The Favourite - The SSL Review

The Favourite
First off, I love this movie. I saw this bitch in the theater twice. It's lovely and weird and funny and has these rich, meaty lady-stories. It's just goddamn good movie making. Granted, it might not be everyone's taste, but it sure the fuck is mine. Secondly, it had an SSL Reviewable moment, and it's going to get a good vulva rating, so even more respect to this movie.

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.

The Pain!
This will be a quick one. Although there are few sexual scenes in this movie, this is the only one that depicts a ladygasm. If you haven't seen the movie, and you want to, go see the movie first and then read this. I don't think this would spoil the movie as a whole because it's such a rich movie, but it does tell you one spoiler. Your choice though.

Abigail is a servant that gets called in to the queens chambers. It's happened before and she's familiar, even friendly with the queen, but this time is different, and Abigail knows what's up.
Queen: Rub my legs
The Queen is laying in bed, and Abigail sits in the bed next to her. She rolls up the Queen's nightgown to around the knees and begins rubbing her ankle area.
Abigail: Does it hurt a lot?
Queen: coolly, and with an unwavering gaze: They're agony
(It's poignant that she says this so calmly because in past scenes where her legs hurt she is opposite of calm...Queen be fishin' for some other kind of relief...if ya know what I mean).

Abigail start moving up the legs with each massaging squeeze. Her gaze is as unwavering as the queen's. She clearly gets under the nightgown and looks to be in the lady-parts range.  The shot moves to the Queen and she makes a face with an intake of air which indicates Abigail is touching a pleasurably sensitive area now. We see Abigail with her hands deep under the gown, still massaging. Her arms are definitely moving as if she's really giving a good massage to that area. We cut back to the queen, and she has closed her eyes, opened her mouth, and dipped her head back. She kind of shifts her body the way one might to get the right angle when one is getting a handie. She's really feeling this vulva massage, ya'll. Abigail continues to massage rhythmically, looking dead at the queen, and we hear the queen begin to moan. It cuts to her, and she is eyes closed, mouth agape, head back, and she says in a burst,
Queen: Oh, the pain!
The scene cuts to another situation and the next time we see Abigail and the queen, they are sleeping nude together.

I actually wouldn't necessarily say that the orgasm was depicted there. To me it felt more like the lead up to an eventual orgasm, so maybe this is a little in the technical gray area for SSL Review eligibility, but the assumption of an eventual orgasm caused by that physical situation seemed clear enough to me, so I'm cool with it.

The Review
I mean, this is a pretty easy one. Although the minute details of what was going on under that gown were hidden, it was clear that there was consistent massage-style stimulation happening in the vulva area, and it clearly didn't look like some porny finger-banging into the vag-hole situation. That's realistic enough for me. You get consistent manual stimulation going on the vulva/clitoral glans area, and by golly, that right there is something that has been shown both in peer-reviewed scientific papers and under skirts around the world, to cause an orgasm. So, the realism is there. The physical thing depicted as happening to the woman is something that could reasonably be assumed to cause orgasm. Not all (not most, really) depictions of lady-gasms are realistic, so I'm very happy about this.

I will say, though, that this was a depiction of 2 females in a sexual situation and those more often than not are more realistic (I mean not in porn - those often are still ridiculous and vagina-hole focused for some godawful reason). I think the fact that there is no penis attached to anyone allows more flexibility to depict sexual acts that don't include pushing a penis in and out of a vagina - which contrary to popular belief is shit for lady-gasms, so more chance for realism. I'm just pointing this out because honestly, I'm more excited when I see lady-gasm realism in hetero sexual situation given realism in those scenes are so much more rare. In the same way, I'm also more disappointed when lesbian interactions are not realistic...so I'm very happy this did not disappoint.

The Vulva Rating
Love the movie. Love the realism. These kinds of depictions help to remind people that the female pleasure organ (the clitoral glans) is on the outside of the body and not deep up in the vag. We need as many reminders of that as we can get to counteract all the BS depictions of women getting boned into orgasm without even a hint of clit stimulation. That kind of dumb shit is what gets into all our heads and fucks with our sex lives. All that to say, The Favourite - I give you 5 out of 5 vulvas!



