The Most Frequently Asked Sex Question: "How Will I Know If I've Had an Orgasm?"

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 08:13
Submitted by Betty Dodson

After years of answering questions from women and girls around the world via the internet, most frequently asked is “How will I know if I’ve had an orgasm?”

For many years the standard response was, “If you have to ask, then it hasn’t happened,” the assumption being that she’ll automatically know when she does. This is no longer true as the vast majority of girls and women asking today are holding unrealistic images of what an orgasm will feel like thanks to our access to multi-media with books, films, magazines, television and the latest venue of online pornography. As a result of these artistic exaggerated and fanciful images, we end up with all kinds of crazy expectations that some cataclysmic force will consume body and soul with a mysterious yet divine ecstasy called orgasm!

Thanks to Disney we also forget to consider the influence of fairy tales about romance that fills a child’s mind about “falling into love” and being “kissed awake” by a handsome prince. This represents her sexual awakening with orgasm happening naturally. Thus our girls are conditioned to total passivity while boys are more interested in climbing the bean stalk and slaying the giant. Even porn has become a part of our modern romantic image of sex with women having screaming orgasms from vaginal penetration alone— with nary a clitoris in sight. Parents do not talk to their children about sex and our schools only allow the sperm and egg story of procreation. Other than horror stories of STD’s during safe sex lectures, absolutely nothing is said about sexual pleasure. To top this off, every one of my private pre-orgasmic clients claim: “Sex was never discussed in my family.”

Added to this lack of sex information, we must also factor in the vast number of girls who never masturbated in childhood due to religious or social constraints. The devastation shows up in imaginings about sex based on raw emotions with no grounding in physical bodies that masturbation teaches us at an early age. How is a girl to recognize those early pleasurable sensations that will grow over time with practice? Especially when her head is filled with soft and hard core images of romantic sex? I need say no more than to point to the latest book sensation circling the globe being read by millions of unhappy women still longing for their very own Prince Charming to carry her off in his new Porsche. A more sexually sophisticated woman might happily settle for a robust thirty minute fuck with a viral young man with a sizable hard penis that lasted long enough for her to have a couple of orgasms while she stimulated her clitoris during vaginal penetration.

For young women with no experiences of masturbation in childhood or puberty, is it any wonder they’re so confused? Fantasy expectations override pleasant feelings that end up being dismissed as “nothing” or “not worth the effort.” An analogy would be like me planting a seed in fertile soil and when a tiny green shoot appears, I throw it out because I was expecting a gorgeous blossom to appear similar to the colorful image on the seed package which is why I bought it in the fist place.

Without any decent sex education or information, we are sending our kids into a war zone of sexual ignorance, misinformation and lurid fantasies based on porn or false notions that some kind of mythical love will conquer all. This combination guarantees there will be a large number of victims and casualties that lead to lifetimes of misery and death. A headline reads, “Young Mother of Four Murdered by Jealous Husband.” Or, “College Boys Sentenced for Rape of Co-ed who Commits Suicide.” Over stated? I think not when we reflect on recent stories we’ve all read. Or how about outing a celebrity, a married man either a movie star or politician. People consume every word with a mixture of glee and horror as they discuss sex combined with the awfulness of a fallen man or woman.

I accuse America of being a sexually sick and visibly dying culture with a distorted view of sexual pleasure enforced by organized religions. The Catholic Church tops my list of despicable prohibitions on any and all healthy sexual activity other than procreation. All organized religions support sexual repression as a means for a few to control many; the essence of authoritarian rule is using the sexual guilt card. Therefore I consider most practicing Christians, Jews, Mormons and Muslims to be victims of sexual ignorance about the natural pleasures of enjoying orgasms with our selves, friends, lovers and life partners.

Besides the universal confusion over what an orgasm feels like, the next problem is the appearance of our sex organs. Boys are concerned with penis size and girls believe there is “something wrong” with the way they “look.” Most often it’s inner lips that extend beyond the outer labia— more than half of my huge sampling has this form. This information is based on 45 years of viewing woman’s genitals up close and personal as we look into the same mirror together under a bright light.

Next we all have negative feelings about our body’s appearance; size of our breasts, bellies, thighs, etc., followed by unhappiness over some facial feature that ruins our appearance and ends with all the misery over the crowning glory of our hair. The healing takes place during all forms of group nudity. In the Bodysex workshops we can see the vast variation in our bodies, and once personality is included, we each become individuals who are beautiful with all our flaws. The importance of nudity cannot be over emphasized. In a private session, I remain clothed while my client wears an over sized sweat shirt with socks to keep her feet warm. Some women prefer be nude which is fine. The genital exam becomes one of the highlights of each private session. She meets her sex organ for the first time which includes a naming ritual with me as her witness.

My demeanor is more like a favorite bawdy Auntie rather than a “professional” therapist who doesn’t talk about similar problems she’s had as a woman. The opening conversation lasts long enough for me to sense she’s comfortable. Laughter is a secret weapon in my arsenal of sexual healing. Since I request a one page sex bio via email before each session, I have an idea who is showing up which allows me to gage what needs to be dealt with so we don’t have to spend too much time with her back story. They are all painfully similar.

We can get to the main problem immediately which is her total confusion about orgasm. Some women are having small orgasms that she’s never acknowledged so they cannot develop to provide more pleasure. Most women simply don’t masturbate long enough to fully engage her sex organ or she stops after her first orgasmic reflex which often happens on the way to a fuller orgasm. If I think she’ll come too fast, I slow her down or encourage her to keep going. After manual skills are explored, we try different vibrators starting with mild and ending with the Magic Wand. Most clients have several orgasms with a broad range from small to total body responses. Since we don't watch the clock, a session can last between four to seven hours. We often celebrate her first orgasm over a glass of Chardonnay while we do a re-cap of her session while she takes notes. Each client can email me with any questions she might have after we've worked together. The age range is vast, from twenty-something to my eldest client who was about to turn eighty.

Ten major sex problems for our children in America

1. Growing up in families that never mention sex.

2. Absence of childhood sex explorations with masturbation.

3. Developing strange ways to indirectly stimulate their sex organs.

4. Threatened with punishment for sexual games in childhood.

5. Getting caught touching their sex organ and severely punished.

6. Public humiliation for some sexual incident at school

7. Influence of religious teachings proving they’re “sinners” and condemned.

8. Devastating and inevitably bad first time sex with a partner

9. Instant fear of STI or pregnancy with no birth control information.

10. Unwanted teen pregnancy.

Once Americans can get beyond our puritanical obsessions based upon fear and loathing of bodily pleasures, both male and female orgasm can and will taught. But we first need to accept masturbation as the foundation for all of human sexuality. It’s our first natural sex activity, the way we discover our sex organs along with the good feelings that are experienced when we touch ourselves.

This beginning of sexual pleasure needs to be nurtured so our children can become healthy adults guided by the pleasure principle. Instead of accepting Freud’s “Death Instinct,” his student Wilhelm Reich broke away from him believing humanity had a “Life Instinct.” Reich went on to explore as well as explain the function of the orgasm. His beliefs were so contrary to America’s authoritarian society that he ended up being persecuted and sent to jail where he died in 1957. Since I believe Reich is correct, he's been my primary source for inspiration and understanding about the importanace of orgasm in sustaining a pleasure based peaceful population where war becomes obsolete.

