Off-topic thoughts about Fifty Shades of Grey


CONTENT WARNING: I am about to discuss Fifty Shades of Grey, which is not only a bad movie but also has a lot of sex. This is not typical content for The Atheist Experience blog, but hey, I have a soapbox, so why not. If you do not like hearing about sex or bad movies, please don’t read it. Thanks!

Ok, so… my wife Lynnea and I had a date last night, and we agreed that we were both curious enough about Fifty Shades of Grey that it was worth seeing. Ideally we would have wanted to see it with the comforting support of Rifftrax or Master Pancake, because we were not planning to like it. But it’s too new, so we thought we’d see the movie on its own terms. We’d both read plenty of material leading us to expect a thoroughly bad movie.

And it was bad, make no mistake. But the thing is, I was prepared for much worse, and with the benefit of low expectations, I was able to enjoy some of it. Some of the discussion that follows emerged from our animated conversation immediately after the movie, so a lot of this material is as much hers as mine.

First let me get some of the bad stuff out of the way. Being a couple of social justice lovin’, feminist, sex-positive atheists, we’re fully cognizant about how the story does not really understand the concept of consent, and gets downright rapey in some places. And while bondage is not really our thing, I’ve heard from people who would know, that it’s a bad and incompetent portrayal of bondage “best practices.”

Doctor Nerdlove wrote a good bit about the rapey bits. There’s a scene early on where young billionaire Christian Grey “rescues” naive college senior Anastasia Steele (side note: is that a great stage name for an adult film star or what??) from a bar where she has become falling down drunk. But instead of taking her home, or handing her off to her roommate who is RIGHT THERE, he brings her back to his hotel room, passed out, where he undresses her and then sleeps next to her. So while allegedly protecting her from people who might take advantage of her, he takes advantage of her. He didn’t actually penetrate her, but he put her through plenty of unnecessary stuff that she wouldn’t agree to while conscious. In Doctor Nerdlove’s words (I’m editing this heavily but omitting a lot of ellipses for readability):

“And nobody, not the doorman, not the staff, not the guests, nobody said a damn thing about it. Now in any place, people would notice this shit. This is not something you expect to see in a hotel lobby. Let’s be clear here: Christian Grey is the richest man in the Pacific Northwest. He’s no recluse – he’s, at the very least, Richard Branson-level famous. And here he is, bringing an unconscious college student back to his room like he’s bringing back a pizza. In any other world, this would be huge. TMZ and Perez Hilton would lose their everloving shit over this.”

Yeah, so that happens. And he stalks her, a lot. And he ignores her when she says “no.” In short, Christian Grey is either incredibly oblivious to the finer points of “consent,” or (more likely) he doesn’t really care. None of that’s okay. At all. So I hope we’re clear on all that.

Now here are my mitigating factors.

First of all, the movie’s a sex fantasy. You can entertain fantasies that you wouldn’t condone at all in real life, recognizing that they are fun to imagine but unethical in reality. There are a ton of dirty stories about students and teachers sleeping with each other. For some people, that’s a great fantasy. In real life, it should definitely get the teacher fired.

Here’s a brief thing Greta Christina had to say about criticism of the book version of “50 Shades” (which she says she hasn’t read).

“I don’t think every piece of fiction has to provide a model of what people should act like. That’s true if the fiction is aiming to be realistic and shine a light on real life — and it’s true if the fiction is aiming to be a fantasy. It’s okay to write about human reality in ways that are morally complex and acknowledge human imperfection. And it’s okay to write about fantasies that are entirely unrealistic, just fun things to imagine. Not every piece of fiction has to be a preachy morality play, in which the good are universally rewarded and the wicked are universally punished.”

The book and movie obviously appeal to a lot of women, most of whom I’m sure would no sooner accept Christian Grey’s abusive behavior in reality than Twilight fans would date a blood-sucking vampire. But I’m not inclined to feel all that judgmental about indulging the fantasy. There are plenty of even more ridiculous things in your typical action flick or superhero movie. Hell, Christian Grey is Batman. No, seriously. Imagine if Bruce Wayne, instead of dumping money into cool crime-fighting gadgets, had simply focused all his resources on his sexy playboy persona. Christian has got the giant mega-corporation with an ambiguous business model (not once in the movie do we ever hear what Grey Enterprises does; we only hear him occasionally yelling silly things into a phone like “You tell them they haven’t GOT 24 hours!!”). He’s got the cool cars. He has unlimited talents, except instead of being a super awesome detective, martial artist, and “scientist,” 27 year old Christian is an incredible piano player, has the world’s greatest network of creepy surveillance equipment, and he’s got piloting skills that would be the envy of the US Air Force. Instead of a bat cave, he has a bat sex dungeon. He’s just Batman, okay? Or Tony Stark. Just go with it.

