India vs. Australia vs. Canada vs. UK: SSL Small Screening International Premiere

As you might have known, Science, Sex and the Ladies is making its way around the country doing small private screenings, hosted by people who just want to share this movie and the conversation this movie evokes with their friends. It's been super cool talking with all the people who've contacted me about these screenings - finding out where they heard about it, hearing about them and their interesting endeavors, and then sending the movie off to their neck of the woods. We've sent to Brooklyn, Michigan, Oregon, Los Angeles, San Francisco, D.C, right here in Indy and more. Then, all of the sudden, I started getting some international inquiries, and I was a little flabbergasted.

They mostly seemed to find us through Reddit posts and the write-up SSL got on the In Bed with Married Women blog - so much thanks to Jill Hamilton over there. The first was from India, then Australia, then Canada, then the UK. All these women were just so damn cool and funny and gung-ho about female sexuality. I love that I have the chance to meet them, and I love that one of them will be hosting SSL's international debut.

India and Australia went out the same day, but India's took longer than we thought to get there. We were biting our nails waiting, but just Thursday, I got word that the eagle had landed. Australia received their copy about a week earlier. Canada should get the drop any day now, and the UK has about 7 days left (She's on holiday anyway, so I fear the Brits ain't gonna win this one.)

Honestly, I feel that India is the most tenacious, but as we all know, getting people together all at once can take more than tenacity and determination...sometimes, my friends, it takes time...so who knows what will happen. I will, of course, keep you posted. And, ya know, no matter what, each of these women will be hosting the premiere for their own country, so at least there's that.


Up in Smoke -The SSL Review

So, just since I watched Felix the Cat, Netflix suggested I watch Up in Smoke, and I thought why not? I'd never seen it. Cheech and Chong. It's a classic, right? It was kinda funny. It would probably be a lot funnier if it was 35 years ago, ya know? Things lose their bite with age and imitation.

However, it just so happened that the person I found most amusing in the movie was also the one involved in the SSL Review eligible moment. Of course, a movie must depict or discuss female orgasm or masturbation in order to even get an SSL Review (the most coveted of all reviews!), but this one is a little interesting, because it is a completely fake orgasm, and I don't mean it was a woman faking an orgasm during a sex act. It is a woman named Jade (played by Zane Buzby) telling a story of this other woman having sex. Basically, she's giving a vivid account of this woman's ridiculously over-exuberant orgasm noises that go on through the whole sex act, and it's clear that Jade sees it and the woman doing it as silly and annoying. So, I think it's actually pretty right on, because it kinda calls out the incredibly unrealistic porny perma-gasms that are so common in our sexual media. Although my assessment of this lady-gasm depiction is actually a little more complicated, and I'll get into that later. For now, let me set up the scene.

This is the Up in Smoke orgasm scene...before Cheech wakes with a cramp

Jade is supposed to be this like ditzy, free-spirit that is just constantly talking. She's also a drug aficionado and has a case with all these pills and shit in it that she uses and gives to other people. The movie will just cut to her, and she'll be in the middle of telling someone some story that sounds crazy as hell. That's how we get to the orgasm scene, actually. Chong and another girl are sleeping in a van made of pot next to a line of people waiting for a concert. Jade is just calmly sitting there in the van brushing her hair and telling this story to 2 sleeping people. Even when the story gets all heated, it never stops just being a story to her. It's very matter of fact. She's still just brushing her hair and not really caring who's listening. Here's my by-ear transcript of her story. I had to pause and rewind a lot to get this, so at least read it and make it worth my while.

She was like nuts. You could always tell if she was in the hotel Bono(?not sure if that's the right word?) man ya know. Like everyone'd be dozin off and all the sudden she'd start up. First you'd hear it, it'd start up like ya know, ahhh, ahhh (real gentle and slow) but then she'd like really get goin' and she'd be more like ya know uh uh uh (a little rougher sounding) ya know and she'd start going like a motor boat, ya know fuu-uu-uuu-uuck me Alex. His name was Alex. Ya know, Fuu-uuu-uu-uuuck meeeee. fu-uuu-uuck mee-eee-ee fuck me Alex (loud and staccato reapeated about 4 or 5 more time) 
Then Chong wakes up. He has a cramp, and says so out loud. He starts grunting and stuff and moving around erratically in the van trying to work out his cramp. The van, my friends, is a-rockin' and the woman is still just chillin', brushing her hair and telling this story. She's getting louder and wilder sounding though.
yeah, yeah oh, yeah, oh yeah (repeated many times). But she's like this - she'd do this...oh yeah, oh yeah (repeated many times and then winds it down like she's finished up an amazing orgasm)...and then she'd have like 2 tears runnin' down her face...
At that point, Chong's cramp subsides, and he gets out of the van. All the people in the line cheer like wild.

So the complication I mentioned with my assessment is that during Jade's story, people outside the van begin to hear what's going on and think that some crazy wild, highly orgasmic sex is going on. They cheer Chong when he comes out, so this whole joke is done with the understanding that the fake sounds Jade is making (as a way to make fun of another woman's craziness) are still taken as real and as an indication to the crowd outside of what a bad-ass lover the dude inside the van must be. So, it's complicated. Does the crowd's misunderstanding of the situation point out to the audience how ridiculous it is that these over-exaggerated orgasm shows seen in things like porn are taken so seriously? Or does it just add one more instance of an exaggerated porn-gasm for audiences to un-critically take in as possible way women might orgasm. It's probably the latter, but I don't feel I can hold Up in Smoke to that too harshly. In the end, it was just a joke, and it was at least partially based on making fun of the porn-gasm.

I'll give Up in Smoke a very wishy-washy 3 vulva rating.



Minneapolis and Louisville, SSL Is Coming To You!