Liberating women one orgasm at a time

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Great List

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 12:06

What a great post from Betty. Sometimes I wonder whether the world will ever grow up  enough to talk about sex.  As a parent I was looking through the list of sex problems for kids, crossing off the ones a responsible, liberal parent can manage:

1. Growing up in families that never mention sex.

2. Absence of childhood sex explorations with masturbation & 3. Developing strange ways to indirectly stimulate their sex organs.

- Who knows? Their masturbation practices or lack thereof are the last thing my teen daughters are going to talk to me about though I'd be very interested to hear from any parent who has had that discussion. At some stage you just have to let go and hope that they find their own way.

4. Threatened with punishment for sexual games in childhood. 5. Getting caught touching their sex organ and severely punished. & 6. Public humiliation for some sexual incident at school

7. Influence of religious teachings proving they’re “sinners” and condemned.
This is interesting because we're an observant Christian (Protestant) couple who have taken our kids to church regularly. My kids have never been exposed to the idea that sex is dirty or somehow a sin. I think this idea is very outdated and am always horrified to read such traumatising stories from the States.

8. Devastating and inevitably bad first time sex with a partner
Whatever we do to inform our daughters, this is so very dependant on the partner she hooks up with and his/her attitudes. The best I can hope for here is that if the experience is rubbish, she can feel confident enough to understand why and walk away rather than conform to the myths and stereotypes.

9. Instant fear of STI or pregnancy with no birth control information. & 10. Unwanted teen pregnancy.
The irony of liberal well-informed kids is that sex arrives much later. Informed teenagers are much more confident waiting until they're ready and much more likely to use protection when they eventually explore partnersex. My girls are very unlikely to end up pregnant as a result of unprotected sex but if they did, I'd encourage them to terminate the pregancy. Abortion should never be regarded as a dirty word.

Alive and still talking to me at 18 are my only critical success factors for parenting. Aside from death, everything and anything can be rescued or recovered.

Thank you, Dr. Betty

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 20:46

Just thank you. I read this and, as so often happens on your site, I am filled with gratitude.

List.

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 00:21
Vince C. (not verified)

It's interesting that NLH states she's a practicing Christian and yet espouses the belief that "abortion should never be a dirty word." I am left wondering how her Christian lifestyle coincides with her free-for-all abortion belief? Can those two perspectives exist peacefully?
How would NLH define where life begins? What are her thoughts on full-term abortions? Does she think there's inherent human value or is a fetus merely utilitarian in her view?

I would add another bullet to Betty's well thought out list to America's sexual sickness:

11. Making sexuality subservient to a prefabricated political agenda.

Being a fair and responsible liberal is fine, as NLH has pointed out, but being a fair and responsible liberal does not automatically make one sexually emancipated and morally superior. I know a myriad of liberals whose sex lives and sexual psychologies are utter disasters. Most of them are careerists in New York.

Liberals & Lists

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 11:46

Vince,
Maybe I'm misreading you but your post sounded a bit accusative - it can be so difficult to have an open conversation about these topics on-line and cross-cultures so apologies if I'm misunderstanding you. Obviously I can only write for myself as a liberal, NLondon Episcopalian and on that basis felt happy sharing my views of Betty's excellent list. I'm also happy to answer your questions.

Where does life begin?
Obviously sometime between conception and delivery, though I'm assuming you mean when does a person come into existance. Traditional Christian belief would put the beginning of "personhood" at ensoulment originally viewed as being the babies first independent breath. A potential human was believed to exist from the first "quickening" sometime between 40days and 4 months.

A fetus has a more than 50% chance of independant survival outside the womb from about 24 weeks though obviously there are many variables and health implications at that stage. This is where it seems reasonable to me to assume that independent life begins.

The modern American "pro-life" movement and the preoccupation with the "potential" for life is a relatively new phenomena. Given the fact that 90% fertilised eggs never implant or are flushed out within a month this makes no sense to me at all.

What do I think about full-term abortion?
You've used a very strange term so I'm not entirely clear what you mean here but am assuming you mean "late" abortions rather than stillbirths.
In the UK, 87% abortions are performed <12weeks with less than 2% carried out past 20 weeks so here it's a minority topic. There are obviously genetic tests such as amniocentesis that are carried out late and will identify serious genetic disorders after 20 weeks.
My heart goes out to the poor woman who finds out that a much loved and wanted child will be born with life-limiting disorders. No one should stand in judgement of anyone faced with that kind of decision. I trust women to make their own decisions at a very difficult time.

Do I think there's inherent value in a fetus?
I have two teenage daughters. Each of my pregnancies was tremendously important to me and my partner. From the moment of conception through to birth and every day since, they have been the most important, valuable people in our lives. Clearly these two fetuses and the girls they became have great inherent value to me personally.

But given that most fertilised eggs fail to implant or are flushed out of the body in the first month this is a very odd question to ask in a more general context. I do not believe that fertilised eggs have souls. Neither do I believe that the potential for life should ever outweigh the reality of an existing life.

Fundamentally, I trust women to make their own decisions about their lives and their bodies - I don't believe in being judgemental.

Finally, I'm not really sure what to make of your extra major sex problem for kids in the US: 11. Making sexuality subservient to a prefabricated political agenda.

Is it a comment about Betty or me, or maybe the American political system? Certainly politicians and pundits in America seem from a distance to be very preoccupied with women's birth control and abortion rights.

Vince - you've lost me entirely with your last para. I don't see any inevitable correlation between being fair, being responsible, being liberal (I'm assuming you don't mean the UK political party) being sexually emancipated and the idea of moral superiority.

We all know people whose lives and psychologies sexual or otherwise are total disasters - sadly it's not limited to any one city or country.

I'd be very interested in hearing your own answers to your questions.

What is 'liberal', and who thinks it's bad?

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 11:40

According to the dictionary, a 'liberal' is primarily a person who is generous, tolerant, free from prejudice and bigotry, and believes in representative government, progress, and individual freedom. I am trying to imagine what the belief system could be of those who stand in opposition to these values.

FRIGHTENED PEOPLE

Barbara G. Louise's picture
Thu, 04/16/2015 - 13:34

     I believe, first of all, that FRIGHTENED PEOPLE are those who think "liberal" is a bad word.   Racism is based on fear, a legacy from slavery-times in the U.S.  On a not-quite-concious level, white people holding slaves knew how enraged, on a gut-deep level, those Black people were to be enslaved.  I know I would have been.  Witness the fact that many people in the U.S. believed that if a Black man were elected president, he would enslave white people.  Fear makes people stupid.  Even if Obama had wanted to enslave all white people -- and he didn't --  he didn't actually have the power to do so.  So FRIGHTENED PEOPLE do not believe in representative government, not if Black people can vote (note the country-wide conservative movment in the U. S. to disenfranchise Black people and others thought to be "liberal"). And individual freedom interferes with the "natural Right" some people believe God gave them to enslave others (who are not actually "people" beause they are different -- non-white or poor or sexually abnormal -- to work for those who are the best people, the real people: white, moneyed, male, heterosexual .  .  .  .  .  .
     Can anyone explain to me why neo-liberal means the opposit of liberal?  

