4.29.2016

TV SSL Reviews! - A Master List of TV Shows Rated on Depictions/Discussions of Female Orgasm and/or Female Masturbation



This is the TV section of the SSL Reviews. If you'd like to check out the Movie SSL Reviews, go HERE.

To give a little background, an SSL Review is a critique specifically about a discussion or depiction of female orgasm or masturbation in media. I am particularly interested in the realism (for instance: was the physical thing happening during the orgasm something that actually could cause orgasm in a woman?). I also often discuss how the depiction/discussion reflects our cultural understanding and also what it adds to the larger conversation about female orgasm and female sexuality. In the end, though, I say whatever I want to say because this is my blog, but I do try to stick close to those guidelines.

Clearly not every TV show or movie will be eligible for SSL Review, but I try to do these reviews whenever depictions/discussions occur in things I'm watching, and I'm pretty good about it with movies, but sometimes with TV, I'm just too lazy to take notes. I'm working to get better at that and I'm even doing some re-watching to capture some good SSL Reviewable moments.

Old-timey vibrations in MAd Men
I have categorized the review links by TV series from A to Z and added their vulva ratings [a 0 to 5 vulva (!)(!)(!)(!)(!) scale] when available. Please note that I have not always given TV show reviews vulva ratings, so I have estimated on some earlier ones. Also, there is no standardized scale for the vulva ratings, as you will clearly see. As always, please tip me off to anything you'd like to see SSL Reviewed!

Below you will see notations that will help clarify some things.

(F) - Season fully SSL Reviewed (all scenes that could be SSL Reviewed were)
(FF) - Series fully SSL Reviewed (all scenes that could be SSL Reviewed were)
(E) - Very early writing from the blog
(*) - Estimated vulva rating because it was before I was vulva rating TV consistently

THE TV SSL REVIEWS!!!!!!!!

The Americans
Season 1(F)
Episode 13 (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

Season 2 and 3(F)
S2 Episode 1 S3 Episode 13 (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

Season 4(F)
Episodes 5 and 9 (!)(!)(!)(!

Archer
General thoughts about sexy vs. sexual balance among genders
Season 6
Episodes 9-10 (!)(!)

Black-ish
Season 3(F)
Episode 18 (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

BoJack Horseman
Season 1
Episodes 1-4 (!)(!)

Broad City
Season 1
Episodes 1-4 (!)(!)(!)(!)(!

Season 2
Episode 1  (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)
Episode 8 (part 1) (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

Season 3
Episodes 1- 2: (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)
Episodes 8-9: (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

Chewing Gum
Season 1
Episode 1 (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Season 1
Episode 2 (!)(!)(!)(!)

Don't Trust the B---- in Apt 23
Season 1(F)
Episodes 1 and 8 (!)(!)(!)(!)

Empire
Season 1
Episode 8 (!)

Flesh and Bone
Season 1(F)
Episode 1 (!)(!)
Episodes 5-8 (!)(!)(!)(!

Girls
Series Overview SSL Review (no vuvla rating - too complicated)

Glee(FF) 
Season 2
Episode 15(*): (!)

Season 3
Episode 5 (*)ZERO VULVAS

Gossip Girl(FF) 
Season 2
Episode 8 (*) : (!)(!)(!)(!)

House of Cards 
Season 1 (F)
Episode 1: ZERO VULVAS
Episodes 7 & 9 : (!)(!)(!)(!)

Season 4 (F)
Episode 7:  (!)(!)

Season 5 (F)
Episode 4:  (!)(!)(!

Hung
General hatred of premise(E)

Inside Amy Schumer
Season 2
Episode 2: (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

Season 3
Bridget Everett on last part of Episode 10: (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Season 2
Episode 25 (Sex Ed in America)(*): (!)

Love
Season 1
Entire Season: (!)

Mad Men(FF)  
Season 1 (F)
Episode 11: (!)(!)(!)(!)

Master of None
Season 2(F)
Episode 6 (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

Masters of Sex
General thoughts on first episode

The Mindy Project
Season 4
Episode 19: (!)(!)(!)(!)(!

Mozart in the Jungle
Seasons 1 & 2 (!)(!)

Mr. Robot
Season 2 (!)(!)(!

New Girl
Season 2
Episode 9:  ZERO VULVAS

The Night Of(FF) 
Season 1 (!)(!)(!)

Reign
General props for a masturbation scene

Seinfeld
Season 4
Episode 21 "The Junior Mint": (!)(!)(!
Season 5
Episode 1 "The Mango":  ZERO VULVAS

Sex And The City (retro SSL reviews - notes only, no vulva rating)
Season 2
Episodes 1-3 
Episode 4
Episodes 5-6
Episode 7-12

Season 4
Episodes 7-9
Episode 10

Season 3
Episodes 7-9
Episodes 10-12

Seasons 6
Episode 1-4, Episodes 7-9

SNL
Season 41
Episode 5 (First Got Horny 2U): (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)
Episode 11 (Penis Rap At the Club): (!)

Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories
Season 1
Episode 5 (!)(!)(!)

True Detective
Season 1 (F)
Episodes 3&6:  (!)

West World
Season 1 (F)
Episode 2 (!)

Wilfred
Season 1
Episodes (1-8):  ZERO VULVAS

Workaholics
Season 7
Episode 4: (!)(!)(!

The Young Pope
Season 1 (!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

4.25.2016

Broad City S3 Ep 1&2: The SSL Review



This is an SSL Review for one of my very, veriest favorites - Broad City. Goddamn if this show isn't one of the funniest I've seen, and it has all kinds of SSL Reviewable things (SSL review is exclusively the review of discussions/depictions of female orgasm or masturbation. It tends to focus on a discussion of realism and what the depiction/discussion means in the larger cultural discussion about female orgasm and sexuality - You can see a list of movie SSL reviews HERE if you're interested). However, I haven't always kept track of them to do SSL Reviews, so I'm starting here, and I'll slowly go back through older episodes. Anyway, I think this should be quick. Let me begin.


S3 Episode 1
Opening Bathroom Montage
At the beginning of this episode the screen is split between Ilana and Abbi's bathrooms. We get a montage from each side of a bunch of shit that happens in each room. It's a solid intro - top-notch really. But what caught my eye was one scenario where Ilana was getting eaten out while sitting on the toilet. It was all of 3 seconds, but it looks like she's just heading into her orgasm.

