Future Man - The SSL Review

Future Man
I watch a lot of TV and movies. That's just a fact. I started watching a show called Future Man last night. We really just chose it because in the trailer they say some things in it that makes it sound like the plot of the The Last Starfighter which is a 1984 movie that I just happen to see for the first time last week. Charlie has seen it many times given his oldest brother loved it when they were kids. I wouldn't say it's a good movie, but it's also not bad, and I also quite enjoyed it. Anyway, it was really just curiosity. I'm diggin' the comedic value of ol' Future Man, though. It pulled us in. We're only on Ep 3, but we'll keep on with it.

Funny thing, though. It had an SSL Reviewable moment in the 3rd episode - it's not going to be rated high, I'm sorry to say, but I did think it was a particularly telling scene which makes it kinda interesting to write about it.

SSL Review Refresher
As you know, only depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or female masturbation and/or the clit are eligible for SSL Review. Nothing else counts, 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).

The Scene S1 Ep3: standing, cross-armed, and from behind
So, I don't think I'll ruin anything for prospective viewers if I set the scene a little to help ya'll understand what this is all about. Okay, so there is a character, Josh, who is just a normal 2017 dude. Then there are 2 very intense, murderous characters from the future - a future of severe deprivation and war. Their names are Tiger (a female) and Wolf (a male).

Josh has just met and had a short adventure with these two. It's abundantly clear these two are of a different place and time and have a very different sensibility. He leaves the room they are in and when he comes back in, they are fucking. He's weirded out, but they are not.

Tiger is standing up. Her pants are around her mid thighs. Otherwise she is fully dressed and her shirt is hanging past her hips so you don't see any private part areas. Her arms are tightly crossed in front of her. Wolf is behind her. His pants are also down around his mid thighs. He too is otherwise fully dressed. His hands are gripping each of her upper arms, and he uses that grip to kind of pull her around and into him as he pumps, but she's also pumping back. She's not passive in this. It's all kind of comic, though. Their body alignment and angle doesn't quite make sense for vaginal intercourse, and they are aggressively grunting as they push against each other. In fact, it's best described as a cooperative aggressive encounter rather than anything that seems sensual or even sexual.

So, Josh walks in the room and finds them fucking and then turns and tries to like get out of there or not see what is happening or something, but Tiger and Wolf aren't bothered. During the below conversation they are still aggressively, yet somehow casually banging. Tiger has not unfolded her arms. They also occasionally look at each other in, I don't know, aggressive annoyance a few times and jerk their bodies accordingly.
Josh: Jesus Fucking Christ!
Tiger: Hey, where ya going?
Josh: Do you guys want some privacy?
Tiger: We're just chargin' up.
Josh: This is just something that people typically do in private.
Wolf: Why?
Josh:  Because you do it with someone who means something to you.
At this point they pause for a second and then laugh heartily until Tiger gets back to their previous demeanor and barks at Wolf.
Tiger: Don't stop.
They go back to exactly what they were doing before, and Josh turns away from them and continues to talk about the plot stuff he came in there to originally talk about.
The two then move sideways to a chair. They sit back in it, with Tiger kind of sitting face forward on Wolf's lap and bouncing up and down. They stay genitally connected and aggressive in their pumping as they make this change. Tiger's arms moved from crossed to supporting herself on either side of the chair. Wolf's hands are still grabbing Tiger's upper arms.
Josh:  (turning back to them in frustration) Can you please stop. Please!?
Wolf: I can't. I'm not fully charged yet.
Josh: Charged for what?
Tiger: It's standard operating procedure to release tension - (then looking back at Wolf) two micrometers to down to the left! 
Wolf kinda pulls on her right arm and shift his body and then continues pumping/bouncing as they were.
Tiger:  Nice work soldier! (btw - Tiger is Wolf's commanding officer) Fully charged in 3, 2, 1. 
She said that last line loud and intensely, but the next lines her and Wolf scream simultaneously - less sexually and more just aggressively.
Tiger: Yeeeeaaahhh! Fuck yeah, soldier! That is how you perform! Yes - fuck yes! Ahhhhh!
Wolf: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Fuuuuuucccckkkkkk! Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!
Then they both get up and put on their clothes.
Tiger: Alright. Tension released. Ready to kill.

