Sunday, January 16, 2011

Guest Blog: Lisabet Sarai and When Sex Was Fun

http:Welcome guest blogger Lisabet Sarai! If you wish to guest blog on Me Want Food, just drop me a line at kspatwriter (at) yahoo (dot) com.

When Sex Was Fun
By Lisabet Sarai

Last night my husband and I watched Radley Metzger's 1972 film “Score”. We'd seen it before, in the nineties, when we first discovered a collection of Metzger's work on VHS (remember VHS?) at our local independent video store (remember independent video stores?). The film was as lively and erotic as I had remembered, though some of the more dated references evoked a laugh or two.

You may not be familiar with Metzger. He began making sexually-oriented films in the late sixties and is responsible for ground-breaking efforts such as “I, a Woman” and “Therese and Isabelle”, one of the first films to concern itself with lesbian love. Later in his career, under the name of Henry Paris, he directed hard-core features including the classic “The Opening of Misty Beethoven”. The movies that initially made his name, however, skirt the edge between art and porn. They include nudity and simulated intercourse, but the attention to characterization and dialogue, not to mention the elegant cinematography and breathtaking locales (many of Metzger's films were shot in Europe), move these films into a category all their own.

I don't know how many of you have watched modern “adult” movies. Based on my experience, most contemporary porn is pretty boring. The characters are primarily presented as bodies, who are largely interchangeable. They have no connection with one another beyond the physical tab-A into slot-B. There's little or no conversation, no buildup of tension, no sense of transgression. One has no sense of any of the participants as individuals. Furthermore the sexual interactions tend to be annoyingly stereotyped and predictable. There is zero suspense.

Metzger's work, in contrast, and “Score” in particular, focuses on the development of sexual attraction and the lure of the forbidden. Some of his films are more serious than others, but all are concerned with the experience of desire as much as with its fulfillment.

“Score” is one of his more light-hearted offerings. Jack and Elvira are a sophisticated, swinging couple who compete in their seductions. They set their sights on Eddie and Betsy, a pair of apparently innocent newlyweds. However, this is swinging with a twist. Elvira lays her snares to attract and corrupt angelic-looking Betsy, while Jack is determined to fulfill Eddie's barely-suppressed homoerotic fantasies.

Neither Betsy nor Eddie falls immediately into bed with their pursuers. Elvira and Jack are gradual and subtle in their seductions. The characters are naked by the middle of the film, but it takes many sensual touches and intense, smoldering stares before the victims actually fall. Metzger vividly communicates the embarrassment and fear that mixes with Betsy's and Eddie's burgeoning lust. When they finally succumb to their hosts, the viewer feels a release of tension that goes far beyond the physical.

Metzger's characters live in a permissive world where any sort of sexual activity might occur, including same-sex interactions. “Score” is cheerfully kinky in its acceptance of homosexuality, orgies, voyeurism, even a touch of S&M. It aims to arouse but not particularly to shock. Watching the film brought me back to the days when sex was fun, when it was relatively safe to surrender to desire.

Modern porn has much to learn from Metzger's work. Even if you find porn offensive, you might well appreciate Metzger's films. He has a healthy respect for his characters and their sexuality. In his world, sex is made to be enjoyed―and the chase is as exciting as the consummation.

BIO: A dozen years ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published two single author short story collections and six erotic novels, including the BDSM classic Raw Silk. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She has also edited several acclaimed anthologies and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS.

Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two well-traveled felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com).

Lisabet's most recent release is Almost Home, a M/M/F holiday romance featuring a mistletoe kiss, a warm fireplace, a hot tub, and lots of snow!

4 comments:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Leigh,

Thanks for giving the chance to be your guest!

Warmly,
Lisabet

Bianca Sommerland said...

I've never heard of these films, but I'll have to look into them, they sound good. They actually remind me of a french series that used to be on television (I don't know if it still is).

I think it was called Bleu Nuits and the interactions between the characters were much more intense than any porn I've ever seen. Some scene could actually be considered beautiful.

I love reading your posts Lisabet. I always learn something cool! :)

Hugs, Bianca

Nina Pierce said...

Lisabet - You articulated so well the feeling of modern pornography ... without the connection between the characters there isn't the arousal for the viewer. Simply watching the sex act is boring, but bring in conflict and emotion and NOW you have something that titillates ALL the senses.

The movies you mentioned definitely sound like something Mr. Nina and I would enjoy watching. Now to figure out where to find them. ;)

She said...

Interesting column. I agree with you that today's porn is boring so I don't even care to see it. I'll have to look into Radley Metzger's work. They sound anything but run of the mill.