Sensitivity of Clit and Vagina While Aroused and Unaroused

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Random Male Hite Report #10

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

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

The Hite Report on Male Sexuality
Knopf, 1981 pg 739

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What the Ladies of Vivid Radio Taught Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Dear Kim Cattrall,

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

Kim Cattrall as Samantha in Sex and the City

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

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

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

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

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

All the best to you,


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


Minneapolis, Roller Town, and Sweet Sweet Tina

Hello! Just so you know, this blog isn't always about female orgasm. Sometimes it's about indie movies. So, with that I have 4 things I want to say in this post, so let me get to it.

1 We will be in Minneapolis tomorrow. Science, Sex and the Ladies will be showing in the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival at 9 pm tomorrow, October 1st. We're the last movie of the opening night, so come see us if you can. If you can't, then at least let all your Twin City friends that they need to represent. We would love to meet some fun people.

2 We were watching trailers online one night - cause that's what we do sometimes - when we clearly saw before us what the next couple hours of our lives would consist of. We would devote them to Roller Town, and you should choose some hours to Roller Town also.  It was not a mistake.

Seriously, it was funny and exactly what I wanted it to be. It was also a truly independent movie (from Canada) that really was put together well. It's exactly the kind of movie I would be thrilled to see at any festival. You can watch it on Netflix, so please do.

This is our TV displaying Roller Town to us, a most joyous of movies

3 We got our press kits out last week for most of the Indianapolis people we wanted to get them to (If you are in Indy, get your tickets to the Indianapolis Premier on Nov. 6th!). As we were assembling, we got a simply elegant shot of Tina working hard, so I thought I'd share.

Tina and the Science, Sex and the Ladies Press Kits


Masturbation, Religion, An Unfortunate Lack of Lady-gasms, and Emoticons

I, as you know, am a lover and champion of some good, old fashioned masturbation. Besides just enjoying it in general, I think it's incredibly important to the Orgasm Equality Movement. Women as a whole just don't masturbate enough. We have more barriers to cross before we discover this treasure of a activity, and so we tend to start at it later than boys, often well after we have partnered sexual interactions or intercourse.

I would argue that going into a sexual encounter already having experienced an orgasm and already having a clear understanding of at least one reliable method for physically attaining orgasm is miles ahead of going into the encounter with no personal orgasmic experience.

I know there are lots of issues at play when it comes to why women are faking and not having orgasms so often during intercourse, but one possible issue is a rather simply solved one. When intercourse is happening without additional clitoral stimulation (either manually, with a vibrator or through friction against the partner's body) then orgasm just ain't gonna happen. The clitoris is the female organ of sexual pleasure, just as the penis is the male organ of sexual pleasure, and if you don't stimulate those organs (and straight up intercourse probably isn't), don't expect orgasm. Probably, many more women would be able to reach orgasm during intercourse if they just, well, rubbed one out while the P was in the V. If women masturbated more and earlier, maybe rubbing one out during the act of intercourse would start to seem less weird and more of a sensible thing to do. It's so simple, but it's also so invisible among sexual acts in our media - and that's too bad.

All that to bring up an article from the Kinsey Institute website about what the 5 major religions think of masturbation. It's a quick read - just the basics, so go check it out HERE 

Here's my quick overview of the article's descriptions, which may or may not be that accurate to official stances. I'm not a scholar of religions, so feel free to criticize. I just wanted to do a summary using mostly emoticons:

Judaism - depends.  :(  :/   :)

Catholicism - boys :( girls :/

Islam - if ya got to ;/

Buddhism - gonna lead to more suffering but whatevs  ;/

Hinduism - if you can make a wise and virtuous case for it... :)


SSL at Imaginarium Fest, Spec Fic, Spasm Chasm, and Jingle Balls

Yo! Science, Sex and the Ladies played at its first Festival over the weekend, and it was pretty damn fun. It was in Louisville, less than 3 hours away, so we drove down there on the Friday it started, got into the hotel, and checked it all out. It was attached to a creative writing convention, which I have, unsurprisingly, never been to, but am glad I got to experience.