My SSL Assessment: great idea, incorrect execution, shitty sexual culture
On the surface, I like this scene.
I like the intention I think I see behind it. Clearly this was meant for comedy first and foremost - a way to add humor to an otherwise dry discussion about important plot points. I mean, it's weird that it's standard operating procedure for these soldiers. It's weird how aggressive they are. They also seem kind of alien and rough - and it's a little surprising they would be fucking, so the whole situation works for comedy. But, I also think it is meant to secondarily convey things about them and their culture. The practicality, pragmatism, and lack of sentimentality in their practice of releasing tension through orgasm (i.e. "fully charging") before battle is clear and abundant. I think it also conveys something about gender and also their relationship. She is his commanding officer. She is bad ass. The other future soldiers we saw were about 50/50 ladies and gentlemen and all seemed equally murderous and capable. It seems like in a world where only survival matters, discriminating against people based on gender is silly and useless. Tiger and Wolf's sexual encounter, I think, was meant to reflect that. It may have also been meant to reflect their ability to work together cooperatively and respectfully. When she tells him a specific and very small direction and amount (2 micrometers) to move, he does it right away, and it doesn't just seem like it's because she's his boss. It's that they are both working together to fully charge, and by god, they get it done. She reflects that in her orgasm screams of "Fuck yeah, soldier! That is how you perform!" They do the damn thing.

I mean, I love the idea of this scene. I love imagining a future in which a sexual encounter would be so utilitarian and cooperative, where two people could just work together to help each other "fully charge" right out in the open, and it doesn't get bogged down with weird sideways sentimentality. It's like 2 people helping each other put on sunscreen. It's actually quite a sweet look into these 2 characters' world, and I think it says something for the intention in this show about how they expect that females are treated in this future - as equally psychotic killing machines. Females, it seems, are also equally desiring of being "fully charged" and are meant to be depicted as living in a world where they have equal access to it. I mean, again, I love that idea.

Big problem though. 
Our current world is so fucked up, bat-shit crazy backwards about female sexuality and specifically female orgasm - that the physical stimulation depicted as causing orgasm for this female is a type of physical stimulation that should never be expected to bring an actual human female to orgasm. It's like doing this scene but instead of Wolf rubbing his dick inside Tiger, he is just rubbing his butt against her - nothing touching his dick area at all...and he's depicted as orgasming from that without any irony - like nothing at all is weird about that. And to top it off the audience doesn't think anything of it either - even though it is objectively ridiculous to assume he would orgasm from that kind of physical stimulation.

Now, I fully realize that what I just said probably seems waaaaay more ridiculous to you than the scene I'm comparing it to where a woman comes from nothing more than a dick moving in and out of her vagina, but the scene in this show only seems less ridiculous. It is not actually less ridiculous.  In the reality of how bodies and orgasms work, they are quite similar in their ridiculousness.

Here's the deal. Tiger had zero stimulation to her clit. Neither her hands nor his were anywhere near touching it. He was behind her, so there's no chance she might have been rubbing her clit/vulva area against his body, and she was standing in the middle of the room, so she wasn't grinding it against bedding or a wall or whatever. When she asked him to adjust by 2 micrometers to the left, it was clearly related to how his dick was angling into her or something and gave the impression that those 2 micrometers changed something about how his dick was stimulating the inside of her vagina...and that change in stimulation was what got her to "fully charge." Point is that the clit was obviously and intentionally all alone. It had nothing to do with this sex act, yet - and here's the kicker,  stimulating the clitoral glans/vulva area is as important to female orgasm as penile stimulation is to male orgasm - which, we can all agree is rather important.

I'm not lying to you
Listen, I know there's a lot of talk these days about how the inner part of the clit can supposedly get stimulated to orgasm through the vagina. That line of thought has very recently kind of eclipsed the previous decades of talking about the ability of the g-spot to be stimulated to orgasm, which kind of eclipsed the previous centuries of people just assuming the inside of the vagina itself caused orgasm from dick stimulation. Here's the big open secret, though. Those are all bullshit theories used to explain the cause of a thing our culture desperately wants to exists, but doesn't actually seem to - the vaginal orgasm (an orgasm caused by stimulation inside the vagina with no additional external clitoral stimulation).

