Everyone thinks about sex, but few like to talk about it. Though they may not admit it, many, however, like to hear—or read—about sex. And some like to watch.
A few days ago, the website I Fucking Love Science posted a video that was definitely NSFW. If you thought Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson on Masters of Sex were groundbreaking enough—actual people, naked in a laboratory, with electrodes hooked up to their bodies to scientifically measure human sexual response, a photographer documenting the session while the doctor and his assistant watched the live action from behind a glass partition—this video goes where no camera has been before.
A real live couple, with a tiny camera inside the woman’s vagina, have sex in the missionary position, and the images are indeed graphic. Woody Allen might have imagined what spermatozoa could look like as they gush through the vaginal canal in his hilarious movie Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), but this new video captures the semen spurting out of the penis at the actual moment of ejaculation whilst inside the vagina, against the vaginal walls, which are contracting in the throes of an orgasm, and spilling into the cervix.
Graphic imagery notwithstanding, this IFLS clip was science, not pornography, and its aim was education, not titillation. But perhaps it is true, after all, that some things are better left to the imagination. Or you could say that some things are better felt than seen, like the G-spot, which according to the clip does exist—if you were the camera inside the vagina filming the penis thrusting in and out you’d be able to ascertain that.
Science having succeeded in planting a camera inside a vagina, it was inevitable that someone would leave a comment asking if anal sex could also be filmed from the inside, which reminded me of a scene in Broad City earlier this year that I couldn’t un-see, involving a sexual practice heretofore little known in the mainstream called “pegging.”
Abbi finally has a date with her object of lust, who happens to be her neighbor, Jeremy. Things go well and they end up in bed, and Abbi, being open to adventure, thinks he wants to do anal. He does, but he wants Abbi to do it to him with a strap-on. Abbi freaks out for a moment, calls Illana, who tells her to go for it. Keeping an open mind as well as a dildo strapped to her waist, she does what Jeremy wants but their liaison is doomed to be a one-night stand when she inadvertently puts the dildo in the dishwasher the next morning, effectively deforming it.
Abbi also discovers, when she tries to substitute the dildo for a similar one to cover up her dishwashing mishap, that Jeremy is actually, well, anal, about what goes up his anus. Not just anal, but a downright snob, as his dildo was apparently customized for his ass using high-grade materials, etc.
If there’s anything else you’d like to learn about sex—female sexual pleasure to be specific—there’s a new website being touted as the “Khan Academy of sex.” OMGYes.com wants women to learn how to get off, with tutorial videos by women based on extensive new research in order to “lift the veil on women’s sexual pleasure.”
The techniques revealed in the tutorials come from “the first-ever large-scale research about the specifics of women’s pleasure” culled from the combined “wisdom of over 2,000 women, ages 18-25.”
Are you aware, for instance, of accenting, framing, staging, layering, orbiting, signalling, edging, and hinting as female masturbatory techniques? Me neither, but evidently they exist. It makes me wonder whether it really helps to know too much. Is there real value, apart from the obviously scientific, of quantifying strokes and waves and patterns? What happened to the joys of simply knowing what feels good for you?
Ah, but tech has made all things possible, even an app called the Lioness that “allows you to easily visualize what your body is telling you and ask questions to a supportive community. Using advanced biometric sensing and statistical methods, we help you characterize your sexuality—how fast you get aroused, how long it generally takes to orgasm, and when sex would feel best—both individually and within the diverse sexual spectrum of the aggregate female population.”
All that, plus a vibrator! The app and the vibrator are paired together. Think digitally powered dildo to awaken the lioness in you and allow you to roar towards an orgasm. Which is great, really. Theoretically speaking, I’m all for scientific advancement, since so much about female sexuality remains a mystery. But in practical terms, well… Ask any woman who has tried to pleasure herself with the assistance of a vibrator AND a smartphone. At the same time. Throw in a partner she may be sexting with via WhatsApp or Viber or FaceTime and she’ll long for the days of analog phone sex (see: Julianne Moore in Short Cuts). Trust me, there’s only so much multi-tasking a woman can do with two hands.
B. Wiser is the author of Making Love in Spanish, a novel published earlier this year by Anvil Publishing and available in National Book Store and Powerbooks, as well as online. When not assuming her Sasha Fierce alter-ego, she takes on the role of serious journalist and media consultant.