Marriage Story - An SSL Review

This is going to be a quick one, friends. It's New Years Eve 2019, and I want to make sure I get one last post in for the year. Ya know, since I haven't put up nearly as many posts as I would like this year, I wanted to at least try and end the year off right...and hopefully begin 2020 right as well. So Happy New Year to all of you. May your 2020 be filled with many ladygasms for you and/or the ladies you care about. (!)

Marriage Story
I caught this movie on Netflix last night, and it was alright. There were parts I really liked in it, but it was also not everything I would have wanted. Plus, I have a little part of me that is really bothered by stories about rich entertainers and their specific issues. I think I've just seen it too much - especially in a particular type of indie movie genre. Anyway, it's okay as a movie, but there was a part of it that maybe isn't specifically SSL Reviewable, but is still well worth a review. It was a fairly unique thing, and worthy of some SSL praise.

An SSL Review
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 parts of 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.

Get yours, my lady friend!
Let me just get right down to the scene in question. Nicole, played by Scarlett Johansson, is a woman in her 30's? I'd guess, in the midst of a divorce. She is largely getting said divorce because she realized that she had not been living her own life. She had just been going along with her husband, and realized when she tried to be her own person doing her own things, he got bothered and jealous, and she decided she needed to break it off, think about what she wanted and go after it.

After she gets a annoying call from her ex at a party, she sees a crew member from the show she's on that had been flirty with her on set. They talk for a second and then we see them in a car kissing and making out and all that. Then she says:
"This is what we're going to do. You're going to finger me. That's all we're going to do. I'm changing my whole life."
Then it cuts.

I like that shit
Listen, I don't know what happened after that, but I'd like to assume that dude emphatically rubbed her vulva and clit with his fingers until she came and then she went the fuck home to eat a lovely snack, watch a little TV and then go to bed. That's what I hope, and I think that's what the movie insinuates.

It also insinuates that by saying what she said, by going into a rando-sexual encounter and making that encounter be something that is focused on her orgasm alone, she is making a change in her life. I can only assume that change is the prioritization of her orgasm in her sexual encounters. And, you know I love that.

Like I said before, this scene is technically not SSL Reviewable because there is no specific reference to clit, lady-gasm, or lady-bation, but I mean, it's basically about her orgasm, amiright?

Anyway, I appreciated a really pointed display of a woman taking control of her sexual life that wasn't just about her 'being as sexy as she wanted to be' or her 'fucking whoever she wanted to fuck.' I mean, please, fuck whoever you want to fuck, but let's be honest, although that is a really common way to see women 'take control of their sexuality' in movies and TV, it's problematic because it still leaves the lady-gasm out of the picture. Put as many dicks in your vagina as you want, they aren't likely to create any orgasm but his....because stimulation inside the vagina does not an orgasm make. Now getting fingered (which to be fair could mean ramming fingers up the pussy, but I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt and assume it means getting your clit vulva area diddled to orgasm), however, is a very realistic way a woman might get hers - given that the clit is the organ of female pleasure and stimulating it right could for sure cause orgasm.

The Vulva Rating
What Nicole did in that scene, I would recommend to any woman. In fact I would give my friend a flying high five if she told me that is what she did last night. I hope women and girls see that scene and see possibilities for their next sexual encounter. I hope guys see that ask she made in that scene and it gets normalized. Respect to that scene. I give you a 5 out of 5 vulva rating.



1 Shitty and 4 Kinda Interesting Articles about Orgasm and Prolactin

Happy Holidays, and you're welcome. I finally got my shit together enough to do another installment of A Journal Article I Read! Today I'll be talking about not 1, not 2, not 3,or 4, but FIVE journal articles. I started out intending to summarize the Brody one below, but then I kept reading back into the supporting articles, and realized this should all be a package deal. It won't be quite like most of the latest ones I have summarized. I won't be slipping so deeply into the details of these. It would be way too long and way too boring, and it's already probably at least a little of those things. What I'm doing is closer to over-viewing. Three of the articles have almost the exact same experimental conditions, so I'll go a little bit deep into the first one and then skip over a lot in the later ones. Have fun.

Superduper Quick Overview of All 5 Studies
Together, 4 articles by mostly the same group of researchers investigate levels of the hormone prolactin (other things too, but prolactin ends up being the focus) in the blood of men and women before/during/after sexual arousal and orgasm. The studies seem to indicate that prolactin is released upon orgasm, helping with sexual satiation, and could possibly be a marker for orgasm.

Orgasms were not physically verified in any of the articles, which particularly creates weakness in the article about intercourse-induced orgasms. Spoiler alert: I have a lot to say about the researchers assuming 100% of females will orgasm from nothing more than a penis moving in a vagina. I also have an issue with the researchers choosing to ignore the possibility that prolactin might get released from sexual nipple stimulation and that it could skew their data. I appreciate, though, that the research team continued on this topic and worked to answer more questions with each new study.

The 5th article is authored by 1 of the authors of all the articles above and Stuart Brody, a notorious vag-gasm obsesser. By swooping in to compare the prolactin release in the masturbation vs. intercourse articles, he took his chance to remind us ladies that orgasms without a dick up the junk basically suck. He claims that more prolactin is released in an intercourse induced orgasm than in a masturbation induced one and concludes that means intercourse orgasms leave a person more satiated than jerking off. As with all Brody articles, it's got problems, dude. I mean, among other things, the whole deal is based on an unsubstantiated assumption that the more prolactin there is, the more satiated one is.

Overall, though, there's some cool aspects to these articles (minus Brody's), and the idea of prolactin as an orgasm marker remains interesting and possible in my book even if the intercourse-orgasm related articles are super messy and weak.

The Male Masturbation Study
Neuroendocrine and cardiovascular response to sexual arousal and orgasm in men. Krüger T1, Exton MS, Pawlak C, von zur Mühlen A, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1998 May;23(4):401-11.

The Method Details
Basically some researchers tested 10 men's Heart Rate (HR), Blood Pressure (BP), and a bunch of chemicals in their blood (adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), prolactin, growth hormone (GH), beta-endorphin and testosterone) while the men masturbated to orgasm as they watched porn movies. Then they compared it to HR, BP and those blood chemicals while the same men watched a non-erotic doc and did not masturbate on a different day. Here is a quote from the article that will help describe how the experiment was run.
Initially, subjects were informed about the aim and the procedure of the study. Volunteers were then asked to refrain from any kind of sexual activity and to avoid alcoholic beverages or other drugs 24 h prior to the lab investigation. A cross-over design was used, involving two sessions on consecutive days. Each session started at 1500h. Subjects were seated in a comfortable armchair in front of a video screen. Subjects completed the experimental procedure in a separate room in which they stayed alone during the whole experiment. In the control session subjects viewed a neutral documentary tape about culture in Nepal for 60 min. The experimental session was composed of sequences, each lasting 20 minutes. The first and last sections of this tape were composed of sections of the documentary film used in the control session. However, the middle section consisted of a 20 minute pornographic film which showed different couples having sexual intercourse. The order of the presentation was balanced, with five subjects watching the pornographic film on the first day and 5 on the second. At the beginning of the film the blood sampling was initiated. Blood was drawn continuously with the samples divided into six 10 minute intervals (Schedlowski et al. 1996). Following 10 minute viewing of the pornographic video (anticipatory phase) subjects in the experimental session were required to masturbate until orgasm. -p.403
So, the participants had a needle in their vein slowly extracting blood the whole 60 minutes, but every 10 minutes it would move the blood into a new capture tube. So, the blood from the 1st sample was kind of like an averaging of the blood content going through the dude's veins throughout the 1st 10 minutes of the experiment. So in the experimental session, the 1st and 2nd blood samples represented what was happening during the doc. The 3rd sample represented what was happening during the anticipatory period where the subject was watching the porn but not masturbating. The 4th sample represented what happened while he was masturbating, when he orgasmed, and possibly some of the post-orgasm time while the porn was still on - depending on how quickly he orgasmed during that 10 minute masturbation period. It seems to me that there may be differences in the blood content depending on whether the subject orgasmed towards the beginning or end of that 10 minute section, but there is no information in the study about how the timing differs among the participants and doesn't really discuss that the timing may be different among them. The 5th sample represents what was happening the first 10 minutes of watching the doc after orgasm, and the 6th sample represents the last 10 minutes of watching the doc post orgasm.

Results and Stuff
The researchers found the same thing that's already known about HR and BP; it increases during arousal and orgasm. The blood chemicals didn't show much that was interesting except for Prolactin, which is best known for it's part in lactation. Prolactin seemed to spike in the participants' blood specifically in the sample that represented the orgasm. From background info known about prolactin (for instance that it's related to lack of interest in sex), the researchers thought this might indicate that prolactin signals sexual satiation in the body. So, in simple terms the idea is something like this:
Based on the belief that after a person orgasms, they tend to lose the strong sexual desire and physical sexual arousal they had just seconds before, the assumption is that maybe what does that, what gives a person that satiation is the release of prolactin.

I have no major qualms with this article. It's simple, exploratory, and as well thought out as any other orgasm-related article. This was released in 1998.

The Female Masturbation Study
Cardiovascular and endocrine alterations after masturbation-induced orgasm in women. Exton MS1, Bindert A, Krüger T, Scheller F, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M. Psychosom Med. 1999 May-Jun;61(3):280-9.