Being that our movie played at 5pm on Saturday, we took some SSL post cards out to the main convention area with all the booths and started talking up the screening. We were definitely passing out post cards, but we mostly jibber jabbed with lots of the vendors there. They were mostly authors and publishers of Speculative Fiction (Spec Fic), which I learned was an umbrella term for stuff like fantasy and superhero and science fiction and horror and all the more fantastical fictions. Seriously there were books about every possible combination of fantastical stuff than I could have ever imagined. Superhero, steam punk werewolves in space...is not one that I saw. I came up with it just now, but it wouldn't be out of place at this convention. I just can't specifically remember any of the ones I heard. Point is, there's a whole other world out there that I know so little about.

I haven't read much of anything over the last 15 years except for non-fiction female orgasm related books. Plus, other than stuff I had to read for school, I haven't much read fiction for fun since the 80's and early 90's. I did like science fiction mostly back then (A Wrinkle in Time, anyone?), but I know nothing of this modern and quite independent world that I had entered. Point is, I learned a lot and had a blast talking to some passionate, funny, interesting people.

We also got to see some movies, go to some writing panels, eat some pretty good food (brie, bacon and apricot burger...pretty good). One of the panels, called "Make Me Scream," was late Saturday night and had a bunch of genre erotica writers. They had a give-away for a basket of sexy goodies, which I didn't win, but I desperately wanted to because it had some Sea Salt and Caramel Ghiradelli Squares, and I was hungry and wanted candy...and I love those. I asked the question "What is your philosophy about writing female orgasm, as far as realism?" Mostly the panelists said that every situation is different, and they go with what makes the most sense. Most of them pointed out that they wrote rather fantastical erotica (yeti alien erotica is on its way to ya, people!), so they said that the orgasms are not really human, and human realism isn't as relevant in their writing.

One of the older ones on the panel said when she used to write romance for a more traditional large publisher, she fought a lot with her editor. She said she used to think that if she had to deflower any more virgins, she might kill herself. She would add pain and mess into the scene and the editor would give it back with "no pain" "no mess" and then they'd go back and forth until the editor just did what she wanted and sent it to publishing. This woman said there are definitely unwritten rules about how the orgasms should go, and that during that time she wrote a lot of eternal, universal floating into ecstasy orgasm stuff but working with independent publishing, it's just not like that for her anymore.

Barnaby asked, "What are some terms that you hate in sex scenes?" Their answers? man root, pike staff, fuck stick, sopping wet love cave, fucking wet slop hole, spasm chasm, although they were torn over that last one.  (Need more talk about his from romance writers? Check HERE)

It was a fun panel, and I have to say that my favorite writer name was Crymsyn Hart. she was pretty cool, and her shape shifter romance novels Jingle Balls and Hairy & Hung are, well, they just are what they are. If anyone reads them, I would love - I mean LOVE - a guest SSL Review.

Well, that's about it. We had a few of the authors there ask if they could do a review of SSL on their blog, and I was all hell yeah, so I'll keep you posted on that. We had to leave before the awards banquet on Sunday night, and I don't know when they'll post the winners, but if SSL won anything, I'll let you know.


Random Male Hite Report #9

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 64

This is from the chapter Being Male. In the section "What Does It Mean to Be a Man?"  

Most men said, in addition to the characteristics already listed, "masculinity" was the opposite of "femininity." The real way to be a man was not to act like a woman:
    "It's the opposite from femininity."
    "Knowing that you are not a female and should not act like one."

Feminine traits were considereed to be loving, caring, and being supportive (see pages 108-10), whereas male qualities, as we have seen, were active, independent, doing, creating, and being in charge, dominant.
Most men, when asked, "how would you feel if something about you was described as feminine or womanly said they would be angry;  
    "Enraged. Insulted. Never mind what women are really like --- I know that he's saying: He's saying he thinks I should be submissive to him."

    "Outrageous demand. I may not seek to dominate, but I will never submit when I'm shown wrong."

    "To be called 'like a woman' by another man is to be humiliated by him, because most men consider women to be weak, and a man doesn't want to be considered weak."

    "No matter what it was or who was making the comment, I'd be hurt, angry, and insulted.

    "Chagrined. I may appear soft, but I carry a big stick, so watch out."

    "When a man compares another man's behavior to a woman's, he's looking for a fight."

    "Ver nervous, tense, threatened ---as if I were going to be singled out and ostracized for it."