You'd think that with all the talk of them and depictions of them and scientific research into them that 'vaginal orgasms' would have been physically observed somewhere in scientific literature. They have not. Ever. They don't seem to actually exist. There is no actual description of what a vaginal orgasm physically is (again, because it's not been observed - but not for lack of scientific interest or investigation) and even if they did exists, none of the scientists researching them (i.e. desperately trying to validate our obsession with the idea of them) seem to agree on what might, maybe be the possible cause of them - Is it the 'inner clitoris'? The 'G-spot'? A thick area of tissue between the vagina and urethra? The cervix? The vaginal barrel itself? Even though researchers often speak as if they do, none of them have any physical proof for any of these causes - probably because, and I'm just spitballing here, it's hard to find a sensible cause for something that doesn't exist. Anyway, I could go on, and oh I do. I literally made a movie about this and also made this whole fucking blog site with hundreds of long-form essays relating to this, but I'll digress. If you are actually interested, or don't believe me that vaginal orgasm is some made up shit (because you've heard science has proved it or you/your lady-partner/your bff/a celebrity you follow swears by vaginal orgasm - seriously, there's tons of reasons you might assume I'm blowing smoke up your ass) then may I gently suggest you start with THIS BLOG POST and then maybe THIS ONE and THIS ONE (it's not short), and then if you're still interested, allow me to kiss your face. If at this point you still think I'm an idiot, I still want to kiss your face for reading all that, and I would like you to write me directly with your discontent. Seriously. I have contact info in this blog. Either way, you are on your way to the Orgasm Equality Revolution, and I love it.

Okay, so all that to say it's deeply telling that this scene would exist unquestioned in pop-media as a depiction of a male and female engaging in a sexual act that ends in simultaneous orgasm. 

Maybe I mean deeply disturbing not deeply telling.

Honestly, I don't even know quite how to express what I'm feeling about this - even though I feel it all the time.

There's a complete and utter feeling of absurdity to me - of showing a woman orgasming under such clearly unorgasmic physical circumstances. Critiquing these kinds of scenes is like all I think about all the time, and it immediately reads as utterly false.

But at the same time, it also feels completely common and unstrange given that I've seen that very depiction my whole life in every type of media and in a variety of different versions.  It is what we (including me even after over a decade of activism focused on how ridiculous and incorrect that very type of depiction is) tend to imagine when we think of sex. I still fantasize about and masturbate to scenes like that even though I know they would be unorgasmic to me. There is an idealized loveliness to the ease of attaining the pleasure of orgasm for both parties merely by a pure fuck. It feels like how it should be...even though it clearly is not.

Even if you don't believe what I discussed above about vaginal orgasm being a crock of shit, it is undeniable that only a minority of women (around 30%)* have ever even claimed to experience it. That is not even really controversial. That in and of itself should give us all pause regarding how lady-gasms are depicted vs. reality. What that does to women's understanding of our own sexual bodies and sexual experiences and how that might affect how we perform our sexuality is a whole other bag of worms, but something you might want to roll around in your brain.

Then there is the fact that I have devoted almost 20 years of my free time to thinking and writing about lady-gasms from this perspective, so I know, really know, that most people don't think about female orgasm in our culture the way I do, and there is barely a reason that anyone would or should. What I said above about vaginal orgasm is not just controversial - that would indicate that there is like a lot of back and forth about it, and there is not. Not really. Yeah you might hear from time to time about "is the vaginal orgasm real?,"  but it is intensely lopsided and even voices leaning towards the 'vaginal orgasm is bunk' side, even the most progressive sexperts and activists still leave room for the idea that some women do have vaginal orgasm...or that yeah females need clitoral stimulation to orgasm, but you can get that through the vagina too. They, either intentionally or through ignorance, ignore that there is no physical evidence to back that up or that there is no specific physical description of what a vaginal orgasm is or how it might happen - even with decades of research into that most precious of sexual goals. The best our culture does on this is admit that most women don't have vaginal orgasms, but to say that vaginal orgasms don't exists is so foreign it almost doesn't even register as a point of view.

My point here is that mine is not an argument most people have given much thought to and don't at first (or second or third) glance see as important. I sound like I'm overreacting, maybe a bit of a know-it-all bitch, and anytime I talk about this stuff I have to also present a bunch (probably too much for anyone to want to pay attention) of evidence to back-up what I'm saying because there's no shorthand for expressing the simultaneous ridiculous and also extremely normal situation of a scene like the one we're discussing here. If there were a shorthand for this, we probably wouldn't even need to be having this discussion now.

So because of all that, this aforementioned scene and the fact that it exists and is uncontroversial is both a great indication of what our culture really understands about how female orgasm works and also a clear and disappointing indication of how deep-seated and incorrect that understanding actually is.

The Vulva Rating
But, it's like, I can't really blame the creators of this scene for having intentions of sexual equity (that I believe they had), yet ridiculously showing a female orgasming from physical stimulation that should never be expected to make a female orgasm. I can't blame them because believing women can orgasm from a dick rubbing inside their vagina is an idea so deeply ingrained in our cultural conscious that I almost can't expect them or anyone else to know better.

