Chewing Gum S1 Ep3 - The SSL Review

Chewing Gum!
Like I said in the first SSL Review I did on this. You should check this show out on Netflix. It may have a tricky British accent to follow, but turn on the captions and get on with watching it. It's great. It's also progressive in the ol' female orgasm department, and I feel like it has a unique perspective - not just because her gender or color or anything like that, well it is a lot of that, but I don't think the way a writer or director identifies is enough to bring a truly unique voice to a work. It's how they use their craft as well. To me, it seems like Michaela Coel (writer/star) really unabashedly dives into her own perspective and brings things into her story that are new and unexpected. In short, she's just a great creator and people should watch this show.

Michaela Coel - Chewing Gum creator, writer and main actress
And it's SSL Reviewable
This means I will be critiquing only discussions or depictions of female orgasm, female masturbation, or the clit. I'm looking mainly at realism and about how the depiction/discussion plays in the larger cultural conversation about female orgasm and women's sexuality.

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

Season 1 Episode 3: The Sex Toy Party
Let me just set out for you the scene in question. For reasons that you will see when you watch the show, a sex toy party is happening. Tracey's (the main character played by Michaela Coel) best friend Candice, Candice's boyfriend Aaron, and Candice's grandma Nan, are throwing the party to sell these toys to some of the neighbor women:. Karly Raven (pregnant), Kristy Raven, (two young generally skeezily dressed women),  Mandy (a normal woman in mid age), and Ola (a gay neighborhood friend).

Basically everyone on the right side of Michaela Coel and the woman in pink next to her were at this party. (Minus the children, of ccourse)

The party-goers are touching the toys, laughing, and having a good ol' time. Kristy is the only one that looks a little horrified at the amount and size of these things
Nan: Fuckin' hell I'll tell you what, I've had more fake orgasms than I've had cornish pasties and I've had a lot of cornish pasties
 They all laugh
Karly: Honestly though, most times I just want to be alone and ride pillow
Candice puts a dildo against her like she has a dick, sways her hips and says
Candice: Ride it ride it, ride it!
Everyone hoots and hollers.
Kristy: The worst one, yeah, is, 'how many times did I made you come? Like, make me?
Mandy: yeah, yeah, as if they give it to you - I mean, I might climax if you stop generically pounding my ass like a hammer on a nail.
Kristy: Some of the stuff I've seen men get off on. I'm like, are you fucking delusional?
Mandy and others: They are delusional. They are.
Kristy: Like, "Baby are you gonna squirt for me?" Those bitches in them videos are just pissin.' It's just piss.
Karly: Like actual urine.
Nan: Them girls are lucky, my fud's a dry as a fucking Ryvita.
Candice: (faux-scolding) Nan!
My Thoughts
First, some words that didn't make sense to my American sensibilities:
Ryvita: It's a brand of crackers and rice cakes and stuff.
Fud: Female genitals (I mean you can get that from the context, but in the captions it actually said "fudge" but when I looked it up, I could only find 'fud' as British slang, so I'm assuming 'fudge' was a typo).
Cornish Pasties: They're a classic pastry with meat and potatoes and stuff

Second, what's not to love about this scene?
Um, this is a fab orgasm equality scene. I love it so much. Let me count the ways.

1 Nan spoke right up about all the fake orgasms she's had, and the women there weren't appalled or surprised or shaming to her. They were on board. Yes, yes, and more yes. Women fake orgasms all. the. time. for all kinds of different reasons, and I'm not happy about it or necessarily praising that we do it, but it's just the damn truth. There are jokes about it and articles every once in a while in women's magazines telling us we shouldn't do it. We all know it happens, but at the same time, we all, including media, kinda pretend that it's more of a personal problem, or someone else's problem, or an outlier situation - because acknowledging what a straight up universal large cultural problem this is would make us face the truth of how shitty sex very often is for women.

Women are absolutely able to orgasm as quickly, easily and reliably as men can during masturbation, but we just often don't during sexual interactions, and not only that, but we feel pressure to fake that we did. Now come on - that's wierd. And it means something not great (for the ladies at least) about how we tend to have sex as a culture. The more brave, honest souls like Nan (or more precisely, the brave honest souls who wrote Nan) speak about this head on, the more a light will be shined on this reality and the harder it will be ignore the strangeness of it, which hopefully make us more serious about changing it.

