Random Male Hite Report #8

Okay, I've been doing a thing called Random Hite Report. Sometimes it's from The Hite Report on Female Sexuality and sometimes it's from The Hite Report on Male Sexuality. Both simply ask intimate detailed questions of its participants, and we hear their story in their own words. I think that they are both amazingly insightful and important works, but I have a special love for the male version.

Maybe it's because the female version gets most of the attention - granted, it was the first one; the really, head exploding, groundbreaking one, and the one that really made the point that our culture is just plain ignorant about the physical nature of female orgasm. Believe me, I'm so very much behind all that, and thankful for Shere Hite's efforts. I just always like to root for the underdog, and the male version is just that. It seems like it wouldn't be that interesting. I mean, men, sex - we get it, right? Ah, but you are wrong. This book will pull you in. It is so very human and raw. As much insight as the female version had into aspects of female sexuality that our society ignores or misunderstands, the male version has that too. It's just often different aspects than the lady stuff. It also is an incredible snapshot of  men of a certain period in our history. These are men smack dab in the middle of all the cultural changes that accompanied the sexual, civil rights, and women's revolutions, and we are hearing their intimate thoughts about the most intimate parts of their lives. I just think it's beautiful and touching. It's not all pretty, but nothing that's real ever is.

Anyway - in this series, I just flip to one page and then copy it directly into this blog. This particular page is from the chapter "Relationships With Women" in the section "Do Men Like Being Married?" and in the subsection "What were some basic reasons men gave for wanting to stay married or for liking marriage?" Enjoy.

p. 209 The Hite Report on Male Sexuality by Shere Hite
Alfred A. Knoff. NY. 1981

...the friendship, having someone special to love. It's fun, healthful, and keeps things in perspective. It softens difficult times. It is nice to be wanted and needed."
    "Yes, I like marriage. I need and depend upon a wife, good or bad."
    "Yes, I need another person to bounce my deeper feelings off of."
    "I love being married. Having a life partner is exciting, fulfilling, and comforting."
    "I like being married. My wife is my backbone in my business. She takes care of everyday problems that i do not want to handle. She is a very good mother to my children, even though she does not turn me on sexually anymore."
    Having people around you who love you is a very secure feeling. I love my wife and children and they love me."
    "Home serves as a 'secure' base of operation, a place where I can be me, a place I can always come back to, and a place where I can share my successes and failures. Of course it's a give-and-take process, and much of the importance is my part in listening to my wife."
    "It's the best arrangement for maintaining security, sanity, child raising, and economic well-being."
    "Most times I like being married (married thirteen years.) Why? Because it it physically and psychologically stabilizing."
    "I like marriage because there's a sense of family and permanence most of the time."
    "I am married because I like the companionship it provides, I usually like being around and talking with my wife, it seems to be a sound financial arrangement, and it is usually a convenient sexual arrangement."
    "The most important thing about our relationship is the stability we have because of our affiliation. Being married is good for both of us."
Many men stressed the aspect of security:    "Sixteen years. I am happily married and think it is the greatest. I have one partner ready to do anything for me, whom I so deeply love. I know she will be there so long as we both live. It gives me a great feeling of personal security."
    "Twenty years. I am married for the security it gives, the pleasure, and the convenience. A framework to live my life in."
    "Twenty -nine and a half years. Marriage is restrictive in one sense, but gives a secure feeling in another."
    "I've been married thirteen years. I like being committed to one person. It gives me a good feeling and I feel secure about at least one part of my life."
    "I have been married almost twenty-four years. I like it. The sense of family community is one of the cornerstones of my life."
    "I've been married six months. I like being married. I like to share my days with someone and to share her days with her. I like to have someone to make long plans with and to look forward with someone to fulfilling those plans. I...." 


The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat: The SSL Review

I decided to watch The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat. Why and what is it, you ask? Well, I watched it because I needed to pass some time and saw it on Netflix. What it is?....well Fritz the Cat was a late 60's early 70's underground comic strip by Robert Crumb that became an animated movie in 1972. The movie I watched is the sequel to the original Fritz the Cat movie, but neither the director of the original nor Robert Crumb had anything to do with this sequel.

Fritz is constantly high, on welfare, and lives in a shit apartment with his wife and son. Basically the movie is his wife yelling at him as he smokes weed and stares blankly ahead, going through his other possible 9 lives in his head. It's a trippy 70's deal, and I really didn't find it that funny or good in any way. It was weird though, so I'm glad I watched it, I guess. There's a lot of rapey shit in there, which if I remember back from similarly styled dirty 70's comics I found when I was a kid, it seems to be part of the genre.

So there were 2 things in here which can be loosley SSL reviewed. The first is not really a specific discussion or depiction of female orgasm or masturbation, but it pertains to myths about lady-gasms, so I thought I'd include it.

As I mentioned before, Fritz's wife is bitching him out hardcore every time she's on screen and one of the first things she says is.
Harvey and I made it....What do you think of that? We made it, and he's better in bed than you are. You know why? Because he's hung like a horse - that's why.
So, this is comedy reinforcing the common misconception that a bigger dick causes better/more/any orgasms for women. The truth is, unless that dick sprouts something to diddle the clit it's not gonna be great a causing orgasms. Big or small, stimulating the inside of the vag - as dicks tend to do during intercourse - is not how ladygasms get made. If somehow that intercourse (with either a big or small dick), can be worked out to also involve stimulation of the clitoral glans, then by golly orgasms might just happen. My point is that although one might enjoy looking at a big ol' dick, or might find the idea of climbing on top of a giganto dick super hot, a big dick - in and of itself - is not any better than a small dick at getting women off.

Okay the second one was an actual cartoon depiction of a lady orgasming. Fritz was going through one of his nine lives and it involved something about space. I'm being vague not because I'm trying to keep this SSL Review spoiler free or something, but because I'm genuinely not sure what was going on. Anyway, Fritz and some chic with big protruding nipples (because every woman on here had giant, I say giant, protruding nipples) were doing it inside a rocket that was about to lift off. They were both in space suits, and he was on top with her legs up in the air. There was lots of cartoony flailing limbs involved in this sex act, and it would keep cutting away to the rocket they were doing it in. This rocket had a penis-ish look and it was moving kinda like it was thrusting. Then, a voice said
We have ignition.
And, well, the rocket started out to space and these two nasty love birds were ignited too.
Felix: Ya-hooo-hooo-hooo!!!!!
Protruding Nipple Astronaut Woman: Me too, baby! Oooo babby oooo wowwwww. It's so good!!
Only the rocket was being shown during those final outbursts, and all I saw of the two before that involved them both being fully clothed in space suits with him on top and flailing limbs, so I'm not going to venture at how realistic these cartoon movements were for actually getting a real woman off. That would just be silly. What I will say is that this at its core was a scene of basic hetero sex that ended in both partners orgasming at the same time. Sex is almost always assumed to be a dude putting his penis in and out of a lady, and what we did see in this scene did not seem to stray from that basic idea. So, the insinuation is that the basic in-and-out will eventually lead to ladygasm...at about the time the dude gets off. It's just a reinforcement of the most basic of understandings our culture holds on the matter of sex, and it's misleading. Intercourse is not a great way for women to orgasm and simultaneous orgasm is not common, given that a woman would need additional clitoral stimulation to come during the nasty while a man needs some in-out rubbing in the vagina. It's two different movements, so there's more likely to be turn taking for the orgasm.

