The Mysterious World Of Female Ejaculation, Ctd

It just got a little less so:

Researchers are now saying that squirting is essentially involuntary urination.

Female ejaculate is technically the small amount of milky white fluid that’s expressed when climaxing, New Scientist explains. Squirting, on the other hand, results in a much larger gush of a clear fluid, which comes from the urethra, the duct where urine is conveyed from the bladder. The findings, which combine biochemical analyses with pelvic ultrasounds, were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine on Christmas Eve.

More details from that New Scientist piece:

To investigate the nature and origins of the [milky white fluid purportedly from the Skene glands], Samuel Salama, a gynaecologist at the Parly II private hospital in Le Chesnay, France, and his colleagues recruited seven women who report producing large amounts of liquid – comparable to a glass of water – at orgasm. First, these women were asked to provide a urine sample. An ultrasound scan of their pelvis confirmed that their bladder was completely empty. The women then stimulated themselves through masturbation or with a partner until they were close to having an orgasm – which took between 25 and 60 minutes.

A second pelvic ultrasound was then performed just before the women climaxed. At the point of orgasm, the squirted fluid was collected in a bag and a final pelvic scan performed. Even though the women had urinated just before stimulation began, the second scan – performed just before they climaxed – showed that their bladder had completely refilled. Each woman’s final scan showed an empty bladder, meaning the liquid squirted at orgasm almost certainly originated from the bladder.

A chemical analysis was performed on all of the fluid samples. Two women showed no difference between the chemicals present in their urine and the fluid squirted at orgasm. The other five women had a small amount of prostatic-specific antigen (PSA) present in their squirted fluid – an enzyme not detected in their initial urine sample, but which is part of the “true” female ejaculate

As a parting thought, Salama “believes every woman is capable of squirting ‘if their partner knows what they are doing'”. You can head to YouTube for that. Previous Dish on the subject here. Update from a reader:

Thank you for officially ruining female ejaculation for me. I cringed when I read the first sentence of your post and realized that all those years I was getting peed on and loving it. Dammit. Good thing I was always coming from swim practice and had my swim goggles handy!

Another:

I would dearly love to read the grant proposal for that research. Especially the informed consent form.

Everybody Loves Edu-Porn

Rose Eveleth flags new research suggesting as much:

When [researcher Katrina] Pariera looked at the results, she saw a striking difference between how people thought about instructional and non-instructional pornography. The usual perception of pornography being worse for someone else was flipped. People actually thought that viewing instructional porn had the same impact on adults (both men and women) as watching The Matrix did. Which is to say, no real effect. And, unlike non-instructional pornography, there was no difference in how men and women felt about it. (When asked about pornography more broadly, women tend to be more likely to perceive negative impacts than men are.) In other words, “instructional pornography was rated as having a mostly positive effect, suggesting the genre is perceived as somewhat socially desirable.”

The above video is NSFW but great for a long Saturday night free of holiday parties:

Arguably the most comprehensive and best sex education documentary ever made, “A Girl’s Guide to 21st Century Sex” is a documentary series about everything sex, which ran for 8 episodes on UK Public TV in 2006. All 8 episodes here are in full, indexed and in chronological order.

A Smaller Screen For Sex

NSFW, but safe for NSFW Saturday:

Adam Sternbergh asks why there’s a “tendency in modern mainstream movies to treat sex as something that happens elsewhere, offscreen and unspoken of”:

Part of the reason is because of the internet, that perpetual digital orgy, which has busted the movies’ monopoly as the place where we go to glimpse naughty things. (That sexy scene in Moscow on the Hudson? The whole movie’s currently streaming on Hulu.) And part of the reason is because Hollywood, in the blockbuster age, has succumbed to the self-neutering gospel of the four quadrants — by which the world is split up into increasingly gory R-rated action and horror films; fun-for-the-whole-family superhero epics (superheroes, it’s well known, have no genitalia); animated films for the kid in all of us; and movies by Nicholas Sparks.

In the era of Top Gun, The Big EasyBody Heat, or other steamy Hollywood thrillers, the goal was to appeal to both men and women with the promise of (among other things) onscreen sex.

(Ergo the fabled “date night” movie.) Now the goal is to appeal to adults and their 12-year-old kids with the promise of the absence of sex. As for more serious films, flipping back through the Best Picture nominees from the last few years — films like Argo and The King’s Speech and Inception — the only ones with truly memorable sex scenes are Black Swan and The Wolf of Wall Street. Yet in the former, the sex (between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis) plays out like a nightmare; and in the latter, the sex feels like a porno directed by Hieronymous Bosch.

But the real cultural shift — as any with a pay-cable subscription will tell you — is that the small screen has finally steamed over. After decades spent as Hollywood’s prudish country cousin, TV now brings televised sex of near-Caligulian variety and inventiveness into our homes. There’s even a term, sexposition, created specifically for moments when characters are communicating information while also having, or watching, sex. TV, in particular pay cable, has claimed this ground in part because it can — there’s no MPAA threatening to slap censorious NC-17s on True Blood every week.

