Movie Sex Is the Worst: 10 Myths That Need to Go

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!

1. Zero-to-60 sex

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.

2. 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).

3. 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.

4. 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!

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. All-or-nothing dialogue

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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. The sheet-toga

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.

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  • Ha ha ha …. ha ha ha … 😀

  • Emily Lever

    Reminded me of this bell hooks passage: “We see movies in which people are represented as being in love who never talk with one another, who fall into bed without ever discussing their bodies, their sexual needs, their likes and dislikes. Indeed, the message received from the mass media is that knowledge makes love less compelling; that it is ignorance that gives love its erotic and transgressive edge. These messages are often brought to us by profiteering producers who have no clue about the art of loving, who substitute their mystified visions because they do not really know how to genuinely portray loving interaction.”

    • ES

      Thanks for sharing this quote! SO. TRUE. I’ve been thinking lately about this part: “people are represented as being in love who never talk to one another.” … Currently (always;) rewatching Gilmore Girls; Luke and Lorelai are the WORST communicators. Like they won’t discuss something until it has become a huge issue. Carrie and Big on SATC are the same way. I understand that these relationships are intended to be flawed … but they are also intended to be #soromantic #relationshipgoals at the same time I think.

      I think the representation of Randall and Beth on This is Us is a step in the right direction in terms of two people who love each other and want to be married and have a healthy way of communicating.

      • Haley Nahman

        Such a good point. And actually one that applies across the board when it comes to TV/movie characters: NO ONE COMMUNICATES. If the only way you can create conflict is by making the characters incredibly immature and childish that just seems like lazy script-writing.

      • Diana McNeill

        Randall and Beth are relationship goals, for sure.

        • ES

          The actor who plays Beth, Susan Kelechi Watson, gives really good interviews regarding their onscreen relationship and other insightful things!

      • nelgracev

        Randall and Beth are the ONLY good thing about This is Us. I am well aware I am in the minority when I say this- but I keep watching it and it’s just not enough. This show is way too contrived – and is generally trying way too hard (to be the new Parenthood? *which I loved, btw)idk..and no one is saying it!!!! Please feel free to discuss here- or in another article- plz thx 😛

        • ByeBeckz

          Omg 100% felt the same way. I watched 4 eps of This Is Us and did NOT appreciate the relationships and felt it was so insulting to compare to Parenthood (which I miss weekly- mostly Julia though sorry not sorry). Then I finally binged it in boredom and was HOOKED. Try finishing season 1 and see if you’re still not into it! I think it gets better and you slowly fall for the fam.

    • Christina R

      Amazing – “Indeed, the message received from the mass media is that knowledge makes love less compelling; that it is ignorance that gives love its erotic and transgressive edge.”
      I think this also holds true for ideas we receive about monogamy too – that getting to know someone makes having sex with them boring, as opposed to the possibility that you can grow closer sexually through knowing each other better.
      I’m not saying it always works, but a lot of messages from popular media seem to encourage people to not even try.

    • Marie Mutricy

      So good !

  • YES!!!!! Just yes. Could not have clicked faster or felt more understood. I hate movie sex, the fact that it exists. Honestly, I don’t give half a shit to see the sex happen. I wish more directors would make a creative cinematic decision and SKIP it.

  • Harling Ross

    I just laughed 900 times thank you for fulfilling today’s humor quota before noon

    • Christine Seigneur

      Totally agree — reading this was way too much fun 😀

      • Lesley

        Me too! Hilarious. Thank you!

      • rahul


  • Alessia


  • Hannah

    OMG. Yes! LOVE THIS! Haley, you are my spirit animal.

  • Felix Berger

    Novela (soap opera) sex is depicted just as bad. It really made me believe I had to have candles and petals laying around and 4 hours of foreplay.

  • Madeline C

    THANK. YOU. Movie sex gave me such a complex for sooooooooooo long. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t enjoying it that much and honestly thought there was something wrong with me. WRONG WITH ME. Reading this article made me equal parts lol and equal parts get pissed because I’m busy getting protective over 18 year old me from all those awful feelings. but also lololololo “You’ve got to clean up the kitchen.” is gonna be a new euphemism for me forever.

    • Emily

      same here!!

  • clairmk

    i can literally feel your anger and it makes it 100x funnier

    • Haley Nahman


  • Rachel

    #9!!! Yes thank you! This gets me every times in movies, like how are you not cleaning up after sex?! The politeness of just lying down for a few minutes is even annoying for me when all I want to do is clean up (but that might just be the germaphobe in me).

    • Lucy Bonette

      Really? Always? I love falling asleep together all dirty and sexy. Maybe that’s TMI.

      • Rachel

        As much as I like the idea of cuddling post coital (and idea that I’m pretty such is ingrained in me because of those scenes in movies), I just hate the feeling of being wet down there so a good wipe and hand washing is necessary right after for me to be comfortable.

        • Lyric

          Also you need to pee after to prevent UTIs!

          • Krusty the Kat

            Yup, came here to say this. You will never not pee after sex again if you get a UTI.

  • Claire

    Yes yes yes! Kind of piggy-backing off of #6: SIMULTANEOUS ORGASMS. Which was totally first written into a script by a man self-centered to think that really, a woman’s pleasure is derived from fulfilling HIS needs. Responsible for generations of young men asking “Did you come, babe?” to millions of young women who clearly hadn’t. And sadly, having grown up on these movies, most of us were like “Um… yeah?” until we got old enough to know better.

    • Ellie

      See the simultaneous orgasm thing doesn’t bother me too much because I know it happens since the busband and I do it fairly often, but I know not most men DO that. He.. uh… Holds off until I’m ready. But sometimes it’s not like that either, and he is after me. Usually just by like a minute but still. It would be nice if the simultaneous orgasm didn’t happen every time

    • Catherine Ramirez

      So true!

  • Rebekah Jane

    Full hair and makeup for sex that DOESN’T MOVE. If it’s as good as you’re trying to make me believe, Movie People, then I don’t care how much setting spray she used – that eyeliner is going to smudge, that lipstick is on his face and her hair is going to be more than artfully tousled.

    • Haley Nahman

      great 1

      • nessavay

        So much this. I have sex and by the time it’s over, I have not a dot of make-up left. nada.

  • Rachel

    i may add: shower sex = very bad = never works out.

    • Caro A

      not fun, too dangerous, one person is always cold

      • Kattigans

        One person is ALWAYS cold! Plus watering getting into eyes and like where do you stand to even make it work.

        Also showering as a couple. Just no. Again someone is always cold. I like my shower time as my me time

        • And I don’t want to worry about how I look when I wash myself, I would add

        • Suzy Lawrence

          Ok, here’s my beef with shower sex. Showers are so cathartic to me. I shower every. single. night. As I strip off my clothes, I’m metaphorically stripping off the day; as I stand under the water, I’m metaphorically rinsing away all the stress…you get it. The WORST is when an over eager partner shows up in my happy place uninvited, or, after being invited once or twice, feel this is now a normal occurrence. I need both my morning coffee and my evening shower hot and alone.

    • Aww I like shower sex! I like how clean you feel afterward – no weird sweat, all the ~*fluids*~ get washed off…. It might not be ideal positioning for “p in v” but it’s pretty great for the oral stuff 😉

      • Lyla

        But then someone is kneeling on the hard shower floor and the other person is trying to balance when their legs are shaking . . . no thanks.

