of his ass (which is actually pretty hot looking).

They are pressed close. Their arms are around each other (and definitely nowhere near her clit). He's definitely pushing in and out of her, so much so that she is getting bounced kind of up and down, but their bodies remain close, and when we see it from behind him, he does have a tiny bit of circular motion in his in-out movement.

She says "Okaaaay. Okaaaay. I'm almost there. I'm almost there," and then she exhales and kind of sighs as if she just came. He stops with a similar exhausted, satiated kind of feel -as if they both just came at the exact same time.

The SSL Review
So, if you read this blog, you know what I'm 'bout to say. This scene is basically just one of trillions you've seen in your life where a man and woman have quick sex. We see them banging their junk against each other, hot intercourse style, and then they both come at the same time. These scenes help get into our heads from a young age the assumption that if a man and a woman fuck passionately enough, it will end in an amazing orgasm for both parties - probably at the same time.

It's a lovely story and one that certainly still plays out in my masturbation fantasies, but it's a sad shitty lie that leads to a dude getting to bone a vagina to his own orgasm and a woman...getting boned. Maybe she outright fakes an orgasm; maybe she moans and screams because it feels so hot and considers that an orgasm; maybe she makes all sorts of sexy satisfied sounds that make him feel like she orgasmsed but she really doesn't consider it 'faking;' maybe she just doesn't orgasm at all and is either fine with it or resentful of it, or just confused as to why it didn't happen when it was supposed to; maybe she is just enjoying the feel of it - but what is just very physically unlikely to happen is that she actually does orgasm.

And she's not likely to orgasm because it's also unlikely that her clit is stimulated. It's unlikely that someone puts a hand or vibe down against her vulva/clit area to actually get her off. It also probably doesn't happen that everything goes just right (including the dude's understanding and willingness to let her control the motions or the woman's understanding that it's even an option) to where she is able to grind her clit against him as she's getting fucked in such a way that she gets enough consistent clitoral glans stimulation so she can come.

Maybe every 1 in 10,000 times a woman is fucked like Molly was in this scene, the stars align and she's able to come because she was crazy aroused when it started and the movement going on during the fucking - without any intentional clit directed movement from either party- happened to stimulate the clit just enough to make her come. I mean that could happen, but it's absolutely bonkers insane that the the large part of how we understand and depict female orgasm banks on this incredibly unrealistic expectation. Let me be clear. Inner vaginal stimulation does not lady-gasms make, and any depiction that implies it does is unrealistic and overall negative for a realistic understanding of female orgasm in out culture.

I will say I'll give a little credit to the fact that the dude's ass was moving a little bit in a circular motion while he was banging into her because if she is going to orgasm during intercourse without any additional clit/vuvla stimulation, it would likely only be because there is grinding between her clitoral glans and his body. His butt's (pretty sexy) circular motion gives the sense that there could be grinding.

However, I'm also not giving it much credit because she was not grinding. She was clearly getting bounced up and down, and she was exhibiting no control over the pelvic movement. Just because his ass moved slightly in a way beyond just straight in-out pounding in no way means she is getting the kind of direct, continuous grinding a clit would need to orgasm. It probably just means he read in a magazine once that he should do more of a screwing motion when he's fucking a woman to make her like it more. That's the kind of half-assed, ignorant of lady-gasm-physiology advice we're all getting all the time. The screwing motion of the dude isn't what's important. It's that the clit needs stimulated and if a woman can grind against the man in a way that works for her while she's getting banged, she might come, but that's up to her body so much more than his.

Vulva Rating
So, this is just another scene to lay upon the pile of scenes that reiterate the incorrect assumption permeating both men and women's brains that women should just come when a penis bangs in her vagina. These types of depictions contribute so much of women's self-doubt and confusion regarding their orgasm, and is overall harmful for hetero sex. But, they're not uncommon or outside of the popular understanding of sex, so it's hard to blame the creators for including this kind of scene. It's shitty, but not in a malicious way or particularly backwards in regard to the status quo. With that, I will give this a 2 out of 5 vulva rating.