It took all the power in my being to write "coming" in the title instead of "cumming." There's no reasonable explanation why I'd want to do that. It's not really funnier or more clever, and it doesn't really even make sense. If I maybe titled the post "Minneapolis and Louisville, SSL Is Cumming Inside Your Theaters" or "Minneapolis and Louisville, SSL Can't Wait To Cum Into Your Town," or "Minneapolis and Louisville, SSL Will Make you Cum Right Away To A Theater Near You" - I mean any of those make better use of "cum" vs. "come" than the title I picked and would simply make more sense in a pun sort of way.

Anyway, I am regularly giggly inside my head whenever the word "come" is used, no matter how innocent. That's just true. It's the same way when I hear "fish taco." I can't even believe that people say it with a straight face. I just truly can't fathom how people go about their lives thinking it's perfectly sensible to order fish tacos and then proceed to eat them without even a hint of joke-iness. It's insane to me. Maybe part of that is that I really didn't actively realize that fish tacos existed as a valid menu item (and not just a crude term for lady bits) until I was about 22 years old - and I will not have you judge me for that. I've lived in land-locked Indianapolis my entire life, and I'm not a big seafood eater anyway. I have friends who feel the same way (although probably less intensely), so I know I'm not insane...although it may indicate the level of worldliness and class of my close companions.

That was not the point of this post though. WE HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED INTO OUR FIRST 2 FESTIVALS!

The Minneapolis Underground Film Festival in, well, Minneapolis obviously. It will be taking place from Thursday October 2nd thru Sunday October 5th.

The Imaginarium Film Festival in Louisville. It's actually part of the Imaginarium creative writing convention, which is kind of cool, and it is held Friday, Sept. 19th thru Sunday, Sept. 21st.

We don't have the specific details on the times our movie will be playing, but we'll post as soon as we know. So, if you are one of my very mysterious readers who lives in or near Minneapolis or Louisville, tell ALL your friends and caravan down to the theater to catch Science, Sex and the Ladies! And if you do get out to see it, say hi. The other 2 co-directors and I will be there, and we'd love to talk or hang out, or grab a drink - we don't care, we won't have to go to work the next day. Seriously. I'd love to meet you.

There will be more announcements in the next weeks and months for showings around the country. We're gonna start touring with this damn movie. Keep an eye out. We might be cumming to your town!


Random Male Hite Report #8

Okay, I've been doing a thing called Random Hite Report. Sometimes it's from The Hite Report on Female Sexuality and sometimes it's from The Hite Report on Male Sexuality. Both simply ask intimate detailed questions of its participants, and we hear their story in their own words. I think that they are both amazingly insightful and important works, but I have a special love for the male version.

Maybe it's because the female version gets most of the attention - granted, it was the first one; the really, head exploding, groundbreaking one, and the one that really made the point that our culture is just plain ignorant about the physical nature of female orgasm. Believe me, I'm so very much behind all that, and thankful for Shere Hite's efforts. I just always like to root for the underdog, and the male version is just that. It seems like it wouldn't be that interesting. I mean, men, sex - we get it, right? Ah, but you are wrong. This book will pull you in. It is so very human and raw. As much insight as the female version had into aspects of female sexuality that our society ignores or misunderstands, the male version has that too. It's just often different aspects than the lady stuff. It also is an incredible snapshot of  men of a certain period in our history. These are men smack dab in the middle of all the cultural changes that accompanied the sexual, civil rights, and women's revolutions, and we are hearing their intimate thoughts about the most intimate parts of their lives. I just think it's beautiful and touching. It's not all pretty, but nothing that's real ever is.

Anyway - in this series, I just flip to one page and then copy it directly into this blog. This particular page is from the chapter "Relationships With Women" in the section "Do Men Like Being Married?" and in the subsection "What were some basic reasons men gave for wanting to stay married or for liking marriage?" Enjoy.

p. 209 The Hite Report on Male Sexuality by Shere Hite
Alfred A. Knoff. NY. 1981

...the friendship, having someone special to love. It's fun, healthful, and keeps things in perspective. It softens difficult times. It is nice to be wanted and needed."
    "Yes, I like marriage. I need and depend upon a wife, good or bad."
    "Yes, I need another person to bounce my deeper feelings off of."
    "I love being married. Having a life partner is exciting, fulfilling, and comforting."
    "I like being married. My wife is my backbone in my business. She takes care of everyday problems that i do not want to handle. She is a very good mother to my children, even though she does not turn me on sexually anymore."
    Having people around you who love you is a very secure feeling. I love my wife and children and they love me."
    "Home serves as a 'secure' base of operation, a place where I can be me, a place I can always come back to, and a place where I can share my successes and failures. Of course it's a give-and-take process, and much of the importance is my part in listening to my wife."
    "It's the best arrangement for maintaining security, sanity, child raising, and economic well-being."
    "Most times I like being married (married thirteen years.) Why? Because it it physically and psychologically stabilizing."
    "I like marriage because there's a sense of family and permanence most of the time."
    "I am married because I like the companionship it provides, I usually like being around and talking with my wife, it seems to be a sound financial arrangement, and it is usually a convenient sexual arrangement."
    "The most important thing about our relationship is the stability we have because of our affiliation. Being married is good for both of us."
Many men stressed the aspect of security:    "Sixteen years. I am happily married and think it is the greatest. I have one partner ready to do anything for me, whom I so deeply love. I know she will be there so long as we both live. It gives me a great feeling of personal security."
    "Twenty years. I am married for the security it gives, the pleasure, and the convenience. A framework to live my life in."
    "Twenty -nine and a half years. Marriage is restrictive in one sense, but gives a secure feeling in another."
    "I've been married thirteen years. I like being committed to one person. It gives me a good feeling and I feel secure about at least one part of my life."
    "I have been married almost twenty-four years. I like it. The sense of family community is one of the cornerstones of my life."
    "I've been married six months. I like being married. I like to share my days with someone and to share her days with her. I like to have someone to make long plans with and to look forward with someone to fulfilling those plans. I...." 


