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Thread: Sex Scenes in Books or Film

  1. #1
    Abnormal Romance Author thethinker42's Avatar
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    Sex Scenes in Books or Film

    SP suggested starting a thread about this, so that's what I'm doing. And yes, this is a mature, sensible thread, though you can probably count on SP and me to throw in some silliness here and there. Seriously, though, I'd really like to keep this somewhat on topic, as I think it may be a valuable discussion.

    Basically, this thread is about observing sex in books and film, observing how sexual tension is created/maintained, etc. What scenes have always stuck in your mind? Which fell flat? What made them stick in your mind or fall flat?

    Post links to YouTube videos (I think it's safe to assume most are NSFW in this case) if you have them, or at least describe them as best you can (which in and of itself is a valuable exercise).

    I posted this in another thread, but will repost it here: Last summer, Scarletpeaches and I spent several hours every day for about 2 straight weeks analyzing the hell out of sex scenes in both book and film. (YouTube, we love you...) We'd read/watch them and ask ourselves/each other why a particular scene worked and why one didn't. Why did one fall flat while the other created visceral, physical reactions (aka, tinglies!)? What little details made our breath catch while others barely registered.

    To get you started, I highly recommend (obviously adult content, NSFW, etc):

    From "The English Patient":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUrRAF-RwNw

    From "Atonement" (this is easily one of my favorites; There's something heart-stoppingly sexy about a kiss or a touch that says "I need you NOW". To me, that's what makes this scene so sexy...all the tension and buildup, then a "can't wait another second" release. Especially take note of her skirt going up her leg, the strap from her dress between his fingers, things like that.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izs4_0X7UlY

    From "On Becoming Jane" (this isn't a sex scene, but is an incredible example of romantic and sexual tension. Watch the whole thing...it's slow to start, and the part I'm thinking of is at 2:08, but the rest of the clip builds up to it. It's really little more than a look shared between two people, but it speaks volumes. And the fact that James McAvoy is hot doesn't hurt, but I digress...)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDqZsNV_7bY

    From "Mr & Mrs Smith" (particularly from about 0:10-0:27 - their eyes speak volumes; the rest of the clip has its pluses and minuses; I don't recommend having your characters fucking on broken glass):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSfZHFJt_5E

    From "The Fountain" (skip ahead to about 2:15; 2:45 on is especially good):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOCUzLA7BGU

    From "Out of Sight" (I don't care if you hate JLo as much as I do...this whole scene is sexy.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWXC1NlER4k

    From "The Matrix: Reloaded" (Obviously something like this is going to translate better to film than to the written word, but it's a good example of using the environment/surroundings to emphasize the feelings of a scene. There's an incredible, primal rhythm to that scene, and while the movie itself was mostly made of fail, that scene was spectacular.):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdj3SzQrCII

    Other:

    True Lies - Striptease scene. Pay attention not to what she's doing, but how he's looking at her. Even though you can barely see his face, the looks are there.
    Shakespeare in Love - SP will have to narrow down which scene it was, as I haven't seen the whole movie, but there's a particular scene when the character played by Fiennes gives Paltrow's character a LOOK. Just watching her across a room, and his face has pure longing written across it. (see? It's not just sex scenes...any kind of interaction, tension-builders, etc)
    The Recruit - Parking garage kiss, spectacular example of "must have you RIGHT NOW" tension.

    Remember: The tension does not begin or end in the bedroom. Putting aside my undying hatred of the movie Alexander, and my insane crushes on both Jared Leto and Colin Farrell, there is one thing that makes that movie worthwhile: The sexual tension between their characters. They never do anything onscreen (Oliver Stone, for this I hate you), and their dialogue is horrible (hey, at least it was consistent with the rest of the film)...BUT the looks they exchange. Good God. If anyone can put on a look of sexual longing, it's Hephaestion when he's watching Alexander marry someone else. They both nailed the chemistry and sexual tension.

