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On-screen sexual intercourse - a comparitive study
April 10, 2006 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Any film that is pornographic in nature depicts sex as an interaction of two bodies that resembles two jackhammers fighting. Anything rated 18 or lower pictures sex as something that happens with virtually no movement and very little exertion. Why have these two forms not only seperated but moved quite so far apart? [it'll probably get NSFW in here]

As a secondard question, I guess, which do you consider to be more realistic and are you amused/bemused/confused by the alternative perception?
posted by twine42 to Human Relations (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
i think you need to watch more pornography.
posted by dydecker at 9:15 AM on April 10, 2006


I kinda agree with twine. There are some exceptions but in general the technique shown in 95% of all the porn I've seen looks unsexy and no fun for either party. In particular oral sex delivered by both parties looks painful at worst and useless/nonstimulating at best. Intercourse happens at a rate that makes bodies shake unappealingly and also looks painful.
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:18 AM on April 10, 2006


dydecker - yeah, I polarised things a tad to try and make the question clearer.
posted by twine42 at 9:25 AM on April 10, 2006


What's the question here? That movies aren't realistic? People don't die in films the way they do in snuff movies, they don't fight like they do on the streets, they don't talk anything like they do in life.

In the kind of films you're talking about you're seeing idealisations, glamourisations -- and ones that keep the emotion-o-meter normal enough to not put you off your popcorn. So the sex is soft and slow; the deaths are heart-rending not stomach-churning; the fights are proud and noble

In porn, in snuff films, in deliberately provocative films, in horror, these things are explicit and driven not only because it's closer to reality but because they want to drive the viewer's primal response way, way up. To, y'know, arouse.
posted by bonaldi at 9:50 AM on April 10, 2006


I'm guessing the 18-or-lower non-sex sex is due to censoring. Producers don't want the scenes to be seen as too explicit. In some cases, it may also be due to a romanticized idea of sex: the unification of two bodies! Two souls as one! A descent into the bliss of love-and-fairytale land powered by the gentle rhythms of two bodies moving together! Blah blah blah blah! The pounding-actual-physical pleasure bit is deemphaisized because those are earthly feelings, not emotional ones.

For what it's worth, most of the Hollywood sex scenes I've seen are not the latter kind. And there are a good deal that are nigh-pornographic themselves. Wild Things comes to mind (ewwww, Kevin Bacon's penis!).

As for porn, the jackhammering is probably to achieve the opposite effect. Exaggerated, fast movements with loud yells and moans, big finishes to emphasize the physical pleasure and shift the focus from pleasing one's partner and mutual consideration for each other's enjoyment.
posted by schroedinger at 9:59 AM on April 10, 2006


Or what Bolnadi said.
posted by schroedinger at 10:00 AM on April 10, 2006


Also, PG-13 films specifically don't want to look like porn films. Of course "the two forms have moved so far apart."
posted by occhiblu at 10:00 AM on April 10, 2006


You need to watch some older 70's and 80's porn. There's quite a bit of it from back then that actually looked a lot like real people having real sex. Totally erotic (and, yeah, there was a ton of crap, too)
It's the disaffected, sometimes brutal crap that came to the fore in the 90s that, I think, is what you are reacting against.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:01 AM on April 10, 2006


In part, it's a legacy of the Hays Code, which created a variety of ridiculous movie conventions that have outlasted the code itself.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:06 AM on April 10, 2006


Probably in no small part because it's trying not to alienate any audiences. If you came to the show looking to see people fuck you're likely not going to mind the ol BAM-BAM-BAM. But if you're there for the action movie you might be put off by anything other than Tender Lovemaking. Is it is we have groups that make a business out of selling re-cut versions of movies like Titanic. Breasts, no. People falling to their violent painful deaths, yes.
posted by phearlez at 10:22 AM on April 10, 2006


I think pornography as an art form is still in its infancy when it comes to its portrayal in motion pictures. The language and grammar to express porn has been shaped by people who were only in it for the profits - not by the great directors or artists who helped to shape cinema as we now have come to known it.
posted by ijsbrand at 10:32 AM on April 10, 2006


