11.14.2020

Wanderlust S1Ep1 - The SSL Review



Wanderlust
This is a British TV series, but I caught it on Netflix. I really liked this show, and bonus, it involves a long-time married couple's sex lives, so there are things to SSL Review. Overall this show was on-point about ladygasms. There are maybe a few imperfections, but definitely better than I would expect from a show in general. The first episode got me excited about its treatment of female sexuality, masturbation, orgasms, etc. and this episode is what I'll be reviewing today. Go check out this show. I recommend it.




An SSL Review (for those that don't know about them)
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 First Scene: sorry, but this sex is trash
Joy is standing at the foot of the bed looking at her husband Alan. She has a cane and some kind of brace on her arm. It's clear from this and some intercut scenes that there had been a bike accident in her past. It seems like maybe this is a scheduled first attempt at sex after the accident.

Alan: Ready?
Joy: As I'll ever be.

We then see the two in bed, under the covers missionary style. He's pushing in and out of her slowly.

Joy: sloooowwww (softly to him)

Allen nods and continues the slow fucking, but then Joy scrunches her face up in pain, and Alan stops.

Alan: what?
Joy: No, it's good. (unconvincingly)
Alan: Good?
Joy: You know what I mean
Alan: Surely you want it to be better than good?
Joy: You're telling me pal! (with a laugh)
Alan: Joy, come on. (annoyed and a bit exasperated)
Joy: No, I'm sorry, sorry sorry. I'm just. I'm in a lot of pain and I'm really self conscious.
Alan: That makes 2 of us.
Joy: Well if you just, I mean, more of technique to kinda get in that way. (kind of angling her lower body)
Alan: Sorry? Technique? (pissed)
Joy: You know what I mean. (exasperated, but softening)
Alan: Nooo. No, I'm not sure I do, actually. I'm not the one with the problem, Joy. So don't try and needle
Joy: I'm not trying...
Alan: away at my craft
Joy: (smiles - trying to lighten the moment) ...Your craft?..I'm sorry skilled woodsman. You're right. We really need to work on it. (laughs some more)
Alan: You know what? instead of making jokes...
Joy: No -alright, all right (becoming more serious and trying to pacify the situation).
Alan: ...I'd like to finish, please. (Gets off her) I think you've been using all this as an excuse.
Joy: What? (incredibly offended)
Alan: And I think you have been for months. I don't think you want to have sex with me, Joy.

Cuts to alarm ringing in the morning. 

Alan gets up and goes to shower. Joy opens her eyes and reaches down under the covers, obviously masturbating. Her son suddenly opens the door and asks where his shoes are. As one might expect, She stops abruptly. They talk for a second. He's maybe a little weirded out from the what he maybe might have kinda thought he walked into. Then he leaves and the scene ends.

The Second Scene: once or twice a week
Tom, Joy's son, is walking to school with Michelle, who seems to be a close friend.

Tom: Here's a question. How often do you masturbate?
Michelle: Nice.
Tom: I'm interested.
Michelle: Why?

Tom shrugs.

Michelle: Once or twice a week
Tom: You're kidding. I'm at once or twice a day at this point.
Michelle: Well, you're nothing if not thorough
Tom: I think I walked in on my mom having a wank.
Michelle: Shit. I think that means the world has to pretty much explode now.
Tom: I'm just saying...
Michelle: She's allowed to masturbate.
Tom: But I thought old people were supposed to go off sex. It's like Darwin and shit.
Michelle: Your mum isn't that old.
Tom: She's pretty old.

The Third Scene: wanking in office bathroom stalls
So turns out Alan works at a school, and he's talking with Claire, his friend and coworker, who had just that morning walked into an office and found another male coworker with his pants down having an early morning jerk-off session.

They are discussing it and Claire says, "You know. The crazy think is, I don't know why he doesn't just use the disabled toilet like the rest of us."

The SSL Assessment

All the Lady-bation
So, I think the first and most obvious observation is a clear overall insinuation from these 3 scenes that women do in fact masturbate. All the women we're introduced to, all different ages - Joy, Michelle and Claire - we watch them admit through words or actions that they wank (if we're going with the British theme here), and without any real shame depicted in association. I mean, granted Joy's son walked in on her and stopped her cold, but that's just not wanting to rub off in front of your son -  not really a show of shame. Otherwise, from the look on her face, she had been clearly enjoying the masturbation. 