Meanwhile, Ana is… let’s say Luke Skywalker. A boring person with a boring life who just happens to be The Chosen One. But not chosen to have The Force, just chosen to see the Bat Sex Dungeon.

The relationship between Christian and Ana is thoroughly unhealthy, although I’ve read a trashy romance novel or two before, and this is not necessarily worse than that. Christian is a total creep, and if Ana had her shit together she would pick up the warning signs within a few minutes of meeting the guy, and get the hell out at once. She does not have her shit together, which is something that real life predators count on to keep their victims around. That’s terrible. Hang on a minute though, I’m about to say some things that were actually good about the movie.

Wait no, not quite yet. First I want to mention that the dialogue was hilarious. It was badly written, many lines sounded like nothing any normal human being would ever say, and the delivery did not help. I’m not really sure if Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are bad actors, or if they were just doing the best they could with lines like “NO. YOU CAN’T LOVE ME.” or: “Why are you trying to change me?” “I’m not. It’s you that’s changing me.” But trust me, they sound awful.

But despite the arguably bad acting, the chemistry between them was actually decent. There were some pretty fun sex scenes too, which is fairly important for a movie like this. Actually, I’m mildly surprised that it managed to swing an R rating instead of an NC-17. Having seen This Film Is Not Yet Rated, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what you can’t get away with for the MPAA, and this movie seemed to hit a lot of no-nos. There were multiple scenes of a woman receiving oral sex quite enthusiastically. There was not quite full frontal male nudity, but it skirted that line pretty closely.

Anyway, here’s the thing. I have been known to enjoy some adult entertainment from time to time… and I hope that will not shock or embarrass anyone. One way to ridicule bad acting is to compare it to porn. Sometimes porn movies have kind of a story, but at best the acting rises to the level of very talented high school students in a play.

And that’s kind of a shame, because I’d say there is a niche for more movies with good stories and acting, which also happens to include well done explicit sex scenes. Context is sexy. A sex act is more interesting if you know how and why the people got together, even (or perhaps especially, depending on your tastes) when they’re strangers. Most movies that go there, fall short in one of two key areas. They either have a decent story but use laughably prudish tropes to hide the sex, or (with porn) they have really explicit sex with almost no context.

And I’d like both, please. I know it’s a tall order to fill, but I’d like some decent sex scenes combined with some good actors who are believably hot for each other, and a plot.

This is not that movie. But it’s not a complete failure either. It is just good enough to give me that glimmer of a reminder that a well-made and enjoyable dirty movie is something that would be nice to see more of. So my time watching Fifty Shades of Grey was not a complete loss. Interestingly, in a story that is mostly bad at handling consent, one of the hottest scenes is actually about discussing the consensual terms of their relationship. Christian puts Ana in a board room and they go over a “contract” he’s drawn up, where they discuss their conditions and she vetoes some things, and he throws in some promises to sweeten the deal. And they’re not having sex in that scene, but there is a lot of build-up to it. Which is cool.

Also, even though Christian is super creepy a lot of the time, there is at least the mitigating factor that Ana verbally tells him on several occasions that she agrees to continue. Even at the end, where he makes her cry, he does so only after repeatedly making sure that she wants him to do what he is doing. It doesn’t excuse the abuse that he is committing, but it makes the whole thing marginally more tolerable.

Anyway, at the end of the movie, she walks out and the elevator shuts and we fade to black. And for a moment, I was ready to applaud the story for its boldness in finally recognizing that Christian is a shitty guy, and she should leave. But no, it turns out that there are going to be sequels, so apparently she comes back. Maybe I can reject that and pretend that she really dumped him. She’s been mistreated, but it wasn’t completely traumatizing, so now that she’s got more experience let’s pretend she is ready to move on and get in a healthy relationship with somebody who is totally not Christian Grey. Just like those last two Matrix movies. They’re not canon, right?

Comments

  1. Narf says

    … most of whom I’m sure would no sooner accept Christian Grey’s abusive behavior in reality than Twilight fans would date a blood-sucking vampire.

