Sex and the City S2 Ep5-6 S4 Ep7-9: A Retro SSL Review

My new little segment is back for a 3nd round (Here's the others). It's a modified, lazy version of an SSL Review. It's just me transcribing my notes, page by page, on all of the Sex and the City episodes. I watched them all - not necessarily in order - during 2007 and 2008, and I took notes on the depiction/discussion of female orgasm and female masturbation. It was my early attempt at this type of lady-gasm review stuff. Anyway, I never actually created reviews from these notes, but since they exist, I'd like to get them out there on the interwebs before they get burned in a house fire or something...thus this series.

Ramona and my SATC Notes

Anyway, the fun of this will be that I will transcribe these as word for word as I can while still trying to make it be a sensible read. I'll post a pick of the notes for your reference. I'll do one or more episodes at a time - from the beginning of the notebook to the end. I may add notes for clarification. Hopefully these won't make me look like a dumb asshole. I will add them in the TV SSL Review Master List  (of course you are also welcome to check out the Movie SSL Review Master List as well). Here we go.

The SATC Notes: S2 Ep. 5-6, S4 Ep. 7-9

Season 2 Ep. 5
Charlotte has sex (intercourse) - didn't look like she came when man came. She just looked emotionally satisfied
-showed happy yet non-orgasmic sex for women

Season 2 Ep. 6
  • "Men cheat because they can. It's in their biology"
  • "clit-tease" - wehn Charlotte was hanging out w/ lesbians (good wording instead of vagina)
  • Naked woman in steam room (boobs)
  • Miranda (red) on top, him sitting, bouncing up and down. She was coming (vocal), then just broke out of it (the orgasm) easily when she got mad at him for watching porn.
Season 4 Ep. 7
Brief glimpse of Samantha fucking; her on top, him sitting to laying down, she sounds like she is orgasming although not necessarily.

Season 4 Ep. 8
  • Sam wrestling with a guy. Looks like they have wresling outfits on, but seemed to be having intercourse; and he seemed to mount her and fuck her to orgasm in less than a minute, and Carrie narrating seemed to say she had an orgasm. It also seemed to be due to his expertise in 'positions.'
  • Extensive scene where she was trying different positions - all just him pumping her. Her - very little to no movement. (She was distracted here so she didn't orgasm).
  • Then Samantha tells her friends she couldn't orgasm. They say they don't have them all the time (sometimes it just doesn't happen), and they are surprised when she does have them every time. Carrie asked her if she was on top. Sam says that doesn't matter. She can do it any time, any way. Carrie says, "Now she's just showing off." Charlotte says you can have a good time w/o orgasm.
  • Sam masturbates; tries water, vibrator over clothes,  good depiction of masturbation - never penetrated herself. Never orgasmed.
Season 4 Ep. 9
  • Sam on top orgasm, then falls off him. Short, but looks like it's from intercourse alone.
  • Sam does farmer boy and she is straight up. She's bouncing up and down - doesn't lok like clit is touching anything. She comes hard.

A few things from modern day me
***As you can see, I watched them in the order that I could get them from the library...so I skip a bunch from time to time. In fact I think there were ones I could never get, so I eventually had to find a friend with a SATC DVD box set.

***That scene of Samantha doing the farmer boy in S4 Ep 9 ended up being a scene I used in Science, Sex and the Ladies movie (trailer below). It was used in between a porn scene of a woman really fakey orgasming while in the same position, and a scene we shot that was supposed to look like a 'real couple' having sex in the same position with the woman over-exaggeratedly porn-gasming the same way. The scenes were juxtaposed to make a point about how porn sex influences movie/TV sex, which influences real people's sex. 
    I remember looking at a lot of porn DVDs because we could rip high quality video from them (this was well into an era of abundant internet porn, so it was very retro to go to an actual porn DVD shop and rent) and also a lot of movie and TV lady-gasms. I needed to find two scenes that matched each other pretty well, and so I looked at a lot of movies at that time. I was also looking for a variety of scenes for a porn compilation for another scene in the movie. The compilation plays behind one of the narrators pointing out how porn is very much focused on male fantasy, desire and orgasm. I'm not gonna lie, it's one of may favorite scenes in the movie. All the hard work renting and watching tons of DVD porn was worth it!

Science, Sex and The Ladies from AnC Movies on Vimeo.

