If you haven’t seen it already, check out “The Kids are All Right,” directed by Lisa Chodolenko. The acting and writing are spectacular: each character is real, flawed and charming. But one element seems all wrong – the sex.
Annette Benning and Julianne Moore play a lesbian couple who’re raising two children, now teens. They contact the man who was their sperm donor, who turns out to be a macho chef and gardener played by Mark Ruffalo.
He charms the kids and hires Julianne to design a garden in back of his house. Sparks fly and they end up in bed. What we see is what we usually see in movies that try to portray hot sex: the man rams the woman, fast and hard. Faster, harder, banging, slamming, over, under, sideways, down.
I always thought this was male fantasy sex. It’s certainly not what any woman I know would yearn for. As the Pointer Sisters sang: “I want a man with a slow hand. I want a lover with an easy touch….”
Sensual, playful, teasing, savoring, rising and falling to peaks and valleys – we don’t see much of that.
What movies do you remember as being arousing? A TV director I once worked with, Bobby Roth, said he believes it’s most erotic when you don’t see graphic images but see people’s faces, hear their voices, and can imagine what’s happening. One of my favorite scenes of that sort was in “The Big Easy,” with Ellen Barkin and Dennis Quaid. He was coming on to her, she was resisting and said, “I’ve never had much luck with men.” You could see his hands moving, off camera, but couldn’t see what he was doing as he told her, with certainty, “Your luck’s about to change.”
I’ve long wanted to see how women directors would portray lovemaking, but so far it’s been disappointing. The sex scenes in “Kids are all Right” look exactly as male directors have done them. Pounding and ramming. And then I remembered: Lisa Chodolenko is gay. Maybe this is her idea of what hetero sex is like? Maybe she learned it at the movies?