Yet, the scene is what it is. It's a completely unrealistic and misguided depiction of lady-gasm, and although it is not strange or uncommon to see a scene like this, it is ultimately harmful. It, along with so many other scenes like it, sit uncritiqued in our minds making up our collective vision of "sex" and "female orgasms." It miseducates us all, creating unrealistic expectations that we will have to wrestle with in varying ways our whole lives.

So, I can't give this a good vulva rating because this scene adds negatively to the overall understanding of female orgasm and thus to the Orgasm Equality Movement. However, although it's not progressive or even a physically correct depiction of lady-gasm, it doesn't exactly take us backwards. It merely maintains the status quo, which is a shit situation but the status quo none the less. I really think the people involved in creating this scene had good intentions, I'd like to think that at least, and so I'm going to be generous on the rating. I give this 2 out of 5 vulvas. (But do check the show out. I think it's pretty damn funny).


*The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution. LLoyd, Elisabeth A.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2005. (You can find a deep dive into various studies on vag-gasm % stats in the first chapter of this book.)


Where Does Touch To the Clit Activate In The Brain - A Journal Article I Read

Welcome back to 'A Journal Article I Read,' a series where I summarize a lady-gasm related journal article in a way that is hopefully both comprehensive and also not too long. You can find a list of all the journal articles in this series HERE.

Here is what I'll be summarizing today.

The Somatosensory Representation of the Human Clitoris: An fMRI Study 
LarsMichels, UlrichMehnert, SönkeBoy, BrigitteSchurch, SpyrosKollias
NeuroImage 2010 Jan. Vol.49 Issue 1, p.177-184

And lucky you, you can find this full article HERE, so if you're into fMRIs and know some shit about that stuff, you can get the full details there.

Quick Summary
The researchers here are trying to identify where in the brain clitoral stimulation activates. There was a famous study done about 80 years ago that identified where stimulation of different body parts activated the brain. It had a place for the genitals, but there's been a lot of disagreement on that since.  Some more recent studies have used fMRI to identify a different area of the brain related to penis stimulation than that original study, and this study hypothesized the clitoral stimulation would activate a similar area using fMRI. They tested 15 women by putting electrodes on either side of the clit and giving them a gentle electrical pulse while in an fMRI machine that takes particular types of pictures of the brain. For 8 of these women, they also did the same thing, but this time the electrode is on their right big toe (which they refer to as the hallux). They use this as a type of control because in that original old study, foot/toe area was said to activate the brain very near where the genitals were said to. However, these researchers did in fact find that stimulation of the clitoris activated a similar area to where the more modern fMRI study showed activation from penis stimulation. It was also different from the area of activation from the toe stimulation, even though the original study showed the toe and the genitals quite close.

**I will from now on just be summarizing to the best of my ability, what is actually said in the article. If I want to give you my opinion, I'll clearly mark it with a heading or in a [Me:...] parenthesis. Things in quotes are actual quotes from this article.**

My quick description of this old study they reference a lot
Okay, so this old study, by Penfield and Boldray from the scientific journal Brain in 1937 which I will refer to from now on as P&B 1937, was about mapping the somatosensory system on the brain. They did the mapping by using electrical stimulation on the brains of people undergoing open brain surgery for control of epilepsy, and continued doing the research for years after. My understanding is that they stimulated areas and asked the awake patients where they felt the stimulation in their body. Through this, they created an incredibly famous and much used depiction of the human body on the brain (the somatosensory homunculus which you can check out below). The size of the body part represents the density of the receptors in the brain for that body part and not necessarily the size of the brain area where the receptors are. Also notice that the genitals are right next to the toes.

homunculus picture from EBN Consult (which is a cool site to get free core medical education information)

Okay, now the actual study intro
  • P&B 1937 has been "virtually a standard reference for various somatotopical studies" for the last 70 years.
  • P&B 1937 "relied on reported sensation of different body parts after electrical stimulation of the cortex. Assessment of the exact location was generally difficult and sometimes led to conflicting results."
  • "The genital region was especially hard to assess due to difficulties with sense of shame." The location of genital sensation has been subject to lots of discussion and conflicting results over the years. Penile representation has been reported from some studies in the mesial wall as expected from the P&B 1937 and in other studies in the lateral surface of the postcentral gyrus using fMRI.
  • Though it's fair to assume the clit would be represented in the brain in the same area as the penis given that they are anatomically homologous, little has actually been studied of it. A 1991 study showed the penis represented in the inter-hemispheric fissure, "though they were not able to distinguish it's location from that of the posterior tibial nerve," which these researchers say makes sense because of the low spacial resolution of the type of testing done in this study. There was also a 2006 study (that I summarized HERE) about brain activation during orgasm caused by manual clitoral stimulation that howed the activation area in a somewhat different area.
  • Based on recent studies of penile sensation, the researchers hypothesize they will find clitoral stimulation on the lateral surface of the postcentral gyrus (not the mesial wall as predicted by P&B 1937).
  • The researchers also believe this is an important line of study because electrical dorsal genital nerve (i.e. dorsal clitoral nerve) stimulation emerged as a promising therapeutic approach for improving neurgenic and non-neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction such as sphincter weakness or overactive bladder." [Me: I can't help but imagine that the researchers had to throw in this link to medical relevance for research grant purposes, because, I think, getting money and permission to do research simply for research sake - especially related to sex or genitals, is not a smart or easy bet.]

