Sex and the City S3 Ep 4-6 and S6 Ep 5-8: A Retro SSL Review

My little segment is back for another round (Here's the others). It's a modified, lazy version of an SSL Review. It's just me transcribing my notes, page by page, on all of the Sex and the City episodes. I watched them all - not necessarily in order - during 2007 and 2008, and I took notes on the depiction/discussion of female orgasm and female masturbation. It was my early attempt at this type of lady-gasm review stuff. Anyway, I never actually created reviews from these notes, but since they exist, I'd like to get them out there on the interwebs before they get burned in a house fire or something...thus this series.

Ramona and my SATC Notes

The fun of this will be that I will transcribe these as word for word as I can while still trying to make it be a sensible read. I'll post a pick of the notes for your reference. I'll do one or more episodes at a time - from the beginning of the notebook to the end. I may add notes for clarification or add my SSL-Review-style comments.

Hopefully the notes I took privately 10 years ago won't make me look like a dumb asshole. I will add them in the TV SSL Review Master List  (of course you are also welcome to check out the Movie SSL Review Master List as well). Here we go.

Sex and the City Season 3 Episodes 4-6, Season 6 Episodes 5-8

Season 3 Ep 4
- naked woman serving drinks
-Carrie kissed girl in spin the bottle at her bi boyfriend's ex gay lover's party where everyone was bi, but she decides it wasn't her thing - the bi stuff.

Season 3 Ep 5

Season 3 Ep 6
-chlamydia - miranda
-Charlotte having sex w/ guy that says dirty things when he comes;
    They are having sex and he says he's scared to come because he'll say it. She says, "oh come on - I'm almost there." She doesn't look like it. It's missionary. He is pumping in and out. -Simultaneous intercourse orgasm insinuated here. 

Season 6 Ep 5
- male naked ass --> Smith in a play

Season 6 Ep 6

Season 6 Ep 7

Season 6 Ep 8
-Sam - "I can't believe you got into a harness w/o even the hope of an orgasm" - about Carrie doing trapeze for story.
- Carrie had bad sex --> he was banging the fuck out of her. "That night me and Jack had sex like we were in high school - meaning he didn't know what the hell he was doing, and I didn't say anything."
-She was telling Stanford about the "jackrabbit" sex and he said, "Oh my god, are straight men still allowed to do that?" (Carrie said) "No they're not. I don't likey."

Modern Day Me's Take
A lot of the things I took notes on for these episodes are not things that I would currently include in an SSL Review. Naked drink serving, lady on lady kissing, chlamydia, a naked male ass - these are all things that do not depict or discuss female orgasm, masturbation, the clit or cunnilingus, so they wouldn't get SSL reviewed. I didn't have specific criteria set up back then. I was just noting down anything sexual, and I was also noting times when women were sexualized and when men were sexualized. I thought I might want to get into discussing the intense disproportion of how and how often the different genders' bodies are depicted as objects of desire. However, in the end, that can of worms was much too big and broad, and I decided to focus on the depictions relating to orgasm. I mean that's what this blog is all about. There's plenty of people out there discussing disproportionate sexualization way better and in way more depth than I could do. 

So, only episode S3E6 and episode S6E8 up there are of particular interest to me. So let me just comment on those quickly. Quickly, because I'm going to go from memory and from my interpretation of what I wrote back then. I'm not going to go back and watch through the scenes in detail. This ain't that kind of review. (I wrote that too soon. It's actually quite long-winded).

Charlotte's about to "orgasm"...I guess
If memory serves me, Charlotte had tons of scenes in this series where she was getting banged in a fairly normal, bangy sort of way and 'came' during it. I mean not as much as Samantha, but maybe 2nd most...maybe. They all did it from time to time, though. Anyway, that's what's happening here. It's a classic scene where a woman is getting a penis pumped in and out of her vagina. There's no additional stimulation from hands or from vibrators or from her pelvis grinding against something - nothing that might allow her clitoral glans area to get any kind of consistent stimulation. Without that chance of stimulation like that, it's pretty ridiculous to assume she was 'almost there.' BECAUSE STIMULATION TO THE INSIDE OF THE VAGINA HAS NEVER BEEN PHYSICALLY OBSERVED TO CAUSE ORGASM IN ALL OF SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE. And that's the truth, even though orgasms simply from getting banged are probably the most commonly depicted types of lady-gasms we see. 

