by Coleen Singer at Sssh.com
Ever since I picked up a copy of USA Today for the first time, I’ve been in love with infographics. There’s simply no more efficient means of informing, misinforming, frightening, and/or entertaining people all at once than with a multicolored set of charts, numbers and icons focused on a single, overarching theme.
Whether the goal is to make me feel lousy about consuming bottled water, highlight milestones of things people don’t really give a shit about, or to add byzantine nuance to cherished childhood songs like I’m Just a Bill, nothing gets the job done quite like a well-executed infographic.
Not all infographics are so satisfying, though; some leave a lot to be desired aesthetically, or raise far more questions (or far more intriguing questions) than they answer. One recent example of an infographic that is both butt-ugly and doesn’t live up to the promise of its theme comes courtesy of Dr. Justin Lehmiller of Harvard University.
Dr. Lehmiller’s infographic begins in promising fashion, with a very eye-catching title: “When Do Women Orgasm During a Hookup?” Setting aside the fact that the answer seems pretty obvious (when we’re damn good and ready to, my good doctor!), you have to admit that’s a pretty compelling lead-in. Sadly, the graphic devolves from there, starting with its dull bar graphs and cliché paper doll cutout figurines, and continuing with data that really begs for additional explanation.
I don’t have a problem with the central assertion of the infographic, which boils down to this: Women are more likely to cum when the person fucking us is someone that we either have a relationship with, or who we want to have a relationship with.
That claim actually makes good sense to me, because the only one who has ever been able to get me off every time is my trusty vibrator, Steely Dan, with whom I have a very intimate and long-running relationship. Sexual reliability isn’t Dan’s only strong suit as a partner, by the way; he’s also a great listener, never tries to dominate the TV remote, has never bored me with longwinded tales of the glorious, bygone days of his youth, and doesn’t seem to mind at all having a permanent (and highly useful!) case of priapism.
Where the infographic fails, however, is when it gets specific about the various ways that women and their partners can increase the odds of having an orgasm. According to Dr. Lehmiller, a woman in his sample population was 18% more likely to have an orgasm if she “stimulated her own genitals by hand” only 9% more likely to climax if her partner stimulated her genitals using his own hand, 5% more likely if she stimulates his genitals by hand, 9% more likely if she receives oral sex from the man, 3% more likely if she performs oral sex on the man, and 15% more likely if the two engage in anal sex.
These stats raise so many questions, I’m not even sure where to start. One of the first that comes to mind is about the anal sex; the infographic doesn’t specify what manner of anal sex we’re talking about, or if there is penetration, just exactly who is penetrating whom. Sure, it’s easy to assume that the woman is on the receiving end of the buttfucking here, but the graphic doesn’t actually say so, leaving us to speculate.
Come to think of it, given a strap-on dildo with a small, opposing offshoot that rubs up against my clitoris while I’m thrusting away in the direction of my bent-over male partner, I think my odds of orgasm would go up by approximately 100% during anal sex – although I think my Research Assistant/husband’s odds of orgasm as a result of such an arrangement would be eclipsed by the odds of him committing suicide if any of his friends ever found out that I’d been roughly probing the deepest recesses of his anus with a big plastic dick.
The infographic also doesn’t explain how it’s possible that a woman’s chance of orgasm only goes up by a paltry 18% if she stimulate her own genitals at some point in the bargain. If that’s the case, then 82% of the time these women are doing it wrong. Seriously – I don’t care if my “partner” is the bloated corpse of Howard Taft, once I let my fingers do the walking, I can and WILL make ‘it’ happen. Period!
At any rate, I don’t want to be too hard on Dr. Lehmiller, because clearly he is doing very important work. After all, if there’s one thing that men could use some pointers on, it’s how, when, why and how-to with respect to things that give a woman pleasure. The infographic also offers support for things I’ve been saying all along, like when it comes to giving head, most men might as well be trying to read hieroglyphics; they know our parts down there mean something, but unlocking a woman’s erogenous secrets seems to require hidden knowledge – or the ability to listen, but there’s no point in wishing for miracles to occur, right?
Maybe that’s the infographic the world really needs: some manner of concise, digital, easy-to-share-on-Facebook, Rosetta Stone of Feminine Sexuality. Done right, it could save men a lot of embarrassment and frustration – and save us ladies from feeling like our genitals are a word-puzzle being ‘solved’ by a functional illiterate in the throes of an epileptic fit.