Less Is More

The best-selling author Alistair MacLean was once asked why none of his novels contained any sex scenes, and I remember his answer as though I read it yesterday:

“It slows down the story.”

He added:  “”I like girls, I just don’t write them well. Everyone knows that men and women make love, laddie – there is no need to show it.”

I’ve never forgotten that maxim, although I haven’t always followed it in my own writing.  Basically, I believe that reading a book can  allow for a little slowdown in the story — unless it’s a breakneck-paced thriller (like those of MacLean).

Movies, however, are a different matter altogether.  Even in love stories, I’ve found the sex scenes to be a pace-killer, and unlike books, where you can take as long as you like to get through them, a movie has to be consumed pretty much in one go.  And unless the movie is all about sex (straight porn or an art movie like Gaspar Noé’s Love  or the depressing 9 Songs ), sex scenes are pretty much unnecessary.  You want the actors to have sex?  Show them together in a bedroom, or near one, have one start to undress the other, and then cut to the morning, showing them still together.  They had sex, we get the point, thirty seconds, tops (Cary Grant and Eve-Marie Saint on the train, in Hitchcock’s North By Northwest ).  Now get on with the story.  Others, of course, may disagree with me — like SFGate.

I know it’s a San Francisco media outlet, but really?

Sex is disappearing from the big screen, and it’s making movies less pleasurable

Ummmm… no.  Oh sure, when you’ve been watching some tired plot rerun from every movie made since 1920, why not have (say) Katherine Heigl bonk Keanu Reeves for five minutes or so?  (Because a. they all use body doubles for the close-ups and b. see above for why a movie shouldn’t need a brake pedal.)  SFGate continues:

Today, whether it’s in “Long Shot” or “Rocketman,” the sex scene has been reduced to a shorthand, an instantly recognizable grammar that begins with some jokey or flirtatious foreplay, cuts to some flesh (tasteful enough to honor the actors’ no-nudity clauses), then discreetly cuts away when things get real. You know what happens next, the camera seems to tell us. Do you really want me to spell it out for you?

Well, yes.

Well, no. But let them continue:

When you deprive audiences of a really good sex scene, you’re depriving us of what was once one of the greatest enjoyments of going to the movies, a part of classic cinematic grammar that, when choreographed with sensuality and sensitivity, can be memorable as genuine entertainment – maybe even great art – and not just a lascivious clip on Pornhub.
What’s more, you’re pretending to build a world grounded in realism that is completely devoid of one of the core elements – and joys – of the human experience. It’s as if Hollywood – fixated on families, teenagers and global markets – has given up on American adults as anything more than arrested adolescents interested only in revisiting the distractions of their youth.

Frankly, I can count maybe a dozen really fine sex scenes I’ve seen in movies, but scores more that have actually made me laugh out loud or exclaim in disgust.  Those  scenes — and let me be very clear about this — have occurred in movies that are aimed at “families, teenagers and global markets” —  in other words, where sex scenes are not part of the plot, and therefore completely gratuitous.

And here’s the basic problem.  When the word “adult” became a synonym for “pornographic”, we lost a perfect description for a movie type, aimed at adults per se, that could  contain a decent sex scene — e.g. The English Patient  or A Good Year — and said movies have, over the years, almost disappeared from the studios’ offerings.

What’s also disappeared is the directors and writers who could create a decent sex scene.  Instead, we’ve ended up with cretins like Michael Bay and Jud Apatow, who taken together couldn’t do something that could coax a semi(-woody) from a randy twenty-year-old, let alone from an actual adult viewer (like, say, me).  Considering that I have only watched one Marvel movie (the first Iron Man, and that only because of Robert Downey Jr.), none of the Transformers and ditto the Guardians of the Galaxy, you may consider me well outside the mainstream — and not for the first time, either.

What I want is to watch true  adult movies — as I said, aimed at adults, not porn — with grownup stories, mature actors, (not necessarily “old” — another piece of modern terminology which gets up my nose) and realistic conclusions.  And if a sex scene is an integral part of the story, fine — but it doesn’t have to be graphic.  A good example is the sex- and nude scenes between Alex Baldwin and Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated — a howlingly funny and accurate depiction of sexuality in an otherwise silly movie which was integral to the plot but which, thank goodness, involved grownups and took less than a minute of film time.  (And thankfully, you don’t get to see Meryl’s nude body, but — and this cannot be left unsaid — you do  get to see Baldwin’s horrible hairy ass.  It is very definitely part of the plot, however, and it’s hysterical.)

As with so many things, they used to do it better in the old days — think of any sex scenes in the black-and-white era involving, say, Gary Cooper or Robert Mitchum and their various female co-stars, and you’ll see what I mean.

What we did not need to see was a scene of thrusting buttocks involving James Stewart and Donna Reed in It’s A Wonderful Life  — and thankfully, we never did.  It was all left to our imaginations… even though the two above were, in the terms of today, totally hot.

Much better in our imaginations, I think.

Not Interested

If I were to list things in which I am totally disinterested, it would be a long list indeed.  Items that seem to entrance other people just leave me cold.  Such items would include Anything Kardashian, the new H&K or Glock pistol, the latest fashion trends, the new Marvel movie (because I’m not eight years old anymore), any Hollywood divorce, who won the latest Britain’s / America’s Got Talent, the latest Ed Sheeran / Taylor Swift song, new developments in iPhones, why women masturbate, who’s banging who in show business, how much money some rich fart makes per month, etc.

