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“But Simulated Sex isn’t Real Sex”

A couple weeks ago, we looked at a chapter from Mindy Kaling’s book Why Not Me?, entitled “I Love Sex Scenes!” In it, she claims that she isn’t the only one who enjoys onscreen simulations of sexual intimacy. And even though she uses some hyperbolic language to make her point, she’s still right in that she is not alone:

The conventional response to sex scenes is that they’re horrible and not sexy and it’s all so unnatural. But I’ve always found filming sex scenes to be quite a turn-on. I like the experience of being in a sexual position when you’re not supposed to be in one.” (Hugh Grant)“Sex scenes are great. A lot of my costars have been sexy guys my age who are really respectful and cool. So, why not? I’m not going to pretend it’s not fun.” (Amanda Seyfried)“You are not supposed to say that you enjoy doing sex scenes, you are supposed to say ‘Oh it’s really difficult, you know with the lighting and the cameramen and the boom operators are all watching,’ but I never had that. I just…


I confess that I found the trailer for Fallout to be one of the most engaging, thrilling, and exciting ads of my trailer-watching experience. I loved it (and still do). The cinematography, frenetic action, and fight choreography—all edited in sync with Imagine Dragons’ song “Friction” and layered with Lalo Schifrin’s Mission: Impossible theme—made my cinephile self’s mouth rabidly water with ecstatic anticipation.

Of course, few movies can live up to that kind of hype. Was my excitement justified, or did I crush Fallout with the weight of my unrealistic expectations? That’s what we’re here to find out.
As a reminder, I rate movies based on three criteria: objectionable content (C), artistic merit (A), and my personal opinions (P).
CONTENT (C): 9 out of 10
During the CIA headquarters break-in scene in the very first Mission: Impossible film, Ethan Hunt stops one of his team members from killing a guard. His instructions are emphatic: “Zero body count.” Hunt’s noble desire to spare innocent…

When it Comes to Sex Scenes, Mindy Kaling Gets It

My introduction to Mindy Kaling was through the NBC hit sitcom The Office. Kaling not only played one of the main characters in the show, but also acted as a writer and eventually a producer. She penned one of my favorite episodes (“The Injury”), and she wrote another episode (“Diwali”) that has my favorite line from the entire series.

I haven’t kept up with Kaling’s career since The Office. However, while researching future writing projects, I planned on skimming a couple of her books. They were easy and enjoyable reads, and I ended up devouring almost the entirety of both volumes. There’s a certain charm to Kaling’s personality and writing style. She’s witty, funny, and entertaining.
One of Kaling’s books, Why Not Me?, has a chapter entitled “I Love Sex Scenes!” In it, she explains why she is attracted to sexually charged scenes: “Obviously, on-screen sex is not actual penetrative sex, but as any religious high-schooler will tell you, simulating sex can be pretty damn enjoyable as wel…

Voyeurism’s Damage to Visual Stories

I don’t typically watch anime, but when I do, it’s usually reruns of Avatar: The Last Airbender(and some of the sequel series The Legend of Korra). Otherwise, I stick mostly with sci-fi and other forms of speculative fiction.

Another anime series Shannon and I worked through a few years back was Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, based on the Manga of the same name. A moment occurs in this series where a bit of nudity interrupts the flow of the story. Shannon explains in a recent blog post, The Rape of Winry Rockbell:
Let me set the scene. A teenage girl, after a long and dangerous journey, finally arrives at the home of someone who is not out to kill her: another teenage girl. Though they don’t know each other well, they both immediately recognize a friend. The traveler’s new friend runs a bath for her, pulling a curtain around the tub so she can have some privacy. As our traveler undresses and washes off the dust and weariness of the journey, she feels safe enough in this intimate se…

4 Reasons Why the Merging of Pop Culture and Porn Culture May be Affecting You

I’ve been researching and writing about sexualized entertainment for over four years now. One of the most frequent responses to my articles goes something like this: “Nudity and sex scenes don’t bother me.”

While I’ve addressed this argument before, Speculative Faith asked me to write a more thorough rebuttal:
In just the last few years, some of our most popular fantasy stories include material that at one time would have been considered porn.
These include films such as Passengers, Blade Runner 2049, and The Shape of Water, as well as TV shows such as Game of Thrones, Westworld, and Altered Carbon.
Concerns about content like this are often raised in relation to children and teens, whose emotional and physical development make them more impressionable. When it comes to adults, however, we find little concern expressed.
In fact, a lot of people claim to have no issues watching films with explicit sexual content. The material doesn’t affect them—or so they say.
But is this true? And if so, s…

When Sexualized Nudity is No Longer an Oddity

Film critic James Berardinelli recently performed a non-scientific survey of nudity in film and television, comparing various factors involving R-rated films and TV fare. What he found was this: since the year 2000, onscreen nudity in films has dropped significantly, while television (including cable, Netflix, and has experienced an “explosion of adult-oriented content.” Says Berardinelli,

…because the FCC lacks dominion over cable and Internet, there are no content restrictions. [For example,] Game of Thrones can have an exposition dump while naked characters are engaged in an orgy in the background. . . . The Internet essentially ruined the value of gratuitous nudity [in movies] because now anything in a theater seemed tame compared to what could be seen at home on a computer screen.
Wise and winsome Christian commentary is essential in helping believers appropriately engage with our culture on this topic. Toward that end, I submit a recently-posted YouTube video entitle…

How “A Million Dreams” Brilliantly Foreshadows the Entire Plot of THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

Yes, I am still on a Greatest Showman kick. Cut me some slack, though. My wife and I only saw it for the first time just under three weeks ago. The soundtrack still plays almost daily in our home, providing near endless opportunities for our toddlers to daintily prance and spin as they sing along with “The Circus Man” (as they gleefully call him). Besides, for someone who’s as unhip as myself, it makes sense that I would be taken in by such an uncool (according to critics), and yet wildly popular (according to general audiences), movie.

So, what is my point in writing another post about this particular film? To gush like a fanboy who has staked a personal claim to gold-encrusted, front-row seats on the Greatest Showman bandwagon? Not exactly. (That’s just a happy side effect.) The point of this blog post is to…well, point out a unique aspect of the song “A Million Dreams.” After listening to this song a bajillion times (give or take a few), I’ve noticed something extraordinary about i…