Of course, Dan Savage has been trying to reverse this trend for years with his amateur porn festival:

A Very Small Penis Club, Ctd

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A reader writes:

One of my best friends in the Marine Corps was pretty open about his challenge. Once, during a group outing in town wearing on-base only uniforms, he pulled into the cleaners to pick up our dress uniforms for parade the next day. The only parking that wouldn’t expose us to a long walk along a busy road, and the penalties for being out of uniform, was the handicapped parking sign dead in front of the door. So, swinging the car into it, he parked exclaiming, “I’ve got a 3-inch dick … tell me that’s not a handicap!”

A gay reader attests:

A small penis can be lots of fun.

It fits in my mouth easier. Big ones can be a lot of work, after all. And big ones don’t fit well in some places. I’m sure I could accommodate a huge one if I planned on it, but not this evening. (I’d have to drag out the toys.) Some of my favorite things to do don’t involve inserting it an orifice. Or even a hand. I don’t have the patience to list them all.

I don’t have sex with a dick; I have sex with a man. He may have a extra big one or an extra small. We can find all sorts of things to do together that we can’t do when we are alone. (See your post “What Exactly Is An Unusual Sexual Fantasy?”)

Here’s a point that Dan Savage often makes in his column:

You also need to stop viewing your dick as somehow fatal to your romantic prospects. “Dr. [Justine] Schober did a study of guys who had really small penises,” [Northwestern’s Alice] Dreger continues, “small enough to be described as ‘micropenises.'” And how do men with dicks so small that doctors feel free to toss around an ego-shattering prefix like “micro” do with the ladies? “This study found that they tend to have ‘close and long-lasting relationships’ with women,” Dreger says. And Dr. Schober says: “They often attribute partner sexual satisfaction… to their need to make extra effort, including nonpenetrating techniques.” One of the microdicked men in Dr. Schober’s study had a wife and a mistress. “So much for the theory that having a small member won’t get you a woman,” says Dreger.

A Very Small Penis Club

Alexa Tsoulis-Reay tracked down members of it:

While a precise number is open to scientific debate, it’s commonly accepted that the average size of an adult male penis is five and a quarter inches, erect. Generally speaking, measure in under about three inches erect, and you have what’s called a micropenis — the least common of the conditions falling under the banner of an “inconspicuous penis,” which includes a webbed penis, where it is difficult to decipher exactly where the scrotum ends and the penis begins; or a buried penis, where the shaft of the penis is hidden by skin and fat.

One man she interviewed, “a 51-year-old English teacher from the U.K., gave an in-depth account of his life with a micropenis”:

[Q.] Do you think about your penis size every day?

[A.] I can tell just by the way people walk and the way they look and the way they relate to other people that they have a big penis. You go into a meeting and the guys are swaggering around with their legs akimbo as if they’ve been riding a horse because they’ve got such an enormous package they can’t really walk straight and it’s just crazy. I have got to a point where I am quite amused by it and I’m fascinated by all this sex stereotyping and gender stereotyping. I’ve got strong heterosexual instincts and if I see a woman I feel strongly towards, even if I just glimpse somebody, the next thing I think is, No, don’t! You know what will happen … Well, nothing will happen, but if something did happen, you know how it will end up.  It will be that terrible scene again; it will be that thing with the regrets and the apologies. And there’s nothing worse than that.

After a while, you just accept that you can’t ever do it properly. You can try all the textbook stuff and advice column stuff about positions, but thinking about that kills things. You want it to be more natural and you just start thrusting away and it’s popping out all the time. It just doesn’t stay in because it’s just too small. That’s what it comes down to, I’m afraid.

I’m laughing, not crying, by the way. But I might cry as well.

Human-Cyborg “Relations”

A.I. expert David Levy, the author of Love and Sex with Robots, expects that sex – or even an intimate relationship – with cyborgs will be considered perfectly normal within the next few decades:

“I believe that loving sex robots will be a great boon to society,” he says. “There are millions of people out there who, for one reason or another, cannot establish good relationships.” And when does he think this might come about? “I think we’re talking about the middle of the century, if you are referring to a robot that many people would find appealing as a companion, lover, or possible spouse.”

Spouse? “Yes.”

Michael Brendan Dougherty shakes his head:

The truth that Levy has lost is that healthy sexual desire does not take as its object a mere sensation or state, but a person.

We also know this, instinctively. If the hand that is discreetly caressing you is revealed to belong to someone other than your lover, the pleasure the hand gives is instantly poisoned and felt as a desecration. We have words for bestiality, pedophilia, and necrophilia, acts where the sexual object lacks personhood. The existence of anti-fap boards on reddit, as well as the recognition of pornography addiction as a serious problem, is more evidence that something goes wrong when sexual desire is directed away from people.

What healthy sexuality desires is a person. We don’t want mere sensations, but to be wanted and accepted by another. We want another persons’ conscious intentions for us acted upon our bodies, and for our intentions to be received as well. Lovers may use games that temporarily disguise consent and even pleasure itself, but their desire is to be freely wanted and freely given as persons, not as nerve endings. We call perverse those sexual encounters in which people intentionally and radically efface their own or another’s personhood.

