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). 




7.10.2020

Squirrels, Fire, Diabetic Cats, and Cinnamon Toast - Random Thoughts From Me

 

Hello all - Listen, I'm feeling a bit listless right now, as in I don't feel up to getting deep into anything. A big assessment of a TV show, or movie or article, like, I just can't get into it right now.  Honestly, all I want to do right now is make cinnamon toast and watch some TV - something real mindless like Kid's Baking Championship or some sitcom. I have time right now to write, though, so I'm gonna get something up on this here blog and then I'm gonna make that cinnamon toast. 

Cinnamon English muffin is more correct - pic by me

I've been sitting here looking through my drafts, hoping to find something that catches my attention. I always put ideas and notes in Blogger drafts from TV and movies I've seen that have SSL reviewable moments or links to articles and that kind of thing. I was looking through it for easy stuff I could pop out real quick into a sensible post. Even the stuff that seemed like an easy write-up just felt like too much. 

And, ya know, I do this shit because I like it. When I spend 8 hours writing something, I want to kinda enjoy it, and I think the only way to continue that is only do it when I want to. But, I also gotta balance that with keeping the blog updated, so that's why I try to keep an arsenal of easy stuff so when I need to get a post up, I can just find one and get it done. What I'm doing now is the last resort when even that feels like it sucks - I'm just kinda writing stream of consciousness - 'cause I don't mind doing that, and sometimes it gets me in the o'l writin' mood.  

It's not getting me in the writing mood, though, so this won't get all that much more exciting. So, let me just tell you some highlights of my recent weeks:

  • The squirrel that lays spread eagle across a knot on a tree in my backyard stood on that same knot a few days ago and, I believe, licked it's own dick. We have a picture of it. It's impressive.
Squirrel auto-fellatio pic by Charles Borowicz

  • My neighbor's son and his friends were over on the 4th of July, and they started doing fire poi and breathing fire in the middle of the street. Some neighbor's friend also rolled up and did what felt like professional firework show in the street. An old dude on a motorcycle had to wait for about 10 minutes before it ended and he could pass.
neighborhood fire poi pic by Charles Borowicz

  • I hired a woman into my work group recently, and I'm super excited about my new team dynamics (corporate excitement, ya'll!)
(no pic of the woman I hired or my team. That's weird, and would probably get me fired)
  • My dumb, diabetic cat seems to be getting her shit under control now. I live a life where I give a cat 2 shots of insulin each day - which really is surprisingly easy. She don't give a fuck about the shot as long as she's eating. Also, PSA - if your cat's piss is quite large and sticky (like not clumping well in the litter and super annoying to scoop out) motha fucker probably has the sugars. 
Eds, lookin like a dead raccoon - pic by me
(I might literally have thousands of pictures of her on my phone)


Okay - I should also write something about female orgasms because all SSL posts must have a lady-gasm connection, but again, I can't think good right now, so I'm just going to keep it personal. My first masturbation style was putting a pillow or stuffed animal between my legs and rubbing against it with my underware on. That's lady-bation that isn't often shown in media, but it deserves more love in the world, so to all ya'll out there that rub one out in that manner, respect. Ain't no shame in that game. 

Also on that note, I really want check out OMGyes! and do a review on it. Everything I see about it looks on point - it's actual women talking in detail about how they actually make themselves orgasm. I hope it's as good as I think it is. 

Okay, I'm going to make my cinnamon toast. My next post will be better.

6.28.2020

A Dirty Story With 7 Realistic Lady-gasms!



Sorry it's been 2 weeks again. I have a couple post I'm working on, but none are done yet, so I'm going to write a quick one. It's not unimportant though. In fact, I think it's one of the most important aspects of change that need to come in order to get to Orgasm Equality - clit-stimulated orgasms in porn and erotica. 

Clit-gasms!
So, yes, of course you can find orgasms caused by external clitoral glans area stimulation all over porn, romance novels and erotica, but it is a truly rare find to have ALL the lady-gasms in one of these works resulting from clit glans area stimulation. There's usually 1 maybe 2, but then there's also some caused from stimulation inside the vagina - usually from a penis or a dildo. And once you have even one of those B.S. never-observed-or-recorded-in-scientific-literature vag-gasms in there, it kind of ruins the whole thing. 

I mean everyone already knows that diddling the clit-button works for orgasm. That's undisputed. The part that needs changed is the idea that vaginal stimulation should be expected to cause orgasm as well. So, yeah it's nice to see any scene in any erotic work that depicts orgasms from clit stimulation, but as soon as there's another scene in the work that depicts orgasm from vag-stimualtion as well, all progress goes out the window. In the end, the overall message is unchanged from the shit message we're already getting from our sexual culture - that clits AND vaginal canal stimulation will make a lady come. The only way to create progress is for the whole work to be realistic about lady-gasms, not just part of it. 

For Orgasm Equality to get a foothold, we have to acknowledge, once and for all, that females need external clit area stimulation in order to orgasm as much as males need penile stimulation to orgasm. However, the idea of banging a woman into an orgasm, as unrealistic as it might be, is so deeply held and the image such a common one that a belief in it is not going to go away until we stop seeing it our media. We need to start seeing an unequivocal lack of lady-gasms from banging. Otherwise it won't be enough to force people see lady-gasm differently than we currently do.

