Slippery When Wet - The SSL Book Review and the Lube Applicator Insight

Slippery When Wet, One Woman's Journey Through the Mystery of Sex, is a book I came across when the author (Dr. Joanna Ellington or Dr. E) commented on a post I had at BlogHer a couple months ago. Strangely, the name of her blog is Science, Sex & Nature - very similar to this blog and the my movie, Science Sex and the Ladies, but it was a complete coincidence. I read the book, and now I'm about to do a proper SSL review - which as you know will focus almost solely on the discussion of orgasm and masturbation. So here goes.

General Overview
The book is a mix of sex and relationship advice with a personal account of the author's sexual life learnings, plus a discussion of her scientific investigations into sperm and her discovery of a fertility friendly lubricant called Pre-Seed. I love hearing candid stories from women about their sexual lives. I think hearing those kinds of stories are important and in this book, they were also a lot of fun. I loved a lot about this book. I recommend giving it a read. It had some SSL positives. You can read about that below. I also, as is my way, had a couple bits of SSL critiques, and those are below too.

I also have something kinda strange to discuss about this book. The thing is, it gave me kind of a mind-blowing insight into a incredibly simple way women could approach getting the kinds of benefits men get from Viagra. It's actually really simple - probably a little too simple - and I don't really even know if the author would see it this way, but I it struck me hard, and I figure it's worth a sort of off-topic discussion at the end of this post.

Dr. Joanna Ellington with her book, Slippery When Wet: One Woman's Journey Through the Mysteries of Sex  from: Dr. E's BlogHer 9.10.2014

SSL Positives in the book

  • She is the mother of all boys and she points out that it was important to the parenting of her children that they not be sexually illiterate, which included these boys knowing where the clitoris was and its importance to the female orgasm. Kudos for that - if you have boys think about doing the same. I'm sure some woman down the line will thank you for at least setting your sons generally in the right direction.
  • She also notes the importance for good education for girls. "Many Teens, including girls themselves, share confusion about female genitalia, such as not understanding the anatomy of the clitoris or mixing and matching the terms vulva and vagina (because socialy we use these terms incorrectly all the time). Additionally most girls aren't taught basic physiology, such as how their bodies lubricate for sex; why overstimulation of the clitoris (by an untaught partner or super tight jeans) can cause pain rather than pleasure; and what will and will not work to trigger an orgasm." Tell it, Dr. E!
  • She speaks to the importance of masturbation as self discovery and acknowledges the problems that occur when girls don't do this. "In contrast, girls often first experience sexual arousal, not by themselves, but rather through physical intimacy with boys, including during intercourse. Because many women do not readily orgasm during penile-vaginal intercourse, girls are much more likely to experience early sexual encounters in which orgasm is a natural conclusion to feeling aroused. Additionally, the number of women for whom their first time making love feels good is much lower than that found in men. In one study, 36% of men and 10% of women considered their first intercourse very pleasurable whereas 5% of men versus 33% of women found it to be very unpleasant. Many girls feel embarrassed to admit that they didn't enjoy sex and unsure what they can do to improve their fulfillment and reach orgasm." 
  • She is quite candid and honest about the ups and downs of her sexual life which includes admitting to faking orgasms (cause come on, most of us have). I think this kind of honesty from women is a revolutionary act. The first step to acknowledging that women are not given the opportunity to learn as much about our bodies and to orgasm as much as we deserve to is to be honest to eachother about about our experiences. We need to break down the stigma surrounding that kind of honestly and a book like this helps.
  • Another absolutely fantastic aspect of her book is her discussion about vulvar and vaginal pain. She has dealt first hand with vulvodynia, a chronic pain condition which "caused the relentless burning and irritation I experienced not just right after sex, but also for hours and days afterward. Even walking, sitting down and wearing certain clothes could feel unbearable." She's not alone. The condition affects about 20% of women. Pain down there is not so uncommon at all. In fact, she points out that 46% of women report pain during intercourse at some time in their life, and one in four women suffer at some point from the chronic burning rawness like she had. That's a shit ton of women, but it's not often discussed, and it's not well treated. Doctors aren't always informed, and often don't help much. To me, this issue is incredibly important to the orgasm equality movement, because if your shit hurts, you ain't getting aroused, and you sure ain't going to orgasm. Dr. E gives great advice about what she has learned on the subjects, and I think it could help a lot of women - not only in the learnings she has to offer, but also the sense that other women who are suffering are not alone. 

Some SSL critiques

  • When the author (Dr. E) speaks of her first orgasm, it is during intercourse - her 2nd intercourse experience with this boy. Although she describes that this particular boy was patient and sensual and that their first encounter was not so exciting, she doesn't really talk about what was different with this second situation that made it orgasmic (except maybe that it was in a bed and not with her back uncomfortably against the wooden floor of a boat). I really would like to see more detailed physical information from women to other women when talking about orgasms during intercourse. The advice and personal stories I see now are just way too un-detailed to be helpful about something so uncommonly experienced among women who have sex. It would have been helpful to see more specific descriptions of movement, positions, stimulation techniques, level of arousal, what-parts-were-rubbing-against-what etc. that were happening during intercourse to make one experience end in orgasms and the other not. 
  • She also goes on to say that once she had that orgasm and learned what one felt like, she found several ways to get one, both alone and with a partner. Everything is right with that idea if you ask me, but again, it would have been cool to get some detailed physical descriptions of the experimentation, failures, and successes during the time she discovered these paths to orgasm. Of course, this kind of detail is not right for every book or for every personal story, but I do think it could have fit in well and given a little extra umph to the Dr. E's open and informative style. She's got a blog, though, so there's still time :)
  • I do have to also take quick issue with the discussion about female orgasm helping women choose the best dad; an argument that female orgasm evolved to help women find the best genetic partner with which to create offspring. It's a common and seemingly obvious way to look at lady-gasms, but it's probably not so correct. When it comes to female orgasm and evolution, the most well-researched, logically sound, and comprehensive voice on the topic is Elisabeth Lloyd, who wrote The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Study of Evolution. Female orgasm just doesn't seem to have a specific evolutionary role. Her book has been unfairly poo-pooed, and people often mix the idea of female orgasm with female arousal when arguing against it, but honestly her argument is so well thought-out and solid that I can't pass up the opportunity to bring it up when I see the subject discussed without recognizing her contribution. So there. I've brought it up. Go read it if you want more info. 

Slightly off topic insight inspired by this book

My sorta mind-blown situation that happened while reading this book came when she was discussing the product she created. She invented a lubricant called Pre-Seed. Being a scientist that focused on sperm (Seriously, she did some cool stuff with that. Here's a Radio Lab interview about a super cool experiment she did that is also discussed in the book), she somehow ended up making a lubricant that created a safe environment for sperm. Bet you didn't know that normal lubricants are not a great environment for sperm, did ya? It's not like spermicide bad - but it's not your best bet for fertility situations. So, if you're looking to conceive and want lube, maybe check into it (not my bag at the moment, but maybe it's yours). It's also reportedly quite mild. In the book, Dr. E says she was very careful about testing all the possible products on her own genitals and threw out anything that bothered her vulvodynia, so if you are also rather sensitive and looking for a less bothersome lube, maybe give it a whirl.

Okay, getting to my mind-blowing part, Pre-Seed comes with applicators to insert the lube up into the vagina. This way it coats all up in there, and bonus, you can put it in place 15 minutes before intimacy. So, I'm reading about this, and I thought, shit, is this kinda approaching the female equivalent to Viagra? I honestly have never heard of applicators for putting in lube. I don't know if I'm just an idiot, or I've just not been listening to the right people, but I don't think that's a common thing people use or talk about...but maybe it should be. Maybe, just maybe a simple thing like adding lube all up in there before sexy times could give most of the benefits to women that men get from Viagra.  Stay with me now. Let's look at the details.