    "If I was described as having something 'like a woman's,' I would be outraged. I would defend my masculinity almost automatically. I wouldn't like being compared to a woman's anything."
But some men pointed out the stereotyping contained in these remarks, or said the wouldn't mind:
    "I'm sure some of my behavior is thought of as 'like a woman's' and i feel fine about it. i think it's unfortunate that men have been conditioned to think that they cannot have nay feminine qualities or they are thought of as being sissies. Men have feminine qualities and women have masculine qualities. It's as simple as that. Denial and repression of these only leads to tension and I think it's too bad that men are so instilled with the idea that they have to be 'men'  all the time."

    "I feel that women's characteristics are usually soft, caring, gentle, etc., and i hope people will find them in men."

    "Since women are stereotyped as showing their emotions very readily, if someone said I was like that, I would be proud to have overcome my macho training."

    "To be honest---I would not feel bad. If men had more characteristics of..."


Nymphomaniac - The SSL Review Volume 2 (AKA: The Details)

As promised, here is the detailed list of all SSL Reviewable moments in Nymphomaniac Volumes 1 and 2. If you'd like to see my actual SSL Review of these movies - the sort of overview assessment - go HERE. Also, I found a surprising amount of stills from this movie that are relevant, and I have a still to prove a point I made about a bloody clit that isn't actually bloody. Point is....don't let these pics come up at work, ya know?

So, an SSL Reviewable moment must include at least 1 of the following:
  1.  a female masturbating (no orgasm necessary)
  2. a depiction of a female orgasming or ejaculating - some type of physical sexual release
  3. a discussion about female orgasm, masturbation or ejaculation 
  4. a depiction of sex that specifically and obviously doesn't include female orgasm - not simply that the scene cuts before an orgasm might possibly happen
  5. any time that the clitoris is mentioned...it happens so rarely
That's it. Snippets of sex scenes without showing the orgasm don't count, and talking about sex or sexuality without also specifically talking about the orgasm doesn't count. All that said, I'm in charge and so I can change the rules at any moment if I feel it's interesting to talk about, but mostly those are my guidelines. Enjoy the list. It goes chronologically from the beginning of the movie to the end.

  • Playing Frogs - Joe and friend about 6 years old filling bathroom floor with water and writhing around with no underwear under their skirts, pelvises pressed to the ground. Both girls' faces are shown concentrated on masturbatory pleasure - as if working into an orgasm.
  • Climbing the Rope - Joe said she'd climb the rope in gym class and stay up there for ages with the rope between her legs - feeling the "sensation." 
  • Anatomy - Joe was looking at her dad's anatomy books (he's a doctor) and was in the reproductive section...I think. She was reading the names of the anatomy outloud - including clitoris.
  • First Time - At 15 she found it imperative to lose her virginity. The guy owned a moped, so she thought he was sophisticated.
Joe: "If I asked you to take my virginity would that be a problem?"
Dude: "No, I don't see a problem."
Dude: "You should probably take off your knickers, yeah?"
She does exactly that with her skirt and all other cloths still on, an lays back on a crappy little bed. He non-nonchalantly stands above her on the edge of the bed by her feet, uses one foot to kinda gently kick open her legs and then leans back against the wall jerking it a little bit. Then he gets on with it, and she describes it this way in voice over.
Just before the 3 then 5 thrust situation
 "He shoved his cock inside me and humped me 3 time, then he turned me over like a sack of potatoes and he humped me 5 times in the ass."
He then goes back to trying to fix his moped. She puts her panties back on, fixes his moped quickly as she passes him and walks up the stairs out of his place in just the manner one would expect a person who was just dry-fucked in the ass to do. She described it as humiliating and said it hurt like hell and swore she would never sleep with anyone again. There was specifically no orgasm depicted here.

  • The Contest - A couple years later, her friend B had an idea. The two girls put on Fuck-Me-Now Clothes and go on train trip - no need for tickets. The one who fucked the most men when they got to our destination would win the chocolate sweets. On the train as they are about to start, her friend is giving some advice on how to hook them, and Joe says, "What if it hurts?" (or maybe it was "what if it's the worst?" It's hard to tell.) Anyway, in voice over she said she found it was easy, and here are the depictions.
Joe and B on a mission

1. In bathroom. Her sitting fairly motionless on counter towards him. Him standing and pumping into her. She smiles a little when he looks at her, but she's clearly bored.