Okay, that's my weird 70's SSL review. I'm giving this a 0 vulva [ (!) ] rating. It reinforced all the normal everyday misinformation that permeates our sexual knowledge, and it was rapey, so I won't even give it 1.


Sexting Lies!

So, a good friend sent me a link to an article on LiveScience called "Sexting Lies: The New Orgasm Faking." Contrary to the title's insinuation, the study discussed wasn't about orgasm faking. It was about lying in general during sexting.

Nearly half of the people in the study who had ever sent sexual texts had lied to their committed partner about what they were wearing or doing while sexting. 
It went on to say more women admitted to lying than men, at 45% of the ladies vs. 24% of the gentlemen. Why?
Most people who lied did so in order to fulfill the needs of a partner in some way...
The article's title is annoying in the way so many over-exaggerated or straight-up misleading science related internet titles are. Plus, I do want to say that the article doesn't have any references, and my quick Googling didn't bring up any original studies, so it may not even be a real study...or it's badly misrepresented. Who knows, but the idea of faking text-gasms is interesting anyway.

I see why the author went straight to the orgasm when the topic of lying was brought up. People fake. Over half of women have admitted to faking. I'm always interested in hearing things about how, why, and when people fake orgasms. I have suspicions that the amount of women faking orgasms is probably underrepresented, probably a bit unconscious, and probably not investigated as comprehensively as it could be. So, I thought this seemed interesting. Particularly because the reason over 2/3 of the people give for lying during sexting was that they were trying to fulfill their partner's needs in some way. Basically, they were being nice - which is one huge reason women tend to fake face to face as well.

So, there's no huge revelation here - just a possible interesting similarity between real sex and text sex...and a reminder that faking things during sexual situations is usually out of niceness and politeness and not out of any type of malice.  


Monster's Ball - The SSL Review

I watched Monster's Ball in the theater when it first came out in 2001. This was about a year before I started researching for Science, Sex and the Ladies, and about 8 years before I started this blog, so I didn't SSL Review it, obviously. However, I've often thought I need to go back and review this movie. It had, I remembered, one of the first going-down-on-a-lady scenes I ever remember seeing in a Hollywood movie. Plus, there's that super hot sex scene with Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton. So 13 years later, here's the SSL Review for Monster's Ball.

I liked the movie a whole lot, and rewatching it, I found that it still stands up. It's a good one to check out if you haven't caught it yet, although it's currently not on Netflix, so you'll have to do some searching. I'm happy to say, it also will be getting a pretty good SSL Review, so there's that too. There were 2 scenes that discussed or depicted female orgasm or masturbation and one that depicted sex with a clear lack of female orgasm - which I think is just as important, so let's start with that one.

Sonny and Vera's Scene
One of the characters, Sonny - played by Heath Ledger, has a prostitute into his motel room. It's a quick cordial interactions.
Sonny: Vera, how you doin'?
Vera: Good. how are you?
Sonny: I'm Good. Here. (he gives her money) Sorry. You want a drink?
Vera: Oh yeah. Thanks, hon. (She undresses)
Sonny: Wild Turkey. (They drink)
Vera: Now, I'm sore, so go easy, Darlin'.
Sonny: Yes ma'am.
At this points she stands with her hands on a table in front of her and Sonny pulls his pants down and penetrates her from behind. He pumps into her - not too harshly, of course - and comes. She is unresponsive in her body and voice during the sex - just sorta getting the job done.
Sonny: Thanks Vera.
Vera: You're welcome.
It's a realistic scene (especially the part about being sore, am I right?). He's paying for the use of her vagina as a masturbatory tool. They're both on board with this, everyone is getting what they came for, and one of those things is not a lady-gasm. Which is right on point because a penis moving in and out of a vagina is not really something that would cause an orgasm anyway. I think this is a good example of how a vagina is a top of the line masturbation tool for males, but a penis is not a top of the line masturbation tool for women (unless it's vibrating and sitting against her clit, of course).

Leticia and Hank's Big Ol' Sexy-Ass Scene
Okay, the next scene is the big hot one that was talked about so much when the movie came out. Basically, Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) and Leticia (Halle Berry) are strangers put together by a tragic situation and end up back at her house. She eventually asks him to "make her feel good" as she's taking off her shirt. It's as if the sex is a way to lessen the pain she is feeling, and the sex the two have becomes passionate and raw. They are at a couch with a coffee table in front of it and, and they get into several positions on the floor and the couch. It's cut into kind of a montage and is shot voyeur style from another room or something. Except for a small shot where it seems she sucks his dick for a minute, it's all intercourse happening.

They are both on their knees; her bent over the couch seat, him behind her. She is grunting from the thrusting but not orgasmically. She looks at him, turns around and flips over so she is sitting on the couch straddling him as he kneels in front of her. She sits upright so her upper body and pelvis are pressed against him. There are quick disjointed cuts here, but it looks as though there might have been an insinuation of an orgasm - which is believable enough to me because her pelvis (and thus her clitoral glans) in many of the cuts seemed to be aggressively grinding against his body and she even seems to be grabbing his butt and pulling his pelvis towards her to keep the friction.

Okay, so then he rolls on top of her on the couch as her legs wrap around his body. There is definite pounding that is heard (certainly good for a male orgasm), although the voyeur camera goes out of focus for a sec. She says, "Fill me up," a few times and after a few more good pounds into her he seems to do just that without much vocal fanfare, and we see him end breathless as he relaxes a bit. She also makes some guttural, screamy sounds that could be orgasmic, and just might be meant to be seen that way, but I don't think that's the case. I think it could be viewed as just the intensity of the moment that caused the sounds to come from her. I don't think it's uncommon for a woman to vocalize at the same time a man is orgasming. Of course, that's probably a common time for women to fake. It's also probably often misunderstood by the partner as an orgasm and can be wrongly viewed in movies as signs of an orgasm, but I think it was clear that she was focusing on his orgasm here, and she did continue on pursuing her orgasm right after, despite his finishing.

Leticia quickly rolls him onto the ground, making sure he stays inside, and get on top. She leans forward onto him and moves her body back and forth, doing him slowly. There are quick cuts and they continue to do it in this position, although she has sat up and is more bouncing on him. She seems to come again in this positions, although there was clearly no hands in use and her pelvis/vulva was not touching anything for stimulation. He eventually comes again still in this same position, but this time he gives us more vocal fanfare.