The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat: The SSL Review

I decided to watch The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat. Why and what is it, you ask? Well, I watched it because I needed to pass some time and saw it on Netflix. What it is?....well Fritz the Cat was a late 60's early 70's underground comic strip by Robert Crumb that became an animated movie in 1972. The movie I watched is the sequel to the original Fritz the Cat movie, but neither the director of the original nor Robert Crumb had anything to do with this sequel.

Fritz is constantly high, on welfare, and lives in a shit apartment with his wife and son. Basically the movie is his wife yelling at him as he smokes weed and stares blankly ahead, going through his other possible 9 lives in his head. It's a trippy 70's deal, and I really didn't find it that funny or good in any way. It was weird though, so I'm glad I watched it, I guess. There's a lot of rapey shit in there, which if I remember back from similarly styled dirty 70's comics I found when I was a kid, it seems to be part of the genre.

So there were 2 things in here which can be loosley SSL reviewed. The first is not really a specific discussion or depiction of female orgasm or masturbation, but it pertains to myths about lady-gasms, so I thought I'd include it.

As I mentioned before, Fritz's wife is bitching him out hardcore every time she's on screen and one of the first things she says is.
Harvey and I made it....What do you think of that? We made it, and he's better in bed than you are. You know why? Because he's hung like a horse - that's why.
So, this is comedy reinforcing the common misconception that a bigger dick causes better/more/any orgasms for women. The truth is, unless that dick sprouts something to diddle the clit it's not gonna be great a causing orgasms. Big or small, stimulating the inside of the vag - as dicks tend to do during intercourse - is not how ladygasms get made. If somehow that intercourse (with either a big or small dick), can be worked out to also involve stimulation of the clitoral glans, then by golly orgasms might just happen. My point is that although one might enjoy looking at a big ol' dick, or might find the idea of climbing on top of a giganto dick super hot, a big dick - in and of itself - is not any better than a small dick at getting women off.

Okay the second one was an actual cartoon depiction of a lady orgasming. Fritz was going through one of his nine lives and it involved something about space. I'm being vague not because I'm trying to keep this SSL Review spoiler free or something, but because I'm genuinely not sure what was going on. Anyway, Fritz and some chic with big protruding nipples (because every woman on here had giant, I say giant, protruding nipples) were doing it inside a rocket that was about to lift off. They were both in space suits, and he was on top with her legs up in the air. There was lots of cartoony flailing limbs involved in this sex act, and it would keep cutting away to the rocket they were doing it in. This rocket had a penis-ish look and it was moving kinda like it was thrusting. Then, a voice said
We have ignition.
And, well, the rocket started out to space and these two nasty love birds were ignited too.
Felix: Ya-hooo-hooo-hooo!!!!!
Protruding Nipple Astronaut Woman: Me too, baby! Oooo babby oooo wowwwww. It's so good!!
Only the rocket was being shown during those final outbursts, and all I saw of the two before that involved them both being fully clothed in space suits with him on top and flailing limbs, so I'm not going to venture at how realistic these cartoon movements were for actually getting a real woman off. That would just be silly. What I will say is that this at its core was a scene of basic hetero sex that ended in both partners orgasming at the same time. Sex is almost always assumed to be a dude putting his penis in and out of a lady, and what we did see in this scene did not seem to stray from that basic idea. So, the insinuation is that the basic in-and-out will eventually lead to ladygasm...at about the time the dude gets off. It's just a reinforcement of the most basic of understandings our culture holds on the matter of sex, and it's misleading. Intercourse is not a great way for women to orgasm and simultaneous orgasm is not common, given that a woman would need additional clitoral stimulation to come during the nasty while a man needs some in-out rubbing in the vagina. It's two different movements, so there's more likely to be turn taking for the orgasm.

Okay, that's my weird 70's SSL review. I'm giving this a 0 vulva [ (!) ] rating. It reinforced all the normal everyday misinformation that permeates our sexual knowledge, and it was rapey, so I won't even give it 1.


Sexting Lies!

So, a good friend sent me a link to an article on LiveScience called "Sexting Lies: The New Orgasm Faking." Contrary to the title's insinuation, the study discussed wasn't about orgasm faking. It was about lying in general during sexting.

Nearly half of the people in the study who had ever sent sexual texts had lied to their committed partner about what they were wearing or doing while sexting. 
It went on to say more women admitted to lying than men, at 45% of the ladies vs. 24% of the gentlemen. Why?
Most people who lied did so in order to fulfill the needs of a partner in some way...
The article's title is annoying in the way so many over-exaggerated or straight-up misleading science related internet titles are. Plus, I do want to say that the article doesn't have any references, and my quick Googling didn't bring up any original studies, so it may not even be a real study...or it's badly misrepresented. Who knows, but the idea of faking text-gasms is interesting anyway.

I see why the author went straight to the orgasm when the topic of lying was brought up. People fake. Over half of women have admitted to faking. I'm always interested in hearing things about how, why, and when people fake orgasms. I have suspicions that the amount of women faking orgasms is probably underrepresented, probably a bit unconscious, and probably not investigated as comprehensively as it could be. So, I thought this seemed interesting. Particularly because the reason over 2/3 of the people give for lying during sexting was that they were trying to fulfill their partner's needs in some way. Basically, they were being nice - which is one huge reason women tend to fake face to face as well.

So, there's no huge revelation here - just a possible interesting similarity between real sex and text sex...and a reminder that faking things during sexual situations is usually out of niceness and politeness and not out of any type of malice.  