2. Same position almost exactly. She was still, looking bored over his shoulder into the distance, almost rolling her eyes. He was pumping away.

  • 4 Guys - There is a sequence in which we see Joe getting banged by Guy 1, Guy 2, Guy 3, Guy 4, at different times, each in a different positions (below are the details). We then see her in the same positions with each guy as before but this time we see her orgasm sequentially with all 4 of those guys, followed by her sequentially telling all 4 of those guys that she has never orgasmed before. It obviously makes the men happy, and one even says, "I have to admit, quite a lot of girls say that."

Dude 1: Joe in bed on her back, head head hanging off the bed. Dude on his side next to her, pumping her, with his closest leg bent and up against his chest. No hands in use or direct clitoral glans contact.

Dude 2: Dude on back in bed. Joe bouncing up and down while on her knees straddling him. She is sitting straight up so there is unlikely to be direct clitoral glans contact, and there are no hands in use. She bends forward slightly, but there is still plenty of air between her clitoral/vulva area and his body.

Joe with Dude2, leaning forward
Dude 3: Joe laying on a table with a guy standing upright between her legs and pumping her. Clearly no hands in use or any contact at all with the clitoral/vulva area.

Dude 4: Joe is standing upright against facing a door with dude standing upright behind her and pumping. No hands in use. It's possible that the clit could be rubbing against the glass, but there is a door frame that puts her legs about 2 inches back from the glass. She would need to reall press forward with her pelvis to make some contact between her clit and the glass, but she is not positioned that way.
  • The Little Flock - Joe says in voice over: "The train trip had increased my appetite, and B and I started a club called 'The Little Flock.' It was about fucking and having the right to be horny. We masturbated together, that kind of thing, but it was rebellious. We weren't allowed to have boyfriends - no fucking the same guy more than once. The were rebelling against love.
  • Seligman's Creepy Fantasy - Seligman (the man Joe is telling her story to) imagines Joe masturbating, straight-faced and non passionately while teaching in a school girl's outfit. The sequence is laid out with Joe in different scenarios in the same set, and styled as if she's in an old-timey educational video.

1. Sitting down on a desk with her panties down and hands under her skirt moving in small circular motion.
2. Slouching back in a chair while using one hand to hold a large triangle ruler under her skirt between her legs. One point is possibly inside her or she's just rubbing against it. Her panties are not around her ankles in this scene (and they are in every other), so it indicates to me that she has her panties on and is just rubbing not inserting.

Seligman's Joe Masturbation fantasy...probably not suggesting insertion?

3. On her stomach on the desk, with her panties around her ankles and a hand between her vulva and the desk, writhing gently. There is a stuffed fox on the desk with her too for some reason.
4. Standing, legs shoulder width apart next to the desk with her panties down at her knees and hands under her skirt moving in a small circular motion.

Another of Seligman's Joe fantasies
5. Standing straight up sideways, panties at knees, staring right at the camera. She has one of those old wooden pointers between her legs, like one would use with a stick horse and is moving it backwards and forwards against her vulva.

  • No Touching -  Joe is discussing a time in her life when she was interested in one particular man, and says "and during this time, when I was with other men, I forbade them to touch my body with their hands." There is a quick cut to her from the chest up bouncing naked, presumably cowgirl style and pushing away the male hands that come up from out of shot to touch her breasts. Both her and his hands were clearly not on her vulva and she was sitting straight up and bouncing, so no vulva touch there, yet she is orgasming in the same way she did in previous scenes.
  • Train Masturbation - Joe also tells Segiman, that she masturbated on the train, and the scene shows her with her hand in her lap, covered by her bag, moving almost in-discernibly. We see her orgasm as a close-up of her face as her mouth opens slightly - she was in need of being discreet on the train, of course.
  • Laundry Worker Hospital Sex - She is aggressively bouncing up and down on top of him, cowgirl style on a bed, and her face seems pained, as if she's trying her best to come, but it doesn't seem to be happening. However the scene ends before one could tell if she does or doesn't come. She again has sex with this guy, but now she is on her back and him on top missionary. We are only seeing from the chest up, and at first she has a pained concentrating face like before, but it cuts and she is orgasming...then she starts crying, but that's another story. Anyway, she's clearly being banged and neither his nor her hands are on her junk. However, she is holding him close to her, and she could be grinding against him during this, so I have no particular qualms with this one.
  • The 3 Guy Music-Related Part  - She says she was having sex with 7 or 8 men a night, and she's talking to Seligman about 3 of these men, One in particular involved discussion of orgasm. In voice over, Joe says,
"...and he knew exactly what I wanted when we had sex. No, I'd go even further and say that there was a kind of telepathy going on when we had sex. Without words, he knew exactly what I wanted, where he should touch me, and what he should do. The most sacred goal for F, was my orgasm."
During this we see him going down on her. She is laying on her back on a bed, and he is above her and moves down he body until his mouth makes steady, full mouthed contact directly over her clitoral vulva area, and after a moment, we see Joe beginning to orgasm.