    Eh, I don’t know about that statement about Twilight fans. I know some weird chicks.

  2. Indiana Jones says

    Yeah, but I think that’s kinda the point Narf. You would have to be bold and italicisedly weird to ‘accept Christian Grey’s abusive behaviour in reality’

  3. Ariel says

    The book and movie obviously appeal to a lot of women


    Full disclosure: I have my private scores to settle, both with the book and with the movie.

    Not a long time ago my teenage daughter was a fan of the Twilight series. All these horrible posters with pale monstrosities in her room … ah! Believe me, I was sooo happy when at last she declared that vampires are not cool anymore! However, now she is all into the Grey series and sometimes … well, sometimes I catch myself thinking with nostalgia about the vampires.

    I haven’t read the books but together with my wife we watched the movie. My wife considered it boring; she also found the heroine immensely irritating (she didn’t seem to care much about Christian). Alright, I can live with this. Even though Ana didn’t irritate me that much, I was moderately bored as well. But how to talk about it with a fascinated fifteen year old girl? Any ideas?

    What we’ve had so far is:
    – Ana is undecided and doesn’t really know what she wants. Cool! That’s what girls are often like! That’s sexy!
    – Christian “takes care” of Ana, guides and steers her. Cool! That’s the guy’s task! That’s sexy!
    – Christian manipulates Ana (it took some time before my daughter admitted this, but eventually she did). Cool! These are the sordid facts of life! That’s how it really goes! What an amazing book and movie, to show everything so realistically!
    – Boring and schematic? Bad dialogues? Nah. My friends love it as well. You are simply too old to understand.

    Sorry everybody, but it seems that the conclave of schoolgirls on a special meeting declared “Fifty shades of Grey” a masterpiece. Shut up and listen. Roma locuta.

    Argh!!!!

  4. Narf says

    @2 – Indiana Jones
    The problem is in the construction of the comparison. There’s a ‘most’ modifying the women to whom 50-Shades appeals. There isn’t a ‘most’ modifying the Twilight fans. The implication is that Twilight fans would not date a blood-sucking vampire, with no conditional in regards to probability.

  5. Narf says

    @3 – Ariel
    Sounds like a failure, on the part of your daughter and her friends, to make the distinction between how relationships often are and how relationships should be … and how to avoid the douche bags who will push you into an abuse relationship, like the one depicted. I’m terrified by the idea of a generation growing up with Twilight and 50 Shades as their relationship models.

  6. Russell Glasser says

    @3 I feel your pain, Ariel. Hopefully I’ve made it clear that I can only enjoy this as entertainment by strictly separating it from a good model of real life relationships. In this case I think your daughter may need some guidance about recognizing abusive relationships, and standing up for herself. But as you said, “how to talk about it with a fascinated fifteen year old girl?” — I have no idea. How does a parent talk about anything with a teenager? 😛

  7. garnetstar says

    For a great sex scene with excellent actors who are believably hot for each other and a fantastic plot, the best movie ever made is Don’t Look Now. It’s a masterpiece by any standard, but the quite explicit scene between Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland is legendary.

    The scene is so hot that the firm rumor persisted for decades that the actors were not faking, but actually engaging in sex while the cameras rolled. That isn’t true, but it gives you an idea of how hot the scene is and what good actors those two are (which actually, we already knew).

    Get this movie right away if you haven’t seen it yet. Even without the sex, it’s amazing.

  8. Yellow Thursday says

    As someone who enjoys consuming porn that includes rape fantasy, I can understand the appeal of FSoG. It’s probably about time I read the books. heh

    I want to quote something else by Greta Christina, from her introduction to Bending:

    And every single story in this book is consensual.

    They’re consensual because they’re fiction. They’re consensual because they’re made-up. I consented to write them; you’re consenting to read them. If you don’t want to read this kind of thing, this isn’t the book for you. I encourage you to put it down, and read something else.

    It’s funny. When it comes to things that aren’t sex, people seem to understand this distinction. People get that enjoying spy novels doesn’t mean you want to join the CIA; that enjoying murder mysteries doesn’t mean you want to kill people; that enjoying heist thrillers doesn’t mean you want to break into Fort Knox. People understand that it’s fun and exciting to imagine things we wouldn’t actually want to do — even things we think are immoral.

