Remembering My Mom

I'm going to switch it up from my normal fare of lady-gasms, lady-bation, sexual culture, and media representations for this post. This is what you might call a Very Special Episode of the SSL Blog. I lost my mother, Pat Eberle, a few weeks ago, and since I write on this blog and like my mom a lot, I'm going to do a little tribute/remembering for her - because I want to and because I think she'd be interesting for people to read about.

Mom her senior year of high school

My writing will be a little stream of consciousness, so bare with me. I'm not sure exactly what I want to say yet, so I hope it comes out right.

Mom's 'school pic' while she was director of a childcare center. Must have been near Easter. Notice the bunny vest and bunny earrings.

I guess I'll start with saying this isn't the first time I've written about my mom in this blog. She's always supported the shit out of me. I'm just a gal that made a no-holds-barred movie about the female orgasm (I mean there were real close-up vulvas 20 feet high on the screen) with a mom (and dad too) that not only acted in the movie, catered a couple shoots, but also proudly attended the premiere, brought lots of friends and had little small showings of her own. It's not exactly what most moms imagine for their daughter, but she would have full on supported anything I was passionate about. That's how she was. Here's almost a decade old post about the SSL movie costuming day that my mom and my bad-ass aunt Cathy catered for us. HERE and HERE and HERE are posts thanking my mom for giving me things like confidence and a level of openness and accurate knowledge about my body and my sexuality. HERE and HERE are posts relating to mom's struggle with cancer the last 2 years (btw she did get through the last bad chemo I wrote about, and luckily never had to go through anything like that again). And HERE's a quick post about St. Patrick's Day that has a picture of her hugging a giant Kidney at the St. Pat's parade...because why not.

mom and dad on set of Science, Sex and the Ladies

Point is, she is a piece of me, this movie I made, this blog, and my activism. She cannot be separated from me and the things that I do, and I specifically have always felt her presence in my interest in and passion for this, I don't know how exactly how to say it, comradery of women and our journey towards sexual self-actualization.

Me and mom dancing, I think on my 15th birthday

She was a feminist even though she may not have always called herself that. She built up the women in her life much more than she cut them. She believed in the power of community and to me, she always seemed to be working for some kind of greater good, whether through her job or her volunteering, and it's not like she was a rich woman of leisure that had time to get into things. She was squarely working class. Even when she stayed home with my sister and I before we started school, she was able to do so because she ran an in-home day care center and bartended on Saturdays. But still she had time to get out into her community and do shit. It was a really meaningful example to set. I see that now in my sister with her children and my sister's many, busy forms of activism that, frankly, she has very little time for, but she does it anyway. My sister, like my mom, put the work in to cultivate a big strong community that she both gives to and enjoys support from. She amazes me sometimes. She is my heart, and I'm so glad I have her to go through this with.

mom bartending at the American Legion

 A couple years ago, I realized my mom ended up raising 2 hard-core activist daughters. I got my orgasm stuff, and my sister, although always somewhat of an LGBTQ activist, got deep into the thorny politics and real-life advocacy for trans people when her 12 year old came out to her as trans. Here's another Very Special SSL Blog Post  where I posted the letter my sister created to 'introduce' her daughter to friends and family. I might add that my niece is now a happy, healthy 16 year old that is an incredibly brave activist as well. My mom loved the hell out of her from the day she was born until forever - without wavering - even as she worked to learn what being trans would mean for her grandbaby and her family.

Mom kissing on her first grandbaby

I feel like that's something that makes me think most of my mom - children. She loved kids. I don't mean that in a mushy, sweetsy way. She was all about discipline and respect and she was fine letting kids entertain themselves on their own while adults did adult things. I mean that she loved children in that she felt a responsibility toward any child in her life - no matter how they made it into her life or who they were connected to. They were a child, and they deserved to feel safe, and special, and cared for and she went out of her way to make that happen. For so many children around her, she made sure that she was a responsible, kind adult in their life that expected the best out of them, and she made it clear to them that she thought about and considered them. Sadly there are a lot of kids that don't have enough of that in their life. Every single time I interact with my nieces or nephews or my friends kids or really any children, I think about what my mom would do. How would she remember their special days? How would she interact? What kind of special touches would she add? When would she show up?