Monster's Ball - The SSL Review

I watched Monster's Ball in the theater when it first came out in 2001. This was about a year before I started researching for Science, Sex and the Ladies, and about 8 years before I started this blog, so I didn't SSL Review it, obviously. However, I've often thought I need to go back and review this movie. It had, I remembered, one of the first going-down-on-a-lady scenes I ever remember seeing in a Hollywood movie. Plus, there's that super hot sex scene with Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton. So 13 years later, here's the SSL Review for Monster's Ball.

I liked the movie a whole lot, and rewatching it, I found that it still stands up. It's a good one to check out if you haven't caught it yet, although it's currently not on Netflix, so you'll have to do some searching. I'm happy to say, it also will be getting a pretty good SSL Review, so there's that too. There were 2 scenes that discussed or depicted female orgasm or masturbation and one that depicted sex with a clear lack of female orgasm - which I think is just as important, so let's start with that one.

Sonny and Vera's Scene
One of the characters, Sonny - played by Heath Ledger, has a prostitute into his motel room. It's a quick cordial interactions.
Sonny: Vera, how you doin'?
Vera: Good. how are you?
Sonny: I'm Good. Here. (he gives her money) Sorry. You want a drink?
Vera: Oh yeah. Thanks, hon. (She undresses)
Sonny: Wild Turkey. (They drink)
Vera: Now, I'm sore, so go easy, Darlin'.
Sonny: Yes ma'am.
At this points she stands with her hands on a table in front of her and Sonny pulls his pants down and penetrates her from behind. He pumps into her - not too harshly, of course - and comes. She is unresponsive in her body and voice during the sex - just sorta getting the job done.
Sonny: Thanks Vera.
Vera: You're welcome.
It's a realistic scene (especially the part about being sore, am I right?). He's paying for the use of her vagina as a masturbatory tool. They're both on board with this, everyone is getting what they came for, and one of those things is not a lady-gasm. Which is right on point because a penis moving in and out of a vagina is not really something that would cause an orgasm anyway. I think this is a good example of how a vagina is a top of the line masturbation tool for males, but a penis is not a top of the line masturbation tool for women (unless it's vibrating and sitting against her clit, of course).

Leticia and Hank's Big Ol' Sexy-Ass Scene
Okay, the next scene is the big hot one that was talked about so much when the movie came out. Basically, Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) and Leticia (Halle Berry) are strangers put together by a tragic situation and end up back at her house. She eventually asks him to "make her feel good" as she's taking off her shirt. It's as if the sex is a way to lessen the pain she is feeling, and the sex the two have becomes passionate and raw. They are at a couch with a coffee table in front of it and, and they get into several positions on the floor and the couch. It's cut into kind of a montage and is shot voyeur style from another room or something. Except for a small shot where it seems she sucks his dick for a minute, it's all intercourse happening.

They are both on their knees; her bent over the couch seat, him behind her. She is grunting from the thrusting but not orgasmically. She looks at him, turns around and flips over so she is sitting on the couch straddling him as he kneels in front of her. She sits upright so her upper body and pelvis are pressed against him. There are quick disjointed cuts here, but it looks as though there might have been an insinuation of an orgasm - which is believable enough to me because her pelvis (and thus her clitoral glans) in many of the cuts seemed to be aggressively grinding against his body and she even seems to be grabbing his butt and pulling his pelvis towards her to keep the friction.

Okay, so then he rolls on top of her on the couch as her legs wrap around his body. There is definite pounding that is heard (certainly good for a male orgasm), although the voyeur camera goes out of focus for a sec. She says, "Fill me up," a few times and after a few more good pounds into her he seems to do just that without much vocal fanfare, and we see him end breathless as he relaxes a bit. She also makes some guttural, screamy sounds that could be orgasmic, and just might be meant to be seen that way, but I don't think that's the case. I think it could be viewed as just the intensity of the moment that caused the sounds to come from her. I don't think it's uncommon for a woman to vocalize at the same time a man is orgasming. Of course, that's probably a common time for women to fake. It's also probably often misunderstood by the partner as an orgasm and can be wrongly viewed in movies as signs of an orgasm, but I think it was clear that she was focusing on his orgasm here, and she did continue on pursuing her orgasm right after, despite his finishing.

Leticia quickly rolls him onto the ground, making sure he stays inside, and get on top. She leans forward onto him and moves her body back and forth, doing him slowly. There are quick cuts and they continue to do it in this position, although she has sat up and is more bouncing on him. She seems to come again in this positions, although there was clearly no hands in use and her pelvis/vulva was not touching anything for stimulation. He eventually comes again still in this same position, but this time he gives us more vocal fanfare.

After he finishes, she falls forward, kissing him and is really rolling and grinding her hips on him, slowly but urgently. She keeps her pelvis tight against his body through all her rolling and grinding, as she has a non-porny orgasm. It's about as realistic as I've seen in a movie. Not only is there closeness of her pelvis to his body, showing the possibility of clitoral glans stimulation, but she is actively moving her body in such a way that would really cause that friction on her clitoral glans. She is in control. His body is still. He has already come. He is looking at her with awe as she does this. This last part is about her helping herself get hers, and I feel like that had to be an intentional creative choice in this movie.

There is a lot of stuff in this long sex scene, and I may not have all the intentions right about which part was an orgasm and which is not, but I'm clear about where her body was in times when it seemed like an orgasm was happening. I'm also clear that she had at least 1, maybe 2 orgasms that could have actually happened to a real woman. The one in the middle seemed closer to a classic, bouncing on a dick orgasm that we see in movies all the time, but I'll forgive that one. To me, at the heart of this scene, it was two people unabashedly enjoying the pleasures, both mental and physical, that come with a passionate sexual encounter. Now that's not really all that strange of a thing to see in movies, but there was more than that. What was particularly exciting to me about this scene was that it also seemed to show those two people sharing and taking turns giving each other orgasms. That's so fantastic because sex always seems to be depicted ending with a man and a woman who just orgasmed at the same time, and that is simply not likely. A man needs his penis stimulated and a woman her clitoral glans. They need different movements. It's just how it is. Showing couples always coming at the same time is just another fantasy way of insinuating to women that him pounding into her should make her come too.  This scene was also more graphic than most, so it allowed the audience to really see how Halle's hips grinded and pressed into him. I think that's just too dirty to show sometimes, but it is the way that women can orgasm hands free during intercourse. Anyway, I found it progressive and refreshing.

