"Clitoris" Trends with the Release of Liberating Masturbation

Sun, 12/19/2010 - 10:59
Submitted by Carlin Ross

I've been playing around with Google's Ngram Viewer. Believe me it's not that technical. 

Google has digitized 52 million books and made them available online.  What's interesting is that you can search keywords to see when these terms started trending in published form.  "Groovy" started appearing in books in 1968 and peaked in 1972.   

The first key word I popped into the Google Ngram Viewer was "clitoris".   It first appears in literature in the 1800's.  "Clitoris" slowly rises in popularity peaking turn on the century and then dropping suddenly in the 1920s - thank you, Sigmund Freud and your belief that the only true orgasm was the vaginal orgasm.

Despite this sudden set back, "clitoris" continues to rise until it reaches a crescendo in the 1970's.  I don't think it's a reach for me to attribute the peak of "clitoris" with the release of Betty Dodson's Liberating Masturbation in 1974.  She returned the word "clitoris" to popular culture.  Her life's work has been to teach women that the source of their orgasms is their clitoris.  You can't read Betty's books without reading the word "clitoris" millions of times.    

I was having a bit of a pity party for myself yesterday.  I won't go into the details but it was one of those moments when you're home visiting family and it feels like someone punched you as hard as they could in the stomach.  It was like I couldn't breathe - like the air was sucked out of the room all at once. 

When I got back to my place, Betty called.  And as I sat there on the phone I realized how fortunate I was to be working with her - how all the crazy weird shit I went through as a kid gave me the understanding to do the work I do today.  We talked about how our suffering had shaped our perspectives on female sexuality. 

"Clitoris" still has a long way to go.  I hope all our bloggers are ready to take "clitoris" all the way to the top.

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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Future looks grimmer

Sun, 12/19/2010 - 13:53
WildOrchid (not verified)

I extended the graph as far as it would go - to 2008. I searched: masturbation, orgasm, clitoris. See my results: 

 
See how the frequency of "masturbation" drops? It gets less atention than before WWII. 

Family

Sun, 12/19/2010 - 14:45
Jim Pivonka (not verified)

Family can be wrong, and certainly is mistaken for you. Know that you are right, at least for you, and why, with such settled certainty that the stab to the heart only wounds, and does not stop it, or your breath.

Here is what I think: the feeling you describe seems to come from the need to suppress instinctive responses - anger, or perhaps tears. The tears are a sign of your sympathy for your family and sadness at their lack of depth, understanding, and generosity. The anger may be a response to threat to self, or to injustice; when its source is understood it can be channeled into responses which express your strength and conviction, without the disproportion that might lead to escalation or globalization of the conflict.

Of course, that is only my projection / inference. I have no belief that I know anything about your situation, in reality.

I'm in. I would love to see

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 22:44
Palesa (not verified)

I'm in. I would love to see clitoris soar through the Ngram charts!

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