Movies and television give us a lot of great things: characters to love and hate, witty lines to quote, and an excuse to stare intently at Ryan Gosling (or any other actor/actress of choice).
One area they tend to fall down in, however, is sex. If pop culture was your only reference point for what sex is like in real life, you’d be screwed.
Yes, there have been some great, realistic portrayals of sex on our screens — and we do understand there’s an element of ‘make believe’ at play here — but on the whole movies and TV have been telling us some pretty big lies about the glorious mess that is getting it onnnn. Here are 23 of them, in order of appearance.
1. “Foreplay”… What is “foreplay”?
Movie sex tends to escalate quickly. One minute a pair of characters lock eyes; the next, they’re having simultaneous orgasms. When viewers are treated to a slice of pre-action action, it’s not often a man performing oral sex on a woman.
2. “The Sexy Sink”.
You know — the sex scene trope where two characters start kissing, their passion visibly augments, and then their bodies just mysteriously begin sinking towards the ground in perfect synchrony… But we never actually see how they transition from awkward gradual kneel to hot sex. How does it work?
3. Bras are a snap to remove.
Fact: bras are hard to take off. Even for bra wearers, that whole ‘one-handed-snap-off’ move is difficult — so imagine what it’s like when you’re expected to maintain eye contact and/or kissing energy at the same time. In reality, there’s usually at least four seconds of fumbling (and some frustrated grunting) before it comes off.
4. Taking clothing off is both easy and sensual.
Did we mere mortals somehow miss the high school lesson on ‘sexily wriggling out of underwear while lying horizontal on a bed’? It certainly looks like it. Clothes can be very complex things, with any combination of buttons, zips, press-studs, buckles and/or laces to contend with, not to mention pesky things like feet that can trip you over. If only velcro were more fashionable, right?
5. Condoms are simply unnecessary. Actually, so is all contraception.
Memo to directors: we know you probably have running time restrictions, but seriously — condoms are essential, especially in sex between strangers as is so often depicted on screen. Does unwanted pregnancy simply not exist in MovieLand? What about STIs?
Yes, there are couples in real life who don’t use condoms, but this is generally because they’re using another form of contraception. Why don’t we ever see or hear fleeting references to the Pill, IUDs or vaginal rings in movies? (Post continues after gallery.)
6. When they do exist, condoms are like gloves.
In that they slide on effortlessly and silently, with not a single weird Cling Wrap-like noise to be heard anyway. Off-screen? Nope.
7. All men can get it in first go, without any hands-on assistance.
We’re calling it: this is a complete fallacy (or should that be… phallus-y?). Penises do not simply slide into vaginas unaided. There’s usually at least one failed attempt and/or slight re-adjustment required. Sometimes it’s a two-person job. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little help.
Australia’s highest paid sex worker won’t let anything near her bum. Post continues after audio.
8. The moment of penetration alone is enough to get a lady off. Very loudly.
Movie men have got it made. All they need to do is stick it in, and they’ve given their lady friend a glass-shattering orgasm. It’s incredible! But also about as realistic as that giant flying dog from the Never Ending Story. Sorry, guys — you usually have to work a bit harder than that.
9. Your hair will remain immaculate, and out of your face, the whole time.
Despite all that sweat, rolling around and hands-through-the-hair action, actresses manage to look salon-fresh the whole way through. Ditto their makeup — there’s nary a smudged winged eye or misplaced eyelash to be seen. The rest of us? Not so lucky.
10. It all happens in slow motion, with flattering lighting.
Ah, it must be nice to live in a world where awful fluorescent lights don’t exist. Where everything happens in slow motion, with a dramatic soundtrack, and a fan ever-so conveniently positioned to gently blow your hair out of your face; and you never find yourself fumbling around in the dark looking for a condom or a towel.
11. All sex sounds are aurally pleasing.
Sure, soft sensual moans do happen in the real world, but so do grunts, queefs, awkward comments and giggle outbursts for no good reason. Throw squelching, slapping and squeaky mattress springs into the mix, and you have a chorus of… perfectly normal, human, not always ‘sexy’ sex sounds. And it’s okay, because your partner will dig them anyway.