1 Does it make it possible to have intercourse?

Viagra - Yes, its main focus is getting that dick hard, and if the dick's hard it can be inserted into an orifice - which is technically intercourse.

Lube applicator - Yes, mostly. Technically there doesn't need to be lubrication for intercourse, but for god-sake it hurts like a bitch without it, so for all intents and purposes, there does actually need to be lubrication. So let me say (because I - in the name of blog research- tried the ol' shooting-up-lube-into-the-vagina-and-doing-the-intercourse-thing when it was previously bone dry down there) that it made it quite comfortable, in fact, very comfortable to accommodate some penetration. Just adding some lube to the outer parts of the vag lips and/or to the penis simply does not lubricate this whole intercourse situation well - not by a long shot.
The mostly part of "Yes, mostly," arises because there is this other aspect of the vagina and penetration. After a certain amount of arousal, the vagina will elongate to more comfortably accommodate a phallic intruder, and just adding some lube up there doesn't address this aspect of making it possible/comfortable for intercourse, but 1 out of 2 ain't bad.

2 Does it help libido issues?

Viagra - No, it's just a pill to help men overcome some chemical aspects of getting an erection. There still has to be sufficient mental or physical stimulation to begin the arousal process. If you simply aren't into getting it on, it probably won't get your dick hard.

Lube applicator - No, it's just putting some lube up your junk, so no.

3 Does it help get you to the 1st stage of arousal?

Getting increased blood flow to the genitals is the very first thing that happens to both men and women during arousal. For men, that means the penis begins to get hard. For women, increased blood flow means lubrication begins to appear on the vaginal walls.

Viagra - Yeah. However, it's not gonna just give you an erection for no reason. You need to feel kinda aroused to get there, but it helps many men overcome some chemical hurdles, and getting to the point where that first stage of arousal becomes, ya know, obvious, is much easier.

Lube applicator - No, but it basically fakes the first stage of arousal and since the lube is injected up into the vagina (and can be done before sexual encounters begin) it does it in a way that feels very much like what would be happening in natural circumstances.

Difference - So, yeah, just adding some lube in there isn't an internally biological way to help along that first stage of arousal, but it is a super non-risk and non-invasive way to mimic arousal.

4 Can it help with further arousal and orgasm?

Viagra - No, It's all about getting to that erection. The rest is up to you. Without a conducive mental state and appropriate mental and physical stimulation, further arousal or orgasm simply isn't going to happen.

Lube applicator - No. Like I said before, it's just some lube up the lady-junk. The rest is up to you. Without a conducive mental state and appropriate mental and physical stimulation, further arousal or orgasm simply isn't going to happen.

But also yes to both - Okay, so the thing is that Viagra isn't a magic pill and lube's just lube, but something kinda magical about both is that when it helps create that hard dick or those wet lady bits, all the past associations the person and his/her partner have with seeing said erection/wetness, could flood in and make all the shit that's happening feel sexier. Arousal has so much to do with our minds. so, feeling the things in our body (and seeing them in our partner) that remind us of past highly arousing times might do a lot to improve our arousal, which, of course, improves our chance for an orgasm. So in that way, using Viagra or a lube applicator could help towards greater arousal and orgasm in similar ways.

Neither are magic bullets, but they both maybe are a step in the right direction...and even if the lube applicator doesn't quite hold up to the power of Viagra, it's not too far off. Plus the lube applicator situation is non-prescription, easy to try out, and there aren't any real serious health risks, It's something to think about.

***Full SSL style discussion would have me remind you that women often lack the proper physical stimulation for arousal and orgasm (i.e. - too much vaginal stimulation and not enough clitoral stimulation), so if you are looking for ways to help with arousal, orgasm or libido, make sure that the sexual encounters you do have are full of the types of erotic touches that actually do arouse you...I mean, first things first. I also want to point out that intercourse isn't everything, and a little lube up the hoo-hoo could also be nice for things like manual stimulation, oral stimulation, and some good ol' grinding on eachother's bodies, so don't be forgetting about those things.


Madelyn Ritrosky - LIKDIT!

So I do this slightly-different-for-the-SSL-blog series called "Ladies I Know Doing Interesting Things!" or "LIKDIT!" It's pronounced "liked it!" with a clear exclamation point at the end. Each LIKDIT! post will be exactly as you might expect - it's about a woman I know personally (even if it's just an acquaintance) who is out there doing or making something - taking risks, ya know. I'd like to point out, though, that almost every woman in my life (that I like) is doing something that I find courageous, or difficult, or adventurous, or truly kind. I think any interesting person dabbles in this kind of stuff from time to time. The LIKDIT! gals just happen to be doing that stuff outside of their work or family life and in a bit more public way - with a creative or philanthropic edge.

So here we go. I first met Madelyn Ritrosky when she contacted me about showing SSL at a Reproductive Rights Task Force in a nearby town. At the time, our final sound and score was not finished, but after talking we decided to use her group as our first test screening. She was super nice and awesome at helping us organize it. We got to talk afterward and I found out she was writing a book called Stardust&Moonbeams which involved some young couples in the 20's and some feminist ideology. I got to read a draft of it, and I really appreciated how she was exploring the female gaze - the female eye looking at the male body, which is unfortunately too under explored in our world. Even the fantastic female gaze magazine Filament isn't being made anymore :(.

Madelyn Ritrosky - write/producer Stardust&Moonbeams

Well, turns out, she is in the midst of turning a section of the book (one particularly focused on the female gaze) into a short movie, and I'm excited to see how they go about it. She's got a team of women to make the damn thing and some great actors on board, and now, they just need some funds. You know me - I love looking at hot men, seeing feminist ideals in movies, and supporting local movie makers. If you are so inclined go help fund this project, go HERE and do it. Why? Well, here's a few things the Stardust&Moonbeams crew had to say about it:
  • This is entirely about positive, equitable, empowering sexual dynamics between women and men
  • 99% of the media is a "male gaze" turned on women – we're tired of that and want a "female gaze" turned on men; you'll not only see it, you'll hear about it at a cocktail party, inviting you to question what you usually see in the media
  • There's a huge audience out there for this, and we expect a great festival run. Contributors say, "It's about time!" and "Filmmaking needs this."
  • Women ARE the filmmaking team, which is really rare
Thanks Madelyn for caring about the female gaze and for getting out there and following your passion!


Dear Mary Carey: You're Awesome, But I Didn't Realize That When I Put You in My Movie

Dear Mary Carey

I'm writing this to you because I used a small clip of you from the movie Mary Carey AKA Living Legend in my documentary, Science, Sex and the LadiesI want to write all the actresses in clips I have used, and so here we are. You are my second letter blog (I previously wrote Kim Cattrall HERE).

Mary Carey (PacificCoastNews.com)

The clips (and there actually aren't that many) in the movie are all used as examples of how media depictions of orgasm and sex fail women. I feel it's important for me to let each of you know why I chose something you were in, and let you know that my criticism of the clip is not also a criticism of you as a person or even your choices as an actress. I said the same thing to Kim Cattrall, and I'll continue saying it because it's true. All of us are just women living in a culture that is way more confusing when it comes to our orgasms than it should be, and you are all women working in industries that I imagine are a lot harder for women than for men. I don't have any qualms about critiquing the culture that has made the clips, but honestly, I do feel bad if these criticisms make particular women feel targeted or shamed. I do not want that. I don't think it is useful, and most importantly, I don't think it is deserved, My greatest hope is that your image in Science, Sex and the Ladies will spark you to become part of the conversation that this movie creates and not a target of that conversation, and I invite you to add your 2 cents in however you'd like.

