1.10.2021

Shit Sex for the Ladies in Shameless: An SSL Review


Shameless
I'm on the 9th season of Shameless right now. People had been telling me to watch it for a while , and I finally did, and since me and Charlie are champion TV watchers, we've burned through it pretty damn quick. I believe the last season, season 11 is happening now, or will be happening soon, so we're almost through it. 



Shameless has a pretty fair amount of sex in it, and ya know what? Most, close to all really, of the sex is trash. And by trash I mean trash for the female orgasm. 

A different kind of SSL Review
Normally I do SSL Reviews (reviews specifically of depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or female masturbation and/or the clit or cunnilingus) by getting deep into each and every instance of those things. I'll detail what happened, how realistic it was (could the physical thing happening while that character came realistically be something that could cause a female to come?), and what part it plays in the larger cultural understanding of lady-gasms and female sexuality. I like the idea of having these detailed discussions of every scene in a show or movie because I thinks it will be cool some day for someone to look back on. 

I got kinda bored with Shameless though, and the idea of detailing out every bang against a wall where the lady-character kinda screamed and vocalized like she probably came made my ass tired just thinking about it. Plus, I think the whole of Shameless is maybe the more interesting story here because I think it so closely parallels how sex, lady-gasms, and female sexuality are depicted in the larger culture - which is unrealistically. 

All vagina-banging no clit
The main takeaway here is that there's a lot of sexual activity in Shameless and most of it is a dude banging his penis in and out of a lady without any hands or vibrators stimulating her clit and also without a sense that her vulva/clit area is even in a position during this banging that would allow her to grind it against his body or anything else. Sometimes in these scenes they both kinda vocalize in a way that one might assume means they both came simultaneously. Sometimes the lady specifically is depicted as coming, and sometimes it ends before the orgasm part. Very occasionally it seems like the dude came, but she didn't. No matter what though, there was never - NEVER - a scene in which there is some kind of stimulation to the clit/vulva area along with intercourse. 

I mean this isn't uncommon. Intercourse in movies, TV and porn, pretty much ignores the clitoral glans vulva area whether there is a depiction of female orgasm in the scene or not. That's just the way it is. A penis moving in and out of a vagina is depicted as enough. It's enough, in and of itself, as a sex act - no matter what happens, but it's often depicted as enough to get a female to orgasm. The crazy part is, though, that it's a bunch of made-up bullshit. 

Women need clitoral glans area stimulations to orgasm as much as men need penile stimulation. These very normal depictions are like showing dudes coming from rubbing their asses without any penile stimulation...and no one seeming to care or even notice how bonkers it is. Seriously, no orgasm caused from stimulation inside the vagina has ever been physically recorded in all scientific literature. Seriously. And it's not like people (and tons of scientists) haven't been desperately trying to prove once and for all that women can be banged into an orgasm for almost a century now. They've pushed the idea of the G-spot and the 'inner clit' as possible reasons that women might orgasm from inner vaginal stimualtion, but never, ever has anyone ever shown that this 'other' 'vaginal' orgasm even exists. So, my point is, all these very common and very absurd depictions of women getting banged into orgasmic ecstasy both reflect our culture's deeply incorrect assumptions about how lady-gasms work and also help to keep those ridiculous assumptions alive and well in our psyche. 

So that's the bulk of what's happening sexually on the show, but I did take a few notes on a couple more specific interesting situations, which I will describe below.

Dear, let me not give you an orgasm for de-stressing purposes
I think this is one of my favorites because it's so stupid. The character Fiona is in bed with her boyfriend. She's stressed out, and so he decides to give her a sexual gift. He starts fucking her, as in banging her missionary. He tells her to just breath and let him do all the work. So she's just laying there, and he's just pushing in and out of her (their bodies are under the covers, but it's pretty clear what's happening) like his dick is a golden orgasm wand, and then she comes, and he doesn't. What a gift! 

Listen, if a dude wants to 'gift' you an orgasm and he starts banging you, then just know the only gift you will be getting is a dick in your vagina and the chance to fake an orgasm so he will stop. Clits do lady-gasms make, people...not dicks. 

