Watching a female orgasm

A viral sex education video has everyone losing it over this WILD orgasm fact

30 April 2019, 17:46 | Updated: 30 April 2019, 17:47

A viral sex education video has everyone losing it over this WILD orgasm fact. Picture: Twitter: @jordannjust/Channel 9

By Jazmin Duribe


What’s better than a little sex ed lesson via Twitter, huh?

Between Google, school and Netflix’s Sex Education, literally anyone can learn the basics when it comes to sex. But one particular educational Twitter thread is going viral and it’s all because of a range of mind-blowing facts that no-one knew.
This picture of a woman’s milk ducts is going viral and everyone’s freaking out
Now, the majority of us kind of know or have been taught the basics about sex at school. We know where babies come from, that condoms are vital and, if we were lucky enough, have all been shown that graphic child birth video in science class from the 90s. However, there’s lots of thing we didn’t learn at school.
Case in point, female orgasms. We have probably touched upon male orgasms a few times in our lives but when it comes to women no-one really bothered to teach us.

Part 3: Erotic Areas/ Importance if foreplay!

— Jordan✨☥ (@jordannjust) April 23, 2019

Well, that’s where Kelly has stepped in. The Sexual Health Coordinator for the Center for Health Advocacy and Awareness was filmed giving an important lesson on sex, which has been liked on Twitter over 400,000 times.
The thread was created by a Twitter user named Jordan, who captioned the thread: “PLEASE WATCH! SEX EDUCATION OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM(S) FAILED TO TEACH US IN A THREAD: Part 1 – The Vulva.”
Basically, Kelly breaks down how the vulva and g-spot work, why clitoral stimulation is important, the racial correlation between penis sizes, and why simply penetrating a vagina isn’t always considered sex.


To top it off, throughout the video, she even had a vest on covered in a pictures of the female reproductive organs and was holding a huge cushion shaped like the vulva.
However, it was one particular piece of information that left the internet shook. “We want to spend at least 80-60% of the time we’re having sex on the clit,” she explained.
“If you go and have a heterosexual hook up you have an 11% chance of orgasming. If you go in a lesbian hook up you have a 93% chance of both women orgasming. The only difference is the lack of penis, you’re focusing exclusively on the clit, not on the penis.” You hear that fellas? Do. Better.


People couldn’t actually believe it, like, 11%!?!? Kelly really just dragged heterosexual men…

“Men only make women orgasm 11% of the time”
Me in intense training:

— Lip Gallagher (@tonestradamus) April 25, 2019

11% chance of orgasming from sex with a male…
…eleven percent.

— You’ve yee’d your last fucking haw (@ScHoolboyZ___) April 24, 2019

do u think men would still act the way they do if they only orgasmed 11% of the time

— bug girl🐞🌞 (@kaylalalaj) April 27, 2019

“If you go into a heterosexual hook-up you have an 11% chance of an orgasm. If you go into a lesbian hook-up you have a 93% chance.” Facts are facts. I dont make the rules! 😋

— ma🌻 (@tiredbbymama) April 24, 2019

men are really offended bc only 11% of women orgasm from hetero sex but why?? shouldn’t that motivate y’all to do better?! stop chattin out ur ass n put ur money where ur mouth is! take time to get to know a woman’s body! DO SUMN W THIS INFORMATION

— jassy 🇭🇹 (@aIIthatjas) April 24, 2019

Damn that sex ed lady said a woman only has an 11% chance of orgasming if she has sex with a man, but 93% chance if she has sex with another woman.

— Scratching Post Malone (@sendcats) April 23, 2019

women only have an 11% chance of having an orgasm in hetero sex… but in lesbian sex it’s 93% !!!

— reallymalandi 🌷 w purpoz (@reallymalandi) April 25, 2019

93% chance of orgasm: lesbian sex
11% chance of orgasm: hetero sex

— Fatima (@andloserkid) April 24, 2019

Female orgasm has been called a ‘myth’, ‘complicated’ and what not. But, one thing’s for sure, that the very idea of female orgasm, as we know it, is comprised of a lot of myths. So, a documentary decided to puncture a few of them.