Mom and 2 of her grandnieces/nephews

Overall I see my mom as deeply realistic about relationships of all kinds and to some extent about life in general. She was an optimistic person, but she did not ignore or avoid the shit parts of life. Whenever she or I went on a trip somewhere in my adult years, we would make sure we told each other that if we died, we had been happy with our lives and that we loved each other. Her death was a bit of a surprise, but it had been preceded by 2 years of cancer, and we had already cried and kissed each other and talked about how scary her death would be and we already told each other, embraced with our foreheads pressed that we didn't need to say anything because we already knew exactly how we each felt. She helped me be as okay as I could be.

ma keepin' it fun at her 2nd round of chemo

She didn't tend to leave things unsaid for long, good or bad. She used to talk about relationships with us as kids a lot and about her and dad's relationship. I remember her often saying that there are ups and downs, but the ups should be more than the downs. She would tell us that you had to talk about stuff. You couldn't let things fester.

mom and dad

She wasn't perfect, and I don't want it to seem as though I am only remembering the best of her. I don't want that because I think that ignoring the lesser parts in someone is missing the point of who the person was. The rough, complicated parts matter. I don't think you can really be close to someone in a deep way without acknowledging and coming to terms with those parts. My mom was maybe a more patient person with me as the younger child than my older sister. She was harsher with her in some ways, and as with all siblings, we each had slightly different parents because of the time and place and circumstance of our childhoods. My mom and sister had a rougher go of it in my sister's teen years, partially due to normal teens being teens and partially because my parents didn't always deal with it well. They stayed constant though, and I think about that a lot with parenting. It's often not about the what you do, but that you continue to do, that you continue to be there and adjust and show up. My mom and sister ended up having maybe a closer relationship in our adult years than I did with mom, but I think mom left some scars.

Me, Mom, and My Sister from left to right
My mom has 2 older sisters who we were very close to, but they also had a younger brother and sister that they stopped talking with after my grandparents died about the time I was an early teen. Some of the reasons were valid and some they probably could have gotten over with time. I always found that cutting off to be a little sad and something that didn't jive with the rest of my mom, but I also realize that my mom's mom was a bit of a mess and probably a prescription drug addict, and that her younger kids probably got the brunt of that and carried a lot of the negative upbringing with them - something the other 3 kids were able to mostly evade in their own ways. This was maybe deeper that I ever really saw and understood. My mom could also say too much. I don't remember this as much when I was young, but when I was older, there were times where my mom could say some rude shit aloud for instance in a restaurant if the service was going badly. I mean she wasn't always completely wrong, but it was inappropriate and it mortified me and my sister. She had a loud voice and her whisper was not a whisper. I might have that problem sometimes.

mom and her older sisters. I love those three women more than I can say

me and mom in the backyard

So she, like all of us, wasn't all goodness and light, but I think she put way more good out there in the world than bad, and you know, a person is never the same thing in the life of any 2 people. I can only truly know her as what she was to me.

Mom and dad after my HS musical senior year

To me she was the person that layed my base. She allowed me to have confidence in myself and trust my instincts. She gave me a community of friends and family to rely on, a safety net of love and food and shelter and support that would always be there even if people had to scrounge. She showed me what hard work looks like and how important it was to not half-ass a job. She was an example of what long-term relationships, be them friendships or lovers or family, look like with all their ups and downs and gives and takes, crying and laughter. She is the reason I love too many colored lights and tinsel at Christmas, ooohing and aaahing at fireworks, women like Bette Midler with huge singing voices and bawdy personalities, dancing my brains out, having clean baseboards in my house, kissing my family right on the lips, and having my nieces and nephews overnight.

Classic 'Plunger Lips' Kiss from mom before my wedding

That's a little bit of what she was to me, and everyday another thing comes up that reminds me of something else.

mom on the backyard swingset

And, what I can say for what she was to everyone else is that a shit ton of people showed up for Pat's Goodbye Bash (that's what we called her end-of life celebration. She didn't want a normal funeral - and neither did we). She was part of them too, and that is how people live on, I think- in the lives they affected and impressions they make in people. That is how we all shape the future in big and small ways.

mom painting our cupboards

I love you ma, and I thank you for living as you did. I think of you often and always will. I even get to see you every now and then in a dream. We'll take care of all your babies. Promise.

one of my fave pics of mom and her girls

To end this already long post, here is something we wrote about mom on the last page of her Goodbye Bash pamphlet.

She was fun. She was a little bit earthy with a touch of a wild streak. She kissed with plunger lips and hugged everyone. She made the children in her life feel loved and safe. She created special times and spaces for all her babies; Princess Baths, outings, baking sessions, sleepovers, and little traditions. She was steady and realistic. She could make do. She gave it to you straight. Sometimes too straight. 
Sweet probably isn’t a good word to describe her, but warm and welcoming probably is. She was loyal and she showed up. She showed up in the hard gritty ways, with a bucket of soapy water, ready to do whatever you needed -no questions asked. She wasn’t afraid of hard work or the long road. When something needed to be done, she got in and did it. She loved to kiss a baby’s chunky thighs and pat a butt to sleep. She was down to clown. She could party, and when you thought she was done, party some more.  
She went back to college for Child Development in her 30’s and rocked those grades. She spent years working with children and teen moms. She babysat in her home while her kids were young and bartended on Saturdays. She and her sister owned an antique and craft store for years. She drove a truck around delivering meals to old folks homes and spent her last months working with adults who have developmental disabilities.  
She would pee outside in a hot second, and she loved a chance to relax in a hot tub, chill on a beach, or snuggle on the couch with some tea. For years in the Ladies Auxiliary, she put on the kids holiday parties, making the back hallway at Post 495 into a haunted house, hiding eggs, or creating a throne for Santa. She was a CCD teacher at St. Lawrence, a PTO mom at Harrison Hill, a member of the Lawrence Township Citizens Committee, a political activist, a food pantry worker, and she volunteered in many a classroom. She went to kid’s events and she was loud and proud (seriously, her voice carried).  
She had a marriage built on friendship and communication. She said Bill made her strong. She may not have been a fashion plate, but by god, she dressed for the season. She loved her Cathy and her Muggs, and she’ll never forget drinking with them in an actual Irish pub. She was a good friend, and she’s seen her friends through many years and all the ups and downs that go with them. She was impatient and loud, funny and kind, fiercely loving and a real hoot. She was our wife, mother, grandma, sister, aunt, cousin, coworker, and friend. She was loved and will be missed. 

