Some New Ideas On The Ol' Sexy Costume Situation

HELL-o everyone! Happy Halloween! mwa-ha-ha-ha!

I thought I'd throw up a quick SSL style thought for your Halloween enjoyment. As we all know, 'tis the season for sexy anything costumes for the ladies. Sexy pirate, sexy ninja (fyi - sexy ninjas and sexy pirates don't have as big of a rivalry as regular ol' ninjas and pirates), sexy grandmas, sexy kitchen sink. You name it, and it can be made into a sexy Halloween costume for women (or a funny one for men). 

One might say that being the "sexy" version of a normal costume is a bit boring and overdone, but I'm not gonna hate, not today. Sometimes you just want to find an easy costume, and you also want to be sexy for the party you're going to. I get it. I just think we could make better use of this "sexy" costume craze, so below are my two ideas that I hope you all take with you to your festivities this Halloween season.

1 Mention often to the males you are talking to that you'd like men's costumes to show more skin, and you'd like the men wearing them to have nice bodies. Maybe this small act by many of you ladies out there will get costumers to start making more off the shelf sexy male costumes; and further, maybe it will inspire a bunch of men to hit the gym over the next year so they can rock those new sexy costumes made just for them. One day, with luck, we will be able to walk down the male costume isle and see only sexiness from one end to the other!

2 If you are a lady that chose the "sexy" pre-made costume route, make that shit work for you. Find a nice someone special, lure them in with your sexy costume, get their head between your legs, get off, and then go home...or back to the party...or to pick up some late night Steak 'n' Shake. It's up to you really, but the point is, take this opportunity to enjoy some "me" sex; a little of the no-work, all clit-lovin' kind.  You were unselfish enough to share your sexiness with all those at the party, so don't feel bad. They might try to be mopey or pleading to get some reciprocation, but stick to your guns (the ones attached to your sexy cowgirl costume) ladies - and really enjoy that sexy costume this year!


The Female Orgasm Explained...badly.

Just by chance I wondered onto this webpage (Check it HERE). It's called The Female Orgasm Explained, and frankly, it's a super ignorant explanation. It's not surprising that there is a crap webpage about the female orgasm. I mean, that's more common than not, but I was in the mood to blog about it, and it is a special level of bad, so I thought I'd give you a quick rundown. Here are its sins.

1 To start off, there's just some stupid grammar and spelling issues; like writing "changes" instead of "chances" or "and" instead of "an." It's just unnecessary.
2 It says "The female orgasm goes through four physiological stages," and then lists "excitation," "plateau," "orgasm," and "resolution." These are the stages of the human sexual response cycle created by Masters & Johnson in their groundbreaking 1966 book Human Sexual Response. They are not the stages of a woman's orgasm...since, well, orgasm is one of the stages listed. One might say that the first two stages are involved in arousal; then there's the orgasm; then the final stage is the stage where one gets back to pre-arousal levels.

3 This statement:
In case you haven't realised by now, the penis is an extremely sensitive organ. If she's crying out like the movie, but there are no uncontrolled contractions and spasms about your manhood... she's faking.
That's pretty much bullshit.
Firstly, if a woman were having an orgasm while your penis was in her vagina, it's no guarantee, and frankly, pretty unlikely that the penis would feel the rhythmic pressure.
Secondly, a woman could simply squeeze her PC muscle as rhythmically as she could to make her partner think she was orgasming. It wouldn't fool a scientific investigation, but it might make her partner feel confident that she orgasmed. The PC muscle is the one that spasm's during orgasm.

4 This statement:
Mutual orgasm is essential to procreation. Man and Woman are physically designed to have orgasm to ensure the longevity of the species, but it is also most pleasurable. Male sperm endeavour to swim their way to the ovum to enable fertilisation, but most all sperm lack the stamina to make the entire journey to the ovum unassisted. This is where the female orgasm becomes crucial.
People have long been trying to prove that female orgasm helps with procreation, but it simply isn't the case. Masters and Johnson couldn't find a way that female orgasm helped move sperm to where it needed to be, and Elisabeth A. Lloyd in her book The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution did an in-depth review of all scientific literature on the subject and also concluded that there is no reason to believe the female orgasm helps in any way with conception. 

