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.)

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