5.23.2015

Frigidity, Kick-Ass Colombian Journalists, and Some Thank Yous



I woke up Tuesday to a tweet from a lovely woman named Patricia Sulburan who is an international editor for a big Colombian radio chain called W Radio. She was interested in doing an interview, and after I realized she meant the country and not like Columbia University or something, I wrote back and she asked me to do a live radio interview the next day. I'll be honest, I don't feel like speaking is my forte. I'm much better at writing, so I was super nervous and I was practicing in my car and trying to figure out what they'd ask, but in the end it was actually really fun. Patricia was my translator and Claudia Palacios and Rafael Manzano interviewed me (You can hear it HERE...I didn't realize till later that something I think might be The Love Boat theme played behind the whole interview...which is about as awesome as I could imagine). How many times are you interviewed on Colombia radio, am I right?...so I was really stoked that I got that opportunity, but I wasn't quite sure how they heard about the movie and why they wanted to interview me. Turns out a Colombian journalist named Paola Ochoa wrote an editorial in the the largest circulating newspaper in Colombia, El Tiempo, about Science, Sex and the Ladies.

Patricia Sulburan - International Producer Extraordinaire!
Paola Ochoa - Journalist Extraordinaire!
Feel free to Google translate this article...oh wait, I already did, and ya know, it kinda made sense. From what I could tell it had a really fight-the-power, let's-start-a-revolution kinda tone to it. She started out talking about how far women have come and how many amazing, important things women have done this year, but then she says some really, really, really nice things about Science, Sex and the Ladies.

I'm quoting this below as a Google translation of Paola Ochoa's article, so it's not great English, but I didn't want to try and clean it up and misrepresent something she was trying to say, so just take it for what it is...a bad translation (and BTW, Google Translate doesn't really do gender pronouns right...it's a gender revolutionist I guess). ***Edit - I found out the article is in English on Ochoa's Tumbler. Check it out HERE
But if something has seemed truly representative of the new feminine power is a much talked about documentary females (see the trailer at this link: https://vimeo.com/32292858). Lasts 1 hour, 40 minutes, and it is a phenomenon in Apple TV. Trisha Borowicz his production is a brilliant scientist biologist who has dedicated his life to studying the female orgasm, tired of so many bad powders. 
With a fabulous visual narrative, Borowicz achieved what seemed impossible: 2,000 years of sexism shake off and demonstrate scientific evidence that there are no frigid women. On the contrary, that there are ignorant men or bad lovers. 
The documentary is awakening a quiet revolution. And nothing reveals more women on the planet that the topic of anorgasmia. We all at some point in life we ​​are unable to have an orgasm. We feel a huge embarrassment and even think we are factory defective. And then we pretend. And then we lie. All because of the alleged frigidity, the lapidary notion that men invented to hide their own incompetence lovemaking. 
Borowicz manages to remove that plaque off and testing with several scientific studies, frigidity is not a problem of the genital organs of women. Frigidity does not exist. It is a term that men invented to maintain appropriate misogyny of Aristotle and Augustine for another couple of centuries more. It is the most powerful weapon of machismo and, simultaneously, the most power over us.

She goes on to discuss in a very hopeful way that men have had control of women's sexuality for years, and they are still very much in control of the imagery in porn, but we ladies dominate most social media. We have a place now to discuss our sexuality freely and take back control of our own sexuality and our own sexual images. She ends with this (in bad Google Translator speak)...

Fortunately, women are facing a new world that empowers us. Thanks to the freedom of social networks, we have a space where our opinions are expressed without male issue. 
It is time to take away the yoke off. Finally we have a voice. And finally we have also the ultimate proof that the best orgasm is only in our hands: Science, Sex and the Ladys; True Story About the Female Orgasm.

I mean, this was a little overwhelming. I am so thrilled that SSL made her feel this way and excited to see that there are women all over the world that are ready for a change. I also think that Paola is totally brave and bad-ass. From what I can tell from her article, from the comments on the article (I google translated them too..and people are just as ass-hole like in Colombia as they are in USA in case you were wondering) and from the interview I did on the radio, Colombia has all the same problems and misunderstandings about female orgasms and female sexuality that the U.S.A does, but that maybe the idea of women being frigid is a little more ingrained in their current culture.

Now, I say that with hesitance, because in the USA the idea that women should orgasm from only vaginal stimulation and that if she doesn't she is lesser in some way, is very much alive and well.  The word Frigid, which is a Freudian term for women that cannot orgasm vaginally and thus have not matured fully, is used sometimes in the USA now, but more with a connotation of just a not very sexual woman. In the USA in the 70's, frigid was still very commonly used in the Freudian way. I see it all the time in books about female orgasm from the time. However, just because frigid isn't used in this way doesn't mean it has left our culture. Saying a woman is frigid is a very straightforward way to say a woman is broken sexually, and that is not common in the USA, but saying women are sexually broken in all kinds of backhanded, subtle ways is very, very common. We say women who can't orgasm during intercourse are hormonally imbalanced, too stressed, not very sexual, or emotionally distracted. We still act as if it is their fault they can't orgasm this way, and if they just tried harder they could do it. So the more subtle ways we speak about women being sexually broken in the USA seems less harsh, but it is no less harmful.

But, I think the word "frigid" hold more power there. In my radio interview, the journalists kept asking about if women were frigid or not. They wanted a clear answer, and I guess I didn't realize until then how new saying women weren't frigid was. And knowing that now, I feel like Paola's article is even more revolutionary. She straight up said that women are not frigid and that it's bullshit that women were ever even made to endure that title.

To Paola Ochoa: Thank you, thank you thank you! You introduced the ideas from Science, Sex and the Ladies to a huge group of people who may have never heard of them. You were bold and straightforward and honest, and I could not agree more with you that this inequality that exists between women and men due to misunderstandings about female orgasm and female sexuality is the most powerful and has the most power over us. That is why it is so hard to confront but so important. You are awesome, and a true Orgasm Equality Hero!

To Patricia Sulburan: You didn't have to take Paola's article seriously, and you didn't have to find me and do all the work it takes to get this story on the radio, but you did. You brought the message about Frigidity being bullshit to lots more women.  I want you to know it means a lot to me and to the Orgasm Equality Movement. You also are an Orgasm Equality Hero!

*Oh - and I actually didn't realize you could get the movie on Apple TV. It's only available on Vimeo On Demand. I guess you can access that through Apple TV, but I'm not sure. Here's the actual link to the movie at Vimeo On Demand  https://vimeo.com/ondemand/26160

5.18.2015

Ultrasounds of clit and vaginal stimulation: A Journal Article I Read



 I know you want to know about more Journal Articles I Read. So, I will give that to you. Today we have:

Pilot echographic study of the differences in clitoral involvement following clitoral or vaginal sexual stimulation.
Buisson O1, Jannini EA.
J Sex Med. 2013 Nov;10(11):2734-40.

Overview
This is a worthwhile and interesting investigation. It doesn't though, give us any real insight into vaginally activated orgasms - not what they look like when they happen or if they really do happen, but it is a step in the right direction for further investigation.

Basically 3 women, all medical doctors (I don't know why, but there seems to be a trend in using medical doctors for these human lady-gasm studies. It must be easier to use doctors for some reason) who claim to orgasm both through vaginal and through clitoral stimulation, volunteered to stimulate their outer vulva/clitoral area and then also their vagina while their insides were being recorded using ultrasound technology. Turns out, when these women were stimulating their clitoral glans, only the glans and the raphe get jostled (*I have actually never heard that part called raphe before. I generally see it called the shaft - the part, about the circumference of a pencil, that extends back from the glans and can be felt by rolling your finger back and forth just above the clitoral glans. In fact the only other time I can find it called a raphe is in another ultrasound study by these exact 2 authors. We'll use their vocabulary though to keep things consistent). The inner clitoral parts aren't jostled at all. When these women stimulated their vaginas by moving an object it in and out, the clitoral body (I often see these parts called the clitoral legs or crura, but we'll use body) were jostled along with the raphe. The glans was not jostled. This led the researchers to conclude that the two different types of stimulation might explain why women describe 2 different types of orgasm.


