“The sex drive of men is something we are all comfortable with in this country. It’s funny and hormonal and slapstick (American Pie), it’s potentially uncontrollable, maniacal/homicidal (American Psycho), it is adulterous and is insatiable (American Beauty), it is fun and social (American Graffiti) and it is entrepreneurial (American Gigolo). But women? No. NC-17. XXXX. Stop it with the moaning.”—
Funny (read: fucking infuriating) thing about this: where female pleasure is generally a no-no, female pain is often viewed as less extreme. This skewed perception of female sexuality results in “Blue Valentine” being rated NC-17 because a woman is shown enjoying receiving oral sex, while “The Last House on the Left” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” come away with R-ratings, despite both having explicit rape scenes.
So not only does our film culture limit female sexuality, but it limits it to the exact opposite of what anyone would hope sexuality to be: dark, shameful, violent, and only ever remotely pleasurable if orchestrated by a man - but never at the expense of the man’s own pleasure.
In “Blue Valentine”, Ryan Gosling gets Michelle Williams off, after all. We don’t see his character orgasm.
And, evidently, that’s far too threatening to the virility of men everywhere.