Source: Rebloggy

An American documentary television series, Explained, in its episode ‘The Female Orgasm’ attempts to debunk common myths and to counter mainstream ideas around female masturbation.

The episode utilises multiple stats to show how female orgasm is a rare occurrence in heterosexual setups.

This basically proves how our entire concept of sex is based on male pleasure and orgasm, so what if the woman didn’t orgasm?

The show traces the hush-hush narrative around female orgasm in history. Sigmund Freud, known as the founder of psychoanalysis, linked clitoral orgasms to hysteria and neurosis. This association essentially vilified the very idea of clitoral stimulation.

The show also debunks the myth of clitoral orgasm versus vaginal orgasm, claiming that all the orgasms are clitoral orgasms.

It is important to note that very few women (only 18%) experience orgasms from penetrative sex.

Hence, the normative definition of sex is limited in its approach and marginalises female pleasure.

About 16-21% of women have only rarely or never experienced orgasm at all.

Coming to masturbation, the gawking difference in numbers is also apparent here-

The episode also reveals the probable reason behind high numbers of female orgasms in homosexual relationships.

Where heterosexual relationships are normative; homosexual ones, on the other hand, have to find out what works for them – as there are no rules that define or dictate their performances.

So, the point being, normativity and historical demonisation of female orgasm have basically fucked us up.

The result of all this is the lack of awareness around female pleasure because information (or rather the lack of it) gets filled in by myths.

So watch this episode here on Netflix. And, go, explore and understand your body, woman.

Images are Netflix screenshots.

At long last, the world is beginning to embrace the female orgasm. Women are singing about masturbation, scientists are studying what happens to women’s brains when they orgasm, and the internet is full of advice on having better orgasms. Which is great—but all this talk can make you feel left out if you’ve never even had an orgasm yet.

You’re not alone, though. Around 5 to 10% of women say they have yet to experience the series of pelvic contractions known as orgasm. But don’t fear; simply consider yourself preorgasmic. Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., a psychotherapist, sex therapist, and author of Becoming Cliterate, says she has never worked with a preorgasmic woman who didn’t eventually learn to orgasm (except one whose libido was affected by antidepressants—even then, there’s help). The odds are in your favor.

“So many women feel broken when it comes to orgasm,” says sex therapist Vanessa Marin, who teaches women how to orgasm through her course Finishing School and her video series The Female Orgasm Revolution. “I always say that orgasm is a skill, and like any other skill, it takes time, patience, and practice to learn. Just because you haven’t yet learned that skill doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to. It would be like beating yourself up for not being fluent in Spanish, despite never having taking a Spanish class!”

The point is, if you put in the effort to learn to orgasm, you will. “Every woman is capable of orgasm,” says Marin. You just need to figure out what makes you tick. “If someone has not had an orgasm, either alone or with a partner, the most likely culprits are either that they are not getting the type of stimulation they need to orgasm or they have some kind of psychological blockage holding them back,” says Mintz. Both those things can be changed.

Here are some tips for having your first orgasm if you’ve never had one before.

1. Masturbate.

You can definitely learn to orgasm with a partner, but experts say the easiest way to start off is through masturbation. “It’s so important for us to get in touch with our own bodies and discover what we like,” says Marin.

“When alone, you can focus on just yourself and not be worried about anyone else,” Mintz agrees. To make the experience as pleasurable as possible, she recommends using a good lubricant when you masturbate.

2. Try out different hand techniques.

Every woman’s anatomy is different. No one stroke or motion will be the golden ticket for everyone, says Mintz. However, there are lots of techniques that many women find pleasurable—if you experiment with them, you’re bound to find something you like.