 So, I guess what I'm saying is don't trust the info on that page.


Yeah, You Heard Me, Vaginal Stimulation Hasn't Been Shown To Cause Orgasm: A Defense

*It's 3/8/2021, and I wrote this almost a decade ago in 2012. It's all still completely relevant, and I stand by what it says - well worth the time to read in my opinion. However it doesn't specifically address a theory about 'vaginal orgasm' that has become incredibly popular since then. I recently wrote a post HERE that addresses this incorrect but widely touted idea that the inner part of the clit was discovered in 1998 (it wasn't) and that there is new evidence this inner part is the reason for vaginal orgasm (there isn't). Same grasp at trying to explain the cause of a phenomenon that is desperately hoped to exist but doesn't actually seem to...it's just a new decade and a fresh, new 'reason' to fill headlines.*

I'm going to address a common criticism of my writing; women telling me that the description of female orgasm I put forth doesn't describe their personal experience. I actually think that my way of discussing orgasm does include more women than it might seem at first glance; it's just that our language of orgasm is different, and I don't usually address that properly. The problem begins with the controversial and seemingly divisive statement I often throw out there; I often outright say that female orgasms arise from clitoral stimulation, and not from stimulative friction on the inside of the vagina. I stand by the statement, but I also understand why it's criticized. It seems to leave out women who say they have "vaginal" or "g-spot" orgasms.

I do stick to a particular definition of orgasm, and I do find that some claims about female orgasms are unsubstantiated through scientific investigation, but in order to explain fully, there is a lot of background that needs to accompany this, and there rarely seems to be enough time or space to include it. To clarify my statement and my meaning is exactly my intention here.

Why I think this is an important discussion to have

 A lot of people have told me, and probably will continue to tell me that I shouldn't be trying to tell women what is and is not an orgasm; I freely admit that I am trying to make the physical definition of an orgasm popular knowledge, but I am not telling women there is only one way to have an orgasm. I am simply trying to encourage the proper use of the word orgasm. When we speak about female orgasm, the word is thrown around to describe all kinds of things that are not orgasms; things like ejaculation, non-orgasmic physical pleasure, or spiritual/emotional highs associated with intercourse. I'm not saying these are undesirable or bad, but I am saying they are not orgasms, and calling them or insinuating that they are orgasms confuses all the women out there who are trying to maneuver their way through a really confusing sexual culture. A willy nilly use of the word "orgasm" leads to the persistence of harmful, misleading misunderstandings of what an orgasm is and how a woman might get one.

There is a need for our culture to finally begin dealing with the female orgasm from a perspective of scientific knowledge; to be clear about what happens physically; to speak about it in realistic and fact based ways. We have too long been wishy washy about what an orgasm is and too all-accepting about any old idea any person has about how a woman might get one. I understand that I am walking a fine line here. I know by pushing a science-based definition on the female orgasm, there will be those who feel as if I am saying anyone who's experience doesn't fit into that definition isn't having a real experience, but I have a different view. I think that having clear definitions does not also have to mean having clear exclusions. I think that the conversation about female orgasm has been so convoluted over the last 60 years that it cannot move forward unless we start discussing it in terms of facts and begin being specific in our language. Change hurts, but I believe this is a change that is necessary. I believe women and society as a whole are fully capable of engaging in this type of discussion; of being accepting while still understanding female orgasm in a scientific and structured way.

So, what is the definition of an orgasm?