Materials and Methods
  • 15 right-handed subjects (22-34 years old) were tested. Subjects were not pregnant and had no medical, mental, surgical, or drug-related issues that might interfere with the test.
  • To ensure privacy, a trained female assistant attached the electrodes to either side of the clitoral glans "so that they were able to stimulate the fibers of the dorsal clitoral nerve," behind a curtain and then the subject wore pants over it and a blanket. They were also alone in the room when the test was taking place, and their names and data were kept anonymous. [Me: I assume they were careful about privacy because they felt a problem with older studies was related to shame over genital sensation. Also note this study happened in Zurich and the truth is orgasm and clit studies almost always happen not in the USA]
  • Before the experiment electrical tests were performed to make sure the subject could feel the stimulation directly on their clitoris. The strength of the electrical stimulation was also set specifically for each subject so that it neither was painful nor elicited sexual arousal [Me: But, I mean, it's on the clit, it'd be hard to not feel a little sexual, right????
  • fMRI images were created using a Phillips Achieva 3.0 MT R Scanner. It lists out the settings, and if you are interested in them, then please do checkk out the full article linked up top.
  • The scan began for each subject with 18 seconds of rest then 12 seconds of electrical stimulation. This altering between rest and stimulation happened 10 times, for a total scan of 5 minutes for each subject.
  • For 8 of the subjects, a 2nd experiment was also preformed in which the same type of electrodes were put on the right toe instead of the clit. The rest/stimulation altering and scanning were set up the same.
  • The researchers also assessed the discomfort and the sexual arousal caused by the electrodes by asking the subjects to use a Visual Analog Scale. [Me: The scale for pain you often see in hospitals is a Visual Analog Scale - see below]. "the scale ranged form -10 (e.g. unbearable pain) to 10 (e.g. pleasure). For sexual arousal, the scale ranged form -10 (strong sexual arousal) to 10 (no arousal at all/sleepiness).
  • 2 subjects had too much head movement to use the data, so their data was thrown out of the study, leaving 13 subjects in the final results.
  • There's information about the software used and how the images were aligned, etc. Again, if you're interested and know about that, check out the link to the full article up top.
  • [Me: Again - a lot of information about how the resulting data was complied and analyzed. I do not have the expertise to relay any information about this to you except copy what was written, so I'll just give the big-picture stuff that I basically understand.] The images during rest were compared to images during clitoral stimulation, and for the 8 subjects who also took part in the experiment with the big toe stimulation test - the images during rest were compared to images during stimulation of the big toe.
  • Potential affects of the co-variates (sexual arousal or discomfort) on the brain were assessed statistically as well - in order to see if that may affect activation areas in the brain.
a type of Visual Analog Scale (VAS)


  • The median Visual Analog Score (VAS) for sexual arousal was 0 (which is right in the middle of strong sexual arousal at -10 and none at all at 10). The median VAS score for discomfort was -2 (which is a bit closer to unbearable pain at -10 than the rating of pleasure at 10).
  • "Electrical clitoral stimulation produced significant activations predominantly in bilaterally prefrontal areas..., the precentral, parietal and postcentral gyri...In addition distributed activations were also seen in the anterior and posterior parts of the insula and the putamen. This activation pattern was seen in most of the single subjects and therefore also on the group activation map."
  • "Most importantly, we found no activation on the mesial surface of S1 on either side even when using unconventionally low thresholds. [Me: So didn't find what P&B 1937 found].
  • [Me: There are then 2 paragraphs about specific coordinates of activation for both clitoral stimulation and toe stimulation. It's too complicated and technical for me to understand or summarize. That's the truth.]