After he finishes, she falls forward, kissing him and is really rolling and grinding her hips on him, slowly but urgently. She keeps her pelvis tight against his body through all her rolling and grinding, as she has a non-porny orgasm. It's about as realistic as I've seen in a movie. Not only is there closeness of her pelvis to his body, showing the possibility of clitoral glans stimulation, but she is actively moving her body in such a way that would really cause that friction on her clitoral glans. She is in control. His body is still. He has already come. He is looking at her with awe as she does this. This last part is about her helping herself get hers, and I feel like that had to be an intentional creative choice in this movie.

There is a lot of stuff in this long sex scene, and I may not have all the intentions right about which part was an orgasm and which is not, but I'm clear about where her body was in times when it seemed like an orgasm was happening. I'm also clear that she had at least 1, maybe 2 orgasms that could have actually happened to a real woman. The one in the middle seemed closer to a classic, bouncing on a dick orgasm that we see in movies all the time, but I'll forgive that one. To me, at the heart of this scene, it was two people unabashedly enjoying the pleasures, both mental and physical, that come with a passionate sexual encounter. Now that's not really all that strange of a thing to see in movies, but there was more than that. What was particularly exciting to me about this scene was that it also seemed to show those two people sharing and taking turns giving each other orgasms. That's so fantastic because sex always seems to be depicted ending with a man and a woman who just orgasmed at the same time, and that is simply not likely. A man needs his penis stimulated and a woman her clitoral glans. They need different movements. It's just how it is. Showing couples always coming at the same time is just another fantasy way of insinuating to women that him pounding into her should make her come too.  This scene was also more graphic than most, so it allowed the audience to really see how Halle's hips grinded and pressed into him. I think that's just too dirty to show sometimes, but it is the way that women can orgasm hands free during intercourse. Anyway, I found it progressive and refreshing.

The Goin' Downtown Scene
The last scene is simple. There is a shot of the two in bed, from the chest up. He asks her if he can touch her, and she agrees, and then he moves down her body and out of shot. We just watch her face as he performs oral sex on her, and she eventually comes in a fairly non-porny, realistic way. I don't think I have to tell you that a mouth on the vulva, which is insinuated here, can certainly and realistically make a lady come. I can get behind a sensible scene like that.

The Verdict
This movie showed both a non-ladygasm sexual situation, like the prostitute one, and a lady-gasm inducing situation, like the going-down-on-her scene, with realism. It also showed a long sexual scene between a man and a woman that, although not perfectly realistic to my ridiculously high standards, beautifully emphasized taking turns for orgasm, a lady's need to really grind during intercourse, and the power of her doing the work to get herself there. This gets a 5 out of 5 vulva rating - not because it's perfect, but because it made an attempt to be better, and it mostly succeeded...and it was hot to watch.



A Reply to a Reply: My Continuing Discussion with Skeptic Edward Clint

A while ago, I read "The clitoris revealed and how i09 got it wrong" by Edward Clint, and I felt that his last 3 paragraphs needed my critique - cause doesn't everything, really? Honestly though, I thought it important to comment about it not because it was crazy off-the-wall idiocy or because I thought Clint was being negligent. I chose to do it because his was such a normal, socially acceptable, some would even say progressive, way of discussing female orgasm. It is right in line with most thoughtful people's way of thinking, but I believe it is incorrect. I decided to dig into this particular article because it was written by a skeptic; someone who cares about how we do science, how we talk about science, and how we understand the fruits of our scientific labor. Usually, when I critique discussions on female orgasm, and I say things like, "there is no evidence for a vaginal orgasm and thoughtful people should stop speaking about female orgasms as if there is," I either get hateful, emotional responses or I get ignored. It was to my great excitement that Clint did neither. He seems to me to be a thoughtful, sensible, and scientifically minded person. His site Incredulous has some interesting articles and is definitely worth checking out. As I wrote in my original critique, the first part of his original article related to scientific reporting and was fantastic. It was really only the last 3 paragraphs that got to me. 

Reading his original article and his reply to my critique, it's clear to me that his main intention was to point out that extreme, politically charged ideology with little to no backing in facts can be quite harmful, and it's unfortunately rampant in the discussion of female orgasm. I fully agree. I think in spirit, Clint and I have the same positive hopes for female orgasm, but I cannot get behind many of his statements because I disagree with him on an important piece of background information, and so I find the way he speaks on this issue to be counter productive. I'd like to think this makes our discussion particularly important because at our hearts, we care about the same things and really could open a meaningful dialogue. 

So this, my friends, is my reply to his reply. We decided he would respond on his blog with links to all past writings from the discussion. I would respond from my blog and do the same. You can find his original article HERE, My critique HERE, and his reply HERE. I want to make it clear that I truly respect  Clint's interest in scientific discussion, and I think he is a smart guy with genuinely good intentions. He has been nothing but kind to me, and I feel a little bit bad about continuing to disagree with him. However, I'm serious about this subject, and I crave a serious discussion. To be honest, I was disappointed when I read his response. It wasn't the discussion I was hoping for. I wanted pushback, disagreement, something on my critique's main focus about our culture's (including his article's) insistence on speaking about Vaginally Induced Orgasms (VIO) as if they were a given, and about why (or why not) that is an incorrect way for knowledgeable people to speak about it. However, Clint's response did not really delve into this, and in the end, I felt he focused more on whether he even deserved my original critiques.

Main Points of Trisha's Critiques as written by Edward Clint
In his response, he started by summarizing what he thought were the main points in my critique: 
1 There is no scientifically documented vaginal orgasm with regard to Masters & Johnson’s 1966 definition of orgasm.
2 (He) misrepresented the primary issue re: female orgasm by assuming there is such a thing as a vaginally-induced orgasm, and therefore erroneously present the stock “clit vs. vag” debate as the appropriate framing of the issue. Clitoral orgasm is the only scientifically documented sort, and any other is poorly defined and not in any case documented. Therefore, the appropriate framing of the problem is that women and society in general have been mislead to believe there are other-than-clitoral orgasms as a fact. 
3 (He) was dismissive and flippant about the importance of this debate because it misinforms women and leads to ill effects on their sexual and perhaps emotional heath. The mass-media, books, and pornography commonly depict vaginally-induced orgasms leading to needless insecurity and anxiety when experiences fall short of such hyperbolic fantasy.

and these points were not off base. He actually (and quite thoughtfully) ran them by me first to see if those were accurate. He got my points fairly correct, but I feel like Clint was less interested in addressing them directly and more interested in pointing out that he wasn't really talking about those things in the first place, and that I was asking too much from his writing. I disagree on both points, and we'll get into that soon.

The original "The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm" article
Koedt and Freud
Let me first comment on what Clint says in a section called "a few other small points" at the end of his reply. He's commenting on my statement, "He seems to play Anne Koedt as some crazy ideologue, but she is not." His thoughts on Koedt and my problem with those thoughts are important because they point out the 1 major disagreement I have with Clint. He says:
I did no such thing. In fact, quite the contrary. My experience writing this blog has taught me that people need points that sound far-fetched to them to be substantiated with a citation. I quoted Koedt to do that. If I thought that she was a crazy, isolated nut, citing her would not substantiate my point. I was depending on Koedt being a respected figure. I do believe she is mistaken on many points, but that is not an insult.

