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Why has female orgasm been the subject of so much controversy and disinformation? Why are we focusing on female orgasm here?

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Read the articles and watch the film clips (or the entire film if you can). Review the diagrams and worksheets and test yourself to see if you can name all the parts of the female anatomy. How well did you know this anatomoy before working through this module? Keep in mind that the representations of female anatomy tend to focus on the reproductive aspect and neglect the purely pleasurable aspect. The disinformation and general ignorance about the clitoris is a good example of this.

FILM: Hysteria

Catherine Blackledge, “The Function of the Orgasm,” Sex, Gender, and Sexuality: The New Basics (2013).

Maines, Rachel, “The Job Nobody Wanted,” The Technology of Orgasm (1999).

Tuana, Nancy. “Coming to Understand: Orgasm and the Epistemology of Ignorance.” Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy Vol. 19, No. 1 (2004): 194-232.

Chalker, Rebecca. “Chapter 1,” The Clitoral Truth; The Secret World at Your Fingertips. Seven Stories Press, 2002.

Anatomical Diagrams Group Activity

Why has female orgasm been the subject of so much controversy and disinformation? Why are we focusing on female orgasm here? What does this history tell us about attitudes towards sex for pleasure vs. sex for procreation? How do gender regimes police attitudes and behaviors related to sex and gender and for what purpose? Are these issues different in different cultures and at different periods in history or do they span time and place? Give examples from the readings in your response and try to connect these views to what you see in the world around you, or in a recent story you have read in the NYT.

Finally, explain your experience working with the anatomical drawings. Could you have correctly labelled all the parts before doing the reading and other work in this module? Many people could not. Why do you think so many people are so ignorant of the female reproductive system and sexual anatomy?
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