Here's the deets: She is siting on the toilet facing the audience. One leg is on the dude's shoulder (I think it's Lincoln - the dude's wearing scrubs). The other is on the ledge of the tub. Her hands are down. She's wearing a T-shirt that says "candy is dandy" (that's irrelevant), and no pants, socks, or shoes. As it cuts in, Ilana's hands are raising up from her lap, and her face has a tell-tale expectant, kinda strained expression that moves quickly to an exhale as her arms raise into a triumphant air pump with peace signs from both hands. To me, it's one of my most favorite orgasm depictions of all times. It's joyous, unabashed, non-fakey, and her face seemed to play it really right. Plus, what was happening to her at the time - a dude had his face area on her clit/vulva area - was clearly a realistic way one might elicit orgasm in a woman.



Saudi Women Scene
 So, Abbi is waiting on Ilana to show up for brunch, and when Ilana gets there, she says,
"I'm sorry I was late. I got into this depressing article matrix about these Saudi women who have to ask their keepers permission to leave the house, like uh please. I just was so pissed I had to blow off some steam and masturbate first.
Then Abbi's all like - whatever we need to get this table quick, and Ilana goes on,
"I'm really sorry, you just would not have wanted to have see me if I hadn't masturbated."
I mean what is there not to love about that (except, of course, the Saudi women situation). Any time a woman is depicted as being unabashed in her masturbation endeavors the way men often are, I'm way behind that. It gives the normalcy of lady-bation a tiddy tiny boost. Plus, masturbation is funny, and men have been using it as comedy for years. So on a comic level, I love this show's liberal use of masturbation in to hit on that largely untapped humor inherent in female sexuality and masturbation....what I'm saying is it's also just good comedy.

S3 Episode 2
Ilana's Request
Ilana gets in car with Lincoln and she's super nervous. They talk for a while and then Ilana get's overwhelmed starts climbing into his lap as he's driving. She says,
"Oh god, I need to be swaddled." 
Lincoln, quite rightly, protests this situation because, ya know, it makes him not be able to drive.
"Come on. if your not gonna swaddle me, at least let me drive and give me road head."
Lincoln says,
"Do you wanna die, and how does that even work?"
To which Lana replies,
"Road hand, whatever. Just quit the pillow talk and get me off."
She gets out of his lap and calms down and they go on talking.

It's perfect. It's so simple, and easy, and casual. That element of her that desires sexual gratification without necessarily reciprocating is a character element few women in media are afforded, and here it's played for laughs, but not because that part of her makes her ridiculous or funny. It's just that it's a part of her, and the way she expressed it in the moment was funny. She is asking Lincoln to give her head/hand, and she's kinda not necessarily serious (because you can't just like force people to do that, right?) but maybe kinda serious - like...'I'm just putting that out there, so if you want to...'

My point is that this is fantastic because it normalizes a woman's straight up desire and entitlement to orgasm just ever so slightly. I mean this little line in this little TV show didn't even the cultural playing field of male vs. female feelings of entitlement to desire and orgasm, but it's a step in the right direction for a little balance out there.  Bravo, Broad City. Bravo.

Ilana's Reaction
This isn't really something that is eligible for SSL Review, but Ilana's reaction when Lincoln tells her he was with another girl made me fall in love 100 times over with this show. That's all I will say, 'cause you don't need me spoiling it. WATCH THIS SHOW.

Vulva Rating
For the realistically depicted orgasm from cunnilingus and the scenes that function to further normalize female masturbation, and desire for un-reciprocated orgasm (and because it was all funny to boot), I give these episodes a full 5 vulva rating!
(!)(!)(!)(!)(!)

4.21.2016

Annamarie Jagose Getting to the Bottom of this Whole Orgasm Gap Thing



A friend tipped me off to this article called "Some Notes On The Female Orgasm in 2015," by Annamarie Jagose, a scholar and author. She spat the ever-lovin' truth, and I'm putting her directly into the Orgasm Equality Allies list (with the full knowledge that she may view the term 'orgasm equality' differently than I do). Plus I'm creating a new category within the list ("stuff focusing on the deeper societal causes of orgasm inequality") to put her article under.  Dr. Jagose went right to the kernel of this issue like no-one I've seen yet, and I'm very excited that she did.

Annamarie Jagose Picture from Random House Books

So that brings me to what Dr. Jagose was saying. Very basically, she was saying that all the pop discussion and worry and outcry about the 'orgasms gap' is not new. People were talking about it back in the early 1900's. It is a continual, constant problem that originates because lady-gasms and intercourse are not very compatible, and it will continue to be a problem until our culture loosens its deep allegiance to the dream of intercourse as a mutually orgasmic sexual experience.

Fuck to the yeah on that assessment.

She also gets a little deeper in her explanation. She points out that  the statistics (and the discussion surrounding those statistics) about things like; how much less women orgasm vs. men, how unlikely women are to have orgasms from intercourse, and how women NEED clitoral stimulation in order to come - are actually not that helpful in the end. Why? Because for fuck sake, we've known these stats for decades - centuries even, and yet somehow, we just plain don't seem to care enough to do anything about it.

She rightly points out that the truly interesting thing here is not the old-ass news about the sad state of lady-gasms and their lack of existence in so many hetero sexual encounters (particularly intercourse). The REALLY interesting thing here is WHY THE FUCK ARE WE STILL HAVING THIS CONVERSATION LIKE IT'S NEW? What is it about our culture that makes us (and I'm talking men, women, sexperts, sociologists, medical scientists - the whole gamut) hell-bent on dismissing, marginalizing, and straight up ignoring the truth about how disconnected our cultural expectations of hetero-sex are from the realities of how women actually orgasm.

She's so on point with that. In fact, it was kinda like a a sign from some kind of god or something to me because the topic of her article had been heavily on my mind for the past couple days. I'd been mulling over how to write more strongly about it, and I had just this Sunday written an article inspired by seeing Dr. Ruth on an old Johnny Carson episode that touched on the same topic. It had struck me how close what Dr. Ruth was saying over 30 years ago is to what sexperts say today....and yet nothing has changed in the orgasm gap - which is insane to me. The sad truth is that even if we know that intercourse is not great for lady-gasms and that clit stimulation is needed, and although it logically makes sense that having sex the way most hetero people have sex is definitely going to keep this orgasm gap alive and well, in the end as a culture we just kinda want to ignore it. It's pretty mind-boggling actually.

I'm interested to read Annamarie Jagose's book Orgasmology because I'd like to hear more on her point of view about why this is still happening, because she will certainly come at this from a different perspective. I will say from a practical standpoint and also from a kind of personal experience standpoint, part of the problem this issue continues to stay stagnant is that it doesn't gain you much love to speak so boldly about how scarily twisted our society is about lady-gasms, so even people who want to talk about it, don't. In fact, when you really try to address the weird societal core of this orgasm equality problem, you tend to either get emotionally fueled blowback or more commonly you just plain get ignored and marginalized - and what really sucks is that, at least for me, it has often come hardest from people in the feminist, sex-positive, and progressive communities - people I expected to be allies. Which, I guess, just highlights Jagose's point about how deep the problem really is. That said, though, I've also experienced a lot of individuals who really connect to it, and I really feel people are becoming ripe to hear it - we just need more people saying it and more adamantly... like Jagose is doing.