So, Ms. Carey, the scene that I used of you is set before a similar scene in a mainstream TV Show (it's Samantha riding a hot farmer, cowgirl style in a Sex and the City clip) and a scene we created that depicts a similar situation happening in a private home between an everyday hetero couple. It is meant to show how porn influences mainstream media and mainstream media influences what goes on in our bedrooms. In your clip, you are riding a guy, cowgirl style, on a bed. I chose that clip simply because it looked like very normal porn. It was quite vanilla as porn goes, so I didn't feel I was misrepresenting what is commonly available in pornography.

All 3 scenes (the porn, the TV, and the "homemade" clips) show a woman, quite vocally, having an orgasm during intercourse while sitting straight upward "cowgirl style" on a man who is lying flat on his back (You can see the SITC scene HERE. It's YouTube age restricted and the part I use starts at about 2:26). There is clearly no stimulation of the clitoris happening during these orgasms - either from a hand or from friction against the partner's body. These scenes all show a woman orgasming from nothing more than a penis rubbing the inside of her vagina...and an orgasm caused only from that is something that simply doesn't exist in scientific research. It seems impossible, but orgasms caused by stimulation of the inside of the vagina have never been recorded, described, and observed in scientific literature. If these types of orgasms exist, we have only heard tell of them and never validated their existence. As a culture, we know that only about 1/3 of women claim to have these types of "vaginal" orgasms, but we are somehow okay with letting our porn and other media depict that rare type of orgasm almost every time an orgasm is depicted. Plus, these "vaginal" orgasms are probably even more rare than we already imagine they are. Seriously - I explain that more HERE.

So, the movie I made, Science, Sex and Ladies, is definitely critical of the fact that porn, more often than not, shows women orgasming from the ol' in and out alone. It is critical because it's unrealistic, and it gives women and men a bad education about how ladies achieve orgasm. The movie is not, however, critical of porn as a thing. In fact, we were trying to get across that porn is important to our sexual culture and that porn could be incredibly influential in changing our cultural understanding of female orgasm for the better. One of my greatest hopes is that Science, Sex and the Ladies could help start more conversation among the women of porn about the realism of female orgasm in pornography. I know there are lots of issues that affect what is in mainstream porn, but my feeling is that women have been gaining more and more influence in the industry, and they want porn to be the best it can be. I got obsessed with listening to Vivid radio during a time I got it free with my new(ish) car, and I found the women on there to be so interesting, smart, thoughtful, and funny (I talk more about that HERE), and it made me feel very hopeful. In fact I heard you on there a lot and loved it. You actually said some things that made me really excited and interested to talk with you.

The first one I heard on May 17, 2014. Your guest was Nadia Styles, and you were doing a thing that I think you called "truth or truth." Anyway, you asked whether she'd ever faked it, and she said something like, "I can't lie. Yes." Then you said something like, "Sometimes you just want to get it over with," and she said she'd actually done that a lot unfortunately. You both laughed about it and continued the "truth or truth." It was funny and true and what I loved was your honesty about something most women (and I'd assume especially porn stars) don't want to admit in public. I also liked the way you made it easy for your guest to be honest. To me it's a revolutionary and very feminist act to speak honestly about aspects of the female experience that are widely shared, but that can feel like personal failures. I thought it was awesome.

The second one I heard on July 1, 2014. Your guest was Lucky Starr. The fabulous Debi Diamond was in the booth and in on the conversation. The conversation went to positions that would allow you to come, and you said you liked to be on top because you could come from the grinding that way. You said you needed something in the vagina and on the clit. (At this point Debi said she could come 4 different ways and then explained those. I will go into that in a whole other post, but I'll just say it was interesting, and I would love to talk with her about that because I think she and I are actually on the same page. We are just using different vocabularies....but I'll get to that another time). Debi said you were sheltered, but you were pretty clear about always needing some clit stimulation to orgasm, and then I think the conversation went to Hitachi wands from there. Anyway, I saw that as another super brave thing you did. Admitting that you don't orgasm just from a dude banging you is not a simple or easy thing to do. I don't think most women want to admit that to their partners or themselves, much less a huge listening audience. I also don't think it's uncommon to get comments like Debi Diamond gave you when that sort of thing is admitted. I think women can easily feel that they are not living up to their full sexual potential if they must have some clitoral stimulation to orgasm, and that is unfortunate because women do need clitoral stimulation to orgasm just as men need penile stimulation. It's not strange. Our society just makes it feel strange.

Anyway, my point is, I didn't know much about you when I chose the clip, but now that I have heard you on the radio, I couldn't think of a better person to have chosen. I really think you might connect with this movie, and I'd really love for you to see it. I want to get a copy to you, so I'll be trying to get a hold of you to do just that.

I think you are kinda badass, and I hope you feel that the movie I made about the ol' lady-gasm is fair and interesting, and I hope what I'm saying about porn in it is clear and not offensive. There's a lot of thoughtless and kinda mean stuff being said about porn, and that's not what I want to be a part of. I want to hear your thoughts, though, so please send them my way.

All the best to you,



Bex vanKoot Spits the Truth about Orgasm Equality at RAW Magazine!!!!!

Ah, Bex - I met her a couple years ago through this blog. She left a comment on one of my posts, and every now and again we make some quick email or comment contact. Recently she sent me a link (it's the article Ecstatic Science and the Erotic Brain in the September 2104 RAW Attraction Magazine HERE) to something she wrote, and basically, I love the hell out of it. She sent it to me because she said although she didn't particularly cite anything from this blog or the movie, the SSL ideas were part of what led her to write it. (She does list THIS blog post and the SSL movie as a reference in the article, which I was kinda super stoked about - I mean, it was SSL's first reference, and it's kinda awesome.)

Bex, the revolution building, free-lance, sex positive writer at your service!

Anyway, what she wrote is so on point, and it was everything I would want to say but better. It was a simple and thoughtful piece on the too few female orgasms in our world and what to do about it. It was also a poignant piece about language mattering. The following is one of the last things she says:

Most importantly, call an orgasm an orgasm. And call all the other awesome, sensual, erotic and ecstatic experiences you have by some other name. Cumming, gushing, climaxing, reaching it... If you need to call it anything at all, call it what it is. In an ideal world, maybe it wouldn't matter what words we use to describe the hot fun we're all having. But in this reality, most women are not getting the good times they deserve. And you do deserve it! t's time to demand what's yours.

This article is such good revolutionary work. READ IT. Plus, it just really excited me. Bex is a freelance writer, a sex-positive advocate, and she's also a spirit and energy worker and a practitioner of tantric yoga. She's got street cred among a population of people that I don't, a population of people that are very much interested in thinking about, talking about, and exploring the spiritual aspects of sexuality. The way I write about this orgasm equality stuff does a lot of things, but it doesn't engage much with the spiritual aspect of sexuality. It's just not my style. Honestly, that is a criticism that this blog and this movie get....that they ignore the spiritual aspect of sex, and I think it turns some people off enough that they disengage with the message or become somewhat hostile to it. In the same way, some people just hear a word like tantric or ecstatic and are turned off.  The truth is, how a message is conveyed and who conveys it is as important as the message itself, and I don't always convey it in a way that everyone likes. Bex conveys Orgasm Equality messages in a subtly different way - a way I think could reach people I cannot, and that is so, so exciting.

Seriously though, her article speaks the truth, and points out that so much of the bickering among well meaning people about female orgasm comes down to language...It's unfortunate, and we really all could come together more. Bex and I are starting a Language Revolution on the Orgasm Equality Front. Who's with us?!

