Wait, what sex scene? That’s precisely the question that four New Yorker critics are asking in a roundtable discussion published today, part of our first digital-only issue.
Much of recent cinema is now Pixar- or Marvel-adjacent, featuring superheroes and villains. “It’s embarrassing to say but, like, male testosterone levels are down, and nobody does anything cool anymore,” Vinson Cunningham notes. “And everybody is afraid of everything, and therefore we are a sort of post-vitalist culture.” New blockbusters seldom portray romance as a central theme, and we’re far from the era of “kinky classics” like Paul Verhoeven’s “Basic Instinct,” from 1992, or even “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” which is nearly a decade old.
So are we really moviegoers—or streaming-addled couch potatoes—living in a post-excitement, post-sex world? As Alexandra Schwartz asks, “Has eros gone out of the sex scene? And, if it has, can we find it elsewhere?”
Read it. Please.