The ladybation admission is important because there is still a stronger, harsher stigma on female masturbation. Masturbation itself doesn't exactly have a stellar rep for anyone, but for boys and men, it is so seen in our media, and it's often depicted as an inevitable part of manhood and maleness. This is not true for the ladies, which is really sad because we ladies need to know that masturbation is a valid part of femaleness, that it's something other women do and that it's not bad or strange. We really, really, really, need to know this specifically because masturbation is a lady's best bet at orgasm in this sexual culture. Of course, masturbation for anyone is the best way to learn what one likes and how to get to orgasm. I mean, of course we should all be our own first partner. 

It's just that for females there is a double whammy of masturbation. First, it's less normalized/seen/accepted which translates to less women doing it, particularly at pre-sexually active ages. Second, masturbation for females is even more important for learning to orgasm than for males because the odds of a lady just stumbling into an orgasm blindly during partnered sex, without having previously taught herself how to get there, ain't great - ain't great at all. I mean, if a boy has basic ol' hetero sex before he ever masturbates, all the correct stimulation should still be there to get him to orgasm. All he or his partner needs to know is that the penis moves in and out of the vagina. They get that right, and that's great orgasm stimulation on the penis. A girl in that same situation, however, does not get the stimulation on her organ of sexual pleasure, the clitoral glans. All she gets in this scenario is stimulation on her vaginal walls, and contrary to popular belief, an orgasm caused by just that has never ever been physically recorded in all of scientific literature - and that's with over half a decade of research trying to prove females can come merely from a penis moving in their vagina. Unfortunately, getting banged into an orgasm simply doesn't seem to a real thing (seriously - like for real, for real). 

So not only do ladies live in an environment that is less conducive for masturbation, but they also have sexual interactions that are less conducive for orgasm...so the ladies get fucked twice, and the boys get a leg up twice. It's not an even playing field, so anything that helps lady-bation feel more possible and normal will up the odds a lady will masturbate, upping odds that she will have orgasmed at all, which should then up the odds she will know how she might orgasm again - possibly even in a partnered situation (spoiler alert: how she might orgasm again in a partnered situation is just by doing the things that made her orgasm alone...but incorporating another person into it).

Sex vs. masturbation: orgasm matters
Okay the other thing I want to point out relates to that first scene. I mean, the high level takeaway from it is that Joy, for whatever reason, wasn't into the sex with her husband, but she was into masturbating. 

The question is why? There's more later in this show that speaks to this, but just from what we saw, one might think that, yeah, she doesn't want to have sex with him, just like he said. One might think that maybe she's being a bitch because she's depriving her husband of the sexual interaction he really desires, but not because she's not into it, but because she's not into it with him...since she does it on her own.

Okay, maybe...but actually no. The only way one could really see it that way is if one were under the incredibly incorrect assumption that him simply moving his cock inside her was in any way equivalent to her masturbating, and they are not. I could forgive someone for seeing it that way because as a culture, we do hold strongly to a stupid and unsupported idea that intercourse is the same type of  orgasmic event for the penis person as it is for the vagina person. It's patently not. It's a sex act that does all the right stuff for getting the penis off and very little if anything for getting the clit off. 

So, let's just put this in a clearer view. A woman that has been injured and has pain, is opening her legs so that her partner can masturbate his penis inside her vagina to orgasm. She is not getting orgasmic stimulation in this situation and she is feeling actual pain. She is having a shit time and he's getting the possibility for orgasm. And that mother fucker gets mad at her? for not being excited enough? for putting her 2 cents in for how it could be more enjoyable? For allowing him to rub his penis inside her even though it's painful? Fuck that guys's face to the moon. He can fuck right off. And, yet she feels bad. When he gets mad, she tries to comfort him and tell him it's fine. I mean really. 

Take this exchange:

Alan: Surely you want it to be better than good?
Joy: You're telling me pal! (with a laugh)
Alan: Joy, come on. (annoyed and a bit exasperated)
Joy: No, I'm sorry, sorry sorry. I'm just. I'm in a lot of pain and I'm really self conscious.
Alan: That makes 2 of us. 

Really Alan? That makes 2 of you? You're both actually in pain, and you're both getting your organ of sexual pleasure ignored because you have a hole that your partner wants to wank into? Nah. Alan, if you want to see something close to what it's actually like to be in the same boat as Joy, then you need to be getting a dildo up your inexperienced ass (no reach-around included) while you vibrate your partner's clit. Then take time and energy to placate her when she gets offended and mad after asking her to be patient with you, telling her an angle you'd prefer, and expressing your pain. Do all that knowing from experience that she's on the road to orgasm and you are not.

