Minus the City – Unsexy Sex

Cary Reed

I wonder what would happen if they put a real sex scene in a movie. I’m not saying I want to turn Peter Pan into a low-budge porn, rather I wonder what would have happened if Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis bumped heads in Top Gun. Or if Tom’s foot got caught in the sheet. Or if he had to bend over to take off his sock first. Or if McGillis queefed.

There’s nothing like a great, mid-movie sex scene. It makes me want to turn off the lights and slouch in an overstuffed chair in my pajamas and get lost in this spectacularly sexy moment that isn’t mine. I usually bite my thumbnail while taking mental notes: “So…you just…stick up against the wall like that, huh?” Perhaps you eat popcorn, but either way we watch these movies and arrive at the same conclusion: this is what great, choreographed, grab-my-hair-and-let’s-do-a-summersault-across-the-bed-sex looks like. This is how it should be.

But I think if I were making out with some guy in my bed and all of the sudden Berlin started singing “Take My Breath Away,” I’d pee myself. Upon jumping up to ask where the hell the music was coming from, I have no doubt the romantic moment would be ruined because, in real life, sex comes with quirks.

Kate Hudson flawlessly removes Matthew McConaughey’s very tight shirt in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. If you watched a similar scene from my life, there would be an elbow to the face or I’d be pulling his shirt back down because I didn’t unbutton it enough to fit it over his head.

It would be so weird if cinema sex scenes emulated true life. Just as you’re getting wrapped up in the pre-coital make out bit, instead of suddenly appearing naked under the sheets, one actor would say, “Wait, hang on a sec,” and hop on one foot while tugging at a knee-high sock. Then she would step on a napkin and it would get stuck to her heel and he would laugh and pull it off for her and then they would resume making out.

I think I’d get up and leave that movie.

But what made me think about all of this in the first place is the charm of not-so-perfect sex; the charm of tripping over a shoe or getting stuck in a turtleneck. There’s something about being naked and bumping your head and laughing that is so genuine; something about imperfect, un-choreographed sex that makes it exciting and strangely fun. Rarely are two people so uninhibited and impulsive and real, and the bond that occurs on that level can’t be constructed. Especially on a screen.

This, I suppose, is exactly why real life sex in movies wouldn’t be as charming as actual real life sex. Unless you’re physically with Tom Cruise, the laughing-bonding aspect can’t occur. For an outsider, quirky situations would become less charming and increasingly awkward, and anything less than perfection wouldn’t be appreciated. But let’s call up Tom. For the sake of this article, I’d be willing to find out.