Lesbian sex is harder than rocket science.
At least, that’s what you’d think if you watched movies like Blue is the Warmest Color or Carol. Movies just can’t depict lesbian sex correctly. Is it really as hard as it seems?
Most lesbian sex scenes, especially those shot by straight male directors, suffer from inauthenticity. After all, having a man watch and direct two women making love is the dictionary definition of “male gaze.”
Blue is the Warmest Color made headlines not just for its 10-minute, puzzling lesbian sex scene, but also for director Abdellatif Kechiche’s notoriously awful treatment of the actresses.
Luckily, Canada’s doing something right. The new lesbian drama, Below Her Mouth, centers on the queer female gaze. And the movie is one hundred times better for it.
Here’s how the movie gets it right.
The lesbians don’t look like Victoria’s Secret models.
When shooting lesbian sex scenes, straight men like to shoot attractive women that they would like to have sex with. But Below Her Mouth stars an intimidating butch lesbian who does not play by the rules of the gender binary.
There is an all-female crew.
Everyone on the crew was a woman, from the director (April Mullen) to the writer (Stephanie Fabrizi), who is openly queer. This created a safe space. And while shooting the sex scenes, only the director and the female director of photography were allowed in the room, for intimacy.
The movie actually shows sex positions that actual lesbians actually do.
Below Her Mouth focuses on real things that women do in order to come. Spoiler: it’s not just scissoring.
The movie let the sex happen organically.
Directors often interrupt and adjust actors during scenes, in order to get the perfect shot. But Mullen took a step back. She let the two actresses get a feel for each other on their own and have sex in a way that felt natural to them. “I would never have interrupted them just to be sure we got the right angle or the right light,” says Mullen. Sex doesn’t happen that way in the real world, and it shouldn’t on camera either.
Judge for yourself. Rent Below Her Mouth on Amazon.