Those who dislike Progress

Barbara G. Louise's picture
Thu, 04/16/2015 - 14:01

     For more than a century, society has generally (and legally) progressed from the idea that women are the property of men to the much more liberal (and very frightening to some) idea that Women are People (despite not having a penis).  The "Right to Life" movement is not about saving fetuses, but is rather a desperate attempt to force women back into the role of walking wombs, male property to produce babies for men to control.  Whether or not a fetus is a person is not the real issue.  Whether or not a woman is a Person and can control her own body is the real issue.  
     It does not matter how many men or other people consider a fetus to be a person or a potential human being worthy of campassion.  Only the unwillingly-pregnant woman is entitled to an opinion.  It is Her Body -- that is, if she is a Person, not a Thing to be controlled by a male-dominated society -- and if it is Her Body, she must be free to make all decisions about her own body.  No one else's opinion has any validity, no matter how emotional, or "tradiionally" sexist that opinion.
     Conservative, liberal-hating people want a return to the past when women were continually pregnant and stayed home, Blacks cleaned public toilets and white people's houses, Gay people were invisible, rich people did not yet own the government, God was in HIS heaven, and all was RIGHT with the world.

Disliking progress

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 14:35

Thank you, Barbara, you've made many excellent observations. One definition of 'conservatism' is a general preference for the existing order of society, whether that order is sexist, homophobic, racist, or slave-owning. Generally, those at the top of a society are convinced that they belong there. 'Conservatives' have vehemently opposed nearly every reform throughout history that aimed to better the lot of an oppressed class, from women's suffrage to unionization to outlawing chattel slavery. Those frightened of change are quite willing to murder, as they tried to do with Malala Yousafzai. One might indeed say that certain conservative elements are willing to do whatever it takes, however violent, to preserve their perceived economic, social, or psychological advantages. The wondrous thing about human rights, however, is that once oppressed people learn that such a concept exists, they will struggle and strive and never rest until those rights are universal---however long that may take. Conservatives can oppose progress, but they can't stop it.

Vince C. would you be willing to either....

Fri, 04/17/2015 - 08:42
feminist indignation (not verified)

     I would like to begin by saying how grateful I am to both Betty for her post, North London Housewife for her reflection and you for wanting to be heard in your own right. As a community member I am affected by conflict with and between others. While it is
interesting to me to hear the conflict between your self and North London
Housewife I have to note that it takes away from gaining understanding of
Betty's original post.

     Both you and North London it seems for community well-being a need to reach mutual understanding of what is important to each of you. But by interjecting this conflict into Betty's thread makes it more likely Betty's message will not be heard. Not heard because the thread
(dialogue) is changed to an entirely different subject.

     True North London House Wife's attempted to reflect some of Betty's ideas she also included some things about herself and what came up for her, which is also a little distracting to Betty's message. Unfortunately that is the way we are given to reflect. The importance in
reflecting back to the speaker, gives the speaker (Betty in the case) the
opportunity to refine her message to increase the likelihood she was understood
the way she wanted to be known.

     But you high jacked the thread. As a community member I am harmed when people are not heard and understood, because it does not allow for the next step, which is to understand the impact people have on each other. From there they can move on to dialog about how they want to live as community in the future.

     Vince, would you be willing to either start your own thread as a guest writer or hold off on attacking either the speaker (Betty in the case) or the listener (North London House Wife) until they can reach mutual understanding? Once they do it would be your turn to be heard and
understood.

Conservative, Liberal, Socialist

Fri, 04/17/2015 - 09:01

Patrick,
Good to see your comments. I had no idea that my self-labelling as liberal would cause such uproar on this thread. To be clear, describing someone as liberal in the UK does not carry any political connotations at all.

It is entirely possible to be conservative in the UK and pro-gay marriage, pro-choice etc. For example, the introduction of gay civil partnerships, and the extension of marriage to gay couples in the UK were both sponsored into legislation by the Conservative Party.

It is also entirely possible (though less likely) to be a member of the Liberal Party in the UK and pro-life (eg. David Alton, a former liberal MP).

And whilst we are seeing great changes in our political landscape with a growing number of small parties, none of them have any interest in women's reproductive health or agency. It is a total mystery to me that this continues to be debated in the States.

Over here it is entirely possible to be fiscally conservative, socially liberal and politically socialist. And when it comes to manners my girls might even use the word authoritarian.

Conservative, Liberal, and Socialist . . .

Fri, 04/17/2015 - 11:53

That's very interesting, NLH, thank you for clarifying some of the differences between UK and US attitudes. In common usage in the US, 'liberal' has been corrupted to imply 'permissive', 'soft on crime' (i.e. not harsh enough to minorities), and a whole host of things that the word liberal doesn't mean at all. It's become a term of actual contempt as far as most conservatives are concerned. 'Conservative' in the US used to imply a belief in fiscal restraint, limited government, and a laissez-faire economy. Now 'conservative' also often implies a strict fundamentalist Christian belief system. There are struggles within the Republican Party today as to who is a 'real conservative'---who is too sympathetic to minorities to pass as genuinely conservative, for example. This is the price the Republicans are paying for courting religious extremists, who have the greatest interest in limiting women to their traditional secondary, oppressed status.

'Over here it is entirely possible to be fiscally conservative, socially liberal and politically socialist.' That's fascinating to me because I saw this elsewhere in Europe and it's as it should be, I think. It's so polarized over here, and there is so little real voice for smaller parties (never mind Socialism!) because we have this accursed 'two-party', winner-take-all system that guarantees that truly alternative viewpoints are shut out. This is quite on purpose, as you might imagine. The parties are in fact virtually identical on most issues, so campaigns here are rather like nasty battles between rival gangs for who is going to be top dog for the next four years. We could really use a multi-party, parliamentary system. With all its faults, it does allow for much greater political diversity and power-sharing.

Responses.

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 00:40
Vince C. (not verified)

I would love to start my own thread as a guest writer, but I'm not sure I could tolerate the relentless accusations of being a "sexist, racist, misogynist" from the so-called "tolerant and open-minded" liberals. They sure are open-minded to my ideas on this thread...

Regarding NLH's post, in no way was I being accusatory. Tone of voice can get muddled over cyber communication. I was merely philosophically inquiring on what her position was, as I've gone back and forth between the abortion issue myself. I was radically pro-abortion, but then I thought about the morality and ethics of the issue along with how one defines where life begins and ends, et cetera. I'm still slightly ambivalent on the issue, and I am leaning toward the position of being pro-abortion up until a certain trimester. I am not "attacking" NLH or Betty, as feminist indignation points out, I am questioning and wanting to know more about NLH's point of view.

Barbara's post about conservativism shows she knows absolutely nothing about conservatism. If she took the time to read conservative philosophy, like Hayek or Smith, she might learn a thing or two about conservatism and not take the lazy, armchair position of "conservatives hate women." Any intelligent person would know the issues are far more complex than that, and some of the most revered conservative intellectuals classified themselves as classical liberals (Milton Friedman for example) before progressives hijacked that term and manipulated it to mean something else. Barbara, put down Noami Wolf and wise up.

