Chewing Gum S1 Ep4 - 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. For these reviews, I'm mainly interested in physical realism (like are the things happening to the woman's body actually things that would realistically make a female orgasm?) 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 4 - Eating Out, Unicorns, and Threesomes
So, just a quick intro in case you haven't seen this or read my SSL Reviews of previous episodes; Tracey is a 24 year old virgin. She has been quite sheltered by her incredibly religious mother, but she has very unsheltered friends and she's looking to get her sex stuff on. She's done some sexual activity at this point, and she has a boyfriend, Connor, and she'd like him to put the ol' D in her P. Problem is in this episode they're about to, but he can't get erect. He tells her she's just too pure.

Pushing Pussy Onto Faces
So Tracey's talking to her friend Candice, who is telling here she needs to get dirty and sext him, but Tracey's awkwardness in her sexting pictures leads Candice to ask,
Candice: Do you want to suck his dick or smile at it?
Tracey: Neither
Candice: Tracey, he wants you to push your pussy in his face like you're about to take a shit on it. He wants to get his nose all up in there.
Tracey: Yeah, I don't know who told you it was common...this thing...(some background: Candice had previously given her aggressive advice about making a guy go down on her, and Tracey's fully clothed attempt at that was awkward, and no-one enjoyed it)
Candice cuts Tracey off and tells her to do some internet research.

Threesomes Need More Marks And Johns
Later Tracey is hanging with Candice, her Candice's grandma Esther, and two sisters, Kristy and Karly. They are talking about boobs:
Candice: All any man wants is good boobs and a cooked meal.
Kristy: Yeah and if not good boobs, four of 'em.
Esther: Tell me about it.
Kristy: Babes, I've been thinking about a threesome you know.
Tracey: (kinda questioning and curious) They all want a threesome.
Kristy: Yeah, but never with John or Mark.
Tracey: Yeah...no, no, 'cause they're biblical names.
Karly: (like Tracey's an idiot) 'Cause they're guys!
Kristy: Listen, If I said to any straight man, let's find another guy on 3zup, and I'll wiggle my clit while you two kiss each other, he'd die instantly.
Tracey: (clearly confused) Yeah, he'd die instantly, and I'd laugh at like, his funeral. Imagine if he didn't even know what 3zup was?
They all look at her confused
Tracey: Hey Esther, what would you say, like over his grave, to explain what it was?
Esther: (kindly) Oh, bless, if you are looking for a threesome, you can find two other people who are also looking, or one other if you're a couple.
Tracey:: 3zup!
Esther: It's an app!
Tracey: Thank you, Esther.
Tracey starts on the app as the other women are talking in the background
Candice: Yeah, why is a threesome with a man so ridiculous, but one with a woman so obviously possible?
Kristy: As long as she's uglier than me I don't mind.
Candice: Ugly, pretty, I'm fine with my cockatoo.
Kristy: Yeah, why do I have to like another girl's breasts just 'cause I like my own?
Candice: Exactly. You got a dick, it don't mean you want one for dinner.
Esther: I have to say, I'm a bit partial to a bit of cunt
Candice: (laughing) Nan!
Esther: Just as a starter
The Swimming Coachd Diaries
Later Esther and Tracey are walking. Tracey is looking at her 3Zup app and talking to the camera, and ignoring Esther next to her telling the story about her encounter with her swim coach when she was 16. We hear the story on and off.
Esther: Then she pulled up my skirt, she knealed down....saliva'd on my vaginals, and injected her middle finger up as far as it would go...and pumping it back and forth in my pum. (with a wistful, delighted look) I carry that night...
The Wise Yet Kinda Racist Unicorn
In the meantime, Tracey finds a single woman ready to do a 3some on the app (a "unicorn"), and arranges a meet up in a place (where? you'll have to see for yourself). Her name is Sasha.

Some sexy touching etc. happens - nothing more, but mostly it's awkward and less than sexy. Eventually Connor tells Tracey he's lost his boner because he's always getting this 'don't mess up' thing in his head, and Tracey tells Sasha he can't get it up.
Sasha: Oh, erectile dysfunction.
Connor: No, no definitely not that.
Sasha: Let's use toys.
Tracey: I just wanted him to bust my vulva.
Sasha: Hey Hey Hey, You escaped Michael Fassbender. This is yet another struggle to overcome (Some background: Sasha is a bit racist and has a 12 Years A Slave Fanatasy going on with this threesome) 
Tracey: Sasha who are all these people
Sasha: (ignoring her question) Tracey, look at the gays, ok. Bum sex is rarely the order of the day. They do loads of other shit. They use loads of other bits. Stop making his dick the center of sex. Dick-centric sex sucks.
It cuts to a different storyline.

