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How Hollywood’s Unrealistic Depictions Hurt Women’s Sex Lives

In addition to more foreplay and discussions of safer sex practices, O’Reilly says she’d like to see more movies with sex scenes that include varied depictions in terms of body types, abilities, skin color, gender identity, sexual orientation, sex acts, clarification of boundaries, expressions of specific desires, the use of lube, and conversations about what people want to do sexually.

She also says including a range of ages would make sense.

“Sex can get better with age, experience, and confidence. Unfortunately, depictions of sexual relationships are often limited to younger (and skinny, white, straight, monogamous) folks in Hollywood films,” O’Reilly said. “Sex among older folks is often rendered invisible or treated as comical in movies.”

Including challenges that occur in real life would resonate with many moviegoers, she adds.

“Difficulty getting in the mood, mismatched libidos, rapid and/or delayed orgasm, interruptions, erectile issues, practical issues (e.g., kids in the next room), exhaustion, boredom, and a lack of interest in sex,” O’Reilly said.

Until Hollywood makes these changes, Basford says to avoid comparing yourself to actors in any respect, because you’ll likely feel insecure about the way you look, move, and “perform” in the bedroom.

Hollywood scenes are highly produced. They adjusted the lighting, they’ve spent hours on hair, makeup, and styling. They’ve rehearsed over and over again. They’ve adjusted the camera angles, and they’ve edited out most of the footage. More importantly, the actors are performing rather than experiencing the scene,” Basford said. “In real life, you want to experience sex and likely don’t want it to be a performance.”

She added, “When you view sex as a performance, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the key benefits — especially pleasure and connection.”

Cathy Cassata is a freelance writer who specializes in stories about health, mental health, and human behavior. She has a knack for writing with emotion and connecting with readers in an insightful and engaging way. Read more of her work here.