Do All Orgasms Feel Alike?: A Journal Article I Read

Do all orgasms feel alike? Evaluating a two-dimensional model of the orgasm experience across gender and sexual context. 
Mah K1, Binik YM.
J Sex Res. 2002 May;39(2):104-13.

*Find all the SSL Journal Article Summaries HERE*

My Intro 
I decided to write about this article because it is heavily related to another one that I have been wanting to do for a while. I figured I should have a good understanding of this one before I do the other. Anyway, I'm gonna be real frank here. This is basically a paper about surveys that the researchers do a shit-ton of statistical analysis on. I do not have a strong enough grasp of statistics to really comment on and certainly not critique at all on those statistic specifics. So, I will move forward with the assumption that the type of analysis they are doing is correct and appropriate for the type of experiment this is. I'm also probably gonna skip over descriptions of some of their statistical analysis by saying they did some statistical stuff or something like that because if you really want to look further into it, you can see their description in the PDF of the full article (which is awesome - hats of to these authors for making it available btw).  I will however, do my darndest to get a fairly full understanding of the other parts of this study and present it in as simple a way as I can without skipping over too much important elements. So, basically, I'll do the best I can.

An Overview For You by Me
The result of this paper is the creation of a method for assessing the full bio-psyco-social aspects of both male and female orgasm. This is done by having the participants fill out a questionnaire about their last orgasm.  In the questionnaire, the participant rates a series of adjectives on whether each word is not applicable at all as a descriptor of the orgasm (0) up to perfectly describing the orgasm (5). From these ratings, researchers could categorize orgasms and also compare and contrast qualities of orgasm across gender and across factors like how the orgasm was achieved.

It's basically a statistically tested way to subjectively describe orgasms that includes more than just how it feels in the body - it also takes into account situational and psychological elements of what the orgasm was to the person.

Clearly, these descriptions come only from surveys, and there are no elements to these descriptors that include objective physical characterizations of these orgasms. So, in essences the method described in this paper could be a good solid way to understand how people describe and feel about their orgasms - which I think is an interesting and important path of inquiry. I imagine that this type of learning about how people perceive their orgasms matched with objective physical data about the orgasm (including measurement of the rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions that physically identify orgasm) could open up huge avenues of understanding.

Anyway, that's the deal. The researchers in this paper do a preliminary study to figure out how best to do a big study. Then do a big study and then a 2nd study to confirm the results of the first study still held up. In the end, they find that, as they hypothesized, using a 2-Dimensional Model to analyze how each participant rated the adjectives in relation to their orgasms is a strong method that checks out statistically (although why it checks out is kinda unclear to me - but I assume they are on point with their statistical analysis) and allows insight into qualities of orgasms among different variables.

*2-Dimensional, btw has to do with the fact that when they are analyzing the adjective ratings, they group the adjectives into different "components" and then those components are grouped into 2 dimensions: 1) The "Sensory" dimension which kinda means orgasm descriptors involving the bodily sensations and 2) the "Cognitive-Affective" dimension- which kinda means the orgasm descriptors involving mental, emotional and situational things. So for instance: adjective "Tender" is one of the many adjectives and it is rated on a scale of 0-5 by the participant. Then the researchers do some statistical analysis and the data about how people rated "Tender" gets assigned to a component like "Emotional Intimacy" along with other adjectives like 'loving.' Then that component "Emotional Intimacy" is put into the dimension "Cognitive-Affective" for further statistical analysis.

The researchers also try statistical analysis using only 1-dimensional models (meaning the components are treated as if they are all in the same Dimension "Sensory-Cognitive-Affective") and also using a 3-dimensional model (meaning the components in the "Cognitive-Affective" dimension get split into 2 groups for further analysis; the "Cognitive" or kinda mental/emotional descriptors and the "Affective" or situational related descriptors). So, what I'm trying to say here is that a big part of this paper was letting other researchers know that the 2-Dimensional statistical method was really the best way to go in doing this type of work.

Overall, it seems like they did some pretty thorough work to create a clean way of helping researchers understand how people feel about and experience their orgasms - which is cool.

Details of the Paper
Here is the full PDF for you to enjoy. Seriously, if you are a statistician, I'd love to hear your thoughts or how I screwed up this summary or even if you have any lessons for me. I'd just love to hear from you.
*assume I am always summarizing or reflecting what the authors of the paper are saying unless I add a (me: ... ) in there. That means I'm giving you my opinion...which is like an asshole as the saying goes.

(me: these can be a little boring, but I think they are almost the most important part of a paper because it gives you an idea about what the researchers were trying to do, what research they think is faulty and which they respect, and I think you can often gain a glimpse of  the deeper intentions for why they chose this type of experiment and what they'd really like to prove.)

They begin with "Research efforts to systematize the variability in orgasm, primarily female orgasm, have resulted in several anatomically based typologies of female orgasm. The distinction between clitoral and vaginal orgasm has drawn the most attention...""

However, they say...

  • evidence for anatomical based distinctions of female orgasm are mostly taken from self-reports and not actual anatomic data (me: truer words never said...)
  • that anatomical based distinctions ignore other non-anatomical qualities of an orgasm
  • describing orgasm by how they are triggered problematically conflates the cause of an orgasm with a description of an orgasm
  • that distinction does not help describe the core characteristics that all orgasms share

They also point out that a lot of the literature out there on the psychology of orgasm, particularly about female orgasm, assumes that the female orgasm is psychologically different than male orgasm. However, the limited data out there on this seems to indicate that there are more similarities than differences between male and female orgasms.

Another problem with existing literature on the orgasmic experience is that most of it is about whether or not an orgasm occurred or about when and how often. There is currently no universally accepted measure of the potentially wide range of subjective qualities making up the orgasm experience. They tell us there is a piece of literature out there that has attempted this, but the problem is, it actually asks about peak arousal - and not specifically about orgasm. So in this, orgasm and arousal get conflated and there might be very negative feelings involved because of the possibility that some participants were answering about an event that was a failed attempt at orgasm.

Hypothesis this paper is testing:

  • "the pattern of adjective ratings of orgasm experience can be characterized by a two-dimensional model comprising physical and cognitive-affective dimensions"
  • "the two-dimensional model will adequately characterize both male and female orgasm experience"
  • "sexual context (me: how the orgasm was achieved - i.e. oral, intercourse, masturbation, etc.) differences will be apparent in the following ways"
  • Orgasms had during sex with a partner will have higher rating on the cognitive-affective (emotional/mental/situational) than orgasms attained through solitary masturbation.
  • If you break down the types of orgasms had with a partner, the researcher hypothesize that the ones where it was during intercourse will have higher rating on the cognitive-affective (emotional/mental/situational) components over the orgasms from oral or manual stimulation.

Preliminary Study
To begin the researchers did a small preliminary study to tune in their experimental methods before doing a larger study.

They found in previous literature 141 words that have been used by people to describe their orgasms. They then had a total of 48 males and 41 females rate each word on a 0-9 scale (0=doesn't describe, 9=perfectly describes) for how it described their last orgasm. The participants each did this test 2 times, once for their last masturbatory orgasm and once for their last orgasm with a partner.

The most relevant 50 words were kept and 10 negative adjectives were added to make a new group of 60 total word.

First Study - in which each participant rates both a partner and a solo orgasm
Then the researchers gave the same test to a new group of 523 women and 365 men, except this time it was only the 60 words, and they used a 0-5 (0=doesn't describe, 5=perfectly describes) instead of a 0-9 scale for each word.

Again each person rated each word once for their last solo orgasm and once for their last partner orgasm, and this time the researchers also gathered information about whether the partner orgasm was from intercourse, oral stimulation from partner, manual stimulation from partner, manual stimulation from self, or other. Obviously, the subjects had to have experienced an orgasm both with a partner and during solo masturbation to participate.

"Participants who had 25% or more missing data were eliminated from the analyses. In the remaining sample, missing ratings for adjectives were replaced using the mean rating for that adjective for the corresponding gender x sexual context condition (me: sexual context meaning whether it was solo or partner). In the sample, 94% of men and women had only two or fewer missing ratings in both sexual contexts."