The Method etc.
In 1999, a group of mostly the same researchers decided to do the exact same test on 10 females that they had done for the males. The only real difference being that all the women were tested on the midfollicular phase of their menstrual cycle. Otherwise, the experimental design was exactly the same.

Results and Things
They also found in this study that there was a spike in prolactin in the blood sample representing what happened the the last 10 minutes of the porn movie where the women were required to masturbate to orgasm. All the women indicated they did indeed orgasm. The women were in complete privacy during this, so there was no information or discussion at all in the study regarding what the women were doing to themselves in order to elicit orgasm - except to say they masturbated. I would imagine it involved clitoral glans stimulation for most if not all the women given that in surveys that is how almost all women say they masturbate (Lloyd 24-25).

This study indicated that in both males AND females one might expect to see a spike in prolactin at orgasm. It further seemed to support the researcher's thoughts that a prolactin spike may be a marker of orgasm and also that it may be related to sexual satiation.

I wish they would have physically verified the orgasms, but at least they were masturbating which means odds are at least most of them did orgasm
This was also a simple and generally well thought out experiment, at least as well thought out as most orgasm related experiments. However, as always, I have to mention that any study involving female orgasm should always have a physical check to see if the involuntary muscle contractions that are known to release muscle tension and blood congestion at orgasm actually happened when a woman said she orgasmed. To be fair, I think it's sensible to assume at least most of the women in this study did in fact orgasm when they said they did because masturbation is a realistic way that women can physically elicit orgasm. Most women in surveys say they stimulate their clitoral glans/vulva area and that they do almost always or always orgasm. This is not the case, by far, for women and orgasms during partnered sex - particularly intercourse. (Lloyd 24-39). So, although I think this study would be better if they had verified the orgasms physically, I think the whole masturbation situation puts the odds in the women-probably-did-orgasm-when-they-said-they-did corner.

but, like, researchers still really do need to start verifying women's orgasm claims in their studies
However, in general, I'm unconvinced that a woman saying she orgasmed is a good way to mark orgasm in a scientific experiment. I think it is possible that any person could say they orgasmed when they in fact physically did not have the specific involuntary pelvic muscle contractions of orgasm, but I believe it is particularly likely for a woman due to a wide variety of factors including a lifetime of misinformation about her orgasm, incredible cultural pressure to fake orgasms, and a sexual culture that glorifies non-female-orgasmic acts and largely ignores the female organ of sexual pleasure (the clitoral glans). It creates a world where males tend to expect orgasm, physically understand how their orgasm happens, and orgasm quite frequently by themselves and with others....and for women it is just the opposite. Yet we act and speak as it is just the same as it is for males.

So, what I'm saying is women are confused about our orgasms and frankly if you are a researching our orgasms, you really should be checking to see if the involuntary muscle contractions that are pretty universally understood to mark orgasm are actually happening when we say that we orgasmsed. This did not happen in this study, but again, at least the conditions were good for women to orgasm.

The Male/Female Arousal Study
Neuroendocrine response to film-induced sexual arousal in men and women. Exton NG1, Truong TC, Exton MS, Wingenfeld SA, Leygraf N, Saller B, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2000 Feb;25(2):187-99.
(you might be able to find the full text article available HERE)

So then in 2000, a research team that included 3 of the researchers from the previous 2 articles dug a little deeper. A scientific study is only a tiny slice of a truth, and to get really into a subject, lots of follow-up investigations are needed, so I very much appreciate this bit of extra investigation from this research team. Basically, they were testing whether it was just sexual arousal and not necessarily orgasm that caused that prolactin spike.

Method etc.
So, you know how in the above 2 studies they had people masturbating to a porn movie and just sitting and watching a non-erotic movie as the control? Well the control here was still sitting chill and watching a non-erotic documentary movie for 60 minutes, but the experiment was just sitting and watching the experimental movie which consisted of 20 min of the non-erotic doc, then 20 minutes of porn, and then another 20 minutes of the non-erotic doc. They did not masturbate though, so there was no physical sexual stimulation or the physical movement involved in masturbation, and there was, of course, no orgasm there to possibly affect the prolactin levels. It was just a comparison between arousal vs. non-arousal. Also to document if and how much the participants aroused during the sessions, they were each asked to rate their arousal at the beginning and end of both the control and experimental sessions and also after 40 minutes into the movie. For the experimental session, this would be right after the porn section, and they were asked to rate how aroused they felt during the middle of the porn section. 9 males and 9 females participated in this study and all of them felt sexual arousal during that time - with no significant difference between the males as a group and the females as a group. The experimental design was pretty much exactly the same as the previous 2 studies other than that.

Results and such
Turns out there was not a spike in Prolactin for either men or women just from being aroused. The researchers felt this study indicated it was the orgasm specifically and not just being aroused that caused the spike in prolactin, which seemed to further supported their hypothesis that a prolactin spike could be a marker for orgasm and that it indicates sexual satiation.

It still leaves questions about other variables though - more studies please!
I love that they did this study, and I think it is, like the others, as well done as any orgasm-related study I see. However, it would have been even better to have another variable in there. It would have been cool for the subjects to watch the porn movie and masturbate, but not to orgasm. If there was still no prolactin spike, it would indicate that physical sexual stimulation and the physical exertion of moving one's hands over their genitals and moving their body and hips was not related to the prolactin spike either (*they may have a later study like this for men. i'll update when I find it). Eliminating those physicality variables as well as the variable of simple arousal being cause for the prolactin spike would have given much stronger support for theorizing that orgasm specifically is the initiator of the prolactin spike.

It would have been even more cool if for each of the participants, the prolactin levels for almost-orgasming-but-not were compared to the the prolactin levels with a physically verified orgasm. This would help eliminate the possibility that a certain level of high arousal or something related to the immediate lead-up to orgasm causes the prolactin spike instead. It might also help understand if prolactin levels alone could be used to correctly identify whether or not the involuntary muscle contractions of orgasm had occurred (the orgasm claims gots to be physically verified, ya'll). This would help answer whether prolactin really could be used as a physical marker of orgasm. But...that's more studies, more time and more money,  so I can understand why it hasn't yet happened, but I hope some nice researcher sees this and picks up the torch.

The Male/Female Intercourse Study
Coitus-induced orgasm stimulates prolactin secretion in healthy subjects. Exton MS1, Krüger TH, Koch M, Paulson E, Knapp W, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2001 Apr;26(3):287-94.

Then in 2001 a research group where 4 of the 6 had been involved in at least 1 of the articles above decided to check if prolactin levels also spiked in coitus (intercourse) induced orgasm. This is not a terrible study in that it has basic adherence to scientific method and could help expand understanding of the previous studies. However, it is also pretty shitty in that it ignores very practical problems.

Practical, should-be-obvious shit this study ignores (i.e why the hell would they expect 100% of the women in their study to come from intercourse when nothing would indicate that's a sensible expectation)
I am not exaggerating when I say it is common scientific knowledge that a 'coitus induced orgasm' is something that in studies only about 30% of women say they have ever had. That's not many women, and if you ask me, in a very practical sense, that 30% in reality is probably something closer to 0%. Why? Because 'coitus-induced' specifically means that the act of coitus, the act of moving the penis in and out of the vagina, is causing the orgasm, and frankly an orgasm caused through stimulation inside the vagina has literally never been physically verified (through checking for the involuntary muscle contractions of orgasm) in all of scientific literature  - #truestory.

Yes, some women, and I think this is where the 30%ish numbers make more sense, do have orgasms during intercourse due to clitoral glans/vulva stimulation that happens simultaneously through grinding against the partners body, or manual/vibrator stimulation, or something, but that's not technically 'coitus-induced' even though I think women on studies might designate it that way.

Put that all together with the fact that women do often admit in surveys to faking orgasms and that media, sex ed and pop sex knowledge confuse the fuck out of everyone by regularly giving the incorrect impression that women are supposed to orgasm from intercourse - nay are more sexual/mature/healthy if they orgasm through intercourse. And, it's not crazy to imagine women may sometimes say they orgasm when they actually do not, whether it be because they are confused about what an orgasm is, feel pressure to be orgasmically 'normal', or a number of other sensible reasons.

ON THE OTHER HAND, when women masturbate, the percent of them that orgasm from it is closer to the 96% range - basically the same as men. There's lots of studies that corroborate those numbers I discuss above, but if you ask me, chapter 1 of Elisabeth Lloyd's 2006 book The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution has the most comprehensive look at the studies and numbers related to female orgasms during both masturbation and intercourse.

Point is, there's a drastic difference between rates of female orgasm during masturbation vs. during intercourse that would tell any researcher caring to pay attention that women can orgasm as easily as men, but when it comes to intercourse, they almost always don't...and they don't for a very simple and obvious reason - intercourse alone is a shit way to stimulate the  the clitoral glans (i.e. female organ of sexual pleasure)

Dear lady-gasm researchers, do your background research, check your bias, and design better experiments
Which brings me to my major problem with this study; these researchers don't address this at all. They don't mention that coitus induced orgasms are statistically rare for women. They ignore all that very available info I just discussed and blindly assume that they can expect every one of the 10 women in their study to orgasm from intercourse, even though pretty much every available survey on the subject would indicate at least some of those 10 would not. That is either incredibly naive or intentionally negligent. Either way it ain't great experimental design.

I personally think the researchers got lucky and at least some of these women probably did orgasm during intercourse - probably through some clitoral stimulation happening during the ol' in and out, Honestly, though, neither I nor the researchers know for sure because the sexual acts in this study were completely private. The researchers don't know what exactly was physically happening during orgasm and they did not verify the claimed orgasms actually, physically occurred because the researchers did not take the additional step to measure the involuntary muscle contractions of orgasm.

