Insecure S2 Ep4 - The SSL Review

Insecure S2 Ep4
I watched seasons 1 and 2 of Insecure last fall and took notes, but hadn't gotten to writing any SSL Reviews until this past September. Much like that first Insecure SSL Review,  this SSL Review will not be given a high Vulva Rating. Again, this scene was a really basic - and terribly unrealistic - sex scenario were a dude bangs a woman and she orgasms with no clit thought at all. There are really a lot of scenes like this in Insecure, except most of them cut before we see anyone orgasm. We're just left to assume that what they were doing, which is ramming a P into a V with no absolutely no clit stimulation, was supposed to be orgasmic for both parties. I mean, that's pretty much the status quo for sex scenes in general whether they be on TV, movies or porn, so it's not surprising, but like I said in that other post, I was hoping for better.

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

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

S2 Ep4 - Fake Cowgirl

So again, I'm not going to use any names here because if you haven't seen this show, I don't want you to get any spoilers, but for my purpose, names aren't needed for this anyway. I would like to give you some context though, because besides the lady-gasm element, this scene has important elements related to race and gender/masculinity.

So, there is a black, male, regular character in here that I'll just call Dude. There are also 2 young, non-black (probably both white), female, non-regular characters. We'll call them Lady1 and Lady2.

Dude forgets his credit card when buying some things for a night out with friends. Lady1 and Lady2 are behind him in line and kindly buy his stuff. In the parking lot, they convince him to go back to their place. When they get there, the women turn on The Weeknd and start dancing seductively on him. It becomes, not unexpectedly, a threesome, ya'll.

We see Dude lying in the bed on his back with Lady1 on top of him, bouncing up and down cowgirl style. Her body is largely perpendicular to his, as opposed to her leaning forward on him, so her clit area is not pressed against him. Also, none of the 6 possible hands are anywhere near her clit. She says to him at one point during this, "Your black cock feels so good in my white pussy!" He's taken aback, but continues on. They both come audibly.

Lady2 then says it's her turn, but Dude is all like...uhhh I just came, I'm gonna need a second. The women immediately get bored and kinda annoyed, saying they've been with plenty of other black guys that were able to come and keep going. They move on to talking about dinner and later plans for the night, and Dude leaves a bit deflated.

The SSL Review
The Lady-gasm
First things first - Lady1's orgasm was super unrealistic. It was just her bouncing on a dick. There was no clitoral stimulation from hands or body friction. Stimulation on the inside of the vagina is simply not a realistic (or scientifically observed) way that women can orgasm. Clit stimulation, just like penis stimulation for men, is needed. Sadly though, a depiction of a woman orgasming from the same thing in intercourse a man orgasms from (a penis moving inside a vagina with no additional clitoral stimulation) is common. It's so common in fact, I would say it is kind of the way sex and orgasm is depicted.

So this scene is another of so, so, so many scenes out there that incorrectly reinforce to all the viewers that women can, maybe should, orgasm from getting nothing more than a good banging. It further cements the idea that intercourse should be as orgasmic for women as it is for men, and it helps to keep the clit largely invisible to female sexuality.

The vagina? Very important. The penis? Obviously needed. The clit?...um well, actually were is it exactly? I know it's also kinda important, like in the foreplay, right? Women can come from clit stuff too, right?

Like for real, people just don't get to see the clit involved in male-female sexual encounters very often at all, and almost never in male-female intercourse.


How the young woman in the scene orgasmsed, however, I think was an afterthought, as much lady-gasm depictions are, and so I imagine it was like it was because it's just the normal way we see women orgasm. So, I want to say I realize the failing in this scene is about lack of thought more than intentional lady-gasm hatred or anything like that. It's just the norm. I also want to say that these shitty lady-gasm depictions will not change until more people start realizing that lady-orgasm scenes deserve some thought....just putting that out there for you creators out there.

The Masculinity Stuff
The other part of why the lady-gasm depiction was a status-quo after thought is that his scene was not really much about Lady1's orgasm. It was about 1. Dude's experience with a sexual encounter focused strangely around race and particularly around the fetishization of his black body, and 2. Dude's masculinity (and particularly a specific idea of black masculinity) coming into question because of how he 'did' sex.

