Like so many folks in this great nation of ours, I've just finished binge-watching the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black. It's about love, sex and life behind bars. But let's focus on the sex.
By now, I think most women are used to the idea that when it comes to sex, the media has men in mind. In most film and television, there's the sexy buildup of on-camera tension, but then mere seconds after the first wet, sloppy, tongue-down-the-throat kiss, the shirt's ripped off, the privates are frantically groped and the woman's up on the kitchen counter getting some hard, fast lovin'.
This doesn't do it for me. That's why I was excited to check out this series about women, created by a woman, with tons of female writers. Maybe they'd have something for me. And the first scene was hopeful. It's a sensual montage that's graphic but not grope-y.
But aside from a few scenes here and there, Orange treats sex much like the rest of Hollywood. While the two lead actresses Taylor Schilling and Laura Prepon do have good chemistry, whenever that chemistry boils over they seem to mostly grab desperately at each other's privates.
In my opinion, that's what guys like. Women, not so much.
My friend Ralph Bruno, a male "dyke-chaser" who has spent decades studying the art of female seduction, says that for women it starts with the seductive looks.
In other words, the furtive glances, holding someone's gaze just a little too long, taking one last look behind you as you exit a room. Ralph claims lesbian seduction is often taking place without heterosexual men ever noticing it's happening.
"When it comes to women," he says, "It's all in the eyes."
But from watching Orange is the New Black, you'd think it's all in the crotch. Let's take the scene below where the slight chemistry that's been building between two of the characters finally comes to fruition.
Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) tells Alex (Laura Prepon), "I know what I want for Christmas." When Alex asks what that might be, Nicky puts her hands down Alex's pants and starts working her magic.
Honestly, if someone did that to me before an intense make-out session or at the very least some serious touching, I'd be thinking: yuck.
But... maybe that's just me. I made a few calls to test my theory.
I first called my go-to couple for average hetero boy/girl reactions. The Leave-it-to-Beavers of modern suburbia. Due to the sensitive nature of the topic, folks wanted their names to be kept anonymous.
Me: A person you're mildly interested in says, "I know what I want for Christmas," when you ask what, he or she puts his/her hands down your pants, would you find that sexy?
Mrs. Jane Doe: Uh -- no. Not at all. I think it would be a turn-off actually.
Me: Okay, put your husband on the line.
Mrs. Jane Doe: He's out walking the dog.
Me: Have him call me when he gets back, I want to ask him the same question.
Mrs. Jane Doe: Are you kidding?? I think most guys would be totally into that.
When he calls back I lay out the same scenario for him. Aware that his wife is in the room he asks, "am I married?" I tell him he's not.
Mr. John Doe: Then I'd be stoked! I'd be like okay then, let me fill your stocking.
Mr. John Doe: That's it?
Me: That's it.
Mr. John Doe: Oh man, that's an easy one. Ninety-nine percent of the guys you ask that question to are you going to tell you the same thing. They're gonna say "Santa's here" -- I mean c'mon!
So I made more calls. I spoke to single people, as well as couples both gay and straight, and the reactions split right down gender lines: men think it's sexy, women find it creepy.
One gay woman put it like this: Her first move? No way. If I'm not ready, that would feel terrible!
And one straight woman burst out laughing when I asked her if she'd call it sexy. "Call it sexy? I'd call it illegal. I'd call the police."
But the guys kept asking, "I'm into her?" Like it was a trick question.
"Yeah, you're into her."
"So what's the catch?" One asked.
"Then of course I'd call it sexy!"
I think Orange is the New Black does a nice good job of showing the world of women. The connections and friendships resonate. But what is it about Hollywood and female sexuality? They can never slow it down long enough to give us ladies much to lust after.
The women I talked to want a little more evocative sensuality and a little less frenzied groping.
But I guess that doesn't sell at the box office. Or does it? It so rarely happens it's impossible to say.