The Technology of Orgasm: A Meticulously Researched, Awesome, Orgasm Equality Book (A Retro SSL Post)

I am behind on my writing. Sorry. I will write some real posts this weekend. In the meantime, please enjoy this retro SSL post from 2017 about one of my very most favoritist awesomeist books . 

Rachel P. Maines is bonafide badass feminist researcher, and not only that, but a straight up Orgasm Equality Hero. I hadn't heard of her book until I went to the Kinsey Institute Library and got my eyes on a whole bunch of cool things, and The Technology of Orgasm:  "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction was one of the best of those things. It was first published in 1999, so it's been out there a while, and if you've heard about the idea that doctors used to masturbate women as a treatment for a largely made-up disease called hysteria and that the vibrator was first created and used in this context, then you can largely thank Dr. Maines. She seemed to have put all that shit together and told the world about it.

The art it inspired
Actually, a play I have not seen but heard about on NPR called In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) was inspired by this book. Also the 2011 movie Hysteria with Maggie Gyllenhaal was kinda based on this book, but I have to be honest. I gave that movie the worst SSL Review (a review only of depictions and discussions of female orgasm, female masturbation, and the clit) I have ever given a movie. I didn't even know this book existed back when I reviewed Hysteria and I was more harsh in reviews back then, but I thought that movie was putting backwards ideas about female orgasm out there and that it missed such an opportunity to be so progressive. I still think that, but that is sooooo not true of the book it's based on. The movie Hysteria, now that I know about this book, really truly for real does not represent the information and tone of the book - which is sad because it could have been a revolutionary movie.

There was also a 2007 doc inspired by this book called Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm that I finally bought and watched a couple weeks ago (and will do an SSL Review on eventually). The author, Rachel P. Maines, is interviewed in it and so is Betty Dodson, and those women are clearly orgasm equality champs, but even this doc did not get to the heart of what Maines was saying with this book. It instead focused more on the interesting history of vibrators, modern vibrator laws, a vibrator home-sale company's business structure, and the 70's sexual and women's revolution, and focused very little (if at all) on Maine's revolutionary assertions about how Western culture -to this day- does its best to believe that penises rubbing in vaginas create female orgasms even with tons of evidence to the contrary.

This book, my friends, is the most researched historical look at female orgasm that I have ever seen. It's quite epic, really. I am no historian, so something this book taught me that I had not really thought about before was that the things a society makes its machines do, how their machines are used and how they are advertised says a lot. And what our long history of technology-to-make-women-come says is that our society has always had a complicated relationship with female orgasm in that we desperately want to believe it arises from a dick moving in and out of a vagina, but also know deep down that it doesn't, so we create both things and lies that allow women to get orgasms from time to time without actually having to adjust our sense that women should orgasm during intercourse or to expect women's partners do the work to get women to orgasm.

A more cumbersome name for this book, in my opinion, might be: Let's pretend intercourse gives females orgasms and then deceive ourselves into believing crazy shit like stimulating a woman's clit until she has a 'paroxysm' is not sexual or that we don't need to pay attention to women's clits when we have sex with them even though we kind of know that we do. -by All of Western History

Desperately clinging to female orgasm through penetrative sex
This book starts from and stays aligned to a basic truth that my loyal readers will know is a major thesis of this blog and my movie:  Vaginal penetration is not good for female orgasm and great for male orgasm. I tend to take that one step further and say that as far as all of scientific literature is concerned, there has never been a recorded observations of physical orgasm from something stimulating the inside of the vagina. Seriously, Either way, though, it's pretty undeniable that outer vuvla/clit stimulation causes orgasm in women just like penile stimulation causes orgasm in men. That means basic P-in-V penetrative sex with no additional clitoral stimulation is a terrible way for women to orgasm. It's absolutely fabulous for men though. So, that means getting a woman off takes more than just having a man get himself off inside her vagina through intercourse.  Women need clitoral stimulation, and that simply doesn't (or rarely ever) just automatically happens at the same time she's getting banged.