So, right off the bat this study is weak in 2 important ways:
1. If the researchers really were trying to study 'coitus-induced' orgasms as they say they were, they failed to design the experiment appropriately to do that. They have no idea if there was additional clitoral stimulation that would negate a 'coitus-induced' designation.
2. They got unlikely results and didn't even question it. They should have statistically expected about three of these women to actually orgasm during intercourse, yet all 10 said they did. That's a red flag in the data that's left unanswered because they didn't physically verify those statistically unlikely orgasms actually happened. Any thoughtful reader should be extremely skeptical - especially given the researchers didn't seem to even be aware the results they got were so unlikely.

Method Details
Okay, so those are my issues. On to the details! This experiment had a similar layout to the previous ones, but obviously had some difference. Here is the researchers describing the experiment:
Each couple participated in four sessions (two experimental and two control sessions), and were informed of the sequence of sessions prior to participation. Each experimental session per couple focused on one partner (one 'male' and one 'female'), with care taken to ensure privacy for the participants during the experimental procedures. Each session commenced at 1500h . During the 'male' experimental session, the male partner (passive) laid on a comfortable bed in front of a video screen. The female (active) partner sat alongside. The reverse was the case for the 'female' experimental session. The experimental session comprised the viewing of three video sequences, each lasting 20 min. The first and last sections of the video were composed of emotionally neutral documentary film. The middle 20 min of experimental video was a pornographic film which displayed different heterosexual couples having sexual intercourse (Kruger et al, 1998, Exton et al., 1999, 2000). During the first 10 min viewing of the pornographic video (anticipatory phase), the active partner stimulated the passive partner sexually. Subsequently, the couple had intercourse until orgasm of the passive partner. All physical movement during coitus was conducted by the active partner to ensure that the endocrine changes were due specifically to sexual intercourse and orgasm, and not the general physical activity. Each couple also participated in two control sessions, which were conducted in the same environment and same time of day as the experimental sessions. However, during this phase the participants sat quietly whilst they watched a neutral documentary film for the entire 60 min. No physical contact occurred during this phase. (p 288-289)
They also add a blood test 40 minutes after the movie in this study to see if the prolactin is still high.

Results and discussion and stuff: Did all these women really orgasm? My mind is blown.
So what the researchers found was that just like the male and female masturbation study, there was a prolactin spike in the blood taken during the 10 minute period that represented the last 10 minutes of the porn film/the intercourse/the orgasm for both males and females.

To tell the truth, I was kinda flabbergasted by this. I mean, in the previous masturbation studies, I thought the researchers had begun to make a good case for a prolactin spike maybe being a physical marker for orgasm specifically - not just arousal, and here I am with my skepticism (a healthy and completely valid skepticism though it may be) that many of these women would even orgasm in this situation anyway. Yet, I'm looking at what seems to be maybe some valid physical data that these 10 women did come during intercourse just like the men did. Granted, it doesn't in any way mean that these women orgasmed from penile stimulation inside the vagina (coitus-induced). These couples were in complete privacy and nothing in the study said they were forbade from stimulating the clitoris during intercourse, so it's not like this is proof of vaginal orgasm (i.e coitus or intercourse induced orgasm)...but still. It was rather surprising that all 10 of these random women actually physically orgasmed given that about 70% of women don't come during intercourse (ya know, because of a shit sexual culture where it's doesn't seem obvious or important to stimulate the clit during partner sex, much less intercourse).

Results and discussion and stuff: Mmm...the data for the coitus-induced lady-gasms are maybe kinda sketchy 
Anyway, my interest was piqued. So I started looking through it again, and I thought, well, the article never says that ALL the women had a spike, just that on average the women as a group had a spike that was significant over the women's prolactin levels during the control experiment. So, then I started looking a little closer at the graphs of the male and the female experimental vs. control prolactin levels...and then compared those to the same graphs but for the masturbation studies.

Now, I'm no statistician (like really I'm not, so correct me if I say something crazy), but the difference between the average prolactin levels between the experimental and control for women masturbators, male masturbators and male intercoursers had higher p values (was more statistically significant) than for the women intercoursers. Like, the graphs for the female masturbaters and both the male groups looked to me like the group prolactin increase was so much more clear between the data points before and after the orgasm than in the female intercoursers. The female intercoursers were the only group where the Standard Error (SE) in the data point (mean) for post orgasm prolactin level dipped down into the SE of the pre-orgasm data point. In fact the SE dipped so far down it went below the data point (mean) of the pre-orgasm prolactin levels.

And, I don't know what it exactly means, but I also think it's noteworthy and probably worthy of further investigation that women, in both the masturbation and intercourse studies have a little higher control baseline and seem to have an average prolactin increase in the experimental section even before the porn movie begins. Also, the intercourse study seems to have a higher prolactin control baseline than the masturbation studies for both sexes.

I (well my husband did actually) created a grouping of the prolactin level graphs from the male and female masturbation articles, the intercourse articles, and also arousal article for you to compare.^^

So, * means the p value is  less than .05; ** means p value is less than .01; *** means p value is less than .001. In general a p value is statistically significant  only if it is less than .05, and anything above .05 is not significant and would indicates weak evidence against the control. So it would seem, it seem in these graphs * is barely statistically significant, ** is more significant and *** is even more significant.

Also, I just want to mention this because I'm not sure what to make of it. The time frame where the participants are watching the last 10 minutes of the porn and were required to masturbate to orgasm, it's labeled in the men's masturbation study as 'orgasm' and in the women's as 'arousal'. It's just weird because the study is clear that the women orgasmed during that time and also the first 10 minutes of the porn where they just watched and didn't masturbate seems like a more appropriate place to label arousal. Anyway, it's strange.  If you ever want more info about these graphs or this these articles, just hit me up btw.

Masturbating Male Study

Masturbating Female Study
Intercourse Males Study
Intercourse Female Study
Arousal Study

^^Just to be clear, I normally use a direct excerpt of graphs I'm discussing from articles, but I recreated them here. It was not because I wanted to trick you or change them in any way. They are basically exactly the same with different color elements and line types. It's just that I'm getting some help from an amazing and incredibly fab person in acquiring full articles to review, and given that they are behind a paywall and copyrighted, I promised I wouldn't copy excerpts from the articles. I've always felt fine about it before because I think it lays squarely in Fair Use laws, but I ain't no lawyer, and I will happily adhere if it means I can get better access to journal articles.

Results and discussion and stuff: Why are we not talking about nipple stimulation? another complaint from me.
I'd also like to point out something I imagine for people working with prolactin should be obvious; sucking on nipples can stimulate prolactin. Granted, most of the research on this is in relation to pregnant and nursing mothers, but it's what prolactin is maybe best known for, and it's truly not crazy to think maybe it could be important to this study and its experimental design. Yet the researchers don't even mention it, like not at all - not even to say they don't think it would matter.

But, what if in this intercourse experiment, when the woman is passively lying down with the man beside her 'sexually stimulating' her, he sucks on or manually manipulates her nipples? Or if her breast and/or nipples are stimulated while they are having intercourse? Neither I nor the researchers know if any of that happened because, as they stated, they were careful to allow complete privacy to the couple and nowhere in the study did anyone mention telling the subjects to avoid nipple stimulation. I mean why wouldn't they put some thought into the possibility that there would be some nipple play in these sessions and that it is a variable that could (maybe strongly) affect prolactin levels? I mean boob and nipple play is pretty basic sex stuff. To me, ignoring even the discussion of this possible connection seems scientifically negligent to me.

Results and discussion and stuff: Cool study, but I think there's a hidden world inside that lady-gasm data
All in all, I think this is an interesting study that is severely weakened by an apparent lack of understanding of background data on female orgasm and bad experimental design.

First, the researchers put no thought into controlling for nipple stimulation in this study even though it certainly could occur in the experiment's private sexual activity and if it did, it could be an important variable affecting prolactin levels.

Second, the researchers ignored the possibility that a female might say they orgasmed when they physically did not and also ignored how statistically unlikely it would be that 100% of 10 random women all would orgasm during intercourse, so the result that all 10 women claim orgasm goes unquestioned in the study. That opens up space for valid skepticism that cannot be answered since the researchers didn't put in place a physical verification of the orgasm claims (check for involuntary pelvic muscle contractions, people!).

Thirdly, the prolactin increase for the women in this study was less statistically significant than the men's increase in this study as well as for both the men and women when masturbating.

Put those 3 things together and it paints a possible picture in my mind where only some of the women in this study actually physically orgasmed. I mean it's sensible to imagine, statistically speaking, at least 1/3 of these women orgasmed during intercourse through things like diddling the clit or grinding the clit against the male's pelvis during intercourse. So if prolactin spiking is a marker of orgasm as the studies seem to indicate, it's sensible to me that the women's group average would include some actual spikes because some women probably actually orgasmed - making the group average look like more of a spike than if none had, but depending on how many and how high their spikes were, it may or may not look statistically significant. And here's another thing. Maybe women, whether they orgasmed or not, who had nipple stimulation during the experiment had some extra level of increase in their prolactin during those 20 minutes of sexual activity. Maybe one wouldn't call it a spike, but it helped increase the group average to a level that showed a statistically significant increase over the control levels? Put that all together and it seems to me you'd get the kind of data we're seeing; a less significant increase for the group of women in the intercourse study and more SE overlap than was seen in the males of this study or the males and females of the masturbation study.

