Press Kit Response to the Most Controversial part of Science, Sex and the Ladies

I have about 15 blog posts rolling around in my mind that I would like to write. However, I can't seem to find the time to do any of those right now (sorry about the almost week between this and last post by the way...). The day job and some other things are taking priority right now. So, I am posting something here, but it is actually something I recently wrote for our online press kit for the movie. We have a section in there called Q&A, where we answer some commonly asked questions about the movie.

Let me just say that the responses we have been getting from this movie have all been positive, I know that sounds ridiculous, but let me explain further. Some responses are super positive through and through, but others are mostly positive but with some concerns. The concerns always come from the most controversial part of the movie, so I get it. There is a lot of content in this movie and most are things that are hard not to get behind. It's that whole part about us saying that the stimulation of the vaginal walls has never been shown to cause orgasm that gets some people. However, it's the part I think is most important. We as a culture have ignored this issue for far too long, and I think that's part of the reason we're in the situation we are in now.

So, I figured we needed to talk more about this part of the movie in the press kit, because I know it really does strike nerves - sometimes hurtfully and sometimes refreshingly, and I think responses to it can be guttural and emotional, so I think it's important to clearly reiterate what exactly the movie is saying and to keep it in perspective. So here's that little section of our Press Kit Q&A.

still from Sciences, Sex and the Ladies

Do you really think that vaginal orgasms don’t exist?
 We knew that discussing the vaginal orgasm in the way we do would be controversial.  However, this discussion is a fundamental elements of SSL’s argument, and we believe it opens up important  conversations that our culture must engage in if there is to be any real change. 
What the movie actually states is that an orgasm caused by stimulation of the vaginal walls has never been documented. Given the media omnipresence and the cultural importance of women attaining orgasm merely through the penile/vaginal penetration, and given that there are women who clearly say that they do orgasm this way, this statement could seem overly bold and even harsh. Yet, it’s a true statement, at least as true as we can tell. Of course, one never knows what may pop up in the literature, but we do keep up pretty well on the research. 
There are some popularly cited studies used often to give credit to the idea of this vaginally activated orgasms (VAOs); studies involving the close proximity of the inner clitoral legs to the vagina, brain scans of women claiming (although not physically verified) to have experienced VAOs, instances in which arousal is recorded or pleasure is reported due to g-spot/vaginal/cervical stimulation. However, we have yet to find a study where there is a causal link between vaginal/ g-spot/cervical stimulation and a verified instance of orgasm (orgasm being the universally accepted description documented by Masters and Johnson). In fact the only physical sexual release related to vaginal stimulation that has been recorded is ejaculation, which is physically quite different from an orgasm. It may seem like VAOs should exist, but if they do, the scientific community has yet to document them.

13. So, are you calling women who say they have vaginal orgasms liars?  The movie speculates that most women who claim to orgasm from vaginal stimulation alone – actually may not be orgasming in this way.  Shaming  women by calling them liars is certainly not our intention, and we hope the movie reflects this. Name calling and blaming is of no use to such a nuanced and important topic, but clarity and honest discussion most certainly is. 
It is uncontroversial to say that the vast majority of women do not orgasm through vaginal stimulation. Most surveys would put that number at 70-85% of women. However, to speculate about the accuracy of the vaginal orgasm claims of the remaining 15-30% is quite controversial. Yet, the fact remains that there is a discrepancy. There has never been a recorded instance of orgasm caused by vaginal stimulation, yet some women claim these happen. Something has to give, and we argue that of those 15-30% of women, some may actually be ejaculating and calling that an orgasm, or having some kind of spiritual/emotional climax and calling that an orgasm, or attaining a high level of physical arousal and calling that an orgasm, or simply claiming on a survey that they orgasm this way when they do not. 
We understand that women have traditionally had explanations of their own experiences ignored far too often, and we know that second guessing a person’s answers may strike some as condescending. We get that, but we don’t think it does women or the scientific understanding or orgasm any good to blindly slide past this hard issue. 
We would argue that given the saturation of vaginally stimulated orgasm in our media,  given the cultural importance placed upon orgasm through penile vaginal stimulation,  given that our society often leaves women and girls ignorant about their orgasm functioning and genital structure in ways it does not for men, and given that even sexual advisers and researchers, when speaking about women, are known to use the word “orgasm” in relation to things other than the established definition of orgasm (such as ejaculation, emotional/spiritual climax, and high levels of arousal) - given all of that, we don’t see why it would be such a leap to wonder whether the last 15 to 30% of women might not actually be experiencing orgasm. 
As opposed to seeing this inquiry as a means to call women liars and creating a harsh  hierarchy of female orgasm, we see this as a means for giving women the accurate information they are craving and for creating a clear vocabulary for which women can speak about their sexual experiences. We believe women are fully capable of moving forward in this way without judging each other or themselves for the way all women have had to rather blindly negotiate their way around this confusing sexual landscape thus far. 
If you’d like to read further about these ideas, check out the following posts on the SSL blog. 