I understand he may not see it this way, but he did do such a thing, and it has nothing to do with whether he thought Koedt was a respected figure or not. Freud is certainly a respected figure, but it doesn't mean Mr. Clint and the rest of the world think his ideas about vaginal orgasm being the only mature female orgasm are any less bat-shit crazy.  Whether a respected figure or not, Clint clearly painted Koedt's point of view that is presented in her article,  "The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm," as an opposite and equally incorrect point on a spectrum against Freud's crazy-ass ideas. Like I said in my original critique:

To pose Freud's bullshit against Anne Koedt's article, an article that is backed up by good science, is just plain silly.
It is silly for the very reason that it makes her point of view seem as looney and as incorrect as his; as if she was making equally wild speculations in the opposite direction, but she was not. As I also said in my original critique, Koedt's writing was backed by the best (even to this day) physiological research on female orgasm. From this standpoint there is no evidence for VIOs. Her saying that the vagina is low in the ol' nerve department and that vaginal orgasms don't exist, is not a knee-jerk, outlandish backlash to Freud's obsession with the vag-gasms. It is what the physiological science said and still says. Freud was writing with a sexist tone (that, we can all agree he went terribly wrong on), but his ideas are also doubly problematic in a way I don't think Clint and most of society are willing or knowledgeable enough to recognize because there is no physiological backing for the idea of a vaginal orgasm. Not in Freud's day, not in Koedt's day, and still not in our day. Freud had sexist ideas about a thing that is physiologically unsubstantiated. He is so wrong in so many ways. Koedt made sensible comments about female orgasm that are based in good science. She is pretty much on point.

His depiction of Koedt and Freud and of the "clit vs. vag-gasm" debate comes from a perspective that does not take into account that VIOs have no physiological backing in science, and my viewing of these things does. That is the base of my problem with his original article, but after reading his reply, I don't feel that came through to him. It is important to me that my criticisms be clear though, so that a real, thoughtful debate can begin. I believe his view of these topics (which is also the larger cultural view) ignores basic scientific knowledge on the subject and is ultimately misleading and harmful, and I think this viewpoint should be seriously reconsidered. That said, I think that our real differences of opinion and the real discussion that I would like to have stems from one or more of the following:
  • He disagrees with me that there is no physiological evidence of VIOs
  • He disagrees that a lack of physiological evidence for VIOs over the past 50 years means that VIOs are likely non-existent
  • He doesn't know that there is no physiological evidence for VIOs
  • He disagrees with my definition of VIO and so sees it differently. To be clear, my definition is basically any orgasm caused by stimulation inside the vagina without stimulation of the clitoral glans also. (This does not mean any orgasm that happens during intercourse is a VIO - A more detailed description is HERE).

So, yes, I do believe he portrayed Koedt as a crazy ideologue - at least somewhat as much as Freud, but it's because his base point of view was that VIO's were a given truth of the female orgasmic experience. So Freud seemed less crazy to him and Koedt's insistence that they didn't exist, seemed more crazy. 

Clitoral and Vaginal
This takes me to another of  Clint's points that only makes sense if one were to believe that VIO's were a given physical truth of the female orgasmic experience: his insistence that the vaginal vs. clitoral orgasm debate is two extremes fighting each other and neither are actually right...or actually wrong. In his original article he wrote: 

The modern research tells us that everyone is right! Or, everyone is wrong, however you’d like to parse it, because all of the parts are important.
Again - makes sense if it were true that women orgasm from penetrative stimulation, but if that's not true, and women really only orgasm through clitoral glans stimulation, then all the people who speak about VIOs (whether one thinks these happen because of deep inner clitoral stimulation, something on the vaginal walls, cervix, or G-spot - really any anything other than the clitoral glans) as if they exist actually are wrong, and although all the "parts" might be important, only the clitoral glans is causing orgasms.

He also continues with this clit-vs-vag-is-two-extremes-fighting-each-other-when neither-are-right-or-wrong in his reply to me. He was referring to my problems with his placing Freud and Koedt on two extremes of the female orgasm spectrum, and said
Here I was not meaning to say much of anything about vaginal or vaginally-induced orgasm, but rather that I find both extreme positions, that penetrative vaginal intercourse is all that matters to orgasm, or that it is irrelevant to orgasm, are not correct. The truth is somewhere between...
I fully understood what he was meaning to say, and I still disagree. Well, let me say that I would find his statement to be quite sensible....if vaginal orgasms existed. If they don't exist, as I am claiming the physiological data suggests, then saying the truth is "somewhere between" does not make a lot of sense. His specific wording about what these two "extreme positions" is problematic and I will get to that in a minute. For now, I'll take a chance and assume that he feels Freud's sexist insistence on the higher status of vaginal orgasms is incorrect, but his acknowledgement that they exist is sensible. I assume Clint also feels that Koedt's championing of the much maligned clitoral orgasm was sensible, but her insistence that vaginal orgasms don't exist is bad. Thus the "between" that Clint feels is the truth has something to do with VIOs and clitoral orgasms existing happily together in the female population with one not better than the other. The possibility that VIOs are not even a physiological thing didn't even come into the picture, and frankly I think saying that the "truth is somewhere in between," is misleading. More than that, it's a vague, non-critical, unsubstantiated statement, and it's not novel. It goes right along with 'clits-are-so-so-important-of-course-but-vag-gasms-are-also-so-so-great-too!' mainstream sex advice and with the status quo cultural knowledge that regularly ignores the clear lack of evidence for VIOs. What exactly does Clint or anyone mean by saying the truth of female orgasms are "somewhere between" in the "clitoral vs. vaginal" debate, anyway? Do all women need a little bit of vag stim and a little bit of clit stim to orgasm? Do some women have the ability to orgasm from only vaginal, some from only clitoral, and some from both? If we as a culture (and Edward Clint as a skeptical writer) don't know what it means and can't back it up, why the hell are we saying it? 

Now, let me just go back to what Clint described as the two "extreme positions." The first is that penetrative sex is all that matters to orgasm. Yes that is extreme. The clitoral orgasm and all its physical characteristics is well documented. It's well known that all healthy women are capable of them, and it's also well known that easily 70 to 80% of women claim to only have this type of orgasm. No sexpert or researcher worth anything would ignore its importance and it is certainly part of the mainstream understanding of female orgasm. Honestly, though, no one seriously believes that extreme position except Freud and his modern cronies (and there are more than a few). 