I could be way off base, I'm only speculating (although there's some statistical backing of that speculation) about whether women came or didn't or had their nipples sucked or didn't, but that's the point. The researchers didn't take the time to account for questions about these, if I do say so, quite valid variables and so it makes their data weak. Yeah, I might be wrong, but my thoughts also make some kind of sense, and with the information available I'm no more likely to be wrong than the researchers are.

The Brody Coitus-Induced vs. Masturbation Prolactin Level Comparison
The post-orgasmic prolactin increase following intercourse is greater than following masturbation and suggests greater satiety. Brody S1, Krüger TH. HBiol Psychol. 2006 Mar;71(3):312-5.

That brings us to the original paper I wanted to write this post about. I found it hard to describe my problems with it without discussing the papers it's based off of first, so that's why you have all of the above. Now let's talk about this dude and this paper.

One of the authors is a dude named Stuart Brody. He wasn't an author in any of the previous 4 studies. No, as is his way, he just swooped into this because, I assume, he got a whiff of the possibility to assert vaginal orgasm superiority. Brody is an absolutely prolific scientific-paper-writer of all things supporting the idea that vaginal orgasms and unprotected p-in-v intercourse make for mentally/physically/psychologically healthier women. Here's a list of his publications . Really start reading down that list for some fun.

This article.
Anyway, this is a tiny 4-page article that takes the 2 masturbation papers and the intercourse paper I just discussed and compares their data against each other. Brody co-authors this with Kruger, who is an author on all 3 of the papers being compared here. I don't know what Kruger's deal is, but co-authoring with Brody doesn't do much for my belief in a person's actual understanding of the existing scientific knowledge on female orgasm (sadly many of the big names in female orgasm research have hooked up with Brody, so that's what it is).

Anyway, Brody, always one to find a way to show that p-in-v intercourse is better for us than masturbation, had done studies in the past that he believes show 'vaginal orgasm' (i.e. coitus-induced orgasm) to be healthier for the ladies than the ol' clit stimulation that goes along with masturbation.

So, combining his own vag-gasms-are-better-for-health studies with the results of the prolactin studies above, the hypothesis in this study is that if you compare the data from the masturbation studies to the coitus studies, you'll find that even though there was a prolactin increase after orgasm during masturbation and during intercourse, the increase after intercourse should be much higher - indicating more satiation (you know, since intercourse induced orgasms are clearly the better orgasm even though most women mostly don't have orgasms during intercourse at all and stimulating the inside of the vagina like penises do during sex with no additional clit action has never been shown to induce physical orgasm in all of scientific literature, but whatever Brody - I guess vaginal orgasms will save us all or something).

So, low and behold, the authors concluded that they found that to be the case! Here's what they say in the discussion section.
For both sexes, penile-vaginal intercourse (adjusted for response to control conditions, the increase was about five times as great) post-orgasmic prolactin increase than did masturbation . The characteristic post-orgasmic prolactin increase reflects sexual satiety produced by a negative feedback loop (Kruger et al. 2002, 2003). The results imply that for both men and women, there is a neuroendorine indication of greater satiation following an intercourse orgasm than following a masturbation orgasm. 
My criticism.
First off, I'll say it again, I'm no statistician, but what I do know is that statistics are only as good as the assumptions behind them. This article is quite short and nothing more than a bunch of numbers comparing the data in the 3 papers i discussed.  I don't know enough to get deep into how the numbers were calculated and if those are appropriate ways to calculate those numbers for this situation, but I do know there's some fundamental concerns any thoughtful researcher should have with the data and conclusions in this article that simply are not addressed.

All research has some unanswered questions and weaknesses, and that's fine as long as it's acknowledged and addressed as much possible. However, the fact that they are not addressed makes me feel like the authors want to just skim over this stuff and create a nice pretty package, and that makes me think they are somewhere between problematically naive and intentionally negligent with their scientific inquiry.

Let me list my grievances:

1. All the problems with the data, assumptions about ladygasms, etc. I discussed regarding the intercourse study above applies here too. I mean if that study is weak, then a study based of that study is weak in all the same ways.

2. How do the authors know that a higher amount of prolactin actually correlates to a higher feeling of or physical level of satiation? I mean hormones and their interactions are hella complicated. Maybe there is a level to which satiation happens and anything over that doesn't have extra effect. Ya gotta prove that a 7 ng/ml increase is more satiating than a 5ng/ml increase - because it's not just obvious. And, what exactly does more satiated mean anyway? What's the difference between satiated and more satiated?

3. This is a vague concern of mine because, again, I'm no statistician, nor am I deeply knowledgeable about human hormone activity, but women in all these studies seem to have a higher level of Prolactin to begin with. I mean the authors kind of touch on this, but really just to mention it and then say it doesn't matter. But, does it not matter? Does the way they are testing the prolactin accurately reflect the active amount in the person's body? Do females and males tend to have different levels of prolactin inhibitors and activators in their blood that might affect the prolactin levels in these blood test and the level at which prolactin is fully active for sexual satiation? Also is it possible women's bodies have a different relationship to prolactin and just produce more and maybe producing more affects women physically or mentally differently, and then again, maybe it doesn't? Anyway, these are questions I would have for almost any study about hormones in blood samples, because it is a complicated business these hormones - particularly how to accurately test for and understand the impact of different amounts on our bodies.

Seriously, though, if you are a statistician, please post your thoughts on this. In fact if you are a statistician, I'd like to talk with you in detail. I feel like I need to take a stats class, or partner with a bad ass statistician on these.

My final words on the non-Brody studies
So, in conclusion...I think the 4 studies (not Brody's) I talk about above are interesting, mostly careful studies that begin to give real evidence that a prolactin spike could be a marker for orgasm. In fact, this research team continues on this path of investigation, and although I don't see any more that specifically work with ladygasms, there's definitely more articles worth checking out if you're interested in this idea of prolactin as a possible marker for orgasm. I linked 4 at the bottom of this article where you can read the full text for free. Anyway, respect to these researchers even if they fall into the same problems most lady-gasms researchers fall into and even if one of them did partner with Brody. I do appreciate their work. However, particularly the intercourse study, has some problems, and I do have questions and hopes for further studies.

For instance:
  • Why didn't the researcher think to physically verify orgasms or at least mention that they couldn't or chose not to for some reason? As always I would like to strongly advocate for physical verification of the involuntary muscle contractions of orgasm for any claimed orgasms in a study. I know it's more work, but not doing it is a surefire way to skew the data and weaken conclusions.
  • Does every person that has a physically verified orgasm also have that prolactin spike? Is that prolactin spike clear enough on its own to identify physically verified orgasms?
  • Did every person that said they orgasmed in these studies actually show that steep increase or did some not show that steep of an increase yet showed enough to not mess up the trend of increase in the full group? Like I discussed earlier, I think it is sensible to wonder if some of the women in the intercourse study did not physically orgasm even though they said they did, and maybe did not show that steep prolactin increase - which is maybe what caused the average group increase to be somewhat less significant than the men or the masturbating women.
  • Is the prolactin increase after/during orgasm enough different than the increase caused by the arousal and physical movement of getting right to the point of orgasm but not orgasming? That data doesn't exist yet, but would be insightful.
  • What affect on prolactin release does sexual nipple stimulation have? Babies sucking on nipples absolutely releases prolactin in women. Does nipple stimulation affect the data on prolactin release and orgasm in any important ways in women - or in men? We don't have that data either.
My final words on the Brody article
This article blindly ignores all the, I must say fairly obvious, issues I discussed about the intercourse article. Plus it sets its hypothesis upon an unsubstantiated theory that more prolactin in the body creates more satiation. It might (whatever more satiation exactly is) but there also might be a point were more prolactin is just more prolactin. I get that it's worth considering if more prolactin means more satiation, but I find it incredibly negligent that the authors don't even acknowledge that a weakness of their conclusion is that they simply don't know for sure whether you can keep upping sexual satiation by simply upping prolactin.

Also...to be honest, I wonder how appropriate the statistical analysis they did in this study is for the situation. And that's just, like, my no-statistics-knowing opinion man - and opinions, as we all know, are like assholes, but the whole blindly-follow-all-routes-to-proving-vag-gasm-superiority-and-ignoring-anything-that-might-weaken-my-conclusions vibe of Brody and this article makes me feel slightly okay with questioning some statistical shit I have no idea about. If I may be so bold to say so, I believe it was initiated not out of genuine scientific interest, but out of a bit of an obsession with hyping up 'vaginal orgasms', intercourse, and oddly enough barebacking (he writes about it a fair amount).

Don't get me wrong. I'm not actually against bias in scientific inquiry. I'm not. I'm actually for it and believe it is inevitable and can be a powerful tool for scientific growth, but an area of study needs a lot of different people and studies with a lot of different perspectives working against and with each other. Otherwise you don't get healthy criticism and debate, but a skewed, weak, and maybe deeply flawed field of knowledge. I think overall the field of female orgasm research is closer to the latter and Brody articles are some of the worst of it.

Links to some other Full Text Articles about Prolactin and orgasm by this team
Absence of orgasm-induced prolactin secretion in a healthy multi-orgasmic male subject. Haake P1, Exton MS, Haverkamp J, Krämer M, Leygraf N, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M, Krueger TH. Int J Impot Res. 2002 Apr;14(2):133-5.