From ScarletTeen:sex ed for the real world  http://www.scarleteen.com/article/bodies/with_pleasure_a_view_of_whole_sexual_anatomy_for_every_body
The interesting thing about this study is that although the paper claims that the women reached orgasm during both clitoral glans stimulation and vaginal stimulation, it simply doesn't give any data for this. It merely mentioned that these women did this and then writes "data not shown." Only data that showed what was happening in their bodies during both types of stimulation was shown in this article. It tells us something about arousal in these women, but nothing about what happens up to and during orgasm...and frankly, given that the authors said the women did orgasm in the lab each time they were asked to, it seems super odd to me that they chose to not record and report on this quite possibly revolutionary data. In their conclusion they indicate follow-up studies to do that, but why not not do it in this study? I think that at least deserves and explanation.

And before I go on, let me just put a disclaimer here. I can't read ultrasounds. I don't fully understand how they could identify the movement in these women's lady parts. The pictures just kinda look like unidentifiable blobs, and so I am just reporting and accepting their findings exactly as they describe them.

Introduction
The intro tells us male orgasm is pretty well understood, but female orgasm is controversial. It concedes that undoubtedly most women need external clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm, but then gives a wildly high estimate for the amount of women who can orgasm vaginally, saying around 60 to 70% and citing a debate article on the G-spot that is in no way a good reference for that number. A widely agreed estimate (and Lloyd's book, The Case of the Female Orgasm is probably one of the best researched authorities on this out there if you want to check it out) is about 2/3 of women who cannot orgasm vaginally.

The authors later in the intro give us a little bit of their bias, I would say, when they say, "Moreover, the existence of a 'vaginal' orgasm (more correctly named "vaginally activated orgasms," VAO) has often been rejected, more for political than for scientific reasons," and backs that statement up by citing that same debate article. Both the authors of this article actually co-author that article 4 other people. It's called, "Who's afraid of the G-spot," and the 7 different scientists debate the existence of the G-spot in terms of the data presented thus far, and the conclusion of the piece is...we need more data. First off, the article is about the G-spot and not about VAOs. Secondly, that article in no way supports a claim that politics are a bigger factor than scientific data for rejecting the idea of VAOs. I'm getting heavy into the intro stuff here in this article because I'm just starting to get a annoyed with the citations authors use in some of these articles to support the claims they make in their introductions. It's like they are putting no thought into it - like what I would do writing some stupid paper in high school or college where we were told to have a certain amount of citations.  I'd just find anything that kinda included the same keywords I was speaking about and put it in there as support for whatever it was I was saying.

Also, in the introduction, the authors tell us about VAOs, "Furthermore, this type of orgasm is sometimes considered to be associated with better psychological health than the orgasm triggered by external stimulation of the clitoris." I will grant that the 1 book and 2 articles that are cited for this, do indeed argue this, so at least they are using relevant citations there. However all three works have a strong Freudian influence and then this article goes on to mention that
1. Freud made a claim that VAOs are mature and clitoral orgasms are immature
2. "Kinsey and many sexologists have asserted no such link" 
3. but there's actually not a lot of data about whether that's true or not
It just makes me wonder why this Freudian stuff is brought up at all in the introduction for this article. He was just a dude that had some idea. His ideas about female orgasm had no scientific base, so it boggles my mind that orgasm scientists continue to discuss it like it has some scientific validity that needs to be taken into consideration. I can see why one would want to discuss that there is controversy about whether there really is 2 separate types of orgasm, as Freud suggested, since some women do claim this to be the case, and that this study may help clear that up. However, talking about VAOs causing better psychological health is so Freudian inspired and so not even remotely related to the contents or possible insinuations of this study and its results. Honestly, it makes me really wonder whether the authors are truly just interested in learning more about women's bodies during sexual arousal and orgasm, or whether there is also some type of larger interest in validating Freudian thought on female orgasm....and if that's the case, then I think there is some extra bias that should be considered here.


Method

  • The 3 women were medical doctors between 27 and 33, never had babies, healthy in body, and found to be sexually healthy after taking the Female Sexual Functioning Index questionnaire. 
  • None reported releasing fluid during orgasms (so no ejaculators/squirters in the group) 
  • All "claimed to a achieve vaginal orgasm during coitus without external clitoral stimulation. As previously described, we mean by VAO the orgasm experienced after direct stimulation of the anterior vaginal wall by penetration, without concomitant stimulation of the external clitoris." So...these 3 doctors could pop off from a straight up bone-ing that included absolutely no touching of the outer clit area.
  • The women were all in the normal gynecological position during the study
  • They used a Voluson sonography system and a 12-MHz flat probe and a vaginal probe
  • "To ensure good skin contact, the vulva was covered with a sufficient quantity of sonographic gel to avoid possible interference from air between the labia. The probe was placed sagittally on the Labia majora to obtain a sagittal scan, because when a volunteer's hand is stimulating the genitals it is difficult to obtain coronal or transversal views". (I honestly cannot visualize how this was set up because I can't really figure out how the sagittal view that they get below happens from placing the probe against the labia majora, but I imagine this is just because I've never done this type of work before, and if it makes sense to you, please let me know how to understand it better.)


So, this is the view they got, it really seems to be fully sagittal, so again, if you can imagine how the flat probe was placed on the labia majora to get this, give me your insight.
  • A wet tampon was placed in the vagina. It was useful because it clearly marked where the vagina was in the ultrasound. It stayed in the vagina during the external stimulation and was the object used to stimulate the vagina during imaging of the vaginal stimulation. It was used instead of a dildo because it produced less shadowing in the ultrasound. It was "sufficiently rigid to stimulate the vagina"
More sonograms from the study, but with the wet tampon in this time.
  • There were 2 sets of experiments. In the first set, the subjects performed stimulation externally and internally each for exactly 5 minutes. In the second set, the subjects could stimulate themselves for as long as they needed to orgasm. "However, echographic evaluation was always performed before orgasm, when the subject felt sufficiently aroused." Echographic is basically another word they use for the  the ultrasound technology in this study, so...the orgasms simply were not recorded for some reason that is not discussed.
  • The authors tell us that the time to reach orgasm through vaginal stimulation took longer than through clitoral stimulation, but ends that sentence with (data not shown). They give no reason why it is not shown.
  • Each volunteer replicated the experiment at 4 different sessions, inverting the order of stimulation (clitoral stimulation first vs. vaginal stimulation first).
  • They authors warn of a possible but not too likely issue that could have occurred during that vaginal stimulation portion. "the finger, pushing the tampon, could have inadvertently have touched and stimulated the clitoris, urethral orifice, and periurethral glans; this could be regarded as a possible limitation of our technique. however, we and the volunteers paid close attention to avoid any contact with the external clitoris and the urethral meatus during the experiment."
  •  Another measure was taken during the time the women were stimulating their genitals. "Color Doppler scans of the veins located at the junction of the cavernous bodies and the vagina were obtained, and velocimetric data were collected twice for each subject."


Results

  • The sonogram showed three parts of the clitoris which the authors describe as the glans, raphe, and body. 
  • The vestibular bulbs could not really be visualized in this study because limitations to the placement of the probes.
  • External stimulation jostled the glans and the raphe, but not the body, and the wet tampon in the vagina didn't seem to move (except in the case of voluntary perineal contractions). 
  • Internal stimulation showed something different, "during vaginal stimulation, when the tampon was pushed upward, the clitoral body slid down (figure 3). The pushing of the tampon elicited reflex perineal contractions, that together with the voluntary contraction, generated a descending movement of the cavernous body. On the sagittal scan, the root of the clitoris was seen descending and making more contact with the anterior vaginal wall."
  • "Color Doppler scans showed that the flow velocity in veins located at the junction of the cavernous bodies and the vagina was enhanced at each contraction and after 3 minutes of vaginal stimulation...The same vascular reaction was not seen during external stimulation of the clitoris."

  • The vascular and anatomical changes were comparable across all 3 volunteers.
  • "In all sessions, when proceeding further with the externals or internal stimulations, the volunteer was able to reach orgasm or VAO respectively (data not shown)." So, again, it apparently happened, but they don't really want to talk about it.