Try rubbing circles on your clitoral hood with one or more fingers, tapping on your clitoral hood, rubbing or caressing your labia, rubbing a figure-eight around your clitoris and vaginal opening, squeezing your outer labia together to stimulate your clitoris, and sandwiching your clitoris between two fingers and rubbing it up and down.

Once you find something you like, Marin suggests sticking with that motion for a while. “You’ve probably heard all kinds of myths about how complicated female orgasm is, so you’ll probably feel tempted to mix it up and go crazy with different types of stimulation,” she says. “But the truth is that the body needs consistency; if you keep switching it up, it will feel like starting over. Once you’ve found a specific stroke that feels decent, give that a shot for a good stretch of time.”

3. Consider a vibrator.

If your hands don’t seem to be doing the trick, a vibrator can be a very handy tool. “Many people with vulvas don’t have their first orgasm until they try a vibrator,” says Mintz. Don’t worry that using a vibrator will make it hard to orgasm with a partner down the road. It could actually get you familiar with what you need to orgasm, which will help you no matter what method you’re using.

If you ask 17 women “What does an orgasm feel like?” you’ll get 17 slightly different answers. Just like every body is different, every orgasm is different, but they all have one thing in common: They feel good. Whether from partnered sex or masturbation, there are few things that hit the spot as much as achieving orgasm.

What Is an Orgasm?

“The brain and central nervous system are responsible for sexual responses like orgasm,” says Heather Corinna, author of S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College and founder of sex education site Scarleteen. “During sexual pleasure, all the nerve endings of your body (including your genitals, all linked to your nervous system) are in concert and communication with your brain, and vice-versa.”

What Does an Orgasm Feel Like?

The way orgasms feel varies from person to person. Here, we asked 17 women what an orgasm feels like and here’s what they had to say.

“Screaming for joy. Feeling everything and nothing at the same time.”

“Like tangling up a bunch of Christmas lights inside you and then blowing a fuse.”

“The stars emoji mixed with the explosion emoji.”

“I think the best thing about an orgasm is that you can’t really be thinking about anything else besides your own pleasure. It’s all-consuming and euphoric.”

“In romantic terms: Uninhibited release of control, of self-consciousness, of everything.”

“If you were to ask me to physically describe the feeling: It’s like a really wonderful and powerful sneeze in your vagina. The kind of sneeze that you can sense building up for a while, and then it happens and is just the most satisfying sneeze and you hope you have to sneeze again.”

“You know when Sailor Moon floats up into the air as a beam of light shines through her body and she transforms into a superhero? That.”

“The feeling is the same level of happiness as when you’re sprawled out on a lounge chair on a tropical beach, and unironically order a strawberry daiquiri because you are unstoppable.”

“An orgasm feels like electric dominoes are falling down in different directions under your skin.”

“It’s a buildup of tension that arches your back and curls your toes, almost like a clenching feeling. And just when you think you can’t take it anymore, suddenly all that tension is released and pulses throughout your body. It’s the best relief.”

“Like a real moment in the day that’s just for you (and maybe your partner too, if you have one). It doesn’t work if you’re distracted, at least not for me.”

“When it’s really good it’s like an out-of-body experience, like I can feel my clitoris on a roller-coaster ride but my soul and mind are on a whole other level of connection with myself or the person I’m with and it takes over my body. Usually it leaves my whole body shaking and I can’t stand up for a few minutes.”

“It’s similar to your body falling off a cliff into a pile of tingling ecstasy. It’s a sense of sensual release that you find yourself having no control over and letting yourself go because it’s just too damn good. An earth-shattering female orgasm is one of a kind.”

“Like a hard candy and you suck on it and then all of a sudden you get to the center and it’s the burst of flavor.”

“The relief of walking up the stairs to your fifth-floor walk-up into your air-conditioned apartment.”

“Like melting chocolate in the microwave.”

“Remember the first time you tried an avocado or ate avocado toast? That feeling of bliss and taste of deliciousness? That’s what an orgasm feels like.”