It's bullshit, and if this weren't a show, and if Charlotte weren't just a character, I'd say ol' Charlotte was just 'almost there' to vocalizing and not actually having an orgasm - either because she knew her 'orgasm' would give him the permission to finish up (because on the other hand, moving a penis in and out of a vagina is a GREAT way to make a penis come)...or as is the case, I believe, for many a woman, she is confused about how orgasms are supposed to happen, feels like they should happen during intercourse, and well, kinda fakes them close to an intensity peak of intercourse that is her partner ramping up to and then orgasming. Whether the fake is intentional, or habit, or she kind of believes it, I believe varieties of faking are not uncommon, and faking seems like a much more sensible explanation for what was going on with this no-clit-stimulation bang Charlotte was getting (I mean, ya know, if she were an actual person and not a character written by writers, of course).

Carrie's Bangfest
And that is directly related to Carrie's situation in Season 6 Episode 8. In essence, there was nothing really different at all about what was happening to Charlotte and what was happening to Carrie. They were both getting banged. Neither was getting any kind of clit stimulation, and there would be no reason to believe in either of these scenarios that either woman should sensibly orgasm from what was happening. Yet for some unknown reason we are expected to believe that Charlotte was about to come, but that Carrie had absolutely terrible, fumbling, shit sex - with no orgasm, obviously. 

I would argue the only difference between the two scenes was that the writers decided in one that the story was 'shit sex' and the other that the story was 'normal boyfriend/girlfriend sex.' The first isn't expected to be orgasmic for ladies and the latter is. The reality is that there is such ignorance around how women actually orgasm, that writing lady-gasm into stories is just plain wildly inconsistent and often unrelated to actual physical things happening to them in that story. It's a mess. We wouldn't expect a dude to come from a great session of only ball licking with no penis stimulation. And, we certainly wouldn't depict two different relationship scenarios, both with this type of ball-lick 'sex,' and reasonably expect the audience to blindly accept that one was orgasmic because, I don't know, it was romantical or emotionally connected or whatever it is that makes audiences blindly accept scenes like Charlotte's. It's not just this show, either. It's all too common to depict a woman in a TV series getting pounded against a wall for 2 minutes into an orgasm one episode and the same basic thing happens in the another episode, but it's suddenly shit sex because of her mood or the dude's character or something. I'm not discounting state of mind when it comes to arousal, I'm just pointing out that despite a complete lack of sensible physical stimulation, it's common to depict a woman orgasming just because there is a sense that the sex in the scene should be viewed as 'good' (aka depicted as orgasmic) for her.  

Anyway, Sex and the City was always doing that. Sometimes basic in-out sex was orgasmic and sometimes it wasn't, and there was no rhyme or reason to it. So, if there's an idea out there (and there most definitely is) that female orgasm is unpredictable, deeply contingent on love or mood or the romance of the partner, or that there's not real understanding of how it happens, be sure that these ridiculously inconsistent and physically incorrect depictions play a huge part in that. 


Wanderlust S1Ep1 (2nd part) - The SSL Review

Listen, I made a mistake. When I SSL Reviewed the first episode of this, I must have just ignored the last part because I missed 2 SSL reviewable parts, and they were pretty good parts, that frankly I'd like to review. So here I am with an addendum to my 1st SSL Review for this show. So quick recap, This show is a British TV series on Netflix. I really liked this show. It involves a long-time married couple's sex life with a little open relationship stuff. There's plenty to SSL Review. I do very much suggest checking it out.  

Please check out the other half of this episode's SSL review HERE. Overall this show has an overall fairly fresh perspective on ladygasms - at least for a TV show. There are maybe a few imperfections, but definitely better than I would normally expect. The first episode got a good SSL Review and this one will have a mixed one. It'll be fairly short (I don't always write a long-winded ass book, okay).  So, enjoy, and 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).

Okay - I'll describe the 2 SSL Reviewable scenes, and then I'll give my thoughts on it, and finally (lucky you) you'll get to see the Vulva Rating. Given that this is what should have been a 2nd part half of an earlier review, I'll take account for that in the final Vulva Rating. 
The First Scene: This isn't sex
This is technically not an SSL Reviewable moment because there is not female orgasm, masturbation or cunnilingus, but I think it's super poignant, and so I'm including it.