Pioneering scientists William Masters and Virginia Johnson (M&J) did the first and most comprehensive observations of how male and female bodies react to sexual arousal and orgasm and released the book Human Sexual Response in 1966. Masters & Johnson's work is still the gold standard of physical orgasm research, and if you want a more detailed physical description of orgasms, check that book out. They showed that males and females basically have the same physical reactions. During arousal, the pelvic muscles begin to tense and blood begins to pool in the genital areas (this pooling causes males to get erections, and it causes women to begin emitting lubrication from our vaginal walls and causes swelling to occur in our visible vulva area and in our clitoral legs, which are hidden deep in our pelvis; and btw women have as much blood pooling in their genitals as men, the male reaction is just - you know - easier to see). Orgasm is the sudden release of the muscle tension and blood pooling that has built up during arousal. For both men and women, the pelvic muscles will release the tension with spasms at a rate of about 1 every .8 seconds. It's very similar in both sexes; it's just that men also usually ejaculate at the same time they orgasm. This ejaculation/orgasm at the same time thing is not a normal occurrence for women. This Masters and Johnson definition is the physiological definition of an orgasm, and is what I refer to when I say orgasm.

What is not an orgasm: The following things are not within the physical definition of orgasm and not what I refer to when I say "orgasm"

A general pleasure during sex; or a physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual high that cannot be described by the description of physical orgasms set out by M&J. Orgasm and pleasure are not interchangeable. They can be interconnected, but they are quite simply not the same things. Pleasure without orgasm is absolutely something that can be valued in sexual interactions, but talking about pleasure during sex as if it were an orgasm, doesn't help give women and girls useful cues about what to expect when it comes to what should actually elicit orgasm. We don't confuse orgasm and non-orgasmic pleasure this casually for men, and we shouldn't for women either.

Arousal - In the same vein as above, arousal is not orgasm. What arouses a person is quite unique and has as much to do with the mental aspect as the physical, but the final stimulation needed to push a woman into orgasm is largely the same for all women - clitoral stimulation. Just think of it in terms of how you understand male orgasm. Yes, he could get insanely hard and aroused by watching a naked woman and having her kiss his chest and neck, but it would seem silly to assume that he would orgasm without his penis being touched; even if it's just a little touch, we would expect that he would need it to put him over the edge. It shouldn't be thought of much differently for women.

Ejaculation - Female ejaculation does exist and some women who have them say they find it pleasurable, but it's not an orgasm. Ejaculation and orgasm are physically different events in both men and women; men just happen to usually ejaculate simultaneously at the time of orgasm and (most) women do not.

This is where that oh so revered G-spot comes into this discussion. It is touted in women's magazines and pop culture as some kind of amazing, yet elusive spot that causes earth shattering orgasms...for the lucky few. Unfortunately, that's just plain unsubstantiated. There is clearly physiological evidence of g-spot stimulation causing ejaculation in women, but no physiological evidence of g-spot stimulation causing orgasms (there are plenty of survey's where women say they do have G-spot "orgasms," but I have never seen one where these claims are backed up with physiological evidence). The only physical reaction to g-spot stimulation that has been recorded and observed is ejaculation. For both sexes, stimulating their G-spot/prostate without also stimulating the clit or penis can cause ejaculation but not orgasm, and to be clear, the sudden release of muscle tension and blood congestion that is a hallmark of orgasm, does not happen with ejaculation. By all means, enjoy and seek ejaculation if you like it, but let's be clear that it is something physically different - not something we should call an orgasm. (If you want to look into this further, I suggest The G-Spot and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality. This book sort of "discovered" the G-spot in 1982. It wants badly to support the idea of a g-spot orgasm, but if you read it critically and look for physical evidence, it simply fails. The information in there about G-Spot induced ejaculation, however, is groundbreaking and continues to ring true these many years later.)

What things have been shown to cause orgasm?

When I say female orgasms arise from clitoral stimulation, and not from stimulation of the inside of the vagina, the part about orgasms coming from clitoral stimulation is pretty uncontroversial. Any kind of stimulation of the clit can cause an orgasm. Masters and Johnson physically documented this, and it is important to note that all the orgasms they recorded exhibited the same basic physical reactions. There simply wasn't any evidence of a separate "type" of orgasm; no "vaginal," "G-spot," or "uterine" orgasm. So the really controversial part of that statement is me saying that I have come across no physical evidence that penises or fingers or dildos stimulating the inside of the vagina have caused an orgasm. That is not to mean, however, that no orgasms can occur during the act of penetration. Below I will list ways that can cause orgasm during acts of penetration.