Benefits of Orgasms

Studies suggest that orgasms can actually benefit your health. Orgasms trigger the release of dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin, which, in addition to making you feel amazing, have also been shown to lower blood pressure. Women who masturbate to orgasm also report having higher self-esteem than women who don’t, leading to better overall mental health. Orgasms have even been shown to have positive effects on the gut health, improving digestion, decreasing bloating and ameliorating the negative effects of anxiety and depression.

Over half of American adults say they masturbate one to four times a week, according to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, making it an easy and popular way to reap the health benefits of regular orgasm. Another huge benefit? Better sleep.

“For people having difficulty sleeping, it helps them sleep,” said Dr. Jennifer Berman, urologist and sexual health expert. “It can help to limit stress and tension. It can help to relieve pain in the body. It can even relieve menstrual cramps.”

The best thing about getting to know your body and your sexuality is that you don’t need a partner to reap the benefits of orgasms.

Shailene Woodley said it best when she talked about the importance of young women learning about masturbation. “As a young woman you don’t learn how to pleasure yourself, you don’t learn what an orgasm should be, you don’t learn that you should have feelings of satisfaction. I’ve always had a dream of making a book called There’s No Right Way to Masturbate,” she said.

Related: 8 Reasons Why Everyone Should Masturbate

What Real Orgasms Feel Like and How to Claim Your Own

If we just listen to movies, songs, and book stereotypes, there’s only one way of having an orgasm. It usually involves squealing, screaming, and “earth-shattering” explosions —dramatic and loud.

The most popular descriptor? “Like fireworks.”

But we forget that on the screens, especially the small ones (pornography), an orgasm is often performative.

The pressure to perform can be rooted in a toxic idea that women and people with clitorises and vaginas must “prove” to our partners that we came. Cue the history of “faking it” in order to please our partners.

For many people, orgasms are rather elusive. Not everyone experiences them but it’s worth it to experiment on your own and find out what works for your body.

After all, it’s easy to tell when someone with a penis has an orgasm. They can visibly ejaculate. But people with a clitoris have a subtler reaction that isn’t always fluid (unless you’re a squirter), and as a result, many feel pressured to overenhance their feelings during sex.

But that doesn’t mean everyone needs to follow this formula or react in any one way at all.

Sex and relationship expert Dr. Jess O’Reilly explains, “Even a universal definition for orgasm can’t be agreed upon, as our subjective experiences don’t always align with scientific conclusions. When asked to describe orgasm, the responses vary wildly.”

Everyone’s body response is different. We’re unique, our reactions vary, and most importantly, not everyone is a screamer.

O’Reilly describes the nuances of an orgasm even further, saying, “For some people, an orgasm is the ultimate experience of pleasure. For others, it’s simply a release. Some people lose control and others simply exhale deeply. What you see in porn doesn’t necessarily reflect real-life orgasms. Some people yell and scream and convulse, but many don’t.”

Let’s look at what an orgasm is for someone with a clitoris

During an orgasm, genital muscles will contract, heart rate will increase, and your genitals fill with blood. While your body is working hard to make you feel good, your brain is also releasing a huge dose of oxytocin and dopamine which contribute to feelings of closeness, empathy, and happiness.

When I first began writing this piece, I reached out to people I knew personally to describe their orgasm. I quickly found that words don’t do the experience justice.

“My legs also go numb for a hot second. It’s never been all over my body, but I’ve had some that make my lower body shake.” – MaryEllen

It’s hard to describe the tingles, the differing effects, the numbness, the euphoria. For myself, I’m a crier. When I think of having an orgasm, I think of crying — known as crymaxing, something I’ve talked about once before.

In my personal experience, my body responds with a euphoria so strong that tears well up in my eyes and I bury my head into my partners chest. Sometimes it’s a few tears, other times it’s sobbing. They sure don’t show that in the movies, do they?

Some orgasms make your body shake

MaryEllen explains that she had her first orgasm after college. “I thought that I had them, but not until I figured it out on my own and knew what it felt like did it click that that was how it was supposed to feel,” she says.

