Movie sex is an insult to real sex everywhere. Nothing gets me yelling at the TV faster. I take personal offense. Not only is Hollywood sex unrealistic and horribly clichéd, it often serves as the unofficial sexual education of our youth. Our YOUTH! Worse than the clichés themselves, though, is how consistently they are still applied. If I didn’t know better, I’d guess “How to Make Sex Look Bad and Fake” was a required course in film school. Even the most progressive stuff I’ve seen — the carefully crafted characters, the realistic dialogues, the complex storylines — falls prey to the same old sex tropes. I’m continually surprised and embittered by it, and I’ve been ranting about it for years. Haven’t we all?
Below I’ve catalogued some of the most outrageous movie sex myths that have managed to prevail despite all IRL evidence to the contrary. A word to screenwriters current and future: Excommunicate these immediately, lest we propagate another generation of kids who think sex is literally anything like this. Good sex and our sexually illiterate culture depend on it!
Let’s start with what is probably the most egregious sex myth of all, which is the idea that there are no steps between wanting to have sex and LITERALLY BEING IN THE MIDDLE OF IT. This one is so ubiquitous it’s almost not worth explaining, but I’ll just say this: No man ought to thrust mere seconds after unzipping his pants. Okay???? There are steps and this is a fucking process, sir, and I mean that in the strictest sense.
The burst-through-the-door makeout
Speaking of the utter lack of foreplay in movies (which, the fact that we even call foreplay “foreplay” is the patriarchy’s fault), nothing gets my eyes rolling more enthusiastically than a couple BURSTING through an apartment door and possibly knocking things over while making out and furiously taking off their clothes. Who is doing this? Who decided this was sexy? Hollywood: please find a new way to depict sexual excitement. I trust your creativity (kind of).
The mutual backwards bed crash
Please apply the above logic to this all-too-common followup shot: a couple falling backwards onto a bed in tandem. First of all, this just seems difficult. Second of all, what if one or both parties left something sharp on the bed? Third of all, and this one’s key, NO ONE FUCKING DOES THIS.
The Xxxtremely romantic removal of clothing
As gangly and fleshy beings, removing our clothing is physically awkward. If your ankles haven’t gotten tangled in your own pants and you haven’t accidentally suffocated yourself while removing your shirt, you’ve probably never had sex. I’ve had it with these unrealistic undressing standards. Give me an arm stuck in a sleeve or give me death!
Sex is just…JAMMING IT IN
I take back what I said about #1 being the most egregious faux-pas, because a man jamming himself into a woman quickly and for the entire length of a sexual encounter is far worse. Aside from being offensively heteronormative and male-oriented, this depiction grossly underestimates what sex can and should entail. Not sure how else to say this poetically but: SEX IS JUST NOT PUTTING A THING INTO A HOLE.
The female orgasm, generally
Here’s a related Q: How come 100% of movies depict women experiencing orgasms from p-in-v sex when only 25 percent of women even can? Listen, I’m trying to avoid the word penetration since my parents are reading this, but it must be said that women in movies are coming WAY TOO MUCH from intercourse (how are we doing on the word “intercourse”) and also at the same time as their partner, which, let’s be honest, is also not happening that often. Movie people: Do better/literally anything less dick-focused, thanks.
Communication is an important part of sex and every movie eschews almost all of it for two opposing speeds: soundtracked silence or repetitive grunts/whinnies. There is an in-between, you know!!! And it involves the actual exchange of thoughts, feelings and ideas. Wild.
Hours-long sex and/or “let’s do it again” sex
Apologies to Justin Bieber and every other male pop star intent on having sex “all night long” but that sounds very bad and tiring. Same goes for the sweaty couples in movies who, moments after finishing and between heaving breaths say, “Let’s do it again!” before rolling over and getting back at it. I’m not saying no one does this but…actually, no, I am saying that. No one does this! These horny screenwriters needs to calm down and give their characters ten minutes to recoup AT LEAST. Ideally several hours.
The post-coital rollover
Oh boy do I hate the post-coital-roll-over-to-sleep that accounts for zero post-sex cleanup. At the risk of getting graphic and forever scarring my next of kin, somewhere in this equation we are missing: some bathroom trips, some hand-washing, maybe even some wiping down!? All I’m saying is sex has an aftermath like cooking a meal has an aftermath. You’ve got to clean up the kitchen.
Who is ruining their entire bed setup for sex? Please contact me immediately if you’ve worn a sheet in or around your home after sex and I’ll mail you a T-shirt.
What else? Add your movie sex pet peeve below and I’ll send a full list to the American Film Institute ASAP.