Well, my friends, it's time for a new installment of LIKDIT! In case you're new here, this is a series I do, and it stands for "Ladies I Know Doing Interesting Things!" I pronounce it as "liked it!" and, quite importantly, I always say it in a way that one can clearly tell there's an exclamation point at the end.
Here's the lowdown. LIKDIT! women have to be people I know personally, not just any ol' gal I read about. Also, they have to be doing something sort of open to the pubic, something that is more than a job or a business, or some personal awesomeness. I gotta have rules. Otherwise, I would just have too many women in my life to include. No, it must be something more purely creative or philanthropic in nature, and she/they have to be putting themselves out there.
Which brings me to Ms. Heidi Keller Phillips and the women of Motus Dance. Motus debuted in 2003, and they've grown into a thriving little bright point of dance here in Indy over the last 10 years. I actually met Heidi around that time Motus began. She auditioned and got the part as "Woman" in a short we were doing called Embolism. So, I've kind of watched Motus grow up. Heidi was a core artist at the time, but she became the director a few years ago when the original director, a fine woman herself, went off to pursue other interests more full time.
They have a full schedule of shows throughout the year, and frankly, I love watching them. Now, as I say in these LIKDIT!s often, I'm no expert or professional critic. I don't know nothin' about no dancin' or no dancers. I just like what I like. The dancers choreograph and create their events from the bottom up. The performances are unique, lovely, and sometimes pretty eery, plus the costume and music choices are always superb, and often unexpected. Oh - and in the past few years, they have really figured out how to create lovely lighting that compliments the pieces and enhances the whole experience. That is kinda big in my opinion because much like sound is often neglected in indie movies, from my perspective lighting often seems neglected in indie dance and performances. They're the whole package, folks.
So, here's to the ladies of Motus Dance! I thought this was a good time for their LIKDIT! because they are holding their yearly event, Pairing, in a couple weeks. It's pretty cool - kinda like a relaxed gourmet dinner, but during each course you get to watch a dance piece inspired by the wine you're being served. So you get wine, dance, fancy appetizers prepared by awesome local chefs, and lots of fab guests to mingle and get drunk on wine with. Go HERE for more info.
Also, check this Motus promotional piece. It's quite lovely if you ask me - and created by our own Charles Borowicz (one of our Science, Sex and the Ladies directors, as I'm sure you know).
|Logo from a blog with Orgasm Equality guts|
This goes under the category of other people I've found on the web who are contributing positively to the Orgasm Equality Movement. I happened upon a post at Moms Who Drink and Swear by Nicole Knepper where she talks about telling her son and daughter about the clitoris - rhymes with Deloris. It's funny - so I suggest you read it. But, it's also important.
The clit is so ignored (certainly in childhood but unfortunately throughout many aspects of our adult culture too), so overshadowed by the ol' vag, and so misunderstood that simply teaching our children that it exists and what its function is...and then making it public knowledge that you did such a thing so others might follow in your footsteps is downright revolutionary if you ask me. As you well know, I think that introducing children to the idea of the clit is important, and I love this mother's approach. It's done with such ease and humor, giving all those moms and dads who read it a positive model in this under-discussed realm of parenthood.
Anyway, Check it out, and a big SSL thank you to Nicole Knepper.
|Sage advice from Ron Swanson|
Oh and the super duper bonus! It's set in an Indiana town, which is pretty sweet because, as you know, I am a Hoosier born an raised. I know all you people from New York and LA and Chicago, are like "big deal, every show ever takes place in my actual city." Well you can all kiss my ass because it's super exciting to see anything on TV or movies that are involved with anything, anywhere in my entire state. I was at an arts theater here in Indy many years back watching The Brown Bunny (which could possibly be described as the slowest, saddest porno ever created), and there was a shot of a familiar Indianapolis interstate sign from the intersection of I70 and I65. I mean literally it was the sign that said like - "I70 East to Columbus OH." Anyway, the crowd cheered, so yeah - I'm excited to have an awesome show set here in Indiana.
Okay, that was a long road to get to my point. My friend Jake sent me a link to a MensHealth.com article where Nick Offerman (AKA Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec) gives his 9 Man Rules. As expected, ol' Ron Swanson pulls through with some good, non-sexist rules for being a good and happy person. I can't speak on the listening to Tom Waites and reading Wendall Berry stuff, but I trust Ron Swanson, so I'll go with it. Where the subject of this blog comes in is #9.
