Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Diagnosis: A Case of Femaleness

I look GOOD. Damn good.
In the past few days, I've hit a perfect storm of media consumption that has spun me into a feminist spiral. So if you're not into wild-eyed ranting, please avert your eyes.

It all started with a friggin' Campfire girl meeting. A high school girl showed a short film she'd made on body image, then in a halting, nervous voice told about her struggles with an eating disorder. By the end, every mother there was in tears. In tears! Because we totally got it. We all had our thing--too fat, too thin, hair too weird, butt too little, butt too big, etc...--that made us so horribly not right.

The next night, I watched a Netflix doc called "Orgasm Inc." It was about how in the past few years, pharmaceutical companies, along with willing shills in the medical community, have popularized the "disease" of Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). (Not to be confused with FTD, which provides human females with unattractive flower arrangements).

"I think there is dissatisfaction and perhaps disinterest among a lot of women, but that doesn't mean they have a disease," said Dr. Sandra Leiblum, professor of psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in "Myth of female impotence 'created'" in the BBC News.


I'm not arguing that some women don't have sexual problems that could be improved medically, but a lot of the FDS "symptoms" are just the way women are. Yes, women can take a long time to come, yes, women can take awhile to get aroused (note: FTD flowers will not speed arousal time), and, yes, women get pissed at their mates which, yeah, fucking does affect desire.

In this study of FDS among women in Lower Egypt:  Marital disharmony, 'hate' and unfavourable socio-economic circumstances were the most common aggravating factors (28.1%) for sexual dysfunction among the participants, followed by pregnancy-related events.

I'm not a doctor, but as far as I know, there is not a pill for curing "unfavourable socio-economic circumstances" and the like. (Although if there were, I would so fucking take it.)

One middle-aged women in Orgasm, Inc., ("middle-aged" = older than me) volunteered to be a guinea pig in some freaky-ass experimental procedure in which electrodes were inserted into her back. Into her back, as in under her skin. Did I mention that this was a totally untested procedure by, for all she knew, a completely iffy doctor?

The implants did nothing for her besides causing her to kick her left leg at random times. (This new trick, while novel and exciting, did not help her sex life.) The creepy invasive procedure did nothing to cure her "problem" which was--oh, dear god--inability to come during intercourseNot inability to have an orgasm. Not inability to come if someone paid a whit of attention to her clit. No, this woman, raised on the notion that women's sexuality is just like men's--stick in it, pull it out, repeat til orgasm--believed that if she couldn't come from penetration alone, she was "ill."

I so wish she could have read an article like this from RH Reality Check which took special care to state in the very biggest and boldest of fonts:

The majority of women -- according to most studies, at least 70% -- do not and will not reach orgasm through vaginal intercourse or vagina-only stimulation (like "fingering" that's only about vaginal insertion) only.

So yeah, a little testosterone might help you out a bit (I said might--even this isn't certain), but seems to me the best way to alleviate FSD would be to spend a little time on arousal, make sure the female parts that feel pleasure are actually the parts that get stimulated (did I really just have to fucking write that sentence?)...plus a bunch of boring stuff like providing favorable economic conditions for the ladies and whatnot.

What is that? You have more sexual problems, you say? You've suddenly realized that your vag is not completely normal as you'd thought for years and years, but, in fact, hideously ugly and in need of surgical intervention. Don't worry, my ugly little freak, Vaginal Rejuvenation (i.e. plastic surgery for your vag) will fix any and all labia deemed unsightly.

What's sightly and what is not? Well, the highly lucrative Genital Mutilation Vaginal Rejuvenation centers that have popped up in the last few years (Hey....isn't that about the same time you started becoming displeased with your own vag? *shrugs* Weird.) have to find some way to keep the ladies coming in so currently they've determined that "too long" labia are "out." If you go ahead and get them shortened, I sure hope that long labia don't come into vogue because then you'll be bumming, huh?! (See also: The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss).

Check out these before and after Gential Muti Vaginal Rejuvenation photos from one place "helping" women.

