12.15.2014

Science of Orgasm Video



I kept seeing this Science of the Orgasm video on Facebook, and I finally checked it out. I put it off because I thought it was really long, but it was actually only 2 minutes and 45 seconds, so I probably should have just watched it when I first saw it.

If you want my assessment of this video, and I can only assume you do because you're reading my blog, then fine, I'll give it to you. It's okay, ya know. In general it's not like way off base or anything, but it's also a little too sure in statements it shouldn't be be, and it's also kinda skipping over some stuff I think is important for people to know. Granted, most people get little to no education about the physical qualities of orgasm in our school system, so anything is probably good. I seriously didn't learn about what arousal and orgasm actually does in my body until I was in my 20's and researching for what would become Science, Sex and the Ladies, so I'm not going to knock this.

Here's what I think should be pointed out about this video though:

1 When it says that blood starts to flow to the genitals, it doesn't also point out what that means for ladies. We all know what it means for dudes, but I don't think many people know that the increased blood flow is what makes lubrication begin seeping from the vaginal walls, or that as much blood pools down there for women as it does for men. I just think that knowing a simple thing like that could change an outlook a bit.

2 It describes male orgasm as 3-10 seconds followed by a refractory period, and it describes female orgasm as 20 plus minutes with no refraction period, and it doesn't even hint that there might be variation. In actuality, the best study on this topic (Masters and Johnson's Human Sexual Response from the late 60's), observed male orgasm basically as described, but it described female orgasm in 3 different ways.
A. just like the male type was described
B. multiple orgasms, each lasting a few seconds and needing continued clitoral stimulation for a number of second between each consecutive little orgasm. This last 2, 3 or sometimes a bit more orgasms, and all the little orgasms and stimulation in between could last a few minutes-ish at most.
C. Status Orgasmus...maybe quick multiple orgasms, maybe one long continuous orgasm that would last 20 seconds to a minute, but they found it to be rare.

So I think the ladygasm description on this video was a bit misleading because it was kinda a mix of the last 2 types and it ignored the possibility of the 3rd type. Plus, and it's not common at all, but men can also be multi-orgasmic, seemingly as long as he can manage to not ejaculate along with his orgasm. There was a man in this study who was recorded doing this.

3 This video says that during orgasm, relaxation of the hippocampus and the amygdala "in women further reduces emotion, producing a trance-like state, while in men it dampens aggressiveness." Really, we're sure of that? All women with the trance-like state when we come and all men with the low aggression when they nus? Really? So, there's a deep well of successfully replicated, peer reviewed studies proving pretty certainly that these badly defined and complicated states of being such as "trance state" "reduced emotion" or "dampened aggression" are specifically what's happening to people during orgasm and that it is split straight down the middle this way for men vs. women? I would bet a lot of money that this isn't the case. And if it is, I'd like more info about this because there are a lot of studies out there about what certain hormones or physical events "do" to people emotionally and behaviorally, and they often contradict each other. It's just that I'm awfully sensitive to "sciency" stuff spouting off in concrete ways about complicated, nuanced shit they don't really understand or care to explain fully. That way of speaking about information is irresponsible at best. I'm a bit of a stickler in that regard, so I just wanted to point out this we-will-unabashedly-speak-concretely-about-a-complicated-subtle-topic-even-though-it's-way-overreaching situation that was happening there.

Okay, that's it. Check out the video.

12.11.2014

International Day of Female Orgasm in Brazil



I'm still pretty much not able to write the blog posts I want to write for the moment, so I just googled the words "Brazil" and "orgasm" not knowing what would happen...but assuming it would be weird and pornographic. Why did I google those two words for blogging inspirations? Well, I'm leaving tomorrow for a business trip to Brazil (which I'm pretty excited about - I've never been there before), and this blog has a lot to do with orgasms.

Now, I don't know if Google just knows my tendencies, or if this is just what happened to be the first link in the search, but it was a 2012 International Business Times article by Connor Adams Sheets about International Day of Female Orgasm in Brazil. That's right up my alley, man!