Orgasm-induced prolactin secretion: feedback control of sexual drive? Krüger TH1, Haake P, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M, Exton MS. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2002 Jan;26(1):31-44.

Specificity of the neuroendocrine response to orgasm during sexual arousal in men. Krüger TH1, Haake P, Chereath D, Knapp W, Janssen OE, Exton MS, Schedlowski M, Hartmann U. J Endocrinol. 2003 Apr;177(1):57-64.

Effects of acute prolactin manipulation on sexual drive and function in males. Krüger TH1, Haake P, Haverkamp J, Krämer M, Exton MS, Saller B, Leygraf N, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M. J Endocrinol. 2003 Dec;179(3):357-65.

Also this was referenced above:
Llyod, Elisabeth A. The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution. Harvard University Press. 2005.


Sex And The City S3 E1-3: A Retro SSL Review

My little segment is back for a another round (Here's the others). It's a modified, lazy version of an SSL Review. It's just me transcribing my notes, page by page, on all of the Sex and the City episodes. I watched them all - not necessarily in order - during 2007 and 2008, and I took notes on the depiction/discussion of female orgasm and female masturbation. It was my early attempt at this type of lady-gasm review stuff. Anyway, I never actually created reviews from these notes, but since they exist, I'd like to get them out there on the interwebs before they get burned in a house fire or something...thus this series.

Ramona and my SATC Notes

The fun of this will be that I will transcribe these as word for word as I can while still trying to make it be a sensible read. I'll post a pick of the notes for your reference. I'll do one or more episodes at a time - from the beginning of the notebook to the end. I may add notes for clarification or add my SSL-Review-style comments.

Hopefully the notes I took privately 10 years ago won't make me look like a dumb asshole. I will add them in the TV SSL Review Master List  (of course you are also welcome to check out the Movie SSL Review Master List as well). Here we go.

Sex and the City Season 3 Episodes 1-3

Season 3 Ep 1
-watching firemen stripping
-Sam gets fucked by fireman. He was banging her (literally rocking her back and forth) he changed her position from (here I draw some stick figure drawings that you can see below. I can't really tell what they mean because I guess I'm bad at drawing).

She got an orgasm hard style

-Sam fucked against firetruck with her legs wrapped around him. He was fucking her  - She wasn't moving - just screamin and cumming. Hew was pumping in and out, but had a little more upgrind to forward motion.

Season 3 Episode 2
-Sam mentioned when discussing Carrie's 'pee on me' guy that she had peed during sex once. "What'd he say?" "I don't think he even noticed."
-Miranda on side with Steve behind her. Cut to them both orgasming - couldn't tell the movement, but both her hands were visible, and his hand that could possibly be touching her.

Season 3 Ep 3
-Miranda's housekeeper found her goody drawer. It had lube, condoms, and a dildo vibrator. She says, "I have a boyfriend, but I didn't for a while. That's why I have that."
-Samantha hears that this hot masseuse goes down, so she booked it...but he doesn't and tells on her.
-lots of naked women.

Modern Day Me Comments
Too much banging without a goddamn reach-around
These 3 episodes were not at the top of Sex and The City's orgasm equality game. In those 3 episodes there were 3 depictions of a ladygasm that happened during a sex act that was highly unlikely to actually cause that ladygasm. All 3 were of women getting a dick moved in and out of their vaginas. There was no body pressure consistently (or really at all) grinding against their vulva areas, and there was also no hands and/or vibrators pressed against the vulva area. Nothing, I say nothing, was working that clit...yet somehow the women came.

Those 3 depictions were the oh-so-common, but anatomically ridiculous scenes of women getting their vaginal walls banged into an orgasm.


This whole blog, my movie, and this post I always link to to explain what I mean, are all about how we as a culture just really don't get that point. We just keep cramming the lie into everyone's head that penises in ladyholes holes can make women come. It's as BS as saying banging a man's but makes him come.

Goody Drawer
So those weren't great depictions, but I also wasn't pleased about how Miranda felt like she needed to justify her vibrator by saying she used to be single. I mean, by all means single gals should have a vibrator. It's a fun and simple way to get off that doesn't cause hand fatigue, but it's just as important for a gal in a relationship to have one...especially in a relationship with a penis.

No, you know, it might be more important actually. There's so much PinV ramming going on in hetero sexual encounters that a gal is strongly at risk for constantly getting aroused and rarely coming during sex stuff. There's just soooo much banging without clit stimulation going on. It's what we all grow up learning and thinking we're supposed to do to make both people come...but in reality it only makes him come...and she fakes it, or just says it was good even without coming, or just ignores it, or gets annoyed. Either way over time it's gonna fuck up the her ability to get aroused when faced with the idea of sex, and reinforce his arousal over time when faced with the idea of sex. A vibrator used during the fucking can allow everyone to come without inconveniencing the dude at all by asking him to do anything more than stick his penis in you. Yay...I guess.

The other stuff
As always, I tended to write down things that I don't count as relevant for SSL Reviews anymore. These notes were right at the beginning of when I started SSL Reviews, so I hadn't gotten my rules down yet.. My point here is that the firemen stripping, the peeing during sex comment, and the note about lots of naked ladies are not what I consider SSL reviewable these days. I'm only really interested in discussion or depiction of female orgasm, masturbation, or the clit. However, at the time, I was a bit more interested in things like how often you see naked men vs. seeing naked women in media. It's still interesting ('cause dude - we need to see more man meat - too much Lady T&A in comparison), but it's not where I want to focus. I mean you can't do everything.

That's it. Have a lovely night. I'll try to write more posts.


Sexy Dude Costumes - A Retro SSL Post

Hello all - you might have noticed it's been almost a month since my last post. Sorry. I'm still here though. I'm a molecular biologist, but my job cycles with the crops. This is harvest time and it's been a little crazy this year. My mother in law has had a lot of health problems too, so I've been travelling to her a lot as well. A lot of excuses to say this blog wasn't priority. Don't give up on me though. 

It's Beggars Night tonight (I was working late and didn't get to give out candy - so blah to that), which is basically Des Moines Halloween, so just to let you know I'm alive, I'm reposting an old Halloween post before I go to bed. Enjoy.

In the tradition of past Halloween posts, I'm going to talk about costumes. I try hard to make these very special Halloween costume posts both fun and related to the discussion or depiction of female sexual release. You might remember last year's post about the "Orgasm Donor" costume. You also might remember the post in 2012 about using weird sexy costumes to find love for own clit instead being all giving and stuff.

Well, this year, let's focus on boy sexy costumes instead of sexy costumes for the ladies. My feeling is that the time has come for men to share in the responsibility for making Halloween the top sexiest holiday. Ladies have been shouldering this burden for way too long, so this post is dedicated to all the brave sexy-costume men out there that make Halloween and the fantasies we masturbate to later, hotter for all us hetero gals out there. However, let me bring up the obvious. The gay guys are probably giving more to this cause than straight ones.

A friend's FB led me to a lovely post, "Slutty Halloween costumes for Hot Dudes," from the blog Confessions of a Boy Toy, and it's not about straight men in slutty costumes, which got me thinking about this very post you're reading. Honestly, I'm not picky, I don't care if your eight pack does dudes or ladies, the view's the same either way, but honestly, it's not fair. Hetero guys shouldn't get off the hook just because gay guys try a little harder to keep that shit tight for their potential lovers.

This is a call to action for the straight dudes. College Halloween Frat parties next year should have as much male skin as lady skin...no it should have more male skin. I mean, if we are ever going to achieve balance, there's a lot of make-up ground the dudes need to cover. It could be decades of women in ghost costumes and men in Olympic Swimmer costumes before we get that balance, so let's get to work. We ladies, our clits, and the state of heterosexual relationships deserves it!

Here's some pics to enjoy. Happy Halloween.


Keeping Up With The Kardashians Seasons 1-6 - The SSL Review

Keeping Up With The Kardashians
This show has been on the air since 2007. There has been 17 seasons so far. I probably don't have to tell you that it is culturally influential. People have seen this show. Lots of people. For some reason, I had never watched this show - not even a little. I never even caught a few minutes of it flipping through stations. I think it mostly had to do with me not having cable for most of those years and thus never getting the chance to catch it. I would have had to intentionally choose it on a streaming service, and there were simply other things I was into. There's only so much time and a lot of great things to watch. I can't just willy nilly watch anything.

Then one day this summer me and Charlie just decided to start watching it - every episode from the beginning. We had a few friends that were discussing the finer point of KUWTK, and we realized that it was a large cultural phenomenon that we had no knowledge about. Plus, ya know, we were pretty certain from past experiences that if we started watching it, we would fully enjoy ourselves. So, we did it. It started when we had a choreographer friend visiting to work on a collaboration with Charlie. Her last night here we all decided to binge some reality TV, and we chose the Kardashians. That night, binge we did, and then me and Charlie continued. We're currently only on Season 7 (still pre-Kanye), but to be fair we are watching all the Kardashian reality series in order of how they originally aired, so we've also seen a fair amount of Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, Kourtney and Kim Take New York, and Khloe and Lamar seasons.

I don't have to pay much attention to it, which is nice because I can get work done while I'm watching it, and do I enjoy it? Yes. If you ever want to discuss the Kardashians in detail, I'm in for that conversation. Are Kim and her mom Kris my very least favorite to be on screen? Yes, but I am not far enough into it to know if I dislike watching the 2 youngest daughters more. Do I generally prefer watching Scott and Kourtney over anyone else? Absolutely.

