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I'll have what she's having: orgasm focus of talk

Sex educators Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller had their way with a large and lively crowd in McClendon Tower Tuesday night as they schooled undergraduates and residential staff on the intricacies of the female orgasm.

The exuberant presentation, sponsored by Residence Life and Housing Services, aimed to "create a safe space to talk about female sexuality and female orgasms," Solot said.

The duo touched on everything from vibrators to female ejaculation to popular misconceptions about the orgasm, replete with liberal doses of humor and irreverence to further spice up the already zesty topic.

Solot and Miller claimed to have an advantage over many sex educators in that they themselves are a longtime romantic couple. "Once in a while, we don't just talk about sex--we actually have sex!" Solot explained.

Throughout their hour-and-a-half-long presentation, one of the couple's primary aims was to demystify the female orgasm and other components of sexuality. They explained, sometimes with the use of visual aids like dildos and vaginal art books, many of the most important orgasmic facts.

They said societal pressures led to many misconceptions, especially for females. "A lot of us get messages that masturbation is dirty and nasty and it's a sin," Solot said. Another misconception: "For women, if you know too much about sex, you're a slut."

Mixed messages are often instilled in young children by parents, and religion, magazines and social relationships can further perpetuate a sense that female sex and sexuality are taboo subjects, they said.

Solot and Miller, by contrast, spared no detail. They revealed that the majority of women cannot have an orgasm from intercourse alone, but need clitoral stimulation. They explained that a woman takes 20 minutes on average to reach orgasm, while a man usually needs only three to five minutes. They noted that female ejaculation can actually be "quite gushing," recommended condoms on vegetable penetration because of the pesticides and displayed a Harry Potter toy broom that many women used for a different kind of fantasy game.

"You switch it on, it vibrates and then you put it between your legs and fly around!" Miller said.

The topic of fake orgasms was also explored. Following a clip from the 1989 romantic comedy "When Harry Met Sally" in which Meg Ryan's character loudly fakes an orgasm, Solot cracked: "Have you heard the joke: Why do women fake orgasms?" Her answer: "Because men fake foreplay."

Men received guidance from Solot and Miller as well--appropriately, since they comprised more than half of the crowd and showed up in greater numbers than Solot said she had ever seen. The males in the audience separated from the females at one point, breaking into small groups with Miller and discussing their experience with female sexuality.

"Guys in our culture are expected to know all about sex," Miller said to the males, "even though nobody teaches us about sex."

While emphasizing the fun and experiential aspects of sexuality, Solot also told of a personal experience in which her comfort with her body proved to be of grave importance. One night before she went to bed, she was absent-mindedly running her hand down her arm and onto her breast when she felt a lump. The lump turned out to be breast cancer, which was treated and is now in remission. She said her ease in touching her own body saved her from discovering the lump much later.

"I'm so thankful that I was not one of those women who had internalized... that it's not okay to touch your own body," she said.

While not necessarily advocating sexual intercourse for the mostly college-aged crowd, Solot and Miller seemed aware that not all of those in attendance would wait until marriage to apply their newly discovered knowledge about the female orgasm.

"There are going to be people who put this information to use about 20 minutes after we end tonight," Miller said.

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