Direct Clitoral Stimulation - That's right, simply getting your own or your partner's hands down there on the clitoral vulva area during penetration works wonders. You could also get a vibrator, mouth or whatever floats your boat down there to work the clit area during intercourse. (I highly recommend this method BTW). 

Grinding  - Grinding the clitoral glans area against something during the act of intercourse/penetration is another form of clitoral stimulation. It can be against pillows, bedding, teddy bears, your partners pelvis - whatever. As long as the clitoral glans/vulva area is being stimulated, it makes sense that an orgasm could occur in this intercourse situation. I'd also like to add that this seems to be a way that some women orgasm during intercourse without really realizing that it's due to the clit stimulation from their grinding. It can be unintentional (However, from my own experience, I'd say it won't be a very consistent way to orgasm unless the woman knows what she's going for and works for it)

M&J Rube Goldberg-esque Indirect Clitoral Stimulation The closest thing to the sought after no-additional-clitoral-stimulation intercourse orgasm, was documented and observed by M&J. So, there is evidence that a small amount of women can attain this intercourse orgasm, and M&J even found 2 women who had orgasms from nipple stimulation with no direct clitoral stimulation. Before you get too excited, though, I think it is important to understand what scientific investigation has told us about how these orgasms happen and how they compare to other orgasms these women have.

 Both groups were aroused physically almost to the point of orgasm to start with - before the nipple stimulation or intercourse happened. For the first group (a group that was specifically sought out within the possible test population - since M&J held dear the idea that women should be having hands free orgasms during intercourse, even though their investigations clearly showed that female orgasms were caused by clitoral not vaginal stimulation), M&J hypothesized it was a Rube-Goldberg situation where the penis pulled on the highly aroused inner lips, which pulled on the clitoral hood, which rubbed against the clitoris. It was a small bit of stimulation, but enough to push them over the edge. The second group (2 women) started manipulating their nipples after they too were physically almost to the point of orgasm. The nipple stimulation was enough to put them over the edge to orgasm. My personal thought is that the nipples were clearly a favorite touch place for these women, and already being almost to the point of orgasm, they tensed their PC muscle (pelvic muscle) which moved the area down around the clitoral glans just enough to put them over the edge. (Try tensing the muscles that would stop your stream of pee then letting it go -  particularly when aroused). Now, M&J didn't have any specific hypothesis for how the clitoris was stimulated in this situation, but they clearly stated that all the orgasms, whether they were from direct clit stimulation or these indirect intercourse/nipple ones, can be described the same way physically.

Before you start feeling unlucky because you aren't one of these rare women who can just come from a little touch to the nip or from the ol' in and out (someone like our lucky heroine from Fifty Shades of Grey), let me tell you this. Although the orgasms they had were physically similar to the ones these same women had during direct clitoral stimulation, they were also the weakest ones they had - both in terms of the physical intensity of the muscle spasms and in terms of the women's own subjective feelings. If we think of orgasms in terms of clitoral stimulation, it makes perfect sense that these would be weak orgasms - given that these were the orgasms caused by the most indirect stimulation of the clit. The orgasms they had as a result of masturbation (of the clitoral/vulva area) were the strongest, and orgasms as a result of a skilled partner's manual stimulation of the woman's vulva/clitoral area were the second most intense. (It seems that if our Fifty Shade's heroine was realistic in any way, those nipple and intercourse orgasms she had wouldn't have been so earth shattering, now would they?). Also, remember that even though these women did have an orgasm without specifically touching or grinding their clit, they did need to be physically on the edge of orgasm before they even started these non clit touching orgasm maneuvers. So it's not as if these women simply got banged and came...or got a little nip sucking and came. They put a lot of footwork (including direct clitoral stimulation) into getting to a point where the oh-so-coveted intercourse/nipple orgasm could even have a chance of occurring...and for their coveted orgasm status and hard work, what did they get? A rather weak orgasm, but an orgasm none the less.