Annamarie Jagose, you speaking about this is bold and brave, and the direct hit you make to the core of this problem is absolutely revolutionary and bad ass. Keep on with it. Speak that truth!

P.S. I do still love the term 'orgasm equality' but I totally get the point Dr. Jagose was making when she said that calling for 'orgasm equality' is often a vacant attempt to create a solution for a problem without acknowledging what that problem really is. I would put forth that, branded correctly, an Orgasm Equality Movement could and should dig deeper and create the kind of hard conversations and reflection that chip at the deeper societal need to believe hetero sexual intercourse is the mutually orgasmic epitome of sexual interaction.  Viva La Orgasm Equality Revolution!

4.18.2016

Dr. Ruth on Johnny Carson in 1982: The Culture of Lady-gasm Hasn't Changed Much :(



First of, Antenna TV, people - amiright?!
Have I ever told you that I love Antenna TV? I don't have cable. I have my Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime, but maybe better than those are the random .2 and .3 over-air stations that have a strange and wonderful array of movies and shows. Antenna TV is on 59.2 here in Indy, and it has stuff like Sanford and Son, Maude, Family Ties, One Day at a Time and recently - random The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson episodes.

Dr. Ruth doin' the damn thing...the same damn thing we're doin' today
Well, it just so happened that Dr. Ruth Westheimer was on last night from the June 11, 1982 episode. And you know what? I realized that Lady-gasms are no better off now than they were when I was 2. Seriously. She basically told the same story you hear from every sex adviser these days. Men are asking how they can please the ladies and women are asking why they aren't pleased. The basic problem  of orgasm equality was there 30-some years ago, and it doesn't seem to have gotten better.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer

I don't have exact quotes because it was over the air and I can't rewatch to check my quotes, but when asked about who calls and what they say, she said something like:
I get calls from men who ask about women's sexual satisfaction, - 'how can I know if my partner's satisfied...if she had an orgasm.
She says she likes men asking that because it signifies a caring lover. Then this is what she said of women, well something like this - this is not an exact quote:
I have met many women who have never felt sexual gratification - been married 19 years and never...and they never touch themselves because they have been told good girls don't touch there and don't let their husbands touch there for the same reason...and they have vasocongestion that leaves them with bad feelings and that's why they say things like they are tired and try to avoid it altogether.
First off, I love that she uses the word vasocongestion. She's talking about the increased blood pooling down there during arousal, but all technical and shit. Basically she's saying these ladies get aroused, get the equivalent of blueballs because they're all full of blood down there but never 'sexually gratified' and then they're all like, 'fuck this bullshit that's supposed to be awesome, but actually sucks. I'm just gonna say I'm tired  - because I am. I'm tired of this shit.'

Fair enough hypothetical lady. Fair enough. But, can I quickly point out that this is an age-old problem that is still very, very much with us. Men and women do what they are supposed to, what's supposed to be mutually orgasmic. They have intercourse, but because of, well, women don't orgasm from vaginal stimulation, women rarely orgasm in this situation, and men almost always do (because they do orgasm from penile stimulation), and so over time with less sexual acts ending in orgasm for her than him, the excitement of the situation wears off for an otherwise sexually healthy woman, and her interest and desire for sex slowly decreases. It's the ol' 'wives don't like sex' schtick - that is still fodder for jokes because it's still laced with truth. It's sad for everyone involved.

The mountains of sex advisers like Dr. Ruth are just putting a band-aid on a gaping crater in our sexual culture
Dr, Ruth then goes on to say that something she advises is that people communicate about this gently and maybe over coffee or something - so one person telling the other what they liked and didn't as much. She thinks that guiding your partner's hands on your body where it feels good is a good way to communicate your needs. She also advocates that masturbation is normal and sometimes advises for people to masturbate together and maybe in bed together. She doesn't say the word clitoris directly, but through her discussion of masturbation and hand-guiding, it's clear that she sees the clit as important to a couple' sex life.

That is all good advise, and certainly anytime masturbation is advocated, I'm fully behind that, but for fuck sake, it's the same stuff people say now only there's a shit-ton more Dr. Ruth types all over the book shelves, TV, and internet pages saying it in all different ways. You can't swing a cat without hitting one (not that I would swing a cat. I love cats). So, why the hell has the orgasm gap not let up?

Why is it clear that women's bodies are not less able to orgasm than men's (we can masturbate as quickly easily and reliably as men) but somehow when we're with partners, we just aren't orgasming as much? If advise like Dr. Ruth was giving is that good and now there's even more of it than ever, why are women and men still asking in droves about how women orgasm, how you know women have orgasmed, and about how women can orgasm easier and more? Why is there still so much pain, ignorance, and insecurity about the female orgasm - which contrary to popular belief, really isn't rocket science? Why is this still happening?

Let's recap
In 1982:
  • Women were not getting near the orgasms men were getting in the bedroom 
  • Men and women both were worried about it
  • Sex advisers advise communication, gentle experimentation, and thinking more about the clit during sex.
In 2016, 34 years later:
  • SAME
In the 50's (check out the book American Sexual Character - a great discussion about this in the 50's):
  • SAME
Since the early part of the 20th Century when 'experts' began really openly discussing the need for women to orgasm, this is the discussion that has been happening. There has always, certainly from the 50's on, been a cultural acknowledgement that the clit could and sometimes should be involved in sex for female satisfaction, but there has never been a deep change from the oh-so-strong societal mindset that that tells us: sex is intercourse and that intercourse is somehow as orgasmic for women as it is for men.

We need to flip the hell out of the goddamn script 
Without a change in that mindset, without a full acknowledgement that 1. women need clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm, 2. that intercourse is not a sensible way to stimulate the clit, and 3. that the way our society has been depicting, discussing, teaching, advising on, and doing sex is simply not good for female orgasm (but super good for male orgasm), then we, as a society, will continue on this same stagnant path of women having too few orgasms and 'experts' giving advice that merely band-aids the problem instead of actually fixing it. WE ARE NOT GETTING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM. Maybe sex advice like Dr. Ruth or the 1,000s of advisers like her might help one couple with their one problem, but no-one is really trying to bulldoze those cultural norms that ensure people will continue to have these problems over and over and over again by the millions.

