The world is spinning with potential aphrodisiacs – tastes, smells, sounds, sights, and physical sensations all compounding to bring us to our knees in a desirous puddle. For all of us, there are different combinations that tend to do the trick. For me, I look for lush sensualism. It might mean a beautifully erotic film. Or a rich red wine and a carefully crafted meal. Candlelight. Soft jazz, maybe. Warmth. A massage. Dancing. A poetry reading. A play.
Things that move me passionately (like literature, poetry, theater, music) in tandem with conversation, food, and alcohol almost always put me in a position where I am more open to sex and the erotic. For example, if I went to a play or the opera and then enjoyed dinner and drinks and discussion with a lover, I’d want nothing more than to end my evening naked and in his (or her) arms. The experience bends back my tightly closed petals and softens me into the moment, causing inconsequential matters to disappear and my shy, reservedness and inhibitions to to diminish.
I am, first and foremost, a visual person. Seeing something that is appealing to my eye can trigger emotions and desires, which can then twist my body into action, raising my pulse, sending heat to my cheeks and chest. It might be an attractive person…a woman’s cleavage, a man’s biceps. It might be a sexual image, porn, art.
For the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on five films (in no particular order) that have warmed me from head to toe. I’m sure there are dozens more over the years that have had an impact, but I’m sticking with the first five that come to mind, since…obviously…that means something.
I was first introduced to the work of Zhang Yimou when I took a film class as a junior in college. Ju Dou was the selection our instructor chose, and I remember watching it in a large auditorium with plenty of space for the students to spread out and watch the film apart from one another. Thank goodness, too…because I needed it. The film was so visually stunning – I quite easily understood why the professors chose Zhang’s work as an example of brilliant cinematography. There is one particular scene in the film that has stayed with me all these years, where large sheaths of red fabric hanging in a cloth-dying mill ripple and sway and fall around the main characters as they make love. And though, years later, I now understand some of the stereotypes the film propagates, I will always associate Zhang’s work with artistic eroticism.
I read Memoirs of a Geisha on the plane to Japan years ago. I found it enthralling and fell utterly in love with the characters and their plights in the world of the geisha. I was interested to find the art form still alive and semi-thriving at the time of my visit. I remember wandered down a particular alleyway, where geisha were known to pass between houses. We were told that we might find them there and that they would be willing to let us take their picture. As luck would have it, we did come across one very beautiful young woman, her face painted perfectly, holding her umbrella over loose, yet to be styled hair. She had not fully costumed yet, but even in her unfinished state, she was a work of art, so gracious and graceful. I am still fascinated by the history of the geisha.
I watched Secretary relatively recently after requesting suggestions for good sexy movies on Twitter. The title came up form numerous sources, so I went ahead and rented it. I didn’t expect it to hit home quite as closely as it did. Though I am do not partake of self-injury as a means to deal with mental and emotional angst, I have my other ways, and I found Lee an identifiable character. I also found the deep desire that the two main characters develop, each helping the other to realize their full potential and see their sexual and emotional needs as acceptable. The film had so many opportunities to become ridiculous, and yet it never felt that way. In fact, I just found myself rooting for both of them and feeling quite pleased when they finally embraced their D/s as a normal part of their not so normal life.
I’ll just admit it. I’m in love with Anais Nin and Henry Miller. I have been from the moment I was introduced, sometime in late high school, and I have a substantial collection of their books on my shelf, some rare and old and worn. Nin has always sort of been a hero of mine, and I look at her as sort of the mother of confessional writing and the woman who created, quite deliberately, a feminine language in erotica. She was definitely a woman ahead of her time, socially and literately, hungry to live a life of passion, so totally immersed in everything that life had to offer. She was like an addict of experience, searching for the ecstatic every moment and drinking deeply of it when she found it.
The commonality I can find in these films is a central female character, passionate, erotic, sensual, and capable of great strength. These women are not afraid of sexuality. Instead, they embrace it and hold it up to the light like a gift. They do not shun themselves or hide themselves (even if they do at first). They are raw and honest characters, full of fault and broken pieces that create a mosaic of possibility. And in their strength, they are also all submissive women, which is something I fear the vanilla world often sees as weakness. In them, I see what I already am and what I hope to yet become.
Watching films like these is like an aphrodisiac. It puts me in a place where my defenses are at their most relaxed and my mind is open to ponder and consider what I am seeing and hearing and feeling. I watch these films usually by myself, but I have used them in the past to broach topics that I am uncomfortable bringing up. For example, when I first met my husband, I invited him to my place to watch movies and drink wine. The choice of the evening? Henry and June. The outcome? Well, I’m sure you can figure that out.
And, actually, looking back now, I can see where lots of the experiences we have experimented with have come from my own very subtle inclinations. I’m not sure I can actually say that it was Mr. D alone that took us down the roads to swinging/non-monogamous relationships, bisexuality, or D/s. In fact, it may very well have been me…or at least it was both of us. There have been times, especially in counseling, when I often claimed (and truly felt) that he was the one who initially had the idea and then encouraged me to engage in non-monogamous behavior because it was something he wanted…and that I simply went along with it to make him happy. To a degree, that was true. But, the initial interest was in me long before I even met him. The same goes with my interest in other women and my submissive nature. Just because there is interest, however, doesn’t mean there is a desire to follow up on that interest. And that is where we have run into problems. I have always been the more resistant one…the one more likely to play it safe…less likely to venture out and try something new. He is guided by a desire for adventure and curiosity, while I am guided by a desire for safety. Safety can be boring, though. And it can also be destructive.
Hmmm…I think that’s enough for tonight. I’ve written myself into a place where I’ve got of bit of exploring to do before I can say anything intelligent…which is cool, because that’s the whole point of the Erotic Journal Challenge.
What are your favorite erotic films…and why?