Women who have the following experiences fit fully into my statement about orgasm, even if we have semantic differences.
  • have orgasms only through direct clitoral/vulva stimulation
  • have orgasms during intercourse due to some kind of additional or even unintentional stimulation like grinding against your partner or the bedding
  • have ejaculations due to g-spot stimulation - that you may call "orgasms"
  • have ejaculations due to g-spot stimulation at the same time you are having orgasms due to clitoral stimulation ('cause you're messing with the clit and the G-spot/vagina at the same time) and call that whole thing a different kind of "orgasm"
  • have something you call "orgasms" that are based in deep feelings of physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual pleasure...yet, this something could not be defined as an orgasm in the M&J physiological definition.
  • have the occasional orgasm that occurs during intercourse or nipple stimulation but after being intensely aroused (probably partially by direct clitoral stimulation) to almost the point of orgasm; with that orgasm physically feeling like a weak version of the orgasms you get during direct clitoral stimulation

Women who have the following experiences do not yet fit into my statement about orgasm. 

Women who have physically strong orgasms from nothing but the physical stimulation to the inside of the vagina -  the o'l in and out without any clitoral grinding or stimulation.  Female characters like this fill our books, tv, movies, and porn. If this is you in real life, then frankly, I can't find your situation in the research. I'm not saying you don't exist. I'm just saying people like you have not been studied. I know someone will come back at me with a study here or there where women say on a survey that they do orgasm this way, but I promise I have looked at a lot, and I have never seen a study where these claims are backed up by physical observations showing there was in fact a physiologic orgasmic reaction. I'm always open to the possibility of learning new things about the female orgasm through solid investigation, so if you are one of these women, please do seek out being part of an orgasm study. There truly is too little good scientific investigation about female sexual release.


I know the exclusion I make may seem harsh, but I do think it is important to let women know that this is the reality of our scientific knowledge right now.  Every time a woman says she orgasms easily from the ol' in and out, but she's actually orgasming from grinding her clit, or she's actually ejaculating, or she's actually talking about something in a more spiritual way, or she's actually talking about a really weak Rube-Goldberg orgasm she has had only a hand-full of times in her whole sexual life, then she is doing the world of female sexuality a disservice.

I honestly don't think there are women out there intentionally trying to make other women feel inferior or misrepresenting their experiences. Truthfully, the way our culture teaches, depicts, and discusses female orgasm is so confusing that none of us really know how to talk about our experiences. We just do the best we can with what we've been able to figure out. We need a better way, though. We need to understand what scientific investigation can tell us about what a physical orgasm is and how it can be sought. We need to start using plain and physical terms to speak about our experiences with orgasm and sexual pleasure so that we can learn from the realities of our fellow women.

We also need to be accepting. I know my emphasis on the clitoris and on the physical definition of orgasm makes some feel as though I will be encouraging the type of  "my orgasms/sexual experiences are better than yours" situation that happened during Freud's time and that is happening now with the emphasis of mind-shattering effortless Fifty Shades type intercourse-only orgasms. However, I think women are craving the chance to be grounded in reality when it comes to orgasms, and I think we are mature enough to deal with our diversity. There should be nothing wrong with enjoying the emotional high that comes with your sessions of intercourse, even if there is no physical orgasm involved; or in enjoying your ejaculation even without an orgasm also. Also, a woman who says she fits into my second grouping, should be taken seriously. Even if she is part of a small minority that hasn't been studied well, these are her experiences, and we should work to document those experiences as part of the female reality. We do need to understand and make these distinctions though. 

So, when I say that female orgasms arise from clitoral stimulation, and not from stimulation to the inside of the vagina, please know that I'm not just trying to be exclusive, mean or divisive. I honestly feel like I'm doing this for the opposite reasons, and I hope that is eventually how most others will feel also. I truly hope to move the language and the understanding of female orgasm towards a clearer, more realistic, more fact-based place.