9. Listen to Your WifeThat's right, Nick Offerman/Ron Swanson knows the importance of the clit. He didn't say vagina. He said clit. Just saying that word gets points from me, but I think there is something more important here. I used the slash for Nick Offerman/Ron Swanson here because the man is often seen as the character and vice versa - and for some good reason. Both do woodwork pretty seriously. Both spent/spend time married to Megan Mullally. Both have a butch style and sport the thick facial hair. They have a similar demeanor, a woodsy, work with your hands ruggedness, an unpolished non-Hollywood feel. In a lot of ways, Nick Offerman/Ron Swanson has become the newest man's man, an example of masculinity that both hipsters and Tea-Partiers could find little fault in. Yet, like the show as a whole, he's always feeding you a spoonful of sugar with a side of feminism - with his unending respect for good character qualities in women and his marked lack of lame sexist remarks for laugh points.
I’ve been married for 13 years. The main piece of advice on making any relationship work is this: pay attention to it and nurture it. That’s the priority. If you have a shrub and you want it to flourish, you have to water it and prune it and talk nice to it and pay attention to its clitoris, which is a horticultural term you can look up.
So, I think it's no small thing to hear the beacon of modern manliness not go for some joke about doing what your wife says (cause she'll get what she wants in the end anyway - ha ha!) but to instead say something so simple, universal, and true - that part of nurturing one's relationship with his wife is to pay attention to the relationship and also to her clitoris.
Amen, Ron, Amen.
My BlogHer Cross-Post for Clitoris Awareness Week or I Don't Like Flower Pics Used to Represent Female Genitals
International Clitoris Awareness Week, am I right...am I right? For real though, the personal and work life was particularly full. I also cranked out a blog per day, which is about 2 to 3 times more blogging than I usually do. Plus, I wrote an extra blog to cross-post onto BlogHer. Let me discuss that whole thing a bit.
I'd already registered as a member of the site a while back, which just means my blog is listed in their giant directory, but to actually get a post on the site one needs to actually create a new post just for BlogHer on their site. They promote it as a way to show off your blog's style, so that if people like it they can click through to your blog for more reading. That's good enough for me. Cross-posting had been on my to-do list for a while now, and it being Clit Week, it seemed like perfect timing.
My thoughts were that I should write something that clearly touched the critical Orgasm Equality Movement points I hold dear like;
- orgasms come from clits not vaginas although media and society in general insinuate the opposite for some god-awful reason
- women can orgasm as quickly, easily, and reliably as men do...as long as the right parts are stimulated
Let me just go back and point out that I was a little obsessed with creating this post. I put more time and effort into it than I should have. I was worried about what picture I should use in it, whether the grammar was checked thoroughly, and what title would best lead people to read. Also, I was trying to format the post so I could have a good little blurb that showed up in the preview post - which is the first thing people would see before they clicked in to read. For some damn reason though, the things that were supposed to let me do that weren't working. It made me want to punch the hell out of my computer screen, but eventually I said F*** it, and just uploaded it. The preview ended up just being my first few lines, and I moved on with my life.
It sat in the line of cross-posted blogs in the "All posts" category for about half a day, not getting much looks, and then I got an email from the Love&Sex editor saying she was going to feature it on the Love&Sex page and on the BlogHer home page - which I was totally cool with, as you might imagine. She also said they'd done some light editing to make it fit their format, which meant they changed the picture, the title, and the amount of text we saw in the preview. It went from the title, "A Little Activism for an Underutilized Body Part, Anyone?" with a balloon picture (seen in this post) I made where one balloon said "Clitoris Awareness Week" to the title "International Clitoris Awareness Week: How Aware Are You?" and a picture of a blossoming red rose. I guess I shouldn't have worried so much about the title or the picture or the formatting. I could probably have hours of my life back if I'd realized that. Anyway, I wasn't too worried about the changes, but I would like to point out that I think it's kinda creepy strange to always use pictures of flowers when speaking of women's genitals. It makes me think of weird, spiritual-based, old hippie love-ins that I might find featured on the 3rd segment of HBO's Real Sex. I don't like it, and I would never have chosen that pic, but what-evs.
So, anyway, the post got featured this past Thursday on the Love&Sex section, and then a few hours later I see it on the BlogHer Home Page, and then the next day it was highlighted as one of the 4 scrolling featured posts on the home page, so I was pretty pumped. A lot of people were seeing it - I mean a lot to me at least. So far, I've had over 2000 reads (although that might mean someone just clicked on the page and then left before actually reading anything), almost 300 people shared the post on Facebook, about 40 people Tweeted it, and 1 person Sparkeld it. I have no idea what that means, but I like sparkles, so I feel like it must be good. Point is, I'm really excited that people were reading about this crazy orgasm activist stuff, and even more pleased that at least some people thought it was interesting enough to share with their friends. It gives me hope that people will actually be receptive to the contents of this upcoming movie and that some of these ideas actually have a fighting chance of catching on a bit.