Dance on little mama


Insecure S2 Ep3: The SSL Review

This here is my 2nd Insecure SSL Review, and it'll be a quick one - and positive to boot. If you haven't checked out this show yet, it's probably because you don't have HBO, so my suggestion is to get an HBOgo password from your brother-in-law or something. It's the best way to do it. You should really share these things - with at least one other person, I think. And I say that as a person who creates video content. Anyway, check the show out. It's for sure worth a watch.

This, like my first Insecure SSL review, is just one simple scene, but this one will be much more light, airy and orgasm-equality forward. It's an easy one.  I'll describe it below and then give a quick take on it.

SSL Reviews
As a quick reminder, SSL Reviews are depiction or discussions of female orgasm and/or masturbation and/or the clit. Only those specific things are reviewed - other discussions or depictions of sex or sexuality not within the above confines are for the most part not of interest to me. In these reviews,  I critique the realism (for instance, were the physical things happening to that women while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman?) and also speak on what the depiction/discussion reflects from and adds to the larger cultural discussion around lady-gasms and female sexuality.

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

Season 2 Episode 3: Treacherous Batteries
Vibrators need batteries. Well, no. They don't all. In fact, I feel like a person's bedside ol' trusty should be a plug in. I just think it's unnecessary to ever worry that your vibrator is going to run out of juice. We have enough worries in our lives, a slowing vibe right when you're about to pop off should not be one. And that brings me to the scene in question.

Issa is laying on her back in bed. Her covers are up so that we don't see any of the goods or even where her hands are specifically. What we do see is that she has a vibrator, and it seems she's using it in her general vulva area. The batteries go dead before she gets to orgasm, and so she's looking all over the house for them. In the end she can't find any.

First, clearly a vibe in the vulva area is a realistic way to depict a female masturbating to (hopefully- as long as the batteries hold) orgasm. Clitoral glans stimulation is how females come, just as penile stimulation is how males come. So, this gets a big ol' check in the realism department.

It's also an awesome Orgasm Equality scene in another way though too. Just seeing a woman masturbating - and not in a way that makes her use of masturbation seem pathetic - is good for women and our orgasms. The more we see that other women masturbate in media, the more it normalizes that in our culture. Older women who feel weird about it might grow to feel less weird, and young girls will eventually grow up in a world where it's kind of expected that they experiment with masturbation in their childhood and continue through adulthood, much like we expect of males. That normalization of female masturbation is an essential ingredient in orgasm equality because frankly, we can never expect for women to orgasm to the degree men do in partnered sexual experiences if so many women don't know how to get themselves off when they are alone. Stepping stones.

The Vulva Rating
So, bravo Insecure, you've made a solid contribution to the Orgasm Equality Revolution with this episode. The masturbation is depicted in a way that realistically could get a woman to orgasm, and the way it was depicted, although comedic, was not negative toward masturbation in general. I give this a full 5 out of 5 vulva rating.



Crazy Ex-Girlfriend S1 Ep 4 & 8 - The SSL Review

Crazy Ex-GirlFriend
I do quite enjoy this show. It's a wild ride. I respect that. I also love the creator and star, Rachel Bloom. She is an Orgasm Equality advocate, ya'll. She dropped some truth bombs on Twitter, and I loved it. I wrote a post about it and made her an official Orgasm Equality Ally She also drops in subtle accurate, realistic depictions and discussions of lady-gasm stuff in her show, which honestly, is my dream of dreams. If all shows did this, we wouldn't have much of a problem anymore.

Anyway, it's a network show so there's not a ton of orgasm, masturbation, and clit stuff being thrown around for obvious reasons, but there are things from time to time that are SSL Reviewable. For those that don't yet know, an SSL Review is a critique specifically of discussions or depictions of female orgasm, female masturbation, or the clit. I focus on that and really only that (unless I want to talk about something else). 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. I have 2 simple ones from Season 1 to talk about here.

