I recently researched and wrote a big news feature on female ejaculation for a journalism school assignment. (Man, I love my life.)
I got to interview a lot of terrific babes for the piece. Superhero sex blogger and squirting champion Epiphora. Porno administrator and mega-hottie Jesse Rae West. A sexual health researcher who chose to remain anonymous and gave me the best quote about the squirting-is-pee study (“It’s bonkers! Bonkers! Seven people is, like, nothing!… That’s just ridiculous. Like, what the fuck. Like, that is not statistically significant in any universe. So it doesn’t prove anything”).
As if all those folks weren’t awesome enough, I also got to talk to Shannon Bell. And, holy fuck, was I nervous.
If you’ve never heard of Shannon Bell, let me enlighten you.
• She’s a political science professor at York University here in Toronto, where her students have variously called her “the first professor to ever use the F word in an intelligent way,” “the most enlightened person I’ve ever had the pleasure of receiving instruction from,” an “interesting dresser [who] likes anarchists,” “obscene and gross,” and “wildly intelligent, HILARIOUS, gregarious, and extremely helpful” on her RateMyProfessors page.
• Western Standard magazine profiled her as one of “Canada’s nuttiest professors” in an article, in which she’s quoted as saying that she likes to dress provocatively for her students’ benefit, starting off the semester dressing femme and then moving into a “solid leather” aesthetic around October when “things are getting intense in terms of their assignments.” (I also had a feminist sociology professor last term who mentioned that sometimes Shannon wears a skirt without panties to class, but I was not able to confirm this…)
• She’s a performance artist and a lot of her performances have focused on female ejaculation as a political statement. She talks about one such performance in her book, Fast Feminism, one entire section of which is entitled “The Female Phallus” (her badass name for the G-spot/urethral sponge/female prostate). In the performance, she squirts all over a mirror that’s angled to give the audience a good look at her genitals and what she’s doing to herself. She also recalls a time when she did a live squirting demo on a radio show, narrating the whole process herself as she did it. (That takes skill and focus, dude.)
• She teaches female ejaculation workshops from time to time in Toronto, complete with live demos, of course. A friend of mine went to one of these workshops and described it to me as “very wet.”
• Shannon also appears in one of the earliest on-screen examples of squirting, a 2002 Isis Media DVD called How to Female Ejaculate. In the movie, she and three other women (Carol Queen, Deborah Sundahl, and Baja) talk about squirting’s role in their sex lives, how they learned to do it, what it means to them personally and politically, etc., and then they get out sex toys and towels and jerk off together on camera. Shannon squirts three separate times, using a pink dildo and her fingers. At one point, she says, “I wouldn’t want to live without [being able to ejaculate]. I find it incredibly empowering. It really changed me, both physically and intellectually. It gave me an incredible sense of power and control over my body – as well as a hell of a lot of fun.”
• Her book Fast Feminism is an absolutely incredible resource for anyone who’s interested in female ejaculation, female sexual power, and/or feminism. It’s a rollicking good read. And the cover isn’t explicit so you can read about urethral sponges and mirror-squirting on the subway and no one will look at you funny.
• In the book, Shannon details how she once gathered a sample of her own ejaculate, took it to her doctor, and convinced him to run chemical analysis on it. Her results confirmed previous findings about the differences between ejaculate and pee: that they are indeed different, and have mostly different components and a different pH from one another.
• She started squirting when she was EIGHT YEARS OLD. That blew my mind. EIGHT!
• When I asked her if any woman can learn to ejaculate, she said, without skipping a beat, “Sure. Any man can learn to ejaculate. There’s really no difference.”
Seriously… What an unbelievably awesome person. I’m still starstruck.