So, that's my story. I'm probably gonna start trying these kinds of cross posting things more and more. I mean the whole point of all this is to get these ideas more into pop culture, so the more eyes I can get the better.
We've made it, folks. We've reached the end of the 7 day International Clitoris Awareness Week SSL blog marathon. It's been pretty fun for me, but I am only one woman doing this thing, so I'll be going back to my 2 to 3 a week routine from now on, but on to current business.
It's Mother's Day. What do mothers and clitorides (That's a grammatically correct plural of clitoris - I swear to you) have to do with one another, you ask? Well, clearly, moms tend to have clitorides. Baby making, which for many can also be considered mother-making, often has to do with sexual stuff, and clits also have to do with sex stuff. Plus, moms have the opportunity to introduce their children to the idea of the clitoris.
|my mom with her mom...and sweet pants|
Those aspects, I think my mom was right on about. She was open and age appropriate and taught when teaching moments arose. For instance, when we were hanging out on the front porch and my friend's brother Billy came down the street all newly full of pimples and stuff, my mom took the opportunity to tell me about what happens to boys during puberty. When we were watching Shag, and some boys were throwing water filled condoms at the girl's car, she told me what condoms were. When there was this local news story on about parents upset with a teacher who's sex ed class included an educational video that talked about masturbation, my mom said, "Trisha you know what masturbation is, right?" - or something like that. Sitting in that little living room, with my mom and dad watching TV, I was kinda mortified, but I sure as hell did in fact know what masturbation was, and I was able to conjure up a shy, "yeah." At least that's how I remember it. I don't remember that anything else was discussed, but my mom clearly let me know in that moment that masturbation did not disgust her, that it was something that could be spoken about, and that she kinda expected me to know what it was. That's a mothering win.
She also happened to get a degree in childhood development and was working at the YWCA around the time I was heading into puberty, and she brought me home some pamphlets about puberty and sex. These definitely did talk about the clit and have those (actually kind of unclear now that I think about it) diagrams of the clit/vulva area. They also had a few examples of girls bodies as they were going through puberty - like some didn't get much boob and others were kapow and stuff. Some had a lot of hair. Some didn't. They also had all kinds of questions girls might have with good, thoughtful answers.
It was slightly progressive, accurate info she put into my hands. I looked at them over and over again. I'd bring them to slumber parties and all us girls would look at them and talk about them. In a way, she not only educated me, but she educated a lot of my friends too.
I do very much appreciate that. In fact, I appreciate my mom for all the ways she equipped me for life. I'm making a movie and writing a blog that I am excited and passionate about. I feel confident and loved and I generally like my life and my direction. I don't believe I'd be able to move in my skin so easily without the base she gave me. As I grow, I see more and more how many people were not made someone's priority as a child, and I think it's one of the saddest things in the world. So, thanks for that, and in the spirit of the week, thanks also mom, for giving me a fighting chance at being sexually confident and well adjusted. My friends thank you too.
I'm proud of you, and I love you to pieces, Muchiste! Also, I'm probably going to tag you in this when I post it on Facebook, so I hope it's not embarrassing.
|baby me, mom, and my sis - who is also a fantastic mom|
There are two lasting gifts we can give our children - one is roots and the other is wings. - from a little framed thing my mom always had up at our house.
International Clitoris Awareness Week blog posts, and today the focus is being angry. I happened upon this post from 2010 recently at Frothing at the Brain . It's just a girl who wants to tell the world that she's pissed off about how little information she was given about an important aspect of her life. She deserves to be angry. She deserves to say it's ridiculous, and she's not alone in the anger or in living through the ridiculousness.
Today, I am angry. Today I am so furious that there are tears in my eyes and I can’t go one day longer without making a noise about this.
I am angry that the so-called “sex education” I was provided with was so incredibly inadequate. I find it hard to believe what I’m about to say, but I know it’s true, because I lived through it.
Nobody told me I had a clitoris.
Nobody told me I was capable of having orgasms.
For five years I was given “sex education”. It mostly consisted of periods and condoms. It didn’t talk about consent. It didn’t talk about the actual mechanics of sex, about arousal and lubrication and oscillation. It didn’t tell me a single thing about relationships and it didn’t tell me I had a clitoris.
I only know now because of the internet. Nobody entrusted with my care and education has ever told me that the female orgasm exists, or about the parts of my anatomy necessary for it.
