The New York Times recently did an interview with Maggie Gyllenhaal about sex scenes from the female perspective. Her new film, Hysteria, released by Sony Pictures Classics and directed by friend of Jimmyjane, Tanya Wexler, shows more than one Victorian lady having an orgasm. Though these orgasms—or “paroxysms” as they were known back then—were purely for the medical purpose of relieving the common, women’s “disease” Hysteria, they were still orgasms.
That was close to two-hundred years ago, and yet, when you examine today’s portrayal of women and sex (both in the entertainment and political realms), it makes you wonder how far we’ve really come.
The New York Times asked Gyllenhaal why honest sex scenes from a female perspective are still so complicated to tackle on film. Or, as Gyllenhaal puts it “The question is, if half of the adult population is women who have sex, why is it [sex on screen] difficult to see?”
Says Gyllenhaal – “I’ve thought a lot about women and sex in movies…. The most interesting sex scenes that I’ve done or seen are the ones that are truthful from a women’s perspective — instead of what I think everybody got used to in the ’80s and ’90s: put on a black Victoria’s Secret demi bra, be lit perfectly and arch your back. That’s supposed to look like sex. But that doesn’t look like sex for most people, and if it does, I think you’re probably missing out on a lot. The more truthful you can be, the sexier it is…”
What do you think of women in sex scenes? What about their portrayal in the film, Hysteria? How would you like to see the media’s attitudes toward women and sex change? Share your opinions in our comments section.