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Tuesday, December 28, 2010:
What I'm watching: 9 1/2 Weeks & Eyes Wide Shut
Lately I've been really curious about the darker elements of sexuality, especially when it comes to myself. And by that I'm not referring to ugly or negative things, but that exciting yet secret side of ourselves most of us tend to hide or worse, completely ignore altogther. I've only recently discovered a lot about myself through conversations with friends who surprisingly feel the same, and what we've discovered is that there are a lot of people out there who live beautiful, sexual lives outside the norm. This completely fascinates me because I've always had questions about things nobody wants to talk about, and have now had the opportunity to share these opinions with others who live very satisfying, happy lifestyles. What I'm referring to here constitutes everything outside of what is known as the "vanilla" relationship.

I've never really cared for the word "vanilla" in relation to someone's sexual life. Too many times, it's used in an insulting, derogatory manner, which to me is counterproductive and goes against the adage of those who claim to live an open, free and accepting sexual lifestyle. Personally I believe that everyone could use a little vanilla, because even the more extreme scenes that exist can get old after awhile and you need a way to temper them, and then go back and appreciate them all the more. Of course that is just my assumption. I'm not on one end of the spectrum or the other, but somewhere in the middle. But to me, the idea of mixing up some sensual, tender lovemaking with the intense, kinky encounters sounds like the perfect blend, especially if you're sharing all these experiences with a life partner/spouse, etc. But a lot of kinky people think vanilla is too boring and normal. Maybe they're just not doing it right ;)

So in my journey of self-discovery and education, I've been watching movies that portray the darker side of sex. Most of the ones I've seen so far are older movies, dating back 10 or more years, and as you can see, a lot has changed since these movies came out.

I read this book back when I was 14 or 15, and though at the time I didn't fully understand the subtle undertones to it, I thought it was hot and dirty and I liked parts of it. I never saw the entire movie until recently, when I decided to give it a whirl. It really wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be, although Kim Basinger screaming like a silly teenager throughout various parts of the movie had me rolling my eyes (and no, this wasn't during sexy times. She just did this in general). The movie has several sensual scenes, most notably the food scene, which was sexy and fun. But there were signs of things to come in the relationship. Mickey Rourke's character would have taken care of her in exchange for her trust in all things. It hints at what a true D/s relationship consists of, and I wish they would have taken it further, but this was the mid-80's, and it probably caused enough of a fuss as it is. Still, knowing what I know now, it was disappointing to barely get a glimpse of what a genuine relationship of this nature looks like.


Stanley Kubrick's final film is a mature, highly intelligent, thrilling masterpiece of sexual obsession and marital (in)fidelity. Tom Cruise stars as Bill Harford, a doctor who becomes obsessed with a sexual fantasy that his wife, Alice (Nicole Kidman), confesses to him. Although the fantasy (involving a naval officer) occurred only in Alice's mind, Bill can't get it out of his own head; his obsession leads him through a series of potential sexual encounters, each one surrounded by the specter of death. His whole world threatens to unravel as he falls deeper and deeper into a web of mystery, lies, and deceit. Kubrick's film breathes with vivid blues, reds, and blacks, the threat of illicit sex and death lurking around every corner. Cruise and Kidman, who are married in real life, are utterly convincing as a happy couple suddenly forced to reexamine their faith in each other. Sidney Pollack, Todd Field, Julienne Davis, Marie Richardson, and Vinessa Shaw sparkle in minor roles. Based on the novella TRAUMNOVELLE by Arthur Schnitzler, EYES WIDE SHUT is a brilliant examination of the psychological nature of sex and marriage, of faith and faithlessness, of obsession and desire. Kubrick said that his last film (he died shortly before the film opened) was "my best film ever;" while that is debatable, there is no doubting that the film is a splendid finale to a glorious career.

What was the big deal with this movie? Bor-ing. It all hinged on a dirty fantasy Alice (Nicole Kidman) has about another man. Not even a real encounter. And then it goes into something weird and unsexy. I really wasn't sure what I'd expect about this movie, other than before I saw it, someone told me it was a good perspective of a married couple, so instead I concentrated on that. It's about the secrets we keep from even our spouses, which can be damaging. If there's one thing I understand, is we all have secrets, and some of them are ones you never want to share with someone you love. Or sometimes you have to in order to have a healthy, long-term relationship, no matter how much it hurts. It all really depends on the relationship.

So though neither of these two movies really provided me with any new insight into the constantly changing and evolving sexual world we live in, it still gave me some interesting concepts to think about in regard to relationships: trust, control, honesty, fantasy, respect, and love. I intend to keep on delving into more about these elements, and exploring some of the ideas that fascinate me most. I'm fortunate to have some friends who are very open and willing to share their experiences, and it's been amazing to speak freely and ask questions. And not to have to worry about what's normal, because that definition is different for everyone. So whether you're vanilla to the core, the kinkiest person on the block, or somewhere in between, it's all good.

Have you seen these movies?

If so, what was your take on them?

Any others you'd recommend?



  1. 9 1/2 Weeks came out when I was in college and my friends and I rented it all the time. I haven't seen it in years and I'm sure I would understand more about the film now. Also loved Full Moon Junction, which came out about the same time. If you haven't seen it, you should give it a try.

    I've never seen Eyes Wide Shut. Most people who did see it told me it wasn't worth the hype.

  2. Try Exit to Eden, by Anne Rice-- the book, not the movie. The movie turned it into a farce but the book is nothing like that.

    Megan Hart is good at these themes too.

  3. I've tried to watch Eyes Wide Shut a couple of times and never gotten through..

  4. I just recently saw Eyes Wide Shut on television (and had seen it once before, many many years ago). It was pretty weird, but I still watched it :)

  5. I haven't watched either movie. Hmmm...I can't think of any suggestions, but I did watch The Secretary before Christmas. It was..uncomfortable viewing.

  6. Stacy, try WILD ORCHID (also starring Mickey Rourke and set in Brazil) Check out the uncut version~ Very sensual and yes - it was definitely back in Mickey's hot days!

  7. Hey Stacy. Just stopping in to say HI. I hope all is well with you?


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