The Venus Butterfly: surefire orgasm or urban legend?
The Venus Butterfly sex position. It made its debut on TV legal drama L.A. Law, when — during the 1986 Thanksgiving episode — script writers Steven Bochco and Terry Louise Fisher referred to a mysterious sex position that guarantees a woman endless, repeated climaxes.
The day after Thanksgiving the media was buzzing with talk of the trick, and every loving couple across the nation was wondering how to do it. But hey, it's just an urban myth, right?
Maybe, maybe not. Ever since that fateful day, sexologists, therapists and writers have made attempted to define this holy grail of sex acts. So does it exist? And if so, does it work?
The first step to finding out: look at the literature. Many sex manuals and websites offer suggestions, though none with researched evidence. There's a deal of variation, but the common thread seems to be that he needs to touch both her clitoris and her vagina together — then add in anal stimulation.
As a sexologist, that makes perfect sense to me. Most women don't get off on vaginal penetration alone; we need clitoral stimulation, too. And insertion is also not only physically powerful, it's emotionally satisfying as well, particularly if it reaches our wonderful G-spot.
Combining clitoral and G-spot stimulation is going to deliver a delicious combination of two kinds of orgasm, while an additional point of stimulation will at worst enhance and at best supply yet another variety of orgasm. And your partner touching three intimate pleasure points is bound to increase closeness — both corporeal and spiritual.
But this is a theory. Do the suggestions work in practice? My second step was talking to real couples who have tried the technique.
"It's my failsafe way to orgasm," says Katie, 29, partnered for four years to Tom. "Being touched in three places at once sends my system into overdrive. I can't keep track of what is happening so I have no choice but to lose control. "
This is one of the key promises of the Venus Butterfly: sheer physical stimulation drives you into a place where you can't resist climax. But surely to cede control to that extent you need trust and confidence in your partner.
That was certainly the experience of Marnie, 32, a divorce lawyer.
"When we met, Brad was seriously into the Butterfly, wanted to try it our very first time in bed. But I felt overwhelmed and I wasn't ready for anal so soon. So it took a while but now it's my favorite move." Brad adds, "The thrill is taking her every way possible; for me, it's the ultimate connection."
And another of the Butterfly's key promises: to create as well as demonstrate emotional intimacy. But how? Step three in my quest had to be a personal road test.
The man and I started with Venus Butterfly Classic: first and index fingers of both his hands in my vagina, his thumbs across my clitoris, his remaining fingers in my anus. It took him some time to get the hang of it — "Like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time" — but he liked the way his hands, opening and closing as he worked, looked like a butterfly. One climax later, I gave the maneuver an approving seven out of ten.
Then we tried the Oral Butterfly: fingers of his one hand in my front, fingers of his other hand behind, his tongue attending to my clitoris. He felt more comfortable because his fingers weren't struggling to accommodate each other, while I preferred the tongue work to the all-hands approach. Now that we'd mastered the rhythm, and I had learned to tilt my pelvis in response to his movements, we scored an eight.
Then we got serious. He used the fingers of one hand in my vagina and anus, the other hand wielding a vibrator, alternating with his tongue on my clitoris. He liked this best; I was too busy climaxing to know (or care). The score was a more-than-perfect 10 and we thereafter fell into each others' arms.
But the Butterfly didn't simply deliver me a sky-high orgasm — it also brought me closer to my man and him to me. Faced with the sheer relentlessness of the pleasure, I either had to call a halt or let my emotional barriers down.
I could have said, "No. You're taking me places that no one else has and that makes me feel vulnerable." The fact that I didn't, that I let him drive me so powerfully over the edge, crossed us over some sort of intimacy divide and left us feeling extraordinarily connected to each other.
So, is this approach what the L.A. Law writers had in mind? In fact, they've since admitted they had no concept of any technique and simply made the name up. The 1986 Venus Butterfly was certainly a myth.
But have subsequent attempts to create a technique to fit that name succeeded? Is the Venus Butterfly now a magical reality that not only gives pleasure but also enhances intimacy? My investigations say not just "yes," but "yes, yes, yes!"