But, man, wouldn't it be cool/easier/convenient if women did just orgasm during a ramming like men do?

Maines shows us in this book that somewhere along the line, long-ago-Western-society said 'Yeah, that would be cool! I will go ahead and believe that!' And so it was believed. It was believed ever so strongly, and yet...it was also kinda known that it wasn't true. I mean, it's. just. not. true., and so it's hard to look past actual real life facts, but by gods the world has tried! This wierd dichotomy of believing strongly that women should and could orgasm through vaginal penetration and also kinda knowing that they don't has created all kinds of strange interactions between the world and the female orgasm.

How western society has rationalized our incorrect beliefs about female orgasm 
Okay so, in rectifying what is true of women's  orgasms and what is believed to be true of those things, Maines argues (in great detail and with tons of primary references, I might add) that since ancient times physicians have employed 5 basic strategies.

1 (least common) Straight-up acknowledge that only a minority of women can reach orgasm during penetration with no additional clitoral stimulation. She says this usually comes with advice about providing appropriate stimulation during coitus, not through masturbation. This is close to what we see from progressive, sex-positives today. It's better than not acknowledging the reality of clit-stimulation-to-orgasm at all, but it a. still keeps intercourse front and center, b. still hangs onto the idea that there are some women, even if it's just a minority, that can orgasm from stimulation inside the vagina. However, there just doesn't seem to be physical evidence that this is true. Now, Maines doesn't come right out and say in the book that orgasm from vaginal stimulation alone is a completely unverified thing and that there's no good evidence to believe any women can orgasm that way, but she does do something that I almost never ever see - she argued that the number of women in surveys who say they can orgasm this way (it tends to be around 30%) are quite likely inflated - which is real talk and soooo needs to be said.

So, although this is really how the most progressive in our society society deal with this, it still leaves so much room for the belief in vaginally induced orgasms and the uber-importance of intercourse that it doesn't really do enough to combat the status quo feeling that intercourse should be as orgasmic to women as it is for men.

Confusing desire, arousal, or enjoyment/pleasure with orgasmic resolution. Ummmm...
Having reaffirmed the norm as coitus, twentieth-century physicians tended to blur the distinction between orgasm and satisfaction much as their nineteenth-century predecessors had done. A propensity to equate enjoyment of coitus with orgasmic satisfaction remains embedded in both medical and popular discussion despite nearly a century of study of female sexuality." p 63
True. True .True. This happens today all. the. time. And this brings me to where Maines goes next with this argument. She insinuates that it's not just male physicians. Women seem to use this conflating of pleasure and orgasm to hold the line on this as well. I have to tell you, I just about flipped my lid when I read this. It's just simply not a thing people are willing to talk about (for real, it's the thing I say that I find people get the most pissed off about) - that women might be reporting orgasms from penetration minus any extra clitoral stimulation even though they are not actually experiencing orgasm that way.
Jeanne Warner, who wrote about this in 1984, used Joseph Bohlen's 1981 definition: "Only the unique waveforms of anal and vaginal pressure associated with the reflexive contractions of the pelvic muscles provide distinct physiological evidence of orgasm." In the absence of these signs, the emotional and physical enjoyment that women experience in coitus is frequently elevated to the stature of orgasm, both in the women's reports and in the medical interpretation. Women are under pressure to appear normal and feminine in their sexual response - defined, of course, in the androcentric model - and physicians have traditionally sought evidence that validated this model. Warner thinks it is likely that female orgasm in coitus is substantially over reported owing to women's tendency to say what their husbands and doctors want to hear... p 63
3 They gave the female orgasm a different name and identity. "Hysterical Paroxysm" was a term used for something that women had...and it was obviously an orgasm, but they either failed to see it as that or intentionally didn't call it that. So, by calling the female orgasm something different no one had to acknowledge that orgasm was what was happening from certain clit-stimulating situations - particularly medically induced ones.