Random Hite Report #7

Hello! Today you get more RANDOM HITE REPORT! As you may or may not know, this is where I take one random page and one page only out of this super important book from the 70's, and transcribe it for you here on the blog. It's women answering detailed questions about their sex and love lives, and it's incredibly interesting and insightful. Here ya go.. 

The following is from the section "Orgasm" in the chapter called "Women Who Never Orgasm." These answers are from questions that ask for detailed description of how the women masturbate, including things like the position of their legs.

Pg. 211 The Hite Report Dell. 1976.

There were some woman who never orgasmsed but did masturbate, though not to orgasm.    "I enjoy masturbation while I'm doing it, but afterward I feel bad about it. I can't get over the things my parents taught me about masturbation being bad. I used to do it once or twice a month, but I've only done it once since I got married. I've come closest to having an orgasm when I was masturbating, but I've never had one. It's more intense when I'm alone because I'd be too embarrassed to do it with anyone else around, including my husband. I've seen my husband masturbating, but he doesn't know it."
    "I get started by playing with my breasts. When I've gotten myself started, I begin playing with my clitoris, but I keep playing with my breasts too. I stick my finger into my vagina and move it back and forth like a penis would go. At the same time I use my thumb to press and rub around my clitoris. I have to press or rub real hard to get much of a feeling in my clitoris. My legs are apart, and I don't move much. I lie there quietly and enjoy it, even though I never have orgasmed yet."
    "I have rubbed my clitoral area with my forefinger, starting slow then faster. I usually quit before orgasm from loneliness, slight discomfort, some fatigue and boredom. My legs apart and sitting."
    "When I am undressed, I enjoy just feeling my body. On rare occasions I become aroused enough by feeling my body that I masturbate. When I masturbate, I continue to feel my body in general, but I concentrate on my breasts. I feel them, stroke them, massage them, etc. When I get more aroused, I concentrate on my nipples, and I tickle them with the tips of my fingers. I continue to feel my body in general too, but I do not concentrate on doing that the way I do to my breasts. It never leads to orgasm, of course, since I never have, nor ever expect  to have, orgasms."
    "I don't enjoy masturbating, and never have reached orgasm when doing it. Every six months to a year or so, I will rather idly try it, but usually abandon the effort after a few minutes."


My Orgasm Equality Post at BlogHer and Other Things

It's a lovely day here in ol' Indianapolis. I just thought I'd say that cause it's mostly not been lovely days for the past 4 months, so it's a refreshing change and worth saying. Another nice thing that has happened is that a post I did for BlogHer got featured, and a lot of people seem to be reading and sharing it, which I'm pretty much into, ya know? It is about none other than Orgasm Equality (what the hell else would I write about?), and it's got a little perspective switch for you to chew on.

I'll have some more actual posts up soon. I have a lot of SSL reviewing to do. I have Blue is the Warmest Color, Nymphomaniac Vol 1 and 2, House of Cards season 2, Game of Thrones Season 1, 2 and 3. Plus, I have like 50 more in my mind that I need to watch again because I watched them before I was doing SSL Reviews, but I clearly remember a depiction or discussion of female sexual release or masturbation (A Dirty Shame, Monster's Ball - if you have any other's I haven't done yet, let me know). I also need to start watching Girls and reviewing that, I think... Anyway, point is - watch for those post coming up, but for now, travel over and read what I had to say to the BlogHer readership! Check it HERE

Oh- and I Googled images for "Indianapolis" to get a pic for the blog (since I said it was a beautiful day here. Oh, and I tried Googling "beautiful day in Indianapolis" and it was really just wedding pictures), and I liked this one of the Children's Museum. We got ourselves a pretty kickass Children's Museum, BTW.


Betty Dodson's Orgasmic Sisterhood Crusade! #Orgasm Equality, Ya'll!

Hello out there. It's no secret that I love revolutionary, orgasm equality, fuck-the-status-quo people. I love their hope and enthusiasm and bravery. I love that shit, and I'm excited about our future when I see it.  I see it in random posts from random bad-ass bloggers, in the artist behind Cliteracy, in various authors from the 70's thru today who speak realistically and thoughtfully on the subject, in my amazing readers, in many friends and acquaintances when we speak on the subject. I've written about a lot of them here, and I feel very optimistic. I think The Orgasm Equality Movement is growing - even if it's not always called by the same name and even if the people who are in it don't realize they are in a movement. I think its time has come. 

I thought about this because I just read a fantastic post on the DodsonRoss website by Betty Dodson, a woman who has worked her whole life for Orgasm Equality. She's as fiery and hopeful and awesome as ever, and I thought I'd put up the final paragraphs of her post as a tribute to her leadership. 