Apparently Día Internacional del Orgasmo Femenino is held on August 8th, and it seems the day arose because a politician wanted to pay his wife back for a lot of orgasm-less screwing, or something like that. The article I read cites this other article -which to me doesn't seem to be written by a native English speaker, and is kinda random- but anyway, it tells the story of this brave and beautiful politician
"The international day of orgasm is held every year on the initiative of the Councillor of the Brazilian people in Esperantina, Arimateio Dantas, who decided to compensate his wife for some sexual debts ... [and] proposed a day dedicated to stimulate sexual pleasure in its maximum expression,"
If this Arimateio Dantes does exist, and if he really did initiate a day to atone for past one-sided sexing, then by god, I respect this man. The first step in Orgasm Equality is admitting the ladies of the world are having too much non-orgasmic sex, and that isn't always an easy feat for anyone - particularly a man.

So to you, Mr. Arimateio Dantes, I give you a full 5 vulva SSL Review rating! You deserve it, Sir! (Some people have said rating things in vulvas is maybe not very classy, but I like it)

(!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

12.07.2014

Cats!



I have a hundred different posts I really, really want to hunker down and write, but I'm entangled in all sorts of life stuff that don't involve writing about ladygasms for the undetermined number of people who might be reading this blog, so I feel I'm falling way behind. I want to keep up my pace of 2 to 3 posts a week though, and that means I need to write one today - but I don't have time to write any of the ones I really want to write. So I'm just going to write about my cats.

This is way off course for an SSL blog post - which almost always involves some insight into orgasm or masturbation; maybe cultural understanding of it, writings on it, media depictions of it, you know, all that stuff.  My cats, as far as I know, aren't orgasming much and don't plan to anytime in the near future. They are pretty asexual ladycats as far as I can tell, so I realize they are not a great SSL blog topic. Even if we consider that I sometimes write about indie movies or indie movie-making, my cats still aren't really important to that topic either. However, I will try to quickly relate each of my cats to the subjects of this blog. So enjoy, because this is what is happening now.

Cat background - All 3 of my cats are females and they are all around 5 years old. We got them all at different times though when they just sorta showed up at our house. We have a fantasy that they are all actually sisters from the same litter and just happen to get to us at different times. They might actually be. I can only assume they're related somehow. I mean a cat probably has about 300 first cousins. Charlie believes that this old ass motel that was torn down across the street from us shortly before our first cat arrived was deeply cat infested and that they all originated from there. In the end it's still a mystery. They all have a distaste for indie movies and TV in general.



Ramona
Only one we found as a kitten.
Movie significance: She was found in the engine of an actor's car parked in our driveway. She was from Chicago and staying here on one of the last days of shooting for Science, Sex and the Ladies. It's possible Ramona is a Chicago cat. Also, she's got a bit part in the movie - a reshoot we did at the house. (If you can tell me the scene, I'll give you a prize).
Crew type: She's an edit cat. She got here just in time to be sitting next to the computer for almost all the editing of SSL.
Sexuality/orgasm/masturbation significance: She's very inexperienced and naive.  Her gonads were ripped from her as a young girl, and I assume that besides her litter mates, she didn't even see other members of her species until Tina arrived 2 years later. She's like a pampered, sexless, beauty that's been locked in a castle her whole life.


Tina
She looked like Christina Ricci when we found her, but she's put on some weight and doesn't so much anymore.
Movie significance: Her meow is over the ending title of Science, Sex and the Ladies.
Crew type: She's a production cat. She got here just in time to be involved in several re-shoots and little video bits we did to advertise our Kickstarter for the movie. She likes to smell the equipment.
Sexuality/orgasm/masturbation significance: She might be the only cat to have engaged in the sex. She wasn't spayed when we found her, and her nipples are so long, I thought she might have had babies, but I've since learned that some cats just have long nipples. Knowing that cat dicks are barbed and quite painful for lady cats when pulling out, I understand why she seemed so interested in living indoors.