4 Many physicians just believed women didn't have sexual feelings and desires.
It is in the nineteenth century that we see the fullest flowering of the third and fourth approaches to reconciling perceptions of women's sexuality with their observed behaviour: believing that women enjoyed intercourse sufficiently with or without the resolution now medically defined as orgasm, or that normal women experienced no sexual feelings at all. pg 59
hmmmm. Women enjoy intercourse with or without orgasming...where do I hear that? Oh yeah - all over modern sex advice that assures us women can be fully satisfied by sex even if there is no orgasm. You know, because we're more interested in the emotional/closeness aspects of sex or something like that.

Also, you see how nicely 3 and 4 play together? You can send women with 'Hysteria' to a physician to get a medical procedure (a doctor masturbating her with his hand or a vibrator) until she experiences a paroxysm (orgasm), and since women don't have sexual feelings at all or at least not without P-in-V sex, then that medical visit is fine, and pure, and cool for upstanding ladies to partake in.

"Finally, some medical authors omit all mention of female orgasm, even in discussing female sexuality." p51

I mean, just ignore it completely is a good plan too.

Hysteria (or how misunderstanding female orgasm makes normal female reactions seem pathological )
Maines lays out a fab argument that hysteria and its "sister" disorders in western medicine have been used as catchall for reconciling the reality of female sexuality and sexual response with the baseless beliefs about how women's orgasms and sexuality should be.

Imagine (and it's not hard to really since it's actually not too far off from the female situation today) the wierd position a woman was in.

She should be pure sexually but also supposed to enjoy or at least be fine with sexual contact from her husband only.
  • ...but the sexual contact she and her husband mostly have is intercourse, and being that it doesn't do much for the clit, he comes and she does not. 
  • ....so, it's actually not that exciting of a thing for her and there's not quite the same motivation for her to do that again as there is for him and she starts to be less interested in him and their sex life
  • ...but that very natural response to shitty, orgasmless sex is deemed as pathological because no one is willing to acknowledge that she isn't having orgasms that she could very well be having if they just did sexual contact differently. 
  • ...but, at the same time, if she does either try to stimulate herself in a very sensible and orgasm-creating way, it's considered a bit deviant given it doesn't include a dick in her vagina, so this also makes her a deviant.
  • ...and if she does anything that might be considered a sensible reaction to living in an orgasmless marriage, like crying or being bored or sad or being too interested in seeking sex or companionship elsewhere - that'll get her a hysteria or hysteria-like diagnosis as well. 
Basically, when women's sexuality is viewed through the idea that hetero-penetrative sex is the ultimate in sexual satisfaction for all, things start getting wierd and women's quite normal reactions to things don't make sense. It's some shady business that results in reframing normal female sexual functioning as diseased. Can't orgasm during intercourse? Diseased. Masturbate? Diseased. Feel frustrated and bored with your sex (because you actually can't orgasm during intercourse)? Diseased. Want sex a lot? Don't want it enough for your husband? Diseased! Diseased!

This desperate attempt to believe that women should orgasm during intercourse despite all kinds of contrary evidence created a lot of confused damned if you do, damned if you don't statements and ideas about female sexuality. Talking of famous 18th century doctor Richard von Kraft-Ebing and his statements about sexual "anesthesia" (i.e. not able to enjoy/orgasm), Maines writes,
Nineteenth-century physicians noted that their hysterical and neurasthenic women patients experienced traditional androcentric intercourse (me: normal ol' in-out sex) mainly as a disappointment. Richard von Kraft-Ebing , who thought that "women...if physically and mentally normal, and properly educated, has but little sensual desire," nevertheless considered the failure of his female patients to enjoy sex a pathological condition. p 39
So, women aren't supposed to have sexual desire, but if they don't they're diseased? Hysteria and its sister diseases, of course, were sometiems treated by masturbating a woman to orgasm (or as they liked to call it - paroxysm). It was lovely way to get women an orgasm, something quite important to most humans, without admitting that penetration is not great for orgasm or that women need clitoral stimulation to orgasm and without inconveniencing women's partners in the slightest.

