Deborah Sundahl's quest to learn about and teach the full female experience.
She started her quest for female ejaculation in San Francisco and two decades later, having found it, Deborah Sundahl is in the high desert of New Mexico looking for the sacred feminine. Sundahl's adventurous demeanor and her refusal to accept pat knowledge about getting off drove her deeper into the far reaches of female pleasure: elusive as the Mona Lisa, an existence questionable as Sasquatch, the vaginal orgasm.
***image2***Sundahl says her first G-spot orgasm was on the ruins of Sappho's temple one lazy summer afternoon, but her essential sexual awakening came some years later. "I was making love one night, and after a wonderful orgasm there was suddenly this huge puddle on the floor. And I put my nose in it immediately," she says. Sundahl, who had heard of the mythic female ejaculation, was certain she'd had her first encounter and set about learning how to recreate the phenomenon. "I launched into research and a year later I had my first video."
A Women's Studies graduate of the University of Minnesota, Sundahl has been a sexual politician her entire adult life. She worked in battered women's shelters during her first years out of college and poured sundry energy into the organization of the Take Back the Night march. The climate in San Francisco, where she moved shortly thereafter, was considerably less permissive and free-wheeling than she was expecting. "Sexuality had taken on a very negative flavor in the early '80s. Because of the domestic violence movement, sex with men was almost like a…travesty. I sympathized but thought it was a bit victimish. It was more important to me that women figure out who they were as erotic beings."
***image1***She got the creative juices flowing at On Our Backs, the first magazine geared expressly toward the exploration and realization of women's erotic identity. Voted one of the 10 most influential magazines of the 1980's, a decade at its helm made her an expert on the various ways that women get off. She reviewed sex toys and videos, taught hundreds of women how to strip for their lovers, and helped to sustain an active discourse about sex. "We learned in the '80s how to have orgasms-60 percent of women weren't having them-and we learned by using vibrators on the clitoris." Then, seeking transition, she sold the magazine, moved to New Mexico and funneled her efforts in a localized direction. "I decided to focus on the G-spot and female ejaculation. Out of all the things we had done in San Francisco that one seemed to be the most important and, although I didn't know why at the time, it's clear now."
Before you stop to wonder, the G-spot is the female prostate, an organ acknowledged by the AMA in 2001. Now that the fundamental existence of said pleasure-center is not so hotly contested, Sundahl can direct her focus toward the learning and loving of it. "What's really important about the G-spot, and what I lead people to in my book, is that it's a whole different animal than the clitoris. In fact it has a different nerve so its orgasmic sensations are different." Sundahl does her work primarily through her videos and book. She writes columns and op-eds for her cause. She also spends time gearing up for and delivering lectures-three-hour power-point presentations replete with video footage, photos, a crash course in the chemical make-up of female ejaculate, and detailed instructions for the attainment of the elusive and exciting "lovely feminine fountain." For more dedicated denizens, there are four-day workshops. Sundahl conducts a lot of these in Europe (she'll be in the Black Forest for a week this spring) and says she's unequivocally better-received in the Old World.
"I had far more intellectual discussions about sexuality than I do here in America." Sundahl laments. "We say sex and people think
. What we have is a huge porn industry, and I have no value judgements around that but it's just sport sex and there's a whole other aspect to sexuality that a lot of people practice but is absent from our general culture. It just swamps every other level and flavor and degree of sexuality." Sundahl has high hopes for the new sex consumer, however. "There's a new market now, and it's younger and it's couples and they come into a store and shop for their needs as if they were shopping for any household item." She suggests that neon-lit warehouses full of "sticks on a stick" and low-quality smut videos are on their way out and the future is in tasteful erotic boutiques carrying a wider selection of toys and do-it-yourself guides. Stores, incidentally, like Au Boudoir, where she conducts monthly female ejaculation workshops.
Similarly, Sundahl has a vision of the future of the female orgasm. "I call the G-spot the second phase of women's sexuality. It's not so much a magic button; it's really a process. It can, if we choose to, express a deep connection ***image3***with our partner and ourselves and with God or the universe. So it's tailor-made to get us there if we want it to; if we don't it serves as a really fine luscious full-body orgasm and ejaculate that can flow and flow and not stop until you're just exhausted." Her recent video
Tantric Journey to Female Orgasm
ventures further in the direction of religious communion via sexual communion. And she believes her work is taking her in the direction of female sexuality as a cornerstone of Western culture, a kind of goddess feminism where sex is about healing and generation rather than pushing, as it were, for a payoff.
Before she gets there, Sundahl wants to spend some time promoting the male G-spot. She fears that she'll have to contend with ignorance and homophobia but aims to encourage attention to the prostate in hopes that couples everywhere will attain that elusive, near-mythic phenomenon, the male orgasm.
Deborah Sundahl will talk and answer questions on female ejaculation and the G-spot from 6 to 7:30 pm, Feb. 23 at Au Boudoir, 614 Agua Fria St., $35; call to reserve your space: 983-7700.