Discussion

  • The authors say that both bidimensional and Color Doppler ultrasound are a "useful tool for conducting dynamic imaging studies of female genitalia during sexual stimulation." 
  • They again describe the different ways the the lady innards moved in response to vaginal and external stimulation, and then propose that the different stimulations and body movements that vaginal vs. external stimulation elicits could be the explanation for why women describe two different orgasms.
  • They go on to say, "Our study was limited to ascertaining anatomical changes during arousal due to different types of stimulation. Further studies are ongoing aiming to correlate functional anatomy with different types of orgasms." 
  • They tellus that it is possible anatomical difference in women, including relative position of that vagina and clit could make be important.
  • They also believe this study is further evidence that the g-spot is not a "single, discrete area of nerves" but rather a "complex anatomical area encompassing the anterior vaginal wall and the embedded structures (urethra, female prostate, inner clitoris, muscles, vessels, and nerves) that my functionally stimulate the whole clitoris when properly stimulated." They think this whole area should be called the CUV instead of the G-spot. *The best evidence out there for a G-spot, however, does not indicate that it is a "single discrete area of nerves" at all actually. The best and most robust evidence out there indicates that it is the area in the vagina where the female prostate (which wraps around the urethra) can be felt through the wall. It also indicates that ejaculation can be elicited but not orgasm. Again, the word G-spot is used in all kinds of different ways, so it's hard to compare what different researchers mean when they talk about it.

Conclusion
"...our findings suggest that external and internal stimulation of the female genitalia could involve differnt anatomical structures, supporting the idea that the female orgasm(s), not only psychologically but also functionally , should be considered to be of more than one type."

So....
This is a useful study. It does show some interesting things about what is happening in the female body during different methods of genital stimulation. It is particularly cool because it is getting data during the movement that is necessary for stimulation and eventually orgasm, and I think it can help indicate for other scientists how they might further investigate. It has given us better understanding of what is happening in the compact area in our pelvis when we rub our clit and penetrate ourselves, and gives some interesting insight into how arousal looks and contributes to movement in there. It doesn't really say anything about orgasm though. It doesn't give any data about the orgasms that were claimed to have happened, so it is of no use on the question of vaginal or even clitorally induced orgasm.

5.13.2015

Randome Hite Report #12



RANDOM HITE REPORT is back. This is where I take one random page, and one page only, out of The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality and transcribe it for you here on the blog. This  important book from the 70's should be read...and you can buy it online for 1 cent, so go do that. Anyway, it is an incredibly insightful book that should have become more a part of our sexual culture. It involves women answering detailed questions about their sex lives, masturbation practices, orgasms, and all that good stuff. It was and is revolutionary. Here ya go.



 The following is from the section "Women Who Never Orgasm"
 Pg. 209 The Hite Report Dell. 1976.

 "I have to consider (at this point, it seems to me) that maybe I'm  just not very orgasmic, and that it's nobody's fault, including my husband's" 
One woman who never orgasmed gave a description of her feelings during sex with her husband:
 "At first during foreplay it is pleasurable, usually - but sometimes there is no sensation - except like rubbing - I hate that. I feel so defeated. A couple of times as I got more excited I felt as if I might urinate. It was like a welling over. Then later it felt like something is happening to my body, but I'm not always in it, sometimes it feels a little like pain. I used to never have anything or else have pain which was quite severe. It is a lovely feeling to be held and to hold my husband." 
Some other women weren't sure if they were having an orgasm or not.    "For a long time I didn't know if I was having them because of verbal myths surrounding them and no means of comparison with other women."
    "To tell the truth, I'm not really sure. I have read so many descriptions and heard so many concepts of what an orgasm is and should feel like. I used to be terribly worried because I didn't think i could have one. I was expecting something really exciting and dynamic to happen - you know, bright lights, psychedelic flashes - but they never did. Also I read, I think in Dr. Reuben's book that your back will arch and you'll have uncontrollable vibrations in the vaginal area. I never had this happen either so sometimes I would fake it and almost really believe it was happening. Now I say - whatever happens, happens. It's usually quite nice, but I don't know if it's an orgasm. I always know what I'm doing and I'm always in control of my facilities.
    "I get very wet, then start getting dry. I don't know what an orgasm is, and occasionally I feel slightly unhappy or cheated after sex, but if the wet/dry happens, I always feel tired, relaxed and content. Is this an orgasm?"

5.09.2015

Vaginal Erotic Sensitivity By Sexological Examination: A Journal Article I Read



If you remember, I recently reviewed a journal article I reluctantly paid $40 for. Well, there was one more that I paid that stupid money for, and I'm going to review it now (I will share this one too - just write me at trisha att ancmovie dott com). It's another article that is often brought out when trying to prove something about the validity of vaginal orgasms because is says in the abstract that 64% of the women who couldn't vaginally orgasm before were shown how to stimulate the vagina correctly and then could vaginally orgasm through either coital or direct digital stimulation of the vagina. Sounds pretty promising, yes, but as is the norm with vaginal orgasm studies, it actually still doesn't record or observe any actual orgasms. I'll certainly give it to this study for being a sensible enough study. This one was published in 1986, not 2 years after the hot mess of a study I just wrote about, but it takes much more care with the scientific method, even though it mentions that hot mess study as a possible control for this study...but we'll get to that later. Here, for your enjoyment, is:

Vaginal Erotic Sensitivity By Sexological Examination
Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 1986;65(7):767-73
Hoch, Z.

Abstract
We studied vaginal erotic sensitivity by vaginal sexological examinations as part of the evaluation and treatment process of couples complaining of female coital anorgasmia but readily orgasmic at female self--or partner-performed external genital stimulation. The existence on the anterior vaginal wall of an anatomically clearly definable erotically triggering entity, termed "The G Spot", was refuted by our findings. The entire anterior vaginal wall, including the deeper situated urinary bladder, periurethral tissues and Halban's fascia, rather than one specific spot, were found to be erotically sensitive in most of the women examined, and 64% of them learned how to reach orgasm by direct specific digital and/or coital stimulation of this area. All other parts of the vagina had poor erotic sensitivity. This supports our conceptualization of a 'clitoral/vaginal sensory arm of orgasmic reflex' including the clitoris, the entire anterior vaginal wall as well as the deeper situated tissues. Instead of looking for a 'vaginal (coital) orgasm' distinctly different from a 'clitoral orgasm', this concept speaks towards a 'genital orgasm' potentially achievable by separate or, most effectively, combined stimulation of those different trigger components of the genital sensory arm of the orgasmic reflex. The format and technique of the vaginal sexological examination are described, and its possible applications and limitations are discussed.
Background

  • Okay, so there is this Center for Sexual Therapy in Israel where couples were referred for sexual problems. The study was conducted on 56 of the 59 (3 couples declined to take part in the full study) hetero, married couples who came into the clinic over a period of 1 year. These couples were ones in which women could orgasm through outer genital stimulation, but not through intercourse alone. 
  • This group was 49% of the total number of women in that clinic over that year who complained of sexual dysfunction. 
  • The women in this group ranged in age from 19 to 64 years and the men from 21 to 64. Their average age difference in the couple was 2.8 years and their average age at marriage was 22.4. 
  • They were also described as "with a generally good relationship between the partners," and I would guess they have good data for that because the couples (along with all other couples that came into the clinic) were put through a battery of tests including, the Israeli Minnesota Multiphasic Psychological Inventory, the Bem Sex Role Inventory, the Sim-Fam (a game application of decision -making within the family), anthropomorphic measures of sexual dimorphism, a detailed sociological questionnaire, and the Leif and Ebert Sexual Performance Evaluation Questionnaire. 
  • They also, "underwent a detailed clinical and sexological interview and physical examination, all performed by the present researcher - a gynocologist also trained in sex therapy- who classified them according to Safir-Hoch Couple Interactional Classification of Sexual Dysfunction." Present researcher meaning Zwi Hoch, the sole author of this study and apparent creator of the sexual dysfunction classification system above.
  • "All interviews, physical examinations and classifications were done independently from, and ignoring, the data content previously gathered by the battery of tests."
  • These 56 couples who complained of female coital anorgasmia (cannot come from intercourse alone, but can come with external genital stimulation) also took part in vaginal sexological exam. The purpose and techniques were discussed with and agreed upon by the couple.  "It was understood that, in addition to the insight and learning experienced by the couple, as a result of the vaginal sexological examination, the conclusions reached would also be included anonymously in a continuing prospective research study on female genital sensitivity." 
  • Following their vaginal sexological examinations, the couples were each interviewed at least 3 more time, in 10 day intervals, to follow up on their at-home experiences with vaginal erotic response brought on by direct stimulation performed by the partner. Experience with outer genital sensitivity was not researched for this study.