If you see in the other part of the review for this episode, Joy and Alan are having trouble seeing eye to eye about having sex. Joy is recovering from an injury for one, and also want more from their sex life than just some missionary in-out. Alan thinks Joy is just trying to avoid sex with him. In this scene, Joy is trying. She put on some new lingerie, waits in their bedroom with candles until he gets home and then has him sit on the bed. He says he's had a day. She sits down next to him and is kind of acting a part asking him about his day and if he's been 'very naughty' and touching him. It's cheesy, but she's going for it. Alan is not playing along and then tells her he's really quite tired. She is a touch taken back but forges on standing up in front of him and telling him she's going to 'wake him up.' She takes off his glasses and shirt as he asks,

Alan: Can I just ask a question before?
Joy: No more talking (she rolls her eyes as she lifts his sweater off and then stands back from him). Okay get up.
Alan: You said no more talking.
Joy: Disobedience will not be tolerated. up.
She starts taking off his pants and reaching into them. He continues to be uninterested. and then says,
Alan: Joy. joy. Joy. Claire walked in on Niel masturbating.
Joy takes her hand out, slightly annoyed and resigned, and backs away from him.
Alan: I know. I know. I really appreciate the...you know, the attempt, but there's an awful lot on my plate.
Joy: The attempt?
Alan: You know what I mean. It's a lot to take in. I mean...it's elaborate, is all I'm saying.
Joy: Well, I'm sorry my effort to try resuscitate our flatlining sex life 
Alan: Well, now you're just putting words in my mouth.
Joy: I was planning on putting something else in my mouth, but you should be so fucking lucky.
Alan: I don't understand what's happening. So, you're annoyed at me because, what, I'm tired?
Joy: No! I'm disappointed because you're not prepared to..
Alan: What?
Joy: You said you didn't believe I wanted the two of us to have sex.
Alan: So...
Joy: So, I want it on record that you are the one actively resisting intercourse.
Alan: But this isn't sex. If you'd been in bed, and I'd come home, and you said, "Hello Alan, shall we have sex his evening?" I probably would have said, "Yes, Joy, let's. How Lovely." But when I come home after the day I've had...and...
Joy is actively walking around getting more and more pissed. 
Joy: God, you are so boring!
Alan: Okay, well at least I'm not trying to start a brawl for no reason.
Joy: I don' want to have the same ol' sex. In fact, I refuse!
Alan: Well at least if we were having the same old sex, we would, in fact, be having sex!
Joy: Why don't you want to try something different?
Alan: Because...
Joy: Why can't you see this as an opportunity to try..to. try...
Alan: I'm more than happy to try something new. I just don't want it to be completely and utterly fucking ridiculous.
She stands for a minute and then just walks away.

The Second Scene: Actual simultaneous orgasms
Okay, here we have a man and a woman. They've really just met, and they start making out passionately. They both unbutton and reach down each other's pants. The pants stay up and nothing else comes off. They stop kissing and are just holding onto each other with one hand and manually stimulating each other with the other hand dipped down into their open jeans. They are clearly going at it and aroused. The hand movements seems sensible for jacking of a penis and rubbing a clit. After a few minutes she comes, and it cuts before we see her finish him off.

The SSL Reveiw Part
The second scene is the kind of thing I always hope to find in my movies and TV. It's hot, wanton sex, but it's not intercourse. It's the kind of sex any two people can do to each other, no matter what parts they got going on down there. It also has equal potential for orgasm...unlike intercourse which has huge potential for the one with the penis and very little to no possibility of orgasm for the one with the vagina because the clit is not being stimulated necessarily during intercourse...and it really should be if you want orgasm to happen, just as the penis really should be stimulated if you want a male to orgasm. 

This is 100% the kind of sex scenes we should be exposed to as young people. I mean, as long as you wash your hands, it's disease free, pregnancy free, and orgasmic. That scenario should feel normal as a random sexual hook-up. Instead most often we see this same sexual energy in a hook-up, but instead with a penis getting rammed into a vagina until they both slump over in bliss - which is just the MOST bullshit. It's reinforcing the lie of sex lives - that banging a vagina with a penis would cause an orgasm for the owner of that vagina. It's not true, but it is what we see...as if fucking is as equally orgasmic as mutual handies. (Seriously, we have a strong, deep sense in sexual culture that one can stimulate a vaginal canal into orgasm and it's simply not something that science has ever observed and it really doesn't seem to exists). 

Point is, this scene showed a hand stimulating the clitoral glans.vulva area to orgasm and that's is as realistic as showing a hand jerking off a penis to orgasm. I really appreciate the realism and (sadly) uniqueness of that scene. 

As for the first scene, I think it's poignant because overall the story of these two married people is that the dude is fine with the way their sex life has always been - some basic intercourse, and the lady is not. It's a tale as old as time, and at its heart is something that is rarely discussed with conviction anywere - intercourse is orgasmic for the dude but not the lady and that matters very differently to each of those 2 people. 

