Animator Anna Ginsburg's Private Parts couples fabulously creative animation with the always-excellent goal of getting us to talk more openly about sex. It was commissioned by the UK's Channel 4 in collaboration with It's Nice That, who quotes the filmmaker:
“Conversations I’ve had with close female and male friends over the last decade have shed light on the continuing struggle that women have to engage with and love their own bodies, and to access the sexual pleasure they are capable of,” says Anna. “I’ve been exposed to ‘dick drawings’ since primary school but have rarely, if ever, seen a vagina visualised other than in a clinical medical context. So I thought that talking to men and women about vaginas, masturbation and pubic hair – and then animating them as talking genitals – would be a good place to start in my crusade to open up these issues of sexual inequality and get the conversation started.”
Only quibble: We're enjoying adorable vulvas, not vaginas. Sigh.
How I define Virginity: Never engaging in physically intimate and consensual contact with a trusted individual(s)
My definition of virginity has changed so much recently. I used to think a person could do everything but PiV and still consider themselves virgins, but that's kind of changing.
I'm 19, 86%-hetero-female, and I've been with my (first) boyfriend for almost 2 months. I never dated in High School and honestly didn't expect to find someone even here at college. Although I consider myself an outgoing person and I've reached bro-status with many of my guy friends, I've always been awkward around/about boys I like.
My boyfriend was my first kiss and he is a really great guy. He's had a little more relationship experience than me, but we're both still "virgins" (in the widely accepted penis-in-vagina sense of the word). Recently we've done more hands stuff and its been great. We're both inexperienced, but learning together. I've gotten him off a few times now; however, he's "failed" to do the same. Even though I've been masturbating since my early teens, I've never actually orgasmed. Am I missing much? Am I abnormal for not "getting there?" I don't really care if I don't get there, but should I?
Note from Trixie: One of the main reasons people have any kind of sex is because it gives them pleasure–and orgasm is certainly high on the list of pleasurable sensations. So, yes, you might be missing much if you've never orgasmed! If you're near a lady-friendly sex shop like Good Vibrations, Babeland or Early To Bed, we'd suggest you drop by and talk to them about a toy or technique that might help, either for you to try alone or with your boyfriend. I realize that may be mortifyingly embarrassing, but they are orgasm professionals and would love to help : ) There are also lots of websites that can help, like Betty Dodson, the queen of masturbation. Good luck!
Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking? Ask Trixie here.
is the "G-spot" a real thing? –Anonymous
People continue to fiercely debate whether there’s an actual G-Spot (named for German gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg). Some people have an especially sensitive spot on the inside front-ish part of their vaginal canals, and when it’s rubbed just right magical things happen. Others don’t feel that much in their vaginas at all and would always prefer the party to be happening around their clitoris. And others think that anything they feel in their vaginas is actually coming from their clitoris any way.
Wait, weren't we talking about the G-Spot? Yes, but bear with me. The clitoris, like an iceberg, takes up a lot more territory than the bit that’s visible, and therefore might be the source of physical pleasure for the whole vulval/vaginal area. So what you feel in your G-Spot area is possibly just another form of stimulation of the giant clitoral body.
If you want to learn more about the amazing clitoris, The Huffington Post just published a pretty amazing story package on the clitoris complete with history, diagrams and swell animations.
The moral? There's really no correct location for your orgasm, despite what Dr. Freud* thought, so the important thing is to figure out what feels really good down there and do more of that, whatever you want to call it. You can read more about The G-Spot here and here as well.
*Sigmund Freud taught that clitoral orgasms were 'immature' and after puberty women should only have vaginal orgasms, which he deemed 'mature.' This was based on absolutely no scientific evidence except his belief that real sex was dictated by the penis and intercourse. Despite it being total bullshit, this myth continues to this day even though a significant percentage of women don't experience orgasms located in their vaginas.
Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking? Ask Trixie here.
*Trigger warning for sexual assault*Today we're highlighting Janelle who overcame her confusion and fear by educating herself 'of the sexual realms.' If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.A little about myself:
Hi! I'm Janelle and I fair from Pennsylvania. Currently, I am 22 years old and preparing to graduate college as a graphic designer! Yay!
How I define virginity:
As I look back at my life, I see my virginity as levels. Not so much as something I shouldn't lose, but something I haven't experienced yet hoped to achieve. Unfortunately, a lot of my virginity losses were negative, though I like to think they give me strength and wiser views.
Here's my story:
I started to lose my virginity at a young age. My first sexual thoughts were when I was exposed to my father's porn magazines when I was five years old. The first time I had been sexually touched was two years later when I was attacked by my neighbor (fortunately, the guy only got to "second base" and my friend caught him in the act before he could steal third). It was a year later, when I was in 3rd grade, that I was first penetrated by a 5th grade girl who forced me to allow her to finger me on
the school bus ride home.
The first time I masturbated, I was 13 years old, had no idea what I'd just done (which was orgasm) and became terrified something was wrong with me (though I never told anyone). My high school SCREAMED abstinence, so I had no idea of my own body. I was 17 when I had my first (and current) boyfriend, which spurred me to educate myself of the sexual realms. Less than a year later, we had sex for the first time and it was the first time I truly enjoyed being sexual.
Today we're highlighting Kitty in the Bible Belt. She and her boyfriend consider themselves "two goofballs in love."If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.A little about myself:
Hi! I'm an 18 year old girl living in the Bible Belt. I love singing, laughing, and being happy!