The Vaginal Sexological Exam

  • The partner is present for the whole thing
  • The female is in your basic gynocological position, the the feet up in stirrups but sitting up a bit instead of layed all the way back, and with the shirt no pants situation. (oh and she peed before the exam to empty the 'ol bladder)
  • 5 women had severe vaginismus (the vagina tenses up during or in anticipation of certain kinds of penetration and causes pain) and it says that the doctor did not "first proceed with the gynecological examination," with these women, but it give no more details about this. I don't know if they were excluded from the study or simply changed procedure for them.
  • The couple is informed of any organic pathology down there. 
  • The author points out that, "Inspection and palpation of the external genitalia may reveal involuntary contraction of the pubococcygeal (PC) muscles, in which case it is advisable to ask the patient to contract and relax the anal sphincter, thhus teaching her how to control at will her perivaginal musculature."
  • The woman introduces first her own finger and then the examiners finger into he vagina, with proper lubrication of course. 
  • The examiners fingers are then gently moved around and the woman is asked to indicate the sensory feelings during stimulation of different parts of the vagina. "Her reactions are recorded. If she indicates discomfort, pain, or no special sensation, the fingers are slowly moved on, until an erotically reactive area is identified. Stimulation is then continued on this area for a while, but never longer than required for reaching the excitement phase or beginning plateau phase of her sexual cycle. 
  • When stimulating the anterior wall, pressure applied with the second hand on the suprapubic (the low, low belly - like at the upper pube-hair area) region proved to be very helpful in enhancing the patient's sensation. This bimanual stimulation is performed in a steady circular fashion, almost bringing the two examining hands together. 
  • The doctor's external hand is then replaced by the patient's hand, teaching her how to locate, through her abdominal wall, the intravaginal examining fingers. 
  • The partner then takes the physician's place and, under the patient's instructions, proceeds with similar stimulation. 
  • The stimulation, now performed by the sexual partner in the clinical setting, should preferably also not surpass the primary learning phase of a beginning-plateau level of sexual response. Instead, they are "advised to apply in the privacy of their own home the same form of vaginal stimulation which was found to evoke erotic sensations, this time obviously continuing it until the woman reaches, if possible, orgasmic release."
  • The insights learned from the vaginal exam are carefully discussed with the couple, emphasizing the woman's particular areas of erotic sensitivity and the correct technique required for "successful vaginal stimulation." "Repeated technical instruction is sometimes needed at their next visit to the office.

Results

  • As in the last study I described, most of the women found the anterior (towards belly) wall of the vagina to be erotically sensitive (85% - highly erotic, 11% slightly erotic). Most women found the posterior (towards butt) and the lateral vaginal locations (at 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock) to have no erotic sensitivity (97% and 98% respectively). And stimulation of the cervix area was either not erotic (27%) or uncomfortable (67%). The table is below.





  • "In a constantly repetitive manner, 96% of the women examined indicated almost immediate erotic sensitivity during stimulation of the entire anterior vaginal wall, generally accompanied by some sort of involuntary rhythmic circular pelvic movements and/or slight tremor of both thighs. This sensation was generally described to be quite similar in quality, although lower in intensity, that clitorally evoked erotic sensitivity already familiar to them. Most of them have been previously unaware about the potential existence of erotic sensitivity int he anterior vaginal wall region."
  • "At subsequent follow-up visits, up to one month postexamination, 64% of the couples reported achieving orgasm by specific continuous anterior vaginal wall stimulation performed digitally or by anteriorly directed intercourse."
  • However, most of the women reported that combined clitoral and vaginal wall stimulation was the best - even better than stimulating either are by itself.
  • Of the 36% of women who did not later report achieving orgasm through vaginal stimulation, "the majority stressed the fact that this form of stimulation, as to now, became an important addition to their sexual excitement techniques towards the achievement of orgasm by simultaneous clitoral and vaginal stimulation."

Discussion
In the discussion, the author points to how the "sporadic" clinical studies regarding subjective erotic sensitivity of the vagina compares his own findings.

  1. One study saying the muscle laying behind the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions "contains sensory and motor elements of the female orgasm and that the use and training of this muscle is significant in helping clitorally orgasmic women become orgasmic by penile/vaginal stimulation." Obviously, this study identified little to no sensitivity in that area.
  2. Also, Singer&Singer, Tordjman, and Kikku all say that the cervix and posterior fornix (depth of the vagina) are erotically important, but this study disagrees - since that area was generally either not erotically sensitive or even painful to women in this study.
  3. Kinsey observed erotic sensitivity on the anterior wall of the vagina, but "concluded that this was of minor importance and that the clitoris was the prominent female sexual organ, being her homologue to the male penis." The author thinks his conclusion differs from Kinsey's because Kinsey used metal, cotton-tipped, and plastic probes to test for sensitivity, and this author used lubed, gloved fingers stimulating in various ways according to patient instruction.
  4. Grafenberg and Whipple, Ladas and Perry, who named the G-spot (after Grafenberg actually) and introduced it to the masses not a couple years before this study was released, say there is a distinct spot on the anterior wall that raises and can be specifically felt after she is aroused, and that this spot is the "most important site of vaginal erotic sensitivity." However, the author found no "spot" like this, only sensitivity on the entire anterior wall.

In light of this study, the author would like to "include the anterior vaginal wall and the more deeply situated tissue, together with the clitoris and introitus vaginae (outer vag-hole area), as separate but potentially integral components of the sensory arm of the female genital orgasmic reflex." In other words, he believes that his study could prove that vaginal stimulation could be another method for making women come besides outer vulva/clitoral stimulation.

The author then goes on to say that the proposed idea above brings to light what he believes is "an important aspect of female sexuality." Probably, he tells us, many of the women who could orgasm, but couldn't orgasm through vaginal stimulation lack the "awareness and understanding of the importance of anterior vaginal wall stimulation." Normal intercourse doesn't do much for anterior wall stimulation, and without it, he tells us, intercourse orgasms may not be achieved. However, he proposes that, "after adequate evaluation, including the vaginal sexological exam, a substantial group of patients can be identified in whom the teaching of the importance of anterior wall vaginal wall stimulation before and during intercourse, by manual and anterior wall directed penile intromission, will help help them reach orgasm during coitus." In fact he thinks that it is "reasonable to expect" that as time goes on and they gain more experience, more than the 64% of couples in this study will be able to reach orgasm this way. "It should be emphasized, however, that even then, simultaneous anterior vaginal wall and clitoral stimulation has the potential for best results."

Also, this author does not feel "that failure to reach a climax during intercourse should be regarded in all cases as normal variation of female sexuality." - cause, you know, them ladies can be taught the right way to stimulate that vag into an orgasm.

The Control Group Situation
It is also mentioned in the discussion that there was no control group used. A control group could have been, the author writes, a group of women who were just told how to stimulate the anterior vaginal wall or a group that only received a normal pelvic exam. The author could then have checked back in with these ladies up to a month later to see if they were able to achieve vaginal orgasms and compared to the women who did receive the vaginal sexoogical examination. However, the author doesn't see these as very useful control groups.

He then says that, "under the circumstances, Alzates' work on paid and unpaid volunteers undergoing a researcher performed vaginal sexological exam very similar to our own, provided, we felt, the best albeit partial and temporary, solution to our 'control group dilemma..." That's right, the hot mess of a study I last overviewed is pointed to as a control group. It's not completely clear to me why this would be an okay control group, but I think it is because those women were just a group of women (so maybe a control in that way), and this study is all women who specifically have never orgasmsed vaginally and came to a clinic to help remedy that situation.

