Despite the chill and snow last night, Salomon 101 was packed with both women and men who came to hear Marshall Miller '96 and Dorian Solot '95 discuss the female orgasm. As "full-time professional sex educators," the couple travels around the country to speak to different groups.
With humor, straightforward language and the famous deli orgasm scene from "When Harry Met Sally," the two demystified and celebrated sexuality and the female orgasm during their presentation and in smaller discussion groups.
"Students are sometimes surprised that we really do cover it all: the G-spot, multiple orgasms, how to have your first orgasm, how to help your girlfriend. And it's really funny, too," Solot wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.
Both Miller, a former executive editor of The Herald, and Solot focused their studies at Brown on issues about sexuality. Miller concentrated in sexuality and society — now known as gender and sexuality studies.
Solot first learned about the female orgasm and masturbation as a sophomore when she attended a dean's annual lecture on the topic, she said. She purchased a book from the recommended reading list and credits her first orgasm later that semester to its instruction. "That was the best $5.99 I ever spent," she told the audience.
She was also part of a group of students who brought sex education to Providence public high schools, she wrote to The Herald. "I got an incredibly smart, thorough initial training as a sex educator through that project."
"I spent a trillion hours in the Rock reading every journal article I could find about orgasm. I never imagined that later my career in female orgasm would pay my mortgage," Solot wrote.
Her knowledge and comfort with her body also may have saved her life, she told the audience. She was able to locate a strange lump in her breast when she was 26 — not an age when women typically get mammograms — which turned out to be cancerous, she said. Through early detection and successful treatment, she has now been in remission for over 10 years.
At the workshop, which was sponsored by a number of student and campus life groups, the pair also spent time clearing up lingering orgasm myths.
Miller blamed an incomplete high school sex education curriculum for the ignorance surrounding female orgasms. "We learned about fallopian tubes," Miller said — while physically demonstrating what they looked like — but he noted that "the clitoris is often left out" of illustrations.
Solot also discussed the negative messages that women may receive throughout their lives about sexuality. Women are taught how to say no so many times that they "forget about how to say yes," Solot said.
In response to audience worries that orgasms may "run out," Solot assured the crowd that orgasms are a "renewable resource."
Unlike what we may be told to believe through television shows and other media, "each orgasm is unique, like a snowflake," Solot said.
Solot and Miller also offered practical advice about how to achieve or help a partner achieve a female orgasm. "The males scamper around, the females are harder to locate," Solot said about what one audience member described as the "elusive" female orgasm.
During part of the two-hour presentation, the audience was split into three self-identifying groups — females, males and those who identify as transgender or preferred not to choose a group — in order to have more personal, frank conversations.
"I was really glad that they were inclusive with the language that they used," said Zoe Stephenson '12, who attended the event.
Solot and Miller ended the presentation on a humorous note, showing the audience a vibrating electronic Harry Potter-inspired "Nimbus 2000" Mattel toy, which may have given customers more pleasure than intended.
They also gave exercise recommendations for improving the strength of orgasms.
Lizette Chaparro '12 credited the duo with engaging the audience. "It's really hard to get a group of 500 to pay attention," she said.
Safiyah Hosein '11, one of the primary organizers of this event, hoped that this talk would help audience members "get to know your body and the way it works."
"I still talk to people who are like, ‘I've never orgasmed,' and that's really sad to me," she said.
"I hope students feel more comfortable talking about it, which I guess is the purpose of most sexuality-related events here at Brown," said Aida Manduley '11, another of the event's organizers.
Miller and Solot, who both identify as bisexual, will be presenting "Bi Popular Demand," which will focus on the gray area between gay and straight, on Thursday at 7 p.m. in List 110. Resource sheets left over from Wednesday's event will be available at the Sarah Doyle Women's Center.