They the researchers did a bunch of statistical things and knocked it down to 28 significant adjectives (all 10 of the negative words they added were knocked out), and again did a bunch of statistical work.

From that statistical work, certain important adjectives were grouped into 12 'components'. Those 12 components were put into the 2-Dimensional Model and so the components either landed in the 'Sensory' (bodily sensation)  or 'Cognitive-Affective' (emotional/mental/situation) dimensions.

They tried the 1-dimensional model, but it was not as reliable. When they tried a 3-Dimensional study, separating the Cognitive and the Affective descriptors, it worked well, but didn't show improvement over the 2-Dimension Model.

There didn't seem to be any important difference related to the age, religion, education (although it was mostly University undergraduate and graduate students in these studies), sexual orientation, relationship status, or the time between the orgasm and the taking of these surveys, so those variables weren't investigated further.

Second Study in which each person rates either a partner or a solo orgasm
To make sure they were on the right track, though, the researchers did another study using those 28 adjectives plus 12 other random ones from the previous group of 60 and had 227 women and 129 men rate the adjectives only for their last masturbatory orgasm. A completely different group of 276 women and 166 men rated the adjectives for their last partner orgasm (indicating, as the last group did, how that partner orgasm was achieved: from intercourse, oral stimulation from partner, manual stimulation from partner, manual stimulation from self, or other).

The researchers did similar statistic stuff using the 2-Dimensional Model. Again, age, religion, education, sexual orientation, relationship status, or the time between the orgasm and the taking of these surveys, didn't seem to matter to the results, so only gender and the way the orgasm was achieved were compared and contracted in the results - just like in the last experiment.

This time there were 10 components instead of 12 that sat in either the 'Sensory' or 'Cognitive-Affective' dimension of the 2-Dimensional Model. You can see the 10 components and the mean scores (0-5 scale) below.

Overall, findings from both studies supported the hypothesis that orgasms can be characterized by distinct sensory and cognitive-affective experiences. Basically, they are saying the 2-Dimensional Model works well. Again, they say the 3-Dimensional Model also worked but not better than the 2-Dimensional Model.

They do say that using the 3-dimensional model might help investigate the impact of Cognitive on the Affective and also the changes in one of those independent of the other. For instance, depending on a variety of factors, the ratings of adjectives within the component "Pleasurable Satisfaction"(Cognitive dimension) for a particular orgasm might have more to do with how the person rated the adjectives relating to bodily sensations (Sensory dimension) or with how they rated adjectives like "unifying" "close" or "tender" i.e. words having to do with the situation in which the orgasm was achieved  such as during masturbation vs. casual sex vs. loving partner (Affective Dimension).

So, although the 2-Dimensional Model worked just fine for this study, they wonder if it might be because most of the subjects were young, unmarried, hetero undergraduates. Maybe the 3-Dimensional Method would make more sense for a group of older married people for instance. They wonder if maybe neither the 2-Dimensional or the 3-dimensional is superior, but that each is more useful for different situation. The researchers think further studies could help with understanding.

The components (like in table 5 above) stayed consistent across these two studies and "are similar to many constructs  investigated in studies of female orgasm." There were some differences between results of this study and others searching for similar subjective description of orgasm, but that could have to do with other studies including descriptions of high arousal instead of orgasm and including descriptions of failed attempts at orgasm - the latter which might explain the negative language found in other studies,

"Findings concerning the sensory components were consistent with the lack of evidence for physiological differences in masturbatory verses coital orgasms (e.g. Masters & Johnson 1966)." There was simply not much difference between the rating of adjectives in the "sensory" dimension (i.e. - bodily sensations) between orgasms had with a partner and those experienced alone.

On the other hand, "as hypothesized, the pleasure/satisfaction and, in particular, the emotional aspects of male and female orgasm were greater when orgasm was attained with a partner than with masturbatory orgasms." When it came to how the orgasm was attained during partner sex, (intercourse, oral, manual by self, manual by partner or other), however, there wasn't a big difference between them,

So, the researchers' assumption that an orgasm had in the presence of another person would get higher ratings in the Cognitive/Affective dimension (i.e. mental/emotional/situational) seemed to be true. However, their hypothesis didn't hold up about intercourse orgasms in particular having a higher rating in the Cognitive/Affective dimension than the other types of partner orgasms like oral sex or manual stimulation.

"The same 2-dimensional model could consistently describe the data from both men and women. This would suggest that male orgasm encompasses experiences beyond ejaculation and bears more similarities than differences with female orgasm (e.g., Vance &Wagner 1976). The only meaningfully large difference involved the higher ratings of shooting sensations by men, which presumably reflects the male capacity for ejaculation." The researchers do think, however, more research could be done to see if the shooting sensation has more to do with the visuals of ejaculation rather than an actual 'shooting' feeling in their bodies.

"Gender differences in other components, while reliable, were not substantive and could be attributed to gender differences in response style or semantic interpretation of particular adjectives." Again, the researchers wonder if further studies, for instance where males and female rate adjectives for something neutral and not sexual, could help parse out if those types of gender differences are an effect here.

The researchers also say that there may be issues with any of the following that further research could help clear up:

  • the relatively small size of the participants - especially the males
  • the fact that most of the participants were young college students
  • all the issues that might come with a person using their memory to describe a personal experience
  • not being able to control for time from last orgasm and for sexual experience

"The adjective-rating approach  appears to be a flexible methodology appropriate to the study of human orgasm. It lends itself to both correlational and experimental paradigms, and its application to non-student populations will help further knowledge about the psychology of human orgasm."

The researchers go on to say that it could be used to help assess, diagnose and treat orgasm problems.


Workaholics S7 Ep4 - The SSL Review

I will not lie. I very much like Workaholics. It cracks me the fuck up, but the downside is that the dudes in this have started getting actual movie careers, and I absolutely cannot take them seriously in any role ever - particularly Anders. Anyway, it might not be everyone's bag, but I'd recommend it for some pure laughter-y.

Now, although this show has a generally raunchy nature to it, it has very little storylines that speak of or depict female orgasm or masturbation. It has PLENTY about male masturbation, but that is par for the course. Men have been making comedy about their wanking since the beginning of time. It's old news and it really, really heavily outnumbers discussion/depictions of female masturbation. That's just one reality of our sexual culture that keeps me doing reviews like this. Anyway, point is, there are only a few SSL Reviewable moments in this series, and I'm going to get into one now.
**I can't be sure that there weren't more in the earlier seasons that I just didn't write down because at that time I wasn't in the habit of doing that. So, if I ever re-watch the earlier stuff, I'll get to those SSL Reviewable moments as well if they exists**

SSL Reviews
As my oh so loyal readers know, an SSL Review is a critique that focuses solely on depictions or discussions of female orgasm or masturbation. Nothing else really matters, and if it doesn't have those types of discussions/depictions, I don't SSL Review. Regular ol' no-ladygasm-included depictions of sex don't count.

In an SSL Review I focus on how realistic the scenes are (don't try and act like a woman's gonna come from a couple strokes of penis in vagina with no extra clit stimulation. I will slice your throat...or write a scathing SSL Review). I also usually talk about what the depiction or discussion adds to the larger conversation about female orgasm or female sexuality.

Please do check more SSL Reviews for TV Shows and also for Movies.

So here we go.

S7 Ep4 Bill and Tez's Sexcellent Sexventure
So, Bill is a character who is put upon in the office. He's quiet and submissive and everyone makes fun of him. This episode is fully a fantasy of Bill's where he is out with his cube-mate Tez for a work related pick-up, but he's also secretly this underworld bad ass and his underworld dealings get mixed up in their outing. In the process Bill wows Tez and everyone else with his awesomeness.

During this, Tez, who in real life fancy's himself a cool ladies man, tells Bill that his wife is interested in a cuckolding fantasy. For those who don't know, this is when a husband watches another man fuck his wife...there are some other elements usually attributed to it - like it's often depicted in porn with the guy doing the fucking having a much bigger penis, and that sort of thing. It's a pretty big porn category actually. But anyway, Tez tells Bill this. He says they haven't done it yet and his wife is getting impatient. Tez goes on to say it's not because he's uncomfortable about it. He loves freaky shit, but he just hasn't found the right guy. Bill has an inner dialogue that clearly paints himself as more knowledgeable and experienced at that type of sexual debauchery and he internally corrects Tez on a few things he is saying. However, at this point in the fantasy, Bill still seems like a lame-o nerd to Tez.

