Home > Pornography > Porn Documentary: Inside Deep Throat, Part 1

Porn Documentary: Inside Deep Throat, Part 1

Note: due to an apparent restriction to my WordPress-ordained image-editing privileges, I’ve decided to shelve the Advertising! series for the time being. If I ever learn how to resize without clicking and dragging, or if I give up on my desire to achieve perceived post-formatting perfection, then I’ll pick it up again.

So I just watched the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat. I remembered watching it when it was first released, so I was interested to watch it again and see if I might make a new reading of it, or absorb the same message, or notice information that I hadn’t noticed before. I had read vaguely that Catharine MacKinnon had had something to do with the film (as it turns out, her only inclusion was in panel discussions about the film, not in the film itself), and certainly, a documentary about a pioneer hardcore porn film should include a radical feminist, humanist perspective. It was entirely possible that I had missed it seven years ago, at the age of eighteen, long before I learned that a group of people believes in my right to have rights.

As it turns out, the documentary was a push for libertarianism, rather than providing a humanist critique of the film. It featured interviews with one self-proclaimed feminist, Camille Paglia, who identifies as a “dissident” feminist – that is, she is concerned with the advancement of women by rebelling and breaking tradition on a structural level, not so much with the advancement of women (or any group) by examining the ways in which discrimination and inequality work against them. Paglia was pro-porn in the film, and the other women who were interviewed had pro-porn perspectives, too. The humanist, radical feminists, however, were largely absent from the film, appearing very briefly so as to be criticised – the feminist perspective was entirely discounted. It’s a shame, because there are plenty of ways in which both Deep Throat and the views expressed in Inside Deep Throat could do with a little feminist-critiquing.

Though the documentary mysteriously champions Deep Throat for its promotion of female sexuality, the premise of the film, in itself, poses a danger to women’s enjoyment of sex, and freedom of sexuality – it objectifies and stultifies women, rather than liberating them. We have the imaginative notion of a woman’s clitoris existing deep inside her throat; only a long penis can bring her to orgasm. The first issue is the incorrect lesson that women can experience sexual pleasure from sex acts that only stimulate the nerve endings on men’s sex organs – a blow job only constitutes a good fuck for a man, the receiver, but here we get the message that women, the givers, are satisfied by it, all the same. Thankfully, in a statement uncharacteristic to the rest of the documentary, writer Erica Jong voices this fact:

This is a male fantasy that says, ‘I like to get my cock sucked, I really get off on it, therefore, she must too. … Look, men want to believe that the clitoris is in a woman’s throat. Because if they can believe that the clitoris is in a woman’s throat, then they can believe that by thrusting their penis into a woman’s mouth, she gets as much pleasure as they do. Guess what? It’s not true.

The film’s misrepresentation of women’s sex organs not only offers a severely warped education about women’s sexuality, steering its audience toward acts that provide women no sexual pleasure; it also posits women, the givers of pleasure in heterosexual fellatio, as the happy sexual slaves – we live to serve, and we love to serve.

Given that the clitoris is grossly misplaced in the film, it is bizarre that Inside Deep Throat celebrates it for promoting clitoral orgasms.  The documentary rightly denounces its critics in the 1972 obscenity trial as diminishing the clitoral orgasm in favour of the vaginal. Dr. Kenneth Levin, a Freudian psychiatrist who testified for the prosecution, is quoted:

A woman seeing this film may think that it is perfectly healthy, perfectly normal if you have a clitoral orgasm. That is all the woman needs – she’s wrong. She is wrong. And this film will strengthen her in her ignorance.

Author Helen Brown then reminds us of the “complete, utter nonsense” belief that “at that time, a real orgasm could only happen if you were with a man and his penis was inside of you.” Her message is perfect, except that the film took the clitoris – the external centre of pleasure on a woman’s body, one that she or a non-penised partner could access quite readily – and moved it penis-length-deep inside of one of her orificies – her mouth this time, instead of her vagina. The woman, essentially, has been revaginised – re-fuckholed – and where vaginal sex isn’t necessarily pleasurable for a woman, throat sex most certainly isn’t. While the documentary claims that the film has a promotive effect on women’s sexuality and women’s orgasms, instead it certainly is deleterious – giving us the same old shit, only worse.