Seriously!!!??? Not only did this chick not realize that she had a perfectly fine vag (I think it's a good one, actually, don't you?) but she actually thought it was so heinous that it required surgery--surgery!--to "correct". (Expensive surgery too. When I googled "vaginal rejuvenation" for you, the sponsored link offered a raffle for $1000 off. If they're offering $1000 off, you know that $%$# ain't cheap. Although I have to admit that the concept of a vag. rejuvenation raffle is sort of appealing in its utter wrongness. Coming soon...penile bleaching cake walk.)


I would hope that we women would all come to our fucking senses and just...stop it. Realize how totally fine we are and get on with more important things (see above: taking time with and enjoying arousal). At the very least, I can think of about 6 million better ways to spend our time and money than getting friggin' surgery.

However, as it looks now, I think that the only things that's changing is that more men are buying into this crap too with their pec implants, ED drugs, and the like.

My big wish is that one day someone will be lying on an operating table, legs open wide as they watch a surgeon walking toward them eyeing their groin and wielding some sharp pointy thing and the patient ("patient" = "regular person misled by fucked up societal norms") will think, "What the fucking hell am I doing?!?"

And, O, they shall Rise Up and Spread their Enlightenment among the people, who shall toss aside their sense of shame and unworthiness, and be free to rush forth into the forest where they shall fuck freely and joyfully under the dense green canopy of the trees. (Note: future scenario includes ecological renewal, elimination of STDs, and men and women with true knowledge of each other's sexualities. Void where prohibited by law.)


P.S. Meanwhile, just yesterday, I paid $45 for a tube of cream that promises to even out skin tone. One of the ingredients "might cause mercury poisoning."


(photo source)


Zannie Q. said...

This. Was. Hilarious. Also, you know, thought-provoking and stuff.

Belinda said...

Her before looks far better than my current. Hope it was worth it. Great post, once again.

BradleyJ said...

Great rant, Jill. The medical community continues to do one disservice to women after another. Guess what? There's no such thing as "minor" surgery folks, so if you are going to be put to sleep and intubated, you better have a damn good reason for doing so. Do you really want to risk your life to have a better looking vagina? I mean, really? The only "yes" answers to that question should be in cases where some kind of accident or medical condition have caused a real problem, but if you are considering this surgery for purely cosmetic reasons, please, please reconsider. Trust us, men love you just the way you are. Well, good men do anyhow.

Otherwise, a great blend of wit, sarcasm, and anger, as always Jill!


in bed with married women said...

Zannie Q.--Thanks! Appreciate the support since I felt sort of iffy being so, you know, mad and stuff. (Maybe I have PMS or some other woman disease.)
Belinda--I'm sure your before is smokin'. Smok-in', I say. Because it's willing and able and attached to YOU.
BradleyJ--thank you dear boy. for those not willing to go the surgical route, i just came upon a company selling shapewear for the bedroom. so no one will have to see a woman's actual body during sex. *sigh*

dirtycowgirl said...

Funny as ever, but also a very valid point.

A while ago I watched a documentary about the same subject, worrying as it was teenagers who were thinking about surgery.

You have to wonder where they get the idea from that there is something wrong with them. I can kind of understand women who've had a few babies wanting things back as they once were.
But teenagers ?
The world's gone mad.

The Zany Housewife said...

Great post! But then, when do you ever NOT deliver a great one?

Mercury poisoning is bad, m'kay.

Gia said...

Hhahahah...very true. The whole women-being-self-conscious-and-having-surgery-because-of-the-way-their-vagina-looks is CRAZY. Do men do that?!? NOO. It's similar to boob jobs, in my mind. I mean on one hand I don't want to care what other women do with their bodies because that is their choice. But when a bunch of women are getting boob jobs and men aren't getting an equivalent (ball surgery, perhaps?) then its not just their "choice' and more about society's expectations that women are inherently flawed and need to change. /endrant.

in bed with married women said...

