10/06/2010 11:14:00 pm

Sexy Married Time

Posted by Tom French |

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So I've been thinking, after reading a question in some Christian youth publication, what movies can you think of where you see a married couple having sex? I'm not asking because I'm looking for raunchy sex scenes, only because almost all sex scenes are between couples who are not married.

But actually now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure that's not because Hollywood says married sex is not sexy, but that when sex is generally shown in a film is either because it's a significant moment in a characters journey or it's a bit of character exposition and within married sex isn't generally significant for either of these.

For instance, if there is a sex scene often it's the culmination of a relationship. When two characters have sex they have reached a particular high or low point in their relationship. From there things either plateau or bottom out, depending on whether the sex is seen as a good thing or a bad thing. I'd name some examples but it's in almost every movie. For a married couple this is going to be rare, because sex is going to be a given. The thing which gets commented on will be a couple's lack of sex, which of course cannot be shown through a sex scene (American Beauty may be an exception).

If on the other hand the sex is about character development it's almost always bad or neutral. It says "this character likes sleeping around" (eg the early hot tub scene in Charlie Wilson's War telling us the Mr Wilson has rather loose morals) or "this character has sex" (Havoc's early sex scene perhaps), or "this character has sex and is about to die" (any horror movie in the 80s which was perhaps Hollywood's sex-ed for teens regarding the AIDS crisis).

TV shows on the other hand tend to use sex a little differently. I think you're more likely to have implied sex (eg the pre-sex flirt) between a married couple, usually to show the resolution of whatever issue was between them in that particular story. But they still use sex in much the same way as movies both in plot points and character exposition/development.

From what I can tell in all this Hollywood isn't out to undermine married sex, they are out to tell a story, and show stories that we're interested in. Sex between a married couple just isn't vital enough to story or character in Hollywood to give it screen time. Sex outside of marriage is rarely frowned upon, unless it's adultery but even that is often glamourised. The sin of Hollywood, in my view, is not that it sets out to promote bad sexual behaviour, it just gives us what we want. And we, the public, want interesting sex and married sex just isn't good enough.

That said, some movies and TV shows that I can think of which have married sex as a plot point:

300 - Leonidas and his wife make love before he goes out to battle.
Mad Men - Don and Betty sometimes make love, although we're pretty much always aware that Don is cheating on Betty so it's never a really positive moment.
Friday Night Lights - Coach Taylor and Tami often talk about it and flirt with each other and it's always positive. On the flipside there is a whole episode in season one about their daughter Julie not losing her virginity. It's quite the morally conscious show.

That's all I can think of. But to tell you the truth, I generally try and avoid the films which have heaps of sex in them, and the ones I do see with sex in them, I tend to forget the sex, so I'm sure there are much better examples out there.

Can you think of others?

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