Sex, Showers, and the Silver Screen

Sex makes increasing appearances on our screens every day; pass the watershed, get the popcorn out, and we are flooded with bouts of unrealistic simultaneous orgasms, passionate kisses in the rain, and model-esque actors living out our fantasies. But at what point should we separate this perfect silver screen image from the truth? Louise Cunningham shares what happens when the reality of student living collides with cinematic perfection. 

Have you ever been inspired by a film? The silver screen contains unlimited possibilities, but often only portrays the romanticised version of events. This is where we must remember that film is not real life. We can get wrapped up in the beauty and idealistic attitude of the silver screen, but if you try to have sex like James Bond, you’re going to have a bad time.

While 2012 was living with the ultimate break up tune, Taylor Swift’s We are Never Getting Back Together, it also released a string of action packed films: The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, and, most detrimental to my future sex life, Skyfall. For those who missed out, the film is another Bond extravaganza full of all the usual troupes: the guns, the convoluted plot, and, of course, the steamy romps. It was during Bond’s and Severine’s sex scene that the spark of curiosity was ignited. Climbing quietly into the shower, he sensually explores his lover’s body, kissing under the stream of water and relishing in what looks to be the ultimate passionate sex location. This was the experience I craved, convinced I was about to unlock the nirvana of sex. 

The following year I moved to university, the four years where exploring your sexuality is entirely recommended. The precursor to many of these discoveries usually involves Tinder and Pablos, a winning combination and celebration of a teenager’s liberation.  It was after one of those nights out that a casual acquaintance became a person to avoid eye contact with in Tesco. The night started with regular foreplay - the first inaccuracy in Bond’s depiction of sex. He wanders in, completely disregarding any of his companion’s sexual needs, and proceeds to penetration. We’ve all had run-ins with partners who disregard our comfort for their own enjoyment; remember these people are self-involved, egotistical creatures who should be deleted from contacts and given no more attention. The shower was my idea, though.

I had been convinced that we were in for a treat: a warm, orgasm filled, delightful shower. The first oversight was waiting for the water to heat up. Student halls are completely the wrong environment for any kind of romance, showers included. After the initial moments the water turned warm, but the passion cooled off. The reality of kissing underneath a shower with the temperamental pressure power from drunk man steam to a fire hose suddenly seemed less appealing. Both of us tried, though, now committed to the task. The water dribbled feebly from the head as I performed the same act, aware that every inch of my body that was not under the flow had frozen. 

Never being a quitter though, we followed through to the thrusting portion of the exploits, only to discover that student showers have no space or grip for this. The culmination of the night’s events peaked when I lost my balance, surrounded by a floor of soap and bodily fluids. Bashing your face off hard tiles is not romantic. The feeling of the shower dripping on my bruised face, completely naked and splayed in front of someone who now, flaccidly, helped me up was not pleasant. 

Mainstream cinema puts an extraordinary amount of effort into representing the quintessentially perfect sex life. It gives the spectator a proposal for how to look, how to act and usually solely represents a heteronormative escapade. While we should enjoy these films, and relish in the romance of it all, it bodes well to remember that our sex lives are our own to explore. We don’t need to base our experiences off of media, whether it’s film, porn, or any other outlet that tries to determine the sexual norms. By all means, get inspired by cinema - just don’t be surprised when it leads to a bruised cheek, and an entirely altered perception of showers.