So for all the teens, twenties, thirties on up through every decade to ninety, for all of those marvelous girls and women who reach out to me wanting to know how to have orgasm in our sexually repressed society, I’ll never give up! Sex is like any other skill; first it must be learned and then practiced. Once we experience orgasm, we can then go about our lives knowing we are not "broken" or "frigid" or sexually deficient in any way. The Orgasmic Sisterhood will have decision making roles in government to bring Americans back to good health and fulfill the promise of a democracy that will also include equal sexual pleasures for all.
Before this happens, we must acknowledge masturbation as the foundation for all of human sexuality. Once masturbation enters the lexicon of human sexuality, orgasms will be taught along with all the other skills in this big beautiful world of ours on planet Earth.


House of Cards (End of Season 1) - The SSL Review

More SSL Reviews of House of Cards, you say? Fine. Will do. So here goes.

Season 1 Episode 7 - Well, let's just say this is a who's your daddy situation happening here. I'm trying not to be a spoiler, but what's happening is an older man is going down on a much younger woman while she is on the phone with her father. It's a who's your daddy situation because after she comes, he basically implies that he's the daddy. Honestly it's not as creepy as I'm making it. It's not all incest fantasy or anything - just a bit of a power trip.

Anyway, she lays back on the bed. He pulls her pants off, and then he proceeds to put his mouth on her general clitoral/vulva area. There is no sense that he is trying to mess with or put anything in her vaginal whole, and he's just kinda moving his head around a bit. It looks convincing enough, and the stimulation is clearly on a part of her body where orgasm could occur, so her orgasm is not completely unrealistic.

I will say, however, that she begins to orgasm almost immediately once he puts his mouth on her. It seemed a little silly and slightly pornish. In the end, I think the scene was more about showing the power he has over her than about any realistic expression of female sexual release. I'll let it slide though. It was a depiction of dude on lady oral, which I think we need more of, so that's good in my book, and the basic details of what stimulated what was realistic - which is surprisingly not so a lot of the time. So, I'll give this depiction 4 out of 5 vulvas.

Season 1 Episode 9 - This was not actually a depiction of female sexual release, this time a discussion of female sexual release made it eligible for SSL Review. We have the same coupling, but this time they are not have had a disagreement of sorts, and it cuts to him banging her hard and rough from behind and against a wall. They don't even take off their pants (any more than is needed of course.). He goes until he seems to finish/orgasm. Both are sort of grunting in rhythm to the thrusts. The audience could easily assume that her grunts are part of her orgasm noises (simultaneous with his). I think they are often used this way in movies and porn. I tend to see these kind of grunts/sharp exhales, particularly in porn when there is really banging happening, as just straight up guttural reactions to getting hard, quick pounding on your body. Let's be honest, ladies, getting banged hard can knock the breath out of you.

What makes it seem like he orgasmed and she didn't was that he seemed sort of satisfied, and went to rest on the bed immediately after. She seems annoyed and immediately impatient for something that he owes her. I think the scene was trying to make it clear that she was not orgasming in this situation, which I'll say is pretty realistic, given that a stand-up doggie bang with no reach around does not a ladygasm make. Clitoral, not vaginal, stimulation causes orgasm, so I'm glad this (unlike too many other tv depictions) didn't go that route. Okay, so let's go onto the discussion soon after they finish.
Gal - "So tell me. Why do you need this? You don't seem to get any pleasure out of it. I know I certainly don't.
Guy - "I seem to always leave you satisfied."
Gal - "How do you know I'm not faking it?"
Guy - "Are you?"
Gal - "Doesn't it say a lot that you can't tell?" 
Well, yes it does say a lot. I like that the show points out the clearly true situation that women fake orgasms and that often men don't know or don't care. I don't know if the writers intended to use this orgasm faking talk as a simply a way for the gal to try and hurt the guy - and it's not really true...or that it is true and she's just bringing it up now cause she's annoyed by him? It's so hard to know intention from writers about female orgasm and faking because people have such confused and varied ideas about how it all works.

So, I'll just say that I liked seeing a woman get banged w/o any clit stimulation and for her to point out that it wasn't orgasmic. At least that's realistic. Another 4 out of 5 vulvas.


Vag-gasms are the Underdog of Orgasms Like Christians are the Underdogs of America

I have something I'd like to say. The vaginal/uterine/g-spot orgasm (whatever you want to call it) is not the underdog of female orgasms. You probably have more pressing things to think about in your life, but this stuff  is my obsession, so I don't, and I'm gonna go a head and talk about it real quick, 'cause I'm kinda sick of hearing it described that way.

I just got done reading Vagina: A New Biography, by Naomi Wolf. I'll be talking about that in a later post after I re-read a few things, but more than a few times, she approached vaginal orgasms in that way. Beverly Whipple and her cohorts approached vag-gasms that way in The G-Spot and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality. I often get comments on Sex-Positive or feminist parts of Reddit with someone saying something to the effect that they are just sick of hearing about clitoral orgasms because their vaginal orgasms are just fine too.

I know I don't have any actual examples of these oh-so-terrible, horrible, no good incidents when someone acts as though the vaginal orgasm doesn't get enough love. I don't have the time or energy at the moment to go find quotes, so just consider this a quick bitch fest and not a thoughtful discussion. So here goes.