    But for some reason, porn often gets held to a different standard. Depicting a fantasy of a sex act is often assumed to be an endorsement of that act. So let me spell it out: I do not endorse sexual force, abuse of power, rape, or any form of violation of sexual consent. I am vehemently opposed to them.

    I am, however, unapologetic about the fact that I like to fantasize about them. If we have any freedom at all, it’s the freedom between our ears: the freedom to think about whatever we like. And that includes sex.

  9. Edward Black says

    First I’m not Ed, I’m his wife Jeanette. Stupid Google.

    About talking to teenagers, the best example I ever had in my life was my 91 year old great grandmother. I was fifteen and in LOVE/LUST with a totally bad boy. He was 21, had not finished high school, drank, probably did drugs, and was a general jerk. Of course I thought he was the coolest guy in the world, a magnifcent rebel. My mother had talked to me, my father had talked to me, my teachers had talked to me. All that accomplished was that I was even more determined he was the love of my life.

    My Nana asked to met him. I brought him over for coffee. He slouched, pouted, and looked bored. Nana appeared thrilled with him. When he went out to the car, she told me that she could totally understand my feelings. She praised him, then added “And he is so brave, and doesn’t care at all what other people think. Most men would never have the courage to wear those tight leather pants if they were as bow-legged as he is.

    And I looked out the window at he walking back to the house. Dear god, he WAS as bow-legged as a chimp. We left, and we walked around a mall and all I could think of were those bandy legs and other girls looking at them. Suddenly I also noticed he was rude to me, and actually didn’t smell so good, and perhaps, just perhaps he had not quit school because he refused to bend to the system but because he wasn’t actually that smart. I broke up with him within a week.

    Smart lady, my Nana

  10. says

    Hi Ariel–I feel your pain.

    – Ana is undecided and doesn’t really know what she wants. Cool! That’s what girls are often like! That’s sexy!

    If your daughter finds this sexy—fix this sooner rather than later (if you can?) I would not want her thinking that the men she should attract are men looking for confused women who aren’t strong and directed in their goals and achievements. I’d warn her that being in a confused state is a good way for someone to come along and take full advantage of her lack of direction—by providing her with a direction of THEIR own. In other words, lacking direction is a great way to become someone’s tool, and not something to admire.

    I’d let her know that people sometimes hit cross-roads and become confused, and we all can find ourselves in situations where we aren’t sure what we want to do or where we want to go. But I wouldn’t want her to romanticize that as a state that is “sexy” or positive in any way. It is a situation that very often paralyzes a person’s progress. And anyone—male or female—needs to drive their own goals, lives, destinies—so that they do not simply find themselves adopting those of others (especially in a world where some of us would find such folks *useful* in not-so-good ways). Maybe there is a way to show her the value of controlling her own destiny and the harm that comes from not doing so, and letting others lead us by the nose?

    – Christian “takes care” of Ana, guides and steers her. Cool! That’s the guy’s task! That’s sexy!

    A “guy’s task”? If she’s thinking this way—run don’t walk to fix her head–although I guess there’s only so much that can be done from the “outside” of her head, right? I wouldn’t want her thinking strong-willed men exist to guide confused and misguided women. If that’s what she’s getting out of it, that’s not very empowering. I’d want to know why it’s better that Christian guide Ana with his agenda than that Ana work to understand herself better and learn to master her own life and destiny so that she isn’t just used by someone else and is an independent person?

    – Christian manipulates Ana (it took some time before my daughter admitted this, but eventually she did). Cool! These are the sordid facts of life! That’s how it really goes! What an amazing book and movie, to show everything so realistically!

    Yeah—be sure she’s aware that’s VERY OFTEN how it goes when you have no direction—which is why having a lack of direction is NOT a positive attribute, not “sexy” at all. A healthy minded person isn’t going to be interested in someone confused and lacking direction, if that’s their standard M.O. That state attracts predators more often than not, because such folks are vulnerable and easier marks. Does she really prefer the idea of being an appendage in someone else’s life than the full body in her own? Don’t get me wrong–it’s an age where acceptance is almost everything–and especially sexual acceptance. But she needs a model of a healthy relationship with a strong female and a strong male (as she sounds hetero, I’m framing it in those terms)–a real partnership, not something so unbalanced.

    – Boring and schematic? Bad dialogues? Nah. My friends love it as well. You are simply too old to understand.