A good start to that is to depict every single lady-gasm in an erotic work realistically. Every. Single. One. In porn maybe the best way to do that is to do the same that is done for males - allow the female actors to actually come. No faking. But that's a whole bigger, more complicated, socially deep issue that we won't get into today. 



A Progressive ass dirty story
Today, I want to highlight an explicit erotic story about a F-F-M threesome that had 7 female orgasms and every single one was externally clit area induced. Every. Single. One. Not most. Not 6 out of 7. All of them. It's unheard of. I mean, I think. It's rare at least. I have been masturbating to video, photo, and written porn for a couple decades now, and I honestly think this is the first work featuring 2 or more people I've encountered that has this honor. Granted, I don't get into niche, feminist works. I am very basic and mainstream in the venues for which I find my porn, but I fear even in very niche feminist works it wouldn't be too much different - there always seems to be at least one scene of a lady getting banged into orgasm, even in lesbian porn. If you have examples that prove me wrong, please share. I would love to highlight them. 

Okay, so this was a story on Literotica.com - a free erotic literature site. It's called "When Jessica and Yazmin Slept Over" and it's by Estrellita85. It's in the voice of a man named Steve who becomes a friend and then an experimental lover with Jessica. Jessica has another sex partner Yazmin that visits and, well, they have a threesome. Here is a list of the the 7 lady-gasms.

1 The first one was Jessica's. It happened when she was lying on her back, Steve slowly banging her, and Yazmin was sucking and licking her clit. Solid. Full realism on that one. Clit licking will sensibly work to make a lady come...and getting banged while that is happening can certainly add a little spice, so thumbs up. There was a lot of lead-up to that, but ya know, read the story if you're curious.

The second one was Jessica again (she was the center of attention at the beginning of this). I mean, basically she was sitting on Yazmin's face getting everything from her clit to her anus tongued, and she done up and came. Again, a mouth on the clit/vulva area is a realistic way one might orgasm. This was all happening while while Steve was also eating Yazmin out, which brings us to the next one.

You guessed it. This one was Yazmin. She had a finger in both her holes, Steve's mouth on her clit, and Jessica licking her body when she came. Mouth on clit. Estrellita85 is continuing to keep it real, my friends.

Yazmin got a 2nd turn at the bat, and like Jessica before had Steve's penis inside her vagina and Jessica sucking her clit. She came. Again, I'm totally into this - fully support this depiction.

Ya'll, Yazmin did it again! This time Steve's penis moved to her ass. Don't worry, there was lube, and she really wanted it.  Jessica was just watching (I'll get to her in a minute). There was plenty of stuff happening before leading up to this. This whole thing is a pretty long story, actually. Anyway, at the time she came, she was on her knees rubbing her own clit. Earlier, before the ass, while Steve was still in her vag, she started diddling herself, then Steve took over, so there had been a fair amount of manual clit play by this time.  I LOVE when there is a depiction of a lady taking her pleasure into her own hands. That should be a much, much, much more common occurrence during intercourse than it currently is. Oh - and Steve finally came during this as well.

Now, during the end of this, Jessica was next to them rubbing her own clit, and minutes after they finished, Jessica came as well from her own hand on her clit. Watching and masturbating to orgasm? That's a orgasm-realistic thumbs up from me!

So, there was a shower, ya know, to clean off after that, and then the last lady-gasm was Jessica's. After some tongue play on the ol' anus, she got a little Steve up in there. At the same time, Yasmin first licked and then strummed her clit. I mean, that's legit. Oh and Steve came this time too.

Respect to Estrellita85
Seven out of seven, my friends. I am impressed. And it wasn't like this story avoided intercourse or was not hardcore. There was lots of intercourse in more than 1 hole. It's just that, quite correctly, the ladies orgasmed at times when something that actually causes orgasm in woman - clitoral glans area stimulation - was happening to them instead of during times when the only thing happening to them were things that cause males to orgasm - ya know, like ramming penises into vaginas/asses/mouths for instance. 

This is huge. The truth is that we need erotic depictions of realistic female orgasms. Not only does it help people realize how lady-gasms can realistically happen, but it also gives people ideas and cultural permission to approach female orgasm that way with partners. Things we see and know other people do seem so much more 'okay' to ask for and to do than things that seem rare or weird - like stimulating your own clit to orgasm while getting fucked, for instance. Yeah - maybe you've seen that once or twice. Maybe. But, start looking at sex scenes wherever you see or read them, and start noticing what percentage show a woman rubbing her own clit to orgasm during it. It ain't common, and that reflects, sadly, in real encounters as well. 

Point is, I think this writer has a realistic understanding of the lady-gasm and had a point of view to put forth. It's progressive and revolutionary, and it's just what the world needs if we're ever going to achieve Orgasm Equality.

Get it Estrellita85! You are now an official SSL Orgasm Equality Ally!

6.14.2020

Terrible Advice About Vaginal Masturbation



My awesome over-the-web friend who sends me awesome (or more precisely - awesomely incorrect about lady-gasm) web links and articles, sent me one recently to a article on vaginal masturbation at the website Bustle:

How Does Vaginal Masturbation Work? A Sex Educator Breaks it Down. *spoiler: she doesn't actually*

It starts with a simple question from a reader: How does vaginal masturbation work? Not Clitoral.