For real, though, if that scene was not a crystal clear misunderstanding of how female orgasms happen I don't know what is. I mean even the idea of asking her not to movie is extra looney. If, perchance, a lady is able to get her clit enough stimulation to come by rubbing it against the pelvis of the person fucking her vagina, she's sure as shit gonna need to be controlling the fuck out of how her clit is grinding - the pressure, the angle. The idea that a dude could just fuck on a motionless lady to make her come is truly bananas. 

The lone lady-bation
This one I like for the opposite reason. It's probably the very best scene for lady-gasms in the whole series. The character Debbie is at some kind of commune. I'll skip the details of why, but she is in a tent for women and an older woman gives her a big ol' Hitachi Magic wand style vibrator to use to relax her. Debbie basically says she's never masturbated before, and the woman tells her it's liberating and leaves her alone to do it. Debbie looks at it. The scene cuts, and then later we come back to her laying back, clearly satisfied from a good ol' orgasm. 

It's a pretty basic scene, but I think it's the only time in this show that a woman or girl explicitly discusses masturbation (I'm not 100% on that, but if I'm wrong I'm not wrong by much). There's plenty of ladies in this show that are VERY sexual and various elements of their sex lives are discussed and depicted, but they are all with dudes or occasionally other women. 

In contrast, I believe every single male main character in this show has explicitly had their masturbation habits discussed or depicted more than once. One teen male character is even masturbating in the opening credits that play in front of all 9 seasons so far. One of the male characters was just a boy...maybe early middle school and had multiple shows with numerous discussions and depictions of his masturbation habits. 

Cunnilingus. 
It does happen on the show occasionally, but unless it's 2 women, it is not a staple. Often, it's something that happens at the beginning of a sex act - as a little warm up, and the dude moves up to fuck before any orgasm is had. I've never seen a female character on the show say anything about preferring it. It's more likely to hear a female character talk about interest in a big dick. Listen, I like that it's in the show at all, but just as in the culture at large, it tends to be just a quick side dish when it's there at all.

Cunnilingus. With a splash.
There is one exception. The character Lip has a girlfriend that he's been fucking. After a few episodes of this, we see him coming up as if he just finished eating her out. She says something like, 'that was great. I wasn't sure if you'd be good at it. Are the sheets drenched?' Turns out she ejaculates when she comes. She says  to him that's how she comes sometimes, and he asks her why she never came with him before. She tells him that she can only do it when she's really comfortable with a dude. He loves it. She loves it. His friends are impressed when he tells them about it. 

I like the idea that female ejaculation is depicted - and in a good light. I even think the way it happens is not unrealistic. Female ejaculation, like male ejaculation, is a different thing than orgasm. Squirting stuff out is not an orgasm, but for males, unlike for the vast majority of females, the two happen mostly simultaneously. There's not nearly enough data about female ejaculations, but clearly there are some women that can get them from manually stimulating the female prostate that sits around the urethra which sets on the outside of the vaginal wall, low and toward the stomach. That's just an ejaculation though (unless you were able to stimulate the clitoral glans area at the same time, and get the ejaculation and orgasm to pop off at around the same time, though). 

That manual stimulation of the prostate area seems to be the most common way female ejaculation happen, but from anecdotal stories in books and papers I've seen on the subject. It also seems like there are some women, and it must be fairly rare, where their orgasm triggers an ejaculation similar to what happens for men. This is what I would imagine happens for this girlfriend character, and that explanations seems sensible enough to me given that she was getting a clit licking that ended in orgasm (as it sensibly could) along with ejaculation.

So, that's all good, but I do feel like also there was a sense in this whole storyline that ejaculating was not just a cool-ass rare thing that happens to this woman when she's stimulated correctly, but that it's a symbol of her higher sexuality and Lip's exceptional prowess as a lover. That feels a little gross to me especially because female ejaculation is becoming quite popular in porn as a 'higher level of female sexual pleasure.' It's often faked, but it, like orgasming from nothing but a penis banging one's vagina, is just one more thing that women are expected to do in order to be properly sexual even if it's simply not something their body is capable of.

Bang me, but do it in circles...Screw me...I guess?
Okay - this one I find hilarious too...mostly because it feels like the writers got their sex advise from a 1950's marriage manual. This is the character Lip again, but with a different woman. He hooks up with her at a wedding. She's drunk, and they do it in a closet, standing doggy with her bent over a deep freezer or something. She pukes during it, and he's maybe a little less into it than he normally is this type of thing. Otherwise it's just a normal in-out bang. 