Masculinity Without Denigrating Women

Alyssa Rosenberg, addressing a recent post of mine, sharpens a point in our current debate:

How much does masculine culture depend on women and femininity as a reference point? To what extent does asserting what it means to be a man necessitate pointing out and denigrating what men are not and what masculinity is not supposed to be?

If cheerleaders suddenly vanished from the sidelines of NFL games, would those contests suddenly be less fun? In action movies, do you find the hero’s bona fides less credible if a woman contributes to his successes, or if she rescues him? If you are playing video games, how much of your enjoyment has to do with opportunities to treat women in-game in ways that are not available to you in real life?

It occurs to me that I am somewhat (ahem) deficient in personal experience to address this point, which is why I encourage straight male readers to respond. And even when I have been immersed in masculine culture – such as a rowdy, rugby-loving, all-male high school – I wasn’t very attuned to how heterosexual attraction and views of women contributed to the atmosphere. I couldn’t bond with other adolescent boys over their difficulties with and longing for the opposite sex. I had no real struggle to date women, no frustrations or anxieties about the opposite sex, and so was oddly neutral – to the extent of having a real blind spot – in this eternal hetero-dilemma.

But I don’t want to duck Alyssa’s point, so let me think of it another way: to what extent can hetero male culture retain its quintessential maleness while losing its homophobia?

One way is to hope and pray that every cool straight dude ends up like Chris Kluwe and totally gets that it’s not kosher – and actually immature – to demean or demonize those men who do not fit into the classic male macho archetype. Another is to reassure straight men that gay men do not want to change the core part of male culture, but merely want to be accepted as fully part of it.

I think we’re making a lot of progress on both fronts. From the mainstreaming of gay culture to the emergence of openly gay men in highly masculinized cultures – think Tim Cook in nerdland or Michael Sam in sports – the sharper edges of homophobia have been rounded a bit. But that is partly because of a strategy of engagement rather than confrontation. My own inclination from the 1980s on – and it was not shared very enthusiastically by many on the gay left – was to emphasize what gay men and straight men have in common: a need for emotional commitment and stability as well as to get our rocks off from time to time; the desire and will to serve one’s country in the military; the commonalities of sports and drinking and the gym and dirty jokes. And part of our success, I think, is that we absolutely constructed this as a non-zero-sum project. I think a feminism that started with a love and appreciation for classic male culture – and then sought to persuade men that it doesn’t have to be sexist toward women – would be more productive than treating all men as inherently suspect or privileged, and attempting to police their culture from the outside.

But – and here’s the thing – I don’t think we’ll ever live in a world where homophobia is absent among many men, especially younger ones. Our primate nature – exacerbated by cresting levels of testosterone in the teen and early adult years – will always trend toward loyalty to in-groups and disdain of out-groups. We can mitigate this, but it’s utopian to think we can abolish it. So, yeah, I can live with the word “fag” as something that will always be a part of hetero-male culture. I can live with religious groups demonizing me. I can ignore the insults and smears – on the street or online. It’s just part of the price for living in a free society.

Equally, the young testosteroned male’s desire for and incomprehension of the opposite gender can be mitigated, it seems to me, but not abolished. And in the case of male attitudes toward women, of course, the “other” is also the object of often-crippling and overwhelming sexual desire. These are powerful – often internally conflicting – forces and they will not easily be constrained by abstract rules or “social justice warriors”.

And so I think we just have to live with a certain amount of straight-very-male homophobia and sexism, and leave it be. Young men want to live out fantasies of rescuing big-boobed women while being encased in a steroidal muscle culture (precisely because, for so many, it is utterly beyond their actual day-to-day lives). And my inclination is simply: give them a break. Sure, offer alternatives – but the most appealing ones should work with the grain of masculinity rather than against it. Keep the cheer-leaders – but add some dudes to the mix. Don’t insist that straight men have to change their way of life; suggest ways in which it can become more inclusive of others within its own rules and ethos. Do not pathologize some deep parts of human nature – because you are pathologizing human beings simply for being who they are, which means that the level of coercion to change them for the better can be dangerously high. I don’t think Alyssa and I are that far apart on this.

What I think is counterproductive is precisely an agenda that refuses to see real, biological differences, physical and mental, between men and women, whose first item on the agenda is to get men to “check their privilege”, and who want to police speech and urgently stamp out sexism and homophobia. This will often compound the problem, create a zero-sum environment, and in a world where Twitter gives everyone a completely unaccountable megaphone, generate levels of public toxicity we can all live without.

My position on this is therefore, essentially, conservative-libertarian. It sees human nature as something to be enjoyed and not always reformed, or fully reformable. It revels in the differences between groups of people, rather than being terrified by them. It does not traffic in either the delusion that we can never make our society in general less bigoted or prejudiced or hateful (we can and we have) or the delusion that such emotions will ever be abolished or eradicated. It seeks coexistence of various, often contradictory, subcultures, rather than the imperative of “social justice.” And it tends to prefer anarchic and sometimes ugly freedom to well-intentioned and admirable attempts at social control.

There is a happy medium here. But it appears that our ideological polarization is making it increasingly impossible to sustain, even as we have an amazing example – our progress on gay rights – that shows just how fruitful it can be.