The longest sex scene in Blue is the Warmest Color — a deliciously erotic, explicity graphic display of the intense emotional and physical hunger two beautiful women have for each other — lasts a full seven minutes.
The kind of sex being dramatized in this scene is a consequence of the deep emotional connection established earlier between the two lovers, Adelle and Emma, well before they jump into bed together. They spend time talking about their lives, their knowledge of art and philosophy. They spoof Sartre's famous dictium that existence precedes essence by playfully agreeing that orgasm really precedes essence. They discover intellectual, philosphical and aesthetic similarites and differences that they can share and celebrate together. When they finally do make love, their lovemaking is much more than holding, kissing, caressesing and sucking. It's as if they breathe in each other. This kind of rich, delicious sex is only possible with a deep, emotional connection.
What can be learned by contrasting the sex portrayed in Blue is the Warmest Color with that portrayed in HBO's Girls? Recall Hannah who makes a half-hearted effort at a deeper emotional connection with her boyfriend Adam, but lapses into role playing his sexual fantasies. Marnie, who can barely hide her frustration when she has sex with her boyfriend Charlie, and makes him do doggy because she can't stand to look at him while they have sex. And Shoshanna, the most un-virginy virgin in the world finally having her first sexual experience with guy as if he were subjecting her to a physical examination using a speculum.
Sue Johnson, in Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, describes three possible kinds of sex:
Sealed Off Sex which has only one purpose: to reduce sexual tension and achieve orgasm. The whole focus is on sensation and performance. Any emotional bond with the other person is secondary. It happens most often with those who haven't learned to trust, and feel unsafe with their partners.
Solace Sex in which the partners are seeking reassurance that they're truly valued as persons. Here the sex is secondary, and the main emotion fueling the sexual desire is anxiety. This kind of sex often leads to cuddling or spooning to relieve the anxiety.
Sychrony Sex. This one is the gold standard. It's when emotional openness, responsiveness, tender touch, and erotic exploration all come together in a synchronous feast that feels much like a tango in which each partner moves in sync with the other. It's when sex is about making love and not just about working out with your genitals.
Which of these three types of sex is being dramatized in Blue is the Warmest Color and HBO's Girls? You be the judge.
Andre Moore, Director of Marriage Couples Counseling and Life Coaching in New York City
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