Go read the article. Bex is a real writer and says stuff good the way I can't and stuff. Go HERE and click on the Ecstatic Science and the Erotic Brain article to get the PDF.


Our Indy Premiere, A Good Review, SSL Streaming, and Masculinity/Femininity Movie

Three things today.

1. The Indianapolis Premiere of Science, Sex and the Ladies was about as awesome as I could have hoped for. Although Indy is our hometown, and it's good to be on home turf as far as turnout goes, we already had the cast and crew screening way back in February, and people had been having small private shows (our small screenings) around town for months. So, most of our core audience had seen the movie, and frankly you never know if you can bring people out to a movie more than once. However, we had a kick-ass turnout. Over 200 people. We packed the house, and I honestly didn't know over half the people there - at all, which was super duper awesome. We got great feedback too, and even scheduled some more small screening from people there who wanted to show friends and family - gotta love that.

Only 1 couple left during the movie out of, well, being appalled - at least as far as we can tell. I saw them leave, and then I heard later from someone sitting next to them that the guy started kinda freaking out a little when the vulvas came on screen, and then both the guy and gal started looking really uncomfortable, and then they left not too far into it. I say those are good leaving-in-an-appalled-huff numbers for an event that had 6 foot vulvas on the screen. The only other bad thing that happened was I drank the wrong beer from Scarlet Lane all night.

2. SSL is streaming for free until the end of the date November, 14th 2014! You can get to it through a really great review of SSL that was done on the blog Science, Sex & Nature. The woman (also the author of that Slippery When Wet book I mentioned in the last post), who wrote it asked if she could give her readers access to it for a short time, and it coincided with the Indy Premiere, so we said sure. We thought that along with reaching her readers, it'd be a nice thing to do as a thank you for all the support we got from the people here in Indy...and you non-Indy readers get the benefit too. So, check out the review and get a look at Science, Sex and the Ladies HERE.

3. I saw a movie called Masculinity/Femininity at the 2014 Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival today, and I thought it was worth a quick shout out. It's an experimental documentary, and it's investigating (you might have guessed) masculinity and femininity - thus the name of the film. The styling of this movie is not everybody's cup of tea, but it's the kind of thing I like to see at a film festival - something unique that takes liberties a lot of other movies don't or won't. I mean, I think the best thing about a film fest is the chance to see what's happening in parts of the film community that I can't access in the regular ol' theaters or on Netflix. So, I'm glad I saw this, and I think there were some interesting contemplations on gender. If you are into avante garde movies or into thinking more deeply about masculinity and femininity, check this movie out. Here's their Facebook page so you can keep up with where it shows next.

SSL Bonus? One of the people interviewed was Sophia Wallace, the artist who created Cliteracy, and you know I think the Cliteracy campaign is for real on point. Also, one woman (and forgive me for not remembering - I didn't have my notebook with me to take notes) speaks about how she was taught as a teen that not having sex with boys was absolutely imperative to making it in the world - and that sex=babies=fucked up your life. It matches the cultural predicament discussed in the book Dilemmas of Desire by Deborah Tolman (a fantastic book we discuss in Science, Sex and the Ladies - I highly recommend it), about girls having more struggles with their desire because they often feel that since they (and not boys) have to be the ones to stop sexual encounters before they get to the baby-making stages, then they have to suppress their desire in various ways so they don't let themselves get out of control and ruin their lives before they begin. Point is there are definitely some intersections between this movie and SSL.


Slippery When Wet, Free Kindle Download!

 Today is the day of the Science, Sex, and the Ladies Indianapolis premiere, and that's obviously super exciting, but I just got an email about something else pretty exciting... And free.

The book Slippery When Wet: One Woman's Journey Through the Mystery of Sex is doing a free Kindle download event, today and tomorrow (Nov. 6 and 7, 2014).

Check it out. I met the author, Dr. Joanna Ellington, online after she left a comment on one of my Blogher posts. She's a scientist specializing in sperm, and did some really cool work (including something I had previously heard her discuss on NPR's Radio Lab). She also invented a fertility friendly lubricant called Pre-Seed. We email hit it off, and she watched SSL (and will be doing a post on it soon), and I am like 85% done with her book now, and will be writing something about it soon too.

What I can say about it now, very quickly, is that there is a lot of good info in the book about some things we often don't have much good info on - like about vaginal and vulva pain that all too many women experience and endure silently (which is important to the Orgasm Equality Movement because it affects a woman's ability to get aroused, which affects the ability to orgasm). Plus, it's just an interesting and very real look into a woman's sexual life.

Anyway, check out this book. http://amzn.com/


Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014 - SSL Indy Premiere!!!!

I'm kinda busy, and although I have a bunch of blog post ideas (super substantial ones, people) I really want to do, I haven't had enough time to sit and really get to them. So, I'm going to write about something quickly...the upcoming Indianapolis Premiere of Science, Sex and the Ladies (Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014 doors 6:30 movie 7:30). This premiere thing is one of the reasons I haven't had much time lately, so it seems appropriate.

Anyway, I've been a-hustlin' trying to get the word out, and it's been going pretty well. I think it's going to be a good crowd. I have to give my sister big props on that. She's a monster advertiser me, and I love that silly bitch for it. She's ride or die all the way. Seriously, it's really cool to have people around that support me like this. I love you Mel, and I love all those other ab fab friends and cast members who are hard core repping for this movie out there. It's pretty awesome.

I'm getting excited, and if any of you out there are from Indy or have Indy friends, I'd love to see you or your lovely pals. We'll have some good brews there from Scarlet Lane Brewery. We picked the Brewery because it's in McCordsville, where we all at AnC went to high school (well, the school is technically in Fortville, but they're pretty much the same town), and because there's a woman brewing there, which is not as common as it should be...and because the beer is really good. I had a cinnamon sugar beer that tasted like some bad ass cinnamon toast. It was buttery and everything. It was a dark beer through, and I know not everyone is into them, but if you are...

Point is - I'm excited about Thursday, and If you are around, come out to the show. Tickets are only $6 bucks. Get em' HERE.


Sexy Dude costumes - The SSL Halloween Special

In the tradition of past Halloween posts, I'm going to talk about costumes. I try hard to make these very special Halloween costume posts both fun and related to the discussion or depiction of female sexual release. You might remember last year's post about the "Orgasm Donor" costume. You also might remember the post in 2012 about using weird sexy costumes to find love for own clit instead being all giving and stuff.

Well, this year, let's focus on boy sexy costumes instead of sexy costumes for the ladies. My feeling is that the time has come for men to share in the responsibility for making Halloween the top sexiest holiday. Ladies have been shouldering this burden for way too long, so this post is dedicated to all the brave sexy-costume men out there that make Halloween and the fantasies we masturbate to later, hotter for all us hetero gals out there. However, let me bring up the obvious. The gay guys are probably giving more to this cause than straight ones.

A friend's FB led me to a lovely post, "Slutty Halloween costumes for Hot Dudes," from the blog Confessions of a Boy Toy, and it's not about straight men in slutty costumes, which got me thinking about this very post you're reading. Honestly, I'm not picky, I don't care if your eight pack does dudes or ladies, the view's the same either way, but honestly, it's not fair. Hetero guys shouldn't get off the hook just because gay guys try a little harder to keep that shit tight for their potential lovers.

This is a call to action for the straight dudes. College Halloween Frat parties next year should have as much male skin as lady skin...no it should have more male skin. I mean, if we are ever going to achieve balance, there's a lot of make-up ground the dudes need to cover. It could be decades of women in ghost costumes and men in Olympic Swimmer costumes before we get that balance, so let's get to work. We ladies, our clits, and the state of heterosexual relationships deserves it!