***Since this article was written in 2012, I have written more that addresses some questions people may have about research linking the inner clitoral legs to the G-spot and/or vaginal orgasm. As of yet I still haven't found any research showing orgasm can be caused by stimulation inside the vagina. However, there has definitely been some recent and often cited studies claiming to show that 'vaginal orgasms' can be caused by stimulation of the clitoral legs through the vaginal walls. Those studies don't actually show that. THIS post in part discusses those studies and should help put those popular studies into perspective. Also, for deeper info, HERE is a list of my summaries for some relevant journal articles. *****or as I updated at the top, please read THIS post about the incorrect, but widely touted idea that the inner part of the clit was discovered in 1998 (it wasn't) and that there is new evidence this inner part is the reason for vaginal orgasm (there isn't). - 3/8/2021*****

****HERE is the documentary this blog was meant to expand upon. It does not go into as much detail as some of the posts here,  but it does give a better overview of the cultural problems with our understanding of female orgasm than any one post here can do.


On Vacation!

Well, I'm on vacation at the moment, visiting a friend in Kansas City and Charlie's brother out in Manhattan, Kansas, and we got busy trying to get everything tied up for the trip....so I haven't been as successful as I hoped at getting the blogs up that I had been wanting to. However, I'll have some relaxation time on this vacation coming up to do some writing, and work has slowed a bit, so if you have been missing my twice weekly Orgasm Equality related rants, then just hang in there. I'll be back at it soon.

On a funner note. I'm having a great time so far. Our illustrious host, Mr. Lee Piechocki is a friend of Charlie's from Ball State College of Fine Art. He's been a great tour guide through the KC art scene, which, might I say, knows how to have some fun (Evil Monkey Party). I'd also like to say congrats to Lee who was recently featured in New American Painter for the second time.


Citations Are Fun!

I've  been working on something that I would guess is not usually a part of the movie making process. I'm checking all the on screen citations and bibliography entries for accuracy and proper MLA formatting. Oh yeah, it's exciting stuff. Actually, it is kida neat. Putting citations in a movie doesn't really have precedence, so I'm kinda making it up as I go, and that is actually pretty fun.

The way I've decided to go with it is to just keep the citation on screen (usually in the lower left hand corner) during the whole statement encompassed within the citation. This idea of using visual citations in the movie was decided upon very early on. Most documentaries give validity to the statements by having experts speak onscreen. The simple fact that the person speaking has some type of expertise makes the statements seem  worthy. We had no interest in creating this movie from a bunch of interviews. That didn't seem quite that exciting and entertaining to us, but also, it just frankly wouldn't be an efficient way to make our arguments. Many of the points made in the movie are a result of carefully mixing existing ideas and facts and then gleaning meaning that didn't exist within any one of the facts or ideas on their own. So, people speaking on-screen about their areas of expertise just wouldn't cut it. It always made sense to us to create this movie first as a carefully crafted research paper, and that naturally lends itself to validation through use of citations. Doing it this way allowed us to leave the visual part of the movie to do the job of supporting the arguments in a vivid and entertaining way; instead of wasting visuals possibilities on boring shots of people sitting in their offices speaking into the camera.

Anyway, I'm spending my time lately double checking all these citations, and making sure the bibliography at the end of the credits is in tip top shape.  That's what I've been up to.


Hope Springs - The SSL Review

First, I feel like I've been neglecting the blog the last couple weeks. I've had a lot of ideas and things I'd like to post, but because my real life job has been running me ragged, I've been putting up some fluffier, less time consuming stuff lately. Luckily I'm starting to crawl out of the hole, so hopefully I'll be able to start posting some of the stuff I've been holding on to for a bit. That brings me to this SSL review.

I saw Hope Springs a couple weeks ago when it first came out. From the previews I could tell that it just might be eligible for the ol' SSL review, but I also love me some Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, so of course I got me a vat of popcorn and checked this movie out. I was pleasantly surprised, both at the insinuations about female sexual release, and just the movie in general. It was a simple movie, and I really think it could have been a cliche, surface kind of older people rom com, but I think Streep and Jones gave the movie a kindness and depth that was above and beyond the script. It was a sweet and relatable movie, and I would recommend it.

