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April 13, 2014 | by  | in Arts Film |
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I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

When a sex scene pops up during a movie session with your parents it is always horrendously awkward, unless you have an Oedipus complex going on. I blush every time the main actors even kiss. Generally, this is a heated response to nothing much. Instead of providing us with a blow-by-blow account, directors use shots of discarded clothes, twisted facial expressions, grasping hands and arched backs to simply give a taster, presumably to avoid the tacky label of ‘porn’. Too often, it is awkward and unsatisfying, with or without the presence of parents.

In light of recent controversy sparked by films such as Nymphomaniac (Lars von Trier, 2014), filmmakers appear to be getting braver (although maybe it’s just von Trier). With the second version already banned in Romania, and more bare flesh and crass honesty about sex than normal (Charlotte Gainsbourg describes discovering her “cunt” at the age of two), it is still not the gratifying exploration of sex it is assumed society is not ready for. Take Love and Other Drugs, for a more mainstream example. After all the hype of explicit sexual behaviour, all you are rewarded with is the surprise of darling Anne Hathaway getting her tits out. We deserve at least a notably positive, celebratory mainstream representation of sex, screaming the fact that it can be fucking fantastic.

There is, however, a need for a balance. Whenever A Serbian Film (Srđan Spasojević, 2010) manages to emerge in conversation, there is always a general murmur of “Don’t judge me for even knowing about it”. Only one person I know of has actually seen any of it, as a dare within a hilarious (obviously) group of guys to see who could last the longest. He describes the half-hour he saw before leaving the room as horrific, and now knows why necrophilia is censored. But bad sex is easy to film because it’s easy to shock society with. Here lies a prime opportunity for some filmmaker to be like: “Hey, this is real, genuine loving sex in detail”, so we don’t have to try to fill the gaps with our imaginations or have the insecurity of wondering if we’re doing it right in real life e.g. should the bra stay on or off.

So we have a choice. Option 1: grotesque sex scenes that make us believe in morality, or Option 2: exposed breasts and penises that fail to satisfy. Surely, we want to leave a movie turned on, not turned off, with some satisfaction that sex is a wonderful thing.

5 Arguably Most Controversial Sex Scenes of all time:

  1. Watch any Lars von Trier movie (especially Nymphomaniac).

  2. The Brown Bunny. Unsimulated sex scene. The film was described by Roger Ebert as “the worst film in the history of Cannes”.

  3.  The Last Temptation of Christ. Martin Scorsese presents flash-forwards being experienced by Jesus in his final moments, including having sex with Mary Magdalene. Christians got their knickers in a twist.

  4. Lolita. Probably contains the highest number of implied sex scenes ever.

  5. Brokeback Mountain. The Academy Award–winning movie featured a homosexual lovemaking scene between Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, and was subsequently pulled from theatres all over America.
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