This is how queer men have sex
I’m always fascinated by the way that queer sex is represented in films and television.
It can range from the laughably ridiculous, to logistically impossible, to downright offensive, to chaste and boring, and – occasionally – the authentically arousing.
You can understand why filmmakers will often opt for a relatively sanitised version of what happens when two guys have sex – the real thing is often sweaty, physical, intense, and often with a few breaks for lubrication, re-hydration, and a few giggles. Maybe that’s just me.
I liked the way that Andrew Haigh handled the sex scenes in the television series Looking - there was always bit of a discussion, a bit of negotiation, before it was agreed as to who was doing what and the guys got down to business. That felt real to me.
There was a Brazilian/German movie a few years ago that also nailed the sex scenes. It was called Futuro Beach - it was a solid movie, without being great, but the sex scenes really stood out as showing what happens when the bodies of two men crunch together, their desires unleashed. It wasn’t pretty, it often looked painful, but it reflected the reality not the fantasy.
Stranger by the Lake
It kind of annoys me when a film or TV program purports to show queer guys having sex and it’s a quick kiss and then a lot of satisfied moaning. It diminishes my ability to buy into the entire story.
Obviously, different countries have different censorship requirements, and different attitudes as to what can be shown on screen when you’re portraying a man-on-man encounter.
For example, the French seem to have a flair for it. In Alain Guiraudie’s film Stranger by the Lake, he used doubles and inter-cut actual sex scenes to bring a sense of reality to the narrative.
Theo and Hugo
I also loved Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau’s film Theo and Hugo. A French film, it didn’t just portray sex between guys, it delivered it for real – the opening scene an extended immersion into a gay sex club. Doubles weren’t used for the close-ups, it was the actors fully committing to their characters.
Let’s get real
Queer movies don’t have to include sex scenes, but if the story requires a sex scene, then let’s see the sweat, let’s see the hunger, let’s see the uncertainty, let’s see the lube, the laughter, the tears, and aftermath - your bedroom unrecognisable, bedclothes crumpled, furniture re-arranged.
Let’s get real.