The Goin' Downtown Scene
The last scene is simple. There is a shot of the two in bed, from the chest up. He asks her if he can touch her, and she agrees, and then he moves down her body and out of shot. We just watch her face as he performs oral sex on her, and she eventually comes in a fairly non-porny, realistic way. I don't think I have to tell you that a mouth on the vulva, which is insinuated here, can certainly and realistically make a lady come. I can get behind a sensible scene like that.

The Verdict
This movie showed both a non-ladygasm sexual situation, like the prostitute one, and a lady-gasm inducing situation, like the going-down-on-her scene, with realism. It also showed a long sexual scene between a man and a woman that, although not perfectly realistic to my ridiculously high standards, beautifully emphasized taking turns for orgasm, a lady's need to really grind during intercourse, and the power of her doing the work to get herself there. This gets a 5 out of 5 vulva rating - not because it's perfect, but because it made an attempt to be better, and it mostly succeeded...and it was hot to watch.



A Reply to a Reply: My Continuing Discussion with Skeptic Edward Clint

A while ago, I read "The clitoris revealed and how i09 got it wrong" by Edward Clint, and I felt that his last 3 paragraphs needed my critique - cause doesn't everything, really? Honestly though, I thought it important to comment about it not because it was crazy off-the-wall idiocy or because I thought Clint was being negligent. I chose to do it because his was such a normal, socially acceptable, some would even say progressive, way of discussing female orgasm. It is right in line with most thoughtful people's way of thinking, but I believe it is incorrect. I decided to dig into this particular article because it was written by a skeptic; someone who cares about how we do science, how we talk about science, and how we understand the fruits of our scientific labor. Usually, when I critique discussions on female orgasm, and I say things like, "there is no evidence for a vaginal orgasm and thoughtful people should stop speaking about female orgasms as if there is," I either get hateful, emotional responses or I get ignored. It was to my great excitement that Clint did neither. He seems to me to be a thoughtful, sensible, and scientifically minded person. His site Incredulous has some interesting articles and is definitely worth checking out. As I wrote in my original critique, the first part of his original article related to scientific reporting and was fantastic. It was really only the last 3 paragraphs that got to me. 

Reading his original article and his reply to my critique, it's clear to me that his main intention was to point out that extreme, politically charged ideology with little to no backing in facts can be quite harmful, and it's unfortunately rampant in the discussion of female orgasm. I fully agree. I think in spirit, Clint and I have the same positive hopes for female orgasm, but I cannot get behind many of his statements because I disagree with him on an important piece of background information, and so I find the way he speaks on this issue to be counter productive. I'd like to think this makes our discussion particularly important because at our hearts, we care about the same things and really could open a meaningful dialogue. 

So this, my friends, is my reply to his reply. We decided he would respond on his blog with links to all past writings from the discussion. I would respond from my blog and do the same. You can find his original article HERE, My critique HERE, and his reply HERE. I want to make it clear that I truly respect  Clint's interest in scientific discussion, and I think he is a smart guy with genuinely good intentions. He has been nothing but kind to me, and I feel a little bit bad about continuing to disagree with him. However, I'm serious about this subject, and I crave a serious discussion. To be honest, I was disappointed when I read his response. It wasn't the discussion I was hoping for. I wanted pushback, disagreement, something on my critique's main focus about our culture's (including his article's) insistence on speaking about Vaginally Induced Orgasms (VIO) as if they were a given, and about why (or why not) that is an incorrect way for knowledgeable people to speak about it. However, Clint's response did not really delve into this, and in the end, I felt he focused more on whether he even deserved my original critiques.

Main Points of Trisha's Critiques as written by Edward Clint
In his response, he started by summarizing what he thought were the main points in my critique: 
1 There is no scientifically documented vaginal orgasm with regard to Masters & Johnson’s 1966 definition of orgasm.
2 (He) misrepresented the primary issue re: female orgasm by assuming there is such a thing as a vaginally-induced orgasm, and therefore erroneously present the stock “clit vs. vag” debate as the appropriate framing of the issue. Clitoral orgasm is the only scientifically documented sort, and any other is poorly defined and not in any case documented. Therefore, the appropriate framing of the problem is that women and society in general have been mislead to believe there are other-than-clitoral orgasms as a fact. 
3 (He) was dismissive and flippant about the importance of this debate because it misinforms women and leads to ill effects on their sexual and perhaps emotional heath. The mass-media, books, and pornography commonly depict vaginally-induced orgasms leading to needless insecurity and anxiety when experiences fall short of such hyperbolic fantasy.

and these points were not off base. He actually (and quite thoughtfully) ran them by me first to see if those were accurate. He got my points fairly correct, but I feel like Clint was less interested in addressing them directly and more interested in pointing out that he wasn't really talking about those things in the first place, and that I was asking too much from his writing. I disagree on both points, and we'll get into that soon.

The original "The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm" article
Koedt and Freud
Let me first comment on what Clint says in a section called "a few other small points" at the end of his reply. He's commenting on my statement, "He seems to play Anne Koedt as some crazy ideologue, but she is not." His thoughts on Koedt and my problem with those thoughts are important because they point out the 1 major disagreement I have with Clint. He says:
I did no such thing. In fact, quite the contrary. My experience writing this blog has taught me that people need points that sound far-fetched to them to be substantiated with a citation. I quoted Koedt to do that. If I thought that she was a crazy, isolated nut, citing her would not substantiate my point. I was depending on Koedt being a respected figure. I do believe she is mistaken on many points, but that is not an insult.