  • The P&B 1937 study placement of genital activation in the brain has been more or less unchallenged for over 70 years, and lots of theories have arisen about why it is as it is. For instance, there is an idea that the feet and the genitals as well as the hands and the face are represented in the brain so close together because during development in the womb, the fetus' feet are tucked up near the genitals and the hands are up near the face. Only in recent fMRI studies have the penis representation been shown in another location.
  • The researchers used electrical rather than air pressure or touch-with-brush stimulation for a variety of reasons including that it's easily attachable to the clit and it's easier to adjust the stimulation.
  • The researchers found stronger activation in the left somatosensory cortex for the clit stimulation, which they found odd because the clit was being stimulated from both sides. They suggest this could indicate a left-hemispheric dominance of clitoral representation in the brain, although they admit they have no convincing explanation for that.
  • They found no evidence for clitoral representation on the Mesial wall like the P&B 1937 study suggested.
  • The representation of the big toe was along the mesial wall and thus different from the clitoral representation.
  • There is overlapping activity in the operculum (O1-O4) regions, which has also been found in other studies. The researchers do not believe this is a result of discomfort or surprise related to the electrical stimulation, but to the stimulus itself
"In contrast to previous studies using SEPs that were not able to clearly discriminate the location of cortical sensory representation of the genitals in humans, we found a significant activation on the convexity of the postcentral and inferior parietal cortex (S1 and S2) for electrical clitoral stimulation. These findings support the assumption that the S1 representation of the clitoral afferents may be different from the somatosensory homunculus introduced decades ago. The distinct activation locations for the central representation of the clitoris and the hallux indicated that fMRI and electrical stimulation can be used to study the specific organization of small body areas and their somatosensory representation in humans. Apart from its scientific interest, the precise location of the genitalia in humans may have important implications for studying cortical reorganization patterns in various urogenital, sexual and neurological disease processes."


5 Good-ass Lady Directed Movies to Watch During a Pandemic

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 all kinda slightly indie movies I've seen lately that I like. That's it simple as that. 

So, given that there's a worldwide pandemic and none of you should be going out and hanging with friends tonight or tomorrow night or many nights after that, you have time to find these on a streaming service and watch them. Enjoy.

1. Ginger and Rosa - This was directed by Sally Potter. It's from 2012, and I basically found it because I was looking for movies directed by women, and saw a movie, Orlando, she did that I really liked. So, I checked this one out, and I really liked it too. I love a movie about lady friends - but like a gritty interesting one.

2 Hustlers - This was directed by Lorene Scarafia. It's got Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lizzo, Cardi B. I mean you can't go wrong. Well, you can, but you don't. It had been on my radar for a while, and I'm glad i checked it out. It's a again, a gritty intersting one about lady friends, ya'll, but in a very different way than the last. For real - a well done movie.

3 The Love Witch - This was directed by Anna Biller. Again, just found this searching around  for top lady-directed movies, and there it was. I love stumbling onto shit like that. It's for sure witchy, it's real 60's (but made in 2016) and it's a good watch - I recommend it for your isolation.

4 Mudbound - This was directed by Dee Rees. I actually got to see this in a cool ass Nashville independent movie theater with a friend that had worked on the film and got some backstory on the production which was cool. It's a beautiful film. Check it out.

5 Honey Boy - It was directed by Alma Har'el. I saw this fairly recently at our local Flour Cinema her in Des Moines, and I'll tell ya, I was pleasantly surprised. Like, I really like this movie. I think it's well done as fuck. It's written by Shia LaBeouf during rehab as a form of therapy about his childhood with his father. Ya think, Shia LaBeouf? Are we gonna really get a thoughtful, gentle, raw look at his relationship with his father? Well, pair him with a really on-point lady director, and yes - yes we will. It's a good movie.


Landline - The SSL Review

This movie was written and directed by Gillian Robespierre - the same woman that did the movie Obvious Child, a movie I really enjoyed. Also, Landline stars Jenny Slate, and I kinda fell in a little bit of love with her as Mona-Lisa Saperstein on Parks and Rec. Her voice in another world might kinda get to me because it edges on baby, but it doesn't bother me on her because I think she's fuckin funny. So that's that.

Why I'm talking about this is because this movie, Landline, has 3 scenes that are SSL reviewable, and it's my pleasure to do that reviewing now.

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 ya know, 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.