Now, we all had different sexual educations within our different schools and by different teachers. We all had different parents who insinuated, expected, and taught us different things about sexuality. We were all exposed to different friends and media and were from different areas, but I bet we all lacked or misunderstood some key knowledge about our sexual functioning when we first became sexually active. Yeah, everybody has to learn a bit. We have to explore with ourselves and with each other to really get the grove of things, but that's not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about basic stuff like what a female orgasm is like or what the clitoris is. I'm talking about more than simply a lack of knowledge, but actually being led in the wrong direction. I'm talking about thinking we'd just be able to orgasm when a dude put his penis in and moved it in and out (I explain more clearly why that's so problematic HERE). I'm talking about thinking that truly sexual women can enjoy some Fifty Shades of Grey shit like earth shattering orgasms when someone tweaks your nips, or having a partner that can bang you into an orgasm. I'm talking about realizing that you can't do that Fifty Shades of Grey (or you can input any sexual media in here - porn, romance novels, Hollywood sex scenes or any scenes in any HBO shows) shit and thinking that you must be one of the unlucky ones - or worse - thinking you are broken, or less sexual, or not trying hard enough. I'm talking about never seeing women touch their clits in movie sex. I'm talking about never having a problem orgasming alone, but realizing that when you do the things you think you should be doing with a partner, orgasm just isn't a part of that. I'm talking about reading about "vaginal orgasms" and "mind-blowing orgasmic sex positions" in Cosmo that are never mind-blowing or orgasmic put into real life practice. I'm talking about a society that often ignores our clitoris as part of partnered sex, that insinuates in every way that we should just be able to orgasm by being fucked, and then tries to "fix" us when we're not. Maybe it's your hormones. Maybe you can't "let go" enough to orgasm. Maybe you aren't trying enough positions. Maybe you aren't actually in love with your partner..
Maybe it's that we're not stimulating our clitorises, people.
It seems insane that in needs to be said, but it absolutely does. If a dude asked a sexpert why he couldn't achieve orgasm when he was getting boned in the ass or when his balls were being tickled, the answer would be clear. It wasn't a hormone imbalance or that he wasn't emotionally in it enough - you need to stimulate your penis, son! A man likely wouldn't ask that question though because contrary to what we ladies get treated to, the culture's insinuations about male orgasm clearly involves stimulating his organ of sexual pleasure. So, maybe the 70% of us women who don't claim to have vaginal orgasms aren't broken or less sexually capable. Maybe there is such a deep belief that our vaginas should be giving us orgasms that we even fool ourselves sometimes. Maybe most of the things we ladies learn from our culture about or orgasm is a bunch of bullshit.
And we should be angry. If you think about an aspect of your sex life and want to cry because you feel inadequate or stupid or unworthy, you have every right. Cry it out girl, but then realize that you aren't broken or pathetic or less sexually capable - the world around you is just assuming the wrong shit, and we need to set it straight.
International Clitoris Awareness Week, and it's also Friday. This all says to me that you need something fun and weekend related and clit-ish to read/look at/listen to. Well, my friends, what's more fun and weekend-related for clits than being encompassed by another person's mouth? Not much. Gettin' ett the hell out - that's what I'm blogging about today, but you know, in a really nothing sort of way. I'm just throwing a few fun cunnilingus things out at you. No biggie.
First, Charlie follows this one user, YesWeCanCan on 8Tracks, and he just found a mix from her called "Songs to Eat Girls Out To," so he promptly informed me. It's a pretty good mix - a lot of good ol' slow jams. I'd be honored to be eaten out to this mix. Check it out HERE, and if you get mouth pampered down there for the full 57 minutes of the mix, then bully for you!...or not - I don't know - maybe it wasn't so good, and that's why it took so damn long. In that case you need to talk a bit more with your partner about what you need so you can avoid over-use chafing in your nether regions and ferocious mouth/tongue exhaustion for your sexy-time friend. However, if you actually do have somebody who can't get enough face time with your junk, then for god's sake, woman, don't turn that away. You might as well ride that train and see where it leads.
Okay, next I just wanted to put up the ol' SNL Colonel Angus bit. If you haven't seen this, and wonder what it's all about, just go ahead and say "Colonel Angus" with an old-timey genteel Southern accent. I just like this. Tina Fey was the brains behind this, and I'd very much like to thank her for that. Plus Christopher Walkins is, in fact, Colonel Angus, as they note, "...once a woman is introduced to Colonel Angus, she'll settle for nothing less." You'll love him, but if he overstays his welcome, you can just tap him on the head.
Well, on that note, have a good weekend, and I'll be back at ya tomorrow.