Okay, so fast forward to the end action movie climax of this episode where Bill, Tez and somehow Tez's wife (although it's like a supermodel and not Tez's actual show wife) are captured by the 3 bad guys played by the 3 main characters of Workaholics. They've decided to kill Tez, but Tez has one last wish.
Tez: Before you kill me, I have one last wish. My wife has this cuckolding fantasy.
Villain 1: It makes sense she would want to schtup another man.
Tez: ...and I said I was okay with it but I'm really not.
Wife: What? Baby why wouldn't you tell me?!
Tez: I was insecure, but now that I know that I'm the love of your life, if it's okay with you guys, I would like Bill to fuck my wife.
Villain 1:  Okay, wait...
Tez: I wouldn't expect you to understand, but this is for her happiness.
Villain 2: Still wierd for me.
Villain 1: No, no, that's okay with me. I obviously don't want to watch, but I will out of curiosity sake.
Villain 2: I'm watching.
Wife: Thank you baby!
Tez: I love you.
Wife: I'll always love you.
Tez: Go on, baby
Villain 3: And now the main event
 Wife goes up to Bill as soft music plays.
Wife: God, I've been wanting you for so long.
Bill: Duh
Bill and wife start making out.
Villain 1: Bill has an animal magnetism.
Villain 3: And look at the schwanken in his shorts!
She is laying in a black nightie on her back on a circular bed with satin sheets that has somehow appeared. He is on top of her missionary, holding up his upper body with his arms and looking straight at Tez as he's pumping into her. The pumping is very slight and not animal at all. It looks very pretend.
Wife: (permagasming with these constant screams) Oh! Oh god Bill! You're the fucking man! You're the best! The best I've ever had! Oh! Never stop! Never stop fucking me!
Then her screams seem to die down like her permagasm is subsiding
The villains chuckle and say things like, "whoa" while they fan themselves and so forth
Tez: Boy's got hips don't he?
Villain 3: 14 times he's brought this woman to climax. 14 times, dude.
Wife Screams in Orgasm again.
Villain 3: Okay, that is 15. That is 15!
Tez gives a small appreciative clap.

My Thoughts
This scene is unrealistic and although it's played for pure humor, the fact that it is derived from incorrect assumptions about how women orgasm makes it an overall negative to a progressive sexual culture.

So, clearly if you read this blog you know that women do not orgasm from a penis moving in their vaginas. Women need stimulation - however they can get it - of the clitoral glans in order to orgasm, just like men need penile stimulation. This woman was flat on her back. Her hips weren't thrusting or grinding and thus not likely getting any clit-against-his-pelvis stimulation. Neither her nor Bill's hands were anywhere near her clit. As for her vocalizations, they were over-the top and porny. It seemed as though she was having some kind of giganto permagasm that lasted way longer than is sensible for the rhythmic muscle contractions of orgasm to last. So, it's super unrealistic.

But, I mean that's clear. It's supposed to be super unrealistic. This is all for humor. It's a lame guy's fantasy, so it's over the top and supposed to be built on childish ideas of coolness and masculinity and sex. In many ways it's making fun of these ridiculous things he's fantasizing about, and it's not really supposed to be taken seriously.

However, the simple truth is this scene was intentionally created and put into the world, and it does add into the cultural understanding and cultural dialogue of female orgasm, so it's criticizable. And I will criticize, because that is what I do.

Why choose this Scenario?
The biggest point I want to make is that this incredibly unrealistic depiction of female orgasm was put out there, but it wasn't commented on as unrealistic...at least for the right reasons. I mean, the whole tone of the show is an indication that we should see it as unrealistic for Bill to do anything cool, so there is an insinuation that Bill making a woman come a lot is ridiculous. Also the fact that the other 4 men in the room are so impressed with Bill's 15 number, insinuates that making a woman come that many times is over the top as well.

But there is nothing in this scene that insinuates to me that her coming without clitoral stimulation is a silly or over-the-top ridiculous part of this scenario. No one said anything to indicate that they were amazed that Bill didn't have to even touch her clit. I mean Tez could have said something like, "Shit, I have to go down on her to make her come - and she don't do it 15 times!" That's not what happens though. The fact that a woman might come from intercourse alone is not the unrealistic part. It's just unrealistic how hard and often she comes and how ridiculous Bill looks doing the sex, what with his eye-contact to the other men and his barely moving hips. In fact Tez comments on him having good hips because it's funny given how little he moved them.

So, to me this scene reinforces the very incorrect, yet very status quo cultural understanding that women might orgasm through intercourse alone. It also ignores the existence of the clit. Yeah, I know these writers aren't obligated to write anything about the clit, but the fact that they didn't makes me question their sexual progressiveness. All the events and dialogue in the final cut of this scene were intentional choices. They chose to show a man exhibiting sexual prowess and make the surrounding men look dumb by having him bang her into 15 orgasms. They could have as easily exhibited his sexual prowess and ability to embarras the men around him by making him eat her out to 15 orgasms while maintaining full eye contact with her husband, or making him just have to wiggle his fingers down there for no more than a second for her to orgasm. Those things could have been as ridiculous and funny and creepy, but also they would have started from a correct understanding of how women actually, physically come.

But they weren't. The writers chose to create this scene on top of the same ol' ignorant, P-in-V obsessed, clit-ignoring, not-knowing-what-makes-women-orgasm, status quo bullshit understanding of lady-parts and lady-gasms that sadly permeates our whole culture. they just wrapped it in a shroud of humor.

Vulva Rating
I can't go too rough on this because it's not like there were any insinuations in here that were pushing the understanding of female orgasm backwards. The sexual culture already operates under the assumptions women can orgasm when you fuck them, so this scene was really just staying on an already well-paved, steady course of lady-gasm ignorance that was there long before this show was a twinkle in its daddies' eyes.

On the other hand. It continues to perpetuate incorrect assumptions about how women orgasm, so it's not really a net zero situation here. Scenes like these are a force that hinder progressive understanding by reinforcing the bullshit. So, I'm going to go with 2 1/2 vulvas. I love the show, and I think it's super funny, but I am always amazed at how shows put so little thought and creativity into depictions of women and sex when they do so often put that creative effort into other parts of the show. It's unfortunate because there is such a wealth of hilarious untapped scenarios about women and orgasm and sex that too many men (and women too) either don't know about or don't have the creative will to investigate.



Chewing Gum Episode 1 - The SSL Review

Dude - Chewing Gum is on point.
You should check this show out on Netflix. My fellow Americans, it's British, so it only has 6 episodes per season, which honestly, I think is the weirdest shit. It's like maybe the single biggest thing that separates us from the UK - culturally speaking. I mean I'm not knocking it. It's better in some ways, but it's super foreign, people.

Michaela Coel - Chewing Gum creator, writer and main actress

The other thing is the accents are real rough to comprehend. It's reeeeaaallll British street. It's like, literally there are just words said that don't exist in our vocabulary. You do get used to it so you can follow, but you need to be heavy on your game - no distractions, volume up, eyes on the mouths when you're first into it. Actually, you should probably just use captions - which I honestly didn't think of till just now.

much of the fab Chewing Gum cast
Anyway, this show is everything I hope for in media-making. It's joyful, and hilarious, and thoughtful, and fresh...and it's got that orgasm equality flair. I'm telling you, I really believe that a show that gets a good SSL Review is almost always a good show in general. I think if someone is being realistic about female orgasm and giving thought to how it is depicted, then they are probably giving all the other parts of the show that attention as well, and it shows.

And it's SSL Reviewable
This means I will be critiquing only discussions or depictions of female orgasm or masturbation (or related things if I so choose). I'm looking mainly at realism and about what part the depiction/discussion plays in the larger conversation about female orgasm and women's sexuality. This series is filled with SSL Reviewable moments because it is largely about a 24 year old woman, Tracey (played by Michaela Coel who is the also the creator and writer of the show), trying to lose her virginity.

Please, my friends, do enjoy more SSL Reviews for MOVIES and TV SHOWS.