As a culture we often expect a dude to be able to keep orgasming over and over or to be able to stay hard after orgasming, or to be able to stay hard but not orgasm for a long time until after he's 'banged the woman into orgasm.' These are dumb, incorrect expectations of men and sex, but it's important to remember that they are deeply related to our misunderstandings of how females orgasm. Because we don't really understand what causes a woman to orgasm and because our culture is obsessed with the idea that intercourse should be as orgasmic for a vagina as it is for a penis, we tend to believe that:
1. women can be banged to orgasm
2. it takes a long time for women to orgasm NOTE: It doesn't take women any longer on average to masturbate to orgasm than men (because she'll actually be stimulating her clitoral glans in a way she likes)...but yeah, if she's just getting her vagina banged and her clit is barely being touched, it might take her a shitlong time - IF it happens at all
3. It's men's responsibility to give women orgasms

Here's the deal, when men believe their penises during intercourse are responsible for women's orgasms and women believe men are responsible for women's orgasms, so much terrible lady-gasmless sexual encounters happen it's just not funny. As we've discussed above, penises don't give women orgasms. Penises give men orgasms. Clits give women orgasms. Trying to make penises stay hard forever to bang women's vaginas into orgasm is like trying to stick a square peg into a round hole, and no one wins. Here's the big problems with that mentality

  • Women are left getting tons of stimulation that doesn't even help get them to orgasm
  • Men don't want to stop banging until women have orgasmsed...because manliness and niceness and all that...so it's ripe for women to fake...because femininity and niceness and all that
  • Men carry a lot of stress and mental acrobatics related to the awesomely orgasmic stimulation of intercourse (for men at least) vs. the need to not be orgasmic until much later in intercourse. 
  • The shame men feel for failing to hold off long enough can be problematic for their and their partner's sex lives in so many ways 
  • Women and men are both missing out on other ways to have sexual encounters that allow both parties to orgasm when and how they want
  • Women feel they must rely on men for orgasm and don't put the time and work in to give themselves orgasms alone or with a partner
All that to say, I think there is a lot to unpack about the fact that Lady1 and Lady2 both expected Dude to give them orgasms with his never-endingly hard penis in their vaginas. It speaks to so many of the problems and misconceptions surrounding female orgasm I write about in this blog, and it also has so much to say about the failure of masculine and feminine expectations in regard to sexual encounters between men and women. 

The Vulva Rating
Obviously, I'm not a fan of this lady-gasm depiction. It, like so many before and after, is physically unrealistic and reinforces incorrect ideas about how women orgasm. Also like so many other depictions, it's not created out of malice towards the female orgasm or women, but out of laziness and an adherence to the status quo. It's harmful to women, men, sex, and orgasm equality, but it's unintentionally so.

However, this scene also weighs in a bit on the harmfulness of stereotypical ideas of male (particularly black male) sexuality. It doesn't dig deep and doesn't make the connections with female orgasm misconceptions that I find so important, but it at least brings up something we don't always get to see. That makes me feel a little kinder in my rating. 

I give this scene 2 out of 5 vulvas.



Inside Amy Schumer S2 Ep4 - The SSL Review

Inside Amy Schumer 
This show makes me laugh, and here's the best part - Amy Schumer tends to bring it when it comes to realism and female sexuality. She brought it in her movie Trainwreck, in The Joe Rogan Podcast, and largely in the other episodes of this show I've SSL Reviewed so far. She has shown a strong willingness to give the clit the glory it deserves, speak some truths about lady sex experiences, rep for actual lady-gasms - all things largely absent in media and also incredibly important to Orgasm Equality. (She could use some schooling and humbling when it comes to speaking about race though - but that's pretty true of a lot of us).

The SSL Reviewable
There is plenty to SSL Review in this show. And for those that don't yet know, an SSL Review is a critique specifically of discussions or depictions of female orgasm, female masturbation, or the clit. I focus on that and really only that (unless I want to talk about something else). I'm looking mainly at realism and about how the depiction/discussion plays in the larger cultural conversation about female orgasm and women's sexuality.

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

The SSL Review
I'll describe this (kinda murky) SSL Reviewable scene and then discuss it a bit. 

Season 2 Episode 4: Give me the payoff
This scene is in a skit where basically she goes to a hotel and they treat her like an absolute queen from the moment she checks in until she checks out, and then they abruptly treat her like shit.
Technically, this doesn't specifically include discussion of lady-bation, lady-gasms, or the clit, but it mentions getting eaten out, and that kind of encompasses the last 2 in my opinion. Plus, I just have a small beef with it that I want to mention.

The desk clerk asks her during her check in,"Would you like to to be awakened by a kiss on the cheek or a stranger going down on you?"
She answers, "Oh, I don't know...I guess the latter?"

