I’m here with a micro rant about pussies.  What up, happy new year.

So, we learned in our younger years, that getting “turned on” equates to some physiological changes – erections in erectile tissues in the penis (and clitoris!), a person getting wet (lubin’ up the ol’ puss), nipples hardening.  That kinda shit.  And, those tropes were beaten to death in all sorts of erotic senses like in romance novels (the worst fucking offenders, I swear), porn, current culture media, and in conversations we happen to be having as a result.

Let’s take a quick look at some recent cultural phenomenons recounting vaginal wetness.

I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since the release of “WAP,” or Wet-Ass Pussy, by Cardi B and Megan Three Stallion, feels like just yesterday, but anyways that’s a recent example of wetness being used as an assay of female arousal, and also a source of bragging about female sexuality and attractiveness.  That is, getting wet becomes a source of pride for women, a bragging chip of being aroused, sexual, a good lay, ripe, and so forth.

While I never really got into WAP (I’m still stuck in my 2013 emo punk phase), I was, in a way, glad to see an assertion of female sexuality becoming mainstream, indicating a lack of shame around female bodies doin their thang. 

And I did enjoy seeing social media grifter Ben Shapiro get utterly shamed for his take on WAP.

I also just watched the recently released, dripping-with-bisexual-drama film Saltburn (Barry Keoghan call me) where a character played by Rosamund Pike had a phenomenal take on wetness; 


Some like it wet. Some like it dry. Your call. See Rosamund Pike in Saltburn, in select theaters this Friday and everywhere Thanksgiving

♬ original sound – MGM Studios

That said, I also find it frustrating in this line of work to associate wetness as a 1:1 likeness for arousal in women, because it’s honestly not that simple.    

In “Come As You Are,” Emily Nagoski discusses Nonconcordance — a disparity between one’s level of reported (mental) arousal, and measures of genital responses that we associate with arousal (like getting wet, erect, orgasming, etc — or the lack thereof).  

Nagoski, quoting various studies, notes that

“There’s a 50 percent overlap between blood flow to a male’s genitals and how turned on he feels. 

There’s a 10 percent overlap between blood flow to a woman’s genitals and how turned on she feels.”

Come As You Are, Chapter 6

In essence, wetness as an assay of arousal for folks with vulvas just ain’t it.  

Why did it become so?  

Like, I get that our society is so male-gaze centric that men are “normal” and non-cis-men like women and nonbinary folks or trans folks are then pathologized.  Men are the crash test dummy models, and anyone with a body made differently or with a different center of gravity are more likely to be fucked.  Men present with “typical” heart attack symptoms, and women present “atypically” (aka, they haven’t been studied to form the medical model and are therefore second-class citizens, more likely to have their symptoms and their pain dismissed).  Check out “Doing Harm” for more info on this.

But it’s frustrating to see this copy-and-pasted over something as fucking immeasurable and case-by-case as arousal and sex. 

And yet, I read a romance novel and am supposed to suspend my disbelief at a woman’s nipples hardening when a man looks at her, rather than snorting in disgust and closing the book because how fucking often does that happen???

Can’t we get away from likening women to, like, a rib that came from a man, and in fact a separate biological being with a bit different of a biological system and functioning, one which is not pathologized?  I understand men are the main consumers of porn, for instance, but I don’t understand the need to create a 1:1 analogue for them to understand female arousal as something likened to a boner.  Can’t we give men a little more credit for their intelligence that they might be able to understand that arousal nonconcordance might be a thing, and that wetness or whatever isn’t a sign of a “job well done” on arousing a woman, and might just be a state of being?

The results of this binary crap? 

I would say, in my work at least, a discounting of this experience, a shame and a comparison to this so-called norm for folks, and a worse sex life.  

Partners who do zero foreplay and reach into their partner’s pants to find wetness might then dig their heels in when their partner says they are not aroused, and refuse to adapt to becoming better lovers, leading to relational dissatisfaction, conflict, and possibly a breakup.  Partners might be traumatizing their sexual hookups by assuming arousal without checking in on how a person is doing and feeling mentally.  People might assume wetness is a sign of consent when IT IS NOT.  Verbal consent is necessary.  

Sometimes, bodies just do a thing.  People get boners in math class.  Folks’ nipples get hard for no fucking reason.  People with vulvas might just be gushin’ because of a time of month, hormones, the type of underwear they’re wearing, zodiac signs who the fuck knows. 

Folks may feel ashamed of their sexual reactions and try to read into them to find meaning, which I get, but it feels quite shameful and difficult.  Folks might question how their body reacted during an experience of trauma or a situation that felt very much NOT arousing.  Bodies are nonconcordant with our level of mental interest.  That’s totally reasonable.  But I understand it takes some recontextualizing to understand, which our culture makes very little room for with its focus on binary gender, male arousal as the “normal model,” and pornified junk.  

For my ladies who don’t just produce a waterfall on command, I feel ya.  It can be shameful and difficult to have a conversation with a partner who likens wetness for arousal, and navigate a difficult conversation of educating a person when you might feel shameful and confused about the nonconcordance of your body.  Lube is an important and valuable part of having good sex, and having to comfort your partner who doesn’t understand your body and how it functions beyond their own grasps of sexual stereotypes while also asking for lube can feel difficult, shameful, worth avoiding.

And hello my trans & nb homies: you know better than anyone that hormones and whatnot are absolutely fucked, and bodies just be doing their thing sometimes.  Whichever direction you might be transitioning toward, if you do a medical transition, your genitals will change their functioning, and there is really NO basis of comparison based on gender and biology sometimes.  Explaining this to a cis partner might be difficult and might constitute an exploration of sexual norms and stereotypes that can feel monumental.  Hat’s off to ya.

All this to say: bodies be bodying. 

Sometimes Most of the time shit does not line up with the tiny window that we were taught to “expect” when it comes to bodies, arousal, and whatnot.  It’s OK. 

The work of expanding our views on sexuality and questioning/deconstructing lessons taught as fact is an important hallmark of growing up and maturing.  I’m with ya.