The clitoris-in-throat premise of Deep Throat doesn’t just demote women’s enjoyment of sex, it degrades women as people. A clitoris being in a throat necessitates deep-throat fellatio, meaning that it necessitates that women broaden the scope of sex acts that they can and will perform for the sake of sexual pleasure – really, for men’s sexual pleasure. This means that we pressure women to perform novel sex acts for men’s pleasure, we experiment with a woman’s willingness to perform new sex acts, and we broaden her physical capabilities to perform such acts. Gagging is a natural reflex, but Deep Throat lead actor Linda Boreman/Lovelace learned to overcome it for her husband’s pleasure, and Deep Throat filmmakers were soon to capture it in a reproducible medium to teach to more women. Though in reality deep-throat fellatio provides zero sexual pleasure for women, it’s unnecessary, and it’s uncomfortable for women, the message would be that women must learn about it, and must learn to perform it on their partners, regardless. After all, how can we advance the sexual revolution if women won’t just get with the program already and do uncomfortable things for their menfolk? As women are compelled to perform more and more acts for the pleasure of men, acts which require hard work and practice on their part and which are pointless and uncomfortable for them, so are women degraded as humans.

The final premise-related issue is that the sex act, constructed as pleasurable for a woman, cannot be performed with a non-penised partner; it can only be performed with a penis in a woman’s throat. (As an aside: Were it performed with merely a long object, we see one of the fullest and severest degradations – not a single nerve ending is pleasantly stimulated; the act occurs solely to prove that women’s resistance can be overcome, and that it can be readily done to a woman.) This sexual restrictiveness is heterosexist, though the major victims are not gay men but lesbians – gay men needn’t worry where their clitorises are. As such, the premise of the film reinforces a compulsory heterosexuality for women – according to this plot, when it comes to women’s sexual pleasure, another woman just won’t do – just can’t do.

See how much shit Inside Deep Throat failed to discuss, in favour of promoting libertarianism? And that’s all just relating to the premise of the film.

But I’ll conclude. Just by looking at one element of Deep Throat, we see that the film is highly problematic for women and for women’s sexuality. It promotes men’s sexuality and sexual enjoyment, but it only does so to the detriment of women’s sexual enjoyment, and to the detriment and degradation of women themselves. By basing itself solely on the premise of a woman’s clitoris being relocated to the back of her throat, it provides us a warped message about women’s sexual organs; it claims to promote clitoral orgasm but instead does a reworking and expansion of penetrative sex, which is pleasurable for men but not necessarily for women; it degrades women by encouraging them to perform uncomfortable acts, and to learn new things and expand their physical capabilities for no reason other than to satisfy men; and it promotes penis sex to the exclusion and demotion of lesbian and other non-penis sexIt only works to reinforce the status quo of men being dominant to women, of women requiring men, of men’s sexuality being paramount, and of women’s sexuality and sexual pleasure being an invisible and secondary aspect of men’s and women’s sexual lives.

  1. 14 May, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Oh, it’s very easy to resize images in WordPress, just do it the way you would in HTML. In the img tag, insert a parameter width=”540″ for example (540 being a width in pixels). The height will resize itself automatically. Or you can do vice-versa.

  2. 14 May, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    See, I’m hopeless. I liked the ol’ click and drag resize technique, which easily got the pictures (at least on my browser) perfectly aligned with the text. I worry that the manual resize will be a lot of fiddling around, but I’ll give it a go sometime soon.

    Also, quote from Chuck Traynor in the 2001 documentary The Real Linda Lovelace, regarding hypnotising women to teach them to perform deep throat:

    “I convince you that the back of your throat is a great point of stimulation. It’s not a point that’s gonna choke you, it’s gonna stimulate you; and even if it does choke you a little bit, that’s going to be even more stimulation. And ah, you just keep going along those lines and keep going, and pretty soon the person’s good.”

  3. 22 May, 2012 at 9:52 am

    If you want to resize bunches of pics with a script, GIMP is your friend. It’s free too.

  4. Sistermoon
    30 May, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Linda Boreman’s husband, Chuck Trainor used hypnotism in order to teach her to perform deep throat oral sex. She was abused and essentially held in sex slavery by her husband. In her book, Linda claims she was forced to make the movie via threats of violence and at gun point. Her books are worth reading for back story.

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