Go See The To Do List!

Well, I'm about to travel towards the wedding of a simply fantastic friend. I often refer to her as my only college friend...because frankly she is. I commuted. I didn't meet many people, okay. Anyway, I'm excited and preoccupied with getting ready to go, so I don't feel like I have a lot of time to post on this blog. I do, however, have about a hundred thousand ideas that I want to post about, including SSL Reviews of 2 movies that I recently saw, so I'm just going to comment on those super quick...a little preview of their upcoming reviews.

1 Don Jon - I saw it at the closing night for the Indianapolis International Film Fest. It was a preview - I don't think it's coming out until September. It was written, directed and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It's about a dude with an internet porn addiction. I was skeptical, but it was a good movie. The SSL review may be a bit more mixed, but I say - hey, if you get a chance, check it out.

2. The To Do List - It's the newest teen-needs-to-lose-virginity-after-graduation comedy...but it's a lady not a dude this time, and it's set in 1993. Go see it. I thought it was hilarious, and bonus, it's got some progressive feminist vibes going on. Support this movie.

Now, all that said, I have to admit that the SSL review will be mixed at best. It's very much a reflection of our status quo cultural understanding of female sexual response. It's not progressive really in that arena, but I can't expect everything from every movie. The SSL review of a movie only critiques the depictions and discussions of female sexual response and masturbation in a movie, and so it's not really a true critique of the movie as a whole. This movie as a whole is funny and feminist. Did I mention you should go see it. You can come with me if you want. I have to see it again because there are so many points that are relevant for SSL review that I need to give it a second look and take better notes before I actually do the review.

Later - Happy movie watching!


Rest Easy Virginia Johnson; You Made A Good Mark On Our World

Virginia Johnson, one half of the famous (in sex research at least) duo Masters & Johnson, has passed away at age 88. She seems to have lived a long, eventful, and happy life, and I truly appreciate what she gave to this world.

Virgina Johnson, pic found at http://missouriwomen.org/2012/02/14/virginia-johnson/
  If you don't know about ol' M&J, then you could do a couple things...watch the HBO series that is coming out about them in September, but that might take too long to get into the real info about them, and it's TV (sorry, not TV - HBO), so it might also be wildly inaccurate. You could check this article that came out in 2001 when Masters died, or this kinda nice little 1994 interview with the two of them after their divorce (they got married after many years of researching together) that's a little more personal. Also, you could just read either their 1968 groundbreaking book about the physiology of human arousal and orgasm or their other slightly less groundbreaking 1970 book about the couple therapy system they developed for sexual dysfunction.

Here I would point out that, yes, I know M&J had their faults. Their other books, aimed more at the public as opposed to scientists and medical professionals, were sometime heavily criticized, and seem to me to be less interesting and useful. Plus, they had some ideas about sex that are antiquated, holding heterosexuality as the ideal (although it seems this was something that Johnson may not have been so much behind) and orgasms during intercourse (not to be mistaken for the illusive and magical "vaginal/uterine/g-spot" orgasm, just normal ol' clit orgasms but during intercourse) as overly important. To counteract some of that, I'd recommend Dr. Lonnie Barbach's book For Yourself, which in many ways updated the principals of M&J's therapy - particularly helping women who want/need to work on their sexual issues without having to include a partner. But, honestly, even with their faults, they did extraordinary, scientifically sound, work that still holds up as a standard for physically researching and understanding the human orgasm. They were pioneers, and frankly pioneers aren't supposed to be perfect in every way.

Anyway, thanks Virgina Johnson for giving us the knowledge we need to be informed about how our ladygasms work. You were a brave woman, and we all owe you a little something for sparking the best parts of the sexual revolution. I just wish more of us were well schooled on your work and much earlier in our lives too.


Maxim And The Oh-So Threatening Vibrator

I guess I'd describe Maxim as Playboy minus nipples and bush with much much smaller articles. Basically, though, it's a popular, sexually charged magazine aimed at men, so I figure I should keep an eye on what info and insinuations it's putting out there. So I was flipping through one (and honestly, you could easily read a whole Maxim cover to cover in under an hour) to see if there was anything about ladygasms that I might be able to SSL review, and after about 4 months of doing this, I finally saw something in the July/August 2013 issue. It was in the Maxim's "The Best of Everything" list under the sex toy catagory.