She now credits strengthening her pelvic muscles greatly to her success with climaxing. “Once I had the starting point, I was able to figure out positions that made it happen faster or at all. Learning process started at a later age, but I finally figured it out,” she tells me.

During her orgasm, she says she feels tingly at first and then her muscles start contracting. “My legs also go numb for a hot second. It’s never been all over my body, but I’ve had some that make my lower body shake.”

When your heart rate increases, it’s not uncommon for limbs, especially your legs, to shake during an orgasm, perhaps due to your fight or flight response from your sympathetic nervous system kicking in.

“I was so flushed afterwards. I didn’t know what had happened to me. I was sweaty and my legs wouldn’t stop shaking, even after the orgasm was over.” – Rae

First-time orgasms can be uncomfortable until we have more

Tara* explains to me that she didn’t know she was having an orgasm when she first had one. “My partner was fingering me and I started to feel a deep aching in my stomach. Then, suddenly, it was like a release. That’s the only way I can describe it. Like all of my clenched muscles were beginning to release.”

At first, she felt uncomfortable with the feeling — and that reaction is common.

O’Reilly says that sometimes “we’re uncomfortable or unfamiliar with our most sexual and reactive parts. The clitoris is far more complex than most of us realize and the vulva is often integral to orgasm, yet we don’t always pay it enough attention.”

“Afterglow is so incredibly important to me, as is afterplay. I love when my partner continues to caress or hold me after I’ve had an orgasm. I feel so euphoric and sometimes still a bit shaky.” – Charlene

When I asked Tara about specifics with her orgasm she tells me that clitoral stimulation feels very uncomfortable. “I enjoy deep penetration, I guess it’s called a cervical orgasm. I feel like my clitoris is far too sensitive to have an orgasm just off of that one singular stimulation.”

Achieving orgasms can be exhilarating and exhausting

Orgasms don’t have to be limited to something only a partner can give to you either. According to O’Reilly, people with a clitoris report “higher levels of desire, arousal, and orgasm” when using a vibrator.

When it comes to discovering and enhancing what you like, masturbation is a safe and productive option.

Rae* considered themselves asexual for quite a while due to their lack of stimulation when partnered with another person.

A few years ago, they discovered their first orgasm after masturbating more. “I was so flushed afterwards. I didn’t know what had happened to me. I was sweaty and my legs wouldn’t stop shaking, even after the orgasm was over,” they explain to me.

For many people, orgasms are rather elusive. Not everyone experiences them but it’s worth it to experiment on your own and find with what works for your body.

When it comes to experimenting, O’Reilly suggests starting out with the We-Vibe Wish which “cups around the vulva to provide vibrations and friction against the hood, head, shaft and inner parts of the clit regardless of your shape or size.”

I personally never experimented with my clitoris until I began to masturbate, which was later in my adult life. I also began to utilize lubrication more often which O’Reilly says is “associated with significantly higher levels of pleasure and satisfaction.”

Practice also makes perfect, and exploring solo through masturbation is the best way to understand what works for you and why. Rae says that once they started to masturbate, include lubrication, and explore their body, they also became more comfortable with partners.

“My partner was fingering me and I started to feel a deep aching in my stomach. Then, suddenly, it was like a release. That’s the only way I can describe it. Like all of my clenched muscles were begin to release.” – Tara

“I started to find myself being genuine with my moans. I wasn’t faking it anymore,” they explain. “My orgasms are still the strongest with my vibrator. I feel tingly, my legs go numb, and my face is flushed. Sometimes I even lose feelings in my hands.”

When I ask Rae how they knew this was an orgasm and how it differed from pleasure before, they say that an orgasm is ‘obvious.’ “My body was completely and utterly exhausted after my first orgasm,” they say. “I used a vibrator on my clitoris. I remember just lying there afterwards in disbelief.”

