The Big-O Draws a Big Crowd

Turn on the TV, go to the movies, open up a magazine (or just look at its cover) and you’re bound to run into it: “The Big-O.” Yes, orgasms pervade innumerable mediums, yet, for some reason, they are still shrouded in mystery. Enter Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller. The two are sex educators who travel around the country talking to students about all aspects of sex, and, on Wednesday, March 4, they came to Colgate to host, “I Love the Female Orgasm.”

The program began with brief introductions before diving into the matter at hand. Solot and Miller not only imparted facts about the physiological, emotional and mental aspects of the female orgasm, but also deconstructed the stigmas attached to sex and orgasm. The pair explained how these stigmas especially shroud the female orgasm in mystery. To explicate this point, they showed by-lines from the covers of women’s magazines (example: Cosmopolitan‘s “Your Orgasm Face…What He’s Thinking When He Sees It”), as well as the infamous clip of Meg Ryan faking an orgasm over a casual lunch with Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally.

Solot commented on the disjuncture between the information transmitted by the media and the actual experiences of women, stating that “sometimes it feels like sex is everywhere-on every magazine cover, in every TV commercial, even in the spam we get. On the other hand, being out there in the world talking to people, it feels like people are starving for honest, down-to-earth information, not the impossible acrobatic sex positions you see in women’s glossy magazines.”

Solot and Miller also described the sex education that students received in high school as particularly influential on how students go on to view their own sexuality and the level of comfort they have with their own bodies. In conjunction with sex education, Miller also spoke to the relationship between the mandated abstinence-only sex education of the Bush administration and students’ knowledge.

“Over the time Dorian and I have been teaching sex education to college students, we feel like we’ve really witnessed the change as students’ level of knowledge about sex has dropped and the kinds of questions we get have gotten more basic,” Miller explained, adding that he and Solot both, “hope the new administration will recognize the value of age-appropriate, comprehensive sex education-and the fact that the vast majority of parents prefer this for their children.”

Despite the lack of information students have, Miller acknowledged that the topic of the female orgasm has certainly become less taboo in recent times. He accredited this transformation in large part to social movements, stating that, “It’s amazing how much of a transformation this country has undergone over the last 50 years in its views of women’s sexuality, much of it made possible by brave feminist leaders. The LGBTQ rights and HIV/AIDS education movements have also had a really important impact.”

The event was undoubtedly popular with students, and while the majority of the audience was female, there was also a sizable male turnout. One student who attended the event, junior Seghan MacDonald, was particularly heartened by the number of men who attended.

“I was surprised and impressed by the number of guys that showed up to this talk, and that care enough about pleasing their woman. . . I may have seen an entire frat on a field trip there, sitting in the back row,” she joked.

Miller reiterated this point, exclaiming that, “The turnout was amazing! It seems clear that Colgate is all about the O.”