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.

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