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San Filippo on Sex Scenes & Film: The Conversation

Visual and Media Arts associate professor Maria San Filippo writes for the academic news site The Conversation about the status of sex scenes on film – and concludes that over the last decade, they changed for the better.

San Filippo’s research in the field produced the book Provocauteurs and Provocations: Selling Sex in 21st Century Media. Filippo says that honesty and humor are “hot,” queer intimacy outside of art cinema (which is doing a good job) is still underrepresented on screen, and “ethically and safely executed scenes are arguably sexier.”

Though I find that [film critic] Hornaday’s and [conservative columnist] Douthat’s laments leave out a lot, I share their view that preaching abstinence takes a blinkered approach to art, as to life. The repercussions of rendering sex invisible – unseen and unacknowledged – aren’t just aesthetic. In times of political division and social unrest, sexual freedoms and sexual minorities are more strictly regulated and persecuted.

This threat of silencing makes it all the more important that filmmakers continue screening and – as radical sex theorist Gayle Rubin titled her landmark 1984 essay – “thinking sex.”

So far, filmmakers are meeting the challenge.

Read The Conversation piece.

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