      • Emily

        once my bf and I were doing oral stuff in the shower.. and I fainted. that pretty much turned me off it forever hahaha

        • OMG that sounds terrible…. Now I’m going to be worried about fainting….

          • Emily

            OK IT REALLY WAS. Luckily I’ve fainted before so I told him I was about to, but it was so scary for both of us. I wouldn’t worry too much but I would definitely advise sitting down if you start to feel dizzy!

          • Not to make this just a thread about fainting, but I also faint really easily…. I fainted at the grocery store once, hit my head on a freezer case and had to go to the ER for an MRI of my concussed brain and stitches on my poor scalp.

            Suffice to say the point about fainting is VERY well taken. It never even occurred to me that I might faint during sexy times….

        • That sounds scary! How come did you faint?

        • Viivi

          fainted several times! i think it’s the mix of my low blood pressure, “workout” and hot steam. Plus when I added alcohol into the equation = literally all the time. I once fainted in forest too (alcohol + excitement), oh.

    • Lyla

      One person is always cold, it is slippery, and water washes away natural lubrication.

    • Sophie Kreuze

      Having sex standing up in general is almost impossible, leave alone having sex standing up in the shower! Nope…not happening

      • Kattigans

        Its possible to do standing up as long as its from behind and the girl is leaning onto something like a dresser but hard to do if heights aren’t spot on. Just sayin’…**awkward smile**

        • This made me realize that maybe it works for me because
          a. I’m pretty tall
          b. we have a helpful shelf/bar for hanging on for dear life

          • Kattigans

            I’m tall too lol…not my go to position but if its requested then I’ll oblige occasionally

    • Mollie Ward

      I want to like shower sex! In concept it makes sense, no clean up/already naked. BUT WET SKIN ON WET SKIN IS EXTREME UNCOMFORTABLE. Water is a terrible lubricant. And like I can barely hold my body up normally, let alone during the act, in a slippery shower, with another human…

      • Robin

        I can barely hold up my body normally¨ true sister

      • I will concede that shower sex makes quite a squelchy racket from the wet skin on skin. Gotta be down to make some noise and hold on tight hahaha

    • Dorothee Medrow

      Very true, bathtub sex doesn’t work either.

  • ThePetiteBrunette

    Best article I’ve read in a long time!

  • Marie-Eve

    YES TO ALL OF THIS! Haley for President!

    “which, the fact that we even call foreplay “foreplay” is the patriarchy’s fault” <3<3<3

    If I remember correctly, I think the Netflix show "Love" probably had a somewhat realistic depiction of sex?

    • Haley Nahman

      Yes you’re right I totally forgot about that show!!!

  • kitmcc

    How about the morning make out without a toothbrush in sight!

    • Haley Nahman

      Hahahah YES

    • Gintė

      You Me Her is quite good re depicting sex, I’d say + there’s always a toothbrush conversation in the mornings in that show!

    • Lucy Bonette

      People actually do that though.

  • Wollstonecrafting

    Lmfao number 9 is so real

  • Áine Hegarty

    Oh my god, just reading all of these made me cringe and feel awful. I kept picking my number 1 offensive trope and subsequently changing it up for the next listed and now decide they are all equally awful. The bursting through the door and sheet toga give me anxiety. 1. So many things get uneccesarily knocked over and who bursts through doors any other time?! 2. I don’t even like taking my sheets of to make the bed, never mind leave it to what, pee?! hide your body from someone who hopefully just saw you naked a minute ago?!!! Why are these cliches still surviving?! I think there’s an episode of Sex and the City where some of the girls are watching porn and they criticize the immediate groan from the get-go, first second when the penis goes in. It sets unrealistic expectations for men too!

  • Imaiya Ravichandran

    the featured photo for this article makes me lol. what is that guy doing?? i presume he’s engaging in something sexy out of shot, but that still doesnt explain his weird arm position. it seems awfully extended for him to just be grabbing onto the glass for support. maybe he’s stretching cause he has a cramp? or maybe he’s praising the heavens because he’s in the middle of getting an awesome bj. im literaly envisioning this fully naked man just pressed up against the shower door in a leonadrdo-da-vince style starfish stretch. who does that?? okay now my coworker just looked over at me cause im chuckling at my own jokes. gtg bai.

  • Hilary

    Yes yes yes 100% yes to EVERYTHING. THANK YOU. #6 and #9 (lol) especially.

  • Kim Donald

    The sheet-toga and your mans dress shirt from the night before. I would put on literally anything before a collared button up.

  • you’ve gotttttttttttt to clean up the kitchen. loling over here. as a funny side note i was watching the notebook in high school with my friends and my friend’s mom was in the kitchen and overheard my friend say “you know, it’s not really like that” about the sex scene which horrified the mom cause like WHY WOULD SHE KNOW THAT as a precious little “virgin” high schooler

  • Paola

    I was thinking about crafting a comment expressing all my feelings about these myths, but nope. Haley I love you.

  • This was perfection, so many lols at my desk right now.

  • Adrianna

    You owe me a t-shirt 😉

    • Haley Nahman

      Hahaha NO WAY

    • Matisse Geenty

      Team sheet toga! Sometimes you just need to feel like Helen of Troy

  • K


    See also: the woman keeping her bra on the whole time (WHY?!); the woman starting to moan and breathe heavily from minute 1, despite the fact that all the man has done is ineffectually kiss her neck.

    • ladle

      I have a theory about the whole ‘keeping her bra on’ thing. It’s the easiest way to censor the boob without having to do a weird angle.

      • Ellie

        This is exactly why it happens.

      • Dorothee Medrow

        I love all the hilarious comments… we have no censoring in Germany, so we get the full picture but the experienced woman knows it is all pretty fake…

  • Megan

    YES TO NUMBER FOUR! I want so badly to see that awkward sock-removal part of getting undressed in the middle of a movie sex scene. And not like sexy knee-highs. I want to see some sweaty ankle socks getting peeled off and I want it now.

    • Autumn

      Or the removal of leggings or skinny jeans. Never ends well. And you can’t do that in a sexy way

      • EVERY TIME! Both you and your hipster man friend have got to pause to remove your respective skinny jeans from around your feet.

      • Megalopyge

        This is why the Muriel’s Wedding sex scene is the best. It’s silly and fun and awkward, just like real sex. When he goes to sexily unzip her pants and instead unzips the beanbag and they end up floundering in Styrofoam beans while Muriel giggles hysterically, it’s just *chef kiss*

  • Caro A

    “all i’m saying is sex has an aftermath like cooking a meal has an aftermath”

  • Emily

    2, 3 and 4 – “the burst through the door make-out” particularly – THIS NEVER HAPPENS… especially when you have housemates / roommates / family… COME ON

    great article, Haley!

    • MM

      but what about elevator makeout sessions (often preluded by the really awkward back of cab makeout sesh) briefly interrupted by the inconvenience of an apartment building hallway? I feel like that’s close enough to the bust through the door?

      • Lucy Bonette

        Yes, it doesn’t strike me as that strange either, especially not with new love.

        • Emily

          I think I’ve lived a sad life… I did it once in a hotel, does that count?!?