Here's some pics to enjoy. Happy Halloween.


American Beauty - The SSL Review

I was babysitting some nieces and nephews a couple nights ago, and since they have way better cable than I do (because I actually have no cable) and since the kids were in bed, I thought I'd look for a movie to watch. Turns out, just as I remembered from when I did have cable, it's not that easy to find something I actually want to watch. However, I found American Beauty had just started about 15 minutes before, and I hadn't seen it in a long time.

It came out somewhere around my 1st year of college, and it was one of those movies around that time (like Fight Club and Snatch and Eyes Wide Shut  and Magnolia) that had an impact on my coming-into-the-adult-world mind and really solidified my interest for making movies. The way they were made, the sound, the editing, the style - it all kinda blew my mind at the time. It was exciting. I can remember coming home after seeing these movies and just talking with Charlie for hours about them - what we liked what we didn't.

So in watching American Beauty again, part of it was seeing how the movie stood up for me over time. Truth be told, there are parts to this movie that I will always like, but it was never a top choice among the others I listed above. Also, I've sorta grown to hate Kevin Spacey's perma-character that he does in every movie he's in. I didn't know it was a perma-character at the time, so it didn't bother me at all then. (Full-disclosure: I love his perma-character in House of Cards. It fits somehow, and I'm glad I decided to give it a chance, event though I wasn't really excited about it). American Beauty is also very male-centric. I mean that not in a necessarily bad way. It's just heavily from a male perspective, and as I've grown older I realized that a disproportionately large amount of movies are from this perspective, and I always get a tinge of disappointment when I see another movie that doesn't really consider the female perspective deeply. So, that tints my feelings about it - although most of the movies I listed up there are from this heavily male perspective. I mean, like I said, most movies are, so it's just par for the course.

Alright, enough about that. I'm actually writing this because I realized that American Beauty is eligible for an SSL Review. Why? Because there was indeed a depiction or discussion of female sexual release or female masturbation. SSL Reviews only review those depictions or discussions and nothing else. The I rate it in vulvas (!)(!)

Annette Bening's character Carolyn, is shown in a motel room having sexual relations with a man who is not her husband (Buddy Kane played by Peter Gallagher). Buddy is a big-shot Realtor that Carolyn (also a Realtor) admires. He's confident and knows what he wants, and she's enamored. The sex scene is pretty quick. They are laying on a motel bed. She is on her back with her legs way up in the air straddling Buddy who is face down, propped up on his arms, banging the ever lovin' shit out of Carolyn. The bed's a rockin' and Carolyn is screaming something to the effect of "You're the King! You're the King!" (He is called the Realty King or something like that on his advertising). We see all 4 of their arms, and there is clearly no one manually stimulating the clit.

Carolyn's legs-around-the-ears position is not a great one for clit to dude's pelvis stimulation, so my professional opinion here is that the clit is not being touched by anything during this scene. Yet, it seems from how she's screaming that she just might be orgasming...it definitely plays as a climax of some sort. It's a porny as hell orgasm, and I assume this scene is partially supposed to play for comedy, as so many sex scenes do. However, comedy or not, it's reinforcing the incorrect assumption that some good ol' banging alone will make a woman come.

It is not an unusual scene. It doesn't seem to be insinuating anything different than most porn scenes, movie sex scenes, or romance novel sex scenes, but that's the problem, isn't it? It's part of the incredibly huge network of female orgasm depictions in our media that completely ignores the clitoris, yet still depicts a female orgasm. It's a problem, just as it would be a problem if almost all sex scenes in media showed men orgasming from ball caresses, anal penetration, or stroking only on the very base of the penis, and for some god-awful reason, stimulation or any touching at all of penis head was almost never depicted.

It's a ridiculous situation, and American Beauty is just adding to the problem, so I give it only a 1 vulva rating. (I don't like giving zeros).



Sensitivity of Clit and Vagina While Aroused and Unaroused

It ain't easy getting a hold of lady orgasm articles from scientific journals when you aren't in college or when the scientific company you work for focuses more on plants than lady junk or when your local librarians look at you with pure hate when you ask them to order these sex articles for you and then they keep forgetting you asked about it. I had been having to make periodic runs to the ol' IUPUI libraries to make copies. Now I have a free trial of a site I can get a bunch of full articles from and a cousin in college that knows how to use her library resources and will get me ones that I can't get from my free trial. So, my point is that I'm having a field day getting to read all the articles I want...article I have only seen abstracts for. It's pretty sweet. This means I'm going to do more "A Journal Article I Read" blog posts about random articles I read. And on that note, here is one. I'm just going to explain it as fully, but still as easily understandable as I can, and if I want to say something else about it, I will.

"Physiological Changes in Female Genital Sensation During Sexual Stimulation"
The Journal of Sexual Medicine , Volume 4 (2) – Mar 1, 2007

What they did
11 women were tested during non aroused and aroused states for heat and vibration sensitivity on the clitoral glans area and for vibratory sensation on the anterior wall of the vagina (the wall towards the front, not the backside of your body). They threw out doing the heat test on the vaginal wall after they found in preliminary tests that there were no changes in sensitivity at all during different levels of arousal. 

The scientist had a device that they would hold against the test area and would ramp up the heat or vibration until the woman indicated that she felt it - the less vibration or heat before she felt it, the more sensitive that area was. Here is the schedule for when the tests would be done on both the clit (both heat and vibration) and the vagina (just vibration):

Test 1 - Soon after getting into the testing room and before any arousal process was begun 
Test 2 - A base line 10 minutes after Test 1 and still before any arousal process started
 (Results from bot tests 1 and 2 matched the base line tests of 89 other women tested previously) 
Test 3 - Immediately post arousal (once lubrication had begun) but before any physical self stimulation. Women chose erotic viewing material from a selection of short promos and had begun watching them to begin arousal.
Test 4 - Immediately after orgasm. None could achieve orgasm from auditory/visual stimulation alone so they were allowed to use manual stimulation or vibrators. The actual achievement of orgasm was not physiologically verified. 
(The women were in a private room and buzzed the researchers in directly after lubrication for Test 3 and directly after orgasm for this test)  
Test 5 - 5 minutes post orgasm 
Test 6 -10 minutes post orgasm 
Test 7-  20 minutes post orgasm

What they found
The clit needed more vibration (over and above what she needed at the Tests 1 and 2 baseline readings) before the woman felt it after the non-self stimulating arousal and then also after the orgasm, at 5 minutes post orgasm, and at 10 minutes post orgasm. 

The vagina didn't need more vibration (over and above what she needed at the Tests 1 and 2 baseline readings) for the woman to feel it until after the orgasm and then also at 5 minutes post orgasm. 

The amount of heat needed on the clit before the woman to feel it never changed.

There have been studies showing the same lowering of vibration sensitivity in an aroused penis (over that of an un-aroused penis).A [1][2]

What I want to say about it
There had been some studies in the past about sensitivity among the different parts of the female genitals. but a study of female genital sensitivity during the the phases of sexual arousal doesn’t seem to have been done until this study. It is just a small study with only 11 women. Plus, the orgasms were not physiologically verified in this. That's an issue I am always weary of, given that women/sexperts/researchers tend to use the word orgasm in ways that could mean something other than the universally accepted physically identifiable way that Masters and Johnson defined it. So, one woman’s “orgasm” may literally be something different than another woman’s – possibly more emotionally/spiritually based as opposed to physically identifiable. This is an issue that sex researchers should be more cognizant of. However, overall, I thought it was an interesting little study that that other scientists could duplicate or springboard from...and now you know about it.