My Comments
Here's the thing though. We see her wake up, and there's no one going down on her. Other magical things happened, so it wouldn't be out of place. It sounds like a great way to wake up, and I just think it would have been enjoyable to see. That's my small beef.

However, I like that 'having a stranger go down on you' was a choice the writers decided to put in. I think it's just a nice way to normalize the idea that women like sexual satisfaction for sexual satisfaction sake. Plus the writers did that using oral sex, which is focused on the clitoral glans, and thus actually quite orgasmic for women, instead of something like intercourse that is traditionally seen as something orgasmic for women, but actually not a sensibly orgasmic act.

Vulva Rating
Even though this is technically not SSL Reviewable, I'm gonna review it anyway because I can and because I respect any piece of media that randomly throws getting-eaten-out-by-a-stranger at us with a positive light, We need all the reminders we can get that women like their clits stimulated by mouths. We are already really clear that dude's like mouths on their penises. We should be just as clear on that about clits - because as people have been bravely reminding us lately, men are getting more oral than ladies, and it's bullshit.

So, it's not super revolutionary, but it's good. I'll give it 4 out of 5 vulvas.



If Beale Street Could Talk - The SSL Review

If Beale Street Could Talk
I saw If Beale Street Could Talk at the theater last night. It's a lovely film, beautifully shot, and it is an important piece of cinema in several ways. Unfortunately, it is not a piece of cinema that is progressive when it comes to depicting the female orgasm. It's not going to get a great SSL Review. That's the thing about SSL Reviews, though, they are not always congruous with an overall review of a movie.

An SSL Review is very particular. For those that need a little refresher it's a review specifically of a 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. Clearly some movies have no scenes like this and are ineligible for SSL review (just sex with no lady-gasm doesn't count). The ones that are eligible run the gamut. It might be an amazing movie but with a terribly backwards take on lady-gasms or a complete shit movie containing an amazingly progressive clit-focused sexual encounter and lady-gasm. Both types of movies, plus the all good and the all bad movies are out there.

Oh do feel free to see many more movie SSL Reviews HERE and TV SSL Reviews HERE. I rate from 0 to 5 vulvas. Beale Street is for sure not a 5 vulva movie, but at the same time, it could be worse.

The Scene
So, there is technically only 1 eligible SSL scene, but for some contex and some later discussion, I'd like to describe an earlier scene first. **I also want to mention that this movie is still in theaters, and I am not able to go back and get really specific details about dialogue and scene like I normally do with these. My descriptions are from memory and might be a bit off, but I think I have the right feel of everything. Feel free to call me on something though.**

First time - a precursor to the scene 
The main characters are Tish and Fonny, a young couple, and we get to see them have intercourse for the first time. It's the 70's. They are young. It's pretty bare bones sexing. They kiss just a little then start getting naked. He puts on some music, turns off the lights, lays her back, gets on top and under covers, and puts it in. Before he does actually put it in though, he expresses to her that he doesn't want her to be scared, that he would never hurt her, and that she just has to get used to him. We know when he puts it in because Tish has an abrupt intake of air. During this scene we also see Fonny ask Tish to touch him. She had put her hands on either side of her head against the mattress. She is inexperienced and nervous and maybe didn't know what to do with them. After he asks, she puts them on his back. It cuts before there are any orgasms.

When it cuts back, they are finished and laying together, him still on top of her. I'm a little more foggy on the exact details here, but he basically asks her if she likes having sex with him. She is evasive and shy and tells him that he 'just wants to hear her say it.' It's a kind, intimate scene, but she continues to be evasive and never does say that she likes it.

The Scene
Later Tish tells us in voice over that she remembers the exact day their baby was conceived. We go through the day, and at one point we see them making love. Before we cut to it, we hear their breath increasing as if approaching climax. It's a shot from above, showing them from about mid-back up. She is laying flat on her back, and he is on top of her missionary style. He is moving in gentle pumps and she seems largely motionless except for her hands on his back. We see her fingers begin to dig into his back and they both seem to breath out a climax just before they stop and relax into each other.

My SSL Review
So it appears they have simultaneous orgasms. It is a scene about their closeness and their love and the creation of the child she is carrying. It is just the kind idealic, cherished scenario that would house the often desired and ever-elusive simultaneous orgasm, but physically it makes little sense that anyone would be orgasming except Fonny...because he is the one with his organ of sexual pleasure (the penis) fully encompassed and stimulated by a thing (her vagina). He is also controlling his movements and thus controlling how his penis gets stimulated inside her. He has every thing going for him to orgasm.