So he sees her again and asks her out on a real date, but she's a complete asshole and tells him to basically fuck off because it was the worst sex she's ever had. (Honestly, what is she comparing it to - other sex she had that also didn't involve her clit and also didn't make her come. What the hell was she expecting from the non-clit involving doggy fuck she was getting into?) 

So, she tells him it was "jabby" and he just kept jabbing, and he should have fucked her hard. (So the answer to my questions is that like far too many women, she doesn't orgasm during intercourse, doesn't seem to understand that's a problem or how to fix it -I mean most dudes don't either so we're all fucked aren't we? - and so she desperately wants something, anything else from the sex to make her feel wanted and excited and as if the sex was worth it...and what better way to feel that than to have the dude fuck your brains out so hard that you don't even know what happened? - for real though I think that's some real shit women feel but don't realize they feel). 

Anyway, for some inexplicable reason he later does end up dating her even though she is still just the absolute worst asshole, and they end up having sex again in her car. She says it was a 6 out of 10. It wasn't jabby anymore, but it was thrusty. Then she tells him he has to rotate. 

Rotate. Seriously. 

I imagine the kernel of truth that is behind this is that if a woman is going to ever possibly come during intercourse without actually manually (or vibratorly...I'm gonna say that's a word) stimulating her clit during it, it's going to be because she is able to get into the right position to grind her clit against his pelvis while his dick's still inside her. And let's be honest, he's probably gonna have to stop moving and stay fucking still so that she can keep the kind of constant pressure against him she likes and grind it how she needs it grinded without him fucking up her movements. This situation is not the ideal clit stimulating situation, so it's precarious, and him trying to move in an out is a straight clit killer...in my humble opinion at least. 

Anyway, that's probably the kernel of why people may have gotten the idea that grindy or rotatey is better than poundy, but here's the deal. Either way we're talking about him doing the movements and about how the dick is moving in the vagina...which is realistically not going to make her come no matter how you do it. What she should have said was, "it sucked because my clit was not even an after thought. You were just getting your dick off in my vagina, and what needed to happen was something should have been diddling my clit, so I could actually come." But because the world has such strange, backward, misunderstandings of lady-gasm, this lady character is out here telling this dude character that he needed to rotate more. 

The other reason this is hilarious to me is that I know specifically that this rotating advice was something popular in marriage manuals of the 1950's because I learned that when I was doing research for my movie. And recently Charlie and I got ahold of some old 70's porn - like the stuff that was real high budget and in the era when there was hope that porn and mainstream cinema could be merged in a particular way...and all those dudes were rotating as they pounded. Like, there was a distinct difference in the way you see dudes generally pound in porn today, and we both thought it was hilarious because it seemed like they were going off that 50's advice they snuck-found in their parent's marriage manuals when they were teenagers. The women were still not getting their clits stimulated and still faking, but...at least the dudes were rotating more?

The Vulva Rating
This was not a traditional SSL Review, but I am still going to give it a Vulva Rating, and it's not a good one. 

This show is chock full of lady-gasms depicted as happening from physical activity that in no way could realistically give a woman an orgasm. Although this is not uncommon, it is a net harm to women's ability to learn correctly about their orgasm and how it can be achieved in partner sex, to feel empowered in asking and expecting activities during sex that stimulate their organ of sexual pleasure (their clit), and in educating men about what a sexual act that is orgasmic for females actually looks like. 

It's also chock full of men and boys masturbating, but not women and girls, which makes it seem like lady-bation is rare, weird, and that sexual women are sexual because they fuck a lot and masturbation isn't really part of it. Those ideas are already strongly out there keeping girls and women (more than boys and men) from exploring their own bodies and theri own orgasms. This show just reinforces it, which sucks.  

Overall, there are some moments where there is genuinely realist depictions of female orgasm...like when a woman goes down on another woman until orgasm, but they are few and far between. Shameless is a very sexual show that, not unlike our sexual culture as a whole, is informed about and focused on male sexual pleasure, fantasy, and orgasm but deeply and arrogantly misinformed about female pleasure, fantasy and orgasm. 

I'm giving this series 1 out of 5 vulvas. I'm feeling nice because there are at least a few good moments in there. Also, I still have more of the series to go. I, arrogantly, don't think my opinion will change, but if it does, I'll update here.
(!)