It's not some psychological thing, or a lessening of emotional intimacy, or anything like that this couple needs to start with. It's that sex that is fun for him is boring/shitty (and gets more boring and more annoying with each go that ends in his, but not her orgasm). So, her trying to spice it us might seem like she's just someone who likes more spice than him, but the truth is she just wants arousing, orgasmic sex. That's spice in and of itself. That dude has been having spicy as hell sex compared to her because he orgasms. Sexperts and psychologists and regular old people simply don't recognize or understand this, but that is the story here and it's, like I said above, a tale as old as time, and one that exists in probably almost every home where a man and woman have been fucking for any length of time. 

The Vulva Rating
Because I so rarely see a random hook-up that involves such a beautifully equitable sex act for both parties, this will be getting a good rating. Plus, I like the the whole storyline with this couple. It is real, and I think we see this woman recognizing the bullshitness of her sexual situation, and I like that. This gets 4 1/2 vuvlas.


Shirley Valentine - The SSL Review

Shirley Valentine
First off, I recommend this one. It's a fun, sweet, thoughtful movie from 1989. It's also funny and I just really love some of the female to female kindnesses in it...and ya just got to love ol' Shirley Valentine. Honestly, this is the kind of movie I love finding because it's my comfort genre (ya know, the types of movies you can always watch not matter their quality). Plus, it's a well done one in this genre, and I had never even heard of it before I saw it on Hulu. It was a streaming win for me. 

As luck may have it, it also had some content that allows me to SSL Review it, so I'm happy about that. 

The 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 movie Reviews HERE (and as always you can find all the SSL TV Reviews HERE).

This movie is about Shirley Valentine, a house wife from Liverpool with grown children and a rather stodgy husband Joe.  She's actually quite a fun, kind, interesting lady, and well, we get to see her have some adventure. 

The 2 scenes that allowed me to do this SSL Review are below.
The First Scene: The Clitoris Generation
Shirley's remembering a time when she was out with her grown daughter and her daughter's flat-mate. They got her started on drinking wine (instead of Rum and Coke, which is apparently out of style).

Shirley narrates:
"Kids. They know everything, don't they?" (looking at the two young women at the bar getting the drinks) "Our Millandra shares a flat with Sharon-Louise."  
(We're back in Shirley's kitchen and she's talking to us while cutting a potato) "They're fascinated by sex. Well, I suppose I'd have been the same if I'd been born into their generation 'cause they discovered it, ya see." (She turns and looks into the camera earnestly). "The clitoris. The Clitoris Kids I call them, and good luck to them. I don't begrudge them a thing. Mind you, it was different in my day."

(We go to an even earlier flashback where Shirley is younger and with a few girlfriends at a pub. They're laughing.)
Shirley: You know, when I was a girl, we'd never even heard of the clitoris.
Friend 1: In those days everyone just thought it was a case of in out, in out, shake it all about. Stars would light up the sky and the earth would tremble!
Friend 2: Hey, the only thing trembled for me was the headboard on the bed!
(They all laugh)
Shirley: You know, when I first read about it, I though it was pronounced clit-or-is.
Friend 3: I think it sounds nicer that way.
Shirley: That even sounds like it could be a name. 'Oh hi Clitoris. How are ya?'
Friend 3: That makes it sound a bit crude somehow.
(they all dismiss it with a good natured - ahh!)
Shirley: Ah, shut up! Plenty of men walk around called Dick!
(They all laugh again)
Shirley: Well anyway, that's how I thought it was pronounced when I first mentioned it to Joe, ya know, sittin' in the front room there. I said, J...(laughs)...I said 'Joe, have you ever heard of the clit-ori-is?' He didn't even look up from his paper. 'Yeah,' he said, 'but it doesn't go as good as the Ford Escort.'
(They all laugh)

This to me is such a sweet, sad, realistic, and poignant scene. 

Sweet because Shirley expresses a real happiness and hope for her daughter and their generation. They would have been born around 1970 just a couple years after Masters and Johnson used physical scientific investigation to learn and tell the world vaginal orgasms weren't a thing and just a couple years before Shere Hite and the other fab 70's feminists took that research and built upon it to tell the world the clit was the organ of female pleasure same as the penis is the male organ of pleasure. It's not explicitly said, but I feel like the insinuation is that Shirley sees them as women that might actually have a chance of enjoying their sex lives. I also think the way Shirley and her friends share and laugh with each other about, well, basically the complete lack of orgasm in their sex lives seems sweet, and kind, and an important part of womanhood. 