Technology for the job no one wants
A large portion of the book involves setting the scene for discussing the technologies-to-get-women-off. It needs a lot of background and context because frankly we modern people are not much more enlightened about the female orgasm than the Romans and the 19th century physicians Maines writes about. We still hold a strong belief that women can and should orgasm from intercourse alone despite piles of evidence to the contrary. If you are skeptical of that just quickly check out how we depict sex in porn, movies, TV and romance novels. What Maines calls the Androcentric Model of sex (penile- vaginal intercourse to male orgasm as the ultimate in pleasure for both parties), is still deeply embedded in our modern beliefs about sex. We are a touch more progressive in some ways, but not enough so that Maines can assume all the stuff about how intercourse just plain doesn't work for lady-gasms is obvious and skip through it with a line or two. Like...she must argue that point and get us to understand/believe that before she can even begin her main technology related argument.

I'll let Maines introduce the technology-focused part of the book.
The overloaded and leaky vessel of androcentric sexuality, as we have seen, has required systematic bailing out of contradictory data. Some of this has been accomplished, I have suggested, by medicalizing the production of female orgasm, thus relieving husbands and lovers of the chore of stimulating the clitoris, a task rarely compatible with such reliable masculine favorites as coitus in the female-supine position. Physicians did not relish the job either, however lucrative it might be as an office visit cash cow, and from ancient times to the end of the nineteenth-century they sought some means of literally getting the female orgasm off their hands. Their efforts to mechanize and expedite the task while retaining the profitable character of orgasmic treatment are the subject of the next chapter. p. 66
The description of how lady-gasm was mechanized from ancient times to now is pretty fascinating, and Maines makes in-depth arguments for the high importance society has put on the mechanization of this task.
The first home appliance to be electrified was the sewing machine in 1889, followed in the next ten years by the fan, the teakettle, the toaster, and the vibrator. The last preceded the electric vacuum by some nine years, the electric iron by ten, and the electric frying pan by more than a decade, possibly reflecting consumer priorities. p.100
The history she gives us about all the contraptions people created to get women off, how the vibrator got into the home, and how it was eventually advertised is fascinating (I won't go into it, but you should get the book and read about it).

As for the vibrator and modern life; concrete, physical, mid 20th century scientific knowledge that women do in fact come from clit stimulation and not vaginal stimulation (Masters & Johnson)  as well as the birth of film that showed women getting off  from vibrators on their clits has taken the safety cloak off women getting 'non-sexual' 'medical procedures' to orgasm as well as advertisements of vibrators in respectable women's magazines. We know it's sexual now and most people at least recognize that clitoral stimulation is a way to get women off, even if there is still widespread belief that vaginal penetration is also a way to do that.  It is progress, but frankly not enough. We still largely cling to the idea that women should orgasm during intercourse just like men, and that directly stimulating the clit (which is what actually makes women orgasm) is 'extra' or 'foreplay.' As Maine writes in the end of her introduction,
The women's movement had completed what had begun with the introduction of the electromechanical vibrator into the home: it put into the hands of women themselves the job that nobody wanted.
Progress, yes, but we're still largely working from the assumption that p-in-v intercourse is as orgasmic for women as it is for men, and if women want to get off in a way other than penetration we, not our sexual partners, are generally the ones expected to do it.

I've read reviews of this book and seen art created from it, and what struck me is that often the really subversive punch of this book seems to have gotten lost. Yes, all the info about how women were masturbated through history is funny and interesting. Yes, the fact that women's normal sexual functioning was deemed pathological is infuriating, but underneath all that is the truth no one wants to speak too loudly. We as a society still. don't. get. it. Women don't orgasm through intercourse, but we arrange our society as if they do and then expect women to fit themselves into that fiction however they can. Maines is incredibly clear about this.
What is really remarkable about Western history in this context is that the medical norm of penetration to male orgasm as the ultimate sexual thrill for both men and women has survived an indefinite number of individual and collective observations suggesting that for most women this pattern is simply not the case...Since women cannot alter their sexual physiology in order to achieve compliance (consistent orgasm during coitus), they have employed a variety of strategies to reconcile reality with the normative mode. p 49-50 
A-fucking-MEN sister. Although this book is already almost 20 years old, and I can confidently say, it's still relevant because SHIT STILL HASN'T CHANGED. If it had, then speaking out against belief in female orgasm through vaginal stimulation like we do in my movie and this blog would not get the kind of combative, offended reactions they often gets.  Maines wouldn't have gotten those kinds of reactions from her research and this book either, but she most certainly did. She discusses it in detail in the preface of her book. This topic has created quite a fuss. She describes a variety of presentations and interactions surrounding this research that were surprisingly shitty.
At this point I discovered what I should have realized all along: that some people, most of them male, take my findings personally and resent them as implied criticism. p xiii
I am right there with her, although I'd say I get quite a lot of women in that boat as well. The truth is, though, that the harsh reactions to the idea that women might not get off from penetrative sex just proves her point even further. The need to believe dicks make women come despite tons of evidence to the contrary was and is still STRONG.