Season 1 SSL Review Overview
Overall I love that this show, and I'm talking about the first season as a whole here, doesn't get stuck in the intercourse/male-oriented view of sex that plagues most sex comedies.

Tracey's sexuality begins as merely a strong urge, but due to her religious sheltering, she has no outlet and no good context for understanding what kind of outlets are available and appropriate. But she tries - actively and with gusto, and her journey is perfection to me. It feels clear to me that this is writing from a female body and not from someone who is simply assuming things about female bodies and female urges.

The way Tracey moves her body, even in her awkward sexual ignorance, and how she reacts to different sexual situations, makes me feel like she instinctively knows where her feel-good parts AKA clit is, even if she might not be able to name it. It also seems clear to me that she has both been influenced by the world's expectations of women and sex, and also that she's sexually clueless. There is a beautiful dance I see between her sheltered sexual ignorance, her innate, sorta animal, body-focused sexual urges, and her perception of what she should want and how she should act in sexual situations. The conflicts and awkwardness that arise when these 3 thing slam together during her journey are extreme and goofy, but they are also so, so very real and relate-able.

The thing about us women is that we are bodies with sexual urges trying to find our way in a sexual world adapted towards male bodies but marketed to us as if it weren't. Most of us are not as sheltered and gawky as Tracey, but all of us women are in some way flailing in the strange and contradictory sexual space we are able to carve out between our carnal needs, our expectations of how things should be, and the unfortunate lack of realistic depictions and information our society affords us about our orgasms and our sexual options. Tracey's extreme case is hilarious partly because it's actually not that extreme and not that foreign. Michaela Coel taps into the largely untapped humor of female sexuality from a realistic, deeply insider perspective. That in itself makes this show fabulous, but it's also well put together. Again, you should watch Chewing Gum...the second season just came out, and I'm excited to check it out as soon as I SSL Review the rest of the 1st season.

Episode 1 SSL Reviewable Scene Details
So, let's get on with the SSL Review. There were 2 main storylines that involve themselves with female orgasm (even if loosely), and I will describe them each before giving my SSLReveiw thoughts.  If you don't want this spoiled, go watch the show and come back (although I don't think it'll be any less funny if you read this first).

Intro to Tracey and Candice's Sex Storyines
So, Tracey's from a deeply religious family and her fiance, Ronald, is devoutly religious. They have never had sex or really done anything remotely sexual. We quickly learn that Tracey is pretty horny and fantasizes about sexual stuff a lot. So much so she seems to get bloody noses from the sexual frustration at times.

Tracey and Ronald absolutely not having sexual relations
She works at a convenience store and her BFF Candice is talking to her as she's working and encouraging her to go break her hymen that night - telling her it's tiiiime!
Tracey: Candice, I'm 24, I'm a virgin, yes, but that doesn't mean I have to wanna have sex with my boyfriend, yeah?
Candice tells Tracey she doesn't have to have sex with her boyfriend. She can bag someone on Tinder.
Tracey stocking and talking with Candice
Candice: You know if you leave it too long, you'll tear when he enters you. You'll need stitches.
Tracey: Well thank god for the NHS, then isn't it.
Candice: Babe, let me give you a makeover. You'll never get the D looking like that.
Tracey: Candice, I don't want the D, or one of your makeovers.
Candice: Alright, as long as you ain't lying to yourself. Sex is overrated anyway. Yeah, it's good when it's good, but it's never exciting, like it's never frill.
Tracey: (suddenly interested) Is it, is it Aaron?
Candice: He's very you know...He's very...
Flashback to:
Candice and Aaron both naked. She's on her stomach but propped up on her elbows against the lower bed board. He's banging  her from behind real into it, and she's just being pushed back and forth with a straight face. He says he loves her and that she's "...an emblem of the..." but Candice interrupts and lifelessly finishes his sentence,  "yeah, I know...emblem of the sun."
Candice: I want him to have a firmer hand.
Tracey: (being a real supportive friend) Of course, man.
Candice: I want him to hold me down.
Tracey: He's got to be there for you, man.
Candice: ...with his hands, like tighter, strangle me like bear tight until I almost die, but I don't. I just do a big come. Fuck Fifty Shades of Grey. That's some vanilla shit. I'm talking raw BDSM, bondage, discipline, wankings, spanking...
Tracey: yeah - I feel uncomfortable.
Candice and Aaron
They are having sex later that day in the same position as the flashback above, and she's telling him things like "slap-it" and "pull my hair" under her breath while she's moving back and forth against his thrusts with a bored look on her face. Then she tries to make him mad so he'll get violent with her, but he ends up crying and telling her he doesn't want to hurt her, and he's not interested in what she wants.

Later though, at a party, he has a change of heart because he loves her and wants to try it if it's important to her, and so raises his hand to her. She's not about it, and tells him, "it's for when I'm wet!" They both soften, talk about it, and realize it can be a gradual change, and then they decide to go mess around.

Tracey's De-Virgining Mission
So later that day, Tracey decides to take Candice up on the makeover. As Candice is applying make-up, Tracey tells her. "I don't know why I lied to myself. I want it. I want it."

Candice finishing Tracey's makeover

When her make-up and hair is done, Candice starts giving her tips about eye contact and how to go in for the kiss. Tracey's not great at any of it. Oh and Candice's grandma "Nan" is hanging out in the room too.
Candice: You got to make him feel like he's in control, and when he gives into you just sit on his face.
Tracey: Uh what?
Candice: Just sit on his face.
Nan: Just perch on it, love.
Candice: Sit your bare pussy on his face, and if he don't open his mouth just hold his nose.
Nan: Like in the first aid.
Later, in all her make-over glory, she is in her fiance's room trying to seduce him. When he turns and sees her in her underwear, he chastises her. She kinda desperately asks him to just do it since they are getting married anyway - and asks him to just "rub your private parts on my private parts."
Tracey: We've dated since I was 17, and we haven't done anything. I don't think it's normal. I haven't kissed you, I haven't held you. I haven't sat on your face.
Ronald: (absolutely appalled) Why would you sit on my face!?
Tracey: I'm not sure.
They part ways, and later that night at a party she ends up in a bedroom with a guy she thinks is cute, and she jumps him. He's sitting on the edge of the bed, and she's sitting on his lap straddling and facing him. Her hips are really going and grinding against him. They're making out and she's doing some bizarre face-sucking and licking - saying she's always wanted to do that. She's weird and kinda childish, but also super intense and desperate in only the way one can be during a much desired sexual encounter.

Tracey face sucking Connor
Then she pushes him back and moves up to straddle his face, saying to the camera that she can't remember if she's supposed to have her clothes on for this or not. She grinds on his face, clothes still on. Then she stops and says to him, "Did you like that?" He says, "Not really," and she says, "me neither." And that's the end of that.

My Thoughts
Although this whole thing is about Tracey losing her virginity,which in most scripts would focus on getting the P in the V, this show is different. The 1 piece of advice her experienced friend (and her friend's grandma) gave her was to basically demand some oral. Of course, one should never hold some one's nose to force them into oral sex, but I am all for having strong expectations of a little cunnilingus. I mean, since Ps in Vs do not orgasms make, but mouths on clits do, I think it's a valid expectation. I love that talks about the 'first time' actually focused around her pleasure in a realistic way. It adds a female-centric, orgasm-equality style element to conversations and depictions about first times that really aren't there normally. So progressive this is, my friend, quite progressive. I also like that Nan is on board with perching on a dude's face, because by god, we all should be.

Granted, Tracey doesn't actually understand yet why she should sit on some one's face, and the idea isn't depicted as all that sexy right now, but I will say the larger arch of Chewing Gum does indeed make that clear for her - and i very much appreciate that.

I like that Tracey says to Ronald, "Rub your private parts on my private parts," and not something like "just put something inside me!" or "I need your penis!" Those are things I would expect to hear on most shows because they focus on the most obvious thing people think of when they think of sex - PinV. However, "putting things inside vaginas," doesn't focus on what actually relieves a woman's sexual tension - an orgasm...because those come from outer clitoral stimulation (as in rubbing privates on privates like Tracey suggested).