****On a lighter note and as a fun bonus, 
let me mention a couple more things about Dr. Ruth and this episode:
  • Here's something I didn't realize about Dr. Ruth. Clearly she was an icon in my very young youth. I remember using her name in jokes and stuff, but I never really listened to her. I was too young. Anyway, she felt it incredibly important to speak publicly about sex in a tasteful way, a way that is accurate and non-offensive because there are so many personal feeling on the matter out there in this country. It is something she reiterated over and over. It seemed like a real throwback sentiment - like the way turn of the century doctors used to reiterate how technical and non-titillating their work was so they would be taken seriously. However, even with all her emphasis on that sort of decorum, I still thought she sounded pretty much like any sex advise person you'd see on national TV today.
  • In mentioning how normal self gratification is, she mentions that baby boys can be born with an erection and girls with lubrication in the vagina. I LOVE that she equates an erection with vaginal lubrication - because they should be equated. They are both the first signs of arousal (blood pooling in the genital region causes both those things), but I find it is rare to hear them spoken about that way - so much so that I sometimes wonder if some people giving sex advice really know how shit works down there.


4.14.2016

Colin Aulds, An Article, The Honest Liars, and Orgasm Equality!



I'm writing this today because a guy named Colin Aulds, one of the Honest Liars, wrote a fab Orgasm Equality article in Weekly Gravy called, "How To Make Her Come...Before She Goes (Forever)," and I want to give him props for it, send you that way (Go check it out!!!!), give a little history, and tell you why I was so excited about it on an Orgasm Equality Movement level. I'm gonna be all long-winded about this though, so let me start.



First - Haven't heard of the Honest Liars? Haven't been to their site or listened to their podcast? That's your loss 'cause these dudes are getting into some issue that need digged into. They investigate radical honesty - being deeply honest with yourself so that you can engage in more healthy and honest relationships (They say all this better than me probably btw). They point out how hard that is to do because there are very few models for this kind of honesty out there in the world. We just don't grow up with it. They also make no bones about the fact that bringing that kind of honesty into your life can be painful and hard and could even break up relationships - but it is worth it.

I think they are way on point with that message, and I also think it has everything to do with Orgasm Equality. The culture surrounding female orgasm is so non-honest about the realities of the female body and the female experience that we men and women don't even know what honest looks like. It's just not modeled for us. So, getting to a more honest place when it comes to lady-gasms, with ourselves and in our sexual relationships, can be painful - but it's worth it.

So, my point is that their work and my work are meant to be good friends.

I met Colin when I (well let me first just admit that I regularly google my name and also 'science sex and the ladies'...like a lot. But in my defense, I would never find articles and stuff about SSL if I didn't. So, I googled 'science sex and the ladies' and saw the something called The Honest Liars Podcast had mentioned the movie. Obviously, I dropped all my actual work and listened immediately. I loved it. I loved it because these guys, Colin Aulds and Adam Talbot, were talking really thoughtfully and openly. They had read an Alternet article that came out about SSL. One of them (I think Adam) had then checked out my movie, and they also had invited a female friend to add her point of view.

Anyway, listening to them was awesome because I LOOOOVE hearing people talk about these ideas, but also because these dudes were really trying to grapple with some of the more controversial aspects. It was super refreshing to hear. Plus, I particularly liked that at times they mentioned the possible filmmaker of the movie that might be listening, and I actually was. That's just kinda funny to me.

So, I immediately wanted to contact them, and because I'm me and because they seemed truly open to discussion, in the email I corrected some of the things they had said about the science presented in the movie. I also gave my two cents about some statements Colin had made about feeling like (and I'm paraphrasing) that there shouldn't be any problems if a man and a woman just came together and communicated well. You know me. I have all kinds of things to say about there not being a level playing field, and that it's much more complicated than that, etc. etc.

To my great excitement, they emailed me back and were super receptive to discussing stuff. We ended up doing a Skype interview for their podcast on the 4th of July that became a 3 part series. Um, I REALLY liked doing that podcast. It was fun and they were really thoughtful and interesting and I think we had some top notch discussion. Podcasts are awesome because I feel like it's a way to get feedback and challenges on the spot so we can really talk out the minutia and subtlety in a way that is often too hard to do in writing.

Now we're back to Colin's article. Okay, so since then Colin has kept in contact with me from time to time, giving me a heads up when he sees something I might be interested in. Then in January, he wrote the article in question. I read it, and I was like, 'hell yeah!' It made me feel like Orgasm Equality had won over this man - and that made me feel really hopeful because this man, I think (and I hope I'm not stereotyping you too much, Colin), is a sorta alpha guy who was openly skeptical about a couple of my assertions going in. Now, when I say alpha - don't get me wrong. He's not some dumb meat head or anything. He's a smart, thoughtful, open guy. It's just he seems like he's also a guy's guy - he gets along with other dudes easily and probably spent a lot of his youth doing traditionally dude things with other dudes. He's the kind of person people always think this movie is not for, but to me - he's exactly the type of person it's for...a person who is skeptical, sure, but open and willing to ask hard questions in order to get the answers that make sense to them. And then when he is on board, that alpha part is a huge asset because he, with all that alpha-ness has the potential to influence lots of others.

Seriously, this podcast was fun as shit. It was like everything I ever hoped would happen while I'm talking with people about this. They asked me straight forward, skeptical questions about it. And we talked about it. I'm not in this for people to just smile and nod and then leave believing whatever it is they want to believe when they came in. The things I assert about lady-gasms and about the reality of sexual encounters between women and men are not, like, obvious.  So, honestly, if you don't question me or have some thought about it, I feel like something isn't right - like you don't care or you don't get the gravity of what we're saying, or you don't believe me and you want to just stop talking about it and move on. Maybe that's not true all the time, but it feels true. I want to get grilled. I want to get down to the nitty gritty. That's were the magic happens. That's where things start getting more clear - and that's what felt so cool about this podcast.

I'm super happy I met Colin and Adam. Honestly they had no reason to listen to me going in. The strongest assertions SSL makes fly in the face of pretty much everything society has been telling us about female sexuality since we popped outta the womb, and their experiences, like most dude's, probably tended to not jive with what I was saying anyway. But man, when I read what Colin had written in his article I felt like he had really gotten behind aspects of the Orgasm Equality argument that he had really questioned coming into our discussion - and that is crazy cool.

It means we can talk this stuff out, it means alpha dudes are our allies (He's already in the the Orgasm Equality Allies list as part of Honest Liars, but I added Colin and Adam's actual names into their entry), and it means there is a lot of hope for us ladies, our 'gasms, and our sexual encounters.