Orgasms achieved by multisensory stimulation can be exhilarating

For people like Charlene*, anal sex is an important factor in having an orgasm. “I can’t have an orgasm without anal penetration. I prefer vaginal and anal penetration at the same time, but this isn’t always easy for my partners to achieve. When I have an orgasm this way, I feel it from my head to my toes. It’s a very warm feeling.”

She says, “I consider myself to be a very sexual person. I began masturbating at a young age and I feel very in tune with my body. Anal sex just works for me.” What Charlene really enjoys though are the feelings after sex.

“Afterglow is so incredibly important to me, as is afterplay. I love when my partner continues to caress or hold me after I have had an orgasm. I feel so euphoric and sometimes still a bit shaky.”

The percentage of people with a clitoris who are having anal sex has risen and many reported a higher rate of orgasm during anal intercourse.

“It’s such a specific thing to have,” Charlene says. “To essentially need double penetration. If I wouldn’t have been so experimental, I wouldn’t have known this is what I wanted, or needed, in my sex life.”

If you’re going to be experimental anywhere in life, you should at least explore sexually in the bedroom. Whether that’s anal, a different position, including toys, utilizing more lube, or exploring with BDSM. You never know which act will scratch your itch.

The benefits of an orgasm

While orgasms aren’t the end-all of every romp you have with a partner, they’re still important to your livelihood and self-pleasure. Orgasms release hormones in your body and these hormones have many benefits such as:

  • reducing inflammation, stress, pain
  • providing circulation and relaxation
  • lowering cardiovascular risk

“Many of us worry that we’re not having orgasms,” O’Reilly says, pointing to how our expectations about sex come from porn. “We compare our orgasms to porngasms which tend to be bigger, louder, and more over the top. But in real life, orgasms come in many forms.”

Many of us could be coming, but we may not even realize because we aren’t shown how different and complex clitorial, vaginal, and anal orgasms can be. Dispelling the myth that orgasms have to be accompanied by screams or firework feelings isn’t just important for relationships. It’s also about re-educating yourself to increase body awareness and encourage pursuit of pleasure for yourself, not just your partner.

By focusing on your needs and communicating them to a partner, you can discover all of the various ways to achieve a tantalizing climax.

How about this: Treat orgasms like chocolate

Chocolate comes in a variety of packages. It can also bring out a variety of outcomes. It can be a single bar of joy that melts softly, warmly, and deliciously on your tongue. Or it can be a sweet chip in a cookie, just a little something extra that excites you.

Orgasms work the same way. For one person, an orgasm can appear in many different tingles, sighs, and moans. One orgasm may lead to four more.

They’re uniquely satisfying, whether it’s a solo session or partnered. There’s not only one right way to eat chocolate, just like there isn’t a right way to climax.

If you’re having challenges having an orgasm or discovering if you’ve ever even had one, make sure you relax, breathe deeply, and focus on self-pleasure.

Having an orgasm shouldn’t be a contest, it’s not about who comes first. It’s about satisfaction and self-love.

*Some names have been changed at the request of the interviewees.

S. Nicole Lane is a sex and women’s health journalist based in Chicago. Her writing has appeared in Playboy, Rewire News, HelloFlo, Broadly, Metro UK, and other corners of the internet. She’s also a practicing visual artist who works with new media, assemblage, and latex. Follow her on Twitter.

Carlin Ross threw back “a little bit of tequila” before filming. Photo: Netflix

The Goop Lab practically dares you to be skeptical. The Netflix docuseries, brought to you by Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site cum e-commerce hustle, was announced with promotional imagery that showed Paltrow standing inside monochromatic rings shaped like marquise-cut diamonds, each in a lighter shade of pink as they expand from the center. Put another way, she was standing inside a vulva. All this from a company that was fined for peddling jade yoni eggs meant to be shoved into the vagina to “balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control”? How could things possibly go wrong?