I understand he may not see it this way, but he did do such a thing, and it has nothing to do with whether he thought Koedt was a respected figure or not. Freud is certainly a respected figure, but it doesn't mean Mr. Clint and the rest of the world think his ideas about vaginal orgasm being the only mature female orgasm are any less bat-shit crazy.  Whether a respected figure or not, Clint clearly painted Koedt's point of view that is presented in her article,  "The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm," as an opposite and equally incorrect point on a spectrum against Freud's crazy-ass ideas. Like I said in my original critique:

To pose Freud's bullshit against Anne Koedt's article, an article that is backed up by good science, is just plain silly.
It is silly for the very reason that it makes her point of view seem as looney and as incorrect as his; as if she was making equally wild speculations in the opposite direction, but she was not. As I also said in my original critique, Koedt's writing was backed by the best (even to this day) physiological research on female orgasm. From this standpoint there is no evidence for VIOs. Her saying that the vagina is low in the ol' nerve department and that vaginal orgasms don't exist, is not a knee-jerk, outlandish backlash to Freud's obsession with the vag-gasms. It is what the physiological science said and still says. Freud was writing with a sexist tone (that, we can all agree he went terribly wrong on), but his ideas are also doubly problematic in a way I don't think Clint and most of society are willing or knowledgeable enough to recognize because there is no physiological backing for the idea of a vaginal orgasm. Not in Freud's day, not in Koedt's day, and still not in our day. Freud had sexist ideas about a thing that is physiologically unsubstantiated. He is so wrong in so many ways. Koedt made sensible comments about female orgasm that are based in good science. She is pretty much on point.

His depiction of Koedt and Freud and of the "clit vs. vag-gasm" debate comes from a perspective that does not take into account that VIOs have no physiological backing in science, and my viewing of these things does. That is the base of my problem with his original article, but after reading his reply, I don't feel that came through to him. It is important to me that my criticisms be clear though, so that a real, thoughtful debate can begin. I believe his view of these topics (which is also the larger cultural view) ignores basic scientific knowledge on the subject and is ultimately misleading and harmful, and I think this viewpoint should be seriously reconsidered. That said, I think that our real differences of opinion and the real discussion that I would like to have stems from one or more of the following:
  • He disagrees with me that there is no physiological evidence of VIOs
  • He disagrees that a lack of physiological evidence for VIOs over the past 50 years means that VIOs are likely non-existent
  • He doesn't know that there is no physiological evidence for VIOs
  • He disagrees with my definition of VIO and so sees it differently. To be clear, my definition is basically any orgasm caused by stimulation inside the vagina without stimulation of the clitoral glans also. (This does not mean any orgasm that happens during intercourse is a VIO - A more detailed description is HERE).

So, yes, I do believe he portrayed Koedt as a crazy ideologue - at least somewhat as much as Freud, but it's because his base point of view was that VIO's were a given truth of the female orgasmic experience. So Freud seemed less crazy to him and Koedt's insistence that they didn't exist, seemed more crazy. 

Clitoral and Vaginal
This takes me to another of  Clint's points that only makes sense if one were to believe that VIO's were a given physical truth of the female orgasmic experience: his insistence that the vaginal vs. clitoral orgasm debate is two extremes fighting each other and neither are actually right...or actually wrong. In his original article he wrote: 

The modern research tells us that everyone is right! Or, everyone is wrong, however you’d like to parse it, because all of the parts are important.
Again - makes sense if it were true that women orgasm from penetrative stimulation, but if that's not true, and women really only orgasm through clitoral glans stimulation, then all the people who speak about VIOs (whether one thinks these happen because of deep inner clitoral stimulation, something on the vaginal walls, cervix, or G-spot - really any anything other than the clitoral glans) as if they exist actually are wrong, and although all the "parts" might be important, only the clitoral glans is causing orgasms.

He also continues with this clit-vs-vag-is-two-extremes-fighting-each-other-when neither-are-right-or-wrong in his reply to me. He was referring to my problems with his placing Freud and Koedt on two extremes of the female orgasm spectrum, and said
Here I was not meaning to say much of anything about vaginal or vaginally-induced orgasm, but rather that I find both extreme positions, that penetrative vaginal intercourse is all that matters to orgasm, or that it is irrelevant to orgasm, are not correct. The truth is somewhere between...
I fully understood what he was meaning to say, and I still disagree. Well, let me say that I would find his statement to be quite sensible....if vaginal orgasms existed. If they don't exist, as I am claiming the physiological data suggests, then saying the truth is "somewhere between" does not make a lot of sense. His specific wording about what these two "extreme positions" is problematic and I will get to that in a minute. For now, I'll take a chance and assume that he feels Freud's sexist insistence on the higher status of vaginal orgasms is incorrect, but his acknowledgement that they exist is sensible. I assume Clint also feels that Koedt's championing of the much maligned clitoral orgasm was sensible, but her insistence that vaginal orgasms don't exist is bad. Thus the "between" that Clint feels is the truth has something to do with VIOs and clitoral orgasms existing happily together in the female population with one not better than the other. The possibility that VIOs are not even a physiological thing didn't even come into the picture, and frankly I think saying that the "truth is somewhere in between," is misleading. More than that, it's a vague, non-critical, unsubstantiated statement, and it's not novel. It goes right along with 'clits-are-so-so-important-of-course-but-vag-gasms-are-also-so-so-great-too!' mainstream sex advice and with the status quo cultural knowledge that regularly ignores the clear lack of evidence for VIOs. What exactly does Clint or anyone mean by saying the truth of female orgasms are "somewhere between" in the "clitoral vs. vaginal" debate, anyway? Do all women need a little bit of vag stim and a little bit of clit stim to orgasm? Do some women have the ability to orgasm from only vaginal, some from only clitoral, and some from both? If we as a culture (and Edward Clint as a skeptical writer) don't know what it means and can't back it up, why the hell are we saying it? 