Patrick is correct in identifying the myriad of beliefs within the Republican Party... that's why the Republican Party is so interesting! It's a party of ideas, a party of debate. The Democratic Party, as far as I can see, agree wholly on almost every issue and would like nothing better than to gain political power to control everybody's lives.

I am from Eastern Europe and

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 04:58
Mer (not verified)

I am from Eastern Europe
and the cultural background here is totally different. But from my
experience for a teenager to develop a healthy sexuality it is very
important to have personal space and personal time. Learning your
body is slow process and it is better done without pressure. Parents
these days are obsessed with controlling their children every move.
Children become sexually aware much earlier then their parents want.
But actually that is natural and safe because they are given time to
develop their sexuality progressively and in no hurry. I for example
started masturbating at 13 with the shower head. The water was very
gentle and helped me reach slow and pleasurable orgasms. With time I
developed many different methods for clitoral orgasms. Until I was 17
I hadn't participated in partner sex because vaginal penetration
worried me and masturbation was great, so why bother. Eventually I
came up with the idea to take my “virginity“
by
myself. The first time was very painful and I was worried
that there is something wrong with my body. The experience was
similar the following couple of times when I dared try. But a friend
reassured me to continue and with time I started to read my body
signs and even had my first vaginal orgasms. When I had my first
partner sex I didn't know what to expect from his body but I knew
what to expect from mine. It was a disaster anyway. The good thing
was that I was prepared and I already knew that it is a skill that
just needs practice.

Progress toward a less uninformed human sexuality

Ron The Logician's picture
Tue, 08/18/2015 - 03:06

[This is a TRIVIAL edit of the original post of 2015 April 19, simply to remove the many unsightly line-breaks which flawed the original version.]

Here in the United States, we have a well-known religious sect called the Amish who long ago decided that the influence of modern technology was so pernicious on the well-being of society that they created communities cut off from it geographically within which to live out their lives. Short of going to such extreme lengths, today it is impossible for parents to sequester their children away from the virtually unlimited amount of information on ALL subjects - true, false, fanciful or whatever - which is readily within the grasp of the latter because of the digital revolution.

Once a person acquires adequate digital literacy, if only through the proxy of a sympathetic friend, peer or not, radically different ideas about the world from those with which they were formerly acquainted through in-person activities are at his fingertips. These days, this often happens even well before the advent of puberty. And by the time puberty arrives, it is the rare youngster who does not at least strongly suspect that his parents (not to mention the church, school and other traditional local institutions) are NOT the ultimate sources of knowledge and wisdom - and even if one chooses to grant all of them the best of intentions.

Helping young (not to mention old) people learn what we think are the useful truths about the world thus consists of doing the following:
1. Creation or curation of suitable content.
2. Advertising of same amidst the ever-increasing cacaphony of global content.
3. Persuading those who have encountered our content of its truth and utility.

About a  dozen years ago, the library manager of a new public library in a socially backward area of the US with limited respect for the value of education inquired of me about suitable sex education materials for her own minor boys. Eager to demonstrate the power of the Internet and its search engines, I set to work looking for free, authoritative information addressing this need. In the back of my mind was the idea that many other people in her community, even nearly all its adults, were also in need of sex education, and many of them would ultimately make use of the advice I'd offer. Further, given the narrow-minded attitude to sex which so many of them entertained, inspired by a folk culture deeply steeped in a very simple-minded form of Christianity, it was important that I point to material which would inspire their confidence.

I landed up highlighting the Archive for Sexology at Humboldt University in Berlin, which provided information in English. To this day, its home page here boasts a now VERY aged quotation of the German Central Library of Medicine that it was "World-wide, the best Internet offer in sexual medicine."

Besides scholarly material, it featured free online courses in sexual health. Sadly, at least then, the latter were still works in progress.

Exploring the site myself, I learned about additional sexology institutions, including the one which granted Betty the Ph.D., which thereby brought both Betty and her first Internet site to my attention as well. I was pleased to recommend them to the library manager, along with other material. I made the point that if one could educate the adults about sex, parents could then guide the education of their children without the anxieties doing the latter through non-family members could often engender.

Let me limit myself to stating that this material was met in the community with wonder and fascination, even if I never was able to address the need for juvenile ed matter.

Since those days, I've episodically followed the roll-out of sexual materials through the Internet, a vast explosion probably even greater than those for other disciplines on account of the historical REPRESSION of such materials when manifested in local physical media, not to mention the traditional need to charge sales fees for them.

Today, a wide collection of institutions and individuals, with and without germane credentials, provide information on sexuality. This site includes a collection of links to off-site materials, but when I explored these the other year, I found that "link rot" and other issues prevented it from living up to its full potential today.

I think doing REGULAR maintenance on an ANNOTATED collection of such links is of enormous value, because it exploits division of labor to provide readers with the biggest collection of useful and trustworthy materials possible. Perhaps reviewing and revising, or adding, a single link each month, if not each week, wouldn't be too big a burden?

NLH wonders out loud what her taciturn daughters know and do about their sexuality. I can't answer that question, but I will now highlight a wonderful, extensive web site for anglophone teens to discuss such matters (and others) among themselves. Sadly, the last time I searched there, no mention was made of Betty & Carlin's website!

Govteen.org, founded way back in 1998, originally restricted accounts which permitted posting to those between 13 and 19 years of age, using the honor system only. (Read the cited page to learn about their revised policies.) Of special interest to the our discussion is the project here.

The other year a mother inquired of me about her young daughter's sexuality, specifically whether it was "typical" of those her age. This brought to my attention some interesting informal Govteen polls conducted concerning age at first masturbation and at first orgasm. First, please note that polls which inquire of one about personal history are subject to all sorts of problems. Start with selection bias: Are the people who participate representative of those with similar demographic statistics? You can't force people to participate in a poll, so this is a BIG question mark! Then, how do you know that participants are who they claim to be, and are telling the truth - even if their memories are faithful, which is yet another issue. Note also that one's autobiographic recall on all matters is at best very spotty from one's first half-decade, even if its reliablity is posited to be accurate.

Leaving the question of validity in abeyance, I quickly summarized the results of four polls, all of them starting between 2008 and 2012. Some of the answers required interpretation on my part, but I never tortured myself in making decisions, for economy of effort. I won't cite which GovTeen polls I audited, in the hope of keeping the results which follow informal, rather than canonical and quotable. Do you own audit! The differences between the four surveys help one explore the consistency of the results. Note that two of the four surveys also ask about age at first orgasm.

Find my digest of these four Govteen polls here.
 
Generally speaking, among the surveyed girls, (REMEMBERED!) masturbation begins around age 7, with initiation growing at a roughly constant rate until age 12, after which initiation plummets because nearly all of the girls have started masturbating by then. The data on age at first orgasm is much scantier, but there seems to be a peak at age 12, not far from the typical age of menarche.

IF the results are typical of youngsters today, perhaps Betty might be tempted to rejoice that sexually repressive cultures are UTTERLY FAILING to prevent girls from exploring and enjoying their bodies on ther own! BUT... how do we know that girls mortified by the thought of autoerotic play are not disproportionately abstaining from polls such as these? We can't.