      • Emily

        I live in Britain so we don’t really have elevators in our living accommodation as much as i think you do in big US cities? we obviously have them at work and hotels, obvs, but that’s an exception i think?! totally hear what you’re saying though!

    • Tati

      ahhhh YES! I literally thought about this the other day because it NEVER happened to me and it made me feel so bad about my sex life. I am so happy other people feel the same way!!

      • Emily

        with you, sista!

  • Patrizia Chiarenza

    I agree with Harling, I laughed through this whole thing. So on point!!!

  • Adrianna

    It seems I’m an outlier in the comments section, but sex in movies doesn’t… bother me? I always recognized that it was a stylized portrayal. The partners I chose didn’t expect to recreate a movie or porn scene. Also, you’re bound to experience some of this stuff once have enough sex.

    • Haley Nahman

      Def stylized but I think, when presented as the norm, it contributes to our repressed/illiterate/shame-filled sexual culture, which is what bugs me! Actually it makes me sad…

      • Adrianna

        But is it really presented as the norm? Who decides what’s mainstream? Is there one cultural canon in USA? We’re all active participants in what we consume, what we’re influenced by. The best thing about the 2000s is that we all get to curate our own pop culture.

        ps I say this as an immigrant of 20 years in USA. It’s easier for me to say “this isn’t really reality, whatever” when I never saw myself portrayed in any American media.

        • Cristina

          I think it’s 100% been the norm, but things are starting to slowly shift. Shows like Broad City, that really showcase the awkward, everyday, random weird stuff that can happen and don’t necessarily romanticize and fantasize sex like movies. I mean don’t get me wrong, mind-blowing sex is still a thing. But having those examples can really mess with you mentally, thinking that is how sex should be.

        • KA

          A – I see what you’re saying, but I think, that Americans have such a stigma of shame around sex that they don’t talk about sex in a way that’s informative or correct which leads to a lot of confusion.

          For example, many parents don’t feel comfortable talking about sex, so they expect their kids will learn about it through sex ed in school, but a lot of sex ed programs don’t teach things that are correct or they just don’t go into great detail, so a lot of people are left to pop culture and porn to learn about these things. And unfortunately for women who are generally speaking, more complex creatures to please, this does nothing for us, because the opposite sex is learning all of these ridiculous things that do nothing to help us actually be satisfied in bed !

          • Adrianna

            I was raised Polish Catholic, which is just as bad or worse than Americans’ relationship with sex. My public high school health teacher in Pennsylvania preached abstinence until marriage. My grandmother equated the birth control pill with abortion. (ps abortion is illegal in Poland.) My body was simulatelnously sexualized and shamed before I even started menstruating.

            At a certain point, you’ve just got to let all of this go and live yo’ lyfe

          • KA

            Good for you for not letting these things drag you down !

            Sadly a lot of us find these things affecting us and our partners in an all too meaningful way, so I’m all for these types of convos to help change things for the next gen !

            Bc couples therapy is seriously expensive 🙁

    • Aleda Johnson

      I feel even more the outlier because I actually do have sex like this sometimes. Obviously there’s laughing and awkward stripping and generally more of a connection, but I come every time and a lot of times it’s simultaneous. I don’t mean that as a humble brag AT ALL. I was generally shocked by the 25 percent statistic. Does that say more about men or women, I wonder?

  • KA


    11. Sex without any guidance from one person to the other. I know it’s a movie but if we’re being realistic here, a lot of men need a LOT OF HELP and women need to see that they need to give it !! I once had to explain to my much older boyfriend that, NO my breast like a pastry bag that needs to be squeezed from end to tip. That motion should not exist when it comes to breasts !! Also, how had no one else explained that to him yet !??
    12. Humorless Sex. Because queefs. The word is terrible but it needs to be said. Our vaginas cannot be shamed with an awkward silence if a noise happens to escape whilst air is being pushed into it.. !!!

    • Cristina

      I’ve laughed so many times during sex. Also, bathroom breaks. If I had a $1 for every time I said “wait I have to pee really quick” lol

    • shannon

      Agreed. If you’re not laughing during sex, you’re having sex with the wrong person!

  • Cristina

    I love this SO MUCH.
    I’d like to ad an addendum: somehow naturally changing positions and places. Like from the bed to the floor. You don’t just.. magically appear. Do this and go there, it’s something you actually have to say out loud which really takes a lot of that sexiness factor out lol!

    • Jessica

      This is a great one! I laugh about this all the time when me and my husband are trying to move into a new position without actually talking, which may include bumping heads, pulling limbs against their natural bend and generally being awkward. Its not sexy at all, just funny.

    • Lyla

      WHY WOULD YOU MOVE SOMEWHERE LESS COMFORTABLE? Like, this bed is way too comfortable. We should go lie on the floor and make sure you get rug burn.

  • Eli Whitehoof

    Related to #9…women who put their tight jeans on immediately after sex after the guy has come inside them (there is never any discussion of birth control).

  • Aleda Johnson

    Also, ROMANCE NOVELS. They’re all of this but worse because they create this perfect man who knows how to hit every button, every time, repeatedly, long into the night, until the heroine “can’t walk straight the next morning.” And the idea of being instantly wet cracks me up. That hasn’t happened to me since high school when sex was new.

  • Jessica

    This is so good!

    I hate when people in movies wake up in the morning and immediately start kissing, with no indication that anyone has morning breath. Maybe people really do this and don’t care about stank-ass morning breath, but, frankly, those people are disgusting.

    • Lucy Bonette

      Really? Always? I love falling asleep together all dirty and sexy. Maybe that’s TMI.

    • Lyla

      I’m never the one to initiate first thing in the morning sex, so if they don’t care, I don’t care. My only thing is and I know this sounds weird, but my head needs a minute to wake up. It takes me a minute to open my eyes and reacquaint myself with my surroundings. They can kiss my neck or something, but I can’t deal with their face on top of mine before I even really open my eyes.

  • Jessica

    To add to why this happens in movies, I have to question if it’s because writers in Hollywood are so predominantly male who have no idea how to write beyond the male-centric hetero-normative point of view. There’s a great show I love called Working Moms, which is predominantly contributed to by women. In one episode, one of the characters begins masturbating, which starts with her making a big show of sucking the finger she’s going down with. This is such a little thing, but so great! A script written by a man would never have considered the need for lubrication.

  • ss

    Hi! I’ve worked in film for a long time. On set, as assistants to oscar winning directors and writers, a producer and I’m just starting out as a writer director myself. (Not to be obnoxious! just to say I work with the people who make these decisions).
    I agree that some aspects in film depict sex inaccurately. However, I believe 80% of the time films should not be held accountable. Most actors don’t want to film sex scenes so you naturally have to keep things as short as possible. Second, the act of sex and foreplay in real life takes a really long time. Rarely ever would any writer/director or audience member want to watch all of foreplay and sex in full. This is why there a lots of gaps, which makes it seem like they went from kissing to intercourse in a matter of seconds.
    I too watched movies and thought that movie sex was accurate, but very quickly…middle school sex ed plus watching more films, I realized it was different.
    I don’t think it’s as much of a social issue. Yes, there are some things, like inaccurate representations of heteronormative sex, but I don’t believe films should be held that accountable.
    There isn’t enough screen time, set time, actor-willingness among many other things to make it the “ideal.” Also it’s art, very very abridged art. We understand that a part of closeness is sex and writer/directors are always thinking what is the most powerful, simple way I can show passion, so an audience member immediately knows this is the greatest love ever….”Oh! let’s have them burst through a door.”
    Movies aren’t trying to be accurate. Every love story is a Romeo & Juliet, it’s always supposed to be the greatest love ever. Writers have to come up with fast tricks to convey these thing.
    I think the film community should always strive for originality, but realism is not always what’s needed.