Dirtycowgirl--teenagers? the world HAS gone mad! (though generational difference: on the vag rejuv site i looked at there was this whole disclaimer about this being a "difficult" subject to talk about, blah blah blah so there was an email address you could write to. whereas the younger chicks are being in a documentary about it.
Zany--thank you dear one. i'll keep you updated on my possible mercury poisoning (and my possibly de-Irished skin!)
Gia--a. now i am just pissed i didn't end my rant with "/endrant" because that is genius.
b. you words gave me a picture of a world in which men got ball surgery, walking about with giant balls, ball-displaying pants, ball cleavage... so thanks for that.

Mr. Science said...

Great stuff. I am not sure about you calling this a real feminist rant though...it seems to me this is on the reasonable side in comparison to some of the rants I've read lately, in which I wouldn't even consider responding with any constructive criticism for fear of losing my voice, involuntarily.

I think you did a great job framing some of the biggest sex problems (misleading marketing, sexual ignorance and poor sex education).

Now if we as sex bloggers could all just come up with some simple solutions to these problems. Sadly, I think it's going to take a lot of our time and energy and some creative problem solving. But hopefully, someday we'll look back and be glad we made a difference.

Keep up the writing, it's great motivation for all those blogs I have been intending to write.

-Mr. Science

Themysterywife said...


Chloƫ said...

Yes, this. Totally word. Spot on!

D.K. said...

Oh, the impossible dream! How to make us so sexually perfect that we will live happy ever after. There are always insecure fools who will buy bridges, Brooklyn, Golden Gate, take your choice. The horrible genital surgeries forced on adolescent girls are evil, but voluntarily and needlessly letting a scalpel loose in your vulva seems the height of insanity. But, then, so do plasticized breasts and poofy lips. Think of it: increasing the size of the upstairs lips while decreasing the size of the downstairs lips, which certainly turns some men on but definitely turns many men off. Think of it in the same family as men having surgery, or using heavy weights or machines, to make their penis longer, often to a size that would make women flee. These distortions have to come from the sexual repression this country still suffers from.

Now, in a way, vibrating cock rings fall into the same category--things that promise to make sex better but don't. I've been there, done that. The vibrator doesn't make the cock itself vibrate, or wouldn't unless the thing was industrial size, which would rather interfere with the activity.The cock isn't in deep enough most of the time to do your partner any good. I would think--I know--the woman would rather have the vibrator on her and be in control of it.

A Conversation

"Honey, what's that buzz?
"My new What's It cock ring, Dear."
"Is that all it does?"

Anonymous said...

holy lap-dancing jesus...weird double take on this one did i do...
yesterday trundling home from work head buried in some book i overheard a woman behind me talk about having a 'bit of work done 'down there'as hubby said it was a bit 'flappy''and i went all red faced...i noticed the lady in front of me clear her throat as she had noticed my reaction...she leaned forward and said quite loudly, 'no-one touches my cunt except me and my lover!' to the 'hear hear' of a couple of other women further down the aisle haha....
indeed we do live in mad times...

Cagey-C said...

This really take the commodification of the body to absurd places. An excellent feminist rant, Jill. And D.K. is absolutely right that even the quality toys provided by your corporate overlords (which are quite fun, at least the couple that we've got here at home) are another symptom of that commodification; we've got this sense that there must be some sort of sexual shangri-la that, if only we have the right device or the right secret technique, we'll stumble into, legs, bodies, very souls acquiver. The irony is that we put our hopes in finding this through purchasing the right product or being initiated into the right knowledge rather than in just exploring how our bodies work together best with our partners' bodies.

I'm not saying anything new at this point, but what I really appreciated was the connection you drew with your references to genital mutilation. We are quick to call out what other cultures do, but we ignore the fact that we also have our regimens for regulating bodies, and that those can be every bit as damaging.

Anonymous said...

(Not to be confused with FTD, which provides human females with unattractive flower arrangements).


Anonymous said...

I just do not AT ALL understand that labial rejuvenation photo scenario. Is the point here that the labia minora are somehow too large or exerted? And is it truly vaginal surgery or just labial surgery?

The "before" labia look so perfect to me, as more to lick and especially wrap around my nose.

Anonymous said...

I . . . have no words. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? This crap is going on?

Thank god, the first chick I ever had sex with was smart enough to teach me what to do - not only that, she drove home the point that I need to listen to all women about what stimulates them.