***The way orgasm was treated in the scenes above is pretty par for the course in SATC. 
  1. Samantha gets banged any ol' way and comes quick, loud and hard...always. She is the archetype sexual woman character - a woman that is sexual in all the ways our culture wishes women were sexual (i.e. orgasming from doing things that are orgasmic for men) - even if the orgasms she has are almost always achieved through physical acts that are unlikely if not impossible to actually make a woman come.
  2. The masturbation scenes are almost always depicted in a physically realistic way - for all the women.
  3. The other gals are more orgasmically realistic than Samantha, but they all at times have unrealistic intercourse induced orgasm. They embody realistic depictions and discussions of women and orgasm at times and at other times they embody the cultural misunderstandings of how orgasm actually works for women. They are a mixed bag...which I would say is pretty status quo for women characters and their orgasms.


Vintage SSL: Pleasure and "Choosing" to Have an Orgasm

***Here's a blog post I wrote back in February of 2011. i thought is was worth a little dusting off and reposting. I changed it's wording a bit in a few places, but it's the same sentiment. enjoy the blast from the past.***

This article got me thinking
I read this post on BlogHer entitled "The Orgasm Gap: Are Women Faking It?" It and the comments for it, started me thinking more about the words "pleasure" and "choice." These are common words used in discussions about the female orgasm, and I think they are often used sloppily. But to get into that, let's first answer the question posed...do women fake? Of course the answer is yes. Lots of women fake it. The author points to a study of about 6000 people where 85% of men claim their woman climaxed in their last encounter and only 64% of women claimed that they orgasmed in their last encounter. This discrepancy is nothing new. One could find a number of surveys showing that there is a chunk of women out there faking orgasms. Since men don't seem to fake nearly as much as ladies do, she wonders if women are just too used to pleasing without return or too tired with work, kids, and home to make the time for getting turned on. (Maybe faking quick helps you get more shut-eye without feeling like you are always saying no to sex). Then she goes on to wonder the following:  
Or could it be something even deeper. Right now, I’m on a book tour for my new book, What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend Just today alone, I got these questions:
  • What does an orgasm feel like?
  • How do I know if I’ve had an orgasm?
  • My boyfriend is bummed if I don’t look like I’m having fun, but sex hurts me. What should I do?
  • I don’t really know what I like in bed. How can I find out?
What this tells me is that many of us honestly don’t know what gives us pleasure. Many of us don’t even know what an orgasm IS! 

Pleasure is one thing, but let's not confuse that with orgasm here
I think she's oh so right. Although I would make a small distinction. I think it is not pleasure that women are uncertain about. I think it is the orgasm in particular. Pleasure is easy, and we understand pleasure. We eat for pleasure, talk for pleasure, read for pleasure. We ladies really can tell if we like something or we don't  - and that is no different in sex. We can find pleasure in all sorts of sexual activity; the sensation of kissing, the emotional closeness, the intensity of rough touching, the high of risking someone catching you, the freeing feeling of being naked, the calming nature of romantic candles and scented oil, even the pleasure of having sex without someone trying to make you have an orgasm you feel you'll never have...I could go on forever. In our notion of what is pleasurable, we as people can be diversely unique. And sometimes, those unique personal pleasures can also cause physical sexual arousal or orgasm.

Ways of experiencing pleasure are as diverse as we are. Ways of experiencing orgasm are not nearly as diverse.
The orgasm, however, that could result from the pleasure and physical arousal is not so diverse. It is not so diverse because the female orgasm is a specific physical reaction that results from clitoral stimulation (however that stimulation happens to come about). This is in the same way that male orgasms are a specific physical reaction that results from penile stimulation. Although women's orgasms are often discussed as if they are more diverse, unique and mysterious, there is no good scientific reason to believe that. Lady-gasms are only as unique, diverse, and mysterious as male orgasms - which means they ain't that big of a mystery.

But lady-gasms are harder to figure out given how our culture teaches, discusses, and depicts them
The thing is; how to physically have an orgasm is are not so obvious for us ladies as it is more the gentlemen because we are constantly misled about how we should attain orgasm. The depictions of women orgasming that we see, the advice we get, the discussions that take place, the jokes that are said, the sexual education we receive in school, and the types of sex that are considered normal all point to women's orgasms resulting from vaginal stimulation through intercourse. Yet, there is simply no good scientific evidence that this is ever the case. Although there may be a woman out there who can have an actual physical orgasm through vaginal stimulation alone, she has not yet been recorded as doing so. The scientifically recorded orgasms out there come from clitoral stimulation - indirect or direct. That's just the truth, and that disconnect between how women actually orgasm and how everyone seems to think we orgasm makes real-life attaining of lady-gasms more problematic than dude-gasms.