2 Ride Pillow?!? Fuck to the yes! Let me tell you how I started masturbating. I put a pillow or stuffed animal between my legs and grinded on it until I came. I spent a lot of my youth 'riding pillow,' yet I honestly don't think I've ever heard a succinct name for it until this show. So, not only does this get super bonus points for naming (and thus validating and normalizing) a particular type of female masturbation that isn't normally discussed, it also just validates and normalizes female masturbation in general. Ol' Karly spoke about her masturbation to other people, and they accepted it in stride.

But maybe the best part to me is her admission that she often just would rather get a quick solo come in than have sex with a dude. First, it's absolutely sensible, given that masturbation is almost always a surefire way to come for women, and as we've just reminded ourselves above, doing a dude is, well,  not.

I mean, I am right there with her. A quick grind is lovely. There's no fuss. It takes as long or little as you want. You don't have to deal with anyone else's schedule, desires, smells, and bodily fluids. It's great. However, I think for many people, but particularly women, admitting to a preference (even sometimes) for masturbation over partner sex is tricky. Traditionally masturbation is only there to tide a person over until they can get the 'real' stuff with another person. And especially for women, wanting to get an orgasm alone, over sex with another person, is an admission that the physical orgasms is more important than the connection or love with another person...and the emotional connection is supposed to be soooo important to women, and we certainly aren't supposed to be so physically desperate about our orgasmic pleasure. Thank you Karly (and those who wrote the lines) for speaking some damn truth others don't want to say.

3 Then there's Kristy and Mandy talking about guy's dumb sex bullshit; like how asinine it is when guys ask them how many times they made you come. It's beautiful. These women at this party are bringing the truth bombs all day all night. They're all like, "bitch you didn't make me do a damn thing. Also, your jackhammer fuck routine that you think is somehow good for me - ain't - so back the fuck off with your dumb shit." And then Kristy is all like, "just because you saw some crazy-ass shit in porn doesn't mean it's real, or that any woman at all would actually like it, much less come from it. You a delusional motha fucker if you think that." "Oh and you think you gonna make me squirt because it's the big thing in porn right now? It's pee you dumb fuck."

I love this because it hits on a big problem. The way female orgasm and female pleasure is depicted in media (and especially porn) is very, very often just plain physically incorrect. It's faked, and it's from a male fantasy perspective. It's showing things like stimulation inside the vagina causing orgasms (which straight up doesn't seem to be a real thing). Men and women are shown situations causing orgasm in women when in reality those situations absolutely would not. It's a fake-news lesson about how women orgasm and what is pleasurable to women, but it's hard to know for sure that it is actually fake because it's depicted soooo much. That's why these ladies saying that the things men see are not real is powerful and important.

I also just want to mention quickly about the pee thing. She's right, a lot of the squirting in porn is pee - because women fake shit in porn. However, there is a thing called female ejaculation and female squirting (they may be kinda different) that related to the female prostate, happens for some women, and is the only physically documented 'release' that happens from stimulation inside the vagina (specifically on the female prostate or 'g-spot' area). However, it doesn't seem to be super common, and, 'squirting' or 'ejaculation' are not the same thing as an orgasm. So, it's super popular in porn right now, but that doesn't mean every woman wants you digging around for her g-spot to try and make her squirt, given she might not be able to and even if she is able to, she might just prefer to orgasm instead (maybe by riding pillow on her own, perhaps).

4 I want to give a big round of applause for this scene in general too. I love seeing women talk truths to other women. It feels very real to me. This may not be true for all women, but I think often there is something magical about women in a safe female-centric place. We start saying some shit, and speaking some sexual truths. Once it starts, just like in this scene, everyone piles on and laughs and has a good ol' time because the truth is, we are all having a core of similar experiences - and frankly, they usually involve struggles with our male partners 'getting us' sexually and orgasmically - and commiserating about that is both comforting and hilarious. (As long as that one woman isn't there - the who has the most amazing sex life and refuses to say anything except how wild and orgasmic she is. She's mostly lying and she tends to ruin the truth-groove for everyone else).

Vulva Rating
This is one of my very favorite scenes I've ever SSL Reviewed. It hits so many important points in a tiny amount of time. It normalizes lady-bation, acknowledges the abundance of lady-orgasm-faking, poo-poos the fakeness of female orgasm in porn, and shows the power of women talking unabashedly and realistically about their sex lives to other women.  I also don't think this was an accident. I think the writer(s) and actresses put a lot of time and effort into making this feel real and address issues they'd like addressed - all in a hilarious way. This, my friends is, Orgasm Equality media making at its finest. This gets a hearty 5 vulva rating!


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