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

S1 Ep4 - Dirty Hippie Dudes
Rebecca, played by Rachel Bloom, ends up having a one night stand with this unkempt hippie-style guy. After they have sex, the dude gets up.
Hippie Dude: "What do you want me to do with these 2 condoms you made me wear."
Rebecca: "Uh trashcan in the bathroom"
Hippie Dude: Cool. Hey by the way, you finished right?
Rebecca: Oh yea. I finished a bunch.
The hippie dude is satisfied with that, and she gets him out of her apartment quickly.

She definitely did not come 'a bunch.' She's clearly being sarcastic in this scene. The audience has no idea about what physically happened during the sex, but we can assume that the dude must not have been that interested in her orgasm during the act since he asked as an afterthought. We can also suspect he's not very perceptive since he was fine with her clearly sarcastic answer,. That's real. They probably just banged. He came. She didn't. That's about as typical a hook-up as one can imagine.

So, this scene is not super progressive or anything, but I like how it mirrors the female reality of shit one-night-stand sex that includes intercourse but no lady-gasms...because frankly hook-ups, for a variety of reasons, are just not all that great generally for the clit and thus the female orgasm.

I think the simple act in media of pointing out that sexual encounters are often not orgasmic for women is a small but important task. In order for our culture to begin really caring about actual female orgasm and to embrace the idea of clitoral glans stimulation as main-course fare (as opposed to intercourse as main-course fare), we all need to really get the point that what we tend to do currently in sexual encounters is not working all that well...like we need to really get that. We need to for real understand that a penis moving in the vagina does not a lady-gasm make.

Little pokes like this scene are poignant, and I appreciate that.

S1Ep8 - Frigid 
This is flashback of Rebecca as a kid trying to please her mom. She tells her that her principal said she was the youngest and prettiest of all the moms in her grade. Her mom retorts back,
Mom: Just in your grade?
Rebecca: Oh no in the whole school.
Mom: I don't know why you're even talking about him. He's married...but I heard his wife was frigid. Go on.
Frigid. It's not actually used much these days. It was used a lot from the 40's into the 80's. It is a Freudian word specifically meaning a woman that cannot orgasm from vaginal penetration. She may be able to orgasm from clitoral stimulation, but that was immature. She was frigid unless she orgasmsed from intercourse. In pop culture it also seemed to kind of grow a less specific meaning in that it referred to a woman that was just not able to orgasm at all or was not generally that interested in sex or not easily aroused. It was always seemed to have a derogatory, bad feel.

I'm not sure, off the bat, how to place this scene in the sexual culture. I do know Rebecca's mom is clearly mean and vindictive in this show, and her saying that about another woman shows it to be kind of a shitty and maybe gossipy thing to say. I guess though that bringing up frigidity at all and the derogatory feel surrounding it about a woman's ability to orgasm or to orgasm in the right way, is not real positive - especially if it's left unaddressed. Women's insecurities about our orgasmic capabilities are deep and strong (women's magazines know that...that's why every issue gives us tips about how to be correctly orgasmic), so little mentions of frigidity, even if made by a clearly vindictive character, can add onto the pile of other media mentions that remind and reiterate to that women we aren't orgasming right or enough.

The Vulva Rating
I loved the realism about lady-gasms the show put out there in Rebecca's answer to the hippies question about her 'finishing.' I think that's a solid and intentional schooling on the realities of sexual encounters for females. The frigid statement was just a joke about her mom's vindictiveness, but if I want to be picky (and I do often want to be picky) I do think bringing up derogatory concepts like that without speaking to their ridiculousness leaves them to just fester there with all the other similar mentions in the media we watch. It's an unintentional reiteration of the fears women already have.

So, This will not be a perfect score, but it won't be bad either. I will give this a 3 1/2 out of 5 vulva rating.



Sleeping With Other People - The SSL Review

Sleeping With Other People
It's hard to decide what movie to watch on the streaming services. There's tons, and you don't usually have an idea of what you want when you go in. It's kinda like walking into Blockbuster back in the day. You circle the outside wall, looking at all the new releases in alphabetical order, and you get to the end and still have no idea what to watch. Do you go into the middle for the older movies? Do you take another loop? Maybe you missed something awesome. It's hard stuff. I have a little secret that helps me sometimes though. I make it a point to specifically find movies directed by women to watch. It narrows down the field, and I have a sense of adventure about it - like, don't care what it looks like, just try it out and see what happens. That's how I ended up watching Sleeping With Other People. It's a great romantic comedy. It's a bit When Harry Met Sally-ish, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.

However, I wasn't all that happy about the lady-gasm stuff in it. I always hope for better when it's a woman director, but I'm definitely disappointed on that from time to time. The whole world has weird ideas about lady-gasms, which includes women. If it was just a situation where men didn't get it, and women totally got it, this whole orgasm gap would have been fixed a long time ago, but that's not the case. Women have a much better chance of getting it because we have our own bodies to explore on, but you take all the crap info we get; stuff like our sex ed that ignores the clit, also all the TV, porn and movies we all watch that ####very incorrectly#### shows women coming by being boned with no additional clit stimulation, plus all the bad sex advice and bad sex studies that tell us things like cervix touching and g-spot stimulating will cause orgasm (####completely unverified in scientific literature####). Take all that nonsense and it's no wonder we women just sort of make up our own ideas about what our bodies are doing in relation to our sexual pleasure because the cues and information we get about it are shit and often conflicts with what our bodies are telling us.