Anyway, I love the word binner, and in case you didn't know, women really do get clit boners. It's just that we ladies get all full of blood on the inside not the outside like dudes. The clit is actually a big ol thing that is formed from the same embryonic tissue as the penis. The part of the clit you see is only the glans. The glans is important because it includes almost all the nerve ending, but it is just a small bit of the total structure. Beneath the skin is the clitoral body. You can feel it by rolling your finger from side to side just above the clit. It feels like an inch or so of a drinking straw sized structure. The clitoral body then splits into 2 legs made of erectile tissue. They aren't full of nerves, but they sure do get full of blood like the penis does when aroused.
We ladies get as much blood in our genitals as men do, but it's easier to see on the gents, as you know. The clit certainly gets bigger like the penis does when we get all hornified, but the glans part only becomes bigger for some women. It mostly increases in the legs, and actually the size increase of the clitoral legs often pulls the clitoral glans more into the body and under the hood during the height of arousal, making it actually seem kinda smaller. Anyway, long story short, the clitoris is quite similar to the penis. It's just that the erectile tissue is more inside the body, and the nerve endings are clustered more densely on the clitoral glans instead of spread along the penis skin. Also, start using the word binner. It's fun.
Here's the 3rd of my daily clit-related posts in honor of International Clitoris Awareness Week. This is gonna be a nice light read today. I think you deserve something easy and fun to get you past hump day and on to the end of this most holy of weeks. So, below are quotes involving the clitoris - from movies, famous people, you know that sort of thing. I just searched around the internet and found a few.
Let me tell ya though, clit quotes are a whole lot harder to find than penis or vagina quotes. There are pages of dick and vag quotes on the web. I mean, yeah I see why penises are talked about, but why so much vag and so little clit. The clit brings us orgasms, and I've never heard of an clit diseases, have you? Vaginas bring us crying babies, and menstruation, and yeast infections. I mean, personally if I could keep one or the other it would definitely be the clit. You can quote me on that.
|Betty's Porn 2. 2007. http://dodsonandross.com/fineart/bettys-porn-2|
The clitoris is the female sex organ, and the fact that we aren't told that when we were small children is devastating. We grow up with no information about the pleasure center of our body.
Betty Dodson (Activist and Artist)
“God gave woman a clitoris--a small little bit of flesh with only one purpose--transcendent sexual pleasure. So how is it that some people believe God and sex shouldn't be in the same sentence?”
Lisa Valdez (Author)
“The only bodily organ which is really regarded as inferior is the atrophied penis, a girl's clitoris.”
Sigmund Freud (He's pretty much an ass on this issue. Remember that whole clit-gasms are inferior / vag-gasms are superior thing he said that ruled most of the 20th century and still kinda does to this day?)
“You have to be careful with the clitoris, because if the piercer doesn't know what he's doing, it can be numbed for good.”
"I'm Sylvia, and my clitoris is in crisis"
From the movie A Dirty Shame, which is a John Waters film with Johny Knoxville and Tracey Ullman - what's not to love?
Dwight: [to Toby] You said we could come to you if we had any questions... Where is the clitoris? On the website it said "at the crest of the labia." What does that mean?...What does the female vagina look like?
Toby: [talking head] Technically, I am in Human Resources, and Dwight was asking me about human anatomy. Um... I'm just sad the public school system failed him so badly.
From the TV show The Office
Zack Brown: Oh, you'll be sorry when I'm giving you the best orgasms of your life.
Miriam Linky: Yeah right. As if you even know what you're doing down there.
Zack Brown: Where's the clitoris again? Is it in your ass?
From the movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno
In civilized societies today ... clitoris envy, or womb envy, takes subtle forms. Man's constant need to disparage woman, to humble her, to deny her equal rights, and to belittle her achievements--all are expressions of his innate envy and fear.
Elizabeth Gould Davis (Author and Feminist)
Sherman: "Now tell us, Barry, why did your wife leave? Spit it out of your mouth. Say it. Say it, boy."
Barry: "I lost her clitoris!"
Party guest: "You lost her clitoris?"
Barry: "She got mad because I couldn't find it, and I said 'It's probably in your purse,' because nine times out of 10 when she loses something, that's where they end up."
Party guest: "Barry do you even know what that is?"
Barry: "I don't know what half the stuff in her purse is."
Sherman: "Don't worry Barry, I found it. It was in her purse. It was in her naughty purse."
Party guest: "Wow. Well thank God somebody found it, right?"
Barry: "I thought I found it, under the couch. Turns out it was just an old piece of chewing gum."
From the movie Dinner for Schmucks
South Richmond was a neighborhood of mouse holes, lace curtains, Sears catalogs, measles epidemics, baloney sandwiches- and men who knew more about the carburetor than they knew about the clitoris.