If the vaginal/uterine/g-spot orgasm is so put upon in our culture, if it is such a low status thing to have an orgasm simply from the stimulation of a ding-a-ling rubbing against your vaginal walls, then why does almost every media image we see of lady-gasms consist of a woman getting a fantastic, hands free orgasm from straight up P-in-V banging...seriously, porn, movies, TV? Why all the clit-less orgasms in romance novels where the heroine shatters into a million pieces and becomes one with both her lover and the universe? Why is this "vaginal orgasm" that has never actually been recorded, so often described by sexperts with gushy words like "whole-bodied," "deeper," and "more fulfilling," while the clitoral orgasms are often poo-pooed as "surface," "genital," and "quick" (I'm talking to you Beverly Whipple and Naomi Wolf)? Why does every teenage girl in America get to read about "Best Positions to Hit Your G-Spot" or some bullshit like that in Cosmo and Glamour, but ask anyone who wasn't around when it came out about the Hite Report or the "Myth of the Vagianl Orgasm" article, and I bet they've never even heard of them.

The idea of being penetrated by a man and orgasming as a result of that simple act, is so a part of our cultural understanding of sex, that it permeates everything. That is the default, and if anyone is an underdog of female orgasm it's the clit and the clitoral orgasm - the silent majority gal. Oh, and Artist Sophia Wallace agrees that the clit is disrespected, misunderstood, and needs our love. Yeah, that's right - her goal to make the clit part of common sexual knowledge is so radical it's fine art..fine art.

That's my rant. I'm done.

You see what I'm talking about, here? Vag-gasms (whatever they are - cause frankly they've never been recorded or specifically described in science) are supposed to be all way-better-than-boring-ol'-clit-gasms or something . buncha BS.


Friday Report from a Cunning Linguist (In the Form of a Comic)

It's Friday, and I've been sick, so I'm going to post something easy - but not just easy, also useful and good for the greater ladygasm good. It's a post in Oh Joy Sex Toy (which is a comic that reviews sex toys). This particular post basically just gives tips for the ol' yoni-yodeling, the dive into pearlville, the eating of the muffin, or as I like to say, eatin' the lady junk out.

I respect quality in this department and have a special love for this activity, a very, very special love. Unless your cunning linguist has been misinformed and is just trying to stick his/her tongue in and out of your hole like it's a tiny, easily tiring dildo, it's hard to not make this at least somewhat pleasurable for the lady. I mean, you've got a vulva/clit area with lots of nerve ending, and you've got a self-lubing, warm, softish object (assuming teeth aren't in the mix) rubbing against the lady bits, so there's gonna be arousal.

As with the brother activity, fellatio, it's gonna take some learning, experimenting, and paying attention to your partner to bring her/him to orgasm, but it's a journey worth taking - on both sides of this transaction. It probably also takes a little bit of a particular kind of courage from the receiver to decide not to worry about any displeasure that might come to your partner, given that their face is so dangerously intimate with your general nether regions. Different people have different levels of uncomfortable-ness with this, but remember that arousal and orgasm can easily be suppressed by stress, worry, or any type of mental distraction. Masters and Johnson's groundbreaking book Human Sexual Inadequacy was pretty clear about that, so try to eliminate those silly ol' worries the best you can.

Anyway, I talk a lot in this blog about using your hands or your vibrator in partnered sexual situation to get yours. I'm very much behind the idea of women taking their orgasms into their own hands, but for a minute, let's just lie back and celebrate a situation where we ladies can give that responsibility to our partner's mouths. Hallelujah.



House of Cards Episode 1 - The SSL Review

As I've said before, I'm kind of a TV follower. Plus I just like TV, so despite my somewhat irrational dislike of Kevin Spacey, I finally started watching House of Cards.

So..quite early in the episode we hear a woman making the sounds, I do say the sounds!, of sexual release. That, as luck would have it, is an SSL review-able moment, so here I am, SSL reviewing it.

The camera pans into the bedroom and a dude is on top of a woman jackhammering (it was definitely jackhammering) with her legs up in the air. She is coming with the sounds of a porn star and then they finish up and get some wine, I think.

Anyway, it was a classic media representation where we, the audience, see a quick scene of sex...sex that involves a woman orgasming as a man pounds into her. There is no noticeable sense that the clitoris is being stimulated, certainly not with anyone's hands, nor a vibrator, and normally (as in the case with this scene) the clear in-out movements don't leave one with the sense that she's cumming due to some hard-core self-directed clit grinding. No, the sense is that she's getting fucked into that screaming, moaning 'gasm.

Despite the fact that no less than 70% (and I'd argue even more) of women readily admit on surveys to never having orgasmed from intercourse, it absolutely boggles my mind that these images of women getting banged into ecstasy are so pervasive. These images are so simple, so a part of our mind's visualization of sex, yet so incredibly unrealistic for the vast majority of women. If that ain't bullshit, I don't know what is.