Which brings us back to pleasure vs. orgasm 
So, we need to make a distinction when we talk about "pleasure" because due to all the confusion/misinformation around how women physically orgasm, "pleasure" is too often used as interchangeable with "orgasm" when it comes to women. We aren't confused as a culture about how men physically orgasm, so there is not the same problems with inappropriately mixing the use of "pleasure" vs. "orgasm."

The truth is, when sexperts say, as they often do, that achieving pleasure in sex can be done in a large variety of ways that are vastly unique to each woman (anal, vaginal, clitoral, backrubs, fantasizing, etc. I've heard much crazier - believe me), it is essentially saying orgasm can be achieved in a variety of ways - and that is just plain not true. Not making the appropriate and fact-based distinctions between what can cause orgasm and what can cause pleasure continues to perpetuate the myth that female orgasm is fickle, mysterious and deeply varied from one woman to the next - and confuses the fuck out of women trying to figure out how they might have orgasms in their own sexual experiences.

So, take for instance the most common of things 2 heteros do when they are having a sexual interaction - vaginal intercourse. Yes, it may be quite pleasurable to a woman, but that doesn't mean it is orgasmic. This is important. The ways of attaining pleasure can be as unique as the people themselves, and men and women can both find all kinds of pleasure in sex, but the ability to orgasm during vaginal intercourse is way skewed towards men.  Basic ol' PinV sex is PERFECT for penile stimulation and not great at all for clitoral stimulation, so the hard truth is that men, way more often than women, also often get an orgasm along with that pleasure.

Why is it that female sexual pleasure is so equated with female orgasm?
We as a culture know that women don't orgasm as much as men, and thinking (as incorrect as it may be) that the female orgasm is more fickle and mysterious than a man's is an easy way to sweep that blatant and unnecessary inequality under the rug. But another way to do that is to assume men naturally just care more about orgasm, and women just naturally have less inclination to care about orgasm. If we believe we ladies are just as satisfied to have pleasure during sex as we are to have orgasms during sex, than everyone's off the hook for actually putting effort into making sure women have orgasms the way we do for men. And indeed, this is often the story we tell ourselves. In fact, the comments added to the post I wrote about above show plenty of women saying that they aren't worried about orgasms too much; saying there is plenty of other things to enjoy about sex; that we're all just too damn obsessed with women orgasming; that they have never orgasmed and don't see why it's such a big deal; that they enjoy sex just fine without one...that pleasure during sex is just as good as pleasure and an orgasm. In a way these women are right, because there is a lot to enjoy about sex besides the big O.

Do we really choose pleasure of orgasm, though?
However, this isn't just a matter of women choosing to either have an orgasm during their sexual encounter or not. It's not as if when women get down and dirty in that one-night stand or the midnight sex with their husband, they get to a point and say, "You know, I'm going to not have an orgasm. I haven't just sat back and really enjoyed the feeling of a naked body against me or reveled in the pride of giving a man pleasure without asking for anything in return in a while." 

I mean, that is a valid choice in a sex act, and one that maybe men should feel is more legitimately available to them, but this is not what is happening for most women. Women are lacking orgasms largely for a simple reason - because they don't know how to with a partner. Women and men are both led to believe that orgasm should happen for women through intercourse, and that intercourse is the ultimate in sexual contact, yet that is not how women orgasm - except in porn, movies, tv, comics, jokes, etc... Women need the appropriate amount and type of sustained outer clitoral stimulation and men need the same on their penis. Problem is, status quo sex and our basic cultural knowledge of sex makes that easy for men and an uphill battle for women - if either of them even knows which hill to battle up. So, to speak about women's orgasm as if it is a choice whether to have one or not is bothersome to me.

Once we get to a situation where we have a generation who grows up understanding how males and females physically orgasm, and who sees depictions and discussions of sex accurately portraying the actions involved in both male and female orgasm during partnered sex - then I will concede that whether to have an orgasm during a sexual interaction is a choice. It is not a choice for most women*, and focusing on the other pleasures of sex is really their only choice. While acknowledging that women can enjoy and find pleasure in sex without orgasm, we should also be working to make the choice to have or not to have an orgasm an actual viable choice for women - the way it is for men.

*Thanks to some constructive criticism,  I'd like to point out "most" refers to the approximately 2/3 of women who claim they do not have orgasms always or most of the time they have sex. This is a pretty consistent finding, but specifically can be found in the 1976 book The Hite Report on Female Sexuality by Shere HiteBesides her own survey, she documents at least 3 others that are consistent with her own.