I know my praise of Tracey's phrase choice may seem nit-picky and subtle, but to me it exemplifies the writer's thoughtfulness, creativity, and female-centricism. They skipped past the obvious, status quo take on this situation and were able to capture not only Tracey's sexual innocence, but also her raw sexual urges in a realistic female-body-focused way. She just wants something dirty and forbidden to rub against the part of her that is swollen and needy; the outer parts. I think her scene with the boy whose face she sucks is also a good depiction balancing her childishness with both her deep bodily desires and also her attempts to do sex the way she's been told it should be. Like I was discussing above, I think this show does well at treating Tracey like a real human person with human sexual urges - and not like an assumption of what a woman (particularly a sheltered woman) might be thinking about sexually.

Candice...So, to me she is incredibly realistic in her sexuality because, like all women, she is juggling her own inner bodily desires with the expectations society has put upon her about what sex should be..all within a very male-centric sexual culture that gives little to no accurate information about how women actually orgasm (i.e. a culture that incorrectly insinuates orgasms comes from a penis moving in and out the vagina...and ignores the clitoral glans - which is the thing that actually needs to be stimulated for orgasm).

I think we see this oh-so-common conflict of female sexuality very quickly when Candice heartily encourages her friend to get the D, but then does a 180 and says it's actually not all it's cracked up to be. We then see her getting the D, and quite realistically (given that the only part of her 'down there' being stimulated is the inside of her vagina) she is not even close to coming. So right away we see she is a sexual woman having sex in a normal, common, accepted way - as so many women do, and not orgasming from that (while her male partner is orgasming). Seriously...this is some real world shit. Women are having a lot of sex that they are not orgasming from while their male partners orgasm all or most of the time. This is the reality of many, many hetero women's lives.

What Candice does next is, to me (and honestly, I don't know if this kind of stuff even went through the writer's heads), a very sensible and realistic reaction to her situation. So, as you remember, she goes on about her desire for a lot more roughness. Now hang with me here. Candice has sex on the reg, but if it's like it was shown to be, there is no damn way she is having orgasms. She's clearly a sexual person, and so she has strong desires, but the sex doesn't scratch that itch (orgasm itch if you know what I mean). She, like so so many of us, assume, given everything we hear and see, that it should, but it doesn't. And also like many women, she can't quite place her finger on why sex that should be awesome is not (spoiler alert: lack of clit stim creates lack of orgasm which makes sex boring over time)...so Candice craves more. She wants something to excite and stimulate her out of the dullness of the sex she is having. She wants variety and risk and craziness, hoping those things will get her the kind of awesome sex she assumes sex should be.

Candice is placing her hopes on the raw animal quality of BDSM, but -and again stay with me here- maybe what she's really chasing is an orgasm during sexual encounters. I mean after all, she does at the end of the BDSM talk say that she wants it to finish with a big come. Sure, it's possible she is actually into all the BDSM stuff too, but here's the real world rub. If that BDSM stuff doesn't include clit play, she'll still not be orgasming and she'll still be in the same boring sex boat after the excitement and newness of BDSM wears off - just as the newness and excitement of vanilla sex wore off.

So, I just did a shit-ton of assuming about Candice and her intentions and desires and all that. Clearly she is merely a character and I'm merely assuming, but what I really wanted to point out was that I think her character and her storyline really captured something relate-able and real; particularly about the toll lack of orgasm can take on women's sexuality and how sexual and adventurous women must make their way in a sexual culture that is not molded towards them the way it is for men. Even if the writers never really thought about Candice's inner motivations in this way, I think they probably created her because they were creating her from insider knowledge about how women often react to their own sex lives, and frankly even that small bit of realism for female characters is uncommon in media.

The Vulva Rating
Chewing Gum's first season is one of the best sex comedies out there if you ask me. It comes at sexual situations from a realistic and female-centric perspective and thus taps into humor and insight that is largely untapped. So, it's unique and funny and it often engages with the idea of sex without the P-in-V focus - at least much more than most tv and movies. This first episode is an introduction in many ways, and although I think the next 5 episodes get a little more juicy and interesting on this subject, I still think this 1st episode was solidly bad-ass on an SSL review level. It gets 5 vulvas due to 1) no female orgasms achieved in unrealistic ways 2) depictions of sex that would realistically not lead to orgasm actually not leading to orgasm 3) A focus, although a comedic one, on cunnilingus in the discussion and depictions of a woman attempting to lose her virginity 4) solidly realistic female characters that embody all the contradictions and confusion of our current sexual culture.



5 Movies About Love #DirectedByWomen

I started doing this categorized List of 5 movies thing where I showcase movies that were directed by women and that I have actually seen. It all started during the Directed By Women Worldwide Viewing Party in September 2015, and it was pretty fun, so I've continued doing it from time to time.

It's a bit off-topic from my normal fare, ya know, being that it's not specifically about lady-gasms or anything like that, but I think it fits the blog because
1. this blog is also about indie movie-making, and
2. this blog is partially about getting the female perspective of sexuality into our media. So, to me, supporting female voices in our media  means we're creating more room for female voices to speak on all types of things, which sometimes will be sex, orgasms, and sexuality.

You can find all my 5-movie lists HERE.

So, today I'm feeling sweet, so you will get a list of movies involving LOVE that I have seen, and that are directed by women.  So get a snack, a beverage, and get ready for a selection of of lady-made movies that I highly recommend (although some are not for the weak of heart).

1 Big Stone Gap - This one is directed by Adriana Trigiani. I saw it one day recently on a Saturday when I was looking for a movie to stream while I was folding clothes. It was a solid Saturday afternoon flick, and real sweet to boot.

2 Sleepless in Seattle - This one was directed by Nora Ephron. I saw this on VHS pretty close to when it came out back in the early 90's. I enjoyed it as a young teen. I don't think I've really seen it since then though, but if it came on TV one day, I'd watch it again.

3 50 Shades of Grey - This was directed by Sam Taylor-JohnsonI saw this streaming about a year after it came out.  I read (actually listened to) the whole series of this book because it was all the rage and involved ladies and sex, and I thought the sex was absolute shit on realism (It had a terrible SSL Review). However, in the whole series, I thought the love stuff was actually not that bad - and much better than in the Twighlight series from which this was fan-fictioned. I enjoyed this movie, but it too (not surprising given the book it was adapted from) got a bad SSL Review - which was actually a guest SSL Review from Barnaby because I was in Brazil for work when it came out.

4 Go Fish - This was directed by Rose Troche. I saw this one on VHS sometime in the 90's - probably after 1995 when my BFF Leslie started driving and could take us to Blockbuster. We used to get really indie and also lesbian and gay centered movies (which were pretty much really indie back then) all the time. It was kinda during the indie movie LGBT boom, and we really liked watching them. We were all edgy and shit here in Indy with our edgy indie movies - but in all seriousness, I think this and movies like it opened the world up in important ways for a lot of people.

5 By the Sea - This one was directed by Angelina Jolie. I saw this streaming less than a year after it came out. I really had wanted to see it because i liked the trailer, and I'm glad I saw it. It wasn't quite what I had expected and hoped for, but it had some aspects to it that I really loved. It's quite a pretty movie as well.


Cosmo Sex Position Lists Will Bring the Orgasm Equality Revolution!

The Sacred Institution of the Cosmo Sex Position List is Busting Up The Patriarchy, Bitches.
Now, I know that there is nothing more fun for snarky feminists and misogynist-ish women's magazine haters to do than to make fun of the Cosmo sex position lists. I get it. I've been reading Cosmo on and off my whole life, and I assure you there has at times been some ignorant, thoughtless-ass shit in those lists.

However. Shit. Is. Changing. It has changed. The Cosmo Sex Position Lists are not the same P-in-V obsessed listicles that I remember from my teen years...or from just a few years ago. Granted they do still embrace the light-hearted, absurdity that has always made them something you want to read to your friends  - I mean, that's part of the fun. But, my people, these motha fuckin' lists done got woke these days. Woke about the clit.

Our culture in general - even the sex-positive and progressive parts, are far, far from being Clit-Lady-gasm-Woke, so it seems insane to hope that a huge mainstream magazine like Cosmo would just be miles out ahead of the greater culture on this. And to be fair, it's not miles ahead, but when it comes to these sex position lists, they are out ahead, and that's amazing and important.