As for the SSL review, this movie's getting a pretty good rating; partially for the depiction of sexual release I'll describe next, but also because the overall feel of this movie, to me, struck at the heart of why talking about his kind of stuff is meaningful. I'll get to that part later, but let's begin with a favorite subject of mine - masturbation, baby. Now, it's rare to see any female character at all who admits to masturbation in a movie, much less a "normal" woman with grown children and a 30 plus year marriage. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Meryl Streep's character, when asked by the marriage councilor whether she masturbates, said she used to. (She doesn't anymore. It makes her sad because it makes her think of the non-existent sexual relationship between her and her husband, but by golly, she did at one time.) Even better for those of us who care about depictions of female sexuality, she masturbates that night, and it was done in a sensible, fairly realistic way. Obviously, it being a movie and all, we don't see too much of anything, but what we do see reflects movements that would reasonably be done by a woman masturbating in a way that ends with orgasm; and from the sound of things (and not in an overly rambunctious or porny sort of way of course), it does. Basically we just see Streep in bed with her hand moving under the covers. From her arm placement and movement, it is insinuated that her hand is moving around on her vulva, and it doesn't look as though she is moving her fingers or anything else in and out of her vagina (which unfortunately is too often used in depictions of women masturbating to orgasm). So, I truly appreciate this thoughtful and progressive nod to female masturbation in the movie.

Now to the less tangible part of the SSL review. It was the whole situation of the movie - not any particular depiction or discussion. It struck a chord for me about why ignorance and misconceptions about female sexual response is more than just fodder for feminist ramblings - the misunderstanding about how women orgasm affect some of the deepest emotional parts of people's lives.

This movie is about a man and a woman who are married and living under the same roof, but have almost completely lost their connection. It's a common tale, tangled in all the emotional, circumstantial things that can slowly pull married people apart, but there was also this glimpse into the couple's sexual history; the sexual history that led them to their current situation; which I thought was refreshingly honest.

The basics, as I felt could be gleaned from the discussion in the movie go a bit like this: She never really orgasmed from the sex the two were having, and she began to feel as though he really just wanted "it" not her. She mentioned that he would always close his eyes so tight when he was doing it (seemingly as he was about to orgasm).  For his part, he began to feel that she wasn't that into it, and frankly, having sex with someone who doesn't really want it isn't that great of a feeling. He used to be sexual, but he didn't want to have sex with a woman who didn't want to have sex with him, and he didn't want to be unfaithful, so he eventually started to avoid the whole situation to the point where he slept in a different room and hadn't had sex for years. She, in turn, missed the intimacy with him, and was hurt and confused as to why it stopped over the years." But...as Jones said in the movie (and as Charlie and I have enjoyed repeating since we saw the movie), "Sometimes when it's off it's just off."

I think the movie did a fantastic job of giving each character genuine reasons for getting where they were. She loved him and being physically close with him, but didn't have orgasms with him (this is so so common and makes so much sense when we realize the simple fact that the most normal, acceptable sexual interaction, intercourse, is great for stimulating the male organ of sexual pleasure and horrible for stimulating the female organ of sexual pleasure - the clit). He was once a lusty young man who loved and wanted his wife more than anything. He had fantasies and desires about his sex life that he didn't feel his wife would be interested in.  Eventually, as the excitement of youth and newness wore off,  she saw him as just wanting to orgasm in her, yet she still craved the parts of sex that seemed possible to her - long slow arousal, romance, and loving physical intimacy, but was too often disappointed with the act. He wanted a partner who wanted him as much as he wanted her, but he was also too often disappointed.

Yes, of course good communication could have helped this situation early on, but it would have also helped a whole hell of a lot if our culture clearly understood how women orgasm; and if what society described as "sex," and what each partner grew up understanding as "sex," was something broader than intercourse, something that included orgasmic activities for both males and females. That way, when they tried to communicate about "sex," it would be easier because they were both experiencing something similar during sex - emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, arousal, and orgasm. As it is now, sex is something that for many women does not include the orgasm part, but does for most men. It's hard to understand each other's point of view when that very large experiential difference exists.