Now if it were me, I would have said something like:

So, lady (or dude, I guess), for some sensual enjoyment, one can play inside one's vagina all one wants. Touch down there and do what feels good. Putting a vibrator in there is fun and can shake the whole vulva a bit. Use lube. It can feel good, so go forth and explore, but if you're asking how to masturbate to orgasm from vaginal stimulation with no clitoral glans stimulation, which I think is what you're asking? Because you're just curious, or so you can learn to (or help your female partner) come when getting a basic fuck? - then the answer is - it doesn't work. Sorry. 

More precisely, it's super unlikely, maybe impossible.

Don't Expect A Vaginal Orgasm
Although one might assume from looking or reading pretty much anything about sex, that females can orgasm from just inside-the-vagina stuff, one would be wrong. They don't - at least not in any scientific literature. Ever. No actual physical verification of orgasm caused by stimulation inside the vagina has ever been observed and recorded. I'm not lying about that. This is quite unlike clitoral glans area stimulated orgasms which are undeniably a way females can orgasm. Those have been physically verified and recorded tons of times. In fact stimulation of the clitoral glans and surrounding external tissue should be considered no less important to female orgasm than penile glans and surrounding external penile tissue is to male orgasm.

Granted, people do say and insinuate regularly that females can and do orgasm from nothing more than intercourse. The truth is somewhere around 30% of women claim in surveys to orgasm this way. Depending on the question and the study it can go a bit up or down from that,* but only around 1/3 of women claim this happens to them even sometimes. So, at best, it's not common, and I fear there is real reason to assume some women claim to have these orgasms when they don't. I'm more than willing to take any heat from saying that, but I'm honestly not calling anyone liars. It's much more complicated and deeply cultural than that. There's plenty of sensible, good reasons women might feel pressure to say they orgasm this way; or truly believe they do when they don't; or squirt/ejaculate without orgasm but identify it as orgasm; or orgasm from external stimulation, but don't think about it or respond in surveys that way because it happens while they are having intercourse. I could go on. There really are lots of reasons. I have a whole movie about it, and this blog post explaining details about the glaring lack of vaginal orgasms in science and why women might not be having the 'vaginal orgasms' that surveys seem to indicate they are. Point is, just because you hear that women orgasm from nothing more than a banging, and you even see it in our media, doesn't mean it's true - just that it's a ubiquitous idea.

Ejaculation
Although orgasm isn't a sensible goal for inner vag-play, there is one thing you might work on inside the ol' vag. If you're interested in ejaculating, there is indication that stimulating the "g-spot" inside the vagina can cause that in some women. And I'm not using g-spot in the way it is commonly used - which is as a magical button in the vagina that causes orgasms. Again, contrary to popular belief there's no evidence that any stimulation, including g-spot stimulation, vaginal wall stimulation, cervix stimulation, or the very 'hip and now' inner clitoral stimulation through the vaginal walls, has ever caused an orgasm. So, although everything you read about g-spot stimulated ejaculation will probably tell you you'll have intense orgasms and will also conflate and confuse the words ejaculation and orgasm, don't be fooled into expecting this will get you an orgasm.

I'm using g-spot in the way it was (mostly) used in the original book from 1981, The G-Spot- And Other Recent Discoveries in Sexuality, that coined the phrase  'g-spot'. It's the area towards the stomach a few inches in the vagina where the urethra sits against the vaginal wall. The urethra is surrounded by erectile tissue and Skeen's gland (otherwise known as the female prostate), which can engorge and might be felt as a little bean-sized bulge in the vaginal wall. The authors recorded women ejaculating through the urethra from rather strong partner finger stimulation on that area - largely using a 'come hither motion.' They also said it's a little hard to do with your own fingers, but maybe a toy would work. Also, I want to be quite clear. Ejaculation is not an orgasm. This is true in men as well. Orgasm is the sudden rhythmic release of muscle tension and blood congestion in the pelvis, and ejaculation is the emission and expulsion of ejaculate. It just happens that most often men ejaculate and orgasm at the same time.

What I'm saying is you can try it. It might be fun, but don't expect too much. You may or may not be someone that ejaculates. The female prostate may be more or less developed in different women. There's not great knowledge and understanding about if every woman even can ejaculate or what exactly ejaculation looks like in the female population, but it doesn't seem to happen commonly, and again, it's not an orgasm and it's very possible it may not be all that exciting/pleasurable/physically satisfying for you. The pressure that is said to be needed on the g-spot during stimulation may not be that comfortable or worth whatever feeling you get from the ejaculation, but that's for you to explore on your own. You could also explore trying to ejaculate and orgasm at the same time by working the clitoral glans area alongside the g-spot. I will point out there may also be women that tend to ejaculate spontaneously when they orgasm, much like how men ejaculate. If this is you, you'd probably already know. I merely say this because advice writing on ejaculation tends to confuse this phenomenon with ejaculation being an orgasm. In fact writing on ejaculation is almost always confused and convoluted and it's actually quite hard to parse out. Just remember despite everything you will read in sexpert advice columns, the idea that any kind of g-spot or inner vag-area stimulation causes orgasm is very, very much not backed up by science, so judge the things you're reading from that perspective.