The next extreme was that it (penetrative sex) is irrelevant to orgasm. There are two ways of looking at what Clint meant here. 
1. If by this statement he means that penetrative sex alone cannot cause orgasm, that is only extreme if one were to believe that VIOs are a given reality. If one were to look at the scientific data. It wouldn't be extreme at all. 
2. He may not have meant anything about causation because he may not have a clear understanding of Koedt's (and my) position. He said "is irrelevant to" orgasm and not anything about whether or not vaginal penetration alone causes orgasm. In fact I tend towards him not having a clear understanding of the position because he also ends his original article with the following:

We don’t need to invent bullshit stories about anatomy to counteract other people’s bullshit ideological stories about either the supposed frigidity of women or about the denial that vaginal sex can be fun.

He is mixing up the position that vaginas don't cause orgasms with a pretend position that vaginas have nothing to do with pleasure. No one, including myself or Koedt, is saying penetrative sex is irrelevant to orgasm or that vaginal sex can't be fun. Hey, a good ramming can be just the fun, pleasurable thing a gal is looking for. In fact, I'll straight up agree with him that penetrative vaginal intercourse is not irrelevant to orgasm, but it's really kind of a silly statement. Lots of things are not irrelevant to orgasm; good intense kisses, hot porn, a sexy smelling partner, a de-stressed state of mind, nipple stimulation, or an intense emotional connection. These all can lead to pleasure, which leads to arousal, which is necessary for orgasm, and any one of those things on their own can be a good (I mean really good) or fun part of sex. However, none of those things, without some type of stimulation of the clitoral glans happening also, have been shown to cause a physical orgasm. 

This is a real problem with the discussion around female orgasm. Pleasure is not orgasm, and saying that VIOs don't seem to exist is not the same as saying penetrative sex is useless, boring or not pleasurable. He and so many others discuss the vagina and the clitoral glans as if they are two points of entry for orgasm, and that is simply unfounded. Messing with the vagina can cause pleasure, but according to current physiological data on orgasm, it should go in the maybe-try-playing-with-this-if-you-want-to-get-me-crazy-hot-and-move-me-towards-an-orgasm category along with nipples, anuses, backs of necks, ear lobes and perineum. The clitoral glans is chillin' with the penis in its own stimulate-this-if-you-want-to-elicit-an-orgasm category. This constant insinuation that the vagina and the clitoris are (mostly) equal partners in the orgasm business exists all across our culture, without question or qualifications, and it's a problem. It gives women and men an incorrect physiological understanding of female orgasm, and I promise, if it seemed that women and men were untouched by frustration, worry, and disappointment about female orgasm then I wouldn't give a shit about the language and insinuations around this subject, but that's not the case. Men and women both need this discussion to change, and I think it needs to begin with clarity around this whole assumption that "vaginal orgasms" are a thing. 

Didn't Have To But Did
That about sums up my problems with his original article and his reply to points 1 and 2 up above in the "Main Points of Trisha's Critiques as written by Edward Clint" section. His reply to point 3 of that section is below, and I'll speak on that now.
The third point results, I think, from misinterpretation and disagreement of editorial focus. I was not meaning to say the facts do not matter or that misinformation about how bodies work does not harm women and men. Of course it does. I meant to relate that political agendas and bickering about proper terminology does  not change anything about how we experience our bodies, and can itself be harmful if people become beholden to any ideology to the exclusion of facts or prevention of better understanding. Any staunch ideology inevitably leads to these ends. 

I agree that political agenda, cultural agendas and staunch ideology "can itself be harmful if people become beholden to any ideology to the exclusion of facts or prevention of better understanding." That is why I prefer to go about this discussion by acknowledging facts about the lack of physiological evidence for VIOs. He and I can both also agree that facts and misinformation about how our bodies work does harm men and women.  
Apart from that, I think Trisha felt it was inappropriate for me not to “set the record straight” on female orgasm, having introduced it as a subtopic. I disagree. My post was not really about orgasm at all, but about the low quality of science reporting among the blogs as it pertained to anatomy, not orgasmic function. I mentioned that only in service of larger points. As a writer I am entitled to choose my own focus and topic, and am not required to take up the educational activism that another might prefer. I am not required to recount the history and detailed politics of something just because I refer to it in a post that is not about it.

It is true that Clint is not required to recount the history and politics of female orgasm. It's true that his article was largely not about orgasm at all. However he did use Freud and Koedt to recount history and politics of female orgasm, and his article, in the last 3 paragraphs, did stray from its main subject (which truly was a thorough and level-headed discussion about the low quality of science reporting among the blogs as it pertained to anatomy) to specifically comment on how this all related to orgasmic function. He didn't have to do any of that, but he did, and the problem was that I believe he got both the political history and his insinuations about the nature and mechanics of orgasms wrong for all the reasons I discussed in my original critique. 

You see, that's the thing. He, and others who don't-have-to-yet-do-anyway, often speak about female orgasm without really knowing or caring about the scientific background, and their insinuations give people an incorrect picture of the subject. I don't expect everyone to be experts in the history and politics of female orgasm, and I don't expect anyone besides myself to "set the record straight" on female orgasm. That would indicate I want everyone to be activists. I certainly don't, but I do expect that people (especially those who seem to have some element of authority on science or sex or related subjects)  who take it upon themselves to discuss female orgasm, as Clint did in his final 3 paragraphs, come at the subject with the the correct base knowledge - a knowledge that couldn't help but take into consideration how very non-existent VIOs are within scientific literature. I would expect the same from any person speaking on any subject. 

I know my points about female orgasm are not common knowledge (and frankly, that's why I have to critique well intentioned, unsuspecting, nice and thoughtful people to get these ideas out there), but I don't think it's too much to expect skeptic writers to go a little deeper into the scientific background of subjects they discuss. I will call people on this. In a similar way, I would expect a person discussing the effects of GMOs on human health to come at it with a base knowledge of how GMOs are added into organisms in the first place, how genes replicate and work, and how food breaks down during digestion. If the points a person makes show that their base knowledge is incorrect, then I believe it is more than fair to critique them. 

I'm Almost Done
I fully realize Clint never expected or wanted to be a focus of my activism, and I understand that it might be a bit annoying, but he did make an insinuation, whether he thinks so or not, about what organs cause female orgasm, and he did paint a picture of the vaginal vs. clitoral debate that is wrongly placing Koedt's point of view as an extreme when it is not. If thoughtful people like him are getting this discussion wrong, there is very little hope for the public in general. That is why he's a target, and I hope he can understand my point of view.

Now, given that there are 20 to 30% of women who claim to orgasm vaginally, my statements about the lack of physiological evidence for this phenomenon are surely controversial and deserve some discussion. I would very much like to dig into that controversy and have that discussion. I had every hope that this back and forth would begin to do that, but instead I feel it went in a much less interesting direction. So, what I would really like to talk about in regards to the original article is the following:

  • Do we or do we not agree that there is a lack of physiological evidence for VIOs, and if so, does that mean VIOs are likely non-existent?
  • Is it sensible to speak casually about a physical "cause" of Vaginally Induced Orgasms (VIOs) when there is no physiological evidence of them? (clearly my stance is no, but I'd like to hear other's thoughts).
  • Why is a stance, like Koedt's stance, that female orgasms originate only from stimulation of the clitoral glans and not stimulation of the vagina (the only stance backed by physiological evidence) painted as extreme? Is it actually extreme?
Again, thanks to Edward Clint, and I look forward to his thoughts.