    Figure out what makes those scenes sexy, what gives them tension, and translate that onto the page. It's not easy, but trust me on this one. After SP and I did this, our sex scenes and the sexual tension between our characters changed dramatically.

    And while you're at it, read my rant about how not to write sex scenes.
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  2. #2
    Listening to the Voices In My Head Satori1977's Avatar
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    Great thread. Think I will get started with those you tube clips...though I have seen all those movies, I could use a remeinder since it has been awhile for some. And I will keep everything you said in mind and come back with some opinions...
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  3. #3
    Listening to the Voices In My Head Satori1977's Avatar
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    Wait, before I do that, let me say this. I think in movies it depends a lot on the actor's and their chemisty. Some have it, some just don't. So much is said with body language, and with the eyes. I think everyone knows what it is like to get "that look" from their SO, spouse, lover, whatever. The one that says "I need you. I don't care about anything else at this moment. I. NEED. YOU. NOW." I personally never feel sexier, or more in the mood, than when my husband gives me that look. Doesn't matter what I am doing, or how I am feeling at that moment. It changes everything.
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  4. #4
    Abnormal Romance Author thethinker42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satori1977 View Post
    Wait, before I do that, let me say this. I think in movies it depends a lot on the actor's and their chemisty. Some have it, some just don't. So much is said with body language, and with the eyes. I think everyone knows what it is like to get "that look" from their SO, spouse, lover, whatever. The one that says "I need you. I don't care about anything else at this moment. I. NEED. YOU. NOW." I personally never feel sexier, or more in the mood, than when my husband gives me that look. Doesn't matter what I am doing, or how I am feeling at that moment. It changes everything.
    Yes, absolutely...which is something that is worth observing closely, because we have to be able to recreate that chemistry between our characters if that makes sense.
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    ageing savage dolores haze's Avatar
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    I'm linking to a scene from The Lover. The film was based on the semi-autobigraphical novel by Marguerite Dumas. I think this scene really gets across erotic longing/yearning.

    Extra special caution. In the novel the female MC is 15. The movie changed it to 17. The actress was 18. It's a very chaste scene, but I just thought I'd warn you.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ETyU...eature=related

  7. #7
    Abnormal Romance Author thethinker42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dolores haze View Post
    I'm linking to a scene from The Lover. The film was based on the semi-autobigraphical novel by Marguerite Dumas. I think this scene really gets across erotic longing/yearning.

    Extra special caution. In the novel the female MC is 15. The movie changed it to 17. The actress was 18. It's a very chaste scene, but I just thought I'd warn you.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ETyU...eature=related
    YES. Good example. Sexy and erotic with lots of tension, without even any physical contact.
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  8. #8
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    I can't find this scene in it's entirety. But at the time (I watched the movie) it struck me as very powerful.

    From Howards End. Not sure why they don't have the whole scene but it's worth checking out.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6_BlnXIFq4
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  9. #9
    Listening to the Voices In My Head Satori1977's Avatar
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    This

    One of my favorite hot scenes...not just because it is two gorgeous men making out, but the passion they show in this scene is unreal. It is amazing to think they are (were) both heterosexual men. That kiss tells more than words ever could. How their love is forbidden. They both try to fight it but can't. Love. Desire. Angst. Pain. Disgust. It is all there and more in one kiss and a couple of looks.
    Rejection isn't failure. Failure is giving up. Everybody gets rejected, it's how you handle it that determines where you will end up.

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    The Titanic hand.

    Lock thread.

  11. #11
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarletpeaches View Post
    The Titanic hand.

    Lock thread.
    This you mean?
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  12. #12
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    That. Is. So. Fucking. Sexy.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarletpeaches View Post
    That. Is. So. Fucking. Sexy.
    QFT

  14. #14
    Listening to the Voices In My Head Satori1977's Avatar
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    Yes it is. I also like the scene where Rose is nude and he is drawing her. He gets so flustered...just the way he looks at her, and she at him. You know they want each other.
    Rejection isn't failure. Failure is giving up. Everybody gets rejected, it's how you handle it that determines where you will end up.