Try whatever feels good, but have sensible expectations about orgasm
Okay, so try ejaculating if you want, but don't get too worried about it. You can also touch and enjoy your vagina as much as you want, but if you want to orgasm from masturbation, the vagina is not where I would advice you to focus. There's just no other responsible way to say it. Stimulate the clitoral glans area however works for you if you want a good chance at ogasming. Of course, feel free to add any other body, mind, or vaginal canal stimulation to that clitoral glans area stimulation for some fun, hotness, and variety, but don't assume those other stimulations might, themselves, cause orgasm.


I mean, that's what I would say. However, the advice in Bustle didn't go that way at all 

The author never really answered the question - not in a way I think the questioner wanted - not in a way that actually told the questioner how to self-incite an orgasm from nothing more than stimulating inside the vagina, and not in a way that conveys a realistic and science based understanding of how lady-gasm works.

The author did a few things I very much appreciated, though. She praised masturbation. She said women don't do it enough, but it's important. She suggested lube. She suggested starting slow and with your own fingers (although then it lists out a few toys by name and manufacturer to use if you want and when you're ready - because ads, I guess). I'm completely behind that advice, and I think overall the article was kindly written, well intentioned, and well within the common knowledge about female orgasm that I would expect to see from an educated progressive sex educator.

Problem is, the common knowledge about female orgasm from well-educated progressive sex educators is, if I may say something that I imagine would get me into a brawl at a sex ed conference, not based in good scientific evidence and overall a bit shitty for the future of women and our orgasms. I'm honestly not saying that sex educators are intentionally bad or mean or not knowledgeable. I'm saying that the paradigm in which their education, knowledge, experience, and the sexual culture exists is shit, and they are working responsibly inside of that shit - which seems like the right thing to do from the inside. Looking from the outside, though, it seems clear that complacency about propping up the idea of vaginally stimulated orgasms is a huge underlying, ubiquitous rot that leads to more of the same misunderstandings of lady-gasm. Yes, the rot is wrapped in a new package for each new generation (we're currently in an 'all orgasms are clitoral' phase), but in the end, they lead to oppression of the female orgasm, shame, frustration, and damage to female sexuality.

Those are definitely fighting words, but I'm not actually looking for a fight with anything but bad information. Women, like this author and the expert she uses in it, have exactly the same goals and aims that I do - to make sex better for women and women better through a healthy sexuality (and everyone else better in the process). We just have different ideas about how that happens. Specifically, I will have no part in holding up the idea that women could/should come from stuff stimulating inside their vaginas because it's actually quite ridiculous and not supported by the science on the subject. However, the progressive, feminist, sexual education status quo definitely does take part in holding that up - in a kind, well intentioned way, but a way nonetheless. I think this is largely because it seems harsh, thoughtless, and anti-feminist to assert that vaginal orgasms are a bit BS, when there are actual women who say it happens to them. No-one, especially a progressive sexpert, wants to marginalize a woman's said experience, but, ya know, I'm fine with it. 

So on that note, allow me to do a specific critique of the answers given in this article. I have 2 main problems with it. It incorrectly tells us that there is no difference between a clitoral orgasm and a vaginal orgasm and frankly, it doesn't answer the questions asked (because how could it, really).

"All orgasms are clitoral!" (aka it's easier to believe vaginal orgasms are real if you imagine they have something to do with the clit)

The article very specifically said "'vaginal orgasms' and 'clitoral orgasms' are the same thing." 

Then it goes on to say: "Also, the external part of the clitoris — the clitoral head, which has more than 8,000 nerve endings and is the only human body part that exists solely for pleasure — is kind of hard to avoid when you’re aroused and touching any part of your genitals, inside or out. So, I’d argue that any time a person with a vulva masturbates, it’s going to involve the clitoris, either inside the body or because vibrations/rubbing/sucking/whatever you’re doing is also touching the clitoral head.

So, the author here is repeating a very popular talking point in the progressive, feminist, sex education realm - that orgasms caused from stimulation inside the vagina are not different than orgasms caused by stimulation of the external clitoral glans (aka clitoral head) area. Another way it's often said is 'all orgasms are clitoral.' Either way, the point being made is that, yes, obviously orgasms can be caused by specific external clitoral glans area stimulation - that's undeniable, but given that the internal clitoris extends down into the body and v's on either side of the vagina and that the clitoral head is close to the vag hole, then you can also get "clitoral" orgasms just from a good banging with no additional stimulation of the clitoral glans area.

Let's forget for a second the most glaring problem with this idea, which is that an orgasm caused by a basic banging alone has never been observed - so it really can't be 'the same thing' as an orgasm caused by external clitoral stimulation - a thing that actually has been observed and recorded. I mean something that we understand and something that is unknown simply can't be said to be the same thing.   Instead, let's just pretend that a vaginal orgasm is, as most science, sex ed, and sex advice would have you believe, an undeniable fact of nature. How exactly is it supposed to happen, anyway?

First and foremost it's all about the inner parts of the clitoris. This is said because it is hypothesized that when something moves in the vagina (like a penis), it pushes against the vaginal wall, which presses against the the inner parts of the 'clitoris' through the vaginal wall...and that causes a vaginally stimulated orgasm. I summarize the two main studies about this HERE and HERE. Both use ultrasound, and 1 shows that the clitoral crura get jostled during intercourse and the other shows that the area where the vestibular bulbs** and the crura V around the vagina get crushed against the vagina during penile intercourse. Both claim these are how vaginal orgasms might happen, but of course don't actually observe them happening in this way.