  • Loss of Orgasm - Joe is with the dude played by The other was Shia LaBeouf. She told him to "fill all her holes," That's pretty much what he's doing, but one small clip makes it look like he has his hand down around her vulva while he's doing her missionary style. It's most likely supposed to be him puttin' it in, but I thought I'd mention it. There was no orgasm though. Volume 1 ends, with Shia doing her (banging and clearly no hands), and she quite desperately and panicky, says she can't feel anything. 
  • Floating Orgasm - Joe was 12 and on a field trip in the hills,. She's lying in the grass and had this spontaneous orgasm where she floats into the air with these 2 ghostly, religious-like women figures next to her in the sky. When Seligman man asks her about it, she says it was and orgasm, although the doctor described it as an epileptic seizure.
  • Desperate Masturbation - So, she has lost her orgasm all together suddenly, and we see her awake in bed with Jerome (Shia LaBeof). She is furiously rubbing her vulva (in a realistic - although quite rough- masturbatory motion), but it's obviously not working. So she goes into the bathroom and slaps her vulva with a wet towel. Clearly she's upset and trying anything at this point. Joe describes in voice over that she "lost all sexual sensation - my cunt went numb"
  • Desperate Sex with Shia LaBeouf  - She, of course has no orgasm, since she ain't having those anymore, but apparently, she keeps trying, and there are cut-up scenes of her and Jerome having sex. Her legs wrapped around his waist, getting banged against the wall. Her on top in bed both sitting upright and then laying down on him. He seems like he is just getting tired and they just stop."If Jerome had hoped for a break from what was now for him mostly strenuous work, he could forget about it."
  • Tied to a Couch - She gets her orgasm back while enduring some masochism, and it happens because she was able to move her pelvis and stimulate her clitoris against the book she was tied against. Rather realistic....for those who can keep aroused while getting whipped like a horse.
Joe, vulva against book, while being whipped
  • The Weird Anatomically Incorrect Bloody Clit - Joe is in an office  bathroom stall, sitting on a toilet with the lid down. She has her pantyhose and panties down around her knees and is rubbing her vulva, but then sees blood. Joe says in voice over says, "Some years later, the body abuse began to have an affect. First, rare bleedings from my clitoris, but then they became more and more frequent." As we get a closer view, there looks to be a sore on her inner thigh, but her clitoris looks just fine (and we do see it close up - I even paused it.). She then takes a make-up mirror and uses it to look at the parts of her junk she can't see, but she can see her clit area, so it's weird. I'm not sure if the moviemakers don't know where the clit is, or what, but it didn't make sense to me.
See, the clit and everything around it are blood and sore free - looks quite healthy actually

This is Joe, investigating the source of the blood by using a hand mirror to check in the vaginal hole area
  • One Big Sore - Joe doesn't really have sex any more in the movie and at one point says in voice over, "My groin was one big sore from my abuse that wouldn't heal and made even masturbation impossible." She suffered abstinence symptoms.


Nymphomaniac Volumes 1 and 2: The SSL Review

Nymphomanic Volumes 1 and 2: How could I not make every effort to see these movies when they touched down in Indianapolis for a couple days? I'm reviewing them together because they are kinda a cohesive piece, and it'd be hard for me not to.