Some women might get through all that with an okay sense of their orgasm and sexuality, but most of us don't. Some of us end up calling our arousal an orgasm. Some of us can masturbate just fine, but can't seem to make our orgasms work with a partner or only sometimes with a partner. Some of us go for years with arousal and no orgasm during sex and we might justify it by trying to convince your partners (and yourself) that you enjoy sex for sex sake and don't need an orgasm. Some of us have never orgasmed into our adult years, and some of us fake our orgasms for our partners and sometimes to ourselves. Most of us, all in our own way, eventually feel the insecurity and confusion and sadness of being #### culturally gaslighted#### about how our orgasm works and about how sex is supposed to be for us.

My point here is that just because we're women doesn't mean we understand or can identify the female orgasm any more than we understand other bodily functions we don't have good information and/or conflicting information about. I mean, do you expect someone to tell if they 1. tore their ACL, 2. have bursitis, 3. a dislocation, or 4. have a tendon tear? I mean, we can really only safely assume they feel what they feel and can really only confidently say that something is going on in the knee area. Now, just like you need educated knowledge on knee injuries to really understand what happened to your knee, you also need lots of realistic, practical, accurate, non-conflicting information about what orgasm is physically to know if the sexual/arousal/excitement stuff you are feeling in your body is physically an orgasm. This education could just happen through basic cultural education during early life - similar to how males learn this, but that's not what happens for women. We ladies instead are bombarded with conflicting and downright incorrect physical information, and thus it's important to remember that just because we are women doesn't mean we're experts on female orgasm.

With that, let me just get right into the SSL Reviewable scenes, so I can start talking about this specifically. An SSL Review, for those that need a little refresher, is a review specifically of any discussion or depiction of female orgasm, female masturbation, or the clit. I critique the realism of the depiction/discussion and also write about what the depiction/discussion says about and/or adds to our cultural understanding of female sexuality and orgasm. I try my best to just stick specifically to those SSL Reviewable moments, so it usually stays pretty focused on those moments in the movie only, but sometimes I like to digress.

So here we go. I have tons of these reviews btw. You can find all the other movie SSL Reviews HERE and the TV SSL Reviews HERE.

Classic Desk Bang
The female lead is Lainey, and she is having an affair with a doctor that is kind of an asshole. She goes to his office and in between patients, fucks him on his desk. It's pretty standard movie desk-fucking. She's in a skirt. They are standing and kissing for a hot second, and he moves her to her back to the desk. Her legs are up, and he is standing in between them. They quickly start unbuttoning, etc. down there. It cuts to the door for a sec, and when it cuts back, he presumably penetrates her and says, "Is this what you wanted, Elaine?" and she says, "Yes, I want it all the time. It's all I think about." From there, he starts banging into her slowly. She gives a lustful 'uh' with each thrust. He stays close to her (his head is close to her head). We are looking at them from the side from the waist up. All their hands seem accounted for, and not touching her vulva area. She is tensing her neck and face, arching her back. After approximately 40 seconds, he gives a final orgasmic 'uh' and kinda collapses in post-orgasmic bliss. At the same time, she leans her head back, opens he mouth and gives her orgasmic 'uh' as she's sort of banging on his arm with her fist.

They had a simultaneous 40 second, intercourse orgasm, ya'll! It's the gold-standard of media intercourse, and...it's pretty damn unlikely given that intercourse is such a shit way for women to orgasm (seriously - stimulation inside the vagina has never been shown to cause a physical orgasm in scientific literature...like for real). I will say - at least he was bent forward against her which could possibly make his pelvis pressed against her clit/vuvla area instead of being upright at a right angle to her with his pelvis definitely not against her clit area. That gives a small chance of her getting some clit stimulation, but honestly, she wasn't really like grinding against him or anything like that which, I think, is a sensible ingredient for a woman having an orgasm during intercourse related pelvis-against-clit friction. Otherwise, assuming she came from 40 seconds of his intermittent pelvis touching on her clit as he was banging her is pretty far-fetched.

So, this scene is the most classic, and I think harmful, of intercourse scenes because it shows a woman getting off from a quick bang with very little likelyhood of sustained, appropriate clitoral glans stimulation. It sits with all the thousands of scenes like it and feeds into the incorrect assumption we've all probably had at one time or another (and probably still do deep inside us), that intercourse is as orgasmic for a woman as it is for a man; that encompassing and fully stimulating the penis is as orgasmic as stimulating the inside of the vagina with a cylindrical object. It is not. Penises get very well stimulated during intercourse, and clits, as a rule, do not - at least without some added special attention. Scenes like this are why 16 year old girls have sex for the first time and wonder what the fuss was all about. Scenes like this both reiterate already deeply-held yet incorrect cultural assumptions about intercourse and also propel those myths into future generations.