Tom Robbins Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
However, I didn't put much thought into where exactly my clitoral glans was in relation to where I was touching. When I masturbated, I just grinded my vulva area against a pillow in a way that felt good, or later, I just move my hand against my vulva in a way that felt good. The truth is, stuff is pretty compact down there, and actually touching right on the bare clitoral glans is often too intense for many women, so it can be confusing.
In fact, I actually identified my clitoral glans as the place where my urine exited. I did this, I think, for a couple reasons.
1. When I looked down while peeing, it looked like the stream was coming out from that little bump (my clit) just below where my lips met up at the top of my vulva. The way my junk looked gave me the impression that the urethral opening was at the point where the hood came over my clit. The urethral opening is actually located just under the clit, so the stream does come from that area, so I wasn't too off base.
2. The other part was that when my hood was pushed up and the clit was touched, it was very uncomfortable, not pleasurable. It felt kinda stingy like it would feel for someone to touch your urethral opening. What I didn't realize is that the clitoris is so dense with nerve endings that a lot of women consider it too intense for direct touching (particularly before high levels of arousal are achieved). I hadn't realized it, but I liked the clitoral hood or the inner vulva lips to shield the pressure and stimulation.
I don't know how I finally came to realize the actual location of my clit, but I know it was when I was at least 20 and in college, and I know I felt pretty stupid at the time. Whatever, though, I knew what I liked to feel down there, and that's good enough. What I'm saying here is it's not crazy to be cognizant of the pleasure created through clitoral stimulation without being able to clearly identify your own clitoral glans.
That said, it's probably a good idea to identify it. I mean, why not? It might help you even better understand how you like to be touched and help you relay that to partners. I know it did for me. This page at The_Clitoris.com shows the clit within a few different vulvas. They are real pictures, and that helps a lot because women's vulvas have such different lip structures and look so different that it's hard to visualize your own anatomy within those drawn diagrams you always see (like the one above).
So, I definitely recommend clearly identifying the locations of your clitoral glans. And remember, bigger or more visible doesn't mean more orgasmic. They all work. All that said, when it comes to utilizing your clit for it's main purpose, an orgasm, then don't worry too much about the seeing and identifying, just explore the tissue around it and see what feels good, then continue doing that till you get the ol' gasm. It might take a few times to get the hang of it, but just keep at it, and you'll figure it out. Also use lots of lube. That vuvla skin is sensitive. Now, go and enjoy International Clitoris Awareness Week!
For International Clitoris Awareness Week (May 6th thru the 12th), I've taken the activism challenge, and I'll be posting some clit related blogs each day this week. Today, I'm going to present a challenge to all the mothers and fathers out there.
The challenge is this: Parents, say the word clitoris to your daughters and sons before they hit puberty, and if that time has past - just say it.
Think about when you learned about the word clitoris. How old were you? How did you hear it? Did you know what it meant or where it was on the body? Did you ever hear your mother or father say it? What about the word penis? When did you first learn what it was and where it was on the body?
The penis is the male organ of sexual pleasure and the clitoris is the organ of female sexual pleasure, yet boys and girls rarely hear the word clitoris in our formative years. If we hear anything, we hear "vagina" - or if we're lucky "vulva." The vagina is not the organ of sexual pleasure, yet it is what we most often hear in relation to females and sex. However, most of us know what a penis is early in life and eventually associate it with sexual pleasure. Unfortunately, we rarely get that early knowledge of the clitoris, and sometimes never fully associate it with sexual pleasure. In fact we wrongly associate the vagina with sexual pleasure. Just imagine for a minute how that affects our sexual experiences, and then imagine how things might have been different if you had heard a parent say the word clitoris to you and associated it with an area on the body.
Talking about sexual things with kids is scary though, even for the most sex positive among us, so I'm here to help. First, here's an exchange that Alix Kates Shulman imagined in her fabulous 1971 essay, "Organs and Orgasms."
Also, in case you don't think you can actually say the words, here are links to child appropriate books that can do it for you. Just give it to them and tell them they can ask any questions they want once they read it.
"What's Happening to Me?" This book was sitting around my husband's house while he was growing up, and since he has 5 younger siblings, it was still sitting around when we started dating. I think it's still there. Anyway, all 8 of those kids read this, and even though it didn't involve a big talk or anything with the parents, it was still available, and that in itself was something kinda progressive, a subtle message from parent to child, that I think had a positive effect. It doesn't have a lot about the clit but it's there, and it is associated with pleasure.
What's Happening to Me? This isn't the same book as the one above - notice the lack of quotes. I believe this is focused for boys. The web said this is good, but not for conservatives, but what is?
What's Happening to Me? (Girls's Edition) For the daughters.