    I can’t speak to this fully since I only read a couple brief excerpts of the book online. The writing was so horrific there was no way I’d make it through the book. Prior to reading those few paragraphs, I thought Ayn Rand was the worst author I’d ever encountered. But reading all of Atlas Shrugged would be a joy compared to having to endure more of the horrendous prose put forward in what I read online out of 50 Shades. That being said—I’m sure I was into some horrendous crap when I was younger. Honestly, I remember thinking Stephen King was a great author—so looking back…I may not have room to judge.

    Netflix has a section for “strong female leads”—maybe she can find a way to appreciate some of those characters as well–balance it out a bit?

    Seriously—good luck. I can see how this would be frustrating, and I’m not even involved.

  11. says

    >For a great sex scene with excellent actors who are believably hot for each other and a fantastic plot, the best movie ever made is Don’t Look Now.

    Eye of the Beholder. I watched this movie and finally quit because I couldn’t finish it. I’m a Sutherland fan, but I specifically recall thinking the sex was awkward and lacked realism and chemistry. I’m not arguing with you–but it made me smile when I read your comment–because I recalled specifically thinking it was so bad, so reading your comment on this thread–I thought “WHAT are the odds someone would even mention this, let alone have such a vastly different reaction to that content?” 🙂

  12. says

    I think a great example of fictional abuse that I enjoyed was the original Italian version of Swept Away. It’s one of my all time favorite films, but only because both of the leads–one male, one female–are horrible people. Neither of them wins in the end, and I laughed very hard at all the “in-between” content where they both abused and insulted one another almost nonstop. I wouldn’t want either of them involved in my life–they were awful, awful human beings. But the interplay was very funny to me, although there was quite a lot of verbal and physical abuse.

  13. Narf says

    @13 – heicart
    Right there with you, on the fictional versus real-life distinction … although I feel the need to insert a distinction about age-appropriate material. There’s a reason that video game and movie rating-systems have nebulous categories about ‘adult content’. Most movies and games are messed up as hell but are entertaining for people who have that ability to separate.

    Child stars often turn out so messed up because they can’t disentangle their personal lives from that of their characters onscreen. Likewise, children watching adult-oriented TV shows and movies are much more likely to mimic the behavior of those onscreen, in potentially dangerous ways. Once someone matures enough intellectually, though, go nuts. Enjoy.

    My own example is from Dragon Age: Inquisition. The romantic option that I went with was Sera, who is an absolute bag of cats. She’s impulsive; has a very simplistic, immature sense of right and wrong; tends to murder people if you talk to them for too long, and she gets bored (in her defense, he was a very bad person); and is a bit nuts in general. As a video-game love-interest, she’s absolutely delightful, in an insane way. In real life, I’d be running like hell, shortly after meeting her.

  14. Narf says

    @10 – heicart

    Honestly, I remember thinking Stephen King was a great author—so looking back…I may not have room to judge.

    I would say more that he’s a great writer with a hit-and-miss record of getting things to paper. Dreamcatcher was great. The Stand … The Long Walk … The Dark Tower series (if you chuck most of book 4, as King himself admits, in his endorsement of adaptations that did so).

    When he’s on target, he’s great. Other books of his, I put down after less than 100 pages.

    H.P. Lovecraft was a lot like that, in that he had a lot of vision but erratic ability to bring his vision to prose — although that’s being a bit charitable to Lovecraft, since you have to look past his extreme pro-Anglo racism, class-ism, sexism, and his complete inability to write dialogue. I’d put Tolkein in that category, too, as a brilliant author with a lot of vision (to adapt Wagner and such) but very hit-and-miss prose … although clearly far more competent than Lovecraft, for example.

  15. M can help you with that. says

    I’d be more willing to accept the “this is just fantasy” angle if the author didn’t keep insisting that everything in it is consensual and an honest portrayal of kinky relationships. This is what really creeps me out (and a lot of other people I know, particularly in the kink and BDSM communities) — the abuse, manipulation, ignoring of boundaries, etc. are all portrayed as ultimately okay because they’re what Ana “really wants.”

  16. Ariel says

    Jeanette #9, that was a great story. It seems that your Nana could teach me a lot!

    heicart, thanks. Your arguments are good; not a few of them have already been tried out by us. Just to avoid creating a false impression: my daughter is not a “weak damsel in distress”. No way, she is strong-willed and very, very stubborn. Discussions with her are … well, she is definitely the argumentative type. Till the last blood, until everybody except her is fed up with the topic. She can be quite efficient in analyzing arguments and defending her views – while claiming at the same time that girls *don’t* really have views, that going with the current is all they are able to do. (Yes, that’s what she says, the blatant contradiction notwithstanding.)

