In a rather meandering piece in The New York Times "Week in Review," film critic Manohla Dargis complained, "More than half of the mostly American titles that received R ratings last year contained some kind of violence while only a third had sexual content." I can understand why it might bother her that there's so much violence in the movies. It bugs me, too. But her piece, "The Closing of the American Erotic," doesn't make much of a case for why there should be more sex in movies. It simply laments, at great length, the fact that there is so little. And she implies that we might be better off if we saw not more sex as much as more realistic sex on the big screen.
But would we really? And if so why? I suppose because it could help us have more down-to-earth expectations about our own sex lives and what our partners should look like naked. Or perhaps it could inspire us to feel a little more sexually creative. Do you have other thoughts about why more realistically portrayed sex might be helpful?
A more fun question: What movies contain your favorite realistic sex scenes? Dargis favors the new release Blue Valentine (which I have yet to see!), the unusual 1969 cinema verite work I Am Curious (Yellow) (which I found a little boring), and Last Tango in Paris, a hot, hot, hot classic starring an aging Marlon Brando. Another uncredited star of the film: butter. (See it, and you'll get what I mean.)
As Dargis notes, Blue Valentine has an oral sex scene. I wonder if it will best what I think of as the movie that currently holds the title for sexiest blow job scene: The incredibly powerful 2001 drama Monster's Ball, featuring Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton as lovers who find solace in each other after suffering great misfortunes.
I Am Love
This epic Italian film starring Tilda Swinton that was released last year included some very vivid and fairly realistic sex scenes. It was lauded for being so bold as to show Swinton's body up close, with all her imperfections on view. (Which is kind of funny because, as you'll realize if you watch it, Swinton has a marvelous body, and if you ask me, the main "imperfection" displayed is, like, a mole on her breast).
Don't Look Now
The 1973 flick starring Donald Sutherland and gorgeous English actress Julie Christie has one very long, very graphic sex scene which is realistic enough, except it, too, features an impossibly gorgeous woman. And if you ask me, the sexiness of the scene is ruined by the terrible elevator music that accompanies it.
A French movie, the kooky (and dark) 1986 flick, has tons of sex in it. Plot-wise, it's not very interesting ... but erotically? Oh yeah.
Boys Don't Cry
There's also some very dramatic (albeit atypical) sex in this moving, tragic movie based on a true story about a young female-to-male cross-dresser.
But let's hear from you about all this. Which realistic movie sex scenes are your favorites? (And don't say Y Tu Mama Tambien!)