Flesh and Bone S2 and S3: The SSL Review

SSL Review Intro for Flesh and Bone S1 Ep 5- 8
As I described in an earlier post about Flesh and Bone, if one could pick a perfect genre for a TV show that Charlie and I would definitely watch no matter what, it would be exactly this show - ballet soap opera. There is only 1 season as of yet, and with this post (along with my first Flesh and Blood SSL Review), I will have the whole of the season SSL Reviewed.

There are 2 scenes I will be reviewing, one is technically eligible for review because it includes a depictions and/or discussions of female orgasm and/or masturbation. The other I decided to review because of the decided lack of female orgasm in a sex scene, so it's not exactly eligible, but I think it's important, especially in conjunction with the first scene. As always, I'm looking for physical realism (if a lady orgasms from butt spanking alone, I will call bullshit on scientific and basic anatomical ground), and I'm also looking for what part the scene plays in our cultural conversation about female orgasm and sexuality. Here we go.

If you want more TV SSL Reviews head HERE. Want some movie SSL reviews? Go HERE.

Season 1 Episode 5: Get that bath, girl
I will be vague about who the character in this is because I don't want to spoil any shows in these SSL Reviews if I don't have to. I will tell you the character in question is a ballerina, but most people in this show are, so that's not much of a clue. As a background, she is passionate about her career but she is somewhat of a sad person in a listless marriage.

The Details
In this scene she comes home to her husband, and sweetly and kindly demurs from his kiss saying that she's exhausted. She then goes upstairs and gets into a bath. It's a wide shot at first, so we see her knees up above the water and her upper body is propped up against the edge of the bath. The water hits at the ribcage area so the producers were able to get an extra set of boobs in the show.

Shortly after the scenes starts, she moves her right hand down under the water towards her crotch area. Obviously we don't see exactly what is going on down there, but it seems very effortless. There was no sense that she was sticking her fingers up inside herself or anything. It just seemed like she was touching her lady junk. So that was generally realistic - at least she was putting her hand in the general right area and not doing something ridiculous and fake-masturbatey like imitating intercourse with no additional outer clitoral stimulation.

As she's moving towards orgasm, we don't see her upper arm moving wildly. In fact her body seems to be moving more against her hand than the hand against her body, but there is subtle movement from both hand and body that sell this. To me, it looks completely plausible that she could be pressing her hand against her vuvla/clit area and getting the kind of constant grinding stimulation that could get a gal off. And she does get off. We watch her doing this grinding in the wide shot for about 20 seconds, and then it cuts to a close-up of her that cuts off just below the neck. With some exhales and strain/pleasure faces, she pretty clearly comes. So, I deem that this has met the most basic of realism requirements. It was pretty quick from start to orgasm, but there's no reason to believe there are not both men and women who can pop off in 1/2 a minute during masturbation. 45% of the 62% of women who reported masturbating in Kinsey's landmark surveys, said they could reach orgasm withn 3 minutes.

My Thoughts
It's realistic but, I mean, why be excited?
Like I discussed above, the physical things that she was doing are actually things that could bring a woman to orgasm, so I have no problems with that. I appreciate that because a depiction of female orgasm with basic realism is more rare than we'd all like to think, but I will give it no gold stars, because for god sake, isn't that like the least of what we should expect from a depiction of orgasm - male or female?

I like that her vocalizations and body movement were subtle. She was getting into it, but not overexerting her voice, breathing, or body in a way that would be, in my opinion, distracting from the focus on the pleasure happening in her body. She was depicted here not as over exaggerated, showy/porny, but in the way men tend to be depicted orgasming. As I discussed in the previous Flesh and Bone SSL Review, I think the realism allowed men (more than women) in depictions of male orgasm in TV and movies are partially because men are used to experiencing with partners (and watching in porn) actual male orgasm instead of performance of orgasm - which unfortunately is what we almost always see in porn and too often experience in real life. Point is, this actress acted this one in a way that is sensibly realistic and lacks the showiness often seen in depictions of female orgasm, and I appreciate this.

But it's masturbation orgasm, not intercourse orgasm...so...
Allow me a quick observations. I have done many an SSL Review over the years, and I find that depictions of female masturbation are consistently realistic and largely well done - just like in real life. It's when you put a partner, particularly a man, in the scene that the depictions start getting ridiculous (again, just like in real life). So, I'm not particularly excited about this scene, just glad it's not terrible. It's as it should be, and it's common to do this kind of scene adequately.