One might be especially astonished at these results given some earlier professional survey data obtained from German university students, male and female, in 1966, 1981 and 1996. This is summarized in the linked graph which follows, originally appearing in the cited book. Observe that while ALL BUT A SCANT FEW of Govteen-surveyed girls were masturbating by age 13, in the 1996 German survey less than two in five were doing so, even among males! Could the explosion of sexual information in our Internet Age be behind the difference?

Find the graph summary of the German university student polls here
 
Let me now address the complaint that far too many available sexual materials are working to sow greater misunderstanding about sex. Since when did books or radio/wireless shows or films ONLY serve the purpose of education, rather than entertainment, advocacy and profit? Do you think that the producers of biopics or historical novels based on real events feel ANY compulsion to be truthful and educational - or ever did? So why should materials dealing with sex be any different? The issue is MEDIA LITERACY: Just because artwork LOOKS plausible or was fabricated using HIGH production values does not make it TRUE! (A BASIC life lesson!)

And I think sex has an additional complication with which to deal. Human sexual tastes are very diverse, and because "polite" custom sequesters sexual activity away from public view, this activity escapes much of the attempt to repress what is publically held to be unacceptable. When Kinsey published his work, people were SHOCKED at the sort of things so very many people were doing, despite the shackles of public culture and law. Thus, when someone says something like "that porn video does not give one a good idea what 'real' sex is like," my first thought is always: WHOSE real sex life?
 
Today, some sexually explicit artwork seeks to advocate sexual etiquette, like a charming 25-minute video produced in Austria during 2009, financed in part with government money, called Sex We Can?! Intended primarily for those between 14 and 16 years of age, it has a secondary target audience embracing the wider 12-18 age range. To avoid the problems associated with live actors, it uses high-tech animated 3D figures in a totally synthesized world, along with real voice acting. The action depicts a budding romance between a teenage boy and girl which becomes physically intimate, including coitus. It explores the germane anatomical, reproductive, immunological, emotional and legal issues which arise, in a calm and informative manner, seeking to minimize sensationalism. The voice-over presentation is fact-based and completely non-judgmental, and no one in the film mentions religious morality.

Betty will probably be pleased to hear that the lead girl's girlfriend, when asked what the best way to make a girl orgasm is, humorously but earnestly replies: alone! While all dialog is in German (peppered with a few imported anglicisms, cf. the title), I don't think a sexually mature person watching it would have much problem understanding what is going on and how the film accomplishes its goals, especially during the parts using graphical aids. Watch (or download) the three-part film at no charge here.
 
The diversity of sexual taste and response, even within the narrow confines of male-female intimacy among adults, is NOT addressed by an introductory work like Sex We Can?! This is no flaw, because it has enough to do as it is! But are there materials which can provide a broader examination of partner-centric heterosexual intimacy which can help youngsters prepare for their own first intimate partnered experiences?
 
I'd like to nominate a video series which I think addresses this need. I learned about it from a book written by a couple professors of English titled: The Porning of America (Beacon, 2008). Since then I've seen a great many of its multiple hundreds of episodes, which is why I feel qualified to characterize the collection, the overwhelming majority of which I have not seen.

The series is called Dirty Debutantes and is the work of a man using the pseudonym Ed Powers, who originated it circa 1990, aged 35. The premise is simple. Powers takes a young woman seeking to enter the commercial video pornography industry, interviews her (on camera), and then explores her anatomy and sexual response, almost always including his coitus with her, among many other types of sex play. Crudely speaking, it is something like the old-time Playboy magazine monthly Playmate feature meets Masters and Johnson, but without any electrodes or chart recorders.

Powers, of Jewish heritage, grew up in "inner-city" Brooklyn during the era depicted in a film I cited recently on this web site, Heaven Help Us. A high-school dropout who later earned a GED, he lacks any formal higher education and is no cultural high-brow. But he comes across as a sensitive soul who never forgets that the women with whom he works are people with feelings, even if his questions and suggestions transgress the limits of polite conversation outside the venue of a porn film, particularly during the more conservative US culture of the 1990s.

The women in the films come from an EXTREMELY broad range of body types, ethnicities, colors and so on. A great many would never make it anywhere near the cover of a fashion magazine; they are the Girl Next Door. But none of them lack a body member, have mobility problems, evidence a serious ongoing infection or other disease, or appear in any way emotionally distressed beyond, possibly, a small bit of novice anxiety. None of the women appear to be older than 35, and none are younger than 18, as federal US law forbids the production of film depicting actual coitus with someone younger. Powers presumably shot all the episodes in California, probably in the San Fernando Valley, video porn's "Hollywood." California law forbids coitus with anyone younger than 18 (e.g. in contrast with Austrian law, which the animated feature cited above takes pains to emphasize has a threshold age of 14.) This is probably why, when a model tells him her first coitus was long years before she turned 18, Powers almost invariably asks if she thought that was too young to start.

Which sexual activities Powers and his model undertake is a matter of discussion, partly pre-negotiated off-camera, and partly on-camera, as a model's contingent comfort demands. Some models might be okay with anal sex, but not vaginal sex, or vice versa. Some might do oral sex only or vaginal sex only. Powers is always sensitive to a model's unvocalized feelings and will frequently inquire after them - not a bad example for any unexperienced males watching. While (nearly?) all the models are performing professionally on video for the first time, a few may have experimented with videotape at home. Some models perform some acts for the very first time, in private or public, such as penile-anal sex or even, rarely, penile-vaginal.

While the shoots are not scripted, sometimes there is a bit of role-playing, just as there is in off-camera life. The various episodes are idiosyncratric, but a typical sequence of events is: long interview/conversation, including general & sexual model biography; model disrobing and anatomy display; model autoerotic masturbation with hands and/or toys; ladies-first partner foreplay, including one or more of masturbation, cunnilingus, analingus; fellatio; vaginal and/or sometimes anal intercourse in a variety of positions; and Powers' curious signature finale, emptying the condom used onto the model's torso.

Health issues aside, personally, I find some of the things Powers does (and loves) disgusting, and ANTI-erotic. But he never does anything to which a model objects, however mildly. Indeed, he seems very interested in maximizing a model's sexual pleasure, and takes modest pride in successfully teaching her a new method, particularly if it results in an intense orgasm. By the way, models manifest the full range of visible reactions to orgasm, from none to a lot. While I am no sexual professional, I think Powers is a very skilled sexual lover and believe that the films are authentic to life, granting that "All the world's a stage and all..."

In our post-Napster world, no work of art in fixed (i.e. non-interactive) form is safe from copying, including the illicit kind. So one can always find payment-free copies of videos from this series present on the Internet, how many depending on one's digital literacy. I hope that Powers would not object if I now point to one such payment-free episode copy from the series, especially because the previous discussion might turn my reader into a paying customer!

Dirty Debutantes 339 (2005) includes a 45ish-minute segment featuring model Jessica Romans, which one can watch online here. Romans had just turned 18 at shooting time, and when I saw this video, my mind contrasted her sedate demeanor in revealing the intimate aspects of her body with the anxiety exhibited by Betty's private orgasm session model Carol, a medical student then some years senior to Romans as recorded. (Carol's segment may be part of a DVD issued in 2005 titled Celebrating Orgasm - Women's Private Self-Loving Sessions; but based on Carol's anatomical knowledge, surely her footage is much older than the DVD itself.) Individuals of any given era vary, but I cannot escape the impression that the difference between the two women represents some of the progress we have made over the years, no little thanks to people like Betty (and even Powers!) in helping people, especially women, develop a more natural and untraumatized relationship with their body and sexuality.

