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Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure
Issue #016 The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure

Stills featuring the films Annette, The Souvenir Part II, and the TV Series Bridgerton

Alamy, Netflix, BBC Films

The Clit Test: A Feminist Measure Of Female Pleasure

It’s been over two years since Frances Rayner founded The Clit Test campaign. Dubbed the Bechdel test for sex scenes, it requires a TV show or film to acknowledge the existence of the clitoris and its importance. “The idea that sex equals a penis going into a vagina feels truly on its way out,” says Rayner.

Hellbent on seeing real sex on screen, Rayner – a charity communicator based in Glasgow, Scotland – has been “blown away” by the response to it. “When I first sent out a press release for The Clit Test, I had no idea how much interest there would be, but it has since been featured in 14 countries, in several major outlets,” she says. “It has had a lot of support from sexologists, directors, creatives, actors and on-set intimacy coordinators.

“My aim was to amplify the good work creators were putting out and hold this up as what good sex looks like – and I think it’s largely achieved that. Whether or not it’s been influenced by the campaign, I’m so happy to say that, over the last six months, I haven’t seen many sex scenes involving people with vulvas that don’t involve some clit action.”

So, what recent films and TV shows take the top spot? Here, Rayner talks us through them:

1. Bridgerton
“I think it was just really normalised,” Rayner says of the sex scenes in the first season of Shonda Rhimes’ Netflix hit Bridgerton. “There were so many scenes with cunnilingus and hands getting involved. And it’s really nice to see it, in that conventionally raunchy way and, of course, it’s not going to be just about penetration.”

However, it wasn’t all perfect. “The only issue I have with the show was the scene where Daphne [played by Phoebe Dynevor] kind of tricked her husband Simon [played by Regé-Jean Page] into conceiving – or trying to,” Rayner explains. “And he asked her to stop and she didn’t. I felt that wasn’t taken seriously enough in the writing. A lot of people called that out.”

2. Annette 
“It’s like a real work of art,” Rayner says of 2021’s Annette. “The amazing thing about it – and it was discussed quite a lot at the time – is that there are three sex scenes [in the film]. The leads are Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, and he goes down on her in the first two sex scenes, so you see as much of that as you see of penetrative sex, so it feels like it’s on a par. It doesn’t feel like, ‘Oh, and then we do this extra thing [oral sex]’. It’s as important to the woman as the penetration will be to the man.”

3. The Souvenir: Part II
“The sex in this film made me so happy!” she says of the sequel to The Souvenir, featuring mother-daughter duo Tilda Swinton and Honor Swinton Byrne. “In one scene, there’s a lustful quickie. It’s with someone she [Swinton Byrne’s character] shouldn’t really be having sex with. And she’s on her period. And he goes down on her. For me, that’s a double whammy. And it’s not because he’s like, ‘I love you so much so I’m willing.’ It’s, ‘Yeah, we’re having sex, so if I’m penetrating you, you’re going to want something that’s the equivalent, that is clit based.’”

In 2022, Rayner is letting the campaign take a natural course. “Though I think the clit revolution is well and truly underway, there’s still so much more to be done to improve our norms around sex in other ways,” she explains. “We still rarely see trans characters having enjoyable sex on screen – Sense8 is a great exception to this. And we’re a way off seeing great models of consent.” Hopefully that’s all to come.

Susan Devaney is a freelance journalist and editor, who has worked for titles including British Vogue and Stylist magazine. She’s also written for Refinery29 UK, ELLE, The Guardian and more 

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