The Best Stuff
When it cuts back. We see just Tracey and Connor. She's on her back and he's above her. They kiss for a second, and then he goes down toward her junk under the blanket. It's a close on her face and she nervously says, "ok," and then as if she just felt something, "oh," and then "oh, I see," as if she indeed gets why Candice is always talking about this face on her pussy thing. She's still talking quite calmly, but clearly 'getting' the whole thing as she says, "That's actually, uh, something else. That's quite nice....umm...(gently) oooo." It goes on.
Tracey: Connor?
Connor: Yeah (from under the covers) 
Tracey: What do I do if I need to fart?
Connor: (mumbles something indiscernible) 
Tracey: I'm just aware of how close you are to my bum.
She starts to come suddenly with some oohs and uhs, and some random mouth noises. It's a bit silly, but not porny or over the top, and clearly indicates something happened for her. Connor pops up from under the covers and says,
Connor: Tracey, I'm still hard.
Tracey: Yeah?
Connor: Shall we do it?
Tracey: Oh, ok, yeah.
Connor: You're beautiful.
Tracey: Ok, I think I'm ready.
Connor begins penetration.
Tracey: Ow! Ow!
Connor: What? That was just the tip.
Tracey: Oh my god! Just do the thing with the tongue. (calmer) Please, just do that again. That's very nice. I like that one.
Connor: Fair enough
Cynthia Sees Porn
In another storyline, Tracey has a younger sister Cynthia who is even more sheltered than she is, and she's very by the rules. However, she saw Tracey looking at porn for research and borrows Tracey's laptop to check it out for herself. After typing in "sex" to the search engine, she...see's some things. She's watching this stuff fully clothed, sitting cross-legged on the bed with hands in full view, and after seeing a dude squeezing a breast through the shirt of a woman dressed in school girl outfit, Cynthia kind of spontaneously comes with no actual physical stimulation to her vulva. She has a wierd noise with it that isn't porny, but is fairly loud and comical.

The SSL Review
There's a lot happening on the lady-gasm, clit, and ladybation front in this episode. Overall, I absolutely loved the specifically women-centric sexaulity stuff in here.
What I loved:

  • A woman focusing on oral sex when giving another women sex advice. For not the first time, Tracey is wanting to get de-virginized and instead of talking about penetration Candice is telling her about grinding pussy int a dude's face. It's generally pretty aggressive, dirty words coming out of Candice's mouth, but it's also awesome. It really decentralizes penetrative sex as a focus of female sexual desire in a way that one rarely sees in media.
  • The racist unicorn reiterates the decentralization of intercourse in this show by clearly and bluntly telling Tracey to stop making his dick the center of sex. She also doesn't miss the slightest beat when Tracey tells her Connor can't get it up. She just immediately says they'll use toys. 
  • "Dick-centric sex sucks." I mean this line was straight up said in this show, and it was followed by a depiction of non-dickcentric sex that was super awesome for Tracey. This is a completely accurate statement if you ask me because ladies don't get orgasms from dicks, and it's such a progressive and I think very intentional orgasm-equality storyline to walk down. 
  • There was a very female-centric view of threesomes in here that just really isn't all that common. It flipped the script with Kristy talking about wiggling her clit while she watched 2 dudes. I love this, because she specifically puts her orgasm and pleasure (through masturbation) in the center of her flip-the-script scenario. The writers didn't have to do that, but I think as is common in this show, the writing is quite creative and female desire/orgasm focused. I feel it's obvious that women who have put a lot of thought into female sexuality wrote this and are specifically trying to make points.
  • Esther's memories and her admitting to liking a cunt every now and then, I think, is part of a larger picture of Esther as a very sexual and frank woman. She's also a grandmother and she can be quite kind  and motherly- particularly to Tracey. The lovely rounded characterization of this older women is a great part of this show and sadly uncommon.
  • Cynthia's no-touch orgasm was clearly unrealistic given that the penis or clit generally needs to be touched in order to get an orgasm, but it was no more unrealistic than any number of depictions of teen boys in teen sexploitation movies coming in their pants at the first sign of sex or a hot girl. It was  intentionally funny and ridiculous, and I'm fine with that.
  • Last but certainly not least, Tracey's first orgasm in this show was from oral sex. She also had a chance to have intercourse as well, but chose against it because, I would say, she was following her body's desire and not what she was supposed to do (I mean it hurting was a reason she didn't do it also, but I think it's fair to say that after the good stuff she had just felt, she didn't see the point in going through some pain for no reason, and I respect the hell out of that).
The Vulva Rating
Chewing Gum continues to be an Orgasm Equality standout to me for the very intentional commentary on female desire, sexuality, and orgasm from a distinctly female perspective. The discussion about threesomes, the blunt fuck-you to penetrative-focused sex, the depiction of authentic desire, pleasure, and orgasm in Tracey's character. It's not only realistic and uncommonly perceptive storytelling of female sexual things, but it's intentionally progressive, I think. They push the envelope in a beautiful way. This show gets 5 out of 5 vulvas!


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