Big ups to you Colin, Adam and the Honest Liars!


4.11.2016

Bridget Everett - Puttin' Dicks Away For Orgasm Equality



At the end of Amy Schumer's last episode of Season 3, there was an absolutely spectacular celebration of female-centered sexuality by comedian Bridget Everett called, I believe, Put Your Dick Away. And, I'm going to go further and tell you that it's straight up revolutionary shit she's doing. I'm adding her directly into my Orgasm Equality Hero list - because she deserves it.

Bridget Everett

The beautiful part is that it was funny as shit too. Like I'm always saying, truly lady-based sexual humor is a largely untapped area of comedy. Although talking about sex is nothing new for the ladies, strangely, talking about hetero sex in a truly selfish yet horn-ified way and keeping it clit instead of vagina centric is still super shocking and edgy...In a way it's really that women talking about sex that truly uses men is still really wild and scary (and btw - comedy about making a man fuck an insatiable vagina until he's tired out doesn't count - that's like saying you're 'using' your friend by obsessively cleaning their house to fulfill your cleaning fetish until they're kinda bored of you being around their house).

Can I just say again that I LOVED this goddamn Put Your Dick Away song. It was so on-point, funny, and deeply true - as some of the best comedy is. I really find it exciting to see more and more comedians expressing in this way about sex and masturbation.  Amy Schumer's got the triple crown of 5 vulva ratings in podcasts, TV and Movies, so she is doing her part. The ladies of Saturday Night Live are tappin' in from time to time. Margret Cho did her part back in the day (although I think the world wasn't quite ready yet). Of course they're others too -add 'em in the comments if you got 'em.

So, here's my favorite set of lyrics. It brings a little revolutionary tear to my eye.

When I come home at the end of the day and my fingers are down to the bone. 
My back is achin' don't there be no mistaken, I'm gonna call my girl on the phone.
Then I'll pour a glass of wine. I'm gonna take my time. I'm gonna get my shit relaxed.
And when I say it's fucking time, you're gonna lick my valentine, and don't forget the crack. 
So put yoooooour diiiick, puuuuuut your diiiiick, put your dick away.

Indeed.

Anyway, I think humor is probably the best path to Orgasm Equality. For instance: Some dudes don't want to believe that you might GREATLY prefer for them to mouth-fuck your clit instead of gettin' that dick up in it, but if they hear it as a joke, it lubes the idea up just enough to slip it in the back door...just enough to wonder about if the next girl they hook up with even actually cares to see or touch his junk at all. The way I see it, if we ever want orgasm equality guys need go into a sexual encounter just as worried about the possibility that they'll be used for their mouth and sent on their way as women are about getting a terrible, orgasm-less bang. We are not to that point yet. I mean guys pretty much assume an orgasm in any  sexual situation, so we do have a long way to go yet. But one day, with everyone equally scared they could end up giving more than they get, maybe everyone will start putting in equal effort, and orgasmic joy will reign on earth - amiright?

But seriously, check this woman out. There's no official video of this song up on YouTube that I can find. So you're just going to have to watch her on Inside Amy Schumer S3 E10 (3 Buttholes) or watch her recent Stand-up (which I'm gonna do tonight). Do it.

4.07.2016

Thank You Columbus - It Was A Great Show!



Seriously, though - I mean it. Thank you Columbus, Ohio. Let me list the reasons why:
  • You have an awesome arts theater, Gateway Film Center, that invited us to be part of their Documentary Week. I mean, come on, that place is bad ass. If you live there and you don't take advantage of it, you really should start. As I said before. I'm jealous.

AnC (Barnaby, Trisha, Charlie LtoR) with our poster at the Gateway. I kiss the picture of our cast members because I love our cast members.

  • You gave us a big ol' group of totally cool people who decided to come out to watch SSL on a chilly Wednesday night. They were super engaged through the movie. Seriously, like I said before, I LOVE watching SSL with a big group of people. They laugh and react a lot, and I don't know if this is strange or not, but it makes me smile and laugh seeing all the things that make them laugh - it really is super fun. 
  • Almost all the crowd stayed for the Q&A until we were kicked out...and even after (Thanks again for the kind words and discussion; Mark, really interesting sexual educator from Brooklyn who's name I can't remember right now, and nice OSU Sexuality student!)
  • The crowd was, for real, really awesome. They even laughed at a few subtly weird things we have in the movie that we hadn't heard crowds get that into before - like when they saw me writing in a diary with Prince Valiant hair while our cat, Ramona, sniffed around behind the bed post. I love when people just melt into the weirdness of it. 
  • Our stay was great - the AirBnB place was fantastic, and the food at Katalina that the AirBnB people suggested was top notch, ya'll!
  • You have a super cool guy named Robert Pyatt (who I found out was originally from Indianapolis, so we here in Indy will take a little credit for this) who kinda randomly heard about Science Sex and the Ladies a good while ago (he thinks maybe through another Indy area film director, Kate Chaplin?) and decided to watch it. Then while watching it, saw all the things in it that we so very much hoped people would see in it. He saw we were serious about the science we put in it. He saw how we used on-screen citation for transparency and saw that isn't something other documentaries are doing. He saw that the points we were making were things that needed to be heard but weren't being said like this anywhere else, and he saw we did our darndest for it to be entertaining.  He then, since he happened to be working with Gateway to bring in science programming, championed us. Talking with him at the show last night and hearing what he said about our film when he introduced it really meant a lot, probably more than he knows. This movie is a strange beast to program, and what I've found is that it really only gets attention from festivals and venues when it has a champion on the inside - Robert was one of those champions. He popped up for us out of the blue, and gave our movie a chance. We will always have a special place in our hearts for him.
  • Also, let me just go back to Mr. Robert Pyatt He also really researched into the things written about this movie, my blog, and interviews and podcast I've done. He was really informed and engaged about the movie and this topic. He actually really appreciated the depth of the scientific research and integrity I strive for with this stuff. Honestly, it just felt awesome when I realized that about him last night. It makes me feel like the time and energy I spend writing about and researching all this lady-gasm stuff is worth it at least a little. Oh - and I feel like the work he put into getting SSL shown in Columbus, and the excitement for which he promoted and talked about it, well, by golly, I think he deserves to be a true blue Orgasm Equality Ally. So, you are now on the list, good Mr. Robert Pyatt. Thank you again, and check it out HERE!

Okay, that's about it. It was a fabulous experience from top to bottom. For those of you that were there, please tell your friends about it. Talk, talk, talk about this stuff.