My guess here is that these scenes are done well because women masturbate well in real life. We do it, we orgasm, and there's much less of an alternative idea about how women should masturbate. The exception may be the idea that women masturbate and orgasm through intercourse imitation; by banging the insides of their vaginas with dildos. These depictions pops up in the world from time to time, but the truth is women get to masturbate on our own so we don't need to put on a show, and thus we listen to our bodies and do what works for our orgasm instead of for our partners, and it is by and large reflected in our depictions.

However, when it comes to partner sex, the sad truth is that many women fake orgasm, confuse orgasm for pleasure or excitement, put on shows, or just don't expect orgasm, and all those things get reflected in depictions. It's a confusing mess in real life, so it's a confusing mess in our TV, movies and porn. That's my two cents.

Season 1 Episode 8: Watch that ceiling, girl
The Details
In this scene the same women is having sex missionary in bed with her husband. The scene starts from a wide shot moving into the room. She is motionless, with her knees gently bent around either side of his body anf her feet on the bed. He is laying on her almost completely perpendicular (his upper body is not propped up with his arms). His movement is more a sliding forward and back along her body rather than a pounding up and down with his hips against her body. It cuts to a close up after just a few seconds. The shot is looking down, and her face is looking up. She looks sad and detached. The guy says, "you'll make a wonderful mom."

Through both shots of the scene we hear her breathing in a staccato way. It is not forceful, loud, or clearly vocal enough to be and uh, uh, uh situation, but it does sound a touch like she is enjoying the sex in a way that is moving her towards orgasm. It's actually a little wierd because her face and body movement do not look that way at all. She looks like she's just there for him to have sex on.

My Thoughts
Appropriately, she didn't come
She's not orgasming or clearly almost orgasming, and from her face she likely has no intention of orgasming. and that's a sensible outcome given what is physically happening...i.e. she's likely not getting the consistent, adequate outer clitoral stimulation that she needs in order to orgasm during this intercourse. I guess their position could be deemed more lady-orgasm-friendly than most, though. The fact that he's positioned with his pelvis close against hers means he could be putting pressure on her clit/vuvla area. That he's moving in a way that his pelvis is staying against her body with consistent pressure instead of bouncing against her body means his body could be giving her consistent enough clit/vuvla stimulation in order to orgasm.

However, (and this is important, people) her body, particularly her pelvis, was completely motionless. This, my friends, is common in TV and movie sex. I'm just going to draw a line in the sand and say that if a woman is not contributing to the movement of the intercourse, she probably ain't orgasming. A lady might get lucky every now and again with what's happening to her, BUT to keep that clit getting the kind of consistent pressure and stimulation it needs during intercourse, she's gonna need to get interactive. The dude on her might even need to chill the fuck out with his moving in order for her to work her hips without him impeding her. We as a society need to just start accepting that. Anyway, my point here is that she didn't come, and I'm glad from a realism standpoint because this physical situation is unlikely to have gotten her there.

But...at the same time, she was kinda orgasmy which was wierd
Her breathing really threw me off. It was so on the verge of being heading toward orgasmic-ish, and it was such a contrast to her face and body language. I am going from the assumption that the audience was not to assume she was that into this sex...so why the into-this-sexy-time breathing? I guess it could just be her breathing as he's moving in and out of her, because honestly being intercoursed on does sorta push a lady's breath out. I have certainly grunted rhythmically sometimes from shear body movement alone. However, it wasn't that forceful of sex.

Honestly, I think it's just in there because it's sex and the people creating this scene thought that breathing like she was doing is just part of the sounds of sex. I mean, her breathing could have been added in a completely separate, later, sound-creation session. It just seems to me like it's in there only because it's status quo, and there wasn't a lot of thought put into what she might actually sound like in that situation. The dude in the scene wasn't audibly sex-breathing...and he was definitely in it to win it. I guess breathing in a way that says "loving this sex, baby" is a lady thing not a guy thing. Anyway, the breathing sounded like she was way into it, but the actually acting in the scene pretty clearly showed how very not into it she was, so it ended up being a bit confused. I think that confusion is a good example of how thoughtlessness, misinformed and confused media makers tend to be about details surrounding female orgasm and female sexual situations.

And a little clarity about how emotion, stereotypes, and faking when we feel like it, but not when we don't
I just want to recognize that her lack of orgasm in the intercourse scene had very little to do with anything physical and everything to do with how she feels about her current situation. The context around this scene clearly shows us that she's decided to give up passion and settle, and the passion of her quick masturbation earlier helps show us that contrast.