Here's the important thing though, there is usually 1, maybe 2, situations each season that involves discussion of lady-bation of some kind (mostly related to vibrators), and I like that. It also means I can SSL Review this show, which is what I'm about to do.

An SSL Review
Only depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or female masturbation and/or the clit are eligible for SSL Review. Nothing else counts (unless I deem it counts because I want to talk about it), including plain 'ol sex if it doesn't include anything listed above. I specifically 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).

Vibrators, Vibrators, and Vibrators - The Scene Details
Season2 Episode4 - The search for mom's vibrator
 For some reason the 3 girls get in a conversation with Jenner - their mom's spouse at the time and they mention their mom's vibrator. Jenner's like, 'nah, she doesn't have one,' and the girls become adamant that she does and she got it at a sex toy party. So, they all go into her room and start looking for it. Kris gets involved and she too denies it, and seems embarrassed. They don't find it in the end. Throughout, the daughters seem sure of their mom's vibrator and not in an accusatory way, but just that it existed and they find a lot of humor that their parents are being so weird and/or embarrased about it.

Season3 Episode8 - ibone myself
So Kim is in a long distance relationship and all 3 sisters are discussing this. Then Kourtney tells Khloe, "Kim takes vibrators to herself while they ibone." (aka video phones sex). Kim smiles.

Season4 Episode9 - Friends don't tape friend masturbating
Khloe is also in long distance relationship and she wants to make a video for him to take with him when he leaves. She's discussing this with her friend, and says maybe the friend could take her  masturbating - and her friend said "I'm not going to take you masturbating." She did take her pretty much naked in a bubble bath and other ridiculous things, but not masturbation - or at least not that we saw on the show.

Season5 Episode6 - Vibe surprise
Looking at a houses for Kourtney, Khloe and Kim find vibrators in the master bedside drawers. They tell eachother about it, laugh, look at them. The camera does get a glimpse inside and it looks like a bunch of vibrators in there. At one point, they close the drawer and one of the vibrator starts up and they have to scramble to make it stop.
I'm sure that was a just a dumb scenario they thought up that they thought would be funny, so they got permission, planted the vibes and had their funny little scene, but either way, they got vibrators into the show, and I appreciate that.

Season5 Episode11 - Don't share vibrators
Kourtney and Scott are hanging out in New York with her brother Rob's ex deciding if they should move to NY. The 2 women said a perk would be that they could start sharing shoes and clothes and then they said panties. Then Scott chimes in and said 'vibrators' and they said 'vibrators, sometimes in the weekend.' They're all laughing.

Junk in the Trunk 2 - Baskasm
This show is the deleted scenes show they have after some seasons, and this is a deleted scene. Kim has a break up and her sisters got her a sex basket and said it was her new boyfriend and all acting silly and laughing about it. There was a vibrating caterpillar, anal beads, edible panties dental damn. There were no dildos.

My Thoughts - i.e. the actual SSL review
First off, I'm in another country right now and I can't get access to the Kardashian episodes here. I didn't think of that when I was planning to use some time to go back into the episodes to re-check the scenes and pull out quotes. That's normally how I do these, but this one is just from my notes. Luckily I also didn't watch it too long ago, so I remember what my notes mean pretty well.

Okay, so seven women in these varied episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians were confronted with either their own or some other woman's vibrator masturbation habit: Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Khloe's friend, the brother's ex, and whatever lady lived in the house in which they found the bedside vibes. Of those, only Kris, the mother, in the very first instance of vibratory masturbation insinuations on this show -  seemed the least bit phased by it. Her denial, however, seemed softened to me by how adamant her daughters were that she had one and how nonchalant they were about it. I mean they brought it up because they thought it was funny, but to me it wasn't because they were bothered by it, but because they knew it would get their mother riled. It was as if they clearly knew she had one because they had discussed it, but they also knew that her spouse wasn't aware. I felt like the real cultural impact was showing a generational difference in feelings about vibrators - that their mother was embarrassed and afraid to let her spouse know that she masturbated was ridiculed. I feel like the overall impact of that scene implied that it's oldschool and silly to not be into vibrators (for yourself or your spouse) and to be worried about using them or including them in partnered sex life.

All the other discussion drops about vibrators and masturbation were either matter of fact or dropped for laughs but not in a masturbation-is-pathetic-and-I'm-making-fun-of-your-patheticness sort of way, but just a bringing-private-things-up-and-it's-a-little-taboo-and-embarrassing-but-we-all-do-it way. In, fact, I particularly liked that for all of the Kardashian sisters, it was implied that their significant others either knew about or were involved in their vibrator use, which I am incredibly happy about because it normalizes men being fine, even excited, about women taking their orgasms and/or pleasure into their own hands. This is important because there is a long history and lots of media depictions/discussions that normalizes men being threatened by vibrators because supposedly it means that the men aren't fucking their woman right. That needs to go away because that fear is grounded in the absolutely incorrect assumption that a man's dick is going to ever fuck a woman into orgasm. It's not. Any orgasm a woman has with or without a dude around her is most likely (and probably only) going to come from stimulation of the clitoral/vulva area where her actual organ of sexual pleasure is located (because contrary to popular belief the vagina is not the female organ of sexual pleasure).

I also like that in every single one of these scenes there is a woman that knows about another woman's use of vibrators. It insinuates that women talk about these things together and aren't worried about other women judging them for that practice - even if they are worried about what males in their life might think.

The Vulva Rating
I never thought I'd be giving Keeping Up With The Kardashians a 5 vulva rating, but here it is. I think in this show there is a particular nonchalant attitude about masturbation - while in a relationship and when outside of one. I think it is particularly impactful because even though there are clearly set-up, partially scripted scenarios, people feel like it's real life. That feeling of it being a rare look into these women's 'real life' makes it seem like masturbation is a very 'real' thing, and that's meaningful to people.



Random Hite Report #32

Hello, welcome again to one of my favorite segments on the SSL blog, Random Hite Report! It's simple really. I flip through the pages of the The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality  (or sometimes The Hite Report on Male Sexuality) by a one Ms. Shere Hite and copy the contents of the page where I land - no more no less. Anyone who reads my blog will know that this 1976 book is a fave of mine; not only because of its realistic and progressive insight about the female orgasm that is still shockingly relevant 40 years later,  but also because of its very touching insight into the lives of the women who took part in this huge, comprehensive survey. This is an under-appreciated and under-read book if you ask me - I suggest you buy it online (seriously, you can get them for like 1 cent) and read it.

 So, sit back, getcha a beverage, and enjoy a little...Random Hite Report.

The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality Dell. 1976.
Pg. 162 From the section Orgasm in the chapter "What do the stages of orgasm feel like" as answers to the question, "How did women describe the whole orgasm from arousal to contractions?"

...vix and perhaps the circular muscles around the cervix end of the vagina."
    "Orgasm feels like an intense drawing together sensation, located in my genital area (I can't differentiate in feeling my clitoris and vagina at that point), then my whole body tenses and the sensation is one of total involvement without any "will" or thought involved. 'It' takes over completely. The physiological sensation is best described by the word 'outrageous' in terms of its devastating total effect. It's over within seconds, but fantastic when it occurs. The only awareness I can state is a certain stiffening all over, in addition to the intense 'implosion' in the undifferentiable genital area."
    "I don't have orgasms like they describe in books. (Not skyrockets or total relaxation, etc.) What I have starts as a diffuse 'good feeling,' most strongly genital, but all over my body. This feeling gets more and more genitally focused, and I can predict the quality of the climax - if it is too focused, it's not as good an orgasm:the best climaxes seem to involve more of the body. the quality of the orgasm can vary from almost a frustration (the climax coming somehow before the buildup is complete) to a total release - waves of relief involving my whole body."
    "My thoughts tend to focus on myself - moving and positioning, so that I can feel the greatest stimulation. I become aware of a pulsating sensitivity in the area of my vagina. I have some anxiety about whether I can climax or not, and so attention is focused on completing the sexual act and not being 'left hanging.' Then there is a convulsive muscle activity, occurring in a wave-like  rhythmic cadence, which lasts about 4 to 5 seconds. Then, generally, a lot of muscle relaxations and frequently I feel very tender toward my partner."
    "First, tension builds in my body and head, my heart beats, then I strain against my lover, and then there is a second or two of absolute stillness, non-breathing, during which I know orgasm will come in the next second or two. The waves, and I rock against my partner and cannot hold him tight enough. It's all over my body, but especially in my abdomen and gut. Afterwards, I feel..." 


Come As You Are - A Book You Should Read

This Book, Ya'll
Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life  by Emily Nagoski

I've heard people talking about this book for a good while, and it's been on my list to read, but honestly, from the things people have said to me about it, I had a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I was wrong though. Barring her, I would say problematic and scientifically incorrect, take on what orgasms are, all the worries I had were thoughtfully and much more subtly and complexly dealt with in the book. Actually reading it was way better than randos giving you their take on it - which is not actually that surprising, I guess.

In fact, it's an important book about sexual desire and how it works in an individual. It focuses on women, but much of the points are universal, and it's a truly useful read for men as well. But I think the issues of desire tends to feels more critical for the ladies. Many, many women (I would venture to say all women) feel like they struggle in serious ways with their desire at least at some points in their lives, and this book quite rightly points out many of the ways that these struggles are not related to personal 'brokenness' but to the very real context of our lives and our culture. This is so important because so many women feel they are broken when in fact we are all quite normal and sane. It is the stories we hear about how things should be and the expectations from our sexual culture that are broken. Nagoski does a fantastic job of step by step showing how one can become more conscious of their relationship to sex, desire, and arousal in order to heal in their own individual way where they need to heal. I recommended it almost immediately to one of my best friends and to many others since.