Given the theme of another new discussion thread, I bet you will also find amusement in learning about Romans' formal educational background. And the practical knowledge of her own sexuality surely must have been a didactic disappointment to Powers, who atypically, again and again fails to teach this young woman something new and valuable about sex.

It is no secret that males find it easier to masturbate to orgasm than do females, and I've never read of any male lacking pathology who ever had to be taught how to do so. All the same, I think there is room for some enterprising woman (or man?) to create a video series like the one by Powers to help teach young women sexually curious about young men concerning the peculiarities of their anatomy, sexual psychology and sexual response. If something like that exists, I have not read about it. The closest thing I can cite is an intimate, comic, non-sexual exploration of male genitals and their potential non-sexual gymnastics, called Puppetry of the Penis, which began as a live stage show in Australia during 1998. As I write, a playlist collection of video clips comprising the show, legitimate or not, seems to be available here.

Vince Keep Posting

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 12:14

Vince,
As per my post, I was certainly happy to answer your questions and interested in your own position. Thank you for sharing. I didn't feel attacked, though I was unclear as to some of your points and where you were coming from philosophically (as noted). It's why I asked about both. Tone of voice is always tricky when writing on emotive subjects. It was an interesting set of questions because I have never felt conflicted between my faith and my views on women's reproductive choices. You made me think & that's always a good thing.

Please do keep writing on this and other threads, whatever the uproar. Life is all the richer for a bit of debate, even disagreement. It's how we learn to form our own opinions after all.

I must take some of the blame for the derailing of the thread, but I honestly think the word liberal must be one of the ones that divides Americans and the British in it's meaning. Apologies - feminist indignation.

To go back to the original blog, is your addition to Betty's list in the original post:
11. Making sexuality subservient to a prefabricated political agenda.
a comment on the general politicisation of gender politics, reproductive health etc by both parties in the States?

& can I assume that you're basically on board with the other points that Betty has raised?

thank you for the kind

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 12:36
Vince C. (not verified)

thank you for the kind response, NLH.

I'm on point and agree with almost all of Betty's ideas on her list of America's sexual sickness. I guess I was responding to Betty's attack on the Catholic Church - it's funny though, really. I'm a lapsed Catholic and still after all of these years of not going to church I still get defensive about the Catholic faith. I am sure Betty would concede, however, that the new Pope Francis is certainly a step in the right direction. I disagree with Betty on some things, but I appreciate her logical consistency in calling out all faiths, not just Catholicism, that practice sexual repression. Being a gay man myself, I've got a bone to pick with the Islamic faith, so I can empathize with Betty's frustration toward organized religions.

And the words "liberal" and "conservative" do tend to cause contention here in the States - mostly because this country is so polarized, sadly, with our political parties.

The narrow range of permitted political discourse in the US

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 13:52

I would say, Vince, that the Democrats and Republicans aren't respectively 'liberal' and 'conservative'---more like 'conservative' and 'reactionary'. Obama has the same close ties with big business and the military as the Republicans, and the same willingness to use deadly military force to advance the so-called 'national interest'. He differs only on a few social issues, and not by very much. The government take-over that 'runs our lives' happened many decades ago, with the first income tax and standing army.  It's as popular with Republicans as it is with Democrats, hence the broad bipartisan support for the 'Patriot Act'. Only the Libertarians and similar 'minor' parties really want less government interference with our lives. What they ALL crave is power, which is why both major parties support widespread warrantless domestic spying programs.

So Progressives hijacked 'conservative', and Conservatives hijacked 'liberal'? I'd certainly agree that neither of these words are much used in their original sense any longer. All Democrats don't think alike, only the ones that are allowed to hold high office. Those who differ significantly from the shared Republican-Democratic mind-set will never get the corporate money they would need to run a modern campaign. The Republican Party is divided between the old-money rich white faction, like the Bush family, and the 'social conservatives' whose real goal seems to be a de facto conservative Christian theocracy. There is certainly fighting between them, but I don't know that I'd call it an honest debate or a sincere exchange of ideas.  Maybe a struggle for supremacy would be more accurate. Meanwhile, our lack of a parliamentary system means that very few candidates with truly different ideas can ever hold high office. If you don't conform, you don't get funded.

2 Requests & Guessing Vince was attempting community

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 22:21
feminist indignation (not verified)

     Vince when I read through your reply, what
came up for me was that the way in which people heard you was not necessarily
the way you wanted to be understood. You want us to know that you are a curious
and pondering chap. That your attempt to connect with North London Housewife
was not an attack her or her values but a request for exploration of both of
yours understanding of certain cultural traditions you both may have in common
and the law as it relates to specific choices people can make.

     It's that you have many ideas that have
vacillated over time. In interests of yours are present this Betty's forum as
it talks about; ideas, values, and people's relationships with their human
needs - specifically sex or sensual connection. In attempting to engage in the
forum, perhaps you were meeting your needs for learning, growth, understanding,
choice, freedom, stimulation, consciousness, contribution, and maybe most
importantly; community, appreciation, inclusion and empathy. Those are guesses
and Vince only you know if any come close to needs you wanted to meet.

     That further you would like to be heard and
engage in dialogue about things. You are curious and the interest in your post
might suggest others are curious too. You would like to have the benefit of
their intellect. This might be dangerous for you as given the response you
received from the in-group. And thus in the reply represented yourself as the
out-group or persecuted one. I get that form your admiration for the GOP where
you suggest there are divergent views, which are not allowed in the Democratic
Party. Of course Will Rogers' famous statement proves this assertion wrong. He
said, "I am a member of no organized party as I am a Democrat". Guessing
your meaning is this blog is not a safe place for you to dialogue because you
met a brick wall of unified people unwilling to hear you let alone
dialogue. 

     My observation, when people are met with
danger they rally their friends to their side. And that is what gossip is. It's
going out and getting support for one's self against "the other" or
the out-group. The human need for support/inclusion is universal - not one of
political, racial, sexual orientation or religious persuasion. It's a paradox
that reaching for support/inclusion can be divisive.

     If we come together as community there is
no "in" or "out" group, only distinct individuals with
divergent ideas all trying to meet their needs and optimize their personal well
being by working together. When you wrote your post I'm guessing you were
attempting to be in community. That they misunderstood your meaning and
everyone pilled on top  as in an
American football "fumble".

    I have two requests: One, we reflect and
dialogue on Betty's essay. And Second this controversy has it's own space where
learning sparked by Vince's curiosity can in an orderly way be carried out so
people can say can hear each other, take ownership of their actions and finally
make offers of a way forward so that we can all prosper in the well being of
others in the cyber world of a Blog dedicated to "sensual
connection".

