Sex is a funny thing, and I mean that quite literally. I think the term “bumping uglies” is one of the most accurate when it comes to the actual act itself.
Sure, you can go on about the romance of “making love” and the idealism of “seeing fireworks” and all those flowery terms, but really, when you think about it, the sweaty, grunty, almost desperate act of sex and the (hopeful) end result of orgasmic climax is quite often bloody hilarious.
Unfortunately, though, a lot of people get so caught up in these romantic ideals that, when sex doesn't match up to their expectations, they can end up feeling a bit empty and lost and, in the worst cases, totally turned off and feeling like they're doing something wrong.
Part of the problem comes from the images and information we are constantly fed by magazines, TV and movies. Soft lighting and Vaseline lensed cameras showing beautiful people moving slowly together in a passionate and sensual embrace is all very well for entertainment's sake but it really doesn't give a realistic view of what sex actually is.
It doesn't show the sweat soaked, brow-crumpling concentration face that guys often make when they're in the throes of passion. It doesn't show that awkward legs and elbows “hang-on-a-minute-while-we-change-positions” moment and it most certainly never shows the “stop-what-you're-doing-and-put-a-condom-on” part. In short, it's a big old lie and really shouldn't be taken seriously.
This all became even more obvious to me the other day when I was at home watching a movie. I can't remember the name of it, it was one of those Midday movie tear-jerker things where the main character (usually played by some aging has-been old sitcom star) is searching for her kidnapped child, or running away from her abusive husband, or is the small town girl trying to make it big in the scary city (or maybe she was a small-town girl in the big bad city searching for her child who's been kidnapped by her abusive husband... You know the ones) . Anyway, in one part of the movie she was having sex with this guy (not the abusive husband) in the shower.
I'm sure you can picture it. It was all wet and steamy with lots of slippery soap action and close up shots of water beading on skin and hands running over curves. So anyway, they were going at it, pushing up against the fogged up glass, when suddenly the shower screen broke and shattered on the bathroom floor. The passionate couple looked at it, laughed a bit, and then went right on fucking, as if nothing had happened. I think it was meant to be a slight bit of comic relief in what was essentially a heart-wrenching and depressing film, but it just didn't sit right with me.
In my cynical, and not to mention logical, mind I thought, hang on. What about the broken shards of glass all over the bathroom floor? What about the danger of slipping on all the soap that was lathered over them and the floor? And what was stopping them from falling and splitting their heads on the towel rack or sink now that there was no wall to stop them?
Surely someone had pointed this out to the director?
Surely Oc-Health and Safety had been over it with them?
Surely it was just common sense that the audience would find this unrealistic and insulting to their intelligence.
But then I started to think of some of the other movies I’ve seen where the viewer is supposed to be so swept away by the romance of the situation they forget that, in actual reality, it isn’t the sexiest of positions or places to do it in at all and I realised it's not just the cheaply made Midday movies that expect us to believe the unbelievable when it comes to sex scenes.
Take Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze for example. In that famous “Ghost” scene, with The Righteous Brothers crooning away in the background. They made pottery look like the most sensual and sexual experience you could ever have, but did you ever stop to think what would happen if they actually got to the bit where he went to put his hands, covered in half drying clumps of clay, down her pants? Yuck! Could there be anything worse?
Well, actually, yes. You know that timeless and classic image of Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster rolling around in the surf in “From here to eternity”? Well, let me tell you how completely wrong and misleading that is (and I am sure anyone who has ever attempted sex on a beach will agree with me). There is no shot of Deborah picking her sand-riddled bathers out of her butt, or Burt choking on a mouthful of seawater as the waves roll over them, and neither of them can be seen wincing as sand rubs where sand never should, or limping off at the end with a terrible chaffing rash.
What about that foggy, backseat of the car scene with Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic? Sure it's all “put your hands on me, Jack,” and sweaty hand trails down the window, but in reality, well, have you ever tried to have sex in a car that wasn't a fully decked out Sandman panel van? Apart from the lack of room to stretch out and the very real possibility of bashing your head on the roof, the gear knob is sticking up and into your most sensitive bits and it's most distracting when you accidentally hit the radio button with your foot and suddenly get blasted with the football commentary.
Having sex in a swimming pool is depicted in many movies (in fact the pool sex scene in Showgirls has been voted the all time worst sex scene ever) but the reality of it can actually be quite dangerous. I'm not just talking about the whole looking as if you're drowning thing (and if you've actually seen Showgirls, and I promise not to hold it against you if you have, you'll know what I mean) but the actual act of getting water thrust up inside your vagina, which is bound to happen when you're doing it in liquid, can be very bad for your health. In the same vein, sex in a sauna is not comfortable, and shouldn’t be attempted if you have a heart condition, and there is no such thing as surreptitious sex on the dance floor or in a public place. You might think no one knows what you’re doing, but trust me, we do.
Of course, don’t get me wrong. I’m not some “sex must be in a bed” kind of girl, and I’m not saying that doing it in the back of an Oldsmobile is always going be a bad experience, but if you’re looking for sex tips in movies, and would rather spend the time enjoying yourself and not figuring out the logistics of comfort and where limbs are going to go, then you might be better off going the Jenna Jameson way, rather than the James Cameron. You never know, you might even learn some new, and do-able, tricks!
But I really should make it clear. Although you might get some ideas of positions and costumes and different places to put things and the like, porn is definitely not something you should look at for realism in terms of things like penis size, endurance, the number of orgasms someone can have in the space of five minutes, or the ease in which a pool cleaner or girl serving at the milkbar will have sex with you.
In fact, in all reality, you shouldn't compare yourself, or your partner, or the sex you have to anything. It should be fun, enjoyable and mutually satisfying. On your own terms, in your own way and for your own reasons. Because, let's face it, sex is funny, it's a bit ugly looking and it can be a bit awkward. But if, at the end of it, your toes are tingling, your tummy is buzzing and you're ready to fall into an orgasm coma, who cares about the rest of it!
Happy Sex Lives To You All!
- Deliciously Bad. Writer of Stuff