Yet it seems so, so, so normal of a scene, right? And that, my friends, is why we have such a problem.

Dudes Teaching Ladies How To Masturbate
Listen, I have no problem with the principal of a dude teaching a woman how to masturbate. If a dude knew the physical realities of lady parts and lady-gasms, he might be a pretty good teacher, given that stimulating the penis to orgasm and stimulating the clit to orgasm is not really that different. In a way, I think men and women could learn a lot from each other on this front. All that to say, my problem with this scene is not that a man is teaching a woman how to masturbate, but that it's got some problematic info about orgasm and the cervix and G-spot. It definitely has some good tips in there, but the focus on the inner vagina confuses the good points, So in the end, the overall takeaway is basically the confusing shit society is already teaching us; that the inside of the vagina, the G-spot, and the cervix are as important as the clit. They are not. They don't cause orgasm and the clit does. I think the intention with this scene was good, but I don't think it comes out right. I don't think it gives the right clues, and I don't think it does much more than reiterate the status quo when it comes to creating understanding about what physically causes orgasm in women.

Here's the scene.
The male lead, Jake, hooks up with this women and there's a scene of them having sex in lots of different positions. It's hot, and they are both vocal throughout, although we don't see the 'orgasmic' final vocals. It just cuts and they both fall back into the pillows exhausted.

Jake is going on about how great it was and he says,
Jake: did you, uh...
Thea: No...but don't take it personally. I don't Orgasm during sex that much.
Jake looks sooo confused and the it cuts to him talking with Lainey at a store. These two lost their virginity to each other, and many years later met up again and have become platonic friends.
Lainey: So? Lots of women don't come during sex.
Jake: So? No no no, that has never happened to me before.
Lainey: Well, what positions did you do?
Jake: Mmm no, we did everything. Why, what's your favorite position?
Lainey: I don't know. The regular one.
Jake: The regular... Come on.
Lainey: From behind (quietly) 
Jake: Exactly. 'cause you hate your dad.
Lainey: Oh my God. Mouse trap (mouse trap is their safe word for when it's getting too sexual)
They have to deal with the cashier and stuff and then it cuts to them in her apartment putting together the thing they bought.
Jake: You know, it's like, when do you orgasm? I mean like when does that happen for you?
Lainey: When I'm with Matthew (that's the doctor she desk-fucked)Jake:  Yeah yeah, okay.
Lainey: That's it.
Jake:  That's it!? Okay, well that just explained everything. That that's...I mean you haven't had an orgasm in a year!? Come on, that's bullshit. Not even when you masturbate?
Lainey shrugs
Jake: Lainey, you've got to be kidding me. What? You don't masturbate? Why not?
Lainey: What? - I don't kn...I mean I've tried to. I try. I just..I don't know. I ...I get bored.
Jake: Bored? How's that boring???
Lainey: But I feel good when I'm with Matthew. I don't. I don't know how to recreate that myself.
Jake: Okay, well, fuck the tv. I'm gonna teach you how to finger yourself today. Right now. Okay?
Lainey: What?
Jake: It's go time sister. Alright, let's go. Alright?
Lainey: Okay
Jake:  No no this is a good thing.
Lainey: O boy. (exasperated)
Jake:  It's about time. Get it out. (Empties a jar). For the purposes of today's tutorial your vagina will be played by this former bottle of green tea
Lainey: Looks just like it.
Jake: Okay... Good to know. So, here's what we do. First thing, you, you take this guy, (Shakes index finger) this uh index finger and you're gonna uh, slide it in the like that, okay, and you're gonna curve it up a little bit, and I want you to tap the roof like that. You see that? That's your g spot alright? You got that?