It's Perfectly Normal - This is highly praised on the ol' internets, recommended for ages 10 to 14 and is pretty comprehensive. It does include a discussion of the clitoris as an organ of sexual pleasure.
Now, I have not read the last 3. My leanings are from web research, so please read the book yourself and decide when and if these are appropriate for your kids.
Any way you decide to do this is an amazing step forward, and I applaud any effort you have already or plan on putting towards this challenge. Also, thanks for trying your best to raise well adjusted kids. It's a heavy job, but an extremely important one - cause as Whitney once said, "the children are the future."
I like the idea of an awareness week. I don't think it's like a huge everyone-and-her-mama-knows-about-it thing, but it was featured in the Huffington post, and I saw a few Facebook posts about it from people in my feed who weren't necessarily sex or feminist advocates, so I think it picked up a little notoriety. Clitoraid created this event. They are a humanitarian organization dedicated to surgically repairing clitorises for female genital mutilation [FGM] victims. However, they created this first annual International Clitoris Awareness Week to focus on the positive. Nadine Gary, the Clitoraid spokes person says:
It’s been ignored, vilified, made taboo, and considered sinful and shameful for centuries because of patriarchal religious values,” Gary said. “It’s time to give this beautiful organ the attention it deserves. It’s the only human organ with an exclusive sexual pleasure function!Agreed. I'm all for anything that gives the clit more spotlight. I know it's not an invisible word, but it's also not part of our verbal culture the way it should be. It's rarely a part of our sexual education in schools. It's not the dominate word we ladies use to discuss our genitals - even though it's the part that gives us our pleasure. It is way under-used in porn, and sadly, in women's magazines that give sex advice, where the focus is all too often vaginal penetration. The clit is the organ of female sexual pleasure just as the penis is the organ of male sexual pleasure, but little girls probably don't learn the word until they are already headed into puberty if not much later. When we do learn it, it's probably not because our parents or other trusted adults identify the clit as a part of our body the way penises are identified for tiny boys, but more likely it's because we snuck a peak of the word in a book or magazine, and if we're lucky, as a passing label on a picture in sex ed. It's a word most of us don't hear our parents and teachers say.
More clit in our culture is good for the Orgasm Equality Movement, and so I thank Clitoraid, and I appreciate the challenge for activism they put out on their site:
For International Clitoris Awareness Week, Clitoraid is inviting women to organize special events.Challenge accepted. I'm going to use my blog, but I hope some other readers will accept the challenge in their own way. Go Team Clit!
“Whether through educational lectures, art exhibits, songs and dance, or a ‘girl’s night’ of sharing, each woman can celebrate sexual beauty the way she chooses,” Gary said. “Sexual expression brings self-esteem and inner balance, so let's revere the clitoris in all its glory while completely free of shame and guilt!”
Well, tomorrow is First Friday again here in Indy. That means we're putting up some Science, Sex and the Ladies posters around the gallery areas where people will be walking. Charlie whipped these out yesterday. I really like them, and I think we'll stick with this concept for a while. The photos are a mixture of stills from the movie, portraits of actors in character, and behind the scenes stuff. It's just fun, kinda intriguing things that have to do with the movie. There are plenty, plenty more that can be made, and I'm looking forward to seeing what ol' CBruv comes up with.
So, if you're out and about, particularly in the Fountain Square area, keep an eye out for the posters - oh and please enjoy -I think it's going to be a super nice spring night for the Indianapolis May First Friday!
I'll say right off the bat that Blue Valentine is getting the 5 out of 5 vulva rating. The movement, the area of stimulation, and the build to orgasm seemed realistic. Plus, there were no other strange, unwarranted, silly depictions or discussions of female sexual response in this movie to ruin it.
The sexual situations in Blue Valentine are more raw than we're probably used to seeing in movies. There's not a lot of stagey positioning during sex scenes to make things look less lascivious, and the cunnilingus scene in question is no exception. The couple is on a bed. She's wearing a dress, and by golly he just gets his head right on down there between her legs. He's snuggled down there good; clearly stimulating the outer vulva/clit area and not looking as though he's trying to ram his tongue into the vagina or anything ridiculous like that. She responds by moving her body so her hips are hungrily rocking against his face, and the intensity of her body movement and the quiet vocalizations indicate that she is building up to orgasm. There is a subtle cut, and we then see her happily laughing and looking satiated while his head is still in place between her legs; although he's not still working it like he was. It basically looks as though she just came and is now laughing out of ticklishness, or happiness, or slight embarrassment, or whatever in the aftermath.