To me there has been a real shift in those Cosmo sex position lists towards a more realistic clit-based understanding of female orgasm. And BTW saying clit-based female orgasm is like saying penis-based male orgasm. It really should go unsaid, and sexual encounters and sexual advice for clit-bearing people really should seamlessly include the clit (the glans and outer parts in particular) in the same way that sexual encounters and sexual advice for penis-bearing people seamlessly include the penis.

A Quick Orgasm Equality Primer - Revo-fuckin'-lucion!
As my loyal readers know, there is no such a thing as an orgasm (physically measured through rhythmic muscle contractions) caused by stimulation to anything inside the vagina anywhere in the scientific literature. There's just not. It seems like there would be, but there isn't...the inner vagina does not seem to include anything that can be stimulated to orgasm (ejaculation, yes. orgasm, no.) - not the "g-spot," not special parts of the vaginal wall, not the cervix, not the inner clitoral legs that are real hip to talk about currently - none of them. You know what can be stimulated to cause orgasms? The clitoral glans. The reality is that there are lots of places on the male and female body that can cause heavy arousal, but in the end, to really get the orgasm job done, the penis or the clit need to be involved.

Sadly, though, the clit (and thus the female orgasm) is often not involved - in the conversation, in depictions or in actual sexual interactions. As a result female sexuality is twisted as hell and way too many women are not orgasming way too much of the time...like...there's WAY too few clit orgasms out there compared to penis-gasms.

It's bullshit and we need to revolt because there is no biological reasons women should be orgasming so much less than men, but I digress.

Why I'm Serious About These Lists
Cosmo is a serious player when it comes to our cultural understanding and knowledge of female orgasm. All women's magazines are, but I think Cosmo has a particularly strong rep when it comes to sex. It's incredibly popular, and I venture to say girls and boys in their teens as well as all types of grown people, some time in their life, have taken at least some bit of cues about sex from reading a Cosmo article...even if it was second hand cues. What Cosmo writes about sex matters. It does. Period.

Who's Behind This And Why She's Killing at Orgasm Equality
I suspect that Jill Hamilton has quite a bit to do with that. Jill was one of the very first women I online met through my blog, and she got it. She got Orgasm Equality, and she was on board. She was writing her own hilarious and sometimes quite honest sex related blog (In Bed With Married Women), and I know I have at least 1 or 2 emails from her that end in something like 'Viva the Fucking Revolution!' She's bad ass.

Now, I knew she had been writing some of these lists. I was even consulted for one (and it's been on my list of things to blog about since then), but I really didn't realize that she was basically like the writer of these lists for a bit over a year now.

I hadn't realized she made it to the big-time. And, I'm not really talking about career (although that is a super sweet gig). I'm talking about the big-time in terms of taste-making and reach when it comes to sex advice. For all the reasons I talked about above, Cosmo sex writing means something in the culture, and I know the lists aren't really sex advice, but in practice they act as such. So, given that sex and orgasm are in all reality a huge and deeply important part of women's lives, bad sex advice is damaging (or I should say -continues to be damaging given most advice about female orgasm is already shitty), but good, scientifically sound, realistic advice can heal and enlighten. It can change lives, change the way women fit into our world, and bust up the patriarchy, people. I think particularly because these lists are such an institution and such punchy, fun reads, it's quite possible they touch more people than just about any one sex advice column out there. and that is nothing to sniff at.

And frankly Jill is killing it - as is her editor - Senior Sex & Relationships Editor, Ali Drucker and the two women who illustrate them Marcy Gooberman and Katie Buckleitner. (I learned about them all and their creation methods in a podcast interview that I will discuss below).

What's The Difference 
If I were to sum up my personal perspective of the change (and I'm talking general change) in these lists it'd be kinda like this.

  •  It would focus on how the dick moved inside the vagina and insinuate - sometimes specifically say - that the movement would give the orgasms. 
  • The clit was mentioned in these sex positions quite sparsely and almost always in the same way one would mention any other erogenous zone like the breasts or the neck. Like, if an intercourse position happened to also allow for the clit to be stimulated (and honestly it was usually intermittent clit stim that would happen as a side effect of whatever intercourse thrusting was being recommended), it would often be phrased kinda like, 'Bonus! Your clit gets a little love every time he thrusts upward!' It was no different than saying, 'Bonus! you get to stare lovingly into each other's eyes the whole time!' (Let me be real clear. The clit is as important as the penis and should be discussed as such. Have you ever heard sex advice that said *Bonus! His penis will get a little stimulation too!*??)
  • The G-spot is spoken about All. The. Time. as something that will cause orgasms though being stimulated by PinV sex. For real. Stimulation of the G-spot or anything else inside the vagina, has NEVER EVER been shown to cause orgasm in all of scientific literature. It's unbelievable given everything you see and read, but it is absolutely true, and it means insinuating to women that they will orgasm because a penis rubs their 'G-spot' is scientifically inaccurate...and kinda mean.
  • Clitoral stimulation is often mentioned, and often in a casual way as an obvious part of intercourse or other sexual encounter. 
  • It is often mentioned how normal not coming through P-in-V alone is. 
  • The G-spot is quite rightly not mentioned in relation to orgasm (as far as I can tell I haven't seen that mentioned anywhere in lists written by Jill). 
  • I also feel there is something special here, and I guess the best way to describe it is that these lists seem more self-aware, but not in a cynical way.
Why I'm So Goddamn Excited About This New Direction 
What Jill Hamilton and the rest of the Sex Position List Team are doing is like my SSL dream come true. They are a force of change within a big, ingrained institution of defacto sex ed.

You see, I used to think that change would be more like an explosion. When I first started this blog and released Science, Sex and the Ladies the movie, I assumed that if I could just get people to take a different perspective, it would be obvious how messed-up, misinformed and ignorant our culture was about lady-gasms. and people/media/education/advice would start to change. That's super naive, though. It doesn't work that way. Our misunderstandings and ignorance about female orgasm, our deep erasure of the clit, and our reliance on the false but comforting story about intercourse being as orgasmic for females as it is for males exists deep deep in our culture and our psyche, and that doesn't change so easily.

The reality is that the march towards Orgasm Equality is a long, slow one, and it will be won not in this generation, for we, sad to say, are already too broken, but in the future generations. It will be won because people today (like Jill Hamilton) will speak in big, mainstream venues (like Cosmo) about sex and orgasm from a different, Orgasm-Equality-style mindset and will create a different tone to the lady-gasm conversation that will seep into the next generation. Change like this is slow and imperfect and frankly a little frustrating, but the fact that the writer of the sacred and time-tested Cosmo sex position lists is a full-on, kick-ass, Orgasm Equality Activist and that the other women working with her on these seem to be in a similar mindset as well, means that we are going in the right direction. This is true even if for now all their wild revolutionary ideas won't always get greenlighted by the big mainstream venue they work for. Their intentions are still going in the right direction, and that gives me a shit-ton of hope. It makes me really excited in only the way that someone geeking out on their obsession can be excited.

The Cosmo Sex Position Team
So, I listened to an interview with the Cosmo Sex Position Lists creative team (Jill, the writer, Ali the editor, and Marcy and Katie the two women who illustrate them) on the Cosmo podcast, and realized these women were doing god's work (because part of god's work is in fact doing sex lists).

Seriously, though, anyone who wants to poo-poo the current feminist and orgasm equality power of the Cosmo Sex Positions Lists has to go through me first. 

Here are some of my fave take-aways from this podcast:

1 Ali the editor, Jill, and the host were talking about the writing and creative process for these lists, and in the conversation, all 3 were in agreement that most women don't come from penetration (I mean, I personally would say all, not most...sure women can come during penetration, but not as a result of it...but again, I digress).

Listen, any topic could have been a addressed here by these 3 women, but the whole penetration is shit for lady-gasm thing was the one that came up. That, my fellow revolutionists, is a fantastic sign.

2 The editor also called bullshit on the oft-spoken idea that 'getting on top' is all a woman needs to come. Yas y'all! That lame idea is not given the shitty advice certification it truly deserves. I've long been in agreement with this lady.