But despite Goop’s tendencies to lean into pseudoscience to sell products, there’s one thing The Goop Lab gets very right. In episode three, “The Pleasure Is Ours,” we watch a woman, Carlin Ross, masturbate to orgasm in real time. It’s not simulated. It threads the needle between sensual and clinical. And, most impressively, it does so without the creeping sense of male gaze. It does so without feeling like there is any sort of gaze at all.

Goop Lab executive producer Shauna Minoprio said an episode about female pleasure — about the ways women do and, more often, do not connect with their bodies — was always part of the plan. It was just a matter of figuring out what it would look like on-screen. After Paltrow and Goop’s chief content officer Elise Loehnen gave her “the mandate to go away and come up with some ideas,” Minoprio quickly thought of Betty Dodson, a famed sex educator whom she interviewed 20 years earlier.

Dodson, as The Goop Lab highlights, is fearless when it comes to talking about sex. She regularly leads workshops where everybody is required to be naked as they get to know their bodies and has developed a method for helping women reach orgasm. (Ross uses this “rock and roll” method during the episode, masturbating using both her hands, a vibrator, and a special Dodson-designed vaginal barbell, a penetrative toy made of medical-grade steel.) Hoping for inspiration from Dodson, now 90 and very much still active, Minoprio suggested Goop Lab senior producer Natalie Doerr reach out. Doerr came back “inspired” after that first conversation, Minoprio said.

“We thought about this idea of shame and women being able to connect with their bodies in order to receive pleasure,” Doerr said about the Goop Lab team’s early conversations for the episode. “Initially it was, ‘Let’s show the variety of female vulva.’ As we dove deeper, we realized all of this is connected in order to rid the shame, explore your body, and understand how to navigate your body to lead to the maximum amount of pleasure.” The team soon realized that just showing vulvas — which the show does, unvarnished, in all shapes and sizes — wasn’t going to cut it. They needed to show them in action. They needed to film a real orgasm.

Once they decided to pursue an orgasm scene, the next question was figuring out how, as Minoprio half-jokingly put it, to film it “without getting arrested for being pornographers.” Ironic, she noted, since most porn is not showing real orgasms anyway. (Doerr said she nevertheless watched porn clips for research, “to see what people were saying about the female anatomy.”) The goal was to find “a way to explore this for our female viewership that felt not exploitative, not titillating, not clinical, not cheesy, but very powerful,” Minoprio said. “We wanted to find a way to take ownership of female pleasure for ourselves as a group of female filmmakers.”

Ross and Dodson. Photo: Netflix

Enter Ross, who is Dodson’s business partner and had filmed a similar scene for a Norwegian reality-television show seven years ago. “I said something to Natalie about it ,” Ross recalled. “I just threw that out there. People thought it was very compelling, because we rarely see a real, authentic female orgasm.” Minoprio couldn’t remember who exactly was the first person to suggest the idea, but said shooting an orgasm scene became “inevitable” as their discussions with Ross and Dodson continued. Despite her prior experience, the idea of shooting this scene for a “much more mainstream” audience was intimidating for Ross. “There was a big part of me that was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I’m not an exhibitionist. I’d never made a sex tape. But I knew if I didn’t do it, I would regret it,” she said.

But that still left an essential question: How could they film the scene without it feeling porny or impersonal? They found help in their own office: As part of the episode, several Goop staffers attend a sex-education workshop where Lexi, a queer woman who works in Goop’s accounting department, talks about growing up in China with no understanding of pleasure. When Lexi heard about Dodson’s masturbation workshops, Doerr said she volunteered to visit and watch as Dodson coached Ross to orgasm. It’s Lexi’s presence in the episode — you don’t actually see her watching, but you know she’s there — that makes the scene work so well. You ideally learn something, but she does the potentially stressful task of saying, “Hey, I want to know more about how my body works” for you. “We didn’t ever want Lexi to feel pushed into anything,” Minoprio explained. Doerr also insisted they followed her lead the whole time. “She was the first one to say, ‘I have no problem opening up about myself and coming to New York and observing.”