It's actually a pretty nice scene in my opinion; kinda dirty-hot, realistic, and a bit sweet. Interestingly, this scene was integral in getting the movie an NC-17 rating when it first went through the ratings process, but they fought back and eventually received an R-rating for the movie. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams famously spoke out about the ridiculousness of the NC-17. Gosling saying:
You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It's misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman's sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.And Williams saying:
The MPAA's decision on Blue Valentine unmasks a taboo in our culture, that an honest portrayal of a relationship is more threatening than a sensationalized one," says Williams. "Mainstream films often depict sex and violence in a manner that is disturbing and very far from reality. Yet, the MPAA regularly awards these films with a more audience friendly rating, enabling our culture's desensitization to violence, rape, torture and brutality. Our film does not depict any of these attributes. It's simply a candid look at the difficulties couples face in sustaining their relationships over time. Blue Valentine opens a door for couples to have a dialogue about the everyday realities of many relationships. This film was made in the spirit of love, honesty and intimacy. I hope that the MPAA will hear our pleas and reconsider their decision.They've got a point, and I suggest watching the documentary, "This Movie Has Not Yet Been Rated" to get even deeper into the stupid way movies are rated.
One other point of SSL interest about this movie; there is also a sex scene in which Williams is having sex doggy style with another dude (not Gosling). She's getting a good pounding; and it's straight up P in V. There is no extra clitoral stimulation or any other extras. The dude clearly builds to orgasm and then comes while still inside her. She clearly does not build in arousal or come. That scene (showing penile stimulation of the inside of the vagina) is a realistic portrayal of an act that is not realistically going to bring a woman to orgasm, so I give it props for that too.
All in all, I liked the movie okay. There are aspects that I really, really liked a lot and others that I was luke-warm about, but I would recommend it. It's well worth a watch...especially since it got 5 vulvas for its realistic portrayal of female sexual response, ya'll!
|Betty Dodson at the Class|
I have noticed the article getting a bit of press, and I'm pretty happy about it. I have a lot of respect for Ms. Dodson and the work she has done for Orgasm Equality. I was actually able to interview her for this blog, wrote a series of posts about her, and she even contributed to our Kickstarter fundraiser for the movie to which this blog relates, Science, Sex and the Ladies. So, quickly, here's what I liked or found interesting in the article.
1 The author said, "I was on my way to a female group masturbation workshop where I was going to be “playing the clitar” in front of strangers for approximately five hours." I like the term "playing the clitar," and I like that masturbation was clearly and accurately associated with clitoral stimulation.
2 About how Betty got into this, the article reads;
Originally a fine artist, Betty changed careers in the '70s when she discovered feminism and the sexual revolution. She started going to group sex parties and while watching couples get down she noticed a pattern: All the men were climaxing and all the women were faking it. Not a single woman was having a real orgasm. She was so upset she decided to take matters into her own hands, and when I say “matters” I mean clits.Again, I love the clit love, but also, I'd like to point out how very real this men-are-orgasming-but-women-aren't problem still is. For one, just look at porn. Faking is what female porn stars do, they even say as much on documentaries. Also, the stats about how often women come during intercourse hasn't really changed since then. Only about 1/3 of women claim to come on a regular basis during intercourse (our most common of sexual interactions) - even though all it would take for us to regularly orgasm too would be for us to work our own clits during the act. We have a lot more work to do in this culture to make women feel entitled and comfortable pursuing their orgasms in realistic ways - i.e. clit stim causes orgasms - not vaginal stimulation.
3 Betty said this, which I think is a pretty realistic and thoughtful thing to say;
“My mantra is vaginal penetration with clitoral stimulation,” Betty said. She believes that it’s crucial not to focus solely on clitoral stimulation when you jill off because then when you have partner sex, you’ll be totally lost.I mean, she's got a good point. Most of the time women spend in sexual situations is going to be dominated by the act of intercourse. Yeah, it'd be nice if non intercourse activities were more of a main course in sexual interactions, but for the moment - reality is reality. Ladies, for us, getting off during partnered sex largely includes rubbin' one out while there's a wang up our vag. Having something in there and not having something in there feels a little different, and it's a good idea to become familiar during masturbation with the sensations that will be present during intercourse. Plus, it's a good idea to have some variety in your masturbation routine - for men and women alike. The way we masturbate sort of teaches us how to orgasm, and the more variety we have in our jerkin' repertoire, the more varied we can be in our sexual interactions with other people.
4 In general, the author was really open and positive and didn't get al wierded out by a big naked masturbation / show and tell circle. It was just kind of a sweet article.
Photo of Betty Dodson by Bek Anderson at http://nymag.com/thecut/2012/11/i-went-to-a-female-masturbation-class.html