Here's the deal, it's stimulating the clit (aaaand of course being properly aroused and having masturbated to orgasm at some point so you know what your body needs and all that too) that gets ladies off - not some magic element of being in the 'dominant' position during intercourse.

Now, I will agree that being on top may allow more pelvic freedom during intercourse so that you may better grind your clit against your partner to orgasm, but then again maybe not. Maybe you, like me, prefer to have his full pelvic weight on top of you so you can grind up against him in order to come (if he'd stop moving for one fucking second while you do what you need to do to get off, of course).

Anyway, my point is that telling women that getting on top is the way to orgasm is like saying that going on a date is the way to see a new movie. I mean, yeah, you very well might go to a new movie on your date, but the advice is shitty, misleading. and confuses anyone who is really looking for a realistic way to see a new movie. It misses the one important advice about seeing a new movie - which is that you should go to a movie theater, and you really don't need to be on a date to do that. In the same way, the 'on-top' advice is shitty, misleading, and confusing. It misses the important part a lady would need if she was actually wanting good advice on how she might realistically get to orgasm - which is that you need to stimulate your clit...which you might do on top, but it's not the only way to do that. Anyway, loved her comment on that.

3 When Jill Hamilton asked why she wanted to do these, she said the most perfect thing I could imagine her saying. She said, "I want to be part of the discussion about sex and...I want to tell women that most women don't come from penetration and that they can be honest about what they need." 

Yes, sweet tiny baby jesus, yes. She has accurate, orgasm equality style knowledge about how women actually orgasm, and she wants to make room for that in the cultural conversation. That's what I'm talking about. That's the real Orgasm Equality Revolution, baby; a slow, informed, push back from inside the commercial and popular taste-makers of the sexual culture. I couldn't be happier.

4 I also really liked their discussion about ridiculousness. I thought their perspective was spot-on and thoughtful about the element of humor and absurdity in these sex position lists. It's not that they don't take these seriously, in fact I think it was clear they do take the responsibility of these quite seriously, but that there is a playful humor they all accept and enjoy that makes these lists the institution that they are. I think these ladies quite thoughtfully and actively work to balance the fun/absurd/hilarious element of these with the reality that people actually learn and are influenced by these. It's a tricky rope to walk, but when done right it can push boundaries, change minds and revolutionize the way future generations interact with female orgasm...all while sliding it easily into people's minds with the slick lube of humor.

And you know what? I think largely, they're getting it right. There are lots of lists that speak specifically to the clit as the orgasm maker, and in almost every list there's at least one mention of getting some clit stim so that you can come. It's a far cry from what was going on there in my teen years.

*Bonus* Some Sex Position List Examples For Your Enjoyment
I've looked at pretty much every one of these from the last yearish, and here's some of my fave Orgasm Equality highlights. All the quotes are from Ms. Jill Hamilton.

5 Sex Positions For Enhanced Clitoral Stimulation
"Because just getting on top doesn't magically give you orgasms "  - right?

6 Sex Positions To Try If You Can't Orgasm From Penetration Alone: Because Very Few Women Can
"If you can't have an orgasm through P-in-V alone — which, by the way, means you're completely NORMAL — you're going to need to get a hand or toy involved so your clit gets the love it needs."

So, full disclosure, I was a guest consultant for this one, but prior to that, these Cosmo gals decided they should be doing a list of this kind, and that's truly awesome, my friends.

11 Orgasmic Sex Positions That Are Even Better With A Vibrator
"For those of us who don't have one of those magic, super-sensitive vaginas that's multi-orgasmic with a few thrusts of the P-in-V, the next best thing — and possibly an even better thing — is bringing a small, bullet vibrator into your sex life. The combination of feeling him inside you, plus the dependable love of your vibrator on your clit is ... well, it's fucking amazing, my friends." 

I mean, what I love most about what Jill said here is that she wasn't all like, 'this could work for you people who can't come the right way and need 'extra' ' - which is how the clit is normally brought up in intercourse advice. No, she was all like - 'for all of us who aren't special snowflakes of sex, we get the privilege of enjoying a vibrator during intercourse...and it's hot.' That's the kind of tone I'm talking about, people.

Three-some positions that are actually good for her
I guess I just love this because MMF threesomes are always depicted as sooo male centric. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 here all specifically put the clit into play.

5 Dorm room sex positions that every college student needs in her life
From #3 'Twin Bed Tryst'
"He'll come in from behind, doing a reacharound for you if he's a keeper." 

#5 'Desk-side Get-down' was a doggy over the desk that included using a vibe

New-Parent Sex Positions
Both 1 and 3 include some mutual masturbation, baby! You know how much I love mutual masturbation.

Deep penetration
This is one about deep thrusting, and I do enjoy that it mentions that too much is too much, because that is just plain true.

#1 'Deep Impact'
"He may find spots you didn't know you had, and if he doesn't, squirt a little dollop of lube on his fingers so he can cup his hand over your clit, giving you a long smooth rub with every thrust."

#2 'The Wheelbarrow'
Since it's a bit athletic, Jill gives another modified version and says, "Best rec with this is trying the first version, just to have done it, but finishing in the second way, so you can relax and give yourself some clit love."

5 Sex Positions You Need In Your Life If You Love Cookies
Umm, this is just kinda hilarious - embracing the absurd. Also, I do love cookies and would love to eat them while I orgasm, so bravo...although I really would have liked to see one that was just him eating her out while she ate a cookie. In fact, that should be in every list...but sometimes it should be ice cream maybe.

5 Positively perfect period positions
From #3 'Red Team Rocker'
"He opens your legs slightly to enter you from behind. Feel free to rub yourself with your hand, grind against a pillow or pop a bullet vibe between your legs."

From #4 'Ride The Cotton Pony'
"He can rub your clit or hold a vibe onto you as he thrusts."

Jill also says something to the effect of 'fuck it - do whatever you want because periods are normal,' in this list, which I appreciate as well.

5 Sweet and sultry sex positions for your first time
From #2 'Lovin' Spoonful'
"...plus if you'd like, you have a free hand for rubbing yourself at the same time."

From # 3 'The Lap Waltz'
This is a woman on top position meant to help the newly intercoursing lady control the depth and angle and thus not induce pain, but it also says something quite clit-useful, "Once you get the hang of it, you can gyrate, grind against him..." -with your clit!

5 Positions to try if your partner is smaller than you
3 of 5 of these positions specifically mention getting at the clit during it, and a 4th one is said to position you "for whatever mouth, fingers, strap-on or penis is headed your way"...so oral sex counts as clit love too.

5 Perfect positions for pegging your man
From the intro:
"Also — v. important! — make sure you get equipment that's going to do something for you too. Try a harness with a spot to hold a bullet vibe against your clit (like a Corsette.)"

5 Rusty trombone positions that will change EVERYTHING
Given the reality of the rusty trombone situation, most of these involve one's mouth on a dude's butthole and a hand on his dick. Butt :), as a final example of Jill's style, I'd like to point out that position #5 is described as, "you getting yours," and involves a mouth on a lady's butthole with a hand cupping the vulva (specifically thumb in the vag and a few fingers rubbing the outside). That's keepin' it real, Jill.


The Young Pope S1 - The SSL Review

As you know, we've stolen my brother-in-law's cable password, so we have HBO Go at our disposal, which is lovely because I get HBO shows without really paying for them, and that's kinda living the dream. Anyway, we watched The Young Pope recently. It's called The Young Pope, so there was no doubt we were going to watch it, but I have to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised. It's not everyone's cup of meat, but I thought it was a lovely miniseries - and can I just say that I really love this miniseries trend I'm seeing. Give me 10ish good episode and then end that shit before it starts sucking. I'm not saying I don't love a good on-going TV series or a great movie. I'm just saying that there is very much a place for something in between.*

Okay, so it's a Pope. He's young. It's HBO. So, obviously there's sex. I'm not going to tell you who is doing what. I like this series, so I don't want to spoil anything for you before you've seen it. BUT, there is some SSL Reviewable content here, so I must SSL Review, and I am happy to say that I will be reviewing this quite favorably. As always, an SSL Review is the critique of any discussion or depiction of female orgasm or masturbation in a movie, TV or reading...or anywhere else. I'm looking at the realism and about how the discussion/depiction plays into the larger cultural understanding of female orgasm and female sexuality.