Now, let me just go back to what Clint described as the two "extreme positions." The first is that penetrative sex is all that matters to orgasm. Yes that is extreme. The clitoral orgasm and all its physical characteristics is well documented. It's well known that all healthy women are capable of them, and it's also well known that easily 70 to 80% of women claim to only have this type of orgasm. No sexpert or researcher worth anything would ignore its importance and it is certainly part of the mainstream understanding of female orgasm. Honestly, though, no one seriously believes that extreme position except Freud and his modern cronies (and there are more than a few). 

The next extreme was that it (penetrative sex) is irrelevant to orgasm. There are two ways of looking at what Clint meant here. 
1. If by this statement he means that penetrative sex alone cannot cause orgasm, that is only extreme if one were to believe that VIOs are a given reality. If one were to look at the scientific data. It wouldn't be extreme at all. 
2. He may not have meant anything about causation because he may not have a clear understanding of Koedt's (and my) position. He said "is irrelevant to" orgasm and not anything about whether or not vaginal penetration alone causes orgasm. In fact I tend towards him not having a clear understanding of the position because he also ends his original article with the following:

We don’t need to invent bullshit stories about anatomy to counteract other people’s bullshit ideological stories about either the supposed frigidity of women or about the denial that vaginal sex can be fun.

He is mixing up the position that vaginas don't cause orgasms with a pretend position that vaginas have nothing to do with pleasure. No one, including myself or Koedt, is saying penetrative sex is irrelevant to orgasm or that vaginal sex can't be fun. Hey, a good ramming can be just the fun, pleasurable thing a gal is looking for. In fact, I'll straight up agree with him that penetrative vaginal intercourse is not irrelevant to orgasm, but it's really kind of a silly statement. Lots of things are not irrelevant to orgasm; good intense kisses, hot porn, a sexy smelling partner, a de-stressed state of mind, nipple stimulation, or an intense emotional connection. These all can lead to pleasure, which leads to arousal, which is necessary for orgasm, and any one of those things on their own can be a good (I mean really good) or fun part of sex. However, none of those things, without some type of stimulation of the clitoral glans happening also, have been shown to cause a physical orgasm. 

This is a real problem with the discussion around female orgasm. Pleasure is not orgasm, and saying that VIOs don't seem to exist is not the same as saying penetrative sex is useless, boring or not pleasurable. He and so many others discuss the vagina and the clitoral glans as if they are two points of entry for orgasm, and that is simply unfounded. Messing with the vagina can cause pleasure, but according to current physiological data on orgasm, it should go in the maybe-try-playing-with-this-if-you-want-to-get-me-crazy-hot-and-move-me-towards-an-orgasm category along with nipples, anuses, backs of necks, ear lobes and perineum. The clitoral glans is chillin' with the penis in its own stimulate-this-if-you-want-to-elicit-an-orgasm category. This constant insinuation that the vagina and the clitoris are (mostly) equal partners in the orgasm business exists all across our culture, without question or qualifications, and it's a problem. It gives women and men an incorrect physiological understanding of female orgasm, and I promise, if it seemed that women and men were untouched by frustration, worry, and disappointment about female orgasm then I wouldn't give a shit about the language and insinuations around this subject, but that's not the case. Men and women both need this discussion to change, and I think it needs to begin with clarity around this whole assumption that "vaginal orgasms" are a thing. 

Didn't Have To But Did
That about sums up my problems with his original article and his reply to points 1 and 2 up above in the "Main Points of Trisha's Critiques as written by Edward Clint" section. His reply to point 3 of that section is below, and I'll speak on that now.
The third point results, I think, from misinterpretation and disagreement of editorial focus. I was not meaning to say the facts do not matter or that misinformation about how bodies work does not harm women and men. Of course it does. I meant to relate that political agendas and bickering about proper terminology does  not change anything about how we experience our bodies, and can itself be harmful if people become beholden to any ideology to the exclusion of facts or prevention of better understanding. Any staunch ideology inevitably leads to these ends. 

I agree that political agenda, cultural agendas and staunch ideology "can itself be harmful if people become beholden to any ideology to the exclusion of facts or prevention of better understanding." That is why I prefer to go about this discussion by acknowledging facts about the lack of physiological evidence for VIOs. He and I can both also agree that facts and misinformation about how our bodies work does harm men and women.  
Apart from that, I think Trisha felt it was inappropriate for me not to “set the record straight” on female orgasm, having introduced it as a subtopic. I disagree. My post was not really about orgasm at all, but about the low quality of science reporting among the blogs as it pertained to anatomy, not orgasmic function. I mentioned that only in service of larger points. As a writer I am entitled to choose my own focus and topic, and am not required to take up the educational activism that another might prefer. I am not required to recount the history and detailed politics of something just because I refer to it in a post that is not about it.

It is true that Clint is not required to recount the history and politics of female orgasm. It's true that his article was largely not about orgasm at all. However he did use Freud and Koedt to recount history and politics of female orgasm, and his article, in the last 3 paragraphs, did stray from its main subject (which truly was a thorough and level-headed discussion about the low quality of science reporting among the blogs as it pertained to anatomy) to specifically comment on how this all related to orgasmic function. He didn't have to do any of that, but he did, and the problem was that I believe he got both the political history and his insinuations about the nature and mechanics of orgasms wrong for all the reasons I discussed in my original critique. 

