How to Female Ejaculate: Paying Homage to a Feminist Classic

This post comes from guest blogger, Lynn Comella. Lynn is a women’s studies professor at UNLV and is a frequent media commentator. She writes a monthly column for Las Vegas Weekly on sexuality and culture

Just last week Mr. Man – my hunky significant other – sent me a link to an interview in Vice magazine titled, “Squirting with a Sexpert.  “Do you know this woman, he asked?

He was referring to feminist sex educator and porn pioneer Debi Sundahl, aka Fanny Fatale. “Of course I do! I replied. “She produced and starred in How to Female Ejaculate. She’s legendary.

How to Female Ejaculate is a feminist classic, and if you haven’t seen it, I seriously recommend that you do. Produced in 1992 by Fatale Video “ one of the first women-run porn production companies in the United States “ How to Female Ejaculate is one of my all-time favorite examples of feminist porn as a vehicle for sex education and female sexual empowerment. Although its production values are lacking, the spirit and intention behind the video “ let’s demystify the g-spot and give women the info they need to squirt! “ is, shall we say, Squirtastic.

The premise that knowledge is power structures this video from start to finish. In this regard, How to Female Ejaculate can be situated with a larger framework of sex positive feminist cultural production dating back to Betty Dodson’s Liberating Masturbation and the opening of Eve’s Garden in the 1970s. What binds these different cultural forms together “ from feminist sex toy stores to pornography to, more recently, sex blogs – is the emphasis that’s placed on sexual information as both a birthright and a strategy for personal fulfillment and empowerment, especially for women.

How to Female Ejaculate begins with a close-up of a woman squirting in a wide arc. The image then cuts to Fanny Fatale who is sitting behind a desk. Fatale, who emanates warmth and likeability, explains to viewers that this is a video about women’s sexuality and the “secret of female ejaculation [and] sexual self-discovery. “My goal, she continues, “is to strengthen women’s erotic voice through education and entertainment.

Using a series of anatomical charts and diagrams, Fatale walks viewers through a lesson on female sexual anatomy, including a discussion of the clitoris, g-spot, and ejaculate fluid. Despite the fact that the g-spot is often presented as a mysterious and hard-to-find erotic zone, Fatale is adamant that if it were any closer, “It would bite you!

For Fatale, teaching viewers about the g-spot is as much a process of sexual demystification “ e.g. don’t be fooled, the g-spot and female ejaculation are real – as it is a process of sexual education. This dual emphasis carries over to the portion of the video where a group of women are discussing “ and, importantly, displaying – their g-spot prowess.

Here, Fatale becomes the facilitator for a kind of sexual encounter group comprised of her and three other women. Sitting casually on futons, surrounded by Japanese screens and potted plants in a room that could easily pass as someone’s living room, the women talk about their g-spots, their orgasms, and their personal experiences with female ejaculation, providing a series of sexual testimonials for those watching at home.

In addition to the women’s discussion about female ejaculation “ how they do it, what it tastes like, what it smells like “ another, but equally compelling, discourse emerges about the importance of women having access to sexual knowledge and information. Collectively, the testimonials construct a version of female sexuality that is consistent with the goals of feminist consciousness raising groups from the 1970s: women need access to other women’s experiences to recognize their commonalities, and begin transforming ideas into action.

Baja, who in the video says that she’s ejaculated since becoming sexually active as a teenager in the sixties, talks about the isolation that she felt during, “those years when nothing was said about anything. She continues: “Now that I know there’s a word for [ejaculation], and it’s supposed to be the ˜in thing,’ I can go back and say, ˜It’s not that unusual.’

It’s Carol Queen’s personal narrative, however, that best illustrates what is at stake when it comes to women having access to accurate information about sex. In response to a question posed by Fatale about whether she was angry to discover that she was capable of ejaculating, Queen says this:

I had already been made so angry that my access to information about sex was so limited. I read the words orgasm in a magazine when I was a teenager, and had to go to the library to figure out what that was. Being a kid in a small town in Oregon [and] trying to find orgasm defined in the library was no simple thing. So ejaculation was not even part of the picture yet. The very fact that I had to struggle for my birthright as a sexual woman made me angry and still does. So the ejaculation part was only one small part of it. But it empowers me as a woman now just knowing that my sexuality is not a simply little thing, but it unfolds and I can find out more about it all the time. So that’s the other side of anger: that there are more things for me to discover, and I feel empowered to do that.

I have great affection, and perhaps even a bit of nostalgia, for the unapologetically feminist, “Up with ejaculating women, mantra evident in this video.  But more than this, How to Female Ejaculate should be celebrated for the groundbreaking ways that Fatale, and the feminist and queer-identified pornographers who have followed in her footsteps, have used pornography to create new kinds of sexual images and discourses, including using porn as a platform for sexual education and self-discovery. For these, and other reasons, it’s worth paying homage to Fanny Fatale and How to Female Ejaculate on Ladyporn Day 2011.

For more great posts about Ladyporn Day, check Rabbit Write’s page out.

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Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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