    • Kaitlin M

      My question is, if you acknowledge that you can’t capture the truth of it, why bother with sex scenes that no one wants to do at all? Why not find another creative way to express chemistry and intimacy that doesn’t create false expectations for your audience?

      • ^this

      • ss

        Hmm, I must have miscommunicated. I mean film does capture the truth. It’s the essence, it’s just very boiled down to be the most powerful. Tim O Brien writes in The Things They Carried that there is story truth and happening truth. It’s about the war. In the happening truth he never killed anyone, but the story truth is that he did, he murdered hundreds because he was there as a witness. Books, art, and films capture the story truth which is sometimes truer than the truth. Film especially is about quickly communicating information with as little words as possible. Like I mentioned the door opening scene immediately highlights passion and the viewer can very quickly understand that their passion is so intense, intense enough to knock down a door.
        I also think plenty of films express intimacy. From more art, independent films to big block busters. There is a always a small hand graze, a look in the eye. There are lots of intimate moments in Wes Andersen’s The Royal Tenenbaums. Just as there are moments of intimacy in Dunkirk, Blade Runner, MadMax. I can’t recall any major films this year that were purely love stories, but there are intimate and heartfelt moments everywhere. Gossip girl, 90210, Gone with the Wind, and Splendor in the Grass all have moments of intimacy.
        And if anyone says, “Okay, what do sex scenes accomplish that those scenes don’t?” Well, I also believe sex is intimacy and chemistry. Bad sex often means it’s a bad relationship. The most passionate sex I’ve had has been with the one I most loved. I think it’s too puritanical and unfortunate to remove sex from a narrative. Sex is a beautiful and wonderful part of life! It’s messy and all over the place, but not too far off from what we see in films. Sometimes is appropriate to show the clunkiness of sex like in a episode of Girls and other times it’s appropriate and romantic to show the characters in a romantic, unclunky sex scene. The sex scenes often mirror the internal states of a character a dreamy, romantic sex scene that doesn’t show pee breaks and awkward penis to vagina contact is because the audience must understand that to the character this moment is so beautiful it doesn’t matter. Whereas, Girls is a comedy and awkward sex is really how the character is feeling, awkward and insecure. Sex scenes often mirror the characters emotions.
        And anyway, if you compare the minutes a sex scene is on screen to the minutes intimacy is shown, intimacy wins out.
        Like I mentioned we can always strive to better, but I believe with the parameters film has, movies do a good job portraying sex efficiently.

        • Kaitlin M

          Sure, I get that the vibe of a movie sex scene is designed to convey some meaning about that person or that relationship, but that is kind of my point about not capturing the truth. It’s not true that sex is only awkward if you are awkward and insecure. And it’s not true that if you are passionate or in love pain and messiness go away.

          The truth is that I love my boyfriend but every once in a while – even if I’m super into it – that sexy biting goes too far and really fucking hurts and kills the mood. And false expectations come in when you are sort of trained that you are supposed to just go with the passionate love making and ignore the fact that it hurts – but ouch – and now I’m stuck in my head and can’t enjoy any of it.

          Moreover, I am struggling to think of a single movie or television show in which a sex scene advanced either plot or character development. Don’t me wrong, I’m not saying we should ban sex in movies or that it is inappropriate. I just think it usually feels like lazy story telling. It might as well be dead air.

          • ss

            I understand that. But it’s not a films job to accurately portray what sex is like. It’s supposed to portray what sex is like for the character in that exact moment. Hence, sex that is great and sex that is bad. The movies I list show both.
            In Kids the first sex scene establishes that Tully is a bad person. That he will have sex with a very young girl. That he will lie to get anything he wants and that he will exploit anyone.
            In A History of Violence, I believe there are three sex scenes. The first shows the intimacy of their relationship, they 69. Both partners experience pleasure equally. In the next one or two it devolves into one in which the man asserts dominance, he has become a monster and now he has aggressive penetrative sex. These sex scenes contrast how loving one sex scene was to another.
            In Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the sex Stacey has with multiple men highlights her dilemma of becoming an adult. She’s rushing too fast. This is integral to her story and the plot. Similar to the struggles in The Last Picture Show.
            Anomalisa also has an awkward sex scene of two people really nervous to have sex with each other. It’s a love story we learn a lot about the ways the characters feel and express themselves. One is nervous and shy, one is so eager to have sex with someone he can actually see (in the film everyone he sees looks like himself). And even though he can be a dick, in these moments we see him being so gentle and kind. That was important to see.
            Sex is an important part of life. It is no less than other forms of love, forms of friendship, expressions of anger or anything else. It expresses our internal workings (stresses, pains, passions, joys) so intimately. I’d argue not much can beat it. We should always aim for a well rounded view of love, including sex, non-sex intimacy and other things. Which I believe is expressed in films. They should not be done away with. The most revealing scenes of a character can often be sex scenes.

          • Kaitlin M

            “it’s not a films job to accurately portray what sex is like.”

            You clearly have a wealth of cinematic knowledge I lack and it’s very likely that my low opinion of sex scenes comes from low brow taste in movies. But I wonder what you think film’s job is, because there are a lot of women here saying that they wish it would attempt to accurately portray sex.

            Not looking for an answer, just something to think about.

          • ss

            When I wrote that I meant films should not portray all sex, like every part of the sex act for every time a person a sex. Films always have lapses in time. Seconds, hours, months. We cannot show all sex. Only the part that is important to the viewer.
            I went on to clarify that. It should accurately portray sex for the character in that moment. Films do not and should show every action of sex good and bad only if it’s integral and important to the story. I literally write “I understand that. But it’s not a films job to accurately portray what sex is like. It’s supposed to portray what sex is like for the character in that exact moment. Hence, sex that is great and sex that is bad. The movies I list show both.” What sex is like for a character in one moment is accurate sex.
            I also included a list movies and tv in my comment that accurately portray what sex is like. Good and bad times.
            So I do think about it and I wrote about it extensively. I’m upset to find you don’t seem to be reading my words.
            I do not see your opinion as less valuable. I see your opinion equally as valuable. love all movies, low brow and high brow. I hope that the things I said, push people to let it go. To expand our idea of what sex should look like in films and to accept that most of the time it is accurate for that film, that character etc.

          • orthostice

            This is a pretty bloody long way to say that films generally don’t do sex scenes very well because it’s too much admin.

          • ss

            I’m not sure what admin means. But the previous comment is responding to a miscommunication so I resaid a lot of things for clarity.

            I also used lots of examples because I believe arguments should have evidence to back up their points. I believe the more examples, the stronger the argument. I hope you will notice that my argument has lots of different points. I do this to have the strongest argument possible. I do not think having multiple reasons makes your argument weaker, I believe it makes it stronger.