Lainey: Yeah, I'll check it out. (kinda uninterested)
Jake: Okay, good. Alright, next move. You're gonna take the middle finger here, alright? And you know, the bad boy, right? You're gonna have to pop that in as well, and you're gonna have that one tapping the roof, and this one, the middle finger is going to be, you know, sorry if circling uh this uh just like fleshy gap area.
Lainey: My cervix? Jesus!
Jake:  Yeah sure. You know what it's called. Wonderful. Good for you. Okay, yeah, so you're gonna go after the cervix here, so you're gonna mind the gap. Right? Tap the roof.
Lainey: Mind the gap, tap the roof.
Jake:  You got it. Alright at this point you wanna start thinking about something, uh, arousing. You know, like, uh maybe you wanna think about the guy you lost your virginity to perhaps?
Lainey: Gross.
Jake:  Okay, and then you're gonna start to get wet. You're gonna start to get wet and then you're gonna start to feel some, uh, contractions in your vagina, alright? At that point you're gonna want to squeeze your vagina harder than it wants to go, okay? And that's called k...
Lainey: Kegaling
Jake: We'll it's pronounced kegaling, but it doesn't matter.
Lainey: Uh I got into med school. I think I know how it's pronounced. 
He congratulates her on med school (He didn't know she'd been excepted.) and they talk about it for a minute. Then she tells him to keep going.
Jake: Okay, so, do you know what a dirty DJ is?
Lainey: No.
Jake: You don't? Okay great. Okay, so the biggest misconception that guys have about the clitoris, uh, if they can find it, is that they're too nice to it. Okay?
Lainey: Mmhm (skeptical)
Jake: Like, that's the problem. I mean the trick is to be a little rude to the clitoris, okay?
Lainey: Oh, really?
Jake: Yeah, just go to town on this little mother fucker here. You just, like...you just tweet, tweet tweet (rubbing top of the jar hard like a DJ). You know, so that's the dirty Dj. You know, like you're scratching a record. You know this... ( And continues doing it and saying DJ things). And you just really wanna work that little bugger. You remember like the old IBM think pads?
Lainey: Mmmmhmmm (looks pained)
Jake: And that little nub, right? Okay so you just really go after it like that. Just like this.
Lainey: Fueeew, yeah. (she's getting more interested and excited)
Jake: Right, so uh you have that. That's phase 3.
Lainey: Mmmmhmmm (She starts doing these things to the bottle - she's getting progressively turned on, and so is he)Jake: So again, you know. (He's intently watching her pushing her finger in and out of the bottle with her thumb on the top 'clit' area). Yeah perfect. Natural. Okay? Yeah so tap the roof.
Lainey: I know.
Jake: Mind the gap. Oh see. Okay, yeah, work all three. Look at that. It's like you're doing...
Lainey: Right there?
Jake: Oh boy oh boy. It's like I feel like Anne Sullivan teaching Helen Keller about water. This is amazing. What a break through.
Lainey: Mmmhhh (still poking her finger in and out of the bottle, She's pretty much stopped touching the outside of the bottle).
Jake: Yeah that's it.
Lainey: Like that? (She's poking the bottle intently)
Jake: Yeah, you know, just like take a night. Crack open a bottle of rose and just have multiple orgasms if you want. You know... You know... 
At this point it just looks like she has a finger in the bottle and is kinda rubbing the g-spot roof area. There doesn't seem to be any outside play at all. She's very turned on and intent on stimulating that bottle's g-spot 
Lainey: Uh primotologists actually believed that women evolved this way so that, uh, they could mate with as many men in one session as possible...
Jake: Fucking awesome.. you know... That's neat...
Lainey: Multiple orgasms for multiple partners...
Jake: Yeah...
Lainey: Gang bangs and such...
Jake: (gets a clear head suddenly) Yeah...I'm gonna go home.
Lainey: (her head suddenly gets cleared too - She's a bit flustered) Yeah me too.
Jake: No you live here.
Lainey: Yes I do.
Jake: Bye. 