[1] Urology. 1998 Dec;52(6):1101-5.
Penile sensitivity in men: a composite of recent findings.
Rowland DL.

[2] J Urol. 1991 Oct;146(4):1018-21.
Changes in penile sensitivity following papaverine-induced erection in sexually functional and dysfunctional men.
Rowland DL1, Leentvaar EJ, Blom JH, Slob AK.


Random Male Hite Report #10

Hello, friends. It's time for more Random Hite Report. In 1976, Shere Hite dropped The Hite Report where she compiled detailed survey answers from over 3,000 women about sex, masturbation, orgasms, and relationships. It's insane to me how revolutionary this book still is. Read it, seriously. We haven't changed that much. Then in 1981, she dropped The Hite Report on Male Sexuality where over 7,000 men give detailed answers about sex, relationships, and women. It too is revolutionary, and the honesty and detail in this book is so important and moving, I think everyone should read this too.

 So, I give you a taste every now and then to entice you to get these books (seriously, they are both like 1 cent online)  what I do is flip to one random page and copy the contents of that page, no more-no less, directly onto this blog. Enjoy.

The Hite Report on Male Sexuality
Knopf, 1981 pg 739

This is from the chapter Rape. In the section "Other kinds of rape: pressuring a woman into sex"  

...pain--my balls ache. Present buying. alcohol to soften her. Or straight forward exciting her by kissing, fondling, petting. Some succeed, some not."
    "I have tried all sorts of things to say when I try to persuade a woman to let me make love to her. I like to be sincere. The most truthful thing I can tell her is that I do not know what got into me, and that I am afraid I may go out of my mind if she does not consent."
    "Yes. Guilt is the way to get what you want from a woman."
    "Much fast talk--love, love, love--all pure bullshit!"
    "Verbal intimidation. Example: 'We haven't done anything in several weeks. What's up? Tell me the problem. Let's talk, O.K.?' Success is low because I usually back out (feeling dishonest)."
    "By using emotional tactics such as telling her how much it meant to me and how that if she didn't meet my needs, I would go to someone else. Most of the time, the tactics work."
    "I told a woman (several women) if she (they) did not give in I was not going to see her (them) anymore. I could not wait anymore. That was the truth. I am not a monk. Yes, always succeeded. I have very pitiful eyes."
    "Yes. Begged. Succeeded."
    "Yes! I'd pout like a little boy, or make known to her that I'm angry. But the one that always works is 'economic blackmail.'"
    "Regretfully, I plead guilty due to ignorance and lack of willpower. I played on emotions such as empathy, sympathy until they thought they really wanted me too. It succeeded physically but I seldom if ever have seen the person since then and probably lost out on at least a great friendship."
    "Yes, I have pressured my girl to have sex with me when she didn't want to. I've done so by sulking, by explaining I'm horny and need sex (I am and do), and by talking about how we don't have much time left together before we separate again (which is the truth). They've all worked."
    "One way is I would wrestle her; another I would not fulfill all of her immediate needs and trade favors and services from myself for sex and money, and I have made some feel guilty about things they were not supposed to be doing, but were doing behind closed doors of private rooms. Yes, it succeeded."
    "I played on her sympathy, told her I had doubts about my heterosexuality because of a previous sexual failure and needed desperately some woman to help me."
    "I told the woman I would tell her husband or get word to him that she had been screwing around. Yes, it succeeded."
    "I use her 'love.' It succeeds depending on her 'love.'"
    "Yes, by trying to elicit some kind of sympathetic feelings. Usually by trying to focus her attention on what appears to be strong affection for her from me (genuine or not). And by 'negative pressure,' i.e., telling her that I very much want to make love to her and then telling her that I don't expect any answer to that, I simply want to express what I was feeling. It works more often than not, but that has more to do with selection than technique."
    "I probably have pressures a woman into having sex. I have responses of pouting, resentment, withdrawing--those tricks have done the job before."
    "I have pressured a woman to have sex with me. We talked and petted and..."


Ponderings About Other's Reactions to Science, Sex and the Ladies

This should be a quick one, I think...and it will probably be a little stream of consciousness style because I don't have much time. I was talking with this man last night about the ideas presented in Science, Sex and the Ladies. He was very nice and interested,.  I enjoyed the talk, and actually I think we came to a nice agreement. However, he took from my initial explanation and initially came back at me in a way I find is not uncommon, and it's a big thing that the ideas presented in SSL have to work against. It goes something like this...
But what about love, emotion, and connection between two people? That's the most important part, and I worry that coming at if from a physical mechanical way doesn't tell the whole story. Also, women have other pleasurable plateaus that are in many ways just as good as orgasm. Also people know this stuff already. I remember when Masters and Johnson and the Hite Report came out and it was a big thing, and you know what? I think people found that just the physical stuff doesn't make it better. You can't take the emotion out. 

So, that's the basic gist. I get it. I get that love and connection is important. I get that there are other ways to enjoy sexual time with another person. In a perfect world sex would just be 2 people enjoying their time however they want and orgasming or not orgasming as they please. I agree about that. The problem is that women and men aren't on a level playing field because our culture makes it easy for men to orgasm in a very normal, accepted, commonly-depicted-in-media sexual situation, yet for women that same very normal, accepted, commonly-depicted-in-media sexual situation leaves it hard or impossible for her to orgasm, but insinuated that it should be easy. My focus in the movie is to attain that level playing field though basic physiological education, and leave all the ooey-gooey love and connection stuff up to the individual.

Secondly, I was not around in the early 70's and I don't hang around with a crowd or take college classes that talk about things like the Hite Report. So, I don't remember when Masters and Johnson and the Hite Report came out. I didn't know either of them existed until I started researching this stuff. Hite, I didn't find til I saw her on the Colbert Report. My generation and younger (and probably a lot of older too) don't know this basic physiological information that M&J reported to the world or the information Hite discovered about women's orgasms from women themselves. That information is not exactly lost. It's out there, but it has in no way become a structural part of our sexual knowledge and sexual culture. It just hasn't. I don't even think many of the older people I talk with really understood the research at the time. It was more about hearing what reporters and secondary sources had to say about it. In fact I think most people have it all wrong. The physiological knowledge that was brought to our culture in the late 60's early 70's didn't, as I get told often, put too much focus on the body and "take love and emotion out of the equation." It was just information - accurate, much needed information that could have been incorporated into our sexual culture. However, I think often it gets weirdly associated with the "free love" situation that was happening at the time, and taken as the cause of taking stable, loving relationships and human connection out of sex. It's strange really, but I see people make that connection all the time - and express a real discomfort and distrust of talking about orgasm in a way that M&J talked about it....you know logically, accurately and scientifically.


Vaginal Nerviness and What I would Say Differently If I Made This Movie Now

So, I found an article that prompts me to let you all know I would probably would have said something in the movie a little differently. It's about the amount of nerve endings in the vagina.

In the movie we say that compared to the vulva, the inside of the vagina has lots less nerve endings, which I'll stand behind. However, we also go on to say that there are more nerve ending in the front (towards the hole) than in the back depths of the vag, which we say has almost none. We also go on to say that this lack of nerve ending allows for surgeries to happen in the vagina without anesthesia. I got that from Alfred Kinsey's classic, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (W.B Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 1953) pages 159-171 and 577-584. He had done tests where different parts of the vulva were gently stroked with a probe and different parts inside the vagina were both stroked and/or given pressure. Whether the 879 women tested could identify that they were being touched or where exactly they were being touched in each area was noted.  The results of that study, along with studies from the 40's and 50's he cited (one's in German, I think) [1][2] and from histologic data he received from 2 scientists on vaginal innervation [3], prompted Kinsey to make the claim that the vagina is not particularly nervy except for the area that is basically the opening. He also cited that "From our gynecological consultants, we have abundant data on the limited necessity of using anesthesia in vaginal operations" and cited a related study [4].