          • Hola

            I like your comments! It’s a little bit like when Potterheads watched the HP films and most of them went crazy because certain characters or parts of the books where eliminated. The reason to be cut: it’s an adaptation. The same goes for real life experiences in cinema. Sometimes films adapt or reflect from reality, meaning that directors/writers will take some things or will take everything from the real world.

            2. Movies develop around certain topic: if the movie is about (real) sex, it SHOULD show all the reality about it. If it is about love, (sex is part of it, but not everything) and a sex scene is needed…well… the director/writer will do the best, but they will only show a glimpse of what sex really is, as they will show a glimpse of the routine of the principal character (we don’t want to see the character peeing, unless it’s important.. I think)

            3. Maybe the quality of the sex scene is equivalent to the quality of the film. I mean…chick flicks aren’t a good source for romantic nor sex advice.

          • ss

            Totally agree! You said it better than I ever could 🙂
            And exactly! Unless putting on a condom is integral to the plot, it doesn’t need to be in there. An integral plot moment is if someone is evil and pokes a hole in the condom or a man who is cheating on his wife, doesn’t want to get his lover pregnant so he puts one on carefully. Every moment should always be a device to move the story forward and explain character. A great example is Marnie peeing after sex with Ray in Girls. It’s a very Marnie thing to do because she is a perfectionist and is really clean. That is a real life sex moment that is integral to the story!

      • Lyla

        Because even with all of this they can actually be pretty hot . . . I’m on board with all of her points, but there are more than a few sex scenes where it does look insanely sexy. Gossip Girl actually sticks out in my mind for this. Refrigerator sex a la Nate and Serena or Blair and Chuck going at it on top of a piano within 20 seconds of him walking into the room. If there is kind of ridiculous drama to it they can be entertaining.

    • Haley Nahman

      I respect your experience, but stand by there being other ways to write these scenes that don’t cost more time nor money and that paint a more progressive view of sex.

      • ss

        What are examples of more progressive sex scenes? There are lots of scenes that show sex as clunky in film and lots of scenes that show sex romantically. On the “realer” spectrum Network (1976) has a great sex scene with Faye Dunaway’s character, Woody Allen’s films often have great sex scenes riddled with the difficulties of sex, Anomalisa (2015, Charlie Kauffman), The Last Picture Show (1971), Girls, Marie Antoinette, American Beauty, A History of Violence (2005). Also there great sex scenes are in the British tv show Misfits especially between Alicia and Simon and they are “fast.” but you want them to be together so bad and it’s so romantic and beautiful! I think film already covers a wide range of sex scenes. I’d be interested to hear your ideas.

        • Kay

          It’s hard not to see the “actual penetration is shorthand for passion” argument as anything but a male director’s perspective. Like Haley said, only 25% of women orgasm that way. My shorthand for passion is the foreplay, the first moments of kissing when you’re feeling that relief of touching the person you’ve been craving all day. That would only take a few seconds to show, and that would shorthand passion. I bet actors would be less averse to that, no need to be naked. Fewer line items for personal trainers if no one has to be nude. It’s good to hear the movie production rationale from someone who’s been there but now that I know I’m pretty sure that’s a mans view of passion.

          • ss

            Hi Kay! I’m a woman. I don’t see penetration that way. I totally get that it is that way sometimes, has been that and can be that way, but I don’t think it always is this way.
            I think penetrative sex can unfortunately, be labeled too often as a man’s view of sex, when it is not always that. For example, not to be terribly graphic but there is something very intimate about someone being inside of you. I personally think sex can be the most intimate, because two people are experiencing the same sensations together. Physically, there is nothing closer. I think both partners can be pleasured by penetration so it can be seen as an equal act. Whereas a blowjob or eating someone out is more singular. Not that both parties don’t experience pleasure, but one more so then the other.
            And I say this in terms of visuals on the screen and immediate transfer of information to the audience. An audience member would much more quickly think a character is giving if he or she is giving the act of fellatio/cunnilingus not receiving. It’s crude and general, but film has to be play on subconscious notions.

            And I totally agree that passionate kissing and all of that stuff are important and it’s there in tons of movies. Sometimes a scene only has passionate kissing or sometimes it’s there before sex. But most movies have more kissing scenes then sex scenes, so I don’t understand where those passionate moments are lacking.
            When you write, “My shorthand for passion is the foreplay, the first moments of kissing when you’re feeling that relief of touching the person you’ve been craving all day.” I think that is so true, but I believe it’s shown a lot in film, like the bursting through the door example. Lots of film kisses are passionate ones!

          • kay

            i think the discussion is about asking for movies to have a different language for passion, and i wrote my personal example bc you asked for ideas. what people have been writing here is that the standard movie shorthands for passion are not working for everyone, and there seem to be some workable ideas for variety. it’s one thing that it works for you personally, but it isn’t working for everyone.

          • ss

            Hmm. I do believe the passion you expressed, “the first moments of kissing when you’re feeling that relief of touching the person you’ve been craving all day,” is portrayed in so many films, more than sex scenes are. What you are describing already exists in abundance, so I am not sure what your issue is.

      • Grace

        To Haley, just to chime in – I’d really love examples too!

    • K

      I’m pretty sure there’s no bursting through doors in Romeo and Juliet!

      Sure, total realism might not be good to watch but authenticity is important and movie sex currently totally lacks it. fiction has to be rooted a bit in reality otherwise it loses all plausibility.

      • ss

        I would strongly disagree that movie sex lacks realism. The Spectacular Now, great accurate sex. Girls, accurate sex. Like I mentioned in a previous comment, The Last Picture Show, Network, A History of Violence, any Woody Allen movie, Kids, That 70s Show, Shame (2011), Blue Valentine (2010), Birth (2004), Misfits. I would argue all of the scenes are realistic. Some are hot, some are uncomfortable. Just like sex.

        The point of Romeo and Juliet is that their passion is so strong they will go against their feuding families’ death threats and their love is so passionate that they die for it. Die for it. Today, people would laugh if people behaved this way in a movie and call it anti-feminist. Today we can express passion by bursting through a door because we don’t often have family feuds or need to die for love. Romeo climbed a castle and then hangs precariously on Juliette’s balcony all to say goodnight to her. I’d argue that that is similar to bursting through the door.

  • kaitlin davis

    this is such an important article because i work at a sex shop and i have to debunk these myths all the time that sex is just like the movies (damn you fifty shades!!!!). i have to talk people out of doing things theyve seen in movies because its not realistic or plausible

    • oh man I worked in a sex shop too and the amount of times I’ve had to explain that no, you can’t just go from zero to anal in 3 seconds flat is incredible

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    No discussion of birth control. Two people who have known each other for just a few minutes hopping right into bed.

    • Lyla

      Or STD tests! I know not everyone asks, but no penis is going in my mouth without me asking when he was last tested.

      • Lillie Ferris

        Or just any pause whatsoever for any sort of pre-thrust conversation. Testing, birth control, consent, condoms. It’s always just straight to the thrust.

  • K

    Haha this is amazing and needed! I had to really adjust my expectations when I got married (I waited). I knew in theory that movie sex was fake. But in experience you think…well maybe it could still happen that way. But it’s not that it’s just uncommon, some of these things do. not. happen. If a woman cannot O from penetration then she just won’t, it’s not indicative of anyone’s failing or bad sex. It’s just reality. And if we think good sex only looks like that particular movie scene we will miss out on the good sex our relationship has to offer. It’s like good style! We may have different tastes but we can both have great style.