Conclusion

  • The author believes women who are orgasmic ONLY through stimulation of the external genitals should not be considered sexually dysfunctional, but as functional, but "often misinformed, and therefore unaware, with regard to their sexual anatomy and physiology. The new form of vaginal sexological examination described in this paper has proved to be, in our experience, an educational tool in helping such individuals."
  • They reject the idea put forth by previous researchers about the orgasmic merits of the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock areas of the vagina. 
  • They also think 'The G Spot' label "should be avoided by professionals and lay people alike in order to prevent the unfortunate appearance and perpetuation of a new sexual myth." This, they say, because they found the entire anterior vaginal wall to be sensitive and believe it can be stimulated to orgasm. However, they did not find a particular spot that is sensitive and can be stimulated to orgasm, as Whipple, et al did in their G-spot-introducing book not 2 years earlier.  I'd like to quickly point out that this disagreement about a spot vs. a large area being the place where vaginal orgasm is stimulated from is still a huge issue today. In fact the word G-Spot since then has come to mean both those things depending on who you are talking to, yet people are rarely specific about which they mean. So, like the word, 'orgasm,' 'G-Spot' now tends to mean whatever the person saying it wants it to mean, and it's confusing as hell. So, maybe this author was on to something about not using the word anymore. (p.s. I always use the word to mean the raised area felt through the vaginal wall where the tissue surrounding the urethra and containing the female prostate exist - if stimulating it leads to any kind of sexual release, it would be an ejaculation - given that this is the only observed and recorded scenario - never yet an orgasm.)
  • Oh - and again there is an emphasis that a combo of vaginal and clitoral stimulation is most effective.
  •  "There is no such thing as a 'vaginal orgasm' distinctly different from a 'clitoral orgasm', but rather a genitally evokable sexual orgasm brought about by separate or combined stimulation of the different trigger components of the genital sensory arm of the orgasmic reflex." So, in this, they are saying that a vaginally evoked orgasm is no different than the universally agreed-upon definition of the clitorally evoked orgasm that Masters and Johnson identified and described...with the rhythmic muscle contractions and all that. Thus, from my understanding, the orgasms attained from stimulation of the anterior vaginal wall, should include those rhythmic muscle contractions. This study does not check for that given that the orgasms happened in the privacy of the patient's home. However the Alzate study, identified here as a possible control study; specifically said there didn't seem to be those rhythmic muscle contractions during the time women claimed to have orgasms from anterior vaginal wall stimulation, and actually suggested that the vaginally stimulated 'orgasm' might be something different. So my point is, this study didn't observe any actual orgasms, and a similar study, identified here as a control to this study, that included the researchers hand in the woman's vagina at the time she claimed to orgasm (not a great standardized measuring tool, but something none the less) said that no contractions were felt and that the vaginally induces orgasm is not the same as a clitorally induced orgasm. So, there is a discrepancy here, and I would think, since the other study is indicated as a control group, this discrepancy should have been discussed, but it was not.

Special Comments
The author wanted to note the sensitive nature of this vaginal sexological exam. It should be done with consent, in a normal medical area, with a female nurse or partner present - all that fairly basic stuff. He goes on to say, "special care should be taken to limit the vaginal stimulation to the shortest time span necessary for arriving at a diagnosis, thus avoiding high levels of sexual excitement, which could evoke guilt feelings in the patient and unnecessary fears in the partner of having to 'compete' with the more knowledgeable (and often male) physician." So, he believes only physicians trained in management of sexual problems should do this therapy.

My Final Thoughts
So there you go. I have a couple things to get out real quick.
1. This study is so typical of vaginal-stimulation-causes-orgasm studies. It shows clear observations that vaginal stimulation can be pleasurable and arousing, but then simply doesn't get clear observations that an orgasm can also occur from vaginal stimulation. Generally the researches simply ask the woman while in a clinical setting to say when she orgasms, but do not use any way of recording the physical things happening in her body while she says this (that study discussed here as a possible control is one of the very, very few exceptions to this), or as in this study, they simply ask the woman if it happened sometime while not in the clinical setting. I get the reasons why this author did not attempt to take women to orgasm, but I think it would have been a better study if he had tried. As it is now, this study did not give us any new information about what a vaginally induced orgasm might be.

I also want to take a minute to point out some problems with simply asking these women if they came. 64% said, in the presence of their male partner and the authority figure who showed them how to achieve vaginal orgasm, that they did in fact come this way. One possibility is that these 64%  of women did orgasm, and that is the assumption this study takes without question.

However, there is another, not so wild, possibility; anywhere from some to all of those 64% of women didn't orgasm, but said they did. Think about it. A woman can orgasm, but not the way that makes her a full mature women (it's 1986 - Freud is still looming large), not in a way that is easy or convenient for her husband, not in a way that makes her husband feel like a stud of a man, not in a way that seems 'normal'. It is such a problem, that this couple comes to get therapy for it. The doctor they meet, indicates, maybe not with words, but from the sexological exam that he does and the homework he gives them (to continue the stimulation till orgasm occurs) assumes that is it certainly possible for the woman to orgasm vaginally if she and her partner work at it hard enough. The whole situation points to the problem being her and her alone, if it still doesn't work when she gets home.  So, what I'm saying here is that this particular situation puts a lot of pressure on the woman to achieve the goal she came to that clinic to achieve. A professional has shown her how to do it, and her partner is probably trying his darndest to get it done. It would be a shame if she still couldn't do it, now wouldn't it?

I am not saying this is definitely what is happening, but it is not so far fetched. It is a possibility that should have been considered in both the methodology creation and the conclusion, but it is not considered at all, and that, my friends is concerning.




5.05.2015

Frank Schaeffer - Orgasm Equality Champ, With A Little Religious Flair!



What I love is when other people see Science, Sex and the Ladies, or this blog and do something interesting with that experience. It's fun and exciting to see the movie and this topic from other people's perspectives, to see people take this topic and make it personal. I guess part of it is that I've been living with this topic in my head for so long. I see the causes and implications of this large misunderstanding about female orgasm poking their heads out in all parts of our culture, and it seems so important and clear to me. However, also for so long I've looked around and seen that nobody else seems to give a shit. Even though there have clearly been people along the 10 years I've been doing this who do care a lot, it just starts to feel like it's a never ending uphill battle to make people care, ya know. It feels like people refuse to really look at the situation, and it gets frustrating sometimes. So, my point is, it is awesome when someone seems to get the point and gets passionate. It's even more fun when they are passionate in a way that's different from me. It means that other people are really thinking about this, and it really means something to them, personally. So that's what happened recently when a writer named Frank Schaeffer who saw an article about the movie, watched the movie, and then wrote an article called, "If God Created Women to Make Babies Why Does the Female Orgasm Have Nothing to do With Procreation?"

To be completely honest, I don't really think about a god much at all, and so I don't think of what god has to do with this whole ladygasm topic really either. However, plenty of people do, and I'm clearly not the one to write about it, so it's fantastic that someone took up that challenge. Thanks Frank, you are this weeks Orgasm Equality Champ, and I recommend everyone check out his article.
Here's a little tidbit from Mr. Frank Shaeffer to tide you over till you go read for yourself.
The clitoris is outside the vaginal canal. So if God made us, or if we evolved by chance, either way the lesson is the same: Female sexuality is about pleasure. 
Men have to orgasm to make a baby. No orgasm, no sperm going into the right place. Not so with women.

4.30.2015

Vaginal Erotic Sensitivity - A Journal Article I Read



I just want to start out by saying that I had to pay 40 stupid dollars for this dumb article that I'm about to summarize in this installment of A Journal Article I Read. It's one that is always referenced in things that want to prove a vaginal orgasm exists, and it's like impossible to find in all my free ways of doing so. I even got a Big Ten college kid to try and get it from their library, and they couldn't get it without paying. I hate paying for that stuff, but I bit the bullet because it had to be read more completely than in abstract form. Ya know though, I have to admit, I was glad I did it. It's kinda got some straight up comic gold in it if you ask me. So here it is, all 40 dollars worth.
(*edit - thanks to some feedback from my very thoughtful friend, Stephanie - I realized I forgot to write the full info here on this article, which includes the year of publication, so here it is. Vaginal erotic sensitivity. Alzate H, LondoƱo ML. J Sex Marital Ther. 1984 Spring;10(1):49-56.)