sex toy
In between the threatening (vibrators) and terrifying (what's and "anal speculum" anyway?) lies the happy middle ground of handcuffs. They're kinky enough to spice up your sex life and inconspicuous enough to pass off as part of your Halloween costume should your nephew find them. 
So, the insinuation here is that a woman using a vibrator is threatening to her man. It comes from that old idea floating out there in our culture - maybe not in your particular bedroom, but it's definitely rearing it's ugly head out in the world - that real men should give their women orgasms (while she just lays there, I guess). Usually this is associated with the particular ability to use his spectacular cock to skillfully ram her orgasm into her (and I'm sure you know how ridiculous I'd say that possibility is), but you could also associate it with any kind of skill and mastery he has over his lover's body and orgasm. The main idea is that a man should be able bring the orgasm out of his waiting lover, and if that poor helpless lady has to lift one finger to help herself come, well then, her lover ain't much of a man now is he? It ties a man's pride with his lady's orgasm all while being a terribly unhelpful way to think about how women actually get to the orgasm part.

So, I know there is a jokey element to the Maxim quote above, but that doesn't make it harmless. It is a clear reminder that our culture still has negative or confused feelings about non-intercourse or female controlled sexual activity. That quote reminds the women reading it that using a vibrator (or masturbating her own clit - or any of the things she might actually need to do to actually orgasm) will make her man feel inferior. For men who read it, the idea that a woman taking matters into her own hands is a rejection (instead of how it should be seen - as a reality of female sexual satisfaction) is reinforced.

Probably Maxim should go back to what it's been doing the last few months - avoiding any discussion of female sexual response (and photographing actresses from your childhood without most of their clothes). 


Indianapolis International FF 2013!

It's that time of year again here in Naptown. The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival is on, baby - July 18-28th. I probably said something like this last year, but I'd like to reiterate it. They curate a good show.

Now, I know a lot of you readers are interested in the whole female sexuality and ladygasm thing, but I think at least some of you are probably also into film and maybe even indie film (and of course some of you just happen upon me once in a while looking for porn).

For those of you who are into indie film, you may get me on this. Have you ever been to a film festival or maybe just to an arts theater to see a real indie movie, and while watching the movie you get so incredibly bored and irritated that you contemplate things like scratching out your eyes with your credit card or simply slashing your own throat to just dear god end it? Well, you're not gonna feel like that much at all in this festival - and if you do it will probably just be one short in a series of 5 or 6 shorts, so it's not really that bad.

I'm a realist, and I'm not going to say you will be amazed by every movie at this film fest. You may even happen upon one that irritates you a bit, but that, in all honesty is the nature of the film festivals. Festivals have lots of movies, and their likability is subjective. The very best a festival can really do is to have a reputation for curating a good, solid line-up, giving the viewer a pretty good chance that she will see something that she likes or even loves. That's the kind of reputation the Indianapolis FF has been growing over the years. I can attest to it, because I play Russian Roulette and randomly go to several movies and shorts programs every year for the last several years. I don't worry about just stepping into a movie I know nothing about, because I trust it will be pretty good, and I recommend if you live around here, that you check one out. Plus, the movies are showing at The Indianapolis Museum of Art. You can enjoy the simply lovely grounds between movies, or if you're there during open hours, check out the art - it's free.


A Friday AnC Movie Special: Hansel and Gretel - Don't Eat Children

Hey there - happy Friday! I've been a bit busy lately, but I haven't forgotten about you. I thought it might be fun today to post a movie that we (as in us here at AnC Movies - the ones making Science, Sex and the Ladies) made a while back...actually this was really mostly Charlie making this. It stars our niece and nephew - although from 2 different siblings. The kids aren't brother and sister. You might also see the lower body of me and Charlie, Charlie's oldest little sister, and a picture of a mattress store close to our house.

It was commissioned for a collaborative "Hansel and Gretel" influenced exhibit between the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art and Indianapolis Opera and Indianapolis Public Libraries. I think it's pretty fun. Enjoy
Hansel and Gretel: Don't Eat Children from Charles Borowicz on Vimeo.


What people search for to get to me

I can access some data about how people get to my blog, and one thing I can do is see words/phrases people typed into a search engine before finding and clicking onto one of my posts. I love to check this out because there can be some crazy stuff there. I can look at the top ones for each day, week, month or for all time. The all time top ones are mostly boring - like "mutual masturbation" or "sciencesexandtheladies." One really has to daily check the top ones for each day and keep a record of the best to really get the good ones. Unfortunately, I haven't been doing that since I did my last post on this same subjects, so I don't have the really great ones right now. However, just for fun I thought I'd show you some of the weirder top searches from this month, week, and day.