Which brings me to ladies and sex and emotion. It's common to show women orgasming or not orgasming depending more on how they feel emotionally than what is happening physically. This sometimes happens for men in movies and TV, but rarely. Men with no emotion tend to still get their orgasm taken care of but show their lack of emotional connection to the sex in different ways. I think this is a poignant difference in gender representation.

I also think it's a bunch of bullshit because there is no actual biological reason to believe women's physical orgasms are somehow MORE dependent on our emotional state than men's. There just isn't but saying so is a good way to breeze over the fact that more women don't orgasm during partner sex than do. I mean, it couldn't possibly be that our clits get ignored when we're having sex, could it? No, of course not. It's just that ladies' crazy lady-emotions naturally make it harder for women to orgasm.

I joke, but there is this other part to the connection our culture and our media representations so often make between lady-gasms and emotion: it's kind of true. How, you say?
1. If we're having a lot of sex that isn't physically doing the things we need for orgasm (any status quo sex would be in this category for clit-havers) then yeah, we ladies need to kinda 'be in the mood' to put in the extra emotional and physical work to facilitate orgasm-having-situation despite the normal lack of clitoral stimulation we have come to expect in partnered sex.
2. Sometimes...maybe often...we women don't really physically orgasm, but we do put on an 'orgasm show' that might seem to our partner and maybe even to ourselves like we did physically orgasm. And maybe, just maybe we ladies as a group seem like we need to be emotionally connected to orgasm because we only care to and feel like putting on our 'orgasm shows' when we are happy and connected and when the dude hasn't pissed us off recently. If what I'm saying is not clear, let me be more clear...maybe we women fake a lot but we tend to fake a lot more when we like you and want to make you and ourselves enjoy the sex we're having. So chew on that.

Vulva Rating
This show in total was physically realistic when it came to the occurrence or lack of occurrence of orgasm. However, there was nothing progressive about these depictions. It played on all the gender stereotypes and visual and auditory tropes of status quo sexual depictions of women. So, nothing new.
This gets 3 and a 1/2 vulvas...an okay score.



My Mom, Chemo BS, Laughter, And Also Some Half-assed Lady-gasm Stuff

A half-assed lady-gasm related post for you
All, I'm sorry I'm a bit late on posting. I know you were anxiously awaiting my thoughts on some aspect of female orgasm in science or pop culture, but I just don't want to put the energy in today.

So, in lieu of a new post on lady-gasms, please feel free to check out:
Science, Sex and The Ladies from AnC Movies on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoy any and all of the above because that's what this blog is all about - the continued discussion about what's problematic about how our culture approaches female orgasm and how we can make it better; i.e. a continuation of subjects discussed in the doc, Science, Sex and the Ladies, above.

Some personal non-lady-gasm related stuff  just because
I don't have much personal stuff in here because of the pretty specific focus of the blog, but I did want to write a little about my weekend. My mom (Here's a little post I wrote about her for a Clitoris Awareness Week post in 2013) has lymphoma and her last round of chemo kicked the shit out of her. She ended up in the hospital, and she's been there for 3 days now. We're just kinda waiting to see if her body can make it through the bad case of mucositis. It's been real up and down. It's strange and wierd and sad and happy, but damn if I'm not a lucky woman to have so much love and support in my life - cousins, aunts, friends, dad, husband, and my sister who is just pretty much everything to me. They keep a gal grounded and fully entertained.

If I didn't have these people to laugh and cry with, this shit would suck so, so much more. And truthfully, there is much more laughing than crying, not because it's not sad, but because laughing is more fun than crying and if there's opportunity to laugh, that's usually what happens. For instance, my mom is hallucinating...a lot. It's fucked up. We aren't exactly sure why. It may just be something happening as she's moving towards recovery from this or it may be a pretty bad sign. It's actually quite sad and scary, but fuck if it isn't also hilarious. She was telling me today that there was a cheese man who had a little white mouse of his shoulder that's always trying to tell ya something. Apparently there's also a little guy with tea bags that takes care of her. She saw one of my cousins jump over his dog with all kinds of panache, and saw my sister, her husband and their youngest standing around in Sherlock Holmes costumes.

She gets to talking in her sleep and getting her right hand moving and pointing. Sometimes she moves it around so much she looks like she's trying to do hand ballet. Sitting next to her bed is like watching a fire. It's mesmerizing. You just can't take your eyes away. She just breaks out with some of the craziest shit sometimes. We text each other to document when she pulls out the real doozies, and we just crack our asses up talking about it later.