P.S. Edward Clint pointed out in his reply that the title of my original critiques was a bit too harsh. I'll agree, so I went for a much more even keeled title. Thanks for that bit of critique Ed.  


Some Lady-bation Terms I Found on the Interwebs

Well, I typed in "women masturbation" into Google to see what I could get to write about tonight...cause I need to get a post up to keep with my 2to3-a-week schedule, and the post I'm currently working on is taking longer than I thought...so I need to buy myself a few more days...so I figured I'd just post some silly masturbation stuff I found online while I watch my last Mad Men before I go to bed.

So, anyway..."women masturbation" in Google. The first links that came up were pages of quotes about "women and masturbation" that actually had nothing to do with masturbation, and I don't really know why they said they did. Then I saw a link at the end of the first Google search page that went to what I assume is an old webpage. None of the links work, but hey, it's a list of terms for female masturbation - a situation that has too few slang terms if I do say so myself. I give props to anyone who acknowledges and/or speaks of ladies masturbating, so I thought I'd just put up some of them, but please go check out the full original site.

  • A night in with the girls, air the orchid, audition the finger puppets.
  • Beat off, buff the beaver.
  • Caress the clitoris, clean your fingers, climbing mons veneris, clit-flitting, come into your own, couch hockey for one, cunt cuddling, cunt-hunting.
  • Diddle, digging for clams, dirty dancing for one, do handiwork, drown the man in the boat.
  • Fan the fur, feed the bearded clam, fingerpainting, finger-walking to the "Y", flipping the breaker, fluffin the "muff"in, frig/frigging.
  • Gash-lashing, genital stimulation via phalangetic motion, gentle the genitalia, get a date with Slick Mittens, get a fat lip, get a lube job, get to know yourself, giving a noogie to your monkey, grab the goatee, grease your hips, grinding the bump, grope the grotto, gully whompin.
  • Have it off, have sex with someone you love, hitchhike to heaven, hitchhike under the big top, hitting the volume control.
  • Jack off, jazz yourself, jerk off, jill off, "just reading, mom".
  • Leglock the pillow, let your fingers do the walking, lubricate the labia.
  • Making bubbles, making soup, manual override, man overboard.
  • Nothing else to do.
  • Oiling your holster, one-handed bridge.
  • Pet the pussy, playing centipede, playing with your gerbil, play the clitar, poking the hairpiece, powdering your nose, pressing the escape button, priming the pump, pushing the panic button, pussy-pushing.
  • Ride slidesaddle, ride the unicycle, ride the tubsput, riding the buzz bomb, riding the rubber boyfriend, rose palm's big sister, row the little man in the boat, rubbin' the nubbin, rub off, rub one out, runnin' your finger through your hair.
  • Self abuse, shuck the oyster, silk abuse, sinking the vibrating sub, slick abuse, solo sex, stinky pinky, stirring the taco, stir the yogurt, stoke it, stroke it, stroke off, stroking the magic lamp, stroking the nether-beard, stuff the taco, somebody's got to do it, surf the Wet.
  • Tapping the keg, test the plumbing, the art of unisex, the saddlehorn samba, the two-finger tango, the virgin's release, thinking about fabio, thumb the button, tickle my fancy, tickling the taco, tickling the tuna, toss off, touch-toning, tugging at the vertical smile, turning on the juice, twiddling the toggle.
  • Visit Father Fingers.
  • Wank, wash your fingers, water the hot spot, wax the carrot, wax the saddle.
  • You're soaking in it.


Go Ask Alice...To Flip a F-ing Table Over If She Has To Answer This Bullshit Again

So, I was googling "Lady Orgasm" just to see what might pop up to quickly write about - cause, hey, you never know what "Lady Orgasm" might bring you. And, seriously, I need to get a post up quick cause I ain't got the time right now, ya'll. Anyway, Columbia University has a site called Columbia Health, and there is section called Go Ask Alice! that answers peoples (probably mostly student's) health questions. Well, the first page of my google search took me to a grouping of these questions originally published in 2001 about women not feeling much from vaginal intercourse. Here are the questions.

(1)Dear Alice,I am a sexually active female, but I can't reach orgasm when having sex with my boyfriend. Can you help me out? Thanks.— Yearning(2)Hello Alice,I am 28 years old. I've had a problem for years now; well, I had this problem all my life and I was too ashamed to seek help. Here it goes: during sexual intercourse, I never feel any sensation or tingling feelings, I feel nothing. I can feel the penis, but that is all. This has been with every guy I've been with and I've been with about 15 guys. I'm currently dating this guy for five years. I love him, but during sex, I feel nothing. He turns me on, and I get aroused, but when it comes to actually having sex, I feel NOTHING. It's like I have a disjunction in my vagina. Does it have something to do with my clitoris? What is wrong with me? Please, can you tell me? I will eventually see a doctor, but I just want to know, what is the problem with me? Please, I would really appreciate it, I've kinda learned to live with it. Sad, right? :)— C(3)Dear Alice,Yet again, another question about intercourse and (female) orgasms. I am 25 and have been having intercourse for about 1 1/2 years and have never experienced even the remotest possibility of climaxing from intercourse. Intercourse does NOTHING for me. I've read the Hite Report, I know it claims that only 30% of women orgasm from intercourse alone; however, most women who say they don't orgasm from intercourse say that they at least receive some arousal or stimulation or pleasure from the sensation--it just doesn't lead them to orgasm. However, I have never received the SLIGHTEST sexual pleasure from intercourse--and it's making me so unhappy and desperate that I feel I'm going insane.— Searching for pleasure(4)Dear Alice,What is the best way for a woman with an inaccessible clitoris to reach orgasm during intercourse, without artificial stimulation?

So Alice answers by basically telling them that the vagina doesn't have much nerve endings and that not much is going to happen if the clit isn't involved. She recommends working with one's partner to find ways to make the damn thing happen, trying woman-on-top positions for better freedom, adding sex toys, and reading up for more ideas - you know, that kind of thing.

Honestly, she gives a good answer, it's better than a lot I've seen but I just can't help but feel that we need more. Saying kinda softly to frustrated ladies that most women don't orgasm from vaginal stimulation, and that we should just explore more with our partners and that "if you are generally satisfied with your sexual activity, there is no need to be dismayed by your lack of vaginal sensation or feel pressured to feel pleasure or orgasm during intercourse," is nice and true, but man, it feels like bullshit. It feels like it's bullshit to even be having this discussion. It feels like this is bullshit that the women are the ones fretting about this "personal" issue when it should be our whole society fretting about how we could possibly have gone so long teaching and depicting female orgasm so incorrectly. It's bullshit, and we should be a little madder about it and a little more vocal. We, as a society, should be really hearing all these women asking questions about their orgasms and realizing that women as a whole are suffering because of this cultural ignorance. 