Strangely, it seems when people look up some version of boy, girl, sex, and images, it tends to bring them to my blog. I'm pretty sure it's because I have a post about the the first sexual images that girls vs. boys see. It got a ton of pageviews through Reddit, and it's still a pretty highly looked at one of my posts, but I can't help feeling that the searches bringing people there are mostly from creepy pedophiles...I mean why use the words "boy" and "girl" in your search for sexual images when you could very well use "man" and "woman." Actually, I kind of like to assume these searches are from non native English speakers who are just awkwardly trying to find porn pics. It makes me feel better. So anyway, here are some of the ones in the list...like I said - could easily be typed in by people who can't speak English real well, right?...and why winter?

funny winter sex images girls vs boys

sexual girls and their images

images girls and boys sexully

Also, I got a couple good euphamisms for female masturbation. It does my heart well to think typing in these phrases brings people to me.

Playing the clitar
clitoris hardons

Also...this one...Did they try to spell I like ey?

ey have a orgasmus movie


I Guess Thinking Myself To Orgasm Would Be Nice, But....

Ok, so I came across this 2010 article called "Yes, yes, yes! How women can think their way to an orgasm...with no help from their man." It's about how recent research shows women can think themselves to orgasm without any physical touch and how that's quite different from men. It kinda annoyed me. Why?

I mean thinkin' orgasms is easy, ya'll
This is about 5 lines into the article:
The female orgasm is still something of a mystery — nobody is exactly sure how
it is caused or why...
Ridiculous, ridiculous, a million times ridiculous. The physical properties of the female, as well as the male, orgasm were quite clearly observed and recorded n a still relevant series of studies by Masters and Johnson in the late 60's. That's just plain true. The ladygasm is well understood and current studies back up the original research M&J did. It's insanely annoying to me to see the female orgasm described as things like mysterious or magical or mystical or any of that kind of bullshit because it is not only misleading, but it helps keep women (and men) ignorant about the very basic ways that women can and cannot orgasm.
What if our culture screwed with men's minds like it does with women's? Imagine we "knew" the penis caused orgasms, but we also had strange ideas about men's orgasms being wildly varied and much more magical than women's. Tickling the balls to orgasm or ramming the anus to orgasm or thinking their way to orgasm were ideas we held for men; all while clearly understanding that females need clitoral stimulation to orgasm. Imagine we regularly read things like,"The male orgasm is still something of a mystery - nobody knows exactly how it is caused or why," even though we actually did know. That is the situation women face, and it's clearly annoying to me. The rest of the article doesn't get much better.

It goes on to tell us things like Lady Gaga says she can think her way to orgasms, to relay a personal interview with a 40 year old secretary named Jill who learned to think herself to orgasm, and to get a one line quotes about Jill's story from Professor Alan Riley, a man described as one of the UK’s leading sex experts.
What this tells us, says Professor Alan Riley, one of the UK’s leading sex experts, is that sexuality for women is more complicated and emotionally driven than experts
had realised. 'There’s been a lot of focus on the body and our physical responses,’ he says. ‘But for many people, and women in particular, the mind plays an even more important role.'
I don't know what all Professor Riley works on in his research. Maybe his statement is based in some interesting stuff, and not, as I suspect, on vague, widespread stereotypes of female sexuality as a sort of indescribable, non-physical thing that is more unpredictable and emotional than male sexuality. I would have liked a citation or something on this, but oh well, there are no citation in this article. The closest it comes to gaining some solid credibility is the quotes from Dr. Barry Komisaruk, co-author of The Science Of Orgasm who begins with a quick statement about some MRI studies he did:
The pleasure centres of the brain associated with orgasm light up in women who think themselves to orgasm in exactly the same way as in women who orgasm through more conventional means...The same centres don’t light up when a woman mimics orgasm — only if it’s the real thing
It sounds interesting, as if Komisaruk took brain scans of women who were actually, verifiably orgasming and then compared them to brain scans of women who were asked to fake orgasms and also to women who were having these think-gasms. Truth is Komisaruk, to my knowledge, does not work in the world of actual physically verifiable and understood orgasms.  Beverly Whipple, one of the original authors of The G-Spot and other Recent Discovers in Human Sexuality, is his co-author on The Science of Orgasm. I read that book and many other articles authored by one or both of them. They define the word "orgasm" incredibly loosely. I take that back. They don't really define it at all. It seems as though it could be anything ...spiritual...mystical...a high state of arousal...whatever, and they really only do studies on the types of "orgasms" that have never been physically observed and recorded. These alternative "orgasms," (g-spot related/thinking only/cervical/uterine...) are probalby not what you understand an orgasm to be. They are not the physical experience of muscle tension release that is immediately recognized to be an orgasm. The orgasms they work with are, well, not really physically defined or even observed.