From the previews, it was clearly going to show some depictions and discussions of female sexual release and masturbation. I was pretty certain about that, so I knew I could do an SSL Review. I also like to see a Lars von Trier movie. Notice I didn't say I love a Lars von Trier movie - cause I can't really say that, but I feel like they are always worth a watch, ya know? I don't know how to express this correctly, but it's something like this: His movies usually have some things in them that intrigues or excites me from a movie making perspective - in a way that doesn't happen all the time, and that's actually really cool. However, as a total package, they can be kinda...not my favorites. So that's me and ol' Lars.

Now, back to the Nymphomaniac preview - I was definitely intrigued, but honestly I felt like I would really not like it. I thought it would be incredibly annoying to me. There was a certain type of sexual darkness coming through in the preview that just rubbed me the wrong way. As it happens, though, I liked the movie...I mean in the earlier explained way that I like a Lars von Trier movie.

Which brings me to the SSL Review part. Whether I enjoy a movie or think it's a quality cinematic experience is a separate issue from my SSL review. My review of a movie could be bad and the SSL review could be  quite good and vice versa. In this situation, the SSL review is mixed, but I lean fairly far toward bad. After I saw it the first time in the theater, I'd say I felt my leanings were a little more to the good side, but it shifted a bit after a detailed watch through where I paused it a lot, wrote down quotes, and looked all careful like at each SSL reviewable scene. There were a lot of SSL reviewable scenes, and don't get me wrong, some were realistic, even progressive depictions of lady-gasms, but on a whole, I felt the movies reinforced crap understandings of lady-gasms.

My next post will be a detailed list with detailed descriptions of all the SSL Reviewable moments, for your curiosity and reference. This post will be the actual review with a bit less detail in scene description. Here we go.

The way Joe's (she's the main character - the "nymphomaniac") ability to orgasm is depicted is so, so very much the status quo way that female orgasm is depicted in this culture, which means it's overall unrealistic. Even though there are certainly moments of realism in this movie, the highly unrealistic assertion that women can orgasm easily from nothing more than penises moving in and out of their vaginas, rings out loud and clear, obscuring everything else. I truly do understand that there are women who claim to orgasm in just this way, but the truth is that even if every claim is true, it's still a minority of women (in surveys only about 15-30 % of women claim this), and on top of that, this type of orgasm has never actually been verified in scientific investigation. You would think that it has, but it has not. An orgasm that happens from stimulation inside the vagina just simply has not been physically observed the way an orgasm resulting from stimulation of the clitoral glans has been observed and documented in numerous studies. I would (and do) argue that even though 15-30% of women claim this type of vaginally induced orgasm happens, the numbers are probably much, much less if at any at all. But, even if there is a small amount of women who do come from a good banging, it's still a small minority, and yet it is by far the most common way of orgasming one sees in porn and movies and reads about in erotica and romance novels.

That discrepancy is a little crazy to me, and movies that get good SSL Reviews are simply ones that are overall more progressive, daring, and realistic - daring in that they show realisitc acts that simply aren't common in movies such as a woman rubbing her clitoral glans to orgasm during the act of intercourse. Nymphomanic was daring in that it was a "normal" movie that showed sexual encounters fully - kinda like porn. However, those sexual encounters were just that - like porn and as unrealistic on the ladygasm front. Let me get a touch more detailed.

Orgasming during intercourse with no clitoral/vulva stimulation
So, pretty much every time we see Joe having intercourse, she orgasms while there is clearly nothing at all stimulating her clitoral glans.

  • After she is on her own, we see her getting banged by 4 different guys on separate occasions, orgasming each time
  • We see an example of her having sex/orgasming with a man during a time that she didn't want men touching her during sex

Intercourse that specifically doesn't result in orgasm

  • Her first sexual experience, which just consisted of a dude thrusting in her vagina 3 times and her ass 5 times, then coming.
Right before the 3 in vagina, 5 in ass situation
  • The very next time she engages in sex which was when she was a teenager. Her and her friend have a contest in which the girl who has sex with the most men on a train gets a bag of chocolates. We see two instances in which she has intercourse during the contest. Both involve no touching of the clitoral glans. We don't see her have an orgasm in the snippet we get to see, and she looks rather bored and disinterested in both, so it's pretty clear that she will not be having one at all.