I suspect communication breakdowns - made deeper because of our misunderstandings about the female orgasm - are happening in household all over; to husbands and wives, old and young. I think the feelings Streep and Jones were experiencing are so deeply relatable to so many. Even if it doesn't get to the point of living in separate rooms in a sexless marriage, I would guess that almost all long term male-female partnerships can relate to some aspect of this situation. Yes, there are other things that can and do strain long term sexual relationships, but the fact that women rarely orgasm during male-female sexual encounters and men usually do, is one of the biggest; and one that is least discussed in any sensible way.  As much as this movie could be played off as simply reflecting the sexual repression of an older generation, I think it speaks to something much deeper and, I would bet that many a younger couples out there will relate.

It would have been really cool if the movie had touched more specifically on these differences in male vs. female sexual experiences, but one can't expect a movie to include everything one hopes. It was a genuine, tender look at the pain these sexual challenges cause in marriage. In short, I felt like the plight of Streep and Jone's characters was the plight of all us heteros dealing with long term sexual relationships. I don't know what the scriptwriter's intentions were, but I think this movie scratched the surface of being something truly progressive, and I'll give it props for even scratching the surface of these common sexual feelings. I also love that we see some realistic lady-bation from a character who was meant to be quite "normal." I give this movie 4 out of 5 vulvas.
(!)(!) (!) (!)

P.S. This movie actually kept reminding me of The Hite Report on Male Sexuality. It's Shere Hite's next book after the groundbreaking The Hite Report on Female Sexuality. It asked over 7,000 men qualitative questions about all aspects of sex and their sexual relationships. It was done in the 70's and as much as the female version had given deep insights into the frustrations women were experiencing, this male version had given as deep and meaningful of insights into the frustrations men were experiencing.

Here's just one answer of the many in this book that I think are relevant to the feelings Jones brings up in this movie.BTW, I highly recommend this book. [Published by Alfred A. Kompf, Inc. 1981 edition. pg. 601]

"I will be married twenty-four years next month. Overall I like it, but there is a slow, deadly erosion of sex. The affection still lingers. I still love my wife in many ways. She does not like sex-she probably never really did-and I have tried just about everything, chiefly patience and gentleness and forbearance, with no real change. It is a sad thing. I wish it weren't this way. It never was that great, for us. I wish we could have kept moderately happy and gone to bed more often. We still sleep together in the same double bed. In all the years I don't think she has ever asked for sex, in any form, and invariably has seemed relieved when I didn't want to. There is still a feeling of warmth and partnership, and we love our kids, but the spark, the magic, has long departed...."


Some Phrases That Brought People To This Blog

Just for fun, I thought I'd list a few of the most "specialist" of the search phrases used to get to this site. Enjoy, oh enjoy.

"backmassagers missued" - You mean used awesomely?Those words probably sent our searcher HERE

"get me some pics of sex acts" - Yes, internets, do my bidding!
Not so sure where this may have taken the rather demanding searcher.

"movie the lady with a tattoo on her hand" - I think this is a jank search for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Definitely went to the SSL review of that movie HERE.

"spanish girls in abus" - what are those crazy Spanish gals doin' in a bus?!?
I have no idea why that led to this blog. I really don't.

"betty dotson masturbating" - It's Dodson, and yeah, there's a lot out there about her and masturbating.
Probably went HERE to the ol' Betty Dodson interview.

"dildo centerpiece" - Ahh, a fabulous craft idea! Just for your info, we here at AnC went for a dildo platter (featuring a fake vulva) instead of the dildo centerpiece at the dinner table in our movie.
Bet ya it went HERE! Check out that pic!

"beautiful woman tastefully masturbating" - Why I say! That is lovely. Who cares where that search ended up.

 "pooing is sexually pleasing" - The Shorgasm?
 I'm gonna say, I think this went to the post about not poo-pooing metrosexual dudes. Otherwise, I'm just not sure.

...and finally...

"Trisha vulva" - That's my name and the word "vulva." I hope they were actually looking for my vulva.