How I define virginity:
Virginity is a state of mind. Virginity is like being a vegetarian. You can say you're a vegetarian and BE a vegetarian even if you eat meat once or if you ate fish and said "eh, that's not really meat." Vegetarians define their own limitations, why is virginity something society chooses rather than the people involved?
Here's my story:
I was 14 and it was spring break when I had sex the first time. But in that whole relationship, I never once orgasmed so I didn't really think of it as real sex, hence no virginity lost. Also I don't really remember that story either! My boyfriend of today and I lost our virginities together. We parked in an abandoned parking lot and he had sheets and pillows to make it comfy. Oh was a horrible night!
It was awfully funny and horrible unsatisfying. He was way too large for my vagina and I was way too obvious about the pain. He couldn't keep it up because 1) all the blood an 2) my obvious pain. We tried so hard to make it work but we ended up laughing at the awkwardness of the whole situation. We tried so hard to make it so romantic when really we are just two goofballs in love who don't need passionate crazy romantic sex to be happy. We left with neither of us finishing but I've never been so fulfilled emotionally in my life. That's how I want to remember losing my virginity.
Because it’s way better to implant shit into a woman’s spinal cord than to teach them about their sexuality, foster better communication skills, not shame women for enjoying sex, encouraging partners to work a bit harder pleasing them, etc etc etc.
North Carolina surgeon Stuart Meloy says it "could help rekindle the spark between old lovers." The medicalization of female sexuality marches on.
OK, so I'm just now catching up with the Showtime series "The Masters of Sex" and I'm especially enjoying Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson, one half of the ground-breaking sex research duo Masters and Johnson. It's a bit soapy and I have no idea how much is historically accurate, but yay for a show that takes on sexual myths* and debunks them one by one, just like the original M&J did in their work.
One of my favorite scenes so far: In 'Brave New World' Virginia attends a lecture by Dr. Freud's daughter on 'mature' vaginal orgasms and 'immature' clitoral orgasms, and promptly calls bullshit. This is a myth that will not die, even today, despite profuse debunking: That women who can't have vaginal orgasms have some kind of inadequate sexual response–or the fact that there is even such a thing as a vaginal orgasm. I couldn't find a clip, but here's the dialogue:
Virginia Johnson: So according to Freud there are two types of orgasms, immature and mature. He's saying that one orgasm is better than the other.
William Masters: As I understand it, he's saying that when a woman reaches puberty, there's a transfer of sexual response from the clitoris to the vagina. The external, or clitoral, orgasm is the province of adolescent girls. Mature women experience orgasm intra-vaginally with their husbands, otherwise they're frigid.
Virginia Johnson: Who would believe something like that?
William Masters: My patients. That's why we keep the exam room stocked with Kleenex. A quarter of the women who walk through my door tell me that they're frigid.
Virginia Johnson: Maybe that's because their husband can't get the job done. Does he ever address the man's role in any of this?
William Masters: Honestly all of Freud's theories have their limits. I stopped reading him after my college paper on the Oedipus complex. Nearly put my own eyes out.
Later, Masters theorizes (as many believe today) that orgasms that happen during penetration may be clitoral as well, since the internal clitoris is quite large and may extend close to the vaginal walls. We can only see the tip, iceberg style, but look out below. But hey, let's stop worrying where they come from and just enjoy them!
Which brings me to another standout scene from this episode. The wife of the head of the university wants to volunteer for their sex study, but gets confused when asked about her orgasms. Watch the brilliant Allison Janney playing Margaret, with Lizzy Caplan as Virginia and Michael Sheen as Johnson.
*Unlike the Showtime site, which has a video about sexual myths. It's nicely animated, but otherwise not all that helpful. Also disappointing for me, except for one unremarkable virginity loss scene, they don't talk about virginity at all. Boo.
Researchers at Indiana University have just released the very large and very comprehensive National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB). With responses from 5,865 people ages 14 to 94, the survey asked about frequency of sex, types of partners, paying for sex and even how much pleasure or pain they got from sexual activity.
The always-interesting Cory Silverberg at About:Sexuality spent the weekend with the report (bless his heart) is doing several posts on this gigantic study, the first of which includes some of the highlights (and the entire thread is here.) His posts explore both the good and questionable data, and he makes the point that some of this information has been known to health educators for a while now, but not to the general public.
Unfortunately, he hasn't done anything on age of first sexual experience or the number of non-sexually-active respondents, but that may come in later posts or papers. You can click here for a chart on different sexual activities by age. If you want to do your own research, you can download the first nine papers here.
Here are some of Cory's and our highlights:
Not all teenagers are the same. By collecting data from adolescents age 14 and up, the survey foregrounds the transition moment between the ages of 16-17 and 18-19, where teenagers show a huge leap in both kind and frequency of sexual activities. To offer one example, twice as many women between 18-19 report having had oral sex, vaginal intercourse, and anal sex as women who are 16-17. The data also let us see that condom rates also drop during this transition, in some groups by as much as 50% between the ages of 14-17 and 18-24.
53% of participants were with a romantic partner, 24% had a casual sex partner, and 9% had sex with a "new acquaintance"
Across age groups 6% of men and 30% of women reported some pain at their last sexual encounter. These percentages are striking both in terms of the sheer number of people they represent who are experiencing pain during sex, and the significant (but not surprising) gender discrepancy.
Overall 91% of men and 64% of women report having an orgasm at last sexual encounter. At the same time, 85% of men and 92% of women believed their partner had an orgasm the last time they had sex. These data can't be directly compared given the small group of people who have same sex partners, but the discrepancy, particular among men, is notable. Clearly more men think their partners are having orgasms than they are.