Okay, ladies. Be honest. You go to see an independent lesbian film because the only thing that matters is the story. Right? Okay, I’ll confess story actually does matter. But, what do we talk about? The Sex Scenes. Was it hot or not? The question should be focused on whether it felt real.
Honestly, just once I would like to see lesbian sex on screen the way it really is. Not choreographed, powdered, angled and fluffed. Just once I’d like to see intimacy on the screen. The kind of intimacy that makes for great sex. Not two people who only care about their own needs, but two people immersed in each other. I once wrote a poem called “There Is No Such Thing as Making Love”. It focused on the connection between two people when that hand suddenly slips under the shirt or the tongue glides on a lover’s neck. It was about what we rarely see in movies- intimacy. People don’t have sex to create love. Somehow the sex came either because of it or in spite of it not existing, but not to “make” it. For whatever reason people come together, we just want a hot real sex scene.
There are films that have gotten as close to real as one can get when make up people are powdering an ass between takes. Recently the one that comes to mind is Elena Undone. Who didn’t shudder a bit with Elena when Peyton slowly ran the back of her hand over Elena’s left breast? See I really paid attention to detail. It was a moment of caring and intimacy that was more enticing than the adolescent gymnastics in Blue. It is an example of sexual foreplay at its best.
I’ve watched High Art many times over the years. I am always moved by the tears pooling in Radha Mitchell’s eyes when she has her first sexual experience with a woman. A woman who frightens her and has mesmerized her. She is awkward. She is shaking and she is a novice. It is that real expression of any lesbian who has that “first time” at any age. “Please don’t come off as an idiot and yes, I do want to touch you there!” Okay?
Lover’s Game a new film by Danielle Earle coming next year once again visits that dynamic of straight woman in bad marriage finding artsy lesbian. Of course, it is much more than that. But it captures the intensity of the passion of a newbie who has learned to have lesbian sex as though she just hopped on the bike again. We believe it.
And now for my all time favorite intimate sex scene moments? Lisa Ray planting those luscious lips on Sheetal Sheth’s beautiful mouth in I Can’t Think Straight. Susan Sarandon closing her eyes in ecstasy in The Hunger. Jennifer Tilly sliding Gina Gershon’s hand between her legs in Bound. Jessica Clark putting her delicate fingers on Barbara Niven’s right breast in A Perfect Ending. Again, I paid close attention.
So, please, film makers, when you stage that powerful sex scene, remember the intimacy and reality of a simple touch, an awkward glance, a loss of breath, and a full body in receipt of every glorious ripple of surrender. And if two women are in “the throws of unbridled passion”, tell them to open their mouths when they kiss. Real people do that. A couple important things to remember when you call in the actresses for that pivotal sex scene. No lipstick or eyeliner needed. If you are doing it right it eventually makes you look like a raccoon who smeared red jam on your face. Not real. Trust me.
Next time I’ll share my observations of the all time worst examples of lesbian sex scenes in movies and cable television— Jan
Jan Corran was Born in Iowa and moved to SF Bay area 24 years ago. She is a neuro-psychologist and CEO of major mental health and geriatric facilities in the Bay area. A published author and playwright, her claim to fame- Watching her play Three Women in a Box”in NYC off Broadway production. Consultant to the Academy Award nominated documentary Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter and to the award winning You’re Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don’t which was a featured in 2013 on PBS Independent Lens. Her renewed enthusiasm was sparked when she contributed to the campaign to produce A Perfect Ending (Soul Kiss Films). She continues to be most involved in supporting the projects of Marina Rice Bader and Soul Kiss Films.
2014 – Raven’s Touch (executive producer) (post-production)
2013 -Lover’s Game (associate producer) (filming)
2013 Out & Around (Documentary) (executive producer) (post-production)
2012 Alfredo’s Fire: A Vatican Stonewall (Documentary) (senior producer)
Mad About the Boy (associate producer) (filming)