Points That Deserve To Be Shared From The Book
I'm going to quickly impart a couple of the main messages in this book. They are important and Nagoski wants us to share these messages with each other because, well frankly, we all deserve that knowledge and I appreciate Nagoski's activism on this front. Respect. Then, however, I will go ahead and talk about the improper way I thought the book treated orgasm...because I think that's important too.

1 Your sexuality, your desire, your arousal - it's all normal, even if it doesn't feel that way right now. Yeah, it sounds a little optimistic and naive - maybe even a little hippie-dippie, but she's right, and we women need desperately to really know that. We so often feel damaged or abnormal when it comes to these things, but truth is whatever your body or your desire is doing (or not doing) is really just a fairly sensible reaction to the situation at hand given your particular circumstance and experience. There's a great garden metaphor and a lot of talk about context and it's good, helpful stuff; stuff you need to hear, stuff you might otherwise have to work through with a good therapist. What I have here is a simplistic explanation. There's a lot to unpack on this topic, and it's worth reading the book and doing some of that unpacking because it can bring back a level of control and contenedtness with one's desire and sex life that may have previously felt impossible.

2 When it comes to arousal, we all have 'breaks' and also an 'accelerator.' Some things hit our breaks, others the accelerator, and we all have different levels of brake/accelerator sensitivities. You can encounter all the turn-ons in the world (which engage your 'accelerator'), but if something else is hitting your 'brakes,' arousal ain't gonna happen like you might expect - or at all. Noticing what is a brake for you, what is an accelerator, and how sensitive you are to each type of thing is key to understanding what's going on with your desire and why it actually makes way more sense given the context of your past experiences and your current situation than one might think. Maybe you get turned on really easily, but also turned off really easily...or maybe turned on really slowly and break really easily - you get the point. She speaks about this well.

*Okay, I'm gonna start my criticism a bit early. I love her discussion surrounding this. It's grounded in reality and helps visualize and unpack complicated feelings and scenarios of arousal. My gripe, though, is that it's missing what I see as the most glaring piece of context surrounding female desire. The book never specifically calls out how lack of consistent orgasm in previous and/or current sexual encounters over time could cause a person to code sexual scenarios drastically different than a person that has consistently orgasmed during sexual experiences in the past and present. Sadly, women more often than not fall into the first category and men the second - due to a shit culture for the clit and a fab one for the penis, but I digress.

Let me give an example for context: your partner rubs their pelvis against you as you get in bed ready for a good night's sleep, and it clearly means they want to fuck. For a person that has and continues to have consistent orgasms during their sexual encounters, that pelvis rubbing starts the 'accelerator,' bringing to mind a lot of arousing memories and expectations of an orgasmically satisfying adventure. However, for a person that hasn't been orgasming during fucks on the reg, well, that might easily trigger their 'breaks' because they don't like the frustration of not coming or maybe it doesn't really hit the break, but it does nothing for the 'accelerator.' It brings to mind memories of a fair amount of meh sex and expectations of not orgasming. Frankly, in this situation, something non-sexual like sitting down together with Netflix with a bowl of ice cream is sensibly more exciting. I think this is a desperately important part of how women's and men's desire and arousal can and often do diverge over time. Considering that penis owners (due to situational not biological differences mind you) tend to come almost every partnered sex act and clit-owners often don't is a fucking important thing to note when discussing the context surrounding how a person might experience desire.

3 Responsive and spontaneous desire - Some of the first things I heard about this book were people telling me that I should read it because it uses science to prove that some people have 'Responsive Desire' and some people have 'Spontaneous Desire' - like as in desire just pops up spontaneously for some people (i.e. mostly men) and for others (i.e. mostly women) desire is more likely to arise as a response to being physically aroused. That kind of annoyed me because it sounded to me like whoever wrote the book was just making up biological stories to ignore/paint over the much more complex and toxic problem of unequal damage our sexual culture spills upon women as opposed to men - damage that lowers sexual desire (see my above rant about how lack of orgasm during sexual encounters quite sensibly leads to a lesser interest in pursuing sexual encounters).

That annoyance still persists a bit after reading the book, but it is clear that Nagoski's points about responsive and spontaneous desire were much more complicated and thoughtful than the reader points I had been seeing. Firstly, I was happy to see that she was very clear in saying that no desire is actually 'spontaneous.' There is always a catalyst. It's just that for some people many, many more things are a catalyst, and she does admit that mostly men are in that category.  She was also very clear that this was not simply an innate biological difference - culture, experiences etc. have plenty to do with this. I appreciated that, but as you might expect, I think it's a real oversight to identify this thing that is obviously divided largely by gender without acknowledging that another known gender difference - the rate of orgasm during partnered sex - may have a strong relationship to this. I get it though. There is a time and a place for everything and maybe this book wasn't the time or place.

Although coming at it from a larger cultural perspective I find it problematic categorizing desire in this way, I think in a practical (maybe personally therapeutic) perspective, I can see this categorization as being quite helpful to an individual (i.e. tons of women and certainly many men as well) whose desire does not fit cultural expectations and are in need of some ideological scaffolding from which to build their understanding of themselves. So, from the aim and perspective of this book as, I think, largely self help, I understand why Nagoski categorized this way, and I see that it is useful in this context.

4 Non-concordance - This is simple and important. People can and often do experience non-concordance between their body and their mind when it comes to arousal/desire. So for instance, one's body may become aroused (get wet or hard) but there is no real desire felt. There also may be desire, but the body does not react with physical arousal. It's normal and very common, and trying to make sense of your desire only by how physically aroused your body becomes (and vice versa), is problematic. There are relationship, personal, moral even legal implications to truly understanding this.

My Criticism of How Orgasm is Discussed
So, do go read the book, but know that I disagree with how she discussed orgasm in the ways I map out below, and I ask to just keep it in mind as you absorb.

Lady-gasm and desire
First off, I'll just reiterate what I said above about lack of consistent partnered orgasm being an important element of desire loss in women. I think it was an unfortunate oversight in the book.  Everything else Nagoski said about what kinds of things might affect desire and how one might work to adjust those things is completely valid and important, but I think it's incomplete without really diving into lack of orgasm's affect on desire.

Lack of definition for orgasm - aka orgasm is whatever you say it is
The problem, though, and I imagine part of the reason she doesn't get into the orgasm/desire issue, is that Nagoski basically cuts off any nuanced discussion by saying an orgasm is anything and everything. One cannot give any practically helpful advise about what affect lack of orgasm may have or how to include more orgasms in partnered sex if one cannot even pinpoint what an orgasm is. I mean - might as well say getting a clown to do balloon shows in front of you while getting railed could work for some people, because why not? Anything is possible with orgasms, right? And, the clown example may seem extreme, but it's not too far off from what she actually does say about orgasm.
Here's a small sample of the highly pleasurable orgasms women have described to me: orgasm from clitoral stimulation, orgasm from vaginal stimulation, orgasm just from breast stimulation, orgasm from having her toes sucked, orgasm when her partner penetrated her well lubricated anus with a finger while pinning her to the bed with her hair (the most erotic sensation, she specified, was his warm palm resting gently on her butt cheeks), orgasm when her partner slowly and gently stroked fingertips on her outer labia again and again and again (she said what started out as an appetizer turned into the main course), orgasm without any genital stimulation while she was giving her partner oral sex (she was so closely attuned to his arousal that when he came, she did too).
Really? She came from having her toes sucked? She sucked dick to orgasm? Tell me she found it highly pleasurable. Tell me she felt a sudden climactic high from it. Tell me it's her favorite ending to sex. Who am I to judge? But, calling it an orgasm and categorizing it in with the rhythmic physical release of pelvic muscle tension that is universally understood as orgasm, is deeply problematic. It's also the contemporary way to talk about orgasm - in the sex education crowd - to take a 'if you like it and say it's an orgasm, I can't disagree stance,' so I understand why Nagoski refuses to put fences around the word, but that doesn't make it less problematic. Her only attempt at definition is 'sudden involuntary release of sexual tension' but then she takes great pains to make it clear that means anything you want it to mean.
When you strip it down to the universal essentials, here's what you get. Orgasm is the sudden involuntary release of sexual tension. Notice how much is missing from that definition; genitals, muscle contractions, sexual behavior, pleasure, or indeed anything that mentions what it feels like or how it happened. They can happen from clitoral stimulation, vaginal stimulation, thigh stimulation, anal stimulation, breast stimulation, earlobe stimulation, or mental stimulation with no physical contact at all.
She goes on to say a variety of places they happen and how they feel. I will wholeheartedly agree that it is not sensible to define orgasm using pleasure or what it feels like - who can ever say what something feels like to someone else. I'm even completely behind not defining orgasm by what sexual behavior is happening during it or what is being stimulated.