So, although there is no citation for me to know exactly what study Komisaruk is referring too, I am familiar enough with his work to know it refers to something like the following. Some women who say they can orgasm from g-spot/cervical orgasms had brain scans while stimulating their cervix/vagina with a dildo type thing. There would be no measuring of pelvic muscle tension or anything that actually physically identifies an orgasm. Instead, the women just have to say they are orgasming and the researcher accept that it is an orgasm (you know - since there is no real definition of an orgasm and all). These are compared to the brain scan of women who say they are thinking themselves to orgasm. The brains scans may have also been compared to women faking orgasm. No one would be having an actual physical orgasm like the ones Masters and Johnson recorded. The "orgasms" Komisaruk is talking about are, in reality, a phenomenon that has no physically observed qualities.
So, although the ideas in this article might seem intriguing, I wouldn't get excited for some unique female capability of thinking ourselves to orgasm - and when I say orgasm, I am not using it in a sloppy, confusing, magical, anything-goes, not-really-something-physical sort of way. I'm talking about the kind of physical orgasm that is universally understood to be an orgasm, the kind men experience almost every time they engage in sex (and women do when we get the right physical stimulation - which should probably be a lot more than we do now...)


My Musings While On A Business Trip

I'm on a business trip right now, so I don't have a lot of time to write at the moment, but for fun here's a little insight into me. I did a lot of book and journal article reading before and during the writing of the script, and I've tried to keep up and read as much as I can during production and post production, but I always feel like I should be reading and writing more. I don't want to miss something out there that I should have at least gotten familiar with. I also get sort of obsessed with looking into particular aspects of SSL-type subjects from time to time, which in turn makes me feel like I'm neglecting other aspects.

Me in my hotel room thinkin' bout stuff and writn' this blog
 Right now I'm kinda obsessed with a few different but related things; partially because I feel I have been neglecting these topics the last couple years, partly because I feel like I am seeing a lot of this kind of stuff in pop culture and I feel I need to be informed, and partly because I really need to clearly understand my point of view and be able to express it succinctly;

1 The willy nilly it-can-mean-anything-I-want-it-to-mean use of the word "orgasm" in science and pop science

2 I'm not sure how to exactly put this, but the variety of writings and talks and websites and gurus devoted to leading women towards some type of betterment through...we'll say...orgasms that are not only physical but also something more whole bodied or spiritual or something like that...

3 Beverly Whipple - She's one of the original authors of the 1982 G-Spot Book. She seems to have a lot of media pull and definitely keeps herself out there. I'm kinda obsessed with reading everything I can that she's involved in. I should be commenting on some of her work here in the near future.


Cuttin The Movie To The Bone, Ya'll!

Were you wondering how we here at AnC spent our 4th of July? I thought you might have been, so I'll tell you. We were cuttin' at the movie like those scissors in old Kroger commercials cut at coupons (thank Barney for that visual). Did it hurt? Yeah - it hurt sometimes. There were a couple things I wish we could keep, but you gotta let things go when they need to go, am I right? There were other cuts that seemed like a divine being shining through a hole in clouds. There were angels singing and shit. I liked doing those cuts. We lost some little awkward moments in the acting or the writing or transitions that I'd been hating for years, and when it suddenly seemed obvious how to get rid of them - like I said - angels and shit.

An excerpt from our Edit Decision List
Now we have, to this point, edited out all kinds of things from this movie. We did it in the writing stage, in the adaption to a screenplay stage, in the original edit, in the 2nd and 3rd edits. However, as Charlie pointed out, we never have cut anything that really hurt, and so it seemed like we weren't quite finished. Well, we did some painful cutting this time. Now, we weren't just willy nilly. We tried and debated each little snip. Some we were all down with from the git-go. Some we had to convince each other about. Although sometimes one of us goes into a cut or decides against a cut more reluctantly than the others, we do always come to a consensus, and honestly there wasn't a lot of bloodshed. It felt pretty good actually. I don't think the movie lost any of the info or style that we're passionate about it in, but it's more concise and less awkward. It's also about 7 minutes shorter.