Truth be told, hallucinating, out-of-it her might be the last her we see or it may just be a never ending bucket from which to pull hilarious stories for her in the future. I hope it's the latter, but if it's not I know she'd want us all to get as much joy and comradery and love and memories from our last times with her and our times together as we can...even if it is sad.

So, that's what's up with me. I guess I wanted to write about it a little now while it's still fresh. Be well my friends, and if you are going through anything shitty right now, may it get better and may you make the best of it.


Random Hite Report #22

Hello, welcome again to one of my favorite segments on the SSL blog, Random Hite Report! It's simple really. I flip through the pages of the The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality  (or sometimes The Hite Report on Male Sexuality) by a one Ms. Shere Hite and copy the contents of the page where I land - no more no less. Anyone who reads my blog will know that this 1976 book is a fave of mine; not only because of its realistic and progressive insight about the female orgasm that is still shockingly relevant 40 years later,  but also because of its very touching insight into the lives of the women who took part in this huge, comprehensive survey. This is an under-appreciated and under-read book if you ask me - I suggest you buy it online (seriously, you can get them for like 1 cent) and read it.

 So, sit back, getcha a beverage, and enjoy a little...Random Hite Report...you never know what yer gonna get!

The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality Dell. 1976.
Pg. 83 From chapter "MASTURBATION" in the section called 'Types of Masturbation' under the heading 'Type IA,'

...and use 'dirty words.' And by the way, I have just turned myself on by writing this."
    "Oddly enough, although i'm right handed in most things, I always masturbate with my left hand. I lie on my right side and use my left hand from underneath me, the second and third fingers stroking my clitoris up and down the shaft. Usually I use a little vaseline to lubricate it. With my right hand, I gently press down on my lower abdomen. Sometimes I cross my left leg over my right leg and press down as I feel the orgasm coming. I move about a bit - sort of wriggling. I would like to try a vibrator, but I haven't had the opportunity yet."
    "Sometimes I dress in erotic costumes and view myself in the mirror. Usually I smoke a cigarette, and sometimes put on make-up. If there is time, I lubricate my breasts and genitals with oil or cream. I prefer looking in the mirror rather than directly at myself. Usually i begin playing with my breasts, rubbing my thighs together, then concentrating on orgasm, using my fingers on my right hand in a circular motion on my clitoris. I start with my legs apart, but enjoy having them tight together at orgasm, squeezing my muscles. At that point, I can't move very much."
    "I use only one hand and mainly rub up and down. Does everyone answer these questions so frankly? I feel a little wanton, but I feel you must be true or else why try to understand yourself? My legs are apart and i touch only my clitoris."
    "I just start right in rubbing my clitoris. I used to touch my breasts and stomach, but it seemed redundant. Now i just rub my clitoris, and generally admire the qualities of me!"
    "I masturbate by manipulating my clitoris in a side to side massaging manner, starting gently and increasing in intensity and pressure. I use my finger (one hand). The motion is slightly circulat combined with side to side, mainly. The other hand is manipulating the nipple of my left breast (the larger and more sensitive one). Legs are apart. I don't move much, in terms of body movements, until orgasm, when there is a raising of the but-..."


The Americans S2 and S3: The SSL Review

The Americans Season 1
As I've said before, I LOVE the Americans, so I'm gong to continue my SSL Reviewing. This time I have one scene from Season 2 that is not technically SSL Reviewable but I like it anyway and another from Season 3 that is still not strictly eligible, but more so. Either way, I like these scenes and I think they are relevant to this blog.

These are the only depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or masturbation in the second and third season, and as you know those are the specific things I review. I critique the realism (for instance, were the physical things happening to that women while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman?) and also speak on what the depiction/discussion reflects from and adds to the larger cultural discussion around lady-gasms and female sexuality.

You can see all the SSL TV Reviews HERE (and as always you can find all the movie SSL Reviews HERE).

Season 2 Ep 1 - mom and dad in the act
This is just a little scene where a daughter is curious about her parents' whereabouts and thinks they might not actually be in their room in the middle of the night, but when she opens the door to look, she finds them (Elizabeth and Philip - the main character Russian spies living as normal American parents...even their children don't know) naked and 69ing and quickly closes the door.

So, they are laying horizontal on the bottom end of the bed, both on their sides, head to crotch obviously, and facing each other. We see only a few seconds of this, but we can see that she is gently moving her head right at his crotch area, and we see his head pop up from being sandwiched between her legs.