So that's where it came from. I now think it could be wrong to say there are less nerve endings in the furthest inner parts of the vagina. I found an article in  The Journal of Sexual Medicine called, "A prospective study examining the anatomic distribution of nerve density in the human vagina." 2006 Nov;3(6):979-87. In my defense, this was at the very end of my heavy research for this movie, but who knows if I would have found it anyway. There are tons of little one-off lady-gasm related studies that are either not conclusive or often just kinda bad that I had no interest in using for the movie and it's hard to keep up with checking them all. This one would have been good though.

Although it's small (only 21 women), it is a physiological investigation - a first of it's kind really. Plus, I don't think its claims are overreaching. Basically, the authors had the women take a standardized questionnaire about their sexual functioning (arousal, orgasm, lubrication, satisfaction, pain, etc.) and then took tissue samples from different areas of their vagina (i.e. cervix, front wall closer to hole, back wall closer to hole, and deeper on both front and back walls.). They also took samples from the different layers of the vaginal tissue in all those places. What they concluded was that the vagina had about the same amount of nerves throughout every place they tested, and that there was no significant difference between the women's amount of nerves; not between women with or without Female Sexual Dysfunction, not between with different scores on orgasm, lubrication, arousal, etc., not between pre and post menopausal. The had all given birth, but there was no difference between those with 3 or more and those with less than 3 births. One possible issue was that all the women had prolapse (where some pelvic orgasm had fallen out of place) and that this condition had been associated in one study with women saying they had less sensation in the vagina. However, the study was done this way because these women were going into surgery anyway, so getting the samples was essentially non-evasive and thus the study could actually get done. The researchers did look to see if there was a correlation between less nerves and the further stages of prolapse, but that wasn't the case either.

As Kinsey pointed out in his research and as this study points out, a study of the amount of nerves in the tissue of the vagina does not also necessarily indicate what may or may not be pleasurable to women inside the vagina. The amount of nerves does not also point to the nerve behavior, and there are plenty of other factors that go along with what physical actions feel pleasurable to someone. However, it is solid useful information for further investigation into female sexual response.

Again, this is a small study, but it seems well done, and it would prompt me not to assert that there is different areas of the vagina that are less nervy than others.

This also brings up something related. I have recently realized that discussing the vagina as not-so-nervy and specifically saying that there are surgeries done in the vagina without anesthesia, is a kind of trigger for people and can immediately turn them off to anything else I have to say. It seems that it conjures up a distaste that some people have for the ideals of some 70's feminists (particularly to Anne Koedt and her article The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm ) who boldy pointed out that Masters and Johnson's groundbreaking (and still completely relevant) research showed that orgasms are caused by clitoral and not vaginal stimulation. I could be wrong, but I think maybe it simply has something to do with a misunderstanding that these feminists were also saying that the vagina is a pleasureless hole and that enjoying intercourse is basically stupid and un-feminist. I, in no way, think that was what they were saying at all, but I also know that sometimes things trigger bad feelings, and I wish I would have known that before I put the statement about anesthesia and vaginal surgery it into the movie.

I see now that it can easily be taken as a shorthand for me saying that the vagina is useless. I do say clearly that vaginal stimulation has not been shown to cause orgasms, but I never say that vaginal stimulation is never or never should be part of sexual stimulation and arousal. I believed I had made that distinction clear in the movie, but I didn't say it as clear as it could have been said. Plus, although there are surgeries done in the vagina without anesthesia [5][6], there are also surgeries done with anesthesia. I think the statement I put in the movie is just a bit too much because instead of backing up the idea that the vagina is less sensitive than the outer vulva and that vaginal stimulation does not cause orgasm, it gives the impression that I don't think there is any sensitivity in the vagina at all and that it could not possibly be important to arousal.

So - I was possibly wrong about different areas of the vagina having different amounts of nerves. Also, if I were to make this movie again, I would be more sensitive about the issue of vaginal sensitivity and be way, way more clear about my notion that the vagina, while not an orgasm causing organ, is surely an arousal causing organ...and thus I would not bring up the whole vaginal surgery - no anesthesia thing.

[1] Kuntz, A. 1945, Ed. 3. The autonomic nervous system. Philedelphia, Lea & Febiger, 1 pl. + 687p.
[2] Undeutsch, U. 1950. Die Sexualitat im Jugendalter. Studium General 3:433-454.
[3] "Dr. F.J. Hector (Bristol, England) and Dr. K.E. Kranz (University of Vermont) have furnished us with histologic data on this point."
[4] Doberlein, A. and Kronig, B. 1907. Operative Gynakologie. Leipzig, Georg Thieme, xvi +721p.
[5]Clifton PA, et al. Journal of Family Practice. "Ineffectiveness of topical benzocaine spray during colposcopy." 1998 Mar;46(3):242-6.
[6]Sammarco MJ Hartenbach EM, Hunter VJ. The Journal of Reproductive Medicine. "Local anesthesia for cryosurgery on the cervix." 1993 Mar;38(3):170-2.


What the Ladies of Vivid Radio Taught Me

You may remember that I got a new (well, used) car earlier this year, and with that car I got 3 free months of Sirius XM, which included the Vivid radio station. You might also remember that I became slightly obsessed with listening to the numerous porn star ladies hosting the various shows on the channel. Then it ended. My 3 months was up and no more Debi Diamond, Mary Carey, Christy Canyon, Ash Hollywood, or Alexis Texas and her big ol' booty (I'm only taking her word for it. I don't really know how big it is).

Kayla-Jane Danger and Dana DeArmond photo: VividRadioSXM Twitter feed 

It was a sad day. I'm serious (Sirius). I really truly enjoyed listening to these women (and they were all women. There was only one man I heard the whole time). It's been a while since my Sirius turned off. Writing a blog post on this has been on my to do list for a long time now. I began listening and taking notes because I thought it was important to hear what kinds things were being said and insinuated about the female orgasm on a hugely popular adult media like Vivid Radio. I thought it would both help me stay informed about the sexual culture and also be good material for SSL Reviews (media reviews that specifically speak to the realism and cultural impact of depictions/discussions of female sexual release or female masturbation). It did do both those things, and I'll have some actual SSL Reviews of the content in a later post. However, it did something much more interesting and nice also. It opened my ol' noggin.

So let me begin by saying that I don't know if I ever thought very deeply about porn stars before. I mean I thought about them, but not anything more than my basic first thought. My first sorta grown-up teen thoughts about women in adult industries was something like, "hell yeah! Women should get to do anything we want with our bodies," and I even had some bits of fantasy about being part of that world. I was a teen in the 90's though, and porn was harder to come by then. We had to scavenge for that shit, and it was a rare treat to find something with insertion. So, at the time I was mostly thinking about things like the nudes of my dad's Playboys as opposed to balls to the wall hardcore porn.

I guess as I got older and began seeing a lot more truly hardcore stuff, it started seeming exponentially more distasteful to be a part of. I still had the general idea that women should be free to use their bodies in any way they pleased, and I could see that some women seemed to really enjoy their profession, but I also saw a darker side. What really made porn lose its charm for me was that I couldn't relate to why women would like to be in it anymore. There is some gross, violent shit that goes in fairly normal porn. Just the huge amount of facials, and gag-blow-jobs alone are a bit too much for me. I mean, I figured that the women were largely in on the actions; as in being part of what was happening as opposed to things happening to them. However, to me, I just couldn't see what was enjoyable about a lot of the stuff I saw. Even the normal intercourse in most porn was just too often too rough for my taste. (Well, too rough for anything I wanted to actually happen to me. Now...what I like to watch is a whole different story all together). I feel I have heard somewhere, sometime, and more than once from female porn stars themselves that they don't actually have sex the way they do on screen, so what did they get from the onscreen sex? My point is, if I really thought about it (which I didn't), I didn't really understand porn star motivation.