There is 1 actual (and surprising) SSL Reviewable moment in this season, and there are 2 other moments that are not technically SSL Reviewable, but I want to talk about them anyway. Here we go.

Sex Against The Window As The Pope Strolls By
'Cause when you live in Vatican City, things happen, ya know. So, there is actually only 2 sex scenes in this whole season and neither is technically SSL Reviewable because there is no female orgasm/masturbation in those...particularly this one. I want to talk about them, though, because sometimes I think the choice to not show an orgasm during intercourse should be highlighted.

In S1 Ep4, a woman is standing at a floor to ceiling window type thing in her home. She is facing out but bent at the waist a bit, and her husband is behind her banging her. And, it is just straight banging; just P in V and then out and then in, etc. No person or thing is anywhere near her vulva/clitoral area, and guess what? She is not coming. She's just getting fucked.

That is realistic, because as my readers will know, P in V does not O make. A lot of shows would (and many have) just had her orgasming during this, just because I guess that is what maybe they think women do when they are fucked. I think it has as much to do with lazy, status quo production choices as it does about ignorance of how female orgasm actually works (spoiler: it's the clitoral glans, people).

Anyway, I appreciate the realism in this...and I won't disclose what the Young Pope was doing outside that window. You'll have to watch for yourself.

Priest Threesome (or Porn I Like!)
First off, the priest in question is not my top pick for hottie, but he's alright and he's got a nice enough bod, and frankly, I have been a longtime fan of Priest stuff - if you know what I mean, so I'm like way into this from the get go. You add in a super hot Honduras woman and man, and I'm all in baby. Plus these were some hot scenes, and don't worry. I'm going to give you descriptions of them all because I laboriously paused and played and wrote them all down, checking for detail (which is a regular thing I do for this blog, but this was a particular treat).

An Overview
These threesome scenes from Episode 6 were intercut with other scenes of things happening around the world. None were on the screen too long. There was no particular point of orgasm. they started without sound, but as the scenes went on, they came out of silence and we could hear all 3 people kinda moaning and grunting as though they were def going to get there. It wasn't real porny sounding though, and nothing was over the top.

So although I heard some of this moaning and groaning from the woman at times when there was likely just a dick in her vagina and nothing stimulating her clit (not a realistic way to cause female orgasm), I'm not going to call bullshit on this because the whole thing just seemed so damn hot - and I ain't mad if she let out some aroused moans (even if they might be construed by some as orgasmic moans). I'm giving a pass because there really was no defined orgasm and the moaning and groaning was not the perma-gasm porny style that I have been known to critique quite heavily. It was just some people really into some sensual-ass sex. I saw it more as a collection of snippets from a super arousing round of sex stuff as opposed to a sex-to-orgasm montage.

So, since I am not seeing this as a depiction of orgasm, it's not technically SSL Reviewable. However, the first snippet made me want to mention it. From now on the character are Young Man (YM), Priest, and Woman.

The Details of the SSL-Review-Pertinent First Sex Snippet
YM is sitting on a chair, and Woman is sitting on his lap facing away from him. They are both completely naked. One of her hands is lying gently at her thigh, the other up at her face as she's licking and sucking her own fingers. One of the man's hands is on her boob, and the other is fully covering her vuvla - in a way that easily looks like he is stimulating her clit area. The couples' hips are moving against each other's in a smooth rocking motion. There is no bouncing. There is constant contact between their pelvises and between his hand and her vuvla as they move. There is no sound in the scene at this point, but the couple is definitely close-eyed, enjoying what is happening to their bodies. It cuts.

This pic doesn't show all the way down to the vulva like in the actual show and it's dark, but this is the scene
So, this deserves a mention because we see a dude is giving a lady what looks like the ol' reach around here. That is rare even in porn, much less in TV or movies. No-one ever touches the clit during intercourse (even though that is what tons and tons of hetero couples do to get the lady off while the dude is getting his dick off in her vagina). I admit, I believe this was largely done in order to cover Woman's junk so that this stayed an HBO series and not a porn, but they could have made a lot of different choices on how to not show her spread open junk; different positions, etc., but they chose to have YM with his hand on it, which is a realistic and oft not shown way to get a woman off during intercourse. 3 cheers to you Young Pope team!

Here are the other scenes just for fun:
  • Woman is sitting on what looks like a bookshelf with her hands lazily over her vulva (I assume this also is a slick HBO way to keep this out of the x-rated category) and Priest comes to her, standing in front of her, kissing her, and presumably having intercourse as well, although it is too short of a scene to know for sure
  • A Standing Priest Sandwich with the young man standing behind him and against a wall dick to Priest butt, and Woman kneeling in front of him sucking his dick
  • Priest and Woman on bed cowgirl, with her leaning way back with his hands on her stomach and maybe lower, though the camera doesn't go that far down...and YM in the background looking on and masturbating inside his underwear. 
  • A Lady Sandwich on the bed with YM laying face-up on the bottom, Woman facing down at him, and Priest coming at her on top from behind. She's bent forward so her torso and pelvis are close to YM beneath her.
  • Then a Young Man Standing Sandwich with woman up against the wall facing out, Priest facing her, and YM facing them from behind. One arm of hers is splayed out against the wall. The other is on the men's shoulders.
  • In the end, they are all sitting around sweaty and smoking cigarettes like they're in a gritty French New Wave movie. 

Discussion About Abortion That Involved Female Orgasms
This is the most philosophical and biblical thing I have yet had in an SSL Review. It was a surprise, but a lovely surprise. Let tell you how it went down.

The Young Pope is talking deeply with his mentor about abortion. They are getting deep into Papal precedence and Church philosophy as they search the subject. The Young Pope is saying it a sin and there's no getting around it. He goes into some scripture about it.

His mentor says, "Oh come on, Lenny. You know these scriptures are a little more complicated than that...." He mentions some different histories and scriptures. Pope says something back and his mentor  goes on with the following.
"Ask a woman about that. Back when there were still considered 2 types of insemination. male insemination involving sperm and female insemination involving eggs, it was considered a sin not to give a woman pleasure, but then, when it was discovered that ovulation was spontaneous, the cost was several billion female orgasms. It made psycho analysists richer. The one profession that involves no work and a great deal of money that we let slip through our fingers...I implore you Lenny. Reconsider your position on abortion. Tough in principal, soft in practice."
What?! Did I just hear the crabby ol' conservative Cardinal throw down about how historically the female orgasm has been shat upon due to it's lack of interconnection to fertility? Yes.

Did he also give a big 'fuck-you' to psychoanalyses, the therapy started by Freud that wrongly asserted women can and should have 'vaginal orgasms' and that orgasms attained through clit stimulation (the kind women can actually, physically have) were immature? Hell yes, I did.

Re-motha-fuckin-spect, The Young Pope team. I like how you chose to put that little historical and philosophical tidbit in there. AND, not only did you do that, but you slipped in a stab to Freud's fucked-up-completely-scientifically-inaccurate-yet-still-widely-believed assertions about female orgasm. I, I just, loved it.

There is a lot more to say about the long and beloved history of ignoring the female orgasm (Dude, read The Technology of Orgasm. I'll be posting about it soon), but I appreciate any acknowledgement that Freud and psychoanalysis is BS and that there has historically and going into modern times been a tendency to not give one shit about female orgasm. There is not enough of that acknowledgement in pop media. It's no solution, but acknowledging it even a little is imperative to moving forward toward Orgasm Equality,

The Vulva Rating
Because of 1) the rarely-seen-in-media hand on clit/vuvlv area during intercourse 2) the choice to not have the actress orgasming while she's getting fucked sans clit stimulation against a window 3) the surprising biblical/philosophical conversation that included an acknowledgement of societies historical disinterest in female orgasm, and 4) The Fuck-You to Freud, his BS lady-gasm ideas, and also to all the psychoanalysts and psychoanalyses-informed ideas that keep the BS lady-gasms ideas alive.

I give this Season 1 5 full vulvas!

* I just heard it got picked up for a second season, which is a little disappointing to me. I thought it was perfect just the way it was, but I'm open. Maybe I'll again be pleasantly surprised.