Meeting notes:  
1 We ate a lot of Twizzlers, small bags of chips and drank many cans of soda/sodapop/pop/coke - whatever you want to call them. It was all leftovers from our last test screening.  
2 Also, we took a break to watch So You Think You Can Dance the first day of edits. That is the most baddest ass of shows, by the way. It's not some bullshit dancing like in Dancing with the Stars. This is insane top tier dancers doing sweet choreography, and it's not a snarky show. It's just fun entertainment, and it will make you feel like you are badly unfit and need to go pump some iron.  
3 I had been eating a lot of peanut butter, and that took its toll occasionally on the aroma of the room.  
4 We all enjoyed some hateful language towards each other. I feel Barnaby and Charlie's creative combo act involving some old kung fu movie style dubbing of harshness towards me was the most memorable.
5 We enjoyed Culver's one night and a summer home cooked meal of chicken breast, corn on the cob and strawberries another night.  
6 After we finished on the 4th of July, we saw The Heat, and it was pretty funny ya'll.


Our 2nd Test Screening!

This past Saturday we invited a small group of 20 and 30 somethings to watch our still slightly unfinished movie Science, Sex and the Ladies. Just like at our last screening, our participants filled out a questionnaire directly after the movie and then took part in a 1/2 hour discussion. It was a great discussion. We got great feedback on the written responses, and we even had some people email later with more feedback. In case any of you are reading this - I want to thank you again for taking the time to help us out.

So after both screenings, what is my overall take? To be honest, I just can't quite figure out how to talk about them. Overall I'm quite happy with the results and definitely got important and useful feedback. I want to just stick with the simple positives of it. I want to say that I heard from people both anonymously and face to face that they were really moved by the movie, that it spoke to the frustration and confusion they are currently experiencing in their sexual lives, that they learned some basic things about their sexual functioning, that the movie made them look at the history of their sexual relationships with a whole different perspective, and I wouldn't be lying. I did receive that sort of feedback. In fact almost everyone said the movie reflected their own experiences, but it's not really the whole story.

There was the couple of people who felt I didn't need to be so harsh about negating the vaginal orgasm. I expected that - actually I expected that there would be a lot more of that than there was. There were those who said they already knew most of it. I expected I'd get that from a certain demographic. There were also those worried about the hetero-centric nature of the movie. I knew that was coming also. All those things were calculated risks for us - things we thought about. There was also just basic criticism about areas that seemed too long or repetitive or too fast - a scene that was confusing - stuff like that, and those were expected too and quite useful to hear.

 But there was a weirder thing that I didn't see coming. I probably should have, but I didn't. I don't know if I can fully explain it, but I'll say it was feedback that seemed confused - confused I guess mostly because it focused very little on the movie itself and more on things that the individual people thought were important about the general subjects of sexuality, sociology, feminism, education - that sort of thing. It was a critique of ideas assumed to be in the movie that actually weren't at all; or it was a clear misunderstanding of points other people found repetitive; or it was a running annoyance about one particular thing that colored all the answers on a questionnaire. I know the movie is a lot of info, and I know that it is not a perfect information giving machine, but I feel like there was criticism and then there was this weird criticism that seemed to me to stem more from personal interests than about the actual movie. This weird criticism wasn't necessarily more harsh or anything. It was just kinda bizarre, and it took me aback. I mean we immediately thought, "what did we do wrong to get these reactions we had no intention of getting." Yes, there is a shit ton of information and a good amount of our personal taste in SSL, and we know some of it's bound to be ignored or misconstrued. I think there is another thing at play here, though, and I should have been more prepared for it given some of the situations I've encountered during the making of this movie and during the writing of this blog over the years.

We are messing with incredibly personal subjects. Everyone has experience with their own and sometimes others' sexuality and pleasure and gender. Some of us take great pride in our sexual persona or gender identity. Some of us hold such shame and confusion about it, and for most of us, our very identity is heavily intertwined with our sexuality and gender. We are going to get a really wide array of reactions, and among all the more positive ones, they might be weird, irrational, surprising, or insanely maddening, and I'm gonna be okay with that because sex and gender in this world have a whole lotta weird baggage. Plus, I think it'll be mostly ok. The truth is, even the people who had weird reactions and the people who were bothered by things like too much anti-vaginal orgasm talk were actually overall positive about the movie and almost everyone felt other peoples should see it. So, yeah - the test screenings gave us some great detailed insight that we're definitely moving forward with, but maybe the most exciting thing I took away is that this movie really does strike something - whatever it may be - with people, and they seem to want to talk about it. Truth is, that's all I ever wanted - to get a real conversation started in this culture about the female orgasm and its impact on our understanding of female sexuality. Simple, right? So, yeah, this whole putting a movie out and hearing what people have to say about it is going to be a scary mixed bag, but I have faith it's gonna be worth it.