The reason porn sex looks so odd and uncomfortable is that the positions are designed so the camera can see the action clearly. Note how the girls often have to push their hair out of the way. Serious films are less concerned with ensuring that you can see every appendage going into every orifice and more concerned with conveying the emotion of the moment.
posted by kindall at 11:00 AM on April 10, 2006


Porn is apparently made for and purchased by a small (ish!) percentage of people, who have a perception of what is sexy that differs from the rest of the population. My guess would be that this perception is itself largely informed by porn. This is my explanation for everything that seems tasteless and unerotic about modern porn.
posted by teleskiving at 11:57 AM on April 10, 2006


Though it's interesting to contemplate the view of sex held by (some of) those guys who have grown up with pornography and who believe that this is, in fact, what actual sex is supposed to look like (and from what I remember of having sex with such boys way back when, you can really tell when they're trying to match up to some "ideal" pornographic scene in their heads under the impression that it's all jackhammers and flinging the girl around into different positions every ten seconds).
posted by jokeefe at 12:29 PM on April 10, 2006


Small(ish!) percentage of people? The porn economy is vast and widespread. While only a small(ish) number of people will admit to watching porn regularly, the actual rate of consumption is, most likely, far higher.

To answer the question: I think the problem is - bear with me here - similar to issues in quantum physics. You can't measure the speed and position of a particle at the same time. Likewise, it's difficult to depict sex realistically while simultaneously maintaining focus on the explicit. At least if one expects the product to sell. You either make a hardcore pornographic film or and HBO style softcore, but not both (actually, a number of films are edited such that a version exists for both markets).

But there are filmmakers who are trying to get beyond these boundaries. Ken Park tried to accomplish this, as did Brown Bunny. Both, it should be noted, were panned by critics and the IMDb.
posted by aladfar at 12:37 PM on April 10, 2006


Have you seen Y Tu Mama Tambien? I thought it was a pretty realistic depiction of (teenage) lust and sex.
posted by ludwig_van at 2:24 PM on April 10, 2006


have you seen "Lucia y el sexo". It's both realistic and porny... (can you say that? porny?)
posted by ruelle at 2:46 PM on April 10, 2006


The sex in most European films is more realistic, though not usually explicity in a porny (parts clearly shown moving in and out) way.
posted by desuetude at 3:09 PM on April 10, 2006


have you seen "Lucia y el sexo". It's both realistic and porny... (can you say that? porny?)

Are you joking? The underwater scene??
posted by ascullion at 4:13 PM on April 10, 2006


A bit tongue in cheek, ascullion, but if you want a rundown of specific scenes, I remember..
* the scene where that girl pops in her mother's porn tape, masterbates with a dildo and gets fucked by her stepfather.
*the scenes with the mother, the daughter and the stepfather
*most scenes with Lucia and Lorenzo
* the scene on the island where Antonio/Carlos puts mud on Lucia and there's a shot of his cock getting erect while covered in mud.
* the scene where Belan puts on a dominatrix costume and makes out with Lorenzo (right before the dog bites Luna)
* and yeah, the underwater scene.

(did you see an edited version?)
posted by ruelle at 4:02 AM on April 11, 2006


yeah, i saw the unedited version. it was the 'realistic' part of your comment that surprised me.
posted by ascullion at 2:47 PM on April 15, 2006


Has anyone ever seen the french film 'Romance'? It came out in the late 90's... that blurs the line pretty drastically. It was hailed as art by a lot of people at the time... It's not. It links (what i assume are) real sex scenes shot in an arty manner with some metaphysical tripe about the nature of nymphomania. It's fairly successful with creating interesting characters and situations, and well - it's attention grabbing.
posted by jrengreen at 8:03 AM on May 2, 2006


Although this thread is long since over, for the sake of posterity, 9 Songs is a recent movie that has the most realistic depiction of sex that I've seen on film. It also has great music (however the storyline isn't very strong).
posted by teem at 1:21 AM on May 31, 2006


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