From ScarletTeen:sex ed for the real world  http://www.scarleteen.com/article/bodies/with_pleasure_a_view_of_whole_sexual_anatomy_for_every_body

With this I'd like to point out something the author actually said, because she's right. The clitoral head (aka glans) has 8,000 nerve endings. It's incredibly densely innervated, but that's the head, not the whole clitoris. When people talk about the clit having all those nerves, please remember it's the clitoral head, and so a penis pressing against any part of the inner clit though the vagina during intercourse is not the same as a penis pressing against a dense set of clitoral nerves. That is very often lost.

But, not to worry, there's also hypotheses about the head getting stimulated during intercourse. There's a very old idea (famously studied by Princess Marie Bonaparte in her life-long obsession to have a vaginal orgasm so she wouldn't be frigid anymore) that during intercourse the glans can get stimulated as well if it's big enough or close enough to the vaginal hole...like the closer/bigger it is, the likelier one is to orgasm from just banging. Masters and Johnson in all their research said there was nothing to this bigger/closer idea and there's actually not great evidence that even claims of vaginal orgasm follow this rule, but there are 2 recent studies that have reignited this idea (but aren't that convincing and of course don't give any real physical evidence that orgasms can actually be caused this way). I summarize them HERE and HERE.

Also, just ponder this. If, as the author would argue, anytime a person masturbates - stimulating anything in the genital region apparently, that they are also stimulating the clit (which we know can cause orgasm - the external parts of the clit, at least), then why, might I ask, do the majority of women never orgasm during intercourse? In all the many times we women get fucked, in all the different ways we get fucked? How did all that fucking-related stimulation down there - particularly inside the vagina, - not cause orgasm most of the time for most females? Might it be because it's just not true. It's not true that the external clitoral stimulation that we know can make a female come- will simply happen from just any ol' thing you do down there?

Here's the deal, and this is why saying vaginal orgasms and clitoral orgasms are the same thing (aka all orgasms are clitoral) sucks. It's because that idea is just the latest in a long line of wishful hypotheses about how an orgasm might happen just from a good banging (because how convenient would it be for females to just come from intercourse - the same thing that makes males come). Although it's fervently believed in, that type of orgasm simply hasn't been observed. Before all-orgasms-are-clitoral was the hip, progressive excuse for validating vag-gasm belief, it was the g-spot. That has only very recently gone out of vogue (kinda), and before that - before Masters and Johnson said that the vagina doesn't cause orgasms in 1968 - it was just believed that the vagina itself was able to cause them. These orgasms don't actually show up in scientific studies, but any idea that can be even kinda sensibly grabbed onto about why they might happen, well, those are abundant in scientific studies.

The belief in an orgasm caused by intercourse is so deep that it not only covers up/completely ignores the lack of vaginal orgasm evidence, but it also makes us super willing to accept any jumbled, messy reasoning for why it might happen. Saying 'it's all the clit' is one of those jumbled messy reasonning that we're currently clinging to, but I find it particularly problematic because just using the word clit makes the idea of the vaginal orgasm feel more substantial, more scientific, more feminist, and more progressive - when in reality it is quite the opposite. 


But, also, the question is never given a good answer...because there is no good answer

I'm sticking with the idea that the questioner was hoping to get direction for orgasming using only vaginal stimulation. I don't think they were intending 'masturbation' as simply touching your genitals in a pleasurable way. It's already pretty obvious how to do that - just touch yourself in a pleasurable way. They wanted to know how to come from vaginal masturbation- which isn't obvious.

The author and sexpert in this article sidestep the answer in a couple ways. They keep pointing out that the whole body should be enjoyed during masturbation, and that it's not all about the orgasm. They also give very little specifics in their advice, and when they do try and give specifics, they often creep in some clitoral glans stimulation into the advise even though the questioner specifically said 'not clitoral.' 

I imagine that the main reason there isn't great advice and why that they keep focusing on pleasuring the whole body and downplaying the orgasm, is because the sexperts in the article are trying to be inclusive and all every-sexual-touch-and-pleasure-is-equal-and-valid, but they simply don't have a straight answer because a straight answer for how to come from vaginal stimulation alone doesn't exist. As well-trained progressive sexual educators, though, they just pivot focus to pleasure instead of orgasm - because it is something they can actually answer. The article ends with this "Not to hate on orgasms (love those!), but there really is something amazing about observing and feeling the different ways your body reacts when you're touching yourself. So start slow, grab the lube, and get exploring! You're in for an excellent time." 

Not an orgasm, but ya know, a good pleasurable time where you get aroused but don't have an orgasm. It's great. Guys call it blue balls.

Let me just go through the most specific of their advice, though. The only discussion of inner vaginal movement/stimulation is the come-hither motion of the finger one can use to hit the 'g-spot.' 

"One motion that many people with vaginas like is the 'come hither' motion, which is when you put two fingers inside your vagina and then bend them at the second knuckle. It’s the sex move that’s most likely to stimulate the G-spot, which is a sensitive area behind the pubic bone. For a lot of people, G-spot stimulation can lead to intense orgasms or even 'squirting.'"

