Monday, July 14, 2008

"Keeping The Passion Alive For Married Couples"

Red! Hot! Married Couples!

Some regular commentors have mentioned that Americans rail against their "puritanical" mindsets by delving into pornography, going to strip clubs, or seeking escapism in romantic movies that glorify extramarital sex. Certainly these forms of "entertainment" do go against the express puritanical ethic -- they send the clear message that "Sex is FUN! Sex is HOT! ... oh, but only if it's with someone other than your spouse." The word "puritan," used as a pejorative to express a conservative sexual ethic, is typically enough to make anyone shudder. Salem, anyone?

In reality, the Puritans of New England were encouraged to enjoy sex, as long as it was within the boundaries of marriage. In fact, if spouses did not live up to their marital "obligations," they could be punished by the church; marriages could even be disavowed. So hell yeah, the Puritans were *all* about having sex.

The Puritans were all about the family, too, where women played a dominant role. A man could be a man all he liked out in the fields, sowing crops or chopping down lumber, but he left his pants at the door of the family home, where his wife was Big Boss. Sounds like a fair deal to me.But getting back to the sex thing.

Again, I think about modern media, especially film. Do you ever see any movies that make married sex seem hot and exciting? If you can find one film, please let me know, because I've racked my pea brain and can't come up with one shining example. On the other hand, I can count on my fingers and toes movies -- big blockbusters -- that make the extramarital affair glisten like unholy gold."The English Patient," whoa!

That movie sizzled, didn't it? Count Laszlo de Almásy (Ralph Fiennes), a Hungarian mapmaker, goes bonkers over sexy, married Katherine (Kristin Scott Thomas) in Africa just prior to WWII. Her husband, Geoffrey (Colin Firth), is an affable enough chap, but apparently the lust of the loins wins over congeniality, and the Count and Katherine are fucking in bathtubs, on bed tops, in the middle of parties, until they finally fly off together in a teensy plane to go to some cave.

The movie visually astute at portraying the alternately hostile-tender interactions between the Count and Katherine, but you, the viewer, really wonder, why does she love him so much? He didn't exactly insist that she get a divorce so that he could marry her, did he? In the end, Katherine dies. So does the Count. "The End of the Affair," another WWII period film. Ralph Fiennes again, as hot novelist Maurice Bendrix, falls for sexy Sarah Miles (Julianne Moore), who is married to Maurice's friend Henry (Stephen Rea).

If you can get over the "ick" factor resulting from this humongous betrayal of man against best friend, you can sit through the movie. Again, there's the unexplained possessive and -- dare I say it? -- obsessive attraction between Maurice and Sarah, but you never quite know why it exists; certainly they don't seem to really love each other; they are merely ships passing in the night.

And you never know why, either, Sarah chose to marry a man for whom she has only tepid feelings of friendship at best. In the end, Sarah dies too. The closest thing we get to portraying marriage as a positive institution is found in the movie "Fatal Attraction." Michael Douglas is family man/asshole Dan Gallagher, who takes the opportunity to seriously boink the living daylights out of a sexy, single work colleague, Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), while wifey's away visiting her folks.

I don't need to tell you the ending, but just in case you've been living under a rock, Alex dies. There's a hint that there might have been marital mischief at some point in the past when Dan, feeling remorseful for the affair, gazes lovingly at his wife Beth (Anne Archer) as she's brushing her hand and slapping on face cream. He tenderly sneaks his hand between her legs and she ... giggles.

I guess that it would have invoked too big of an "Ewww!" factor to show Dan boinking the living daylights out of his wife, too. She was his Madonna, the perfect wife and mother. You don't boink the Madonna. The crown jewel of all creepily obsessive lust movies has to be "Wuthering Heights," based on the book by Emily Bronte. The original film featured Merle Oberon as Cathy and Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff, with a bemused-looking David Niven trailing cast as emotional cuckhold Edgar Linton.

There's no "sex" onscreen, but we know what Cathy and Heath cliff were doing in those stables, don't we, kids? Heathcliff storms off after being rejected by Cathy only to return years later, richer than God, to find her happily married. He then proceeds to make the rest of her brief life hell, never failing to rub in the fact that she had the gall to -- gasp! -- marry someone else. Because Cathy's a silly git, she accepts this shitty treatment. She loves Linton, we know that because she tells him over and over.

Obviously in a sexually nonthreatening way, or else they would have had a passel of brats running around. In the end, Cathy dies not in her husband's arms, but in Heathcliff's. And he's still whining and railing at her until the end. She's such a silly git, in fact, that even her *ghost* comes back to haunt him. A novelist friend of mine defines "Wuthering Heights" as an exercise in pure sadomasochism. Oh -- I did mention that Cathy dies, right?By the way, Ralph Fiennes was Heathcliff in the remake of "Wuthering Heights."

Gives a true meaning to the word "typecast," doesn't it? There's my favorite horror flick, "What Lies Beneath." Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer are Norman and Claire Spencer, a couple whose marriage is unknowingly tarnished by his affair. The Other Woman, Madison (Amber Valletta), was bonked over the head by Henry and fed to the fishes, so she's already dead. But because the Other Woman always tells, she comes back to "tell" Claire in her own creepy-nasty, otherworldly, Other Womanly way.

There's one smokin' sex scene between Henry and Claire during which time her body is possessed by Madison. It involves an apple. Guess if you take the wife out of the body, the body's finally good to go. When I first saw "When a Man Loves a Woman," I thought, okay, finally. Michael Green (Andy Garcia), an airline pilot, indulges in a bit of role-play by pretending to pick up wife Alice (Meg Ryan) in a bar. There are some fun, sexy scenes between the two. But alas, Alice is a consummate drunk. Nobody in the film dies, but after Alice goes sober, she turns into a bitter, frigid Ms.

No Fun who divorces poor Michael for no good reason other than he "just doesn't get her." Is the message here is that your spouse is only fuckable when you're wearing beer goggles? I can tell you what I'd do if I were married to a guy who looked like Andy Garcia, and alcohol would not be necessary.Do people really think that married couples don't have red hot sex? I can assure you, they do. I have. In fact, that's the *only* time I have.

That's what you're supposed to be doing, you're supposed to be going at it as much as you can, in all positions, anyplace, anytime. You can get away with the most extravagant shit when you're married, too -- ask a certain police officer who happened to stumble across a certain green Porsche that was parked along a dark highway. There's a certain liberation to being married that permits you to cast away inhibition. You don't feel so greebly if you ask your spouse if he wants to, oh, maybe watch a little porn that night. Or "try out" the new chopping block. When another couple calls to ask you if you want to meet them for dinner, you can say, "That's nice of you to ask, but tonight's 'Twister' night, if you know what I mean. Maybe another time?" They'll understand.

The only time sex is boring in a marriage is when you're not getting it. Married sex is hot, but it's hot because it is also tender; it has its foundation in "forever yours." There's a permanence you feel in your lover's arms, knowing -- even though it might not turn out to be true -- that person is also the one and only residing in your heart.

Knowing that no one else will ever own you in that particular way. The feeling that the two of you are unique, and that your exclusivity makes you so. Puritanical? Maybe. Pure? Yesssss! No movie made could ever depict that.

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