Sunday 19 March 2017

On sex and different kinds of relationships

Don't you wonder about the porn industry sometimes? I do. Because porn is something I would never do, it's curious why people get into it and how it affects them and who can stay for a long time. Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends: Porn and the follow-up 15 years later Twilight of the Porn Stars offer some great insights into the porn industry, especially the male performers, and its impact on the performers' personal lives and relationships. Sex is an intimate act; it may not necessarily involve as much emotion as cuddles, holding hands, or forehead kisses, but it's not merely physical, and over time it can get complicated. And we can see in the Theroux films that it does.


Today there are myriads of different kinds of sexual relationships. As the regular readers of this blog belong to other generations, I'll define them, to the best of my understanding. 
1-night-stands need no explanation. 
Hook-ups are meet-ups for sex. Hook-ups are different from dates. 
Booty calls are calls for sex; and people you ring up for sex. The way I understand it, booty calls are the people you call to come over only when you're free and horny instead of making arrangements like you actually like each other, then each returns to their own life. 
Fuck buddies are people that meet regularly to have sex. There may be a bit of small talk, but fuck buddies are regular sex partners that don't do anything else together. It's just sex. These are people that have a good time in bed, but either have little else in common or choose not to do anything together to avoid attachment and complications because for some reasons they don't want a serious relationship. 
Friends with benefits are friends that also have sex. That means that, unlike fuck buddies, friends with benefits can hang out and do other things together. The difference between this kind of relationship and a serious relationship is the absence of romantic feelings on at least 1 side, and the freedom. There is no exclusivity. 
If that term sounds too cold and detached, lover is another option. Lovers, I think, can be similar to fuck buddies or friends with benefits, but the term suggests more passion involved, and more intimacy. But like fuck buddies and friends with benefits, people who are lovers can have sex with someone else. 
(These terms tend to be used interchangeably, but I think there are nuances, they're not exactly the same). 
On my part, I've tried all of these things. And now I'm in a serious relationship. A conventional monogamous relationship. 


An open relationship is a concept I don't get. People can do it if they want, and as long as both are comfortable with it, I have no objections. I just don't get it. What's the point of being in a relationship with somebody if you also have sex with other people? What makes it different from friends with benefits? 
(I'm lucky that my boyfriend is a great guy and we have a lot in common, in terms of Weltanschauung, interests, politics, religion, etc. and he also has a similar view on sex and relationships). 
There are only 2 cases in which an open relationship makes sense: 
The couple have long periods being away from each other, and both have high sex drives. 
or The couple would like to have some fun, such as threesomes. 
In the 2nd case, that would make them close to swingers. The difference between the 2 is that swingers are couples that have adventures and have fun together: orgies/ sex parties, threesomes, partner-swapping, etc. whereas an open relationship is where each person is off doing their own thing. 
In my opinion, swinging makes more sense. It's not my thing, but I can see why it's great for people who consider themselves free-spirited and want to have some variety and spice up their relationship by having some adventures, and it's for like-minded people to have fun together. An open relationship must be built on trust, but when a person is having sex with someone else, the other partner isn't present, and who knows, over time, this person may grow attached and develop feelings for someone else. In a way, it's like cheating in the open. I respect people who do it, but personally I don't get it. 


On the other side are people who don't realise the importance of sex, or sexual compatibility. 
Nowadays, premarital sex is no longer a taboo except in very conservative places, so people choosing to remain virgins till marriage is a lot less common and often because of religion. Personally, I openly support premarital sex. What if there's a problem? What if there's no compatibility? What if there's something you want to try but your spouse doesn't want to do it because he or she finds it weird or unhygienic or whatever? 


And then there are people who don't realise the importance of dating, and of experience. 
I have a rather close friend that is Muslim, and the more I talk to her, the harder I find it to understand Muslims' "rules" for sex and relationships. 
Normally this is what people do: you date, to get to know someone, then either you have sex and start a relationship or get into an official relationship and have sex, then over time, if it doesn't work, you break up and find someone else, if it works, you want to get married, so you get engaged, and get married. 
(Except when you choose to remain virgins till marriage, as mentioned above).
Sometimes people start with sex, then date, and follow the same order. Sex, or, to be precise, how you behave in bed, does reveal a lot about your personality. 
For Muslims, you meet or get introduced to somebody, then you get engaged in order to go out with them and get to know them, i.e. you get to know them after getting engaged, and if it works, you get married, and after that have sex, if it doesn't work, you break the engagement. 
I think experience is important. I learn over time. And as I meet different kinds of guys, I can compare, and see that certain things are not OK. 


Should I write more about sex? 