Listening to Vivid Radio, though, something clicked. I hope I'm not ridiculously off base about this (please throw in your 2 cents if any porn stars think I am), but I slowly began to see these women as adventurers. These ladies of porn that I was listening to were exploring; exploring their interests, their senses, their boundaries, their physicality, their connections to other people, their pleasure, their failures, their imaginations. They were trying things. Sexual feelings and orgasm seemed like they were sometimes part of their motivation and enjoyment of their careers and I think non-orgasmic pleasure is definitely part of it too, but it seemed like it was so much more.

I think what stuck out to me most is the humor and amusement these women found in their jobs; the messiness, grossness, and rawness of that kind of pure bodily interactions; the ridiculousness and strangeness and foreignness of the situations they are put it; the spontaneity, creativity, and unwieldiness of creating their scenes. I think they laugh a lot in their jobs, and they feel creative and engaged - like they're on a weird adventure - with good friends.

That was the other really important thing that struck me. They had good, good friends in the business. They also had solid camaraderie with most of the people they met and worked with. They were a community. I think that is why I got addicted to listening to it. When it was just the women talking to each other, they were funny and quick, and they said crazy shit. It felt like me and my friends talking, except probably with better stories. It felt sweet. It felt like they genuinely loved each other in the way female friends really love each other. It was just fun and comforting to listen to. I guess for me Vivid Radio made me like these women and have an appreciation for their jobs. Yeah, they are entertainers and were "in character" to some degree, but not always. They were often quite genuine, and listening to it for long periods of time, listening between the lines, listening to how they speak to and about each other I feel like they quickly reveal themselves. They are just women - adventurous, silly, strange, wildly curious women, trying things out.

So, although my little personal revelation doesn't have to do specifically with female orgasm. I think it is important to the Orgasm Equality Movement. It's easy to disregard people that you can't relate to, and I think even for people who are supportive of a woman's right to do with her body what she pleases, it might be hard to understand why porn stars would do what they do. I found it wasn't that hard to get there if exposed to the right kind of stuff, and maybe that would be true for others also. It's worth closing gaps between porn star ladies and any other ladies who care about the future of female sexual culture. We're all just women, and we all want the best for ourselves and our friends and our daughters. We would all do well to work together. I truly believe that if we ever succeed at really changing female sexual culture for the better, it will not be without the women of porn or against them, it will be beside them, and so a little more understanding could only do good.


Dear Kim Cattrall - Can We Talk About Samantha From Sex In The City?

Dear Kim Cattrall,

I'm writing this to you because I used a small clip of you as Samantha from Sex and the City while you were orgasming on top of a super hot farmer (Season 4 Episode 9) in my documentary, Science, Sex and the Ladies. I feel like I should write all the actresses in the clips I have used, and so I'm starting with you.

Kim Cattrall as Samantha in Sex and the City

The clips (and there actually aren't that many) in my movie are all used as examples of how media depictions of orgasm and sex fail women. I feel it's important for me to let each of you know why I chose something you were in and let you know that my criticism of the clip is not also a criticism of you as a person or even your choices as an actress. All of us are just women living in a culture that is way more confusing when it comes to our orgasms than it should be, and you are all women working in industries that I imagine are a lot harder for women than for men. I don't have any qualms about critiquing the culture that has made the clips I chose so problematic, but honestly, I do feel bad if these criticisms make particular women feel targeted or shamed. I do not want that. I don't think it is useful, and most importantly, I don't think it is deserved, My greatest hope is that your image in Science, Sex and the Ladies will spark you to become part of the conversation that this movie elicits and not a target of that conversation, and I invite you to add your 2 cents in however you'd like.

So, Ms. Cattrall, the scene that I used of you is set between a similar scene in a porn movie and a scene we created that depicts a similar situation happening in a private home between an everyday hetero couple. All 3 scenes show a woman, quite vocally, having an orgasm while having intercourse sitting straight upward "cowgirl style" on a man who is lying flat on his back (You can see the SITC scene HERE. It's YouTube age restricted and the part I use starts at about 2:26). There is clearly no stimulation of the clitoris happening during her orgasm - either from a hand or from friction against the partner's body. These scenes all show a woman orgasming from nothing more than a penis rubbing the inside of her vagina, and an orgasm caused only from that is something that simply doesn't exist in scientific inquiry. It seems impossible, but orgasms caused by stimulation of the inside of the vagina have never been recorded, described, and observed in scientific literature. If these types of orgasms exist, we have only heard tell of them and never validated their existence, and they are probably even more rare than we already imagine they are. Seriously - I explain that more HERE. The point being, that the action that happens in all 3 of those scenes would make a man come, but there's no reason to believe it would make a woman come also...Well, I guess one reason to believe women could come that way is that we see women in the media orgasm with only inner vaginal stimulation all the time, and therein lies the problem. Women need clitoral stimulation to come, but porn, movies, and books overwhelmingly depict women orgasming from nothing more than some good ol' thrusting. It's confusing and misleading, and in the movie, I wanted to point out that the clearly fake female orgasms we see in porn influence how orgasms are depicted in TV and movie, which further influences what actual women think is normal and thus how they react in bed.

As for why you - I did specifically mean to choose a Samantha scene from Sex in the City. It is an incredibly popular show that was groundbreaking in its depictions of female sexuality, and Samantha was widely discussed as a new type of sexually progressive women...a woman that could "have sex like a man." To many this meant something about her ability to enjoy sex for sex sake without being held back by the pressures and guilt and emotional baggage many women feel. The Samantha character was often touted as a new understanding of what a free female sexuality could look like.

What was never discussed, though, was that the sex Samantha was engaging in and orgasming to, the sex that she so loved, was almost always sex that would be orgasmic for a man but that lacked the clitoral stimulation that would realistically make it orgasmic for a woman also. It was, well, a fictional sexual situation, but no one seemed to see it that way. To me, Samantha's character clearly showed how ignorant our culture is about what physically makes females orgasm, and how invisible that ignorance is. I thought using Samantha in the movie would be both automatically recognizable and also quite representative of how media depicts sexual women's lady-gasms.  As for the actual scene I used - it was practical. It was picked because the physical action on screen matched a porn clip I had. In both scenes, the orgasms were vocal, and both clearly showed that the clitoris was not getting any stimulation.

So that's what I wanted to tell you. I'm going to send you a DVD and a letter too, but honestly, you're pretty famous and I don't know if it will get to you. I don't know how these things work, but I feel like it's probably hard to make contact with stars. If you do get it or read this, I would so very much love to talk with you. I actually wrote a blog post about you in 2011. It involved a lovely book you wrote and an interview that showed me that you were just a woman - a woman that wants other women to know that your sex life was not like Samantha's. I thought, and still think, you were brave for talking about your sex life the way you did. It seemed to me like you had put a lot of thought into the contradictions between your life and the women you tend to play, and I would love to talk with you more about that. You can always reach me at anc at anc movies dott com. I think you probably have more to say and more people need to hear it. I really believe that if we women can come together and be honest and accepting and realistic, we can change things.

All the best to you,


p.s. Although I critique Samantha and other orgasm related stuff on SITC, I still very much enjoyed watching it and you in it.