  • Elisaaa

    Yes PLEASE continue to spread the pee-after-sex knowledge; I could’ve saved myself from a constant mid-grade UTI for the first year of sex-having if I had known to do so religiously

    • Lucy Bonette

      Isn’t that something you learn in school in biology? That doesn’t seem like something you need to learn from movies. I’m not in the US, but over here sex ed is pretty graphic and discusses things like this as well. I mean, movies in general are not a guide to life, so why should the sex bit be?

    • Camila Restrepo

      As weird as it may sound, the person that told me about that trick was my mom. *Knock on wood* I’ve never had a UTI. Thanks, mom!

  • wilhelmina

    This was amazing and hilarious, much like its writer XOXOXO

  • Diana McNeill

    Most excellent. Love your observations. You made me feel so much better about my sex life.

  • Hil

    To respond to #8, I dated a guy once who took a very long time to orgasm and then ALWAYS HAD TO COME TWICE. It was horrible. I’m still traumatized by it and wish I had ended things sooner. How was that even physically possible?

    • Harling Ross

      i have secondhand stress in regards to this comment!!!!!

  • There is rarely safe sex, or any conversation that alludes to it. Not that every movie/show requires it, but I feel like a lot of the time it’s left out as it’s seen as an inconvenience.

  • Lindsay

    I would please like to submit the girl-on-top-hair-flip as an additional fallacy. My neck hurts just thinking about it. I’ve got enough going on during this coital time that I don’t also need to think about where my hair is landing. Truthfully, I’m just trying to keep my hair out of my partners mouth. It’s not a GD herbal essence commercial.

    • Cristina

      Oh lord this is like a whole other post about how long hair is portrayed so glam and sexy in movies and is so NOT in real life. I’d say on average of 3 times during sex if my hair is down I utter “OUCH YOU’RE ON MY HAIR”. So annoying lol

      • Cecilia

        And how the hair ends up in your mouth all the time when you’re kissing!! I might have to start putting my hair up in a pony tail every time I do a make-out sesh.

  • Jenny

    Laughed out loud and my 7-year-old askes why… so funny, but also true…. and sad. It’s our YOUTH!

  • Amanda

    Can we also talk about the “man picks up woman while kissing her then they just have sex like that” thing that happens in movies? I’m the same size as my husband and he sure as hell isn’t picking me up for anything. NOT REAL.

  • Mary W

    Along with the mutual falling into bed, I HATE when the man is holding the woman (usually with her legs around his hips—which who tf does this except in movies?!) and he falls back with her on top of him…yet there is no bumping of heads/collisions! If someone were holding me and we both fell back, you’re sure as hell it would be a head-butting disaster!

  • Daniel Szilagyi

    You clearly need to watch “The Room” for all the rules of sex scenes it breaks 😉

  • Amanda

    The conversations surrounding SAFE sex, or lack there of, I should say. Putting on a condom is arguably the most awkward, most important part. It is not ‘sexy’ except for the fact that there is nothing sexier than having carefree, protected sex.

    • Frenchmochi

      I actually find it sexy in its very akwardness! And a condom implies the thrill of having sex for the first time with someone new, see what I mean? Moviemakers should give it a think, there’s potential for a lot of great scenes.

  • Iva Quint

    I’m dying thank uuuuuuuuuu

  • Sarah Bauer

    The myth of synchronized libidos = compatibility has taken YEARS to unlearn.

  • Basil

    There’s a movie called “this film is not yet rated”, which is basically about the American movie rating process, and how it’s done. It’s been a while since I saw the film, but in summary:
    – violence – OK, no issues. If there’s a lot it will raise the ratings
    – sex – anything which goes outside those ten complaints you have above – HELL NO. Thrusting, uh huh – automatic 18 rating. Doing an act that would give a woman pleasure in normal life? DEFINITELY an 18 rating
    They also compared the US ratings to European, and again in summary – violence is fine, sex / nudity. Nope

  • Erika Galan

    This is hilarious and 100% TRUE.

  • Charlotte Amy

    Number 9 is my biggest peeve! That is not what after sex looks like! Also, the sheet thing… please let us know how many people you send a t-shirt to!

  • Sabah Malik

    ‘Give me an arm stuck in a sleeve or give me death!’ Is it okay to embroider this onto something? I’ll need you to sign it if we ever run into each other though

    • Haley Nahman

      Permission granted

  • Guy

    this is THE most amazing thing you have ever put out (and i love everything you write). also THANK U I FEEL NORMAL NOW.

  • I’m so glad I’m over thinking there was something wrong in my relationship because we’ve never performed a burst-through-the-door makeout

  • Sophie Berg

    20th Century Women is maybe the only movie I’ve seen where they talk about this! When Jamie gets punched for telling that guy that most women can’t orgasm without clitoral stimulation. So good. But then again, they’re just talking about it, and not actually portraying realistic sex.

  • Kathy Ebel


  • Kathy Ebel

    Can we add mutual simultaneous orgasm especially during penile thrusting to the list puhleese?

    • Haley Nahman

      It’s on there!!! Hahaha

  • This was the funniest but at the same time the most honest thing I read today. It was about time someone said that!!

  • jordan

    “you’ve got to clean up the kitchen” hahahah YES. This is my least favorite part of movie sex. where is the cum towel?

  • Lucy Bonette

    You need to watch more European movies. The sex is a lot more realistic. But often also more graphic and with more visible nudity, there is no need for walking around in sheets. I also see a lot of condoms grabbed in European sex in movies. And oral sex.

    Confession time; I’m not always that great with post sex cleanup. Especially not when there is alcohol involved I could just fall asleep together.

    I agree that the couple bursting in the door is not a weekly thing, but it’s not that strange either, maybe if you’ve been out all night and the tension has been building up? I’m not that wild myself, but even I have done that before.

    Anyway, good article, and I can understand that you’ve decided not to include women keeping their bras on during sex and even waking up in them the next morning, that would only take away from the real issue here!

    • Camila Restrepo

      I’ve never gotten the whole bras on during sex. That’s like the first thing coming off. Also men who struggle getting the bra off. They should show that because it definitely happens.

  • Sugar Bones

    Will the T-shirt be Hanes x Karla?! If so, i’ve Toga’d.

    • Haley Nahman


    • M Rae

      I refuse to close my Hanes x karla tab

  • Christina R

    I know this is usually used in comedy, but the whole flexibility=great in bed thing (for women). I’m actually pretty flexible, and I cannot think of a single position that involved any sort of contortions that was more enjoyable than other, less acrobatic ones. My partner has confirmed this as well. You may have a different experience (which is great!) but it also feels like just another way of objectifying women – as if the only qualifications she needs to be “good in bed” is the ability to put on a show for her partner (no personal connection necessary). There are lots of things that make sex “good”, and general physical fitness can often play a role in that, as can putting on a “show” if you’re into that (no judgment!), but boiled down it seems like just another example of the patriarchal idea that men should be strong and women should be malleable, and, at it’s extreme, that sex is a man’s game and women are the toys.