    Richard Castle


  15. #15
    Abnormal Romance Author thethinker42's Avatar
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    God, I am so with everyone on the Titanic hand. NOM NOM NOM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satori1977 View Post
    Yes it is. I also like the scene where Rose is nude and he is drawing her. He gets so flustered...just the way he looks at her, and she at him. You know they want each other.
    Exactly. It's highly erotic - so says Rose herself - but understated. Unfortunately, I can't watch this scene without hearing the voices of one of the children who was in the theatre with me the second time I saw it (YES I SAW IT THREE TIMES IN THE THEATRE SUE ME)...he yelled out, "OMG! Her boob is as big as the concession stand!" *sigh* Kind of killed the effect, but I can still appreciate the scene.
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    I saw it once with my ex, and I knew we were heading for a split...

    After the split, his best friend at the time wanted to take me out to cheer me up (no, really...he's a gent. Dunno WHY he was mates with my ex) and I suggested the cinema. I wanted to torture myself by seeing the film again.

    I figured I could cry, and pretend it was about the film. My companion knew, but was gentlemanly enough to rib me about 'crying at a movie'.

  17. #17
    Malkavian Primogen DavidZahir's Avatar
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    One of the most erotic films ever made was The Secretary, and the opening credits really set the tone...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28W3d3brIf0
    The way she moves, the grace and pride are just vastly sexy. And yet when you next see her, weeks earlier, she's this nervous little frump. You spend the first half of the movie wondering how did she go from one to the other. And the film also shows (without really stating it) that between a dominant and the submissive, the stronger of the two is usually the submissive.

    Then there is Bound, which had a very steamy sex scene but the scene where Violet and Corky first get together is just too hot for words. It is all about what isn't being said, and then what is.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EceT6XUMpI4

  18. #18
    Abnormal Romance Author thethinker42's Avatar
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    SP mentioned another good one while we were chatting on MSN: This scene from Meet Joe Black. If only for the bit at 1:20...the look on his face? God yes. WIN.
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    That scene is eyewateringly sexy.

    As for the link you just sent me on MSN...well...you know the effect it has on me.

  20. #20
    Abnormal Romance Author thethinker42's Avatar
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    You mean the gotta have it, can't wait, need you RIGHT NOW snog from The Recruit?

    This one?

    Why yes, I rather like that one too. Picture perfect desperation.
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    I'll be in my bunk.

    I mean...really..."Who were you thinking about...?"

    *dies*

    Colin.

  22. #22
    The More U Cry The Less I Care nighttimer's Avatar
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    I don't think most American filmmakers even like to film sex scenes, but every now and then they get it right.

    Ellen Barkin and Laurence Fishburne in Bad Company
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNIyxz_P36g

    Gary Oldman and the crazysexycool Lena Olin as Mona Demarkov prove love hurts in Romeo Is Bleeding.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw59a_-83f0


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    Dude, I can't read all that. My eyes hurt for some reason, sorry. The answer to your question
    What made them stick in your mind or fall flat?
    is atmosphere.

    As much as I hated sex being treated like it was wrong, it made it more erotic. When film does that right. Pow. Fuck. It's great.

    If was easy to do, everyone would be doing it right?

  24. #24
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    I just remembered this scene from A History of Violence. The whole clip is about 10 minutes, the sex starts at about 7 minutes. It's best when seen in context of the whole scene though.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ57H...eature=related

    There's another really hot scene right at the beginning of the movie, but this is the one that really sticks in my mind. Talk about angry sex. Man. I can't even express how much this scene impresses me.
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    I know it might sound cheesy to list, but I've always loved how this dance scene progresses. Her first time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s-PrF7gC9k
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