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Why do women lift up their legs when kissing in the movies?
June 16, 2004 4:15 AM   Subscribe

MovieFilter? - When a film shows a couple kissing, she often lifts her left leg up to make a right angle at the knee. Why? Does anyone actually do this in real life? Part of me expects it originally had some kind of euphamistic purpose, but my limited googling skills tell me nothing. Thoughts?
posted by twine42 to Society & Culture (9 answers total)
 
Good question. I have no idea, but the image in my memory of such scenes actually has it being the right leg. I doubt it's significant though.
posted by fvw at 4:38 AM on June 16, 2004


It's the leg closer to the camera. The idea is to suggest, in as wholesome a way as possible, that she's enjoying it. This harkens back to the days when moviemakers had to tread very lightly in terms of any kind of implication of sexual activity. It was taken for granted that the man initiated the kiss (otherwise she's a slut), and if you show the woman responding with moans or head movements or even grabbing the guy in a way suggesting that she might be thinking about more than the kiss, then she might be a slut, and the movie might not get distributed. You're not likely to find the leg-lifting stuff in "before the code" movies that can show female passion more directly, or in film noir, where the lower aspects of human nature are what you're supposed to be noticing.

In one of the Naked Gun movies (I think it's 2 1/2), Leslie Neilsen does the leg-lift as he kisses Priscilla Presley. This goes along with a motif in their characters' romance, inverting the traditional masculine/feminine roles, showing you cliches that you recognize but that come crudely out of place, mocking the emasculization of the men. I think there's a similar scene in Some Like It Hot, as well.
posted by bingo at 5:28 AM on June 16, 2004


Have seen this in person both male and female. Think it may be a monkey see monkey do type of reaction passed down through the generations.

The lifting of the leg is a physical reaction to a mental reaction that raptures one's senses. Most people are unaware that they are actually lifting their leg if you point it out to them afterwards. The symbolism that I see is that she is "turned on."(do people still say that?)
posted by thomcatspike at 5:41 AM on June 16, 2004


I always assumed they (the leg liftee) was feeling like they were floating and that was a physical approximation of the emotional state they were in.
posted by Dagobert at 5:53 AM on June 16, 2004


Add, this scene in the movie represents the guy's date was a success, no matter any goofs he might have made while on it.
posted by thomcatspike at 5:54 AM on June 16, 2004


Does it improve balance if you're kissing a taller person? (As opposed to being tippytoes with both feet?)
posted by biffa at 6:01 AM on June 16, 2004


I always thought it was a subtle way of slightly pushing the thighs and groin towards the other person and sneaking in a little direct sexuality under the censors. But I also have a filthy mind, so maybe it's just me.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:37 AM on June 16, 2004


actually, biffa, i always thought it helped me balance kissing someone 7inches taller than i am, but that could be all in my head. it does faciliate leaning into the kiss. . .

(but i'm sure the movie thing has more to do with censors or conventions or something non-real-world related)
posted by crush-onastick at 3:37 PM on June 16, 2004


I think Pink is on the right trail. It is believed by some that when a person crosses their legs and swings the top leg back and forth that it stimulates the thighs and groin area, a form of masturbation. Same thing for people who sit, legs uncrossed, but with at least one foot only planted to the ground by the ball and then vibrating the leg.

So it seems plausible that during a kiss a woman might lift a leg to accentuate the surge or rush of blood happening in certain places.
posted by Feisty at 8:03 PM on June 16, 2004


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