In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

Would You Watch This Documentary?

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The divorce rate for first time marriages in the United States hovers steadily at about 50% according to the Census Bureau’s reports over the last ten years. Yet mindlessly and merrily, Americans march to the altar like lemmings to the cliff, only to free fall over the edge into the depths of that statistic. Despite the concerted efforts of great minds in many fields–psychology, law, medicine, sociology, anthropology, to name a few–there has been little progress in lowering divorce rates overall. 


Except for rate shifts with the rise and fall of the economy, most notably couples choosing not to divorce in a down economy because it is cheaper to live on separate sides of the house than pay attorneys, divorce rates fluctuate little. During some periods, marriage trends toward cohabitation over licensing.


Though there are probably as many reasons for divorce as there are married couples, common factors such as communication, religion, finances, childrearing and roles contribute to the irremediable breakdown of marriages. And while cheating is the last straw when it comes to suffering an unfulfilling relationship and often impels filing divorce papers, it is not so much the cause as the symptom of the bases for disagreement. 


Poor communication about feelings, especially about sex, is a significant cause of injury in marriage. The experts, including Esther Perelman, have written about sex as the communication trouble spot, the sensitivity surrounding sex and the expectations of couplehood, in particular: the beliefs that two people merge and thereby are able to read each other’s minds and that sexual performance critique leaves long lasting scars on marriage sex life, are problematic. 


Though male dissatisfaction is not unheard of, the complaints are more likely by or rooted in women regarding men’s inability to sexually satisfy. Reciprocity in the sexual satisfaction arena breaks down.  When one party is getting satisfied while the other is not, resentments grow and withholding sex or certain sex acts the other enjoys, often results. My evidence is anecdotal, but I am fairly certain the data validates my assumptions.


Why is sex so complicated? I suspect sedimented beliefs and inherited cultural myths about female bodies and leftover Puritanical sexual mores contribute significantly to the complexity.  


And though orgasms are not all there is to sex, they are significant, especially if only one of the couple is having them. In any event, the lack of orgasms coupled with the inability to talk about that lack not only to mates but to friends and family for the discomfort we dysfunctional Americans have in speaking about sex generally, circles the perimeter as well as forms the shadowy core of the divorce abyss. 


Perhaps learning about how women orgasm is a key to lowering the divorce rate in this country. And here to educate all of us, people of all genders, about female orgasm is a documentary by an expert:

“Our culture is obsessed with depicting and idolizing both vag-gasms and intercourse as the ultimate in sexual expression,” says Trisha Borowicz, a filmmaker/molecular biologist who studies orgasm ‘just for fun.” “Everyone acts like there is not a definition for female orgasm when there really is a pretty damn good one.”

Science, Sex and Ladies is Borowicz’s attempt at not only dispelling myths about female orgasm but also teaching how they are achieved. She attacks the accepted model of penis in vagina penetration as the “norm” for fulfilling women. By boldly and explicitly explaining how female orgasm is produced with a real vulva to diagram, she supplies important facts to expose the lies many women grow up believing in the absence of valid information.

5. Contrary to popular belief, most women don’t take “forever” to come. Most women come as quickly as easily as men, given the right stimulation. Men would also take “forever” to come if they were only being stimulated by, say, someone diligently rubbing their pubic hair.

That’s number five of four other fantastic facts needing to be known and provided courtesy of Jill Hamilton’s review of the Borowicz’s documentary in Salon.com (The simple “secret” to making a woman orgasm no one understands). A link to the documentary is provided in the article, well worth the read.

While educating the populace with vulva diagrams is not the antidote to divorce, disseminating accurate information–truths about how women work–improves the health of everyone, especially teens susceptible to the porn industry that fills the gaping hole parents leave when they do not or cannot inform their sons and daughters about the wonders of the female body–no easy task. 

I know my own daughters resist the awkward masturbation and sexual satisfaction conversation that they perceive as foisted on them. Disturbing notions of our mothers as sexual beings haunts the deep recesses of our collective subconscious for centuries, one of many deeply ingrained twists to our sexual proclivities. No wonder we’re screwed up.

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