As I discussed above, the g-spot and the come-hither motion to stimulate it might cause ejaculation, but not orgasm. The article never points that out, though, and in fact very wrongly says 'intense orgasms' might occur, even though there is no evidence that any orgasm would occur at all - much less an intense one.  Also, that come-hither motion is not something that will likely happen during intercourse or something that is easy for one to do to themselves, so I imagine the questioner won't be that excited about it.

Other than that, the advice involves the clitoral glans a lot. The article says this. "Even when you’re focused on having a penetrative orgasm, why not get your clitoral head involved too?" (because the question specifically asked for ways to masturbate without the clitoris, but whatever.) "You can work your body up to high arousal by stimulating the external part of your clit in the ways that feel best to you. Then, you can switch to penetration only or penetration plus external stimulation, based on how you’re feeling."

I like the general idea of advising to do both penetrative and external stimulation. That's actually on-point. One can of course come during vaginal penetration as long as the external clit area is stimulated as well, and there's plenty of ways to do that. The problem is, though, that the article is never clear, as I believe it should be, that the outer stimulation has to happen in order to expect orgasm. But, that would mean the article would have to straight up tell the questioner that vaginal penetration shouldn't be expected to cause orgasm, and it isn't going to do that. 

The overall idea of this advice, though, is hilarious (hilariously sad) to me because it's basically the old-timey 1950's marriage manual advice about doing lots of external clitoral stimulation as foreplay, and then right as she's getting close to orgasm, switch to intercourse! If she didn't frustratingly lose her orgasm caused by the change from appropriate clitoral stimulation to vaginal stimulation, it's maybe possibly possible that she might start coming right when the stimulation moved from clit to vagina. This would allow her a half-assed technical win on the vaginal orgasm front - which would have been the goal. Vaginal orgasms were considered the only mature ones by professionals up through the 70's, ya know. Point is, that advise sounds like the masturbation version of the 50's marriage manual advise to me, which is a little sad. 

The next specific advice given is,
"'Try starting at the opening of the vagina, then lightly drag your fingertip ever so slowly towards your clitoris,' Dunne says. 'You can trace your way back down one side of the labia lips to the opening of your vagina, trace circles around it, and then back up. Try placing some gentle pressure on the vaginal opening, and if this feels pleasurable, you can move to insert a finger into your vagina to begin exploring there. A dildo or a vibrator could be interesting — lube included — if you are feeling ready for it.'"

This advice just seems like a sneaky way to get the woman to kinda touch the opening of the vagina a little, so maybe she might technically think it's vaginal, not clitoral, masturbation, but also get working on the clitoral glans area...because again, I think these sexperts know deep in their sexpert hearts that's where it's at.


My big point here is that even though this was a really specific, pointed questions about how to masturbate vaginally - which I can only assume means the woman wanted to know how to stimulate inside her vagina to orgasm. The sexperts mostly avoided it. They first downplayed the idea that she should be interested in orgasm. 'Just touch yourself - that'll be fun enough, right?!' Then they tried to get her to masturbate the clitoral glans anyway, either kinda slyly or in the ol' get real close with the clit and try to move into the vagina right before you come for a technical vaginal orgasm win. Then when they finally did mention inner stimulation, it was just the ol' come-hither move, which is 1. actually quite hard to do to yourself. 2. Not actually something that has been shown to cause orgasm at all - only ejaculation 3. Not that similar to penile intercourse stimulation. 

So, I'd like to point out that if these sexperts can't answer a pointed question about how one might vaginally stimulate themselves to orgasm, how the hell do they or anyone expect intercourse to work for orgasm? And...why do they feel like they need to be so kind to the idea of getting an orgasm from things stimulating the inside of our vaginas - it only breeds the status quo continuation of shitty, clit-ignoring sexual interactions and a lot of misinformation, lack of ladygasms, confusion,  and shame at not being able to orgasm in a way society tells us we're supposed to but our bodies don't actually allow. It's bonkers really, and I know that's not the outcome most sexperts are aiming for.


*The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution. LLoyd, Elisabeth A.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2005. (You can find a deep dive into various studies on the % of women that claim they have vag-gasms in the first chapter of this book.)
**(these were deemed the "clitoral bulbs" in a 1998 study - it's the study that leads people to say that the whole clitoral structure wasn't discovered until 1998...but that's not really true. The study just decided to rename the vestibular bulbs the "clitoral bulbs" and call it all the clitoral complex...but that's disputed)

6.06.2020

5 Black Woman Directed Movies Touching on Racial Injustice in Law Enforcement



Good morning. I've been procrastinating on finishing my latest post. I missed a week of posting, and I truly intend not to do that. This Saturday morning I'm working from home. I'm mostly just monitoring things on my computer, but I'm also not motivated to finish that damn post at the moment, so instead I'm just going to do another, quicker post that I am motivated to do.

I don't actually know much about the demographic of my readers. I assume most of you are Americans, but even if you are not, the protesting after George Floyd's death was shared and has affected people worldwide, and I'm going to talk about it real quick. It's really just some basic chiming in, but I'm going to do it anyway because what is happening is important, and chiming in is literally the least I can do.

I think truly a lot more people are talking about the systemic problems of police brutality and race and thinking about/expecting solutions this week than last, and I think that's in no small part to the raw anger and desperation that is clearly in the background of even the most peaceful protests.

