August 6: 

Hollywood still can’t get sex right.

The September issue of the Atlantic features a lengthy article on newly #MeToo-ish Hollywood suddenly hiring “intimacy coordinators” and formalizing other protections so that semiexplicit sex scenes will avoid on-set abuses or misunderstandings. It’s all rather cringe inducing, so this column will spare you the details. Suffice it to say that if Hollywood is to show so much nudity and simulated sex, it makes sense to take at least a few precautions for any remaining semblance of the actor’s decency and dignities.

Hollywood is missing the better idea, though. It’s a simple idea, and an obvious one. Rather than providing the actors with “silicone guards” and other prophylactics, and rather than hiring specialists for “intimacy direction and choreography services,” directors should just stop showing so much nudity and simulated sex.

Gee, what a notion: Let the audience use its imagination. Depict attraction and “heat” on screen, but let actual sex retain its mystery. Oh, what horrors might await if the poor audience is deprived the vision of bare breasts and thrusting torsos!

Atlantic writer Kate Julian posits the notion that because “depictions of sex on-screen have a powerful ability to shape our attitudes toward intimacy,” it therefore follows that “the severing of sex from art would impoverish both.” This is tommyrot. Hollywood thrived for half a century without requiring actors to disrobe and perform fake coitus.

When couples kissed passionately and then disappeared behind closed doors, only to emerge the next morning with blissful smiles on their faces, audiences got the message and the storylines suffered not one bit….

[I should have provided examples here. Was Casablanca any less romantic because it had no nudity or sex scenes? Was The Long, Hot Summer any less hot? Heck, even with the heavily sex-themed Summer of ’42, was Jennifer O’Neill any less alluring even though she didn’t get nude or simulate sex?]…

[The full column is at this link.]


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