I think this scene was created not out of meanness or anti-orgasm equality sentiments (that's a thing - I call it) but simply out of laziness and general widespread ignorance about the terrible state of our media's representations of female orgasm. The creators just didn't think much about it and probably just did it that way because it was the way they imagined how that sex might go. Media images feed more media images...

Despite this terrible sex scene and Kevin Spacey's smug permacharacter, the show is growing on me, and I have to give thanks to SSL's composer, Nathaniel Blume for urging us to watch. It gets a no vulva rating from me though.


Wanna Watch Science, Sex and the Ladies?!

Hello all of you out there who may or may not read this blog somewhat regularly! I need some help. Well, I hope you will benefit too, but here's the deal. I have spent the last 10 years working on a movie about the female orgasm. It is finally finished, and frankly I'm damn proud of the thing. It says things that I think people need to hear, and it's a pretty fun ride too. Anyway, this whole getting people to hear/see the movie thing isn't just going to happen on it's own. That's where you come in.

We are doing all the normal entering festivals kinds of things, but we also have a different strategy. We have a crazy idea that if we send it out into the world for small groups of people to see, then it will spark conversation ,which will convince another group of people to see it, which will spark more conversation and so on. Point is, I'm hoping to create a little buzz about the movie, get some honest reviews, and ultimately get eyes on it, so below is what we're proposing. If anything sounds interesting, please, please, please make my day and email me at anc at ancmovies dott com. Seriously, you would make my day, week - month even. For real.

1 Host a get together to watch Science, Sex and the Ladies. Here's the things you need to know.

  • It doesn't need to be fancy; just you, a few friends, some fun, and the movie
  • We will provide you with the movie. We can send a DVD or you can access our online streaming version - your choice.
  • You gotta take a picture of the group-movie-watching-festivities and send it back to us so that we can post it on the movie's site and show all those other folks out there what they're missing out on (if there is a problem with your party's comfort level in taking pictures, we can figure something more creative out to document it)
  • If anyone at your party wants to use the movie and host another get together with some different people, we'd love it - just let us know and send a pic
2 Review this movie

  • Good, bad, or ugly. We don't care what you say as long as you say something
  • We don't care where you write about it as long as other people can see it...your blog, your college newspaper, a big huge famous magazine. It's all good by us.
  • We'll provide you with an online screener and a press kit
3 Come at me with some other awesome creative idea, bro!

  • Know someone else who'd be interested in 1 or 2 up there? By all means, send this post off to them.
  • Wanna tweet this shit or post it on FB? Do it! (Those are the only social media sites I really know)
  • Have a larger venue or larger group in some far away city (that means somewhere other than Indianapolis) that would like to screen this movie? We're all in - as long as no one has to pay to see it. We'll help, support, whatever is needed of us. 
  • Anything else. Seriously. We're all ears. 
Well, that's that. Thanks for listening. Also, if you are new to the blog and don't know anything about this movie I speak of, check out one or both trailers on the right of this page. If you have been reading this blog, then you definitely have an idea about the tone of this movie. SSL Blog is very much related to and expanding on subjects in SSL the movie, so if you like the blog, I think you'll enjoy the movie.

Thanks all. (* update - I just want to put a reminder at the end of this blog too that you can just email me - my name is Trisha, BTW - at anc at ancmovies dott com if you're interested in any of this. I would be so excited to hear from you. Truly.)

A talking year book pic? Yeah, that's in SSL.

A nice 40's family...just at the start of the post WWII Sexual Revolution

Of course the movie talks a little about Romance Novels

SSL's got all kinds of surprises - including people holding cardboard ice cream cones!

A cave women might masturbate with rocks in this movie. I promise it makes sense in context.

Just a little scene about adolescent female desire


The Lesbian Addendum

During some drinks with a lovely friend and fabulous supporter of Science, Sex and the Ladies (both blog and movie), we decided that I must write a blog called the Lesbian Addendum. You see, SSL largely focuses on heterosexual activity. (If you are wondering why, see an answer below from our press kit or check out a more in depth post I made about it.)

We figured there were some things that needed to be said for the lesbian experience on the subject, and these things were...well, just some dirty little sayings/advice that we came up with at the table. It came about because there's one of these little sayings in the movie, but sitting there with some beer and potato tacos (they were pretty good) we knew there needed to be more...the Lesbian Addendum. So, here they are. Enjoy.

Get her off before you strap on!
Before a finger bang, give the clit a rang!
Tongue on the clit? You'll love it!
Gettin' off ain't no riddle - just give your own pearl a diddle!
Woman on woman? Yeah - more clit for lov-an!

Pretty genius stuff, I know. Oh, and as promised above - press kit answer for why so much focus on heterosexual acts...
The hetero focus of Science, Sex and the Ladies was a conscious decision, and there are a few reasons. Firstly, the cultural obsession with male-focused, hetero, vaginal intercourse as the end all be all of human sexuality is at the root of our society’s deep misunderstanding of female orgasm and ultimately female sexuality. A focused dismantling of that sexual worldview is essential in creating any real change. Thus, keeping that focus was a priority, and there simply was not time to discuss every aspect of every related subject. Frankly there could have been a whole other documentary made from the subjects that had to be cut, including LGBT issues.