You see, that's the thing. He, and others who don't-have-to-yet-do-anyway, often speak about female orgasm without really knowing or caring about the scientific background, and their insinuations give people an incorrect picture of the subject. I don't expect everyone to be experts in the history and politics of female orgasm, and I don't expect anyone besides myself to "set the record straight" on female orgasm. That would indicate I want everyone to be activists. I certainly don't, but I do expect that people (especially those who seem to have some element of authority on science or sex or related subjects)  who take it upon themselves to discuss female orgasm, as Clint did in his final 3 paragraphs, come at the subject with the the correct base knowledge - a knowledge that couldn't help but take into consideration how very non-existent VIOs are within scientific literature. I would expect the same from any person speaking on any subject. 

I know my points about female orgasm are not common knowledge (and frankly, that's why I have to critique well intentioned, unsuspecting, nice and thoughtful people to get these ideas out there), but I don't think it's too much to expect skeptic writers to go a little deeper into the scientific background of subjects they discuss. I will call people on this. In a similar way, I would expect a person discussing the effects of GMOs on human health to come at it with a base knowledge of how GMOs are added into organisms in the first place, how genes replicate and work, and how food breaks down during digestion. If the points a person makes show that their base knowledge is incorrect, then I believe it is more than fair to critique them. 

I'm Almost Done
I fully realize Clint never expected or wanted to be a focus of my activism, and I understand that it might be a bit annoying, but he did make an insinuation, whether he thinks so or not, about what organs cause female orgasm, and he did paint a picture of the vaginal vs. clitoral debate that is wrongly placing Koedt's point of view as an extreme when it is not. If thoughtful people like him are getting this discussion wrong, there is very little hope for the public in general. That is why he's a target, and I hope he can understand my point of view.

Now, given that there are 20 to 30% of women who claim to orgasm vaginally, my statements about the lack of physiological evidence for this phenomenon are surely controversial and deserve some discussion. I would very much like to dig into that controversy and have that discussion. I had every hope that this back and forth would begin to do that, but instead I feel it went in a much less interesting direction. So, what I would really like to talk about in regards to the original article is the following:

  • Do we or do we not agree that there is a lack of physiological evidence for VIOs, and if so, does that mean VIOs are likely non-existent?
  • Is it sensible to speak casually about a physical "cause" of Vaginally Induced Orgasms (VIOs) when there is no physiological evidence of them? (clearly my stance is no, but I'd like to hear other's thoughts).
  • Why is a stance, like Koedt's stance, that female orgasms originate only from stimulation of the clitoral glans and not stimulation of the vagina (the only stance backed by physiological evidence) painted as extreme? Is it actually extreme?
Again, thanks to Edward Clint, and I look forward to his thoughts.

P.S. Edward Clint pointed out in his reply that the title of my original critiques was a bit too harsh. I'll agree, so I went for a much more even keeled title. Thanks for that bit of critique Ed.  


Some Lady-bation Terms I Found on the Interwebs

Well, I typed in "women masturbation" into Google to see what I could get to write about tonight...cause I need to get a post up to keep with my 2to3-a-week schedule, and the post I'm currently working on is taking longer than I thought...so I need to buy myself a few more days...so I figured I'd just post some silly masturbation stuff I found online while I watch my last Mad Men before I go to bed.

So, anyway..."women masturbation" in Google. The first links that came up were pages of quotes about "women and masturbation" that actually had nothing to do with masturbation, and I don't really know why they said they did. Then I saw a link at the end of the first Google search page that went to what I assume is an old webpage. None of the links work, but hey, it's a list of terms for female masturbation - a situation that has too few slang terms if I do say so myself. I give props to anyone who acknowledges and/or speaks of ladies masturbating, so I thought I'd just put up some of them, but please go check out the full original site.

  • A night in with the girls, air the orchid, audition the finger puppets.
  • Beat off, buff the beaver.
  • Caress the clitoris, clean your fingers, climbing mons veneris, clit-flitting, come into your own, couch hockey for one, cunt cuddling, cunt-hunting.
  • Diddle, digging for clams, dirty dancing for one, do handiwork, drown the man in the boat.
  • Fan the fur, feed the bearded clam, fingerpainting, finger-walking to the "Y", flipping the breaker, fluffin the "muff"in, frig/frigging.
  • Gash-lashing, genital stimulation via phalangetic motion, gentle the genitalia, get a date with Slick Mittens, get a fat lip, get a lube job, get to know yourself, giving a noogie to your monkey, grab the goatee, grease your hips, grinding the bump, grope the grotto, gully whompin.
  • Have it off, have sex with someone you love, hitchhike to heaven, hitchhike under the big top, hitting the volume control.
  • Jack off, jazz yourself, jerk off, jill off, "just reading, mom".
  • Leglock the pillow, let your fingers do the walking, lubricate the labia.
  • Making bubbles, making soup, manual override, man overboard.
  • Nothing else to do.
  • Oiling your holster, one-handed bridge.
  • Pet the pussy, playing centipede, playing with your gerbil, play the clitar, poking the hairpiece, powdering your nose, pressing the escape button, priming the pump, pushing the panic button, pussy-pushing.
  • Ride slidesaddle, ride the unicycle, ride the tubsput, riding the buzz bomb, riding the rubber boyfriend, rose palm's big sister, row the little man in the boat, rubbin' the nubbin, rub off, rub one out, runnin' your finger through your hair.
  • Self abuse, shuck the oyster, silk abuse, sinking the vibrating sub, slick abuse, solo sex, stinky pinky, stirring the taco, stir the yogurt, stoke it, stroke it, stroke off, stroking the magic lamp, stroking the nether-beard, stuff the taco, somebody's got to do it, surf the Wet.
  • Tapping the keg, test the plumbing, the art of unisex, the saddlehorn samba, the two-finger tango, the virgin's release, thinking about fabio, thumb the button, tickle my fancy, tickling the taco, tickling the tuna, toss off, touch-toning, tugging at the vertical smile, turning on the juice, twiddling the toggle.
  • Visit Father Fingers.
  • Wank, wash your fingers, water the hot spot, wax the carrot, wax the saddle.
  • You're soaking in it.