Here's the abstract. You can find it HERE (p.s. if you want this, just email me, I'll give you the pdf of this article. No one else should have to pay $40.)
Vaginal erotic sensitivity was investigated in a group of 48 coitally experienced volunteers by means of systematic digital stimulation of both vaginal walls. It was found that 45 subjects reported erotic sensitivity located in most cases on the upper anterior wall, and of those, 30 (66.7%) either reached orgasm or requested to stop stimulation short of orgasm. This study supports previous findings indicating that the vagina of most women has a zone (or zones) of erotic sensitivity whose appropriate stimulation can lead to orgasm; it does not support, however, the particular location and characteristics of the vaginal erogenous zone described by other authors.
 The Basics 

  • The study was conducted in Columbia - the country.
  • There were 32 women studied who were recruited, mostly by word of mouth through the university circles. They were generally mid 20's to mid 30's and college educated. These women were unpaid.
  • There were also 16 women recruited "through the good offices of a Madam, with whom one of the authors (HA) is aquainted." HA being the male author. The mean age of these women was roughly the same as the other group, but the average years of education was only 7.1. All of these women are either current or former prostitutes and were paid $16 per examination session.
  • The male author, Heli Alzate, worked with another researcher, a woman named Maria Ladi Londono. The first 4 non-paid women were examined with both researchers conjointly, 12 other non-paid subjects were examined by both researchers but on separate occasions, then 9 others by the male only and 7 by the female only. It never breaks down which were which, though. All the paid ones were examined but the male only. 
  • The women mostly laid on their back with knees bent on an exam table (although some kept legs straight if it felt more comfortable). The examiner washed his/her hands (good thing, since they clearly didn't use gloves), and inserted a lubed index and/or middle finger into the subjects vagina, and systematically "frictioned" the walls of the vagina. The subject was asked to "indicate the sensations, erotic or other, she was experiencing in the different stimulated zones, and when a region of increasing erotic sensitivity was found, increasingly stronger pressure was applied until either the subject reached orgasm, or requested to stop stimulation, or the examiner decided to stop, or the sensation became stabilized - in which case the exploration of other vaginal zones was continued." 
  • "In order to record more precisely some paid subjects' responses, a second examination was conducted on them." - it never breaks down in the study which ones this happened for though.
  • Examiner's or subjects' fatigue, time constraints, or painful sensations felt by subject were the reasons for stopping examination in some cases - although in the study it doesn't break down these different reasons for stopping.
  • They defined orgasm as "the subjective perception of the most intense point in a series of increasingly pleasurable sensations elicited by sexual stimulation." - so basically when the woman said she orgasmed.
Background Info About the Subjects
  • 72.9% of the women had masturbated, all using clitoral stimulation. 91.4% of those reached orgasm always or almost always.
  • 60.4% of them had never or almost never reached coital orgasm
  • Of the 14 women who said they reached orgasm coitally more than half time, 50% said the most favorable position for climax was straddling the man or rear entry. 14.3% of those said it was missionary.
  • 22.9% "reported the impression of having expelled a fluid through the urethra at the moment of orgasm some time in the past"
Vaginal Sensitivity Reported in Study
  • 93.7% reported vaginal erotic sensitivity. The other 6.3% of women only felt unpleasant or painful sensations. 
  • 77.8% reported it as located on the anterior (towards belly) vaginal wall. 33.3% reported erotic response on the lower half of the posterior (towards back) vaginal wall. Very few reported any pleasurable sensation on the cervix or the posterior vaginal fornix (deepest recesses of the vagina).
RESULTS
  • So, of the 32 non-paid subjects, 4 "let themselves reach orgasm at examination." That's right, folks, let themselves. 12 "requested to stop stimulation short of orgasm." I guess ol' Heli Alzate was assuming there would obviously be an orgasm if they hadn't stopped (see above to remind yourself why they might have stopped), and in 2 cases "the examiner stopped stimulation in what he considered to be plateau phase of the sexual response cycle because he was not certain whether the subject wished to climax." Although, again, I guess there was an assumption that they definitely would have if it continued.
  • Of the 16 paid subjects, 12 reached orgasm at first examination. 1 "requested to stop stimulation short of orgasm because she felt embarrassed" Another one couldn't reach orgasm at first examination, but "climaxed easily at second examination." Am I the only one imagining that last woman sitting around talking about this Heli Alzate dude with other gals the next morning during coffee, and she tells them she didn't "orgasm" and they're all like, "What?! Just do it. I had like 3 'orgasms.' and he LOVED it. He's not going to pay you for that easy ridiculous job again if you don't." And, she's like, "Yeah, I guess you're right," and then she "orgasms" real good for him at the next session. Just me?
  • Of the women who "either reached orgasm by stimulation of the vaginal walls or gave indications that they would if the stimulation had been continued (N=30)," 73.3%  - reported maximal response zone on upper half of anterior (facing belly) wall of vagina, 26.7% on lower half of anterior wall, and 30% lower half of posterior (facing back) wall. That's more than 100% because some women reported more than one.


  • 82.3% of the 17 women who reached orgasm during the exam did so twice or more during the session. 
  • The researchers also do a little test to check for the Rube-Goldberg situation of indirect clitoral stimulation that Masters and Johnson indicate causes orgasm during intercourse for some women (the penis pulls on the labia, which pulls on the clitoral hood, which rubs against the clitoris). For 6 paid subjects who easily reached orgasm during the exams (see - easily having an orgasm pays in this study - another exam and another $16!), "The examiner rhythmically stimulated the lower third of the vagina with his index and middle fingers, mimicking the movements of the penis during coitus, and for the time required to elicit an orgasm by stimulation of the vaginal erogenous zone. Although a clear traction on the labia minora was evident, all subjects felt only a slight to moderate erotic sensation, which either became stabilized or decreased at the end of the stimulation period." So they were skeptical of this. 
  • There is a paragraph describing how the subjects, especially the non-paid ones felt positive about the experience and learning about their bodies, and then it goes on to say, "The quality of the vaginal erotic sensation was variably described by the subjects: Some likened it to that produced by coitus; others found the sensation unlike coital or clitoral stimulation; a few likened it to that felt during clitoral stimulation. several subjects reported initial anxiety and tension, especially when examined by the male researcher. Those who were examined by both authors agreed that the pressure applied by the male examiner was stronger than that applied by the female examiner."
  • "As expected, the paid subjects were significantly less inhibited at examination than the nonpaid ones, judging from their greater ease to let the stimulation go until orgasm."
  • They say that it doesn't seem likely that intercourse is a good way to elicit orgasm since a strong pressure at a particular angle is needed, which is best done by fingers, although doggy style, might be the best intercourse option to get the job done. They also doubt the high incidence of female ejaculation reported in the then recently released book, The G-Spot and Other Recent Discoveries in Human Sexuality. However, they imagine that maybe since 22.9% of the women they studied claim to have had that experience that ability may exist in a minority of women.
Orgasms?

All the orgasms in this study were elicited by the male researcher only. He "could not perceive any emission of fluid through the urethra accompanying them." He also couldn't, "perceive any clonic contractions of the perineal musculature at the time of orgasm, but in a few cases he perceived a rather tonic one." In other words, he specifically never felt the rhythmic contractions of the pelvic muscles that identify orgasm in males and females, but in a few women he felt the muscle tense and stay tensed. (He did note one or more physical signs of arousal in all the women).

Granted, this dude's fingers are not a highly sensitive measuring device for pelvic muscle contractions, and so this should be considered in that light, but it seems unlikely that an orgasm was actually, physically happening for any of these women. It also doesn't seem that an ejaculation was happening. If there was any physical thing happening to these women at the time they said they were orgasming, it was likely something wildly different and yet unidentified...but that's not how the researchers see it.

"The absence of rhythmic contractions of the perineal musculature, even when the subjects were experiencing particularly intense orgasms, runs counter to Masters and Johnson's model of female sexual response." So, it's not that these women weren't orgasming. It's that the whole understanding of female orgasm is wrong? Well, maybe. I guess one possibility is that despite the findings in the largest human sexual response study that yet exists Masters and Johnson's Human Sexual Response), it is still never the less somehow true that for women, but not men, "orgasm" can be something else entirely than what was consistently identified. It can be something, nay anything, that is happening when a woman says she is having an orgasm - even if there is no physical thing happening...Or - just hear me out - maybe that's quite a silly way to think about it. Maybe as scientific study has shown us up to this point, there is a thing called an orgasm in both men and women, and sometimes that occurs and sometimes it doesn't. Maybe when women say they are experiencing orgasm, they were actually experiencing something else, something that isn't an orgasm and should either have a different name or simply not be misidentified as an orgasm. Maybe it was a high level of arousal, a mental or spiritual climax. And then, maybe, just maybe, sometime the orgasms were just plain faked, either very intentionally or kinda non-intentionally just because they felt they were expected to so they did it.  

My Thoughts

Okay, so real quick, let me just recap. A dude pays some prostitutes associated with a madam he's "acquainted with" to take part in a "study" where he uses his bare hand to try and make them come on multiple occasions where he pays them each time, and most of them say they do come - multiple times in fact. They don't actually exhibit the physical markers of orgasm, but he assumes that just means that the research so far about lady-gasm is wrong instead of questioning whether these women were just doing what prostitutes get paid to do - make the client happy. In this case, maybe that is telling him that they orgasmed, confirming that he's right about his hypothesis that he can make ladies come if only they will let themselves (I mean, for all they know this was a dude's weird kink and not a study at all). 