Secondly, as a piece of activism, it was important that this movie appeal to and change the perspective for non-feminists, non-sex activists, people who don't think deeply about LGBT activism, people who don't think of themselves as sex-positive or particularly progressive. These are the majority of Americans. These are the lives the movie needed to focus on, and ultimately these are the people that have to change in order to shift our culture.

Thirdly, no matter where one falls on the spectrum or how one defines him/herself, we were all raised within the same basic hetero, male-centric, intercourse focused media, education and popular lore. Although LGBT issues are not specifically discussed, the filmmakers believe that any amount of widening or challenging of that narrow sexually worldview is beneficial to us all.


True Detective - The SSL Review

So, True Detective. I wasn't watching it, but then some of my friends were and the whole season finale thing was happening, so since me and Charlie are like big time tv followers, we watched the whole thing in 2 days. To be real honest, I liked it at first, but then I thought it kinda fell off towards the end. It was alright.

More importantly though, it can be SSL reviewed. I'm just going to review the whole first season here. Strangely for an HBO series, there was really only a couple gratuitous sex scenes in the whole thing, and not every one had a depiction of female sexual release, so there's not that much to review actually. And...actually the reviews are pretty easy. To make a long story short, clits are never touched but orgasms do seem to happen when vag is penetrated...reinforcing the already ubiquitous and incorrect cultural assumption that ladies get a good 'gasm from a penis rubbing the inside of their vaginas (I think the plural is actually vaginae, but I think that's a stupid word).

Season 1 Episode 6 - So there was some intercourse with the lady on top sitting upright on a man laying flat on his back. She is holding her breasts or caressing his upper body as she bobs up and down. No clit touching at all - not with a hand and clearly it's not up against his body, but she comes simultaneously with him somehow - I guess because porn magic?

Season 1 Episode 6 - There is also a quick standing doggy style against a kitchen counter banging. Clearly no clit stimulation here either. She makes sounds that seem to insinuate she's orgasming during the time that he is, and she seems all satisfied when it's done so this seems like a bogus ladygasm depiction also. However, I'm not gonna judge this one. It's too complicated. It's kind of a weird revenge fuck, so we might be expected to assume she's faking her pleasure anyway. (Oh - women in this show are ridiculous btw).

Season 1 Episode 3 - There was a sex scene (with no intercourse) here, and there wasn't any actual depiction of an orgasm. She was certainly enjoying the kissing and such that we saw. When the scene ended it seemed like maybe he was going down on her. It ended with her lying on her back, eyes closed, and seemingly enjoying something, and the shot prior had him above her moving down her body while pulling off her underwear. So, I'm just putting it down as an honorable mention, cause I have a soft spot for the ol' cunnilingus.

So that's the deal. This, like so many other TV shows and movies, contributes to that silliness of thinking ladies can just be pounded into an orgasm. It's so a part of our media, so part of our understanding of how sex should work, that it feels like it should be real. Truth is, even if there are orgasms that happens from the vaginal wall being stimulated with a dick or a dildo, it hasn't been identified by the scientific community as of yet, and it's not like people haven't tried...so why the hell is it the only way women orgasm on screen. Bullshit, ya'll.

Alright, alright, alright. - Only 1 vulva for this TV show (and only because it seemed like at least one woman got her clit sucked on, and that deserves something).



Cockle Bread!

Well, I was chillin' with some friends tonight watching the new Cosmos - cause why not, I guess. We were also about to watch the final episode of True Detective, but HBO Go apparently crashed while people were trying to watch it. All fine and good by me because I hadn't watched any of the prior episodes anyway. (Update: I'm watching the first episode now in case you were wondering if I'd ever see it). So while we were all waiting around to see if the show would load up, my always smart and interesting friend Stephanie said she heard about something called cockle bread.

It seems this cockle bread was from the 17th century in England. Ladies would make the dough, then press their lower lady parts up against it to make an impression and then bake it. This would then be given to the object of their affection as a sort of love charm.

Why is this relevant to this blog, to the depiction or discussion of female sexual release in our culture? I don't know, but it has to do with vulvas, it's a little interesting, and I needed something to write. So, enjoy the little tidbit of lady-junk history, and have a great start to your week.


Random Hite Report #6

Hello! Today you get more RANDOM HITE REPORT! As you may or may not know, this is where I take one random page and one page only out of this super important book from the 70's, and transcribe it for you here on the blog. It's women answering detailed questions about their sex and love lives, and it's incredibly interesting and insightful. Enjoy your taste. 

