Sex in mainstream romantic movies all looks so perfect, doesn’t it?
The lighting is just right. The guy knows exactly what to do. The pleasure is so easy and romantic and sweep-me-off-my-feet.
The pillows match the bedspread. And missionary position apparently is the ideal path to intense orgasm.
The scene plays out flawlessly, complete with carefully-selected instrumental background music that just seems to…um… I don’t know… make the sex better. Yes, it’s like the music makes the sex better.
Hey, don’t get me wrong. I like romance and the feelings that tend to well up in us during these movies.
But depicted sex is nothing like real sex. Good news though! Real sex is better (I’ll get to that in a moment!)
The struggle for some wives is they find themselves enticed by the allure of the big screen… and disappointed that sex in their bedroom doesn’t play out the same flawless way.
There’s a reason movies are called make-believe. We are “made” to “believe” something that isn’t an accurate representation of how things usually transpire in real life.
Nowhere is this more true than in romantic movie scenes, where two actors have the advantage of hairstylists, make-up artists, lighting technicians, props managers, a camera crew, a director and a gazillion re-takes to get things “just right.”
And after all of that, an editor weaves his or her magic into the mix by piecing together flawless sexual connection. (Never mind that it’s between two people who aren’t actually having sex).
Real sex can be better than all you see in your favorite romantic movie. But to understand that, you need to make peace with — maybe even embrace — these 5 truths about sex:
1. Sex is Messy.
For the love of God, someone please get me a towel. Seriously. Sex is messy, right?
And I’m not just talking “hot and sweaty” messy, because there’s that too. I’m talking about all kinds of wetness and stickiness.
The messiness is part of sex, so instead of being annoyed by it, why not enjoy it. And have a towel handy.
2. Sex is Awkward Physically.
Hey, sometimes it’s not until you try something that you realize your leg or arm actually won’t bend that way. But I digress.
Truth is, sex can be awkward physically, which is a reasonable expectation as a couple switches positions, tries various maneuvers, gets tangled in sheets and bedspreads.
Let’s not even talk about the occasional cramp that can quickly turn a pleasurable encounter into a painful distraction.
Given time, though, a husband and a wife learn to better navigate the awkwardness and understand what their bodies can and can’t do. Once we learn this, we are more relaxed and free to revel in pleasure, speaking of which…
3. Pleasure is Learned.
No one — I mean no one — arrives in a marriage already knowing exactly how to give and receive sexual pleasure with their spouse.
Even if two people had sex with each other before marriage, there is just something about the covenant of marriage that I think raises the stakes and changes the dynamics of sexual interaction (for the better, in my opinion. You know, with God in agreement and all).
Also, the two of you are constantly changing over the years, and as such, the way you interact sexually changes and evolves as well.
Pleasure in the movies looks instantaneous and easy and spared of the necessity of honest and vulnerable communication. It’s like those two people on the screen just know.
But real sex? Real pleasure? Yeah, that’s learned. Over time. Through the giving of oneself again and again. And by way of honest sharing about what makes for good arousal and what doesn’t.
It is the best kind of learning.
4. Perfect Conditions Aren’t Necessary.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lighting director and make-up artist in my room when my husband and I make love.
The majority of sex in marriage — including really good sex — more often than not does not happen in a spotlessly clean room or within a recently-made bed or with the sounds of ocean waves lapping against a not-so-distant shore.
But a married couple that pursues their way toward mutually-valued sexual intimacy discovers that it’s okay to push the laundry off the bed.
It’s okay to choose intense pleasure and oneness now with the person you married rather than wait for perfect conditions. You won’t regret it in the short term or long term. I promise.
5. Missionary Position Isn’t the Only Position.
Movie sex always shows two people in missionary position, probably for a variety of reasons. It is the tamest position, free of some of the associations we have with what many people consider “fringe” sexual behavior.
Missionary position is often considered the most romantic position because of all that face-to-face opportunity to passionately kiss and look into each other’s eyes. It is the position that movie directors know will have the widest audience acceptance and will pull on the deepest of heartstrings.
It is not the only position.
Give yourself permission to try other positions, and I think you’ll discover some that are quite enjoyable (but you’ll never see in a mainstream movie).
For more reading, check out Sex Positions for the Rest of Us and Sexual Positions in Your Marriage: Hey I’m a Housewife, Not a Gymnast.
BONUS TRUTH: Sex in the Shower is Harder Than You Think.
I love the idea of sex in a shower. But in reality? Eh, not so much.
Lots of sexual fun can be had in a shower, mind you, but actual intercourse is not often in the mix. So many factors would have to be just right — the layout of the shower itself, the height of the husband and wife, the angle of the shower head, and so forth.
Go ahead and be as sexually playful as you want in the shower (might want to bring a good lubricant or baby oil for hand play), but if you can’t have intercourse, no worries. The movies want you to believe it is oh so easy, but it’s going to take more than camera trickery to convince me.
And as for your favorite romantic movies, just remember that movie sex isn’t real sex. And that real sex is better. If you want it to be. Do you?
Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.