Friday 17 March 2017

Louis and the Nazis and Nazi Pop Twins- In praise of Louis Theroux

Except for a bit of Kate Chopin once in a while, I haven't read much literature recently. I've been watching films, especially documentaries, and have 2 new heroes. 
One is Kieslowski. 
The other is Louis Theroux. He's just brilliant. I've just watched some of his extreme documentaries, like The Most Hated Family in America and America's Most Hated Family in Crisis about the Westboro Baptist Church, or Louis and the Nazis about skinhead leader Tom Metzger and some other Neo-Nazis. Louis Theroux approaches his subjects, open about who he is and what he believes in, but he has the ability to make people talk, and reveal themselves. After watching Louis and the Nazis, I watched the follow-up Nazi Pop Twins by James Quinn, and the weaknesses of Nazi Pop Twins only show how much better Theroux is. He states his beliefs from the start, whereas James Quinn manipulates his subjects, and whilst Theroux comes close to his subjects and wants to understand them, including the ones with most extreme, hateful thinking, Quinn always seems to draw a line, to keep a distance from his subjects, and with too much voice-over stating his own opinions, seems to want his audience to react in a certain way to the people in Nazi Pop Twins instead of letting his subjects reveal themselves and leaving the freedom to the audience. 
Moreover, in his films, Theroux is calm and cool, and always polite. That doesn't mean he hides his stance. 1 of my favourite Theroux moments is in Louis and the Nazis, when 2 Neo-Nazis keep asking whether he's a Jew, and he refuses to answer, because it doesn't matter- it's scary for some time, because they insist on it and express their contempt and hatred of Jews, but he sticks to his principles. But he's always polite and calm. He has a faux-naive persona, like he doesn't know anything, and in that way makes people talk. When Theroux disagrees, he does it by asking questions and suggesting, and trying to make people think and see the faults of their arguments or their own inconsistencies. That again is another difference between him and Quinn. Nazi Pop Twins falls apart in the last, say, 15 minutes. Quinn becomes overtly critical, and openly attacks the woman in the film. 
But what I love most about Theroux is that, when he makes films about people who are "different", especially those with hateful point of view and rhetoric, he always tries to find the humanity in his subjects. And that's wonderful. 

Bonus: Here is an article I've just come across that praises Louis Theroux. 

Sunday 5 March 2017

100 films I've watched

From February 2016 to March 2017  
In bold: films I consider good 

1/ Trumbo (2015)
2/ Never Been Kissed (1999)- again
3/ Play It Again, Sam (1972)- again
4/ Roman Holiday (1953)- again
5/ Carol (2015)
6/ Casino Royale (2006)- again
7/ Spotlight (2015)
8/ Brief Encounter (1945)- again
9/ Hail, Caesar! (2016)
10/ Death and the Maiden (1994)
11/ 21 Grams (2003)
12/ The Mummy (1999)- again
13/ The Green Mile (1999)- again
14/ Giulietta degli spiriti (Juliet of the Spirits- Italy- 1965)
15/ Amores perros (Mexico- 2000)
16/ Sex, Lies, and Videotapes (1989)
17/ Reservoir Dogs (1992)- again
18/ Biutiful (2010)
19/ För att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor (All These Women- Sweden- 1964)
20/ The Wrong Man (1956)
21/ What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
22/ Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
23/ Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
24/ Stalked by My Doctor (2015)
25/ Moby Dick (1956)
26/ The Jungle Book (2016)
27/ Blitz (2011)
28/ North by Northwest (1959)
29/ The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)
30/ No Way Out (1987)
31/ Whiplash (2014)- again
32/ Monsieur Lazhar (2011- Canada)
33/ Madame Bovary (1991)
34/ The Pink Panther (1963)
35/ A Shot in the Dark (1964)
36/ The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
37/ Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) 
38/ Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) 
39/ Rear Window (1954)- again
40/ Belle (2013)
41/ Frenzy (1972)
42/ Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Comedy (1976)
43/ Dial M for Murder (1954)
44/ High Noon (1952) 
45/ The World of Henry Orient (1964)
46/ Interiors (1978)
47/ The Maltese Falcon (1941)
48/ The Conversation (1974)- again
49/ Love and Friendship (2016)
50/ Bananas (1971)
51/ Red Eye (2005)- again
52/ Charade (1963)
53/ Stardust Memories (1980)
54/ All That Jazz (1979)
55/ The Nice Guys (2016)
56/ Lo sceicco bianco (The White Sheik- Italy- 1952)
57/ Sleeper (1973)
58/ Dead Ringers (1988)
59/ Jason Bourne (2016)
60/ Unfriended (2014)
61/ Dangerous Minds (1995)
62/ Le journal d'une femme de chamber/ Il diario di una cameriera (Diary of a Chambermaid- Italy, France- 1964)
63/ The Age of Adaline (2015)
64/ Concussion (2015)
65/ Sully (2016)
66/ The Matrix (1999)- again
67/ ลุงบุญมีระลึกชาติ (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives- Thailand- 2010)
68/ Ace in the Hole (1951)
69/ Mulholland Dr. (2001)
70/ اسامه‎‎ (Osama- Afghanistan- 2003)
71/  Иди и смотри (Come and See- Soviet Union- 1985)
72/ Taxi Driver (1976)- again
73/ Pulp Fiction (1994)- again
74/ ואלס עם באשיר‎‎ (Waltz with Bashir- Israel, Germany, France- 2008)
75/ 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)- again
76/ 乱 (Ran- Japan- 1985)- again
77/ Witness (1985)
78/ The Act of Killing (2012)
79/ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
80/ The Others (2001)
81/ La La Land (2016)
82/ Manchester by the Sea (2016)
83/ Jackie (2016)
84/ We are Poets (2011)
85/ Trois couleurs: Bleu (Three Colours: Blue- Frace, Poland, Switzerland- 1993)
86/ Trois couleurs: Blanc (Three Colours: White- France, Poland, Switzerland- 1994)
87/ Trois couleurs: Rouge (Three Colours: Red- France, Poland, Switzerland- 1994)
88/ La double vie de Veronique (The Double Life of Veronique- France, Poland, Norway- 1991)- twice
89/ Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2009)
90/ The Imposter (2012)
91/ Blackfish (2013)
92/ Humpback Whales (2015)
93/ Moonlight (2016)
94/ Supersize Me (2004)
95/ The Most Hated Family in America (2007)
96/ America's Most Hated Family in Crisis (2011)
97/ Man on Wire (2008)
98/ The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
99/ Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
100/ Room 237 (2012)