  • So good, especially 4 and 6!! Also why does it ALWAYS starts in missionary? I don’t think I can remember a movie sex scene that didn’t.

  • Parul Parikh

    So on point

  • Paige Garcia

    I laughed so much at all of these. Especially because the beginning of sex for me was buried in the despair that while everyone else seemed to make these things happen, I couldn’t seem to get it right. Luckily, I’m learning that it’s not about “sexy successes”, but having someone to laugh really hard with when you knock heads attempting number three, or get a sweater stuck on your head leaving you with a pig nose during number four.

  • I think in an episode of Girls we see Marnie clean up a bit after sex but that’s really the only instance I can recall!

  • Natty


  • Nina M.

    I am CRYING

  • Rachel

    “you’ve got to clean up the kitchen” OMG I love this

  • Lyla

    Take off your bras! There are ways to tastefully drape a sheet or place an arm if they don’t want to be topless on camera, but it always looks insane when a couple just had supposedly mind blowing sex when the woman is still wearing their bra. In my experience the bra is usually one of the first things to go.

  • abby thigpen

    I’d be passionately pissed if a make out session resulted in things being knocked off my table. I collect antiques, yo.

    • Haley Nahman


    • Catherine Ramirez


  • Ashley Tibbits

    This is too real. 🙏🏻👌🏻

  • Steff

    Really annoying in movies is, they had sex, and then they pull the sheets off and wearing: UNDERWEAR. how stupid. Men´s always wearing Boxershorts

  • Sophie Kreuze

    I did no. 3 several times…the rest is just complete nonsense, and it always make me very angry when I’m discussing this topic with male friends who see movie sex, or, even worse, porn sex, as the standard. Grrrr…

  • juliaszc

    This is just great! Thank you !

  • Sara Russo

    I love all of this.

  • Whatwould Slashdo

    Omg, I did, do all of the above, and more clichéd things too, I’m either a man, have been horribly misled and have to now think that I actually enjoyed these things (wait, I did) OR they are basing the screenplays on my sexlife?!

  • Freya Parr

    This is superb. The clean-down process is honestly the most time-consuming element, and if I ever do as they do in films in pass out in someone’s arms I inevitably wake up 2 hours later with a crick in my neck, a cramp in my leg and an desperate need to find my underwear.

  • Amanda Pardal Dubra

    I´m reading this at work and I´m suffering because I can´t laughing at loud. You make my days Haley. XOXO from Spain.

  • Ellie

    Omg the husband and I complain about the post sex cleanup thing literally constantly. That’s literally the first thing we do after sex is help each other clean up lmao. No one just rolls the fuck over and lets their bed get like extra gross.

  • Emily

    #9 drives me nuts! I was so happy that I saw you wrote about this! I hate that there is also NO protection used in movie sex. What are we teaching our young gernerations. It drives me nuts. It’s 2017 I want to see a movie where they either point out they’re using protection or use the pull out method wich would mean clean up!

    Thank you for writing this!

  • Ashleigh Diamond

    Point 2 is the funniest.. I always say this to my friends and how much this annoys me!!

  • Leah

    *** The toga robe after intercourse is so impractical. I enjoy having a nicely made up bed far too much to go through the trouble of artfully wrapping a giant sheet around myself when I can just grab a T-shirt and shorts and be done with it. Plus necessary bathroom clean-up does not lend itself well to unwrapping and rewrapping a sheet. Also does nobody get cold?!!! I prefer a nice sweater on top of a t-shirt in the winter months, not a sheet robe leaving arms and shoulders out in the cold. There are so many reasons not to use the sheets post sex other then as the bed accessories.

  • Marianne R

    French kissing first thing in the morning when the couple wakes up… sadly this sometimes happens irl when someone is not aware of his bad breath (and sorry but no one smells super fresh in the mouth when they wake up, NO ONE!), even when you went through the trouble of quickly escaping to the bathroom to brush your teeth, hoping he would do the same 😑

  • Kathy Ebel

    In conclusion, you, Ms. Nahman, are a national treasure.

  • Kattigans

    “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.” —> My thoughts exactly.

    Also sad to say SATC helped depict all these things too and it was a show aimed at women!!!

  • Emilee Parsons

    Biggest pet peeve about movie sex are all of the above (#blessyou Haley, you genius!) and a few other ones:
    1) The amount of sex on awkward furniture: counter tops, washing machines, book shelves, staircase…WTF? Ouch!
    2) The complete lack of condoms, you can’t just roll around with some stranger without protecting your lady bits/boy bits!! If that was real life then gonorrhea would be more prevalent than flavored oreos! Get with it Hollywood.
    3) Couples reaching orgasm at THE EXACT SAME TIME! This has literally only happened once in the entire history of mankind and it was probably to some sailor circa 1780 after being at sea for over two years and when he came back home his wife was like I NEED YOU SO BAD and it was urgent and frantic and lasted about 10 seconds each because #needs

    Whew, not an exhaustive list by any means, thanks so much for posting this made my day.

  • Emily

    The fact that everyone wakes up the next morning still naked is a weird one for me.. I’ve done some of the stuff on this list — for example finishing together can be realistic with the right stuff going on and good communication — but never putting on clothes or pjs after reads as very unrealistic to me! I always put on pjs before bed and my bf puts on boxers. We’ve never just gone to sleep naked after sex, lol.

    • Lucy Bonette

      Really? I hardly ever wear pjs in the first place, but certainly not after sex. Unless it’s particularly cold, or perhaps if we go for a shower after or something. But especially with someone I’m not in a relationship with, I would never put something on after sex. A lot of films are about one night stands as well. I love waking up naked together (and yes, I live in a cold climate).

  • Serena

    Haley you’re da bomb. I laugh snorted

  • CarlyC

    I was waiting for number 9! No one ever tells you how messy sex can be.

  • Thamsa

    Re: Bursting through the door make outs, who is closing the door and making sure it’s locked? Or is this an after thought? Then again, they never lock doors on tv and in films lol

  • Lisa Moscatiello

    Re #8 – “Who does this?” Lesbians.

  • Brianna Tosswill

    thank you.

  • Maria Carreon

    All women have sex with their bras on! Drives me insane.

  • erinsux


    • erinsux


  • SpiritAndCourage

    I’ve never found those scenes where people are knocking things off of tables to be sexy. I always get completely distracted by thinking about how many things they’ve just broken and how long it would take to clean it up afterwords.

  • ashley

    Best ending ever. will mail you a shirt, byee

  • Krusty the Kat

    #11: Face-to-face sex against a wall.

    Um, physics?

  • Jennifer Jo

    Here’s another one: kissing upon waking. Gross.

  • Jenna

    up against the wall sex…doesn’t happen!

    • lili

      ummm, I would disagree… But agree that it is a logistical masterpiece requiring specific heights and/or heels!

  • amy

    OK I absolutely LOVED this article to the point that I read every single comment (which I NEVER do) but — I’m a little confused about the extent of clean up happening! Other than a quick wipe and avoiding any wet spots — what are you people doing? Or is it that I almost always have sex with a condom? I’m an always fall asleep kind of girl, what am I supposed to be cleaning?!?

  • Not a pet peeve but refreshing nod towards Sex on Basic Cable. TLC’s SEX SENT ME TO THE ER. Humbling as hilarious; quite the beautiful debunking.