And here are some links to things we discussed:

Here's a list of SSL reviews, where I rate depictions/discussion of lady-gasm in movies and give vulva ratings

Here's a list of Scientific articles about lady-gasm that I've reviewed so far

Here's my critique of a recent BBC article on female orgasm

Here's a list of other people out there doing the good work for Orgasm Equality

Here's were you can rent or buy a streaming version of the movie

Oh - and remember we are always willing to lend out the movie for free if you have a group you'd like to show it to, and I'm always open to talking about this topic. In fact I love talking about this topic. Feel free to contact me at trisha att ancmovies dott comm

Peace out Columbus! You've been great!

4.03.2016

Orgasm in Women with Spinal Cord Injury (Sipski Study) - A Journal Article I Read



"Orgasm in women with spinal cord injuries: a laboratory-based assessment." Sipski ML1, Alexander CJ, Rosen RC. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1995 Dec;76(12):1097-102.

Hello, welcome again to A Journal Article I Read! As always, I will do my best to give you a comprehensive understanding of this study as quickly as possible and without getting too bogged down in confusing language and details. Unless I specifically tell you I'm giving my opinion, then assume I am paraphrasing the study. Also, if you have any additional thoughts or corrections or anything else, please let me know. I would love to hear from you.

This one is a 1995 article investigating orgasm in women with spinal cord injury. This team has a few articles investigating this, but this is one of their earlier ones. I think they're doing some important work here that I imagine is quite hopeful and useful for women with these types of injuries.

I am particularly interested in this article for a couple reasons:

1. It investigates ability to orgasm among women with a variety of spinal cord injuries (SCI), so it has at least a little something to say about the mechanism and pathway for female orgasm in general.
2. It investigates orgasm in women with SCI in a different way than the Komisaruk article on the same topic that happens to get much more play in the media
3. It takes data on pelvic muscular activity at time of orgasm, but does not include that data in the results except to comment on whether the ability to have voluntary rectal contractions was related to rectal contractions (indicating pelvic muscular activity) at time of orgasm (they are not significantly related).
If you read my blog, you know I'm always going on about problems associated with lady-gasm studies not taking the time to discern between orgasm claims that include rhythmic pelvic muscular activity at time of orgasm and orgasm claims that do not include that muscular activity. Anyway, it's super interesting that this study took the time to gather data on pelvic muscular activity but didn't incorporate it into the results...and didn't say why.

MY QUICK INTRO THOUGHTS
In general, I think this is a well done and important study showing that women with SCI are more able to orgasm than previously thought and can achieve orgasm through genital self-stimulation. However, as is so often the case with female orgasm studies, it relies on women simply saying that they have orgasmed in order to deem a masturbation session as orgasmic or not. It does not discern whether all of those claimed orgasms are physically identifiable through rhythmic pelvic muscular activity at the time of orgasm or not. It only uses heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure as physical elements at orgasm and none have been found to be useful markers of orgasm.

As I often say, ignoring or not capturing pelvic muscular data creates a situation in which researchers could end up blindly combining data about two physically different instances of 'orgasm' - one that includes rhythmic pelvic muscular activity and one does not. Conclusions made from this combined data without specific understanding that it is, in fact, combined data, is problematic. To me it's like making conclusions about what types of people have heart attacks using data from self reports not confirmed by doctors. What if there were people who actually had panic attacks and not heart attacks in there. They may have all called them heart attacks, but physically they were different, and that would affect the results. I imagine that the results about how spinal cord injury affects ability to orgasm is similarly affected by this self-reporting method, and I think that needs to be kept in mind.


INTRO

  • Up to this point there hadn't been a lot of studies about sexual functioning in females with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), and there's been a lot of controversy about (1) if women with SCI can have orgasms and (2) the effect of the type and site of the injury
  • For a long time it was believed women with SCI couldn't orgasm (it references a quote from 1978 saying that was mentioned)
  • Since then, several studies have indicated that some women with SCI can orgasm, but they were all non-lab studies using self report
  • One study recorded pelvic muscular activity (through anal and vaginal contractions) in women with SCI attempting orgasm. Of the 10 participants, 6 claimed orgasm and 4 of these women showed pelvic muscular activity. However, the details of the types of SCI were not clear, so it is not as useful and it could be.
  • The team that did this study also did a study a couple years earlier where one woman with tetraplegia claimed orgasm from chest and breast stimulation. "An extreme elevation in blood pressure along with a slight drop in heart rate and minimal change in respiratory rate was noted." They didn't mention pelvic muscle activity.
  • "Based on the lack of understanding of the characteristics of orgasm after different types of SCI and the accompanying physiological events, the present study was designed to provide a laboratory-based controlled evaluations of orgasm in women with SCI."


METHODS

Subjects

  • 25 women with Spinal cord Injury (SCI), 9 able-bodied control women
  • recruited from SCI magazines, local newsletter, etc.
  • normal menstrual cycles, no gynecological or neurological surgery, free from psychiatric disorder, and medically stable
  • mean age for able bodied subjects: 32; Mean years of education: 15.6
  • mean age for SCI subjects: 34; Mean years of education: 15.1
  • "all subjects underwent anal sphincter electrography and somatosensory evoked potential testing by a single examiner using Dantec Counterpoint equipment." (After I looked into this a bit, I think this means they were tested to check for how much control they each had over their anal sphincter muscles - whether they could contract it, etc.)
  • all underwent comprehensive examinations by the principle investigator according to the International Standards for Classification of Spinal Cord Injury to assess their specific level of neurological impairment.
  • A questionnaire developed by the investigators was given to participants to specifically assess the impact of SCI on sexual functioning.
  • The Derogatis Sexual Function Inventory (DSFI) was given to each participant to assess the quality of their current sexual functioning.

Equipment

  • Participants were in a private wheel-chair accessible lab resting on a hospital bed in a hospital gown
  • The following devices were placed on the participants for attaining measurements
  • physiologic electrodes
  • A photoelectric pulse sensor on right big toe (to measure heart rate)
  • thermocouple transducer (nasal respiration)
  • automatic cuff (blood pressure)
  • Perry Systems Perrymeter (rectal muscle contractions)


Study Protocol

  • "Subjects underwent a 75-minute study protocol designed to obtain information on the physiological events accompanying orgasm."
  • "Subjects were shown a sexually explicit video and were instructed to stimulate themselves to orgasm through any means possible."
  • 2 subjects were unable to stimulate themselves, so were stimulated by a partner
  • "Subjects were asked to verbally indicate when they experienced orgasm and when they desired to stop stimulation, either with or without achieving orgasm. If subjects were unable to achieve orgasm withing 75 minutes, the session was terminated."