Fear and Isolation

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 03:45

Re-reading Betty's post, I'm left with the feeling that the underlying problems are fear and isolation; fear of change and of difference in one generation and isolation leading to lack of knowledge and ignorance in the following generation. And we see the fear of change  reflected in all political organisations, whether political parties, religious groups or big business.

Whilst I would love to see better, more consistent SexED in our schools opposition from the older generation (fear-based) makes this difficult to enforce politically.

But I remain hopeful that social media and websites like this one are breaking down the isolation of our younger generation.

Each and every horror story of shaming and repression that is dealt with on this site is in some way a success story. A young person has reached out and been supported, has been given the information they need and set on a healthier pathway, sexually and emotionally. Betty and Carlin's website reaches across the world, from city to village, developed to developing world.

No fairy tales, just Aunt Betty and Carlin telling it straight.

So whilst sexuality is clearly political (which has been fairly reflected by Betty and in this thread) and my own generation does seem to be doing it's best by accident, inertia or design to obstruct the way for our children, we are moving forwards.

?Hearing? Human connection manifest in intuitional purpose?

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 10:29
feminist indignation (not verified)

     Here! Here! Bravo! for brining us back to Betty's Post.

     For me Betty's post is kind of a long list of what is so terrible about what the world has become and the youth of today. A refreshing a turn about to hear that insted of going to hell for lecherous thoughts we are going to hell because we are not masturbating correctly.

     I hear a sadness and some anger in Betty's post that she's studied and taught sex all her life, in some ways she sees a world that is less sensually instructive than the restrictive one she was born into over three quarters of a century ago. On the other hand I hear this post
as "look how far we have come baby."  It's a celebration! So I also hear hope and pride in approaching a new sensually connected world.

     The call for more sex education sort of mystifies me, as it seems to ask for a state sponsored sex curriculum when we don't learn our sensual craft form the state per se we learn it from other human beings. So I hear a call for more sex Ed as a call for better
appreciation of what it is to be human. Like sex we learn "connection" as community, within our selves between family members, neighbors and as greater community as nations.

     I hear a request that educationa intuitions are created with the intension of supporting empathetic connection, learning how to be connected to others as community. Making it more likely that sexual learning follows naturally within people between people and as
community.

    As hearing Betty asking for something much bigger than sex Ed; that all of our intuitions
change so human connection and well-being is manifest in their purpose.

Progress toward a less uninformed human sexuality (part 2)

Ron The Logician's picture
Sat, 04/25/2015 - 00:54

I thought it would be useful to supplement my previous post on this subject with some more off-site video links.
 
By 2008, an operation called Cherry TV was posting a YouTube program series called Cherry Dish, wherein six women at a time (from a pool of about 12?) discuss their intimate sexual life histories. From their accents, all are American, and from their appearance and other clues, all are in early middle age, call it 30-something years old. (Aside: The CURRENT Cherry TV Web site writes of a 5-woman panel aged 18-30.) Despite their small numbers, the women come from a variety of ethnic and (ir)religious cultures.
 
Panelists are spontaneous and articulate, and some refer to their college educations. However, none of them present any special medical, psychological or sexological credentials. So when their introductory video is annotated with the formula "The View meets Dr. Ruth = Cherry TV" I ask: Where the hell is Dr. Ruth? All the same, the series is very popular, currently boasting 141 million views, big compared to the respectable 9 million views logged by the YouTube channel which Betty and Carlin began in 2006.
 
From Cherry TV's 100+ videos, I have selected six which bear on the subject of first orgasm, with special focus on early autoerotic masturbation. Cherry TV doesn't always choose the best title for videos, and I've sequenced them into an order based on cursory review of their actual contents, rather than titles or dates.

Half of the videos were posted in 2008, meaning they were recorded no later than that year. If we assume a typical panelist then was about 35 years old, she was born circa 1973. This would make her about 23 years old when the final German university student survey I cited above was conducted in 1996, meaning she was a chronological peer of said students.
 
Watching all six of these Cherry TV videos will take a bit over a half hour. (Should any of these videos require you to log in under an account, you can overcome that barrier simply by modifying the address given below this way: Replace watch?v=  by  v/  )
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XMkC5BT6Xo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMnjwzuls3I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0pQwq6aVWw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bu45jjiQqyY 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOvN-3d_ehw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrnVfaNj_Go
 
While some of the Cherry TV women were as sexually "precocious" as the typical GovTeen surveys teens discussed in my previous post, quite a few were not. Please let me encourage you to read some of the GovTeen forum discussions so that you can persuade yourself that they are as intimate and explicit, if not more so, than those of the Cherry TV women. GovTeen etiquette, enforced by forum editors, forbids posting of "nude" photos of humans (yes, even those of bare-breasted women legally enjoying Central Park or a beach in New York City - not to mention in Europe) or linking to same. However, the most detailed verbal descriptions of sexual anatomy and activity are still welcome there, subject to the extremely ambiguous (and frequently ignored) proviso that it not constitute a "story."

The women of Cherry TV

Sat, 04/25/2015 - 12:19

I've been aware of Cherry TV for several years. It's an interesting and somewhat diverse group of young American women (I think it's quite premature to call them 'in early middle age'!) who take turns sharing their personal sexual histories and perspectives on a wide variety of topics ranging from masturbation to partner sex and relationships. For a year or two they seemed stalled and weren't producing many new videos, but promised a new and improved web site; I don't how how that's going at the moment but I may have a look. I think it could be useful for D&R readers to be aware of their work; they're very candid and mutually supportive.

Progress toward a less uninformed human sexuality (part 3)

Ron The Logician's picture
Tue, 05/05/2015 - 17:47

Unlike GovTeen, cited above, which relies on written testimony by parties of unverified identity, video testimony evidences quite a lot about the characteristics of those speaking, albeit not of course, the reliability of their statements. Thus I thought it would be useful to supplement the cited GovTeen results with video footage produced by Oprah Winfrey's favorite sexologist, Dr. Laura Berman. Listen to her discuss their sexual culture with ten early-teens American girls in early 2009, here.
 
The most comprehensive recent study of sexual activity in America was conducted circa 2010 by the late Prof. Kinsey's Indiana University, and surveyed nearly 6,000 Americans ages 14-94, including about 800 persons under 18. Its Wikipedia article here links to digests of the results. (Sadly, as I write, the university's own links to the complete reports themselves have gone rotten.) The study indicates that among women ages 18-39, only 48% masturbate regularly, even though 85% of women had masturbated by age 29. As for those younger, in contrast to the synopsis of four GovTeen surveys I presented above, it asserts surprisingly low rates of autoerotic masturbation among female teens (ASSUMING the majority of girls who start won't stop), as revealed by this summary table:

 
Still, given the nature and level of activities reported, it is rather ludicrous that some quarters in the United States harbor so much resistance to providing comprehensive sex education in US schools, especially to those on the threshold of puberty. It is doubly silly given the ready availability of endless amounts of information through today's digital media like the Internet! The only real choice the large majority of American adults have in educating their children about sex is whether or not to try helping them to identify the information which best serves their needs.
 
Apropos of this, I'd like to draw attention to a wonderful half-hour educational film I learned about from European friends who were educating their tweenage children around the turn of the century. (Find the DVD package for it illustrated here.) It was produced in the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium in 1991, and is called Sexuele Voorlichting ("Sexual Enlightenment"). It may well be the bravest sex ed film ever produced, because it pulls no punches in graphically depicting the sexuality of real human beings, including young teens.
 