She ends her book with a chapter called "Ending the Androcentric Model" She makes no bones about the fact that our society has been living a long and strange lie about how women orgasm, and that it's long past due to come clean.
Many questions can and should be raised about the persistence of Western belief that women ought to reach orgasm during heterosexual coitus. Certainly its importance to impregnation must have contributed to our doggedly maintaining it in the face of abundant individual and societal evidence that penetration unaccompanied  by direct stimulation of the clitoris is an inefficient and, more often than not, ineffective way to produce orgasm in women. It is hardly worth belaboring the point that most men enjoy coitus and that men have been the dominant sex through most of Western history. Yet the fact remains of our normative preference for coitus, in which the constant from Hippocrates to Freud - despite breathtaking changes in nearly every other area of medical thought - is that women who do not reach orgasm by means of penetration alone are sick or defective. The penetration myth is not a conspiracy perpetuated by men; women too want to believe in the ideal of universal orgasmic mutuality in coitus. Even the sexual radical Wilhelm Reich could not see beyond this time-honored norm. The feminist questioning of androcentric sexuality over the past three decades is recent and, one might say, long overdue. p115
Her last lines in the book
The rifts of this ancient wall continue to be patched with exhortations to women to avoid challenging the norm even if it means faking orgasms and sacrificing honesty in their intimate relationships with men. In the past we have been willing to pay this price; whether we should continue to do so is a question for individuals, not historians. p123
She basically said, 'I laid this shit out for you. I told you that our society has been and is still obsessed so deeply with the belief in mutually orgasmic intercourse that it has twisted and contorted female sexuality and stunted female orgasm in a wide range of ways. There has barely started to be real discussion in this arena thanks to a few decades of feminist criticism, but not nearly enough. It's now up to the people. Are you going to acknowledge the ridiculousness of our culture's most precious sexual belief and affect change, or are you going to continue ignoring it and awkwardly plastering over the cracks in its facade?'

I am telling you, this is as bold and revolutionary a book on female orgasm as as I've seen. I have read a shit-ton of books and articles about female sexuality and female orgasm from the time I started researching my movie in 2003. Nothing else, besides The Hite Report, has floored me with its absolutely unabashed realism and clarity on this topic. It's kinda insane to me how tame people are when they write about this book or make movies/docs related to it. They rarely speak about the orgasm-during-intercourse-being-BS part and speak on other more palatable things. It doesn't surprise me at all, though. If it's anything like the reaction I get to my work, it's one of 3 things. 1. some level of pissed 2. Some level of mind blown or 3. completely ignore all the uncomfortable parts about problems in our current society and focus only on how thing 'used to be' or on the interesting, fun, or sexy parts. I think #3 is what's happened a lot with this book. (OMG! So crazy about hysteria and vibrators, right?)

In the end this book, her bold stance, and all the detailed research she did is important. Period. I know there are plenty of people out there who have read this book and deeply moved by it. I was. I just wish I'd found it like 15 years earlier - some parts of it surely would have made their way into my movie.

I believe there is a revolution boiling that could really get a strong-hold on flipping the male-focused model of sex, but these things take time. It's been brewing decades and will probably be brewing for many more, but even if it seems like things aren't changing, I truly believe books like this add a few more hands and a lot more power to the fight. It moves the Orgasm Equality Revolution forward.