Scene 1: Nature Sex Ain't For Everyone
This is the first scene in the movie. It starts with voices over the titles. The way they are talking seems very casual and familiar. There's no meanness really in these lines, even though just written out they might seem that way.
Ben: Is this good?
Dana: No.
Ben: Sorry, lower?
Dana: Yeah, yes. good. good.
Ben: This is awesome.
We see a profile shot from the shoulders up of Dana (Jenny Slate). She's facing a tree and leaning against it. She's clearly getting fucked from behind, but she doesn't seem all that into it. Not upset or anything, just not really aroused.
Dana: You can come if you want to.
Ben: Okay, I'm about to.
Dana: Good.
Ben: Are you gonna come?
Dana: eh...(ignoring him and looking at a buzzing fly around her face. She swats at it, then startles slightly in concern). Did you hear that?
We see them in a wide profile now. Ben (Jay Duplass) is standing behind her with his pants around his ankles. One hand is around her waist and the other is settled on the front of her thigh. Dana's dress is hiked up and her panties are down just above her knees. Both her hands are against the tree she is facing to support her. Jay is pumping into her, but stops for a second.
Ben: Huh?
Dana: Like a woodland creature pitter patter?
Ben: Okay, (slightly exasperated) the plan was to have sex in the woods.
Dana: yeah...yeah. (trying to settle herself)
Ben: (as he begins to pump again) Okay. Are you okay?
Dana: Yeah.  Mmm Hmm.
Ben: Are you sure? Because I kinda feel like maybe you're not into it.
She screams and moves in the way people afraid of bugs scream and move. They break apart. She reveals it was a bug - a spider. Ben seems a little exasperated and little disappointed, but only slightly. She's pulling up her panties. It's over.
Dana: I'm sorry.
Ben: No. It's okay. It's cool.
Dana: (said in the way one might say, I'm sorry.) I'm not a woodland person.
Ben: Okay. (The give each other a resigned kiss) Do you want me to help you finish or...
Dana: (waving her arm as if to say, nah this is over, let's move on) No. My parents...Let's get in the car.
They finish dressing and begin to head off.

Scene 2: Park Bench Over The Pants Rub-Off
Dana's making out with a dude on the park bench, and we see him reach down towards her clit area over her jeans. The shot moves to a close up of them kissing, and he's presumably working the clit area he just touched. By her face, she seems to like it. She says, "Oh. Oh my god." It doesn't exactly seem like an orgasm vocalization, but definitely like what he's doing is gonna get her there. Then it cuts.

Scene 3: The Eating Pussy Instead Of Popcorn At The Movies
This is a quick scene. She's sitting in a movie theater. We're looking at her from the front. There are rows of seats and people in front of her. She's drinking a coke or something. We see the dude's head pop up from under her and get a drink and then move back down. When he goes back down she clearly gets some sensations she really likes and gasps and smiles and giggles and has to put her hand over her mouth. The scene ends.

Three Scenes And They All Have At Least A Glance Toward Lady-gasm  

The first scene, to me, is a distracted-lady sex scene. 
We as the audience can see that she's never gonna come because she's just too damn distracted. In this case it's because, ya know, bugs and nature and shit. It's one of the best of this genre of sex scene.

1 The guy fucking her actually notices that she's not into it and asks her about it. You don't realize how common it is to depict a distracted-lady sex scene and the dude is just completely oblivious. I don't even call those types of scenes distracted-lady scenes. I like to call them oblivious, shit partner scenes. In fact, I just reviewed a scene like that for The Year of Spectacular Men. It was supposed to be a quirky, awkward distracted scene. However, it was truly a shit partner scene even if the movie never acknowledged that reality. Those scenes normalize things I don't want normalized, well don't want normalized any more than they already are.

Point is, if one partner in sex isn't into it, that should be recognized by the group. That's just manners. But too often it seems like women being 'not into it,' and the partner not seeing it at all, although it's painfully obvious, is just played for laughs. It never seems to focus on how oblivious and shitty the partner was but how awkward the woman and the sex were. It makes it seem like women going through with sex acts even though they are truly not aroused or 'in it' at all is very, very normal, and not something the partner should think twice about.

Granted, I think these scenes are sadly pretty realistic because that's what's actually happening way too often out here in the real world, but it's kinda fucked up if you really think about how shitty and gross a sex act is if you are completely unaroused, and how much you miss by not being in arousing sex acts.

Plus, and let's be honest here, assuming it's fine to not notice if the women/person you're with is not aroused or into the sex you're doing to them is, well, a slippery slope towards rapey-ness. It's bad that women feel they need to keep going, and bad men feel they shouldn't stop and take stock if she's losing interest. All that to point out clearly that I really appreciate that this character even noticed her and asked about her. It's real basic, so basic we shouldn't be applauding it, but sadly - that kind of thing is still worth applauding.