ANALYSIS

  • "Appropriate descriptive statistics were used to characterize study participants in each of the study groups. Differences were examined both within and between subject groups."
  • Then there are some details about which statistical methods were used


RESULTS

  •  Participantswere categorized in 4 groups
  • Group 1  - complete SCU
  • Group 2 - incomplete subjects with preserved light touch sensation in the T11-L2 dermatomes 
  • Group 3 - incomplete subjects with preserved pin prick sensation in the T11-L2 dermatomes
  • Group 4- Able-bodies controls
  • Dependent measures include
  • Heart Rate (HR)
  • Respiration Rate (RR)
  • Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP)
  • Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP)

  • No significant difference between any of the groups for HR, SBP and DPB at baseline 
  • There was also no difference between any of the groups for any of the dependent variables at time of orgasm.
  • HR and RR was greater and DBP stayed steady at orgasm vs. baseline measurements for both able-bodied and SCI participants
  • SPB stayed steady for able-bodies and was greater for SCI participants
  • However, breaking the HR, RR, DBP, and SBD measurements down at orgasm vs. baseline  within the different SCI groups, gives more varied results. (see table  2 below)
Sipski et al 1995 Table 2
  • All 9 able-bodied participants had orgasms
  • 4 of 11 had orgasms in Group 1 (complete SCI)
  • 4 of 6 had orgasms in Group 2
  • 5 of 8 had orgasms in Group 3
  • "...whether the subject had an orgasm seemed to be related to whether there was a SCI, but not to the degree or type of SCI."
  • For subjects that reached orgasm, there was a significant difference in time to reach orgasm between: SCI subjects w/ no lower extremity function, SCI subjects with some lower extremity function, and those without SCI.
  • "An additional Chi-Square analysis  was conducted to determine if the ability to have voluntary rectal contractions was related to rectal contractions at time of orgasm. Results were not significant." (me: meaning there were people who either did not have rectal contractions at time of orgasm but could voluntarily contract their anal sphincter and/or there were people who could not voluntarily contract their sphincter but did have anal sphincter contractions at time of orgasm - and there were enough of these people to show those two things didn't correlate strongly with each other. However, there was no raw data or further detail about this.)
  • Subjects were asked to describe how they stimulated themselves to orgasm, where and how they felt their orgasm and what feelings were associated with the orgasm. (See table 4)
Sipski et al 1995 Table 4

  • All the subjects, regardless of whether their SCI was complete, chose some type of genital stimulation with the majority of subjects choosing clitoral stimulation.
  • There was no consistent pattern for where the subjects felt the orgasm, and descriptors of the orgasm were generally similar between SCI and able-bodied women.
  • "All but 2 women indicated this was a typical sexual experience for them."
  • The DSFI that the participants took is a multidimensional test designed to measure the current level of sexual functioning, pcomposed of 10 subtests; measuring thing like "Sexual Information" (patient's general knowledge of sexual functioning), "Sexual Satisfaction" (the degree to which patients are gratified by their sex life), "Sexual Role" (balance between subjects masculine and feminine characteristics), and "Sex Drive" (patient's interest in sex as determined by frequency of various sexual activities).
  • SCI patients scored significantly higher on "Sexual Role" but significantly lower on "Sexual Satisfaction" than able-body patients.
  • Subjects who orgasmed scored higher on "Sexual Information" and "Sex Drive."
Sipski et al 1995 Table 5




DISCUSSION


  • 52% of women with SCI were able to stimulate to orgasm, and women were able to orgasm no matter the pattern or degree of SCI. Both are consistent with the authors' previous work.
  • "This information should help to dispel the myth that women with SCI, especially those with complete injuries, cannot achieve orgasm. We must, however, remain cognizant of the fact that a significantly lower percentage of women with SCI were able to achieve orgasms in the laboratory than our able-bodied control subjects."
  • "No consistent characteristics were identified that would allow prediction of which women with SCI would to experience orgasm...thus both women with complete and incomplete injuries should be considered candidates for sex therapy aimed at improving their ability to achieve orgasm."
  • It then notes that because women in the study who had better sexual knowledge were more likely to orgasm, that sexual education is important.
  • "The majority of women in this study stimulated themselves in the clitoral and vaginal regions, similar to those women who were able-bodied. Although we often hear that breast stimulation is preferred by women with SCI, only 4 women with SCI in this study reported using breast stimulation in conjunctions with genital stimulation to achieve orgasm. Thus, as clinicians we may use this information to educate our patients with SCI about what methods other women find useful."
  •  The study notes that traditional sex therapy teaches women to achieve orgasm through body exploration and masturbation, but it is uncommon for clinicians to recommend masturbation to their patients with SCI. Yet all but 2 (because they needed partners to stimulate them) of the 13 orgasmic women with SCI achieved orgasms achieved it through masturbation and 8 of the 13 used a vibrator.
  • "Based on these results, we recommend that women with SCI should be counseled as to the acceptability of masturbation and use of a vibrator. Providing them with a vibrator may also eliminate the 'embarrassment factor' associated with the purchasing a vibrator and would allow women to decide on their own when and how they choose to use it."
  • "Women with SCI took longer than able-bodied women to reach orgasm. Furthermore, women with no voluntary movement in their legs required the most time, followed by women with some movement in their legs. An important implication of these results is that patients should be counseled to stimulate themselves longer if they are going to achieve orgasm."
Sipski et al 1995 Table 3

  • Women with SCI showed similar HR and RR responses to able-bodies women, but showed higher blood pressure during orgasm. "The reason for the greater blood pressure responses may be related to the level of injury of our subjects, because all these women are prone to autonomic dysreflexia with intense stimulation below the level of injury. These responses, though greater than those of able-bodied women, were in no case dangerously high, and should serve as documentation that it is relatively safe for women with SCI to use a vibrator for self-stimulation."
  • The final issue the paper discusses is what this all means about which  neurological and physical things negotiate orgasm. "Obviously if women with complete SCI can stimulate themselves to orgasm through upper body stimulation, the neurological stimulus must originate in the brain or above the level of injury. In contrast, if SCI women can stimulate themselves to orgasm through genital stimulation, then reflex autonomic activity is likely to be involved. This report supports the later conclusion..."
  • And the final paragraph concludes: "The findings of our study are encouraging in several respects. Women with SCI are able to be stimulated to orgasm in the laboratory under conditions of self- or partner-stimulation. Their ability to achieve orgasm is not related to the degree of injury; furthermore the physiological correlates of orgasm are not dissimilar to those of able-bodies women. We are unable to specify predictors of orgasmic ability in post-SCI women, but with the information available, it is worthwhile to attempt treatment protocols. Along with the development of these protocols we should continue to examine the neurophysiology of orgasm after SCI, and to use this information to help individuals with their disabilities."