  • Joanne


  • Dorothee Medrow

    Adorable.I am 72 and seldom laughed so hard. I think Man Repeller is adorable and I so much enjoy the writing style of these young women. Thank you!

  • Judy McLane

    Love and agree with all of these. Made me LOL a few times. Add one more: rolling over to start french kissing first thing in the morning, etc. YUCK! Let me (and him) brush our teeth first!!

  • Alexandra Queiroz

    I’m in line at the supermarket and have just burst in laughter. Haley, your writing is genious, fun and very real too! So many good pointers here!

  • Jacqui Fenner

    You have just voiced every peeve I have relating to this subject but far more humorously than I ever could..thanks!

  • I live in Denmark, where literally EVERYONE wears fucking skinny jeans. If I could count all the times I found myself awkwardly trying to help a girl take off her pants… So, definitely #5 speaks to me. Also, as a feminist (or the best version of that I can be,) I find it insulting the fast-forward to intercourse, completely ignoring female sexuality and the importance of foreplay. And whatever happened to safe sex? There’s never a description of goddam safe sex in movies or TV. Has nobody ever heard about condoms in Hollywood? Or STDs? Or unwanted pregnancy? I mean, c’mon, guys!
    These screenwriters should seriously change the way in which they portrait sex. Being exposed all my life to their shitty sexy scenes have conditioned me to believe that sex is a way simpler and more rewarding thing than it actually is. There’s a lot of awkwardness and far more complexity to it, I learned, over the years. But, yes, apparently myths sell way more than facts. But what do I know, anyway. I’m just a shitty writer. (Shameless self-promotion.)

  • Catherine Ramirez

    This article is spot on. Everyone, especially teenagers, should read it. Another item to add to the list of odious sex scenes: the rape-cum-sex-scene. Think Blade Runner, Last Tango in Paris & all the other movies in which the woman’s refusals and protests are sexualized and then totally ignored by the man who fucks her anyway. Not sexy and not OK.

  • Hannah Laub

    ALL I WANT is for one woman in a sex scene to get up and pee afterwards. Every movie sex scene for all time has resulted in a UTI.

  • N. 6, you’re soooo right! Women always coming, even before men, is science fiction. Pure science fiction.
    Movie sex pet peeves: men and women ripping off each other’s clothes. Seriously, rip a woman’s clothes and you probably won’t have sex with her.
    Talking about hygiene, people who never wash their hands before sex. Am I so germaphobe? I ask men to wash their hands before going to bed, when we’re coming home from cinema/restaurant/etc.
    I don’t completely understand N. 5 (but I’m not English). What does it mean? Because if it’s what I mean, I totally experienced it (unfortunately).

  • Ashley

    I hate when characters are in the middle of a huge screaming fight but then suddenly passion comes over and they’re all over each other.

  • kayleigh__smart

    LOL, too funny. Leandra was right, she does have the best writers on the internet at MR.

  • kayleigh__smart

    LOL, too funny. Leandra was right, she does have the best writers on the internet at MR!

  • sockmarks

    I have done the sheet toga! Many times and with only honesty. The bed was ruined anyway. Where’s my tshirt?

  • brianne

    Ahhh amazing… totally agree EXCEPT, I do legit wear the sheet around sometimes if I can’t find my robe nearby. Usually the bed is a complete sh*t show anyways, so I’m not messing anything up and it makes me feel.. regal? Ha!

  • keking

    Totally agree with most…BUT I have actually used a blanket to wrap myself in!!!! It was a quickie and I couldn’t find my clothes and I wanted him out ASAP. So I walked him to the door wrapped in it. It’s November after all…

  • Marie Mutricy

    I’m laughing so much right now. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Karen B

    “You’re on my hair” is grossly underrepresented in cinema.

  • Liisa

    Oh yes!
    A friend of mine broke her phone when she tried to get her clothes of very quickly. Not for the “rush in and tear it of” reason, but for more mundane “it’s not matching, it’s not new, it’s shaping”.
    Me and my partner have a baby, she’s sleeping in our room. So sometimes we have to improvise in living room. And every single time one of us knocks a table or something I stop to check that nothing fell, broke, got lost.
    Movie sex is like there’s no tomorrow, not just for the couple, but in general the world would end and nothing matters. Otherwise people really would talk a bit, to know if everyone’s on board, what next, what not, who and where, and what are we using (as many movie couples just met).

  • Cat

    I feel like you’re over-estimating my “bed setup.” I frequently wear a sheet after sex and while this doesn’t necessarily improve the appearance of my sleeping situation, it wasn’t that attractive to begin with. You owe me a T-shirt.

  • womanmdsguide

    I hate sex with the bra still on. Come on! That’s (almost) the first thing to go.

  • Danielle Cardona Graff

    5. 6 and 10 omg…

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      “Not only is Hollywood sex unrealistic and horribly clichéd, it often serves as the unofficial sexual education of our youth. Our YOUTH!” hahahahaha and unfortunately we have hollywood to thank for why the “first time” is often just SO BAD!!!

      • Danielle Cardona Graff

        So many other gems in here though lol



  • Cate Brooks

    I’m a size 3X, and I prefer dark colors.
    I have post-coital toga’d, even to the point of going outside (onto a balcony or some such) or cooking. Mostly, this is possible because I hate tucked-in sheets and blankets, and apparently have picked my partners based on this corresponding criteria.

  • Hannah Jessica Claassens

    this is the BEST thing i’ve read on the internet all week. So many things I’ve thought about every time I watch a sex scene. Also, is a double/queen/king sized sheet not an incredibly vast amount of material to drag about with you when shimmying across the room to the balconette where movie stars hang out after sex?

  • Maria

    YESSS TO ALL!!!!!

  • Stacey Bergland

    You nailed it! Hollywood has at worst, created almost rape as sex and at best, sex quick and impatient. Thank you for writing down and sharing what many have been thinking and feeling for so long!

  • Claire Sixmonstre

    The sex standing up where the woman wraps her legs around the man and he ends up carrying her – for those ladies out there who weigh under 110lbs, is that actually a thing?

  • HeliumLaugh

    Dear Haley, one day, when you are much older and have had a chance to meet a lover (or a few) that light your soul on fire, you will eat every one of your “points” made in your article. People absolutely do all those things you can’t imagine and a whole lot more. I’d say your experience in physical pleasure is limited by your own imagination and the PG rated partners you may have chosen. Have a dozen whiplash inducing orgasms in a row, a few sex filled lost weekends with a sexual demi God and THEN write about it. Until then, let the grownups discuss this.

  • Nunya

    I sported a sheet toga thru most of college. But on everything else, we agree!

  • Melena Kisling

    how about the keeping your bra on during sex thing? i never have and none of the women i know have no matter the size of their breasts !

  • Imani

    Thank you for this. I wondered if I was the only person who thought the sex depicted in movies/tv is unrealistic.The sex is aways toe-curling fantastic. The women are always satisfied and reach orgasm. The men always last longer than a few thrusts. Total fantasy. Watching this makes the viewer more dissastified with their sex life and wonder if something is wrong with them.

  • Gabi Freund

    I always laugh when a girl keeps her bra
    on during the entirety of the sex scene. You’re having sex but you’re keeping the most uncomfortable article of clothing on? Free your breasts!