2 Ben asked if she wants him to help her finish. Again, this should be too basic to applaud, but it is incredibly, sadly, still applaud-worthy (Ben's for sure a Good Boy who deserves an Award. Look it up). I mean, usually if a woman is not depicted coming during a sex act, no one bats an eye. It's just the natural way of things because either he finished so the sex is over, or he didn't finish so the sex is over. Period. So, I appreciate that he asks about it. It helps to normalize a situation in which ladaygasm is as intergral to the sex act as the male orgasm is.

However, it's not perfect. Overall, this scene was just a gal getting a penis pumped into her vagina from behind. There were no hands or anything stimulating her clit area, so realistically this situation would not be something one would expect to make a lady come, even if she weren't distracted.

So, although she didn't come (which is realistic in this situation no matter how you slice it, and I appreciate they kept it realistic), and there was the uncommon and lovely to see 'ask' about her ladygasm, it's still quite intercourse-centric. The thing is, why would he even ask her if she was going to come? Ain't nobody working that clit, so the answer is no, Ben.

Seriously there is no physical evidence that stimulating the inside of the vagina, like one does during intercourse,  has ever caused an orgasm in all of scientific literature. So, ya know, expecting her to come by getting fucked from behind is ridiculous...even though people all over expect that to happen all the time because as a culture we're truly ignorant about how female orgasms happen...but I digress. Like I said, it's a good scene -SSL Review speaking - but it's not perfect.

The 2nd and 3rd scene, however are pretty much on point. 
Both are a scene between a man and woman where stimulation to the lady genitals is depicted, but not to the male. Not only that, but where the stimulation is happening - to the clit/vuvla area - is realistically a place where stimulation could realistically bring her to orgasm. Now technically neither of these depict an orgasm, and thus are not technically SSL Reviewable. They both stop before the orgasm. However, I couldn't not SSL Review them because both show that she is likely on her way there. Plus, giving total focus to manual and oral stimulation on a lady is fairly rare in media. I had to.

Scenes like these will help to balance depictions of sex in media by adding weight to the realistic lady-stimulation-for-lady-gasm side. This is incredibly important because the more we see things in the media, the more normalized they become, which makes it seem more like things other people do, which means it isn't abnormal (not weird, maybe even cool), and from that point it places itself into the possibilities of our sex activities. It becomes something people do, and thus something you could do. With enough normalization it might even become something that seems naturally part of sex. It's a long road, but man, if clit stimulation becomes as normal a part of sex as penis stimulation - this orgasm gap thing would be on its way out.

The Vulva Rating
I think those last 2 scenes that focus exclusively on actual sexual interactions that might lead to her orgasm is not only cool and awesomely normalizing of clit-stimulation, but it also makes goddamn sense. She's the main character and why wouldn't the scenes of her exciting sex adventures focus on her?

The opening scene is realistically unorgasmic, but I'm not certain if the intention behind the lack of orgasm was because she was not into it (and so maybe not into diddling her clit while she got fucked because she just wanted to get it over with and away from the bugs) or if it was because she wasn't into it and thus was mentally not able to come from what was happening to her. The first way would acknowledge that the fucking alone with no additional clitoral/vulva stimulation would not realistically be expected to make her come and the 2nd way assumes that with the right mental state, getting fucked that way would realistically make her come. The first way makes sense and the second way is silly, misinformed, and problematic.

Truth is though, I don't know which it is. I could see either way. The dude does ask her at the end, even though he didn't come, if she wants him to help her come. That seems to me like he's talking about manual stimulation and that makes me think he was meant to understand that this is how she comes, but again, I'm making assumptions. I like that he asks, though. It heightens the importance of her orgasm in the sexual encounter which rarely happens for female characters (and sadly actual females). I also appreciate that he notices that she's not into the sex, asks her about it, and discontinues the sex without too much sulking when it's clearly done on her end. So, him even noticing her distraction is rare, and although a bare minimum of considerate human interaction, much appreciated. Oh, the things we could discuss about women's willingness to do sex stuff that sucks and men's willingness to ignore how much it sucks for their partners is huge, people. Huuuge.

All that to say that I like the tone of this movie and it's general direction of noticing and talking about and depicting clitoral stimulation and female orgasm focused sex act. It feels to me like there was real intention to be thoughtful about lady-sex needs. Yes, there is this sense in the first sex scene that maybe getting banged with no extra clitoral stimulation might be enough to get a woman off, and yes, I think most audience members would just take that sense in without question because it is so normal of a thing. But that scene also insinuates other better things too, and it makes me want to be kind with my vulva rating, so I'm giving this a 4 1/2 out of 5 vulva rating.