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SXSW: The Dilemma of Desire

Clitoris. It’s a word that comes with a lot of unnecessary baggage. It’s one one of the greatest anatomical features women can possess because its only job is to give us pleasure. The tip of the clitoris has over 8,000 nerves. While 96% of men can orgasm through intercourse only 25% of women can. The clitoris is our access to orgasms. Yet the clitoris, the organ itself and the word, has largely been feared, ignored and repressed. It wasn’t until 1998 that the first extraction of a full female clitoris, by Dr. Helen O’Connell, happened. Before that scientists didn’t fully understand its shape, size and function. Why has the clitoris been ignored? The clue can be found in how we as a society treat women’s sexuality. Men’s sexuality is encouraged, even celebrated, and women’s sexuality is seen as a threat. Women are seen as an object of desire while their own desire is feared. It’s time for the clitoris to come to the forefront. It’s time to strip it of the needless shame and secrecy. It’s time to give women control over their own sexuality and their own bodies. Let’s celebrate the CLITORIS!

“It is a powerful thing to control someone’s body. That is why no one wants to talk about the clitoris. It is a reminder of women’s independence and is at the core of their liberation.”

Maria Finitzo

The Dilemma of Desire is an unabashed celebration of women’s sexuality. It calls for cliteracy, an open dialogue and appreciation for the clitoris. Directed by Maria Finitzo, The Dilemma of Desire includes interviews with a variety of women and how they’ve explored their expressions of sexuality. The most interesting subject of the documentary is Sophia Wallace, the artist who started a cliteracy project. She created a design in the shape of the clitoris that she uses in her art as well as the Laws of Cliteracy, many of which are shared in the film.

I had a strict religious upbringing and much of what I learned about women’s sexuality I learned on my own. One of the greatest resources I encountered during my sexual awakening was the-clitoris dot com (don’t try to look it up, it no longer exists and the URL will take you to a malware infected site). This site offered extensive information about the clitoris, other parts of a woman’s anatomy, stories shared by women about their own experiences and so much more. I spent hours on the site, learning the things that my parents and my school couldn’t or wouldn’t teach me. With the help of the site I found my clitoris and had my first orgasm at the age of 19. The-Clitoris no longer exists but The Dilemma of Desire does. Don’t let the strong feminist and political leaning scare you off. The Dilemma of Desire will empower women to embrace their sexuality and that is a beautiful thing.

The Dilemma of Desire was scheduled to have its premiere at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival. You can find more information about this film on the official website.

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