I'm no superman in bed, but I do live by the motto, "Ladies first." My wife of ten years will still come 2-3 times each time and the last is always from penetration (though we both agree it's because she's highly stimulated by that point)

Uh, anyway, great article!

Anonymous said...

I agree that the before pussy looked better - much more sensuous!
I love uncircumsized man parts too.

Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca said...

I love the passion of the rant. I love the 'distaste' for invasive, ineffective procedures. I love comments and discussion.

I'd like to add a couple questions:

Over the course of evolution, has humanity consistently aimed to "look better"?

(whether that be through technology or improved diet or decoration or whatever)?

Why or why not?

in bed with married women said...

Mr. Science--yeah, let's get right on that whole solving the world's sexual problems thing. i might go have some peanuts and a walk first.
Lost--Never before have i liked you more than after I read your sentences "they don't need be to rejuvenated. they need to be fucked."
TheMysteryWife--my friend and I decided that we should bring back "word." you with us?
Chloe--See above. Though now I'm thinking "spot on" instead. It has a lovely international flair.
DK--yes. that.
Dan--oh dear god, flappy! Flappy! Sorry, can't get past "flappy" to provide any coherent sentence back to you.
Cagey-C--so what you're saying is that you know of something that will send my very soul aquiver? sweet!
onnothankyou--that made me happy. thanks.
Anonymous--what IS the point is EXACTLY the point.
Stacey--That's cool b/c you generally have lots of words. Good ones, too.
ican'tbrain--You have a lucky partner. good for you.
Anonymous2: right. what the hell are we doing to ourselves?
RyzeOnline: I can't believe you have no takers on your questions! Such a good one too!

Anonymous said...

@RyzeOnline: Yes, it is the human condition to attempt to emulate some faddish ideal. However, the plastic surgeons witnessed the flood of women who would $PAY$ to have their chests carved up and one of them figured: Hey, we got them carving their faces, now their breasts, what else can we SELL them on to help the Feel Whole???

Pink Taco Surgery!
All I can say is, if it flaps so bad you can't have comfortable sex, that is a problem. But to Main Steam it seems Problematic.

But, tons of money can be made exploiting Real and Imagined Problems.

caitlingrace said...

Don't make me post a link to "The Perfect Vagina" again because I can and I will!

Always love a good rant and too much femaleness is just not even any kind of a problem.
All I can say is "make it stop" I mean seriously who the fuck thinks that cutting into your lady bits to "neaten" them is a good idea. Who are these people and can we all agree that they are some kind of neat freaking monsters. that is all

Mongo, At The Moment said...

I join the echo chamber: Convincing people that they aren't 'okay' (and that others are) because their bodies don't have [insert here], don't meet a certain visual template, or don't meet a standard of function invented by Some Guy, should be a crime that will have the Perp hauled in front of the International Criminal Court at the Hague. Period. And that's before we even get into a discussion of making money with that formula.

It would be hideous to live in a country where its First Lady, or That Guy With Her, supported these ideas and the assumptions behind them. Hideous. 'scuse me; gotta go prove I'm not a robot.

Jill Hamilton said...

Caitlin, I believe you sister. Ps i totally love your book. just have a few reader books and wanted to compile them in a post but instead i have chosen to play words with friends or something.

mongo, yeah dude. also sorry about the robot thing. i specifically checked off a box that said i did NOT want such verification, but Some Guy or whoever, just put it there anyway.

Dr AlanK said...

Never in all the history of human existence has a woman dropped her panties and had a man say "oh dear; that's not an attractive vulva. Please put your panties back on."

Jill Hamilton said...

DrAlanK, there you go. One of one doctors commenting today agree.

OldGuy said...

Well, I would have to agree with DrAlanK, and Ms. Hamilton. Speaking to Ms. Hamilton's post, aside from the pharmaceutical industry's interest in making money, the big problem there is the presumption that women are broken men.

There are at least a couple of fantastic books that explain otherwise. As you have mentioned previously, Vagina by Naomi Wolf, and another, Come As you Are, by Emily Nagoski explain that women (surprise!) don't work the same way as men.


Continue to love your blog.