Can we just back up to the unpaid women also? Is it possible that our dear researcher made these women come less because, well, they may not have been approaching the situation as a paid prostitute. I think this thought should have at least been considered in the discussion of the study instead of going straight to the hypothesis that the prostitutes were just "significantly less inhibited at examination than the nonpaid ones, judging from their greater ease to let the stimulation go until orgasm."

Also...So the actual percentage of women who claimed to reach orgasm is 35.4% of total (17 of 48 women studied), 12.5% of the unpaid and a whopping 81% of the paid subjects. However, the researchers use the number of women who either reached orgasm by stimulation of the vaginal walls or gave indications that they would if the stimulation had been continued. That is 14 out of 16 paid and 16 of the 32 unpaid - and they take that from the 45 women who said they felt erotic sensitivity in the vagina (not out of the 48 total subjects) to get the 66.7% of women who reached orgasm or requested to stop short of orgasm in the abstract. So, the numbers thrown out in the abstract are a bit misleading.

Anyway, this study and the conclusions others seem to draw from it are a hot mess in my opinion. It is not a blind study. The researchers who took the data and did the exams are the same who decided on the results. There's lots of room for bias. The examiner clearly had a hypothesis that he hoped would work out and that may very well have been reflected to some degree in his subjects. It also doesn't actually show that vaginal stimulation can cause M&J defined orgasm at all as is often purported. It specifically points to that not being the case. It's also highly suspect whether the orgasms reported were actually anything physical at all. The stimulation seemed to cause arousal in women, but not a M&J orgasm or even any other specific physical quality (besides maybe the few women the researcher felt as tensing and staying tense). It boggles my mind that the thought of faked orgasms was not even uttered. This is a scientific study and all possible conflicts should be considered. That this possibility was not considered is telling.


4.28.2015

Science, Sex and The Ladies at Alternet and Salon.com!



I'm not making excuses (I actually am making excuses), but I haven't posted the last couple days because I got home from my 3 months of day-job science business in Brazil on Saturday (no more Brazilian breakfast buffets and living in a hotel, no!!!), and I had to pack up and move out of my house beginning immediately (movin' closer into the city!).


It's been a little insane the last couple days, and on top of all that, SSL got a kick-ass article at Alternet Saturday morning, and then it got picked up by Salon on Monday. Jill Hamilton wrote the article - you might know her from a blog called In Bed With Married Women. It's funny as shit. I would check it out if I were you. I can't thank her enough for seeing this crazy as doc, and wanting to write about on some established, motha fuckin' sites. I mean Salon and Alternet are kinda bigtime for this mom n' pops deal we got goin on here. It upped our Vimeo and IndieFlix views, well, a lot, and we got tons of emails about small screenings, and other fun shit. Point is, all that stuff made having to move in weather far colder than I am now accustomed, after almost no sleep during a 20 our travel period much, much more exciting that it would have been. But, seriously, my seat would not go back even slightly on the 8 hour flight from Sau Paulo to Miami, and that sucked. I never have trouble sleeping on planes...or in classes...or in cars...or standing up, but I couldn't sleep at all, and there were only like 6 movies available - I had only not seen Taken 3.

That was my Brazilian bathroom, complete with Portuguese flashcards on the mirror.  

There was some good comment threads on the Alternet one. I always have to get my hands in there. I can't have random nay-saying comments hanging out there that can easily be answered and talked about civilly. So, that took up some time too, but it was fun. I'll do a post on those comments soon. Someone told me they wished I'd just shut up - she was a bit fighty, that one. Now, that would normally make my stomach turn into knots, but it doesn't anymore. I think I've grown, my friends. I just try to be nice and honest, and usually people are back, but when they're not, no biggie. I leaned that I've gained that ability this weekend, so that's another good thing to have come of all this.

Back to work...Go check out the Alternet and the Salon posts. It'll be fun.

4.22.2015

Reticulated Writer Writes Some Orgasm Equality...About Licking One's Own Clit...



I came across a blog that I thought might be a fun one for you to read. Plus, it's got that Orgasm Equality flair I love and need to share. You should go read it HERE. It's at Reticulated Writer, and it's called, "No Thanks, I'll Just Lick It Myself," a great name if ever I heard one. It begins with her distaste of the sound of her dog licking its balls and ends by asking the ladies out there if they would lick their own clits (I mean if it were possible and all). Obviously, my answer is yes. Clit-licking is just plain the bee's knees, the cat's meow, even!

Or is it?

Anyway, in her musings, she also gets all real - Orgasm Equality style real. I love it. There are not enough people out there talking about the big ol' elephant in the room when it comes to lady-gasms, the elephant being that our vaginas don't make us orgasm. It begins with her realization that there's lots of talk and jokes and questions about men sucking their own dicks if they could, but there's just not much of that for us ladies.
And then as I sat in church I wondered, Why hasn't anybody ever asked me if I would lick my clit if I could? Why hasn't anybody ever asked me if I can lick my own clit?
Why indeed. I like that she touches on something important. Men have a lot of culture around their authentic (not faked) orgasm, their drive to attain orgasm, and their methods of auto-manipulating it. Women have very little culture around those things.
But I want to know why isn't the interest in autofellatio matched by an equal interest in autocunnilingis? Even the Wikipedia entry for autoeroticism only refers to men dick-licking. Nothing about women clit-licking. I call shenanigans. 
I agree with her call of shenanigans, and I agree with the next part of her post even more.
...and then after church I had a conversation with my friend Martini about why women have fewer orgasms than men. If you're thinking it's because women's orgasms are harder to come by (pun intended), then you would be wrong. Our bits work just fine, thank you, but the relevant bits aren't found in our vaginas, so the penis isn't usually the right tool for the job. (I know there's that one woman -- the one the rest of us women all secretly hate -- who's thinking, I come with every penetration. I have an orgasm when I insert a tampon. Good for you, bitch. Now go sit in the corner. This conversation isn't for you.) 
No, the reasons are many, and most of them boil down to men's orgasms being more important than women's.
I couldn't agree more. Now, men as a whole aren't to blame, and women as a whole aren't to blame. Even "the man" can't be blamed, but the truth is she's right. Our sexual culture is built in a way that prizes male orgasm over female orgasm. To quote Billy Joel (because I know you want me to), "We didn't start the fire. It's been burning since the world's been turnin'" We can put that shit out though - Go Orgasm Equality!

Also, I wouldn't say orgasming from a tampon makes you a bitch, but she's right, this conversation isn't for you or the minority of women who claim in surveys to be like you. It's for the majority of women who we find, from surveys, that say they have never orgasmsed from vaginal stimulation. Ladies like this don't get to see women like themselves anytime they want in porn and movies the way you do. They need some space for their reality too, ya know. Oh, and I'm saying this in all seriousness. Search for some orgasm research studies that will physically verify your vaginally induced orgasms. These have actually never been verified in scientific literature, and if this is your experience, it should be documented. Seriously. It's crazy that there is a minority of women who claim this experience but it has never been verified. This shit needs to be cleared up.

Okay, that's the deal. Check out the Orgasm Equality infused post at Reticulated Write, and let her know if you would lick your own junk. Again, I would. I definitely would.

P.S. I wrote autocunnilingus into Google and clicked on images to find a picture for this blog. I think it is possible - at least in photoshop.

4.18.2015

Defending the Harder Parts of Science, Sex and the Ladies



I've been thinking a lot about reactions to Science, Sex and the Ladies. There are, from time to time, some very loud and adamant people that just don't like that I say, in my movie and in this blog, that it is a reasonable possibility that orgasms caused by stimulation inside the vagina actually aren't a thing. There are plenty of others who are intrigued and excited that I'm saying this, and I feel there are also a lot of people that just feel kinda uncomfortable with what I'm saying, maybe preferring to just stay out of any real debate on the issue. My point of view is not a normal one in the current talking/advising/researching about female orgasm world. It steps clearly out of an anything-anyone-feels-and-says-is-okay-cause-sex-is-so-diverse-and-personal vibe that I see as pretty prominent in our current progressive sexual culture. The SSL ideas sit strangely at a place that feels too radical for the overall sexual culture and too restricting for the progressive sexual culture. They commit the ultimate feminist sin and question the validity of some claims women make about their own bodies, and they poke at a hornet's nest by continuing a debate that a lot of people want to ignore and gloss over.