Both of those were actually pretty realistic portrayals. She wouldn't likely have an orgasm during intercourse at all, much less when a dude barely touches her at all before flipping her over and going all anal. Painful intrusions of the butthole (and it's clear in the movie that it was painful), do not orgasms make. She also wouldn't during some quick P in V on a train. There was clearly no manual clitoral stimulation happening, and her bored and fairly motionless body was clearly not trying to work the clit against his body while it was happening, so no, an orgasm would be unlikely.

These on their own in a movie would actually get a fairly good SSL review for realism. However, on the wider view, it seems to me as though these were just holding to a stereotype that sex is bad for girls when they are young. Granted, that's probably more true than not, but that's another post all together. My point here is that the banging she got on the trains was really not physically different than the banging they showed her getting, and orgasming to, later in her life. That change seems a little unmotivated and thoughtless. What was the difference? Her age? Her attitude? I mean if the movie is saying that her vagina is one of these lucky ones that stimulates to orgasms during a ramming, then why not on the train? It's kinda like if a movie depicted a teen boy all bored and stuff while getting his dick bounced on by a girl, but later showed the same physical actions making him orgasm when he was older - with no indication of what changed? It's weird, and frankly I don't think much thought beyond what people surfacely hear about girls and sex went into it.

Orgasm during intercourse that's realistic enough

  • An encounter much later in her life involves an orgasm during missionary intercourse, but the shot is more close-up and although no hands were on her vulva, there is a slight possibility that her vulva could be rubbing against his pelvis since she is holding him close to her.

Again, on it's own, I wouldn't have a problem with this scene. It's not portraying anything progressive or interesting on the female orgasm front, but it's not portraying a blatantly unrealistic lady-gasm either, so whatevs. However, mixed with the rest of the movie it's just neutral, and the rest of the bad depictions win over.

Lack of orgasm during intercourse

  • The other non orgasmic penetrations happen during the time that she mysteriously "loses" her orgasm while having intercourse. She says she can't feel anything. 

I have a slight distaste for this whole storyline in the movie because 1 - it assumes, she should be having orgasms during intercourse with no additional clit stim and 2 - it sets the female orgasm into a realm that's mystical, beyond rational physical properties. In fact, when she is talking about this "loss of orgasm" she describes a childhood orgasm, and it goes something like this: field trip in the hills, 12 years old, laying on her back in the grass, and she has this spontaneous orgasm where she begins to floats and sees two ghostly religious figure women in the air. It's mysterious, just like this "loss" of her orgasm.

Hey, I get that people have feelings about their orgasms that bleed into the realm of religion and spirituality, and that's all cool. Everybody has unique feelings and ways of describing their orgasms. My problem, in a nutshell, is that female orgasms are spoken about in this way (even by professionals) so very much more than male orgasms are. Lady-gasms are too often stereotyped as having a element of emotional or spiritual control that men's don't - as if they are mysterious, other-wordly, and unpredictable.  The truth is, if you look at the scientific literature, female orgasms are clearly understood, as patently physical and no more tricky than male orgasms, and there is no real indication that women are any more varied in their biologic orgasmic abilities than men are.

The mysterious stereotype it gets results more from the fact that people misunderstand the physical aspects of how female orgasm happens as opposed to lady-gasms actually being tricky. I feel like speaking about female orgasms as these mysterious beasts lets everyone off the hook of actually seeking understanding. Why learn about the physical nature of female orgasm when we can all just flippantly throw up our hands and say, "well women's orgasms are complicated, ya know - I mean the hormones and the emotional stuff, and ya know women are all just so very different, so....what can ya do?"

Non-intercourse orgasms - i.e. the realistic ones
Now, there are more depictions in this movie which are realistic and would be SSL Reviewed well if not for the larger scope of this movie. I want to point these out real quick.