I have more to say, but before I move on, I want to dig into the pain part here a touch more.  Joy was doing this even though she was in actual pain. What fucking sense does it make to pursue orgasm while the thing happening that's supposed to cause you orgasm is instead causing you pain? (I swear ya'll better not @ me about S&M stuff). Why would she even try to keep going? I mean, the real deal is she wasn't doing it for an orgasm. She could jerk off if she wanted that. She was doing it to be nice to Alan; to allow him her body in his pursuit of orgasm. Even though we as a society act like we think a basic fuck is a mutually orgasmic experience, I think deep inside we all also know it's not. That's why women push through all kinds of pain during intercourse; from shitty first times to being too dry to getting your cervix excruciatingly banged. We know it's not really about us. It's about that dick getting off, and the person attached to the dick also knows it. It's a secret unspoken agreement that we don't even want to think about. And when Alan gets mad, it's not just about her 'making up the pain.' It's also about her unwillingness to endure whatever pain or bother to get him off inside her, something one can only assume he had been previously accustomed to (and I am aware they are character, not real people). 

Too many sex acts, too little orgasms
But moving on, I really like this Joy / Alan scene because it feels super rich and poignant to me. It hits at the heart of the female experience of sex, particularly in a long-term relationship. The simple, physical truth is that basic intercourse is great for male orgasm and absolute shit for female orgasm. So, please just imagine how many sex acts involve a man coming and a woman not coming. That's a hard pill to swallow, but stick with me here, because now imagine a wife avoiding sex or trying to speak up about other things she'd rather do, or different ways to have sex. It can seem incredibly odd if not completely fucked up of her to do that if one assumes (and we all do to some extent ) that intercourse for her is as exciting and arousing and orgasmic as it is for the person ramming their penis in her vagina. Why would she ever want to avoid that pleasure? Is she fucking crazy, or physically cold and dead inside, or mean and withholding, or dumb? I mean, that's another level in why Alan got pissy and why she got all sorry about it...because her actions don't feel sensible.

But. They. Are. So. So. So. Sensible. It makes complete sense. Ya wanna know why she wasn't into fucking her husband but was into masturbating the next morning. Because she wanted a goddamn orgasm. Given how deep our incorrect assumptions about intercourse are, she, like many a woman out there, may not be able to verbalize that, but that's the real deal. If we open our eyes and see clearly how often women are in sexual situations where they are expected to find orgasmic pleasure, but no way sensibly could attain that orgasmic pleasure given the physical nature of the sex, then so many of women's ambivalent or negative reactions to partnered sexuality make All. The. Sense. In turn, men's negative reactions to women's ambivalent or negative reactions can be seenvas desperately selfish.

Anyway, that's what stuck out to me about that scene. Joy had an actual injury with pain, maybe, but even if she didn't, that interaction was a version of a category of interactions that many a female has had with their long-term male partner. And the roots of those interaction are in the multitude of scars and twists and misunderstanding brought about by thinking ladies can get banged into an orgasm.

Vulva Rating
Clearly, my top SSL highlight in this episode is that it helps in normalizing lady-bation in the culture - and in ladies of a variety of ages. That is well received at this blog, and is helpful to the cause of Orgasm Equality.

I also love the depiction of the couple's sexual interaction because there is some rare intimate long-term couple realism that I appreciate. Although I break this scene down above in a way that probably most viewers would not have any reason to consider, I think there is still some value in an uncritical viewing.  For instance, I think it is certainly played in a way that the husband's reactions, particularly his resistance to adjustment, are not simply set before us without any culpability. 

Overall, we see the words that are said. We see the reactions they elicit, and the viewer takes what they will. A woman might see herself in Joy masturbating after shit sex. She might also see herself in Joy's complete offense at Alan blaming her for not pushing through painful sex. She may also see a woman that she deems negative and unaccommodating to a well-meaning husband. The men watching may also identify in different ways with the couple in this scene. It's hard to know exactly how this scene fits into our communal understanding of ladygasms and female sexuality; how it might change or solidify a person's assumptions and opinions. However, I give it props for just existing, because I think the responsible thread in this scene, despite what any individual may take from it, is that there is realism in how these people act and react in this very intimate situation. 

As for me, I see a depiction of a woman that may not be so excited about getting fucked, but is excited about making herself come...and that's cool enough, my friends.

This gets 4 out of 5 vulvas
(!)(!)(!)(!)

1 comment:

  1. Good review!
    Please review the TV show Sex Education. The scene in the last season where the sex educator supposedly teaches a class of women about the “pleasures of the vagina”....by holing up a tiny plastic ball and saying, “Behold the clitoris” — and then doesn’t explain anything about it.

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