People, of course, aren't just protesting this recent death. They are trying to make us all pay attention to lifetimes of small as well as other really fucked up instances of bad treatment, and that's really important activism. Anyone out there doing this damn thing - however you are approaching this activism - much respect to you and keep on truckin'.

In the end what's happening now is all just part of the bed we Americans made throughout our history, and now we're lying in it…and trying our best, in that messy, imperfect way of large growth, to manage through it as a country. And honestly, even though at times this activism is messier, more chaotic, more costly, and more violent than some would prefer, real change in America often comes with that. In fact, The People rising up for cultural and political change is the greatest and most precious of American traditions. 

So, it's really quite beautiful to see Americans trying to force grass roots change and seeing Americans that don't always listen, really listening. Despite the immense tragedy of what these protests are about, I actually feel a lot of optimism and patriotism about what The People are doing right now. May this be a start for long-needed real change.

On that note, and in the original spirit of this SSL blog, I'm going to conclude this post with one of my lists of 5 Movies Directed by Women that I have actually seen.

This time, however, I am going to spotlight movies directed by black women, and specifically movies related to police brutality and legal injustice for black people...because artists and activists have been trying to get this issue out there in the world for, ya know, ever.

The Movies

1 Queen and Slim - This is directed by Melina Matsoukas. I watched this streaming a few weeks ago, and I highly recommend it. It's really beautifully shot, and just a solid movie.


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2 Whose Streets? - This was directed by Sabaah Folayan - I actually can't remember how I saw this. I had thought it was an Academy nominated doc, and that I saw it a program for those, but looking it up, I can see it wasn't nominated -so that's not it. I feel pretty certain it was in a small theater somewhere, so who knows. Looking at the trailer, though, I definitely saw and remember it, and again, I'd definitely recommend. It's a thoughtful, eye-opening doc.





3 Talk to Me - This was directed by Kasi Lemmons. This came out in 2007, and I rented it sometime during that period. I remember liking the movie quite a bit, but it's been too long now to remember a lot of details, but I know I hadn't before heard of 'Petey' Greene, the late-60's D.C. D.J. that played a role in the city's civil rights struggle a the time. Check it out for sure.






4 13th - This was directed by Ava DuVernay. This I saw streaming as well. It's a great doc. 100% check this one out. Also, if you haven't seen this woman's movie, Selma about the Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery - check that one out too. It's narrative not doc, but it shows the strategy and politics and disagreements around that march that I had not really understood before.






5 Mudbound - This was directed by Dee Rees. This I saw with a buddy that worked on this production as a medic. We saw it at a independent theater in Nashville. This is more of a historical perspective, and as you might expect, the law doesn't come off well.





Honorable Mention:

Traffic Stop - This was directed by a woman, just not a black woman  - Kate Davis. It is, however, about an incident between a black woman and law enforcement. I saw this at an Oscars Shorts Doc series. Worth a watch.


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Happened Nina Simone

5.24.2020

Does masturbation have to include orgasm - a debate with myself



I'm halfway through writing another post right now, and I got into a rabbit hole that I think is kinda complicated and I want to skim it in that post, but don't want to get too deep, so I'm writing a discussion about it here to reference in future articles.

Is it fair to use the word masturbation for self-sensual endeavors that do not at some level have orgasm and/or ejaculation as the intention - even if you're not trying to 'chase' the orgasm and/or ejaculation?




I ask this because it kinda gets at me that there is such an emphasis in female masturbation advice about it not being 'about' the orgasm. I know why that emphasis is there, and I kinda get it and can get behind it, but also if females had a sensible sexual culture where lady-gasm was correctly understood and depicted realistically in our media, and if normal, everyday sex acts made ample room for lady-gasm the way it does for dude-gasms, would we really need to keep assuring females that masturbation doesn't have to include orgasm? And does playing down the importance of orgasm during masturbation also play down the importance of fixing a sexual culture that doesn't give females enough room for their orgasm?

I'm going to play both sides just to have the argument down, because, hey dude, it's complicated and both answers seem a little right and a little wrong to me.

YES - It is fair. Masturbation does not and should not necessarily have the intention of orgasm behind it.

Sexual interaction has a lot of different facets, and orgasm is merely one of them. Things like sensual appreciation, emotion, connection, sexual arousal, fantasy, relaxation, and bodily pleasure can all be focuses. Masturbation is no different. It can be a time to bring one's body a variety of physical pleasures, explore one's fantasies, brew up sexual arousal, connect emotionally with yourself, to relax. A focus on orgasm specifically can overshadow all these other lovely things.

There is also the matter of the large quantity of adult women that have yet to explore their body through masturbation. A sexual relationship with one's self is maybe the most important sexual relationship a person has. However, because of our shit sexual culture, a lot of females have not felt like masturbation was an option for them - especially as teenagers when many males began, and thus lots of females have engaged in partner sex without ever exploring their own bodies and learning what they like sexually, which also means they likely have never orgasmsed. I'd also argue that because a lot of females have had lots of sexual encounters without having also orgasmed, their level of physical and mental arousal associated with sexual stimuli has lowered over time in a way that males or others that can largely, through experience, equate sexual stimuli with the possibility of orgasm, have not.