MY THOUGHTS

This is clearly useful and impactful research about sexual function in women with SCI. It dispels previous notions and shows details about how women with SCI actually do stimulate themselves.

It is also interesting as a piece to understanding the neurological and physical things that are involved with orgasm. However, I think that aspect of this article is weakened by the choice to not include details about pelvic muscle activity at orgasm. As I often point out in this blog, due in no small part to the confusing way in which female orgasm is taught and discussed, a woman merely saying that she orgasms does not necessarily mean that she physically has orgasmed. So, when 2 women claim orgasm, one may be describing an event that includes the rhythmic pelvic muscular activity that is understood as the physical aspect of orgasm, and the other may be describing a pleasurable feeling that does not include those rhythmic pelvic muscular activity.

It is not a problem for researchers to acknowledge that both can be valid, pleasurable experiences. However, it is absolutely a problem to blindly lump data from these two physically different events together and make scientific conclusions about the physical qualities of orgasm. It is just plain bad experimental design and any physical conclusions based on that type of experimental design is mushy and messy at best. I mean, it is just true that an 'orgasm' that involves the rhythmic pelvic muscular activity is different than those that do not, and thus could very likely have different catalysts, mechanisms and involve different neural pathways. Maybe all the claimed orgasms in this study where similar enough in the pelvic muscular activity department to lump together, but maybe they weren't, and the authors (as is the case with so many authors of female orgasm studies) do not feel it important enough to mention one way or the other.

Now, I would assume, and this is only my assumption, that since these researchers collected this pelvic muscle data but did not report it, that they probably found that some of the women did not display rhythmic pelvic muscular activity at the time of orgasm. I would further assume that they chose not to deal with this inconvenience because pointing out that some women didn't have these pelvic contractions even when they claimed 'orgasms' would seem like they were judging and invalidating the experience of 'orgasm' had by those women. I get it. I do, and I also think that is a common reason why this aspect of female orgasm is so often ignored - niceness and terror of being accused of not believing women's descriptions of their own experience (at least I hope it's that and not simply for convenience of conclusions). However, it's lame, and it's got to stop. This is scientific investigation, and physical knowledge of female orgasm will continue to linger in mushy, wishy-washy confusion if the science continues to be half-assed in this way. If some of these SCI or able-bodies women didn't display pelvic muscular activity, then the physical qualities of orgasm between the two groups necessarily should be investigated and concluded about differently.

So, that's my two cents. It seems to always be my two cents about orgasm studies, but seriously, I mean seriously, the scientific value of being clear about the physical qualities of the phenomenon one is studying before one makes physical conclusions about it, is pretty much so obvious that it makes me feel super suspicious about why it's not obvious to the researchers and reviewers involved with these studies. For real though, it's an obvious problem that no-one seems to care about or even notice.

4.01.2016

Random Male Hite Report #17



Hello, friends. It's time for another Random Hite Report! In 1976, Shere Hite dropped The Hite Report where she compiled detailed survey answers from over 3,000 women about sex, masturbation, orgasms, and relationships. It's insane to me how revolutionary this book still is. Read it, seriously. We really haven't changed that much in 40 years, and it's an incredibly insightful read.

Then in 1981, she dropped The Hite Report on Male Sexuality where over 7,000 men give detailed answers about sex, relationships, and women. It too is revolutionary, and the honesty, vulnerability, and detail in this book is so important and moving. I think everyone should read this too. So, I give you a taste every now and then to entice you to get these books. Seriously, they are both like 1 cent online.



Anyway, what I do is flip to one random page and copy the contents of that page, no more-no less, directly onto this blog. Enjoy.

 The Hite Report on Male Sexuality
Knopf, 1981 pg 18

The following page is in the chapter Relationships Between Boys and Their Fathers. The page is filled with men's answers to the question,"Are you or were you close to your father? In what way? What is/was he like? What do you think of him? Can you talk to your father?" "What was your relationship to him when you were a child? Were you physically close (affectionate)?" The passage is preceded by the following section header:
Almost no men said they had been or were close to their fathers:
    "I loved him very much as a boy - now I am ambivalent about him. He is a weak man, dominated by my mother, dependent. I am very angry with him because he was not a good model for me - he does not know himself and so he taught me to be someone that can't exist - macho."
    "I was not real close to my father. He was a hard-working, honest man who liked to drink a little too much on occasion and had a few affairs in his life."
    "My father is a dominant, controlling man. He accepts responsibility well, but is inept in interpersonal relationships, except on a casual basis. I now have a comfortable relationship with him, but very superficial."
    "We were never close. He was a weekend alcoholic. When he was drunk Mom would hide upstairs, and he would rant and rave. It was terrifying. The rest of the week he was passive. Did his job, came home, and watched TV."
    "We were not close. He is very quiet - distant. I respect his dedication to the family, but i never talk to him about important things."
    "I don't think of him much. I don't think we were suited to be father and son but i wonder if anyone was."
    "My father and I never spent a great deal of time together. He is honest, and loyal, but even now my father and I can go days without saying nothing but good morning and good night to each other."
    "I feel cheated because I had absolutely no love from my father for as long as I can remember. He just tried to buy my love with outrageous presents, like a motorcycle when I was twelve and two more before I even had my driver's license. Then a brand-new car, etc. We never talked or did things together."
    "Dad was always busy. We saw a lot of him on vacations of a month of camping but little else. He would punish us when he got home from work after talking to mom."
    "My father had a bad temper and did not spare the rod. He was hard to get close to and did not show affection to my brother or me. I liked my dad but doubt that I loved him."
    "I don't know a lot about him because he was always travelling, but I feel a lot of warmth towards him and from him. He's dark-haired, doesn't talk much about himself."
    "No-but he seemed like a nice man."
    "I'm not really close to my father. I respect him more than he knows, and I know that he cares about me. But we did very little together. He s strict, and used to have an explosive temper, which has mellowed considerably int he last few years. He grew up in the depression, and refuses to throw anything away because he 'might need it someday.' I love my father, but I can't talk to him about anything but practical or mechanical matters."
    "I was very detached from my father. He was, and is, unable to show any emotion except negative ones, such as anger, cynicism, frustration, etc. He never complimented me or anyone, and never said anything positive to me. I only worked around the house with him as a kind of assistant. He worked a lot on the house, I think as a kind of substitute way of caring for the family and providing for it without ever saying 'I love you' to anyone. I avoided him because he meant more work or criticism. He also worked nights, so I didn't see him as often as others saw their fathers. We were never physically close."