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. And, ya know, I have talked to many people who say they didn't even know that people still worry about the whole vaginal orgasm vs. clitoral orgasm thing anymore, and they don't think it's much of an issue. I wonder sometimes, but then I see things like this that remind me women do struggle with this on the regular. Us ladies might not call it vag vs. clit issue. We might not even know about Freud saying clitoral orgasms were infantile. We just know about what society has made us feel is normal, and then we have to somehow make that fit with what we actually feel in our bodies. We all find different ways to deal with it, but it all stems from the fact that vaginal orgasms are deeply ingrained in us as normal and/or highly desirable; that, oddly enough, female bodies (not some but as far as we know all female bodies) are not able to orgasm vaginally; and that no one seems to be screaming out about this insane discrepancy, so it's as if none of this is an issue at all - just women needing to figure out our own personal sexual struggles... It's bullshit. 

However, like I said before, the answer HERE was good and more progressive than most, so it gets a 4 out of 5 vulva rating!


Random Male Hite Report #7

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 she 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. Anyway, 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 909
This is from the chapter Thirty Men Speak About Their Lives. In this chapter, long excerpts from each of 30 different respondents are set out for us. Shere Hite chose these because they were "some of the most interesting and emotionally involving material received and show the range and variety of points of view expressed." So, the following passage is from one of those 30 men.  

...was doing it, I was trying to make sure I was doing it right. But the thing that was really exciting was that she showed me exactly what to do-that meant she was very excited too, excited enough to want me to do it to her. It made me feel really close to her and special because nobody ever did that before-really intimate, because I always thought of masturbation as a very private thing. If she wanted me to masturbate her, that seemed really private. I felt, how could we be any closer?
    Men never talk about masturbating women, at least I've never heard them talk about it. They talk about women masturbating them a lot, but they never talk about themselves masturbating women, or there being thirty-two different ways women masturbate! And i didn't even know one. I thought women masturbated by putting something inside. Masturbation had still for me a real pejorative context, like it's not the real thing, or that's just what women do when they don't have a man. A frustrated women would just want to stick something in here, I thought, but it could never be as good a s a cock. i guess that's why men think that a woman needs a man, that she could never masturbate herself as well as a man could-I've heard that so many times. But really, a woman can just put a vibrator or her hand on her mons and just come and come and come.
    Anyway, getting back to the first time I gave her clitoral stimulation, after a while when I kept trying, she was really excited and breathing heavy, her whole body was tensing up with her legs tight together and straight out-and then she got really tense and tight and moaned and held herself like that for a few minutes. Then she told me she came. It was a revelation for me.
    Of all the things we had done before that-like when we were kissing and I could her moaning, her head is right by my ear sometimes, and I'm listening and I can feel her breathing-never was it that exciting, it was so thrilling during her orgasm. I felt like she was really strong! That was my reaction to the whole thing-that she had a tremendous strength- a really powerful energy that was inside her. Also, I felt really small next to her when she had an orgasm and I didn't!
    I also felt like-well, I used to believe that the idea was to fuck until you both had orgasms together, but all of the sudden I realized it was a really good feeling to enjoy someone else's orgasm, even if I didn't have one. Plus, to discover that she could have one that made me envious-plus I think she had another one about a minute later-well, I was really amazed! Later, after we did it a lot, I really got to enjoy it. She feels energetic and powerful and independent when she orgasms, and it makes me feel good to be next to someone so strong and active and alive.
    Do you know the difference between being next to a really passive person and someone that's really excited? It makes me feel great, it makes me feel really excited, aroused, like having orgasms, really strong, it makes me feel like an animal. I just want to hop on and screw her at that point and I often do.
    But I consider me masturbating her one of the major things that we do. I don't consider it a warm up thing. Sometimes when we don't do it I miss doing it. Sometimes she's said things to me while I'm doing it that make me feel really good, or really hot. I get sweaty when I'm doing it, and I like that feeling a lot...


Ice Saints - The SSL Review

Well, if you were hoping for another indie movie SSL review, then you're in luck because I got 10 tickets to the Indianapolis International Film Fest during their Kickstarter campaign, and the movies I'm seeing keep having something in them about female orgasm. If a movie discusses or depicts female orgasm or masturbation, you know I gots to get at SSL reviewing it, right? So here we are. (And just to be clear - an SSL Review is purely about the ladygasm stuff - not the movie as a whole.)

This time the movie is Ice Saints. Ryan Balas, the director and his then girlfriend (now wife) Deirdre Herlihy. created a documentary-ish movie about the year of their engagement, their wedding, and their honeymoon.Outside of the wedding footage, which was obviously taped by someone else, most of the couple's conversations seemed to be taped by the the couple - ya know, kinda setting it up on a table or something and then having a normal everyday conversation. So, it has a stagy element, but I think the conversations are meant to be indicative of actual spontaneous personal conversations the couple might have.

Ice Saints - Dir. Ryan Balas

There is one SSL reviewable part and then another part that doesn't quite fit SSL Review criteria, but I found it to be important to the discussion. I'll describe the two scenes first, then I'll get to commenting.

So Deirdre is naked, sitting on the floor against a bed or something, and the camera seems to be set on a dresser maybe and is pointed at her. Ryan walks in from behind her (he's in boxers, but no worries, he gets naked later, so it's square), hands her a drink and sits next to her, and the following conversation happens (these were transcribed in the dark, so the words might not be exact quotes, but it's pretty close).
Ryan: I'm sorry you didn't orgasm.
Deirdre: It's okay.
Ryan: You always sound so disappointed,...
Deirdre: I just don't like it when it's so squeaky....
Then they (mostly he) goes on to say things about who cares whether the neighbors hear them and that they should get a better bed, (I believe they have a futon) so that it doesn't squeak like that, etc.

Okay, so that's one. Here's the not quite SSL Review eligible, but related part.

They are at the kitchen table. She's wrapped in a towel, working on her computer. He's naked sitting next to her - and he starts the following conversation.

Ryan: I think you should go off birth control. (pause) I really do. You know what Rachel said. She didn't have any sexual urges, and then she went off birth control, and it all came back.
Deirdre: I don't know...maybe (or something like that)

Alright, now I don't usually have the luxury of hearing director's intentions with their depiction/discussions, but there happen to be a Q&A session with Ryan and Deirdre afterward, so I asked them why they chose to include those two parts given they were the only spoken parts about their sex life. (They asked for awkward questions, okay). Anyway, they both seemed really cool and the basic answer was that they thought things like mediocre sex or a woman not getting an orgasm was something that was real, and not depicted too often. That wasn't exactly how they said it, but I felt the gist was that they wanted to put stuff in their movie about relationships that were not puffed up or over exaggerated, that felt real to them, and that to some extent seemed to them to be under appreciated in other media.