There is no actual depiction or discussion of female orgasm or masturbation, thus it not being technically SSL reviewable, but hot damn, I love this scene. A child catches her parents in the act, and it's not just straight up intercourse? Um, yes. I like it for a few different reasons

1 It's just not that often that we see a married couple doing anything except for intercourse...and since intercourse is great for male orgasm and not for female orgasm...seeing more sexual acts on TV that ARE good for female orgasm is also good for orgasm equality.
2 It reflects a certain parity in Elizabeth and Philip's relationship; a sort of equal appreciation given that 69ing is beautifully orgasmic for both partners in a way that intercourse is not. This show, I think, takes the details and implications and realities of sexual encounters into consideration in its stories. It doesn't just write "sex scene" in the script and do whatever comes to mind first. I feel like that's what a lot of writing teams end up doing. There is often very little thought put into sex scenes and they end up stale and status quo, and since status quo also means misunderstanding how women physically orgasm, it's also usually unrealistic, clunky in the story, and bad for orgasm equality.
3 Because 69ing is a little more "freaky" in this penetration obsessed world, it's a little grosser of a thing to see your parents doing - which on a pure story level I also appreciate.

So, I can only assume these two were in the middle of a sex act with the intention of orgasming, and I think we can all agree that mouths on each other's genitals (clit and penis area to be exact) is a valid way both men and women could orgasm, so I deem this realistic and good for the world to boot.

Season 3 Ep 13 - one lady's story
So in this episode there is a scene in a self-help sort of group, and the class is called "Sex Expression is Self Expression." People stand up and share, sometimes very intimate things, with the group. A woman stands up and tells the group the following. (There is another story line kinda going on with a couple people in the audience during this time, but we hear her whole story front and center).
So, two nights ago, I decides I was going to confront my husband about how dissatisfied I was with our sex life, but instead of being supportive, he got really mad at me. He started yelling. I start yelling back which we always do. We have these terrible fights, but this time it's just about sex. and suddenly out of nowhere he says, just let me go down on you. He never said anything like that before to me. I immediatly got so...turned on. I was just ready - ready yo be responsible and accountable for all my own sexual desires. I was ready for him to go down on me.
This, again, is not technically eligible for an SSL review because it doesn't specifically talk about female orgasm or masturbation. However, she does say that she's 'dissatisfied' with her sex life, and in common talk about women, that tends to mean she isn't orgasming or finding 'pleasure' (a word that is often interchanged and confused with orgasm). Anyway, to me this was a story the writers wrote about a woman that wasn't orgasming or not orgasming much with her husband, but ended up initiating a situation in which her husband offered to do something for her that would allow her to orgasm with him. It was a turning point for them and her that was positive for her orgasm and sex life.

Again, I'm gonna list some thing that I think are cool about this.

1 Oral sex, of course, is a way that women can orgasm because, unlike intercourse, it involves direct, intentional, consistent stimulation to the outer clitoral glans and vulva area. That oral sex offered by her husband was a turn on and a turning point for her ability to be more 'satisfied' in their sexual relationship is realistic.
2 Of all the stories the writers could have chosen to throw into this scene, they chose one like this. i appreciate that.
3 She speaks of being responsible and accountable for her own sexual desires. I think that, in general, is a thing that needs more discussion and attention when it comes to women because there is a strong and problematic sense out there in the world that men should be responsible for women's orgasms. Granted, any partner should be held accountable for allowing space for and valuing their partners orgasm as well as their own, but men have long been expected to 'give' women an orgasm. Given that most men and most women have been handed terrible, incorrect advice and ridiculous examples of how women physically come, and also that many women are pressured against having masturbated so are not even aware themselves of how they orgasm, this is a terrible situation. Women would do well to work towards being more accountable and responsible for their own orgasm...then at least someone in in the sexual situation will know how to get it done.

The Vulva Rating
So, neither of these are technically SSL reviewable scenes, but I think that they are good examples of the thoughtfulness and general orgasm equality awareness this show seems to have. This is a normal ol' cable show so the sex in it is limited a bit. However, the writing of the sex scenes is still creative and realistic and actually add something to the story of these characters. I respect all of that, and I LOVE that of all the possibilities out there, the sex acts discussed and depicted in these seasons were not status quo and also were thoughtful of the female orgasm. To me, it makes this show better than most and super progressive in the Orgasm Equality department.  I give this SSL Review a 5 vulva rating.