Wait, go back… what was that bit about why women masturbate?

Apparently, this is of some interest to people:

The research, published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, reveals the majority of women do indeed masturbate.
A total of 94.5 per cent of women have masturbated at least once in their life, with most doing so for the first time at 14.
More than a quarter (26.8 per cent) masturbate two to three times a week, with a similar amount (26.3 per cent) doing so once a week.
Almost all of the women (91.5 per cent) reported masturbating while being in a relationship.
For the 5.5 per cent of women who have never masturbated, the two main reasons were: ‘I hardly every feel sexual desire’ and ‘sex is a partner-only thing’.
The reasons for masturbating ranged from sexual desire to relaxation (44 per cent) and stress reduction (22.6 per cent).

…and so on and on, until the eyes start to droop.  (I should point out that the above study was conducted among German women, so any conclusions should be taken with a giant pinch of Salz.)

Among the many mysteries of life (for me, and I suspect most men) is that of women’s sexuality — and to be quite frank, I’d like to leave it that way because, as far as I can see, the difference between male- and female sexuality is somewhat more complicated than this pictorial example:

…because although I think it’s missing a couple dozen female controls, it’s still a valiant attempt at explanation.

And that’s sexuality in general;  start parsing that into sub-functions like masturbation (as the above study attempts to do), and all the individual combinations and permutations that push a woman to self-pleasure would cause a Cray to give up after a millennium or two.

It’s NOMB.  Let the female of the species get on with it, and mine not to reason why.

I didn’t see that  reason in the study, but whatever, sweetheart.

Dog Bites Man

According to !SCIENCE!, all these “new” apps are making it easier for hookers:

Apps like Facebook and Tinder are fuelling the “soaring industry” of online prostitution and sexual exploitation, according to a worldwide study published by a French anti-prostitution group on Tuesday.
Prostitution has moved “from the street to the Internet”, where pimps recruit young girls via Snapchat and Instagram before prostituting them in apartments rented on Airbnb, said anti-prostitution group Fondation Scelles.

No shit.  Here’s the DUH! statement:  every time technology improves, one of the first beneficiaries is nookie.  Always.  A couple of examples should suffice:

I have no way of proving this, but I bet that Photographer #3, back in the 19th century, took some nudies of his girlfriend.

And we all know how long it took before the old Polaroid cameras were used to take nudie pics, right?  (Rough guess, about 15 seconds after the things went on sale.)

Moving from static- to motion pictures:

…and I’m not even going to mention home movies.

Next, when the Intarwebz came along and made in-home porn just a click away, and cell phone technology made it portable, I think my point has been made.

So of course  modern apps have made things easier for the porn industry;  and if it’s easier for porn, it’s easier still for prostitution — and we sure as hell didn’t need any studies to tell us that.

Speaking of technology, as sexbots improve and (inevitably) go down in price (so to speak), even prostitution looks like becoming passé.  But that’s a topic for another time.

Lock Up Your Sons (And Fathers, And Uncles, And Brothers)

It appears that someone is looking for a mate:

Charlize Theron has declared she has been ‘single for years’ and is ‘shockingly available’ for dates.
The 43-year-old South African actress, who took a break from relationships after adopting her two children, hopes to find the ‘love of her life’ and said her ideal man would have a ‘good beard’ and can ‘make her laugh’.

Here’s a sample pic of said totty:

Quite toothsome a thing, and all in all, an interesting prospect, no?

No.

Unfortunately, the broad from Benoni is, to put it politely, fucked in the head.  Crazier than a sackful of cats.  Several pieces of boerewors short of a braaivleis.  Mad as a streetful of hatters.

In other words, to date this ditzy stukkie, you would have to be fucking insane yourself.  Exhibit 1:

This is a woman who (oh-so fashionably) adopted two Black orphans from Africa, and is now raising one as a girl (okay, “gender fluid”), which upbringing will no doubt go down like a Kardashian on a Black dude should said unfortunate child ever decide to revisit the continent of his birth.

The fact that La Charlize finds herself terrifyingly single and completely date-less seems to suggest that the Hollywood men of her environs have somehow become more sensible.  I rather suspect, however, that the word has gone out:  date this chick and seven kinds of shit will fall on your head.

Caveat Homines.

Yes Yes Yes

According to this study, if you are a religious and conservative woman in a traditional (i.e. heterosexual) marriage, you are more likely to be sexually satisfied than other women:

…in other words, those women for whom the expression “Oh God, oh God, oh God!” is not just orgasmic, it’s a benediction.

Must suck to be a liberal lesbian atheist, huh?  (Mind you, this would explain Rachel Maddow quite well [warning: link contains Rachel Maddow], not to mention all the liberal participants on The View [no link, because ugh].)

Upgrade

This dispatch just in from the Sex Wars:

AI doll manufacturer Realbotix has recently fitted new models with Wi-Fi, enabling high-speed synchronising for voice and animation.
They also stand to benefit from 5G, which is poised to give us vastly superior mobile internet data.
This means sex robots will be able to connect and update without needing to be near an internet router.

And this comment from the Official Tester, Brick Dollbanger [sic]:

[T]his technology will make them so realistic, we won’t be able to tell them apart from humans.

I’m waiting for the “Make me a sandwich” upgrade, which I think will be the tipping point.