That all means that sexual arousal in many (if not most) females can become a tricky business - needing more or different stimuli than one might expect. After a number of non-orgasmic sexual interactions or certain cultural stiflings of sexuality, it must, in some ways, be learned or relearned what does (as opposed to what's supposed to but doesn't actually) make them hot. Thus it makes sense that masturbation advice, in a very practical sense, best be put forth to many females as more an investigative journey of the body and mind - something that must be slowly used to find or re-find arousal and bodily sensation. This means the orgasm, quite literally, might be hard to come by until that ability to arouse oneself is gained/regained because orgasm is the release of that physical sexual arousal (release of the pelvic blood congestion and muscle tension built up in physical arousal).

Pushing the idea that masturbation is not complete without orgasm could do way more harm than good because it may seem daunting - particularly for someone that is struggling with arousal, and if orgasm was tried for but not attained, it may feel incredibly frustrating and that frustration and worry could be carried into the next try. It's a truth that being worried about your ability to orgasm while trying to orgasm is a great way to lose arousal and a terrible way to get to an orgasm - for anyone. It's a way of being distracted from the actual genital sensations, of being outside of the moment. An orgasm just sort of happens when one reaches a certain amount of arousal and stimulation, but it can be easily blocked.

So, encouraging masturbation that is more about the journey, is a way to make room for all the people out there (particularly many females) that need low pressure, accepting entry-points into masturbation that allows for self discovery and trial and error. This type of encouragement can also help those females and males that do masturbate for orgasm fairly easily. For these people, they can be encouraged to take time to focus on other pleasures of their mind and body and expand their ability to appreciate sensuality that doesn't lead to orgasm. In particular this may be useful to (probably mostly male) partners of (probably mostly female) people that don't often or ever get to orgasm during sexual encounters. It may allow the orgasming partner to focus on other pleasurable elements that also feel good to their partner and to stop focusing too much on their own drive to orgasm. It could help slow the sex act down and open space for the non-orgasming partner to use their masturbatory work to find their arousal or pleasure and maybe eventually find their own orgasm in the sex.

NO- it is not really fair. I think embedded in the idea of masturbation is at some level an attempt towards orgasm, and the only reason that is challenged is because we have a shit sexual culture where too many women do not orgasm and instead of blatantly calling how bullshit that is, we shove it under the rug by building up the idea that orgasm isn't important (for females).

So, I'm not saying that any masturbation act is not masturbation if there is no orgasm and/or ejaculation at the end, but I think there is a difference and maybe there should be a discernible word for a sensual touching of one's own body that in no way has anything to do with having or learning to or working toward a possibility of an orgasm. I'm not saying you have to chase the orgasm either. I'm just saying that if one is working to cause sexual arousal to arise in the body, there's something a little off about just stopping randomly within that arousal for no other reason than 'orgasm isn't that important.' I mean, maybe you were interrupted or didn't have enough time. Maybe you are taking it slow as a way to learn and stopping in the arousal will help you either control your orgasm better or understand your arousal better to help attain orgasm in future masturbation sessions. Maybe you need to learn to not feel pressure to orgasm, which can block ability to orgasm, so you specifically intend not to orgasm during that masturbation session. Maybe you literally just weren't able to get off even though you tried, and so you stopped.

Orgasm is the release of blood congestion and muscle tension that's been built up during sexual arousal. If there's no orgasm at the end, then one is just left with engorged genitals (btw women have as much blood congestion down there. It's just mostly in the inner clit legs and vestibular bulbs). Isn't it a little odd to think about a dude getting his dick all hard and then just stopping, just because. Like, he could orgasm, but meh, he feels done with the masturbation, so he stops and lets his engorged dick just slowly go down. That doesn't seem all that strange to say for a female though, does it? Even though she would be left the same way, with blue clit.

And that's the bigger point I want to get into. I think the underlying reality to the idea that "orgasm isn't that important" is that it's not important for females. And it's not because it's actually not important. It's because women don't have them near as much as their bodies will allow, as much as they deserve, and as much as males expect to have themselves, and it's easier to pretend women are choosing that because "orgasm isn't that important" than to face the hard reality that our sexual culture simply doesn't provide the space or information or the examples needed to really allow females a true choice about whether to orgasm or not during masturbation and/or sex.

So, on an individual level, yeah, I get it. It's important to not make people (particularly females) feel shamed for not having orgasms, and in some ways saying that orgasm isn't the most important thing helps people on that individual level. Because truly, it's not their fault and they're not broken, and tons of women are in their shoes -no need to feel bad. However, pull out to a larger societal level and it is a fucking problem, and we should be worried, and we should be trying to fix this.

If females were on a level sexual playing field and did have an actual choice in the same way males do, it would be different, and I'd have no problem with reminders that orgasm isn't everything. In fact, for many people (particularly males), it's an important reminder that every sex act with another person is a negotiation that doesn't necessarily need to include their orgasm. But I also feel like those reminders serve more as a smoothing over of the appalling reality that most women don't orgasm most of the time during sex acts, even though our bodies are as able to do so as male bodies. It's a way to just accept that fate instead of looking at it and seeing how fucked up it is. 'Oh, you didn't orgasm? Well, you liked the emotional part right? You got aroused? That's just as important!' But is it? Really? What if you could have it all - the emotion, the arousal, the orgasm?

My point is, the idea of underselling orgasm to me wreaks of underselling female sexuality, and allows us to continue moving forward, eyes closed, ignoring how fucking insane it is that women give so much sexually and expect so little.