Even today, a quarter century since its production, no English-language film approaches it in explicitness. The closest  anglophone work directed at the instruction of minors is probably a combination of a film and a television series. The film is Growing Up - A New Approach to Sex Education (1971), recently (2009) re-released by the British Film Institute as part of the 338-minute video historical sex-ed film anthology, The Joy of Sex Education - 1917-1973. And the TV series is The Sex Education Show, presented by Britain's Channel Four over 2008-2011, which included nude models ages 18 and older giving intimate anatomy displays, but virtually no sexual activity displays, to fully-clad school teens ages 13-16.
 
Sexuele Voorlichting was targeted at 11-year-old Europeans, who grow up in a culture far more comfortable with the human body and sexuality than typical Americans. (Marlene Dietrich put it well when she supposedly said something like: "In America, sex is an obsession, elsewhere it is a fact.") The film covered a wide range of topics, including the anatomical changes of puberty, proper hygiene for uncircumcised boys and menstruating girls, sexual fantasies, wet dreams, penile design variations and erections, male and female autoerotic masturbation, manual partner sex play and coitus, impregnation and birth control. Other material, e.g. bi/homosexuality, oral/anal sex, gestation, birth and nursing were not covered by this brief film.
 
Every effort was made to avoid sensationalism and address the mentality of 11-year-olds. Sweet, juvenile background music set the emotional tone, and the first-person voice-overs by the depicted peer-age boy and girl used short sentences employing the simplest possible accurate vocabulary. Graphics were only used to depict internal body structures. The director did not shy away from using actual human photography for everything else, no matter the nature of the activity, nor age of the person.
 
It is this last aspect which makes use of the film the most problematic, certainly at least from a legal perspective. I think it would be very helpful were Carlin Ross, Esq. able to review the film and offer her opinions in this regard. In the long run, at least in some nations, the issue will be MOOTED by the advance of technology, because of the ability to CHEAPLY synthesize imagery TOTALLY indistinguishable from the photography of real human beings. One sees a persuasive suggestion of this in the animated characters of the aformentioned Austrian film, Sex, We Can?! And even today, we can come damn close to perfection if one is willing to make the (financial) effort, as evidenced by footage like that here.
 
The sound track of Sexuele Voorlichting uses Flemish, so allow me the liberty to point to a (far-from-perfect) amateur English translation, formatted as a standard timed subtitle text file, here.
 
It is not hard to find people who think that Europeans have done a much better job of educating adolescents about sex than have Americans. This premise is the motivation of another pair of films packaged as a single free-to-view video here.
 
The first film was made in 1999 and focused on how sex ed and pharmacy wares had helped sexually-active adolescents avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexual infection far more effectively in multiple European countries than in the United States. Happily, the recent Indiana University survey suggests that today things are much better: e.g. condom use among US teens has become the norm.

 
The second film of the set describes modern sex ed efforts undertaken in Oregon by 2007, including a then-new curriculum developed by a pair of progressive Protestant churches (United Church of Christ and Unitarian/Universalist) called All Our Lives.

The Voice of America, a US federal government agency charged with presenting a favorable view of the nation to the outside world without telling transparent lies, issued a September 2008 video report on US sex ed, which you can view here. Observe that unlike many nations, public education in America is controlled by the federated state ("provincial") governments, who commonly further delegate very great authority in the matter to far more local bodies, like counties or municipalities.
 
Today, political roadblocks to conducting proper sex education in American public schools have been made IRRELEVANT by the many other sources of expository multimedia educational material which can be delivered electronically, in the home or anywhere else. And the cornucopia of porn, particularly fee-free pirated copies, has so liberalized the sexual attitudes of an ever-increasing number of Americans that inhibition to using sex education materials autonomously is probably evaporating as well. Is the day far off that we can say "We are all 'Kinseyans' now"?

In particular, shy students of sex should be grateful for the astoundingly immense media bounty of our digital age, in that it permits them to enjoy social-psycholgical disinhibition on account of the one-way nature of the communication. Such is not a luxury the students of my imaginary friend Miss Harper (better known as Karen Taylor) can expect in situations of the type depicted in the video here.

P.S. Aside: Surely the BBC should seek out additional overseas revenue streams by engaging the many opportunities for global sales through Internet-transmitted  video-on-demand, e.g. Netflix, Google/Youtube, Amazon et alia. It happens that a for-profit cable-TV channel, Discovery, produced a program illustrating the results of the Indiana University study described above, as episode 4 of its second season of the series Curiosity. Internet users can view this program at once for under US$2, via the link on the page here. At such a modest price, few able interested parties will consider seeking out a pirated copy instead. NLH, might you give the BBC or your MP a word or two of encouragement regarding my sugestion?

New English-sub NRK sex-ed videos on YouTube for those 8-12 y.o.

Ron The Logician's picture
Sat, 09/19/2015 - 20:04

A few years ago Betty and Carlin were featured in an episode of the Trekant ("Threesome") television series, produced by Norway's forward-looking public broadcaster, NRK. I am pleased to bring to your attention some new NRK programming which provides a bit of video-based sex education to youngsters.

NRK's existing Newton series delivers science programming targeted to those within the age range 8-12. It recently completed a set of programs on puberty (titled Pubertet in Norwegian) which it also makes available via Youtube - with optional English subtitles for the benefit of non-Norwegian viewers. The episodes are narrated in an age-appropriate manner by a physician cleverly "disguised" as a young mom, the sort of person the youngsters in the audience are accustomed to trusting. Each of the eight episodes run only 5 to 7 minutes each, which should not challenge the attention span of its target audience members.

Not content merely to deal frankly with the anatomical and physiological changes which puberty brings about in the lone individual, the series climaxes in an episode which explains puberty's reproductive teleology by explicitly demonstrating coitus using inanimate (but realistic) three-dimensional models.

While it doesn't shatter as many traditional cultural taboos as the aformentioned Belgian program for 11-year-olds (which e.g. uses living human beings to demonstrate masturbation and coitus), this new NRK programming is among the most explicit ever developed for youngsters, and is surely the most frank legitimately made available to the worldwide public today without charge, by exploiting hosting on Youtube. Betty will be pleased to learn the need to stimulate the clitoris to make partner sex enjoyable for the woman is not neglected!

Ironically, to comply with YouTube's offical "community policy," the videos are technically shielded behind a user account sign-in (which does not verify the real human identity of the account holder in any event) and thereby allows naive, blue-nosed parties to be placated with the notion that "wee innocents" are protected from what their eyes should never see! (Aside: the usually effective trick to obviate the need to sign in, of transforming the Web page addresses involved with the simple replacement of "watch?v=" by "v/", does not work.)

Find the relevant YouTube playlist here.

For those who don't want to establish, and sign in with, a YouTube account to see the videos, as I write, they are also directly available at NRK's own web site here - although, obviously, without English subtitles. The other advisory caution in using this link is the experience I've had with the videos of the aforementioned NRK program Trekant ("Threesome") - many of whose episodes became inaccessible some time after they had been broadcast.)

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