Lexi, the Goop accountant. Photo: Netflix

In New York, Goop hired a female staff to shoot the scene. “We kept a very minimal footprint, it was a very skeleton crew,” Doerr said, noting they took extra care to be transparent with everybody they brought onto the project about what they were getting into. The shoot took place in Betty’s midtown apartment to help put Ross at ease. “Whenever I’m with Betty, I feel like I can do anything,” she said. But getting ready for the day still felt like getting ready for a date. “I did chuckle in the shower and think, I’d better groom. You gotta make sure that everything is tip-top.” After Ross threw back “a little bit of tequila just to take the edge off” before filming, all non-essential personnel left the room, leaving just seven people plus herself and Dodson.

Much of The Goop Lab is shot in Goop’s Santa Monica headquarters. It looks exactly like the polar opposite of most New York City apartments: open, bright, spacious, perfectly lit to make sure Paltrow looks as luminous as possible. Cinematographer Yamit Shimonovitz said she wanted to tell a different story with the lighting for this scene. “It’s one of the darker pieces in the whole show because it had its own feeling,” she said. (Ross was also grateful the lighting made it harder to see everyone else in the room.)

Shimonovitz thought a lot about how orgasms, in her mind, radiate from the head. “I knew her face and the emotion from her face would be just as strong at transmitting the feeling of the orgasm versus showing the actual mechanics of it,” she explained. She opted for positioning one stationary camera behind Ross’s head for a wide angle and using a second for more mobile shots, like those of Ross’s fingers and toes gripping the pad beneath her. Ross laid on top of a table, which Shimonovitz said made it easier to shoot around her. “We tried not to be too obtrusive,” she said. “It was very important to be more suggestive versus graphic.” At that point, Shimonovitz said they still weren’t sure they’d be able to show a real vulva in the episode, so she also shot Ross using a large diopter on the camera lens, which made “the vulva look like a mountain range” rather than genitalia. The idea was that Doerr would sneak the footage into the episode if they couldn’t go through with plan A, which was to show Ross’s vulva, uncensored.

Ross was unconvinced the footage would ever see the light of day. “I was in denial in the beginning. Natalie would talk about the episode and I’d say, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, they’re never going to show that.’ Betty and I have done so much stuff on television and they always cut it. I really thought that I was going to get an email saying, ‘Thanks, but we’re not going to air it.’”

Ultimately, however, Netflix decided in favor of including the orgasm scene, opting to shorten it only slightly. The episode also includes a scene where Dodson and Ross look at her sex organs in a mirror, as well as a montage of other women’s vulvas. “We wanted to make sure that we were able to intercut it more with these journeys,” Doerr said of the final edit. The orgasm scene is spliced with clips from Lexi talking about what she’s learned from observing Dodson and Ross. “That was a creative decision we found worked better to round everything out,” Doerr explained.

“Act first, ask permission later,” Minoprio said of the team’s strategy. She also credited Goop’s “balls-to-the-wall approach” in getting Netflix on board. Doerr said she cried the first time they showed a cut to Paltrow. “In post , we really had to make a case for why it was important to show the orgasm scene,” she added. “We really had to do our research and gather statistics and studies.” Much of that research also wound up in the episode, including data from a 2016 study where 44 percent of women were unable to identify their vaginas.

While she masturbated, Ross said the room was pin-drop silent. They shot the scene in one take. “Everyone was really watching. Not watching like when you feel leered at when you’re walking down the street and you feel that up and down. It was a real kind of respect and curiosity,” she said. When Ross finished — it took about ten minutes for her to reach orgasm — the entire room applauded. Ross laughed and said she’d entirely forgotten when I asked her what hearing that felt like; the day had been very draining for her. “Afterward, I was done. I’ve had an orgasm after tequila. I put on my clothes and said, ‘I’m sorry, but I’m going to bail. I love you all, but it’s bedtime.’” Dodson, meanwhile, smoked a cigarette.