Sex in Cinema

There’s all sorts of excitement surrounding the new Fifty Shades of Grey movie; is it faithful to the book, is it well cast, but to be honest all anyone really wants to know is whether it’s sexy.


Sometimes, when I’m watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster  I do wonder if the cameraman accidentally stumbled into my bedroom … candlelight flickering gently in the background, an effortless removal of clothes  and, of course, an incredible climax.

Just like my own experience of sex…

Jokes aside, trying to imagine myself in a Hollywood sex scene is laughable. For starters, my obsession with skinny jeans keeps holding me back. Unless your partner is turned on by your best impression of a drunken-flamingo – hopping around on one leg, before collapsing into a heap – then getting out of skinny jeans is NEVER sexy.

Sex is awkward. It’s embarrassing. It’s messy. There’s no getting around it. Everyone knows it, but of course, nobody admits it and we quite happily buy into the phony world of Hollywood sex – and orgasms that are always entirely mutual.

We know it’s not real, but it’s nice to pretend that it could be.

When I was given the task of writing about cinematic sex I was, admittedly, nervous. I love film, but I don’t know film, I especially don’t know erotic film.

The extent of my knowledge of cinematic erotica rests on the infamous leg-crossing, pussy-flashing scene from Basic Instinct (1992), and that’s only because I’d read somewhere that it was ‘the most paused scene in movie history’. Although undeniably a landmark scene in the history of erotic film-making this was hardly experience enough to write an article.

So I turned to Google – Mother Mary Google – and the veritable smorgasbord of ‘Best of…’ lists that it makes available on every subject under the sun.

The question of what is erotic is a constant topic of interest here at The Quite Delightful Project and, with regards to film, one that is quite clearly, from my numerous search results, not an easy one to answer. This list of possible candidates is highly subjective, and I shall not attempt to offer a comprehensive overview since the birth of cinema for fear of boring the pants off you. However, I shall try to cover those that resonated with me in some way; whether that be because they were so damn sexy or, because they were quite often inexplicably otherwise.

In order to produce material that is genuinely sexy, directors need to be able to overcome three hurdles. The first of which is the delicate task of making a scene believable, while being exciting. The second calls for candid and graphic material, and finally, I believe erotic filmmaking must also rely on a positive, celebratory treatment of sex and sexuality. To score highly in all of these categories is a challenge for even the very best film-makers.

The complete article is printed in the launch issue, Quite Lovely, from The Quite Delightful Project which is available to purchase now here!

10th July 2015 | Flora

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