Cheers to you Rachel P. Maines. You deserve an awesome award, but all I have to give you is a place of honor in my Orgasm Equality Allies list.  Do enjoy all the power and prestige that goes along with this distinct honor.


Insecure S2 Ep7 - The SSL Review

Insecure S2 Ep7
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 thought of the clit 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 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).

Fucked on a sink - S2 Ep7
The scene in question is a pretty simple one. I won't put in a lot of details about the people and circumstances surrounding this scene so I don't spoil anything. However, I want to say that I think there is a discussion related to this scene around sexual responsibility, how people in relationships consider each other, and about how pushing for sex irresponsibly and giving into sex that is not healthy are things that happen all too often and naturally in part due to our internalized gender roles. But that's a whole other blog. On to the scene description:

Molly is getting fucked by a guy in the bathroom. She is sitting on a sink, facing out. He is standing and facing her. They are having intercourse. They are fully clothed, but she's got a skirt on, so I guess the panties are just pulled to the side or something. He's just got his jeans undone and pulled down enough so we just see the top of his ass (which is actually pretty hot looking).

They are pressed close. Their arms are around each other (and definitely nowhere near her clit). He's definitely pushing in and out of her, so much so that she is getting bounced kind of up and down, but their bodies remain close, and when we see it from behind him, he does have a tiny bit of circular motion in his in-out movement.

She says "Okaaaay. Okaaaay. I'm almost there. I'm almost there," and then she exhales and kind of sighs as if she just came. He stops with a similar exhausted, satiated kind of feel -as if they both just came at the exact same time.

The SSL Review
So, if you read this blog, you know what I'm 'bout to say. This scene is basically just one of trillions you've seen in your life where a man and woman have quick sex. We see them banging their junk against each other, hot intercourse style, and then they both come at the same time. These scenes help get into our heads from a young age the assumption that if a man and a woman fuck passionately enough, it will end in an amazing orgasm for both parties - probably at the same time.

It's a lovely story and one that certainly still plays out in my masturbation fantasies, but it's a sad shitty lie that leads to a dude getting to bone a vagina to his own orgasm and a woman...getting boned. Maybe she outright fakes an orgasm; maybe she moans and screams because it feels so hot and considers that an orgasm; maybe she makes all sorts of sexy satisfied sounds that make him feel like she orgasmsed but she really doesn't consider it 'faking;' maybe she just doesn't orgasm at all and is either fine with it or resentful of it, or just confused as to why it didn't happen when it was supposed to; maybe she is just enjoying the feel of it - but what is just very physically unlikely to happen is that she actually does orgasm.

And she's not likely to orgasm because it's also unlikely that her clit is stimulated. It's unlikely that someone puts a hand or vibe down against her vulva/clit area to actually get her off. It also probably doesn't happen that everything goes just right (including the dude's understanding and willingness to let her control the motions or the woman's understanding that it's even an option) to where she is able to grind her clit against him as she's getting fucked in such a way that she gets enough consistent clitoral glans stimulation so she can come.

Maybe every 1 in 10,000 times a woman is fucked like Molly was in this scene, the stars align and she's able to come because she was crazy aroused when it started and the movement going on during the fucking - without any intentional clit directed movement from either party- happened to stimulate the clit just enough to make her come. I mean that could happen, but it's absolutely bonkers insane that the the large part of how we understand and depict female orgasm banks on this incredibly unrealistic expectation. Let me be clear. Inner vaginal stimulation does not lady-gasms make, and any depiction that implies it does is unrealistic and overall negative for a realistic understanding of female orgasm in out culture.

I will say I'll give a little credit to the fact that the dude's ass was moving a little bit in a circular motion while he was banging into her because if she is going to orgasm during intercourse without any additional clit/vuvla stimulation, it would likely only be because there is grinding between her clitoral glans and his body. His butt's (pretty sexy) circular motion gives the sense that there could be grinding.