It's sad and realistic because imagine men confiding and laughing about how their wives don't even know what a penis is...and not as a dumb joke about wives not putting out enough, but as, like, for real. You can't really imagine it because it's not a thing, but what Shirley and her friends are talking about is a thing. It's realistic, and it is so common a thing that it's in a movie and women all over watching that movie can relate to it. It's also sad because ya know what? These 4 grown-ass women that have had sex and children have also not had an orgasm. You can say that sex isn't about the orgasm all you want, but sex after sex with no orgasm SUCKS. But that's not even the saddest part to me. The sad part is that we know and recognize this reality Shirley and her friends speak of, but we just continue to ignore that clits largely aren't involved in partnered hetero sex. It's sad because that scene is still relevant to people watching 30 years later. Yeah, okay, I think husbands now days generally know of the clit, but do they know where it is and how to use it in partnered sex? Do women even know? 

And that's why it's poignant.

The Second Scene: Where did that orchestra come from?
So, I won't go into the details, but Shirley Valentine is making love on a boat. We don't see anything of the two people except their first naked, laying-down kisses. The camera moves away. We see the waves crashing on the beach, the boat swaying in the sea, and the music swells. It cuts to a close-up of Shirley's face. She's lying on her back. The dude is on top of her in a seeming missionary position, but we really just see the back of his head. 

She looks at the camera and says, "My God! Where did that Orchestra come from!" Then she kinda closes her eyes a bit and says, "Ohhh." The 'oh' could be interpreted in a couple way. 1. She had a soft orgasm when she said 'oh.' Or 2. She had just orgasmsed off camera (during the orchestra swell) and the oh was a gentle little sigh of relief and joy after the orgasm. I tend to think it was the latter, and we were seeing the aftermath of the climax.

The next scene opens with her and a friend talking.
A friend: Oh for God sakes Shirley, you're acting like a stupid teenager.  I suppose the next thing you'll tell me is that the earth moved.
Shirley: Jane, I thought there's been an earthquake. 

I'm a little disappointed that when we got back to the couple on the boat and saw Shirley's face, we weren't seeing the aftermath of cunnilingus. Ideally, if I'd written this, I'd have a certainly had the sex act that caused an earthquake and an orchestra swell be something that would realistically make a lady's loins spasm - a mouth stimulating a clit. Instead, it seemed as though all that ruckus was created by some basic missionary intercourse. Now, if there had been any inkling in that scene that her clit was being added into the intercourse session, I'd have gone for that as well; something like him off to her side with his arm reached down towards her crotch or her hands seemingly down there. However, everyone's hands seems to be above the waist, and there simply wasn't a sense that anything happened except some ol' in out. I mean it's not impossible that she was taking control of the pelvic movements and grinding her clit against his pelvis to orgasm while he was up in there. If Shirley were a real person, I sure hope that's what happened, but unfortunately that's not what the general feel of the situation was, and I'm probably the only one that would consider how she might have held him still and grinded her clit against him until she came, while deftly keeping the dick encased in her vagina. 

It seemed like Shirley had plain ol intercourse that caused her an orgasm. Yeah, the whole situation was more sensual and exciting, and probably slower than I would imagine Shirley was used to, but in the end, it's just a dick moving into a vagina, which on it's own doesn't cause orgasm. Intercourse also doesn't facilitate, on it's own, body movement that one could expect to create enough clitoral glans stimulation to cause orgasm...If it did then it wouldn't be the case that the vast majority of women never orgasm during intercourse at all.

The Vulva Rating
This is a mixed bag, but I'm soft on it because I like it, and  I feel like it's such a kind, lady-centric story. 

On the one hand, I love the the scenes about the clitoris - for all the reasons I discussed above. It's sweet, sad, realistic and poignant. Anytime there is real talk out there from women about the lack of clit and orgasm in their sex lives, it's a win. Truth has power. 

On the other hand, it depicted a woman that had an orgasm from what, if you take all the clues around it (since it wasn't technically depicted on screen), was just a dude on top of her moving his dick in and out of her vagina. So, in the end this movie added onto the giganto pile of other incredibly unrealistic and distressingly common scenes of a woman coming from nothing more than the ol' in and out. These scenes are the most common way a female is depicted orgasming in our media (books, tv, movies, and porn). I don't have any statistics on that, but I would bet every last cent I had on that being the outcome of any study done on the topic. Point being, scenes like that reinforce the already deeply embedded and deeply incorrect sense in our culture that a woman can be banged into an orgasm.

So, although there were some great parts to the sex scene that I didn't talk about, the net affect of it was negative to the world of lady-gasm because it continues to give people the wrong idea about how lady gasms happen, what types of sexual interactions would be orgasmic for ladies, and how ladies' bodies are likely to react to a bang. And all that leads to LOTS more women than men having shitty, unorgasmic sex. 

So, since I really liked one part, really did not like another, and have a soft spot for Shirley Valentine, I' giving this a 2 1/2 vulva rating.