12. Changing positions is quick and seamless.
Ha! If only that were true. At the very least, there’s a bit of discussion involved: “Hey how about we try something like… um, how about if you move your leg here and then… oh shit, now I have a cramp, STOP, STOP NOW.”
13. You’ll never make a facial expression that isn’t conventionally beautiful.
Some people have dainty orgasm faces, sure. Others really don’t. It’s not a pre-requisite here in the real world.
14. Shower sex is not only possible without injury, but it’s sexy.
Hollywood directors should be held personally responsible for all injuries resulting from shower sex attempts among mere mortals. Tiles are slippery when wet, shower infrastructure can break under too much pressure, and holding someone against a wall for extended periods requires a LOT of upper body strength.
Also, shower heads rarely produce a big enough stream to cover two bodies, so one party is almost always damp, freezing cold and miserable. Another also: condoms + water = very difficult.
15. Nothing unexpected ever happens.
In MovieLand, sex is fairly predictable. There’s no air coming out of places you didn’t know it could come out of; there are no awkward calf cramps; and the only sweat that occurs is a seductive sheen across the forehead. Nobody bumps teeth or foreheads, or accidentally knees their lover in the nose, or lies on their hair. That must be nice, because the rest of us certainly don’t get that luxury.
16. The whole thing needn’t take longer than, oh, thirty seconds.
Yes, they’re called “quickies” for a reason, but damn — is it humanely possible to decide to have sex, take off one another’s clothes, and achieve orgasms in under a minute? Not in this world.
17. Sex is mind-blowing every single time.
Oh, what’s that? You find sex a bit “meh” sometimes? Clearly you’ve got it wrong, because according to pop culture, sex is always beautiful and romantic or totally off-the-wall passionate. Everyone’s getting off in tandem and moaning sexily, and they always collapse into a heap when it’s over, panting, “That… was… uhhhmazing.”
In real life? Sex can be incredibly passionate. It can be overwhelmingly romantic. It can be perfectly pleasant. It can also be a bit boring, melancholy or disappointing. That’s what makes it so interesting.
18. Simultaneous climaxing is par for the course.
Whenever there’s penetrative sex happening in Movie Land, everyone involved gets an orgasm — usually at precisely the same time, in harmonising tones. Impressive, yes, but realistic? Not really. No wonder so many of us feel like we have to fake it ’til we make it. (Post continues after gallery.)
19. You will always climax on your first time.
See, ladies, it’s easy and effortless! No need to learn how to do it solo, because it’ll just happen automatically!
20. No muss, no fuss
Here’s a theory: people in Movie Land do not have bodily fluids. That would certainly explain why female characters never seem to have untimely periods, and why there’s no post-sex mess to clean up. Where do all those juices go?
They’re certainly not being captured by condoms, because as discussed above they’re not being used. Do female movie character not know the joys of the “after sex waddle” to the bathroom to clean up? Boy, they’re missing out.
21. Evidently, UTIs do not exist.
Ever noticed that women on screen don’t dash off (or as discussed above, awkwardly waddle) to the toilet when the deed has been done? This is a little concerning — urinary tract infections, anyone? This is Dolly Doctor 101.
22. That whole post-coital sheet situation.
Correct us if we’re wrong, but sex tends to undo a neatly-made bed pretty quickly, even if it’s not particularly athletic. So why is is that movie characters always manage to lie side-by-side afterwards with their crisp, unlined sheets laying neatly across their torsos? Even weirder is when the same sheet lies modestly across a woman’s chest, but only manages to wrap around the guy’s hips.
23. You should light up a cigarette straight afterwards and talk about how uhhhmazing it was.
Yeah, you can absolutely do that — eat your heart out, Don Draper. But having a silent cuddle, or falling asleep, is also perfectly acceptable. Whatever floats your boat.
24. Couples can have endless, tireless sex.
Do these people not have jobs to attend to in the morning? Are they fuelled by Energiser batteries? Do they never get a bit sore? Do they not require sleep? So many questions.
Do you have any lies to add to the list?