So I watched “This Film is Not Yet Rated.” Lots of big important issues about violence and militarism, religiosity, and general censorship, but of course I’m me, so I was interested in the sex.
There were some miserable if unsurprising things. Like, over and over women’s sexual pleasure was “offensive” while violence – particularly unrealistic violence where you get to see things go boom without seeing any real consequences of the violence – was fine.
On the bright side, I fell a little bit in love with Kevin Smith when he said that top of his list for offensive material in movies was violence against women. (This was followed by a fast-cut montage of more violence against women than I ever want to see. Me? I sat outside during most of “Once Were Warriors.”)
But most of all what I noticed is that I, sex nerd that I am, get terribly embarrassed by depictions of sex in films.
It’s not because I’m embarrassed by sex – fuck no, on the contrary! – but because I’m embarrassed by pretend sex. Almost never is the sex presented in a way that lets me forget that this is two actors, on a set crowded with crew members, making believe they’re getting it on. For a movie. That they’re getting paid to act in.
I can sit in a room and watch real people having real sex really in front of me, with hardly a batted eye, but it turns out I am a prude about fake sex. I blush, I squirm, I avert my eyes, I turn down the volume, I fast forward.
An exception? The cunnilingus scene in “Coming Home.” Jane Fonda is deeply compelling and beautiful and honest. Even her FEET convince me. Crikey. Ya’ll should see that.
So yeah, the ratings system is wack, women’s sexual pleasure should be a more widely seen phenomenon, not a censored one, and fake sex is a terrible embarrassment.