    The optimistic version would be that she does it just in order to irritate us. Indeed, I think this is true to a considerable degree; but it also seems to me that what she deems “sexy” (this whole image of a strong, protective ‘tough guy’, guiding and caring) corresponds to some real attraction. And here is the problem. You can fight against arguments with counterarguments, sure. But how do you fight against well-entrenched attractions? Is this even a fight worth having?

    You wished me good luck – thank you. Of course I will continue trying.

  17. Narf says

    @16 – M can help you with that.

    I’d be more willing to accept the “this is just fantasy” angle if the author didn’t keep insisting that everything in it is consensual and an honest portrayal of kinky relationships.

    Maybe she’s sort of like a Christian apologist, writing about how atheists and skeptics think about something, after never having spoken or to nor tried to understand the way that atheists/skeptics think?

    I mean, yes, I think most Christian apologists are just lying douche-bags, deliberately distorting the opposing position, since they’re really just preaching to the choir, reassuring those with doubts, no matter how much they claim to be reaching out to skeptics. But some of them might actually think they’re addressing skeptical concerns. If the only exposure you receive to the opposition to your religious position is through other apologists for your religion, then your understanding of the opposition is going to be pretty fucked.

    Maybe the 50-Shades lady has a similar exposure to BDSSM? Maybe she’s just that ignorant? If your only exposure to it is through other, badly-written erotica, you can’t hope to represent it fairly.

    By the time that she was editing it, it already had massive support through the fan-fic community … for some reason that I’ll never quite understand. When you’re doing a professional treatment of the script, and your BDSSM advisers that you’ve called in advise that you burn the whole thing down and try again — and the publishers are on the other line with that million-dollar advance, if you can get them the finished script next month — what do you do?

    And now that she has the fans screaming in one ear, it’s harder to hear the grumblings of the BDSSM community in the other.

  18. Narf says

    @17 – Ariel

    … well, she is definitely the argumentative type. Till the last blood, until everybody except her is fed up with the topic.

    Hand her off to me. The other regulars around here can vouch for my credentials in this field. 😀

  19. canonicalkoi says

    It shouldn’t be a surprise that it appeals to Twilight fans or that “Christian” is really creepy–the book comes from Twilight fanfic and “Christian” is actually everybody’s (least) favorite vampire, Edward. “Anastasia” was originally Bella. James originally published it on the ‘net as Master of the Universe (under the scintillating name Snowqueens Icedragon *cough*), and it was touted as an “alternate universe” fanfic where Edward was a wealthy businessman and Bella was a college student who meets him and they wind up in the stalker/victim relationship portrayed in 50SoG.

    You can read a fairly good write-up of all the trouble that caused in the fanfic community here – http://www.crushable.com/2012/05/11/entertainment/el-james-snowqueens-icedragon-fifty-shades-of-grey-twilight-fandom-wank-860/ If you read that site, make sure you take a look at the link there to what the Dear Author blog found. (I know sometimes this site is a little cranky if you include more than one link per post.) I have no dog in this fight other than having read enough of the book to know it depicts a horribly unbalanced (in the sense of power differential) “relationship”. That, and really hating names like “Snowqueens Icedragon” (what’s with the plural?). Being a humble, yet archetypal fish, I know I shouldn’t talk.

  20. Gotny Gumchum says

    Perhaps the most explicit film released in UK cinemas was ‘Nine Songs’. It’s about a relationship seen in retrospect (not a spoiler – it’s the first scene), between a couple who like going to see bands play live, and having sex. And they really have real sex, and it is filmed uncompromisingly. The couple are attractive in a real life kind of way, and sometimes it is kind of erotic, but mostly I was too involved in the story and the emotions it generated, for the main character and for me. But it certainly didn’t have the Hollywood trope of the girl holding the sheet up to her breasts after love making! I remember thinking that Nine Songs was ground breaking, and that from now on, main stream film makers would be able to be a little more realistic, but nope.
    p.s. I also thought that the sex scene in Don’t Look Now was sexy, but couldn’t recommend you watch the film – it’s the reason I can never go to Venice…….