by Isaac Gustafsson Wood, University of Southampton, UK ‘Rape. Rape. Rape. That’s a rape. This is what raping people is. You’re a raper. You’ve raped me. That’s a rape’, Dale (Charlie Day) screams as he is shown pictures of his limp and unconscious nude body entangled in sexually suggestive positions with his boss Julia (Jennifer Aniston). With a shocked face, Dale finds the words to express his feelings, getting louder and more confident in his ability to recognise what has happened to him as rape. Despite his certainty that he has been raped, Dale is continually undermined by his friends as they refuse to see a problem simply because Julia is sexually attractive. Rape in the comedy Horrible Bosses (2011) is portrayed as a contentious subject to be debated among the characters; who decides what rape is, is up for grabs.
Puppet Love: In Search of Good Sex in Indie Cinema
by Donna Peberdy, Southampton Solent University, UK. Based on a 2005 ‘sound play’, Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson 2015) is a stop motion puppet animation about a British self-help author who specialises in customer services yet struggles to make meaningful connections with other people. Inspired by a disorder called the Fregoli delusion, Michael (voiced by David Thewlis) sees everyone he meets as the same person (all voiced by Tom Noonan), which compounds his banal daily existence. At a conference, he meets Lisa (voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh) and is immediately captivated by her physical and vocal differentness. In a world where everyone looks and sounds the same, Lisa is an anomaly: Anomalisa. Michael treats Lisa and her friend to some drinks before Michael and Lisa go back to Michael’s hotel room for a nightcap. Lisa reveals she has very low self-esteem and that it has been eight years since she was last intimate with someone, before Michael begins to kiss her and they have sex.
What is Queer Sex?
by Connor Winterton, University of Birmingham, UK. This article will briefly explore what the term ‘queer sex’ can mean, providing one example from a neo-queer film and the other from a more heterocentric film.
Editing (Out) Queer Sex: Born to Raise Hell (1974)
by Gary Needham, University of Liverpool, UK The 1974 film Born to Raise Hell was described by gay porn pioneer Fred Halstead as the best SM film he had ever seen and, more recently, by its current distributor as ‘the standard, the ultimate classic BDSM movie that all gay BDSM films are judged’. Rarely seen since the 1970s, the film was largely undocumented with the exception of Jack Fritscher’s interview with the film’s director Roger Earl in 1997 and has only recently seen the light of day.  My own interest in the film is around gay sexual cultures of the 1970s and the contiguous formal and political relations in representations of gay SM. This is also an attention to formal and sexual relations and the question of how sex is edited and, in turn, what (now) also gets ‘edited out’ through various cultural, political and legal policing in both representation and discourse. I want to claim Born to Raise Hell as an instance in which one can reassert the outlaw politics of homosexuality vis-à-vis contemporary queer theory, which, Tim Dean suggests, has become one of ‘institutional respectability by strategically distancing itself from the messiness of the erotic’.  Politically, we need to reassert the erotic in queer studies if it is to have any meaning for our actually lived lives. Recovering Born to Raise Hell from the 1970s seems to me a useful place to start ‘thinking sex’ again.
‘I always want to be touched’: The Adolescent Female as Sexual Subject in The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
by Melissa Hair, Northumbria University, UK. The Diary of a Teenage Girl opens with a triumphant confession from 15-year-old protagonist Minnie (Bel Powley). ‘I had sex today, holy shit!’
This Ain’t Jaws XXX (2012) and Porn Parody
by I.Q. Hunter, De Montfort University, UK. On the face of it, Jaws (1975) seems an unlikely candidate for the porn treatment. Spielberg’s film is entirely male-centred - so I guess a gay version with three-way romps on the Orca might make sense – but the characters’ motivations have no obvious erotic component or indeed reference, aside from Quint calling out ‘Stop playing with yourself, Hooper’ to the lounging ichthyologist. Sex as a theme is not there to be exploited as with, say, A Clockwork Orgy (1995), the porn version of A Clockwork Orange (1971), which feeds off the obsession with sex, power and breasts that drives the narrative of the original. And the piscine motif of Jaws doesn’t immediately suggest the erotic, unless one considers the ‘eels for pleasure’ section of the Animal Farm (1981) bestiality compilation video that did the rounds in Britain in the 1980s, or urban myths involving Led Zeppelin, a groupie and a shark. That said, it is doubtless true that any film can be ‘pornified’ insofar as narrative gaps in the original can be filled with sex scenes, and the characters’ motivations refocused on seeking opportunities for them.
‘I can speak for myself’: Father Paquin’s Confession in Spotlight (2015)
by Darren Kerr, Southampton Solent University, UK. Just a little over half way through Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight (2015), door-to-door investigations are taking place. Noted in the screenplay as ‘the summer victim montage’, evidence of paedophilia in the Catholic Church is building and stories of abuse victims are coming through. The rolling notes of Howard Shore’s … Continue reading ‘I can speak for myself’: Father Paquin’s Confession in Spotlight (2015)
‘You can be whoever you want to be’: Neoliberal Culture and The Girlfriend Experience (2016)
by Martin Fradley, University of Brighton, UK. Based on Steven Soderbergh’s 2009 film, Starz’ US television drama The Girlfriend Experience (2016) is an unsettling tale of entrepreneurial selfhood. Taking place within a rarefied social universe, it is filmed in the visual lingua franca of the neoliberal present: a coolly desaturated blue-grey world of glacial surfaces, … Continue reading ‘You can be whoever you want to be’: Neoliberal Culture and The Girlfriend Experience (2016)
Virtual Reality: The Sexual Revolution is Not Taking Place
by Sarah Arnold, Maynooth University, Ireland. Over the past few years Virtual Reality has once again been heralded as the revolution in moving image immersive entertainment. After any number of false starts, VR seemed at last to be commercially viable with the technological infrastructure in place and a number of companies and products at the vanguard of the imminent VR revolution.