  • Joe and a friend "playing frogs" when they were about 6ish, I guess. Basically, they pour water all over the bathroom floor, take off their panties (they are wearing skirts - nothing is revealed) and they sorta writhe separately on the floor on their stomachs. (I would be really annoyed about that water on the floor thing if they were my kids, btw).
  •  Also, we see that she likes to wrap her legs around the rope in gym class and rub against it (which can't help but make me think of a particular line from Wayne's World). 
  • Seligman, the man Joe is telling her story to, briefly imagines what Joe getting higher education might be like. Spoiler, it's her in a schoolgirl outfit, masturbating in weird, school related ways. At one point, there's randomly a stuffed fox next to her on the desk. To my delight, all the depictions involve something stimulating the clitoral/vulva area, and never something penetrating. It's realistic...I mean as realistic as this fantasy sequence could be. 
Well, there it is. Stuffed fox and masturbation with school stuff
  • We see her masturbate on a train. The indication is that she's making tiny circles on her crotch under the bag that lay on her lap - realistic! 
  • We see her masturbating in a bathroom stall at work, and she is rubbing her vulva in a circular motion - also realistic. 
  • The only depiction of cunnilingus happens when she was talking about a man who put her orgasm above all else. He goes down on her and clearly is stimulating her clitoral/vulva area, although the scene ends before she orgasms.
  • She orgasms during a session with a dude who has tied her up, face down, bent over the arm of a couch and is whipping the shit out of her. She figures out how to allow herself slight movement in the ropes and begins rubbing her clitoral/vulva area on the books that her pelvis is tied against, and she orgasms. I'm not gonna explain this scene, you'll just have to see the movie, but I will say that besides the fact that it's happening while her ass is being ripped with a knotted whip, the orgasm makes sense.
Joe being tied to the couch, no whipping just yet

I can get behind those scenes, but let me just point out one thing. Isn't it odd that every single time Joe is depicted masturbating, it involves stimulation of the vulva and clitoral glans. I mean, that is her choice for what works well, but when she's having sex with another person, she is suddenly depicted as pursuing orgasm through vaginal penetration (the exception is the 1 act of cunnilingus, of course). Why not penetrate herself during masturbation? Why not manually stimulate the clitoral glans during intercourse?

Oddly, this actually mirrors real life. Women do masturbate the way Joe does - which is not with vaginal penetration (The Hite Report has good numbers on this).  The way women (and Joe) masturbate actually works for attaining orgasm, and there's lots of scientific studies to prove it. However, my guess is we don't add this into our sexual encounters often enough because it seems weird to touch ourselves down there during it, leaving many women to simply not orgasm or to fake orgasms. So, I imagine the movie was made with this masturbation/sex orgasm discrepancy because that's what the filmmakers and actors see and experience as normal, so that's how it is in the movie.

One more thing. At one point Joe is in a bathroom stall masturbating her clit/vulva, and her voice over says,
"Some years later, the body abuse began to have an affect. First, rare bleedings from my clitoris, but then they became more and more frequent." 
She sees blood, and takes a closer look. We get to see the whole deal down there. There's blood on her inner thigh. It looks like it might be a sore or blood that came from another sore. The weird thing is, we see her clitoris and most of her whole vulva pretty clearly, and there is no blood at all or any discoloration or injury on her clit. It's only that area on her inner thigh. Seriously, I even paused and really checked this out. She then seems worried about it and takes a make-up mirror to look at her vaginal hole area - a place we can't really see. I really don't know what to make of this. I would think the movie makers have a basic understanding of anatomy...like where the clit is, but if I were to go by this scene, I would assume they think it is in the vaginal hole. I'll just hope this was some mix up where the voice over was supposed to say vagina instead of clit or something, but it's super strange.

Okay, that's about it. As you know, I'm not giving this a very good SSL Review. It's getting a little credit for the good realistic depictions in there, but as a whole it reiterated all the misunderstandings about female orgasm that I'm trying to fight....that it is caused by Ps moving in and out of Vs, that they are mysterious, and that the clit is in the vagina?...I guess. I do judge this a bit more harshly because it is a movie so specifically focused on the subject of female orgasm, and I hope so much for some element of progressiveness from it - especially because it's such an avant garde movie. I give slight leeway, though, because all the orgasm and sexuality stuff is probably meant to be all symbolic and metaphoric and shit, so who knows what ol' Lars von Trier was trying to say. But still the review is not great  - 1 and a half vulvas out of 5. (This is my first half vulva. Believe me - I hate cutting a vulva. That's really gross to me, but I couldn't decide between 1 and 2).

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Stay tuned for a list with description of all depictions and discussions of female sexual release or masturbation in Nymphomaniac Vol. 1&2. ****Find the list HERE

Oh - and P.S. The gross-ass, over-zealous, stiff tongued, throat-cleaning kissing that Shia LaBeouf was doing, particularly in the last scene of Volume 1, was making me want to vomit my popcorn back into the tub. I did not like it.