That is kinda what I imagined was going on in their brains, and I really appreciate their openness about it. I actually could not agree more. Sex can be all kinds of things within a relationship. It's not always super hot and great. It can be just fine or even bad. That's normal as shit. We're gonna zero in on the not-orgasming thing though. That too is normal as shit, like way normal...like way more normal than we as a society ever admit, and I love that they included it.

Their situation can be placed right along side the general population. Women in general are simply not orgasming during partnered sex as much as men in general are. This is not often discussed, but it feels like a given. It's viewed as an inevitable reality...cause...women are more finicky and orgasms are harder for us ladies, right?

Well if you read my blog at all, you know the answer is actually no, and that the problem lies not in the make-up of females, but in the deeply rooted way we  teach, depict, and engage in sexual activity. It's not inevitable biology. It's cultural, and all us ladies are in the same boat. That's why it's so refreshing to see something that normalizes the experience of no-orgasm sex and doesn't depict some bullshit fake porn-gasm sex. I mean, come on. we have plenty of that already.

That brings me to the getting off birth control to gain more sex-drive part. I think this indicates an interesting and incredibly common, almost ubiquitous phenomenon. Women in long-term relationships, quite good and quite sexual ones even, begin to lose libido quicker than men. It's the old joke about marriage meaning the the end of sex thing, but it's a joke because there's truth to it.

Women in general have way, way more problems with loss of libido, and we as a society so often go to hormonal or emotional problems as the culprit. Maybe though, just maybe, it's that we ladies are having more sexual experiences that end without an orgasm. Whereas most men think forward towards a sexual experience with a woman and can draw on their past experiences to know that the event will be all the many things sex might be....but also almost surely end in an orgasm, that's just not as sure a thing for ladies. Every non-orgasmic experience we have informs us about what to expect from future ones, and frankly, sex without orgasm might not be something any woman or man would get too excited about. So, in this way, sex quickly becomes a different experience for men and women. If men went into sex with a good or even a fair chance they wouldn't orgasm, then they might find sleep a better option too. I mean, there are other reason to get nasty with your partner, but let's not ignore the allure and addictive nature of a good ol orgasm.

So, to me this movie reflected something very real about the experience of a long-term, hetero, sexual relationship, something that most people in that position can relate to. What really kinda excited me though was that it also included two aspects of the female experience that are rarely considered as two pieces of one puzzle. I have no reason to believe the director put them together as a way to connect the lack of orgasm among females with the ridiculously large amount of women dealing with low sex drive. He was just putting common sexual realities in there, and maybe that's the thing. Most people aren't brave enough to talk about these things, but if we were, we'd discover something important. We'd discover that we're all dealing with the same issues and it's not because of our hormones, our emotional turmoil, or our personal problem. We'd find that there is a lady-gasm revolution hiding in plain site. And don't worry gentlemen - this isn't a war. We'd be fighting side by side on this one ;)

I always think that the first step toward orgasm equality is to for people to start relaying sexual experience honestly, and this is certainly a step Ice Saints intentionally took. I'm gonna have to give it a full 5 out of 5 vulva rating.




Fort Tilden - The SSL Review

Well, let’s just say it’s been a whirlwind of a week, but among it all, I did get to check out some movies at the Indianapolis International Film Fest. As luck would have it, one of them was SSLreview-worthy, which simply means that it discussed or depicted female orgasm or masturbation. The movie was called Fort Tilden directed by Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, and as you might expect, it’s an indie film currently doing its thing through the festival circuit.

The two main characters are post college, Brooklynite women (but like fancy Brooklyn not regular ol’ Brooklyn – There is a name for the neighborhood in the movie. I forget it, but it would probably make sense to you if you were from  NYC).  Basically they are supposed to be those spoiled, dumb, urban, millennial girl characters. They’re roommates, and the basic plot is that they are trying to get to the beach to meet a couple dudes they’re hoping to mack on, but things keep happening on the way there.

The SSL reviewable comment happened very close to the end. I’ll try to be general as not to spoil anything, so here goes. One of the ladies takes a clearly reluctant dude from his beach towel into cold water and tries to seduce him.  She’s being pretty aggressive and really, really giving this seduction the ol’ college try.  She’s trying to touch his junk under water, but he’s cold and seriously uncomfortable with her advances, but she continues on and says, “My first orgasm was in the water,” trying to be all sexy baby. He’s all awkward and wanting to get the hell out of dodge and says, “That sounds complicated.” And then she comes back with a seductive-style, “Not really. I’ve just always been able to come so easily.”

That’s the SSL Reviewable line. I’m going to look too much into that one little line, but that’s an SSL review. I breakdown these depictions and discussions and look at what it reflects from our culture and also what it might be adding back into our collective cultural knowledge and attitude. Honestly, I think this is kinda neutral. It's not progressive nor is it regressive or idiotic. It’s mostly just reflective of our culture’s current relationship to women’s orgasmic abilities, which is why I think it’s an interesting one to consider.

The movie previously established that she is a ridiculous, snotty, selfish, manipulative person. That, along with her somewhat desperate attempts to woo this guy, indicate that her admission of orgasm ease was just some bullshit she was saying because she thought it would be sexy.

So, I mean yes, her statement was just a simple line in a movie to help make a character seem like she’s working way too hard to seduce a man. However, if one breaks down the assumptions and collective cultural knowledge that makes that statement do what it was meant to do, that’s where it gets interesting. The following things need to be pretty obvious to an audience member.

1 Women aren't known for orgasming easily. The fact that she even said what she said reminds us that female orgasm is not viewed as reliable. You wouldn't hear that coming seductively out of a man’s mouth. Am I right? Everyone knows men can come easily; no one even has to verbalize that.

2 Women who do orgasm easily are desirable to men. Our culture does associate an amply orgasmic woman with sexiness; just look at any female in porn, romance novels or any number of fictional women like the over-sexed, orgasm-loudly-and-at-the-drop-of-a-hat Samantha from Sex and the City.

3 If a gal really, really wanted to impress and seduce a guy, it's not unheard of that she would maybe fib a tiny bit about her orgasm prowess or put on a little more of a gasm-show during the nasty.

I don't know. For me, this character's (and thus the writer's) use of orgasm ability as a way to seem sexy, says something about the roles women play in sexual interactions in order to be what they are expected to be, what they would like to be, or what they think a man would most like. And it also points out how socially accepted those points above are. There is a lot to be discussed on this topic, but for now, just roll all this around in your head for a bit. Would a man ever try to impress a woman by saying he can orgasm easily?. Why does it make sense for a woman to try and impress someone this way - particularly when there is no good evidence to assume different women have different natural abilities to orgasm and that women orgasm as easily as men when we masturbate. Just think a touch on that.

As I said above, this movie is more reflective of our culture's current situation with women and our abilities to orgasm. It doesn't add much in a positive or negative way to orgasm knowledge and orgasm equality. I am going to give this a quite neutral review - 3 out of 5 Vulvas