It cuts and she's out with a friend that says, "I think it's a little weird that a straight dude had to tell you that." to which she responds, "I think it;s sort of great." Then they start talking about something else.

The Dirty DJ
Here's the final scene I need to tell you about. Lainey's with a dude in bed. They are doing it from behind on all 4s. She looks kinda bored, then she sits up and moves his hand down to her vulva area. She says, "be rude to it." So he starts going to town on it in circles - the soundrack has some DJ scratching. It then cuts to them both falling back into bed satisfied.

My Thoughts
Clearly the scene where Lainey adjusts her sexual encounter in order to get hers is a big Fuck Yeah for orgasm equality. She asks for and gets clitoral glans stimulation ####(something that realistically will cause orgasm in females)#### in order to come. Bravo. I love seeing manual clit stimulation during intercourse. It's a rare thing to see, so this scene gets big ups from me.

  • I also love that we see Jake's hookup getting banged in all kinds of hot sexy ways, but yet we also know that she didn't come. That's realistic, yo. None of the montages of them fucking included clitoral stimulation, so no, she wouldn't come.
  • I don't love that Lainey's first question about it was what positions did they do. Unless the answer is Position Number my-hands-and-mouth-all-over-her-clit then it doesn't much matter which way the dick is getting moved in and out. It's still just a dick moving in and out a vag, and that's not great for lady-gasm, yet her asking the question is an insinuation to the audience that the intercourse position is mucho important to whether a woman comes or not. 
  • I also don't love that the prop chosen to represent Lainey's genitals was a bottle. A bottle is basicall all vagina and no vulva. All inside and no outside. I mean, they talked about the clit which is on the outside, and I guess the tiny rim was supposed to represent the whole clit/vulva area, but that's B.S. The clit is further from the vaginal opening than that, and where were the lips? The lips are very sensitive, ya'll. Because of that prop, the outside was waaaayyy downplayed, and the inside was waaaayyy emphasized. It should be the complete opposite. Their intentions aside, I think the overall feel of that teaching scene was that you needed to stick your fingers in your vagina to masturbate, and that's how pretty much no women do it (see the masturbation surveys by Shere Hite).
  • Seriously, why not use a prop that has an outside. Something that, if not more vulva than vagina, at least has any vulva to it at all. Something like a fruit -a  peach or papaya, or maybe a Kleenex box, or a piece of paper with a hole cut out, or he could use her hand...really anything but a bottle. 
  • And can I just say, Lainey was clearly faking it with her doctor lover, Matthew. I mean she's never masturbated to orgasm. How the fuck does she know what an orgasm is?? Seriously. And, when she's trying to explain her lack of masturbation she says, "But I feel good when I'm with Matthew. I don't I don't know how to recreate that myself." She doesn't say she orgasms. She says she feels good. MmmmmHmmmm. Sound like she's mistaking arousal for orgasm because she has never experienced an orgasm. I mean, I know she's a fictional character, and I think it's possible the director actually may have wanted it to seem like she faked with Matthew, but I think the opposite happened. I think the scene of her orgasming with Matthew was so normal and convincing of its sexy goodness and orgasmic-ness that no one would question that she came with him. Most people don't think too hard about these kinds of depictions, and she was never really called on her wishy-washiness about her orgasm with Matthew. So, I think in the end the viewer is left assuming Lainey orgasms with hot intercourse even though she doesn't masturbate, but then she also learned how to stimulate her clit to orgasm as well. So, the movie sort of reiterated our incorrect cultural understanding of female orgasm - that there's different kinds of lady-gasms, vaginal intercourse ones and masturbation clit types. There are not. Clits are where it's at. Vag orgasms are a thing people talk about (probably because our culture desperately hangs on to the hope that women can just come during whatever is happening that makes dudes come) but has never been verified in scientific literature.
  • I do love that Jake is appalled that Lainey hasn't masturbated though. He should be. Grown people who are having sexual interactions with other people should be knowledgeable about their own body's wants and needs, and that involves masturbation. Boys don't have quite the same upstream swim to find masturbation that girls do, so this is especially important for girls.
  • Dude, don't start hitting the cervix. That shit hurts and it's not gonna make you come. I don't know where this idea that hitting the cervix causes orgasms came from, but stop. It's painful.  I do kinda know where it came from. It's something inside the vagina and vaginal orgasm research enthusiasts are always (unsuccessfully) trying to connect stimulation of something inside the vagina with orgasm. There's this scientific paper relating to orgasm research in women with spinal cord damage that says it proves (but actually for sure does not) that the cervix stimulation can be another route to orgasm for women. It's BS.
  • Also, similar to what I was saying above, stimulating the G-spot does not cause orgasms. It can, it seems, for some women cause ejaculation through the urethra, but like in men, an ejaculation is different from an orgasm. Orgasm and ejaculation just usually happen at the same time for men. Anyway, like I said above there's lots of researchers obsessed with showing us that stimulation of something inside the vagina can cause orgasm and the area about an inch or 2 in towards the stomach where the urethra sits against the vagina (which is often called the G-spot) is often the focus for these hopeful but thus far unsuccessful researchers. 
  • So...please tell me why Lainy's masturbation lesson is so goddamn focused on the cervix and the G-spot? Sure, touch them if you want, but they ain't gonna get you there. Talking about them so much adds to women's confusion by piling on to the already messy information women get that associates vaginal penetration with orgasms as much or more often than it associates clitoral stimulation to orgasms...making it incorrectly seem like clitoral stimulation is just another way to orgasm instead of the way to orgasm.

The Vulva Rating
This is definitely a mixed bag. There is truly clit and lady-bation love in this move, and I'm all for that. I also think the intentions might be on-point for a lot of these scenes. However, intention isn't enough. In the end, I think that the overall take-away from this movie ends up being that yeah, clits are great, but you can also orgasm from getting banged, and that really a huge part of masturbating for a woman is getting your fingers to work the inside of the vagina. Those are both ways of emphasizing the vagina over the clit when it comes to female orgasm and female sexuality.

That incorrect emphasis (think if we emphasized men's balls over their penises when it came to male orgasm) is a HUGE part of why female orgasm seems so confusing and why so much partnered sex continues to exclude the clit and thus exclude the female orgasm. It's a reinforcing of the already shitty status quo of depictions/discussions/information about the female orgasm, and it contributes heavily to orgasm inequality.

I'm going to be generous with this rating because I REALLY like the scene where Lainey gets her clit rubbed while having intercourse - a rare scene in media where a woman is depicted as clearly getting an appropriate amount of clitoral stimulation in order to come. It's one of the better scenes I have ever SSL Reviewed, but it's mixed in with all the other stuff and it's goodness gets kinda erased in the end. So, this mixed bag, that I'm rating nicer than I might feel because of that great scene gets a 2 1/2 out of 5 vulva rating.