The following is from the chapter "Older Women" in the subsection "Other women were interested in sex, but were having difficulty finding partners they liked" 

Pg. 512 The Hite Report Dell. 1976.

maybe more women (??) but I have some fear of loving a person who might have a long-term illness --- senility, etc. I've coped with that enough."   "I feel that I could give two sets of answers to those questions --- one concerning a perfect marriage and one concerning sex relations in widowhood. I seem to be able to interest only married men and that means clandestine relationships. I have not achieved and orgasm with any of my partners (although I do in masturbation). The more promiscuous I become (I had several short-term relationships since widowhood) the more I believe I want what I had for so many years; the love, attention, and affection of one man. However, life is enjoyable, especially with men, but my ego gets in the way with married men, as I want to be the only person on the totem pole!"    "I would also like to have seen questions asked on ethics --- what moral imperative have we laid on ourselves, and which seem valid? Like male intellectuals taught me it was immoral to tease, so I didn't neck or anything unless I went to bed with someone---a good and bad thing that worked more to men's advantage than mine, I feel now. Because marriage is so difficult, I will never complicate it by having anything to do with a married man, but people all around me are adulterizing. Sometimes I feel, 'the hell with their marriage, I need somebody to love too!'"    "At fifty, I have come not to look or hope for an ideal. I think I have poor judgement in men, and besides, no man has seriously approached  me in years. Well, none that I would consider. I want to do a lot of things, and I have to get them done before it's too late. Men take up a lot of time---at least the men I choose. I am tired of helping them get their PhDs, write their books, learn to love, raise their children, and learn to let women achieve. I cannot bring myself to have a homosexual relationship---I just don't feel that way. I can stand it without sex and I don't want any relationship now except friendship, which I find vital. I need to talk,


Dallas Buyers Club - The SSL Review

It's Oscar Night, and since the latest Snow-pocalypse here in Indy didn't turn out to be so bad, we'll be headed over to our annual Oscar Night fest with our trusty Oscar friends. We will eat, we will talk shit, we will laugh, we will tear up slightly, we may even be surprised that some actor who has died this year was even still alive in the first place. It will be fun had by all, and to go along with this theme, I will be SSL reviewing the last of the SSL-review-eligible Oscar Nominated Best Pictures, Dallas Buyers Club

Okay, actually I just looked at the list again, and I realized that The Wolf of Wall Street may in fact be eligible. I mean, there was a whole lot of doin' it in that movie, but I'm not sure that there was ever the indication that a female orgasm was happening in any of the scenes, and I'm pretty sure there wasn't a discussion about female orgasm or anything about female masturbation, so honestly, I'll have to watch it again later to make sure. 

Either way, there was still a fairly significant amount of Best Picture nominations that could be and were SSL reviewed. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it's interesting. 12 Years a Slave and Philomena were both quite favorably SSL reviewed. One said clitoris and another rubbed that very thing realistically into an orgasm. Her was a little less favorably reviewed, given its porny wails of lady ecstasy, and I'm afraid Dallas Buyers Club will also be not so favorable. The movie was good. The ladygasm, however, was unrealistic.

I'll make this quick and try not to spoil anything for those who haven't seen it. Long story short, a man who has previously been shown to partake in sex (the P in V boy girl kind) quite often, has been unable to do so for a pretty long period of time given the fact that he has AIDS. Surrounded by a lot of gay men with AIDS (this was the 80's), he is pleasantly surprised to become aware of a woman who has AIDS. This is all happening in 2 adjoining motel rooms that double as an office with lots of people coming in and out. Dude sees the woman in the next room, asks if she's actually got AIDS, and the next cut is all the people in the motel/office, hearing the tell tale sounds of two people fucking, including her porn screams. A quick shot shows Dude standing in a shower stall. She is straddling him, with her weight seemingly supported by him and her back against the wall getting, well, banged is the best way to put it. They both clearly finish up amazing orgasms at the same time. 

So, she is getting a penis pushed in and out of her vag. Neither he nor she is using any hands on her clit or anywhere near it, and she’s vocalizing like a porn star, like she’s coming as hard as anyone could come. It’s pretty bogus. I will say that there is a possibility that his pelvis is banging against her clit with each thrust, but honestly, a tap on the clit every so often is not the kind of steady pressure and stimulation that is pretty universally understood to be needed for both penises and clits to get there.  Plus, she’s up in the air, and would have very little control over the movement of her pelvis, which does not seem conducive for a person’s (male or female’s) ability to orgasm. 

I went into a lot of detail there, but the basic idea seen by the viewer is this; a woman is banged up against a wall and has a super hot, sexy, intense orgasm just from the banging. It’s what we see in porn, what we read in romance novels, what we see in TV shows and movies. It is what our media understands female orgasm to be, and yet it is a ridiculously unlikely way for a woman to orgasm.

So, since this scene just added to the pile of other things that helps women and men completely misunderstand how a woman might orgasm, and builds on the idea that it is common and particularly sexy to orgasm in this easy, hands free, getting banged kind of way. I give this movie a 0 vulvas. None at all. Sorry McConaughey.


The G-Spot/Vaginal Orgasm Debate is Ridiculous

Charlie came across this article on Jezebel about the confusing nature of the G-spot/vaginal orgasm debate, and as is the practice of pop articles on female orgasm, they asked a sexpert about it. What she said was taken without a bat of an eye and pretty much unabashedly and appallingly defines the current (and completely insane) state of discussion on the female orgasm.

