Sex – In films (NSFW)

Because I'll be talking about Californication. And because of a man-crush. Who wouldn't?

Sex is a very controversial issue, even more so when on screen. It’s also unusual and often taken in different ways if it’s a bloke writing about it. It’s often deemed evil, too provocative, shameful, dirty and perverted. But here’s my guide of who, what, when, where and how to do good sex scenes in films.

First off, the who. Obviously the extremes should be out. For serious scenes, you’re probably best looking for mid 20’s to 40’s – depending on the situation. That’s not to say that people outside of those groups should be excluded, but in terms of actually showing the act, even if tastefully done, an audience will get uncomfortable outside of those age groups. You don’t want the audience uncomfortable. The American Pie films for example all have 20-somethings doing the business, nobody batters an eye-lid. Now having younger looking 18 year olds doing similar stuff and you’re wondering stuff like ‘is it legal?’ and ‘they look awkward’. A lot of things only hint at sex, but the more adventurous stuff actually portrays it. If you can get away with not having the sex (say for example if something is meant to happen either action, character or plot), then go for it – it’ll be much easier all around. And you should be chopping any unneeded material anyway. Maybe chopping was the wrong word…

The edge of reason - Mid-20's looking guy (hey, this is a 90's film afterall, can't have people playing their proper ages) and a youthful looking mid-30's to 40's.

Then there’s the what. This can refer to things like what the sexual act is and if there’s anything else used. The sexual act portrays the kinkiness of the characters. This can vary, ranging from missionary position, to ‘trumpet’ playing in Bruno. Mostly on the missionary though. Californication is probably one of the few exceptions here, where kinkiness is not necessarily tied to creepiness. Runkle is both a little perverted and the object of outrageous comedy, yet too pitied to be scary. On the other hand though, Hank Moody is a womaniser whose sole purpose in sex is to satisfy. Mr Cthulhu Crotch does that, and is redeemed because of it. He allows himself to be seduced, rather than seducing other women. As for the objects part, there’s the obvious notion of the American Pie films. Trumpet up the butt – not particular helpful, but definitely a source of comedy. Remember, the kinkiness of the character will be reflected in the act upon which they’re performing, and in the characters general sense of adventurousness.

When? When is sex okay to show? In general, if you’re not making a dedicated porno, you’ll not want too much of it, nor for too long. Don’t forget, the sex is meant to emphasise aspects of the film, not dominate it. You’ll generally want it for less than five minutes in the film (unless there’s more than one love scene), preferably under around three. Only do it when it adds something to the story. I cannot stress that enough.

Where should it be done. Depends on the situation. In Kick Ass for example, the main character does it in the back alley (stop that!) – broad daylight, clothes mostly still on and a place nearby all point to a couple who simply cannot wait to be alone. Most of the time though, it will be in a bed of some sort. Failing that, somewhere in the home. For extra passion, add something you can knock over – pool balls down holes, papers on a desk, things like that. Spontaneity however, have the passion-entralled couple actually breaking stuff when they do the deed.

A touching scene, and actually probably where you decided you liked Diz after all. Also note: they're as private as they can possibly be - considering the situation

How would refer to the how it should go. Once again, this would depend on anything from story, characters, background, location, plot, etc… Some of the more memorable ones WILL do something different though. Doc Manhattan from Watchmen for example, splits himself into multiple versions of himself. I need not say more. If it’s loving, obviously do it slowly and lovingly. If it’s passionate, have the characters more animated. If its farcical, have it comedic. How is completely up to you. But please remember to make it memorable. There’s nothing worse than sex with no meaning in films.

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