At the same time, the SSL movie and this blog also support all kinds of fairly comfortable and familiar things that are easy for anyone, especially progressive feminist and sex activists, to get behind; things about better sexual education, masturbation advocacy, and reducing rape culture. So, I think it might be hard for people to dissect their feelings about it because it's a lot, and it's a mix of the familiar and foreign, the harshly controversial and the obviously progressive, and it's about a topic that is deeply personal and deeply a part of a person's being. So, I know that in a lot of ways, I'm fighting an uphill battle that people don't really feel like fighting, and I know that things I say can be prickly and feel harsh, but I believe that these things need to be said.

I believe that women are terribly disadvantaged in the sexual culture, and there is barely any acknowledgement of the incredible scope and depth and reach of this inequality. However, I think women do feel that disadvantage deep in their bones and react to it, both publicly and privately, without really understanding where it is coming from. I see so many women express the disappointment, and hurt, and anger that comes from this in all kinds of diverse ways, but I also see that there is barely a vocabulary for this and certainly not any kind of united front for change. It is all-encompassing and invisible at the same time. When it is recognized to some degree, it is approached more as personal problems than deep cultural wrongs, and thus it doesn't seem that important. It is important though, and if we as a culture don't start scrutinizing our deeply held beliefs and assumptions about female sexuality, then there will be no change. To me, this starts with the female orgasm, and the incredible non-truths about it that permeate our media, our personal relationships, and our scientific inquiries. The non-truths are so deep that they feel like truths, and that's what makes any activism on this issue so hard but also so important - because change won't just happen on it's own. Our sexual culture and our sexual assumptions needs to be shoved into reality, and getting shoved can hurt.

So that said, let me just speak on the 2 main things people seem to be most bothered by in relation to the activism in the SSL movie and the blog.

No One Cares About Clit vs. Vag Orgasms Anymore! 
For those who think making a distinction between vaginal and clitoral orgasms is silly given that the modern, progressive view in the talking/advising/researching-about-female-orgasm-world is that all orgasms are clitoral, no matter if they come from direct stimulation on the clitoral glans or through penetration only: To that I say, I get that you are coming from a place of let's-just-all-get-along, but the truth is we still need to talk about this because only the specific words in this argument have changed over the years. The base of it is still the same as it has always been. It still assumes that there is an orgasm that comes from stimulation of the vagina, and that needs to be challenged.

There are orgasms that happen from some type of direct or indirect stimulation of the outer clitoral/vulva areas. They are uncontroversial, scientifically documented, and seemingly all healthy female bodies are capable of them. Then there is orgasms that happen from some type of stimulation on the inside of the vagina. It doesn't matter if people tell us they think the stimulation point for orgasm involves the g-spot or some aspect of the vaginal wall or some pressing/crushing/indirect stimulation of the inner legs of the clitoris through the vaginal walls (as is the hip modern way to view it). In the end, these orgasms all happen without any stimulation of the outer clitoral vulva area. The seemingly "progressive" idea that they might be caused by some type of inner clitoral leg stimulation doesn't change that, and honestly doesn't really have any more evidence to support it than the idea that they happen because of a distinct g-spot or through sensitive tissue on the anterior wall of the vagina. It's all just conjecture - speculating about the cause of an orgasm that has not, even with all the studies that speculate about it, yet been physically identified. This hypothetical, yet widely believed-in, type of orgasm is controversial, undocumented, and most women do not even claim to have ever had one.

I don't think there is anything silly or unnecessary about trying to clear up confusing, misleading information about how women can realistically achieve orgasm. Simply saying that "it's all clitoral" unfortunately doesn't make it all clear, and I think as a society we can and should begin trying to make this more clear.

I'm an Asshole That Calls Women Liars!
The other huge no-no I commit is that I dare to say that orgasm caused only by stimulation of the vagina might not exist even though I know good and well there are some women who say they experience this. Here's the thing. In a study, asking people what they did is very different than witnessing it. Just because a woman says on a survey that she has orgasms through vaginal stimulation alone or just because a friend earnestly says the same thing, doesn't mean that it's true. It seems very un-feminist and arrogant to say that, I know. I leave you to decide how much you hate me for this, but I can assure you my intentions are not to shame women or discount women's experiences of their own bodies. However, my intention is definitely to point out that there are HUGE problems with accepting women (or anyone) at their word about an experience this fraught with expectation, ignorance, and misconception, when it is absolutely possible to physically check when this experience occurs. It's not like we have to live in the dark. There is a physical reaction that is accepted as orgasm in both men and women, and we can check whether it happens or not. It has been done many times and can be done again. Yet it's not happening. If there is a woman out there who has experienced this, we haven't proved it yet. I have no doubt women certainly have the experiences they say they have, but just because they use the word "orgasm" doesn't mean that they physically had the rhythmic release of muscle tension and blood congestion that is uncontroversially known to be an orgasm.

You see what I'm saying? There's this idea the female orgasm is some complicated, wildly varied thing when it actually isn't any more complicated than the male orgasm

My reason for questioning survey results about women's ability to vaginally orgasm goes beyond the fact that science has not actually yet been able to validate those responses. There is also the matter of our culture's unwillingness to define orgasm for women. Even in peer reviewed journal articles, researchers often claim that the female orgasm has not been defined, and there are lots of ways to experience it. I take strong issue with that (and I go into that in a debate HERE), but point is, how can we expect women to answer whether or not they have experienced something when that something is not really defined? Is one woman answering what she perceives as a completely different question from another women? On top of that, can we just take a minute to consider how growing up and living in a sexual culture where the most common, expected, most depicted type of sexual interaction is one that does not cause orgasm in at least 70% of women (although I would guess that number is much more if not all). Mix that with the mushiness of the word "orgasm" and the cultural obsession with intercourse as the most common and accepted way to experience sexual interactions, and what does that lead to? Might women feel a strong and often unconscious pressure to orgasm from intercourse; a pressure that changes and molds them in a variety of ways, some of which  might lead them to say they experience something or even truly feel they experience something that they actually don't? Further more, let's consider how female orgasm is modeled. In porn the male orgasms are largely real, and the female orgasms, even the very realistic ones, are largely fake, but not always thought of as faked. Porn is the easiest and safest way to experience what sex is and should be like without having to partake in it. Could it be possible, even slightly, that this situation might model for women a sexual experience, somewhat unconsciously, in which displaying orgasmic movements and vocalizations at particular moments in a sexual situation is the orgasm? I know that sounds strange, but just roll that around in your head for a while. I'm not saying that women are intentionally faking orgasm. I'm not saying that there is no pleasure in the situation I just described, but I am saying that it is not an orgasm. That way of experiencing sex for a woman is regularly modeled and idolized in our culture, and it might be how some women actually experience "orgasm."

I think when one steps back and looks at what is happening in our sexual culture, how complicated and messy our relationships are to the female orgasm, how strong the pressures related to ladygasms are in our culture, how much misinformation is out there, how bad our models for ladygasm are, and how ridiculously undefined the word "orgasm" is for women, does it really seem that crazy to wonder if we are not getting completely accurate answers from women when we ask about orgasm? It's at least worth gently considering, can we agree on that?

What If, Though?
Let me end with this. If my crazy ol' mean sounding assertion is true - that women don't orgasm from vaginal stimulation, then what would that mean for female sexuality? Seriously, at least take a moment to even slightly consider what that could mean. The investigation of the implications of that possibility is actually what Science, Sex and the Ladies is all about. Like I said above,  I don't think the implication of that is a small thing at all. I think that the deep, wide, largely invisible disadvantage this creates for women in our sexual culture colors all (I mean all - men and women, gay, straight, and trans) of our understandings, expectations, and experiences around sex in varying degrees and styles. I think this predicament is further twisted because men's sexuality grows up so differently. For men the most culturally normal, most commonly depicted, mostly highly prized way of orgasming matches what their bodies are actually capable of. This creates a vast difference between how men and women experience the sexual culture, but the vastness of that difference is rarely understood or recognized. It's part of the invisibility of this problem, but I think the possibilities of how this difference can unnecessarily complicate lives, sexuality, and relationships is staggering.

I know it's uncomfortable, but I really believe we need to do some shoving. This ain't gonna work itself out.