I asked sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff over e-mail what she thought about the whole debate. Here is what she had to say, "What this ongoing research does (for the lay community) is question the legitimacy of what women experience when they climax. Orgasms are subjective; orgasms can be spiritual and not directly connected to either the clitoris or the vagina. Does a vaginal orgasm exist? Depends on who you ask — but try answering ‘no' to a woman who has had (or believed she had) one."

This is what I imagine a spiritual orgasm is like. 

So, an orgasm is defined as...well...it's defined as anything and everything. There is no actual definition one could work from (for women of course. We all understand what an orgasm is in men). Oh and also, don't say anything that a woman might not like, even if it's true (because that's good science?).  I'd laugh if it weren't so true and so right on about where we are right now as a culture. We need to change this discussion.

The thing is, pushing against this ridiculously confused mindset when it comes to female orgasm is pretty damn radical. It shouldn't be, but it is, and the movie I made does just that with a simple idea. The stimulation of the inside of the vagina has never been shown to cause orgasm (the standard definition). I stand by that, and if you look into it at all, it's not a crazy statement. However, it plays as radical because for some reason, almost everyone in the research sexology community and the sexpert community straight up ignore this lack of physical evidence. Sure, most can get behind the uncontroversial idea that many women (about 70 - 80%  most would estimate) cannot orgasm from stimulation of the vagina. Sure, that's fine. Everyone knows that, but saying that maybe that last 20 to 30% are either ejaculating and calling it orgasm or having spiritual/emotional highs and calling that orgasm, or orgasming from incidentally rubbing their clitoral glans during intercourse and calling that orgasm, or simply not orgasming at all and saying they orgasmed - well that's where things get dicey. 

To do that, one has to "question the legitimacy of what women experience when they climax," which I am perfectly happy to do, because I don't even know what Dr. Logan Levkoff means when she talks about a woman's "climax." I assume it means orgasm since that's what the article's talking about, but even so, I still couldn't know what she means because these sexperts use orgasm to mean anything. Here's the deal. I know to many it seems mean and presumptuous and narrow, but I don't have a problem saying that maybe lots of women don't understand how their own sexual organs work, or that maybe some women lie about their ability to orgasm, or that there is one definition of orgasm and that using it to mean something different is unacceptable. I think these things need to be said.

Women get little and often terribly inaccurate information about their orgasm and organ of sexual pleasure from both structured education and from everyday education like media depictions and popular lore. It's not like women are known to be universally well educated about their orgasms, so why is it so strange to think that women might feel confused or be uneducated enough to call something that isn't an orgasm an orgasm, or be insecure enough to lie about their orgasm? I would think it pretty uncontroversial to say most women don't understand how their sexual organs work, and that there is a lot of women lying about orgasms. I don't see these assertions as offensive or off-base, and I think ignoring these is the same as tolerating them. I don't blame any women for dealing with this terribly confusing and uninformed sexual culture in whatever way she can figure to do so, but I don't want it to continue, and that means we need to be realistic.

I'm also going to say that there is one definition for orgasm and using it in other ways, specifically when experts use it in other ways, is unacceptable. It is. We don't do it for men. For them, the scientifically uncontroversial and documented physiological definition of orgasm coincides with the societal understanding of orgasm. For women too there is the same uncontroversial, documented understanding of orgasm, and the word "orgasm" is used to describe that...sometimes, but for some god-awful reason there are several other ways that orgasm is used - and not just in fringe communities, but in normal scientific and sexpert speak. It's not okay. 

This isn't fun and games here. When an expert tells a woman that she could "orgasm" from a particular stimulation and that expert means something other than the established uncontroversial, physiologically defined "orgasm" (the one we use for men and should use for women) - that is not trivial, either for the woman or for scientific understanding of orgasm. That woman does not become more knowledgeable. She becomes more confused, and may even take on a completely inaccurate understanding. And, how are we supposed to move forward with the scientific understanding of "orgasm" in females when we can't even agree on what constitutes an "orgasm." That should be first priority. How can I study or talk with other scientists about igneous rock, when dropped coke cans, the thing we all know as igneous rock, and clumps of dirt are all being discussed and researched as "igneous rock." They are 3 different things, and describing igneous rock as red and aluminium just because we want to call coke cans igneous rock, is a terrible idea. It's just the worst science - the WORST.

Let me be clear. There is a definition of orgasm, caused by stimulation of the clitoral glans or penis that is documented, definable, and uncontroversially accepted as an orgasm. We accept this when it comes to men, but we find it perfectly fine to throw in all kinds of other ideas and call it orgasm when it comes to women. Unless we find that stimulating the vagina causes this uncontroversially defined physiological reaction, then we shouldn't be calling whatever happens from this kind of stimulation (pleasure, ejaculation, an emotional high, stars shooting from your vag and becoming one with the universe) an orgasm just because we feel like it. It's bad for science, bad for women, and we need to acknowledge this.