However, I'm also not giving it much credit because she was not grinding. She was clearly getting bounced up and down, and she was exhibiting no control over the pelvic movement. Just because his ass moved slightly in a way beyond just straight in-out pounding in no way means she is getting the kind of direct, continuous grinding a clit would need to orgasm. It probably just means he read in a magazine once that he should do more of a screwing motion when he's fucking a woman to make her like it more. That's the kind of half-assed, ignorant of lady-gasm-physiology advice we're all getting all the time. The screwing motion of the dude isn't what's important. It's that the clit needs stimulated and if a woman can grind against the man in a way that works for her while she's getting banged, she might come, but that's up to her body so much more than his.

Vulva Rating
So, this is just another scene to lay upon the pile of scenes that reiterate the incorrect assumption permeating both men and women's brains that women should just come when a penis bangs in her vagina. These types of depictions contribute so much of women's self-doubt and confusion regarding their orgasm, and is overall harmful for hetero sex. But, they're not uncommon or outside of the popular understanding of sex, so it's hard to blame the creators for including this kind of scene. It's shitty, but not in a malicious way or particularly backwards in regard to the status quo. With that, I will give this a 2 out of 5 vulva rating.



5 Oscar 2018 Movies #DirectedbyWomen

I started doing this categorized List of 5 movies thing where I showcase movies that were directed by women and that I have actually seen. It all started during the Directed By Women Worldwide Viewing Party in September 2015, and it was pretty fun, so I've continued doing it from time to time.

It's a bit off-topic from my normal fare, ya know, being that it's not specifically about lady-gasms or anything like that, but I think it fits the blog because
1. this blog is also about indie movie-making, and
2. this blog is partially about getting the female perspective of sexuality into our media. So, to me, supporting female voices in our media  means we're creating more room for female voices to speak on all types of things, which sometimes will be sex, orgasms, and sexuality.

You can find all my 5-movie lists HERE.

These are the 5 of the 11 movies represented in the Oscar nominations directed by women that I have seen. 4 of them are shorts. I plan on seeing the other 6 soon, and I'll put another post up when I do. I would like to point out that 78% of the movies represented in Oscar nominations are directed by men. I created this stat myself by going through the nominations on this site, and counting up all the movies directed by men vs. ones directed by women or with at least 1 woman on the directing team. I couldn't find that stat because most of them are about the gender of the person nominated - so like the gender of the cinematographer nominated, but I was counting the gender of the director of that movie that had a cinematographer nom. I just wanted to see how many of the movies that get the notoriety and respect of having something in their movie recognized at the Oscars were directed by women - and the answer is 12%....11 of the 51 total movies or 5 of the 36 feature length movies (14%). 

Anyway, here ya go. Be awed by their Oscar-ness.

1 Bao - This was directed by Domee Shi. This was released as the Pixar short before Incredibles  2, but I didn't see it that way. I saw it at the 2018 Oscar nominated shorts showing while on a trip to see our friend Garin in New Orleans.  I feel pretty neutral about this movie. It's kind of a classic Pixar short -made to win an Oscar- situation, but you might really find it hits you the right way.

2 Animal Behaviour - This was directed by Alison Snowden and David Fine. I saw this in the same short series as above. BTW the Prytania in New Orleans is an independent theater that our friend Garin loves and frequents. We spent a lot of time there, and it's pretty fab. Check it out if you're in the city (and after you've hit Bourbon street real hard, ate a PoBoy, and got yourself some culture - there's a lot to do in that city).

3 Late Afternoon - This was directed by Louise Bagnall. This too I saw in the same Oscar dhorts series. I'll be honest. I've been checking out Oscar shorts for many a year, and this, although quite lovely, was...well, about the thing I feel like 90% of all Oscar shorts are about (it's not actually 90%, but it feels like it) - Alzheimer's. So, just know that going in.

4 Marguerite - This was directed by Marianne Farley. I saw this on the same weekend and the same theater, but at the Live Action Oscar Shorts showing. I quite liked this. I thought it was rather tender.

5 Free Solo - This was directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhely and Jimmy Chin. This is a full length doc, and I saw it on Netflix sitting on my couch. It's a lot more interesting of a doc than you would think - and I say that not in a bad way. You might think there's not enough there for a full length movie and you might think you already know the outcome, but it's quite a good watch anyway - interesting and captivating in a couple way. I recommend.