There is a good marker for orgasm, though
The involuntary muscle contractions, however, I think we must use as a marker for orgasm. Nagoski admits that "Those rhythmic involuntary contraction are perhaps the most nearly universal physiological marker of orgasm," but she goes on to say "even that can't be relied on all the time." To back that up she sites a study where 11 women masturbated to orgasm. I reviewed this article in 2016 if you'd like more information, but here's the basics. The female subjects masturbated and each had a probe in their anus to collect the involuntary muscle contractions of orgasm. They pushed a button to tell the researchers when exactly they orgasmsed so the researchers could see what was happening with their pelvic muscles at that time. 2 of the 11 women said they orgasmed but did not exhibit the involuntary muscle contractions.  Nagoski asserts that this means that orgasms cannot be defined by muscle contraction alone. Maybe. It also might mean that the tools for recording those orgasms were not sufficient. It could also mean that those women did not have an orgasm. The authors of this study struggled with the meaning and did not come to such a clear conclusion of their research as Nagoski. In the article's conclusion, they wrote:

"Two of the subjects did not demonstrate the distinct muscular evidence of orgasm that the other nine did. During none of their orgasms did the initial series of regular contractions occur. Were these subjects interpreting some less pronounced change as orgasm? Should orgasm be defined by what is perceived or reported, or by physiological criteria? At this early stage in recording pelvic muscular activity, we are not yet prepared to conclude that physiological characteristics are more valid than self-reported perceptions for identifying orgasm. At least until more data are collected, especially of the ontogeny of contraction patterns, we will continue our analysis of physiological changed based on subjects' self-defined orgasm."

In other words they made the executive decision for the purposes of this 1982 scientific article to call an orgasm whatever their subjects said was an orgasm because they were not yet prepared to say a woman might say she's having an orgasm when she is not.

Definitions matter
But, does it really seem so crazy in this confusing sexual culture that a woman might say, even believe, she is orgasming when physically she is not? We can't account for this not so absurd possibility if we are unwilling to define what an orgasm is. Yeah, it seems nice and women-empowering to believe all women about their orgasms, but to do that we must accept that anything any woman says is an orgasm is in fact an orgasm.

That might seem cool because, like, who am I to yuck someone's yum (that's super hip for sex positive sexperts to say btw)? It's not cool, though. It's not helpful. It's not kind. It's not sex positive. It's not feminist, and it's not even very nice in my opinion. BECAUSE DEFINITIONS MATTER - for education, for understanding, for clarity, for practicality, and for goddamn sure - for scientific inquiry. An orgasm is not an orgasm just because you say it is and an old coke can is not a rock just because it's on the ground with rocks. Sure, we can decide to call everything that's laying on the ground in that size range 'rocks,' but if you want to study rocks, how they're formed, how they get where they are, what they tell us about our earth - then adding old coke cans into the mix will really throw off the study results. Same with studying orgasms.

Involuntary rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions are no joke
Most things we call and understand as orgasms include the involuntary rhythmic muscular contractions that Masters and Johnson identified as markers of orgasm in the late 60's. Certainly this is true for male orgasms (which also include a usually simultaneous ejaculation as well), but also for females. Unfortunately there seems to be a deep urge to act as though there are lots of 'orgasm types' women (but not so much for men) have even though the evidence points to women's orgasms largely being the same as males - stimulated by the penis/clit area, preceded by physical arousal, and marked by the involuntary rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions. And guess what? Contrary to popular belief and even with decades of research trying to prove that things like 'vaginal orgasms exist; most of the things Nagoski listed up there have never in all of scientific literature been shown to cause those pelvic muscle contractions -  not cervical stimulation, not g-spot or urovaginal space pounding, not stimulation of the vaginal barrel, not penile stimulation of 'clitoral legs' through the vagina during intercourse, not thinking oneself into orgasm / non physical, not toe sucking, nor sucking dick. Women have had orgasms plenty of times in a lab, just as men have, but only clitoral/vulva stimulation and nipple stimulation (for 3 women in the original M&J study, but it should be noted all had weak contractions compared to their vulva/clit stimulated orgasms) caused the muscle contractions we know and love. You might have heard about studies that say otherwise, but that's because people act like a few famous studies prove things they actually do not...I summarized some of these studies for your reading enjoyment: one supposedly about cervical orgasms, one supposedly about clitoral leg orgasms, one supposedly about thicker urovaginal tissue causing 'vaginal orgasms. Oh and also, since Nagoski incorrectly asserts that the distance from the vagina to the clit is the reason some women 'vaginally orgasm' and some don't, here's 2 articles that supposedly prove that, but do not. HERE and HERE

Definition doesn't mean exclusion, though
So, yeah, I guess it comes down to words. If you want to call anything and everything orgasms, go for it, but please at least discern between orgasms that cause the involuntary rhythmic muscle contraction marker (let's call them marker orgasms) and ones that do not. One is not the same as the other. Let's go back to the 'coke can / rock', 'marker orgasm / other orgasm' analogy for scientific inquiry. If one is trying to understand how and why orgasms happen in order to understand better how to advise for achieving them, how to therapeutically help lack of orgasm, or even to understand what is common and what is not, then willy nilly including other orgasms in with marker orgasms quickly creates a confusing heap of messy, shit data. Similar to data about rock formation that is forced to include printed pressed aluminium cans in the analysis, data about marker orgasms that is forced to include other orgasm will throw off connections that should be made if the research was willing to call a spade a spade. I'm not saying that non-marker orgasms are not valuable or pleasurable, but they are different than marker orgasms. They should be studied differently, discussed differently, advised about differently, and women should know that one is not the other. We as a whole are not aware of that though, and frankly that is exactly why it currently seems like the data is unclear about female orgasm, but again, I digress.

Here's a truth. People don't always know what's actually happening in their body. Women don't get taught that much about their pleasure organ (clit) or their orgasms. We see more faked ones in the media than real ones. It's not crazy to think we might say and even think we marker orgasm when we have not, and the advise and information out there is so confusing that we may not know for years that there is a difference and that we haven't been having the type of physical orgasms that the men around us have probably been regularly having their whole sex life.

So, yeah, maybe whatever non-marker orgasm sensation a person has been having is pleasurable in some way, but again, it's not a marker orgasm, so it's physically different. Think about this. You have a pain in your chest. Are you having a heart attack or a panic attack? They might feel similar from what you understand about them, but the actual physical things happening and the results are drastically different. This is the same with an 'orgasm' that does not include the rhythmic muscle contractions that quickly rid the body of most of the built up sexual tension from arousal and an orgasm that does. When sex advisers, like Nagoski, so casually ignore the difference between a marker orgasm and other climactic experiences, they are robbing women of an incredibly important piece of sexual information.

Women deserve better information than we've been getting 
I truly believe that to act as though, for women, orgasm is just whatever you want to call orgasm is a disservice (men, lucky for them, don't seem to get this idea that lots of other things besides the rhythmic muscle contractions are orgasm forced upon them like women do, so take that as you will).

Women are not idiots. You can tell us that pleasure can come from anywhere, that a feeling of climax, even if it is not physical is a lovely thing to pursue if that's what you want. You can also tell us that when involuntary muscle contractions release the physical, sexual arousal that has built up, it's called an orgasm - or if you prefer marker orgasm. You don't need to place any value on it. It doesn't have to be the most pleasurable aspect of any sex act. It doesn't even have to be included in a sex act for it to be worthwhile. But we deserve to know what that physical experience is, that it is not something known in scientific literature to accompany vaginal canal, earlobe, thigh, or cervix stimulation, and that it is by far most likely to happen (and I mean almost exclusively - truly don't expect it to happen any other way) from clitoral glans/vulva stimulation - either direct or indirect. We can make our decisions about how to go about our pleasure from there, but without that information, it seems like porn is correct. It seems like an "orgasm" - the kinds men have way the hell more than we do in partner situations - can happen from just about anything (especially from intercourse), and that is categorically not true.

Thanks Dr. Nagoski - I loved the book despite my criticism
So, that's my hot take on Emily Nagoski's Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life. I hope I sufficiently portrayed my deep respect and gratitude for the important things Nagoski is saying alongside my criticism of how she treated orgasm. My hope is never to hate on other people doing the hard work to improve the sexual lives of women. I have great respect for that and understand there are many avenues to get there. I do want to open the eyes of already thoughtful, smart people to a different perspective, to give resources and back up my statements so that maybe these smart, thoughtful people might adjust their work ever so slightly to incorporate the new perspective - because I think we get to orgasm equality and a better sexual culture faster if we all take the best from each other. It's a fine line, though. So, Dr. Nagoski, I hope I didn't offend.

I'll leave you with some of Nagoski's final words in the book because I think they sum up the spirit of sexual activism work, and I very much identify with it.
Why I wrote this book: Like many of you, I was taught all the wrong things as I was growing up. Then as I reached adulthood, I made all the mistakes, and I spent many years stumbling with unspeakably good fortune into settings where I could learn to get it right. Settings like the Kinsey Institute and one of only a handful of PhD programs with a formal concentration in human sexuality. I wrote this book to share what I learned, what has helped me and what I've seen help other women. I wrote it for my sister and my mother and for my sister's young adult step daughters, for my niece who is just approaching adolescence and most of all, for my students. I wrote it to share the science that taught me that I and my sister and my mother and my friends are all normal and healthy. I wrote it to grant us all permission to be different from one another. I wrote it because I am done living in a world where women are lied to about their bodies, where women are objects of sexual desire but not subjects of sexual pleasure, where sex is used as a weapon against women and where women believe their bodies are broken simply because those bodies are not male, and I am done living in a world where women are trained from birth to treat their bodies as the enemy. I wrote this book to teach women to live with confidence and joy. If you can remember even one of the ideas in this book; no two alike, brakes and accelerator, context, non-concordant arousal, responsive desire, any of them - and use it to improve you relationship with your own sexuality, you'll be helping me with that goal.