Tish's organ of sexual pleasure (her clitoral glans), on the other hand, is not necessarily even being touched while Fonny's penis is moving inside her, and if it does happen to be touched from time to time by his pelvic area due to the angle as he's going in and out of her, it's probably only intermittent stimulation. Plus, Tish's body was not moving in a way that showed her controlling how her clit area was being stimulated by his body. She was not grinding against him or anything like that. She, as with all us women who get banged in the vagina with no thought to the clitoral glans stimulation, has very little going for her possibility of orgasm. (Seriously, there is no physical evidence in all of scientific literature that shows an orgasm caused by stimulation inside the vagina alone)

Yet we the audience see her orgasm anyway. We don't see anything physically happening to her that would would realistically cause an orgasm. Yet, she orgasms.

Let that sink in a bit.

Also, let it sink in how very normal of a scene this is.

Then let it further sink in how normal of a scene their first time was too. Although we didn't see the orgasm portion of that sex, one can assume from common sense and their talk afterward that he orgasmsed (because it would seem weird if a man did not during intercourse, right?) and that maybe she did not. At least we can say that she was unsure enough about if she liked it or not to be elusive when he asked about it, and I venture to say if she orgasmed, I doubt she'd be so unsure.

There wasn't really any physical difference between what was happening the first time when she did not seem to orgasm and what was happening that time when she seemed to. Both times he was just pushing his penis in and out of her as her body stayed largely still. Yet, it probably doesn't seem weird her body reacted differently to those 2 sex acts. Women don't orgasm their first time, right? Women's orgasms are finicky. Women have to be in the right mood and mental state to orgasm, correct?

Not correct. Well, I mean, yes, all people have to be in the right mental state to orgasm, but the truth is we use a made up idea that women's orgasms are naturally more finicky as a way to explain away the nonsensical way women's orgasm are depicted. Women orgasm as quickly, easily, and reliably as men do during masturbation. Our bodies are capable of orgasm in the same way male bodies are. Problem is, one of the most common sex acts we do is to ram things into our vaginas.

Female bodies don't orgasm from things ramming into our vaginas, but we all think they are supposed to, and sometimes we pretend consciously or unconsciously that these types of orgasms happen.

That leads to all kinds of confusion about how, why, and when women's orgasms happen. It leads to things like assuming a woman banged the first time won't orgasm but later if she gets banged, and she's used to it, and she loves dude banging her, of course she would orgasm - which is exactly what we see from Tish.

What I'm saying here is that p-in-v sex does not lady-gasms make. The first time sex depicts that reality, but probably only because we as a society have this idea that orgasms don't happen for nervous inexperienced women, and not because it just literally would never realistically cause orgasm for a female. The next depiction of intercourse where she and he seems to orgasm at the same doesn't depict that physical reality and it's unrealistic. It acts to reinforce to audiences an already entrenched, but very wrong assumption that penile-vaginal intercourse is as orgasmic for females as it is for males.

That said, this type of scene is incredibly common. It is the norm. Fucking, with just in-out of the penis into the vagina and no additional clitoral stimulation until both parties come, is how sex is depicted. So, it's not unexpected or negligent. It's just another sad reminder of how incredibly ignorant we are, as a society, about how women actually orgasm, and also how deeply ingrained in us is the feeling that intercourse is as orgasmic for women as it is for men. It's an incredibly problematic cultural feeling that creates expectations our bodies can't deliver on.

This scene sets alongside all the other hundreds of thousands of scenes in TV, movies, and porn that show women acting out orgasms in situations that realistically are orgasmic for men but not for women. They reinforce physically incorrect ideas about what should happen during the ol' in-out, and reinforce the necessity of faking and of doing the mental contorting we women, largely unconsciously, do to make the expectations of how our orgasm should exist in our sexual experiences match with how our bodies actually react to our real-life sexual experiences. We are worse for these lies and contortions -  we women, our partners, and our relationships.

Vulva Rating
So, although this scene is just reflecting the status quo of our sexual culture, it is still true that the sexual status quo is toxic when it comes to the female orgasm, and that this scene contributes to that toxicity. I am going to give this movie a 2 vulva rating because it is overall negative for the future of orgasm equality, but it is not intentionally hurtful or particularly negligent. It's greatest sin is that it did not overachieve in progressiveness and realism related to the female orgasm, and that is really no great sin - only a reminder of how far we have still to go. Also, I'm giving some leniency because, even though the intent was probably off-base, I kind of like that their first time sex scene more accurately depicts from Tish the type ambivalence she might feel about a sex act that wouldn't realistically include an orgasm for her. The