Eds
I named her Edgar while she was still outside. When we found out she was a girl, we shortened it to Eds.
Movie significance: Before Eds moved in, she showed up one day with about 3 inches of her tail hanging by a thread, and then a few days later she showed up and it was gone. She also had so many worms...so many worms. That has nothing to do with the movie, but it was something weird and gross that happened while we were working on post production.
Crew type: Eds is a watcher cat. She got here about the post production was finishing up, and we had to watch it a lot for mistakes and for score discussions and for making deeper cuts. Seriously, you can't imagine how many times you have to watch your own movie, carefully from beginning to end, before it's done. anyway, Eds is our only cat who sits on the couch and watched TV with us. She would do it for 1000 hours in a row if she could.
Sexuality/orgasm/masturbation significance: Eds was spayed when we found her, but she was an experienced outside cat, killing birds out of the air and maybe waging war with the groundhogs that lived under our shed. She's probably been around the block once or twice. She very much likes to watch....from a close proximity. It must be soothing because it puts her to sleep.

12.03.2014

Random Hite Report #10




Hello! Today you get more RANDOM HITE REPORT! As you may or may not know, this is where I take one random page, and one page only, out of this super important book from the 70's, and transcribe it for you here on the blog. This book is women answering detailed questions about their sex lives, masturbation practices, orgasms, and all that good stuff. It's incredibly interesting and insightful - and every woman should read it because it's just as relevant and revolutionary as it was when it came out in the mid 70's. Here ya go..



 The following is from the section "Women Who Orgasm During Intercourse: How Do They Do It?"


Pg. 280 The Hite Report Dell. 1976.
3. Touching of pubic bones together during intercourse.   Getting clitoral stimulation by the man's pubic bone hitting against the woman's with each thrust was another method used by some women. In most of the examples, the man was doing the moving. Positions included the man on top, or one or both sitting up; the woman's leg positions included everything from together to apart to up or bent up and back. The thrusting makes it hard to keep the stimulation on just the right spot, so it is important to have freedom of movement for yourself.
    "I prefer having the man on top, but I move a lot because I am finicky about the timing anf thrusting that's going on. It requires a lot of squirming around to get certain places that are pleasurable. Also, if I keep my legs together, my grasp regulated the pressure as I like it."
    "Usually I recieve clitoral stimulation by pressing my mons area against the pubic area of my partner in a rhythmic fashion. It is difficult for me to come in a standing or rear entry position, because the vital pubic bone to pubic bone stimulation is missing. When he is on the top. I usually grab my partner's buttocks with my hands and guide him in his movements, if he isn't already doing what I want."
    "We have intercourse with him on top, bodies arched slightly so that my clitoral area is exposed and receiving stimulation by the natural thrusts of our bodies together."
    "During intercourse, I am on bottom. I am scooted down so that his penis is more at a right angle to his body. The energy required to resist his weight, and to move my hips seems to concentrate in the clitoral area of my pelvis. At this point, I lift my feet to concentrate the energy more."
    "There is one position with me underneath with my legs up over my partner's shoulders that I can come in with no arousal. It blows my mind."
    "I like not too deep penetration, long and smooth....

11.30.2014

Science, Sex and The Ladies available now on IndieFlix




Guess what?
We are super excited that Science Sex and the Ladies is now available streaming on IndieFlix! Founded by Filmmakers, IndieFlix is part champion, part curator. Its a subscription streaming service much like Netflix or Hulu but with only the best of Indie Fare.  Its normally 5 bucks a month or 50 for the year but if you want to support SSL join thru our affiliate links (coupons and discounts baby) and save money at the same time.


1 Month free trial followed by $5/month recurring. Cancel anytime http://indieflix.com/ac/M2_350901/

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http://indieflix.com/ac/A2_350901/

Go watch some sweet indie movies!

a coupon for indieflix courtesy of Science Sex and The Ladies
a coupon for indieflix courtesy of Science Sex and The Ladies




11.24.2014

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 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 isn't (*edited: accidentally put is instead of isn't at first*) 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. I highly recommend it. 

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.

11.20.2014

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!

11.16.2014

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,

Trisha

11.12.2014

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.

11.09.2014

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.

11.